Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Absence makes the heart grow...balls?

Dear short story,

When I wrote you well over a year ago, I loved you. You were witty. You were dark and you made me laugh.

Then I took you out to meet my friends. They didn't get you. They confided that you weren't quite right for me. That maybe you weren't as funny as I found you to be. Some were gentle, knowing that I loved you, while others outright said that we'd never work. Their words made me sad because I really thought we had a future together.

That's when we did that little stint in heavy duty counseling. I told you what I loved about you. You offered to change the things I didn't. We worked hard on our relationship for a few weeks. Tweaking things here and talking it out there. We even tried a little bit of a different direction, but it was never quite as fun as it was at first. We both knew that.

You went away for a while, promising to come back when the time was right. I moved on, though secretly waiting for the day when you'd show back up, all polished and trim, ready wow me and bring me back to that wonderful feeling we first had.

But it's been over a year and I hadn't heard from you. So, wondering how you were doing, I peeked in--not that I was stalking or anything, honest. You agreed to meet and I was excited. But when we sat down to catch up, all I got was a clammy, limp handshake.

You hadn't polished anything. In fact, you were far more lackluster than I remembered. Those weeks of intense counseling ruined you. They sucked out your humor--dark and misunderstood as it might have been. They turned you into something I'd never intended you to be.

While I had captured our magical first days together on my flash drive, we're too different now. I've moved on. That magic is gone. It's time for you to move on too. Thanks for the laughs, short story. We had some good times together. But its over. I hope you understand.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Some Cyborg Weasel Fun

Immersed in editing mode as I am while A Broken Race works its way through its first round of critiquing, I've been staying busy with other little creative projects to get my 'make something new' fix. Sewing has been fun, but since spend most of my workday in front of a computer, sometimes its easier to sneak in some creative moments there.

So last night, I retired my two year old cyborg weasel cling and borged this little guy. Now he's armed and ready to stalk me during all those times I'm wandering around on the internet rather than writing.

I'd attempt to take some better close up pics of all the little details but the darn glossy finish made it very difficult to get even this pic to turn out half decent. Who came up with the idea of a glossy finish on a laptop anyway? Windex and paper towel manufacturers had to be in on it.

Thanks to Ian, I just had the realization that I have the file for this. Duh. How about I just crop some bits of it for close ups? *smacks forehead*

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The temptation of a shiny new plot

I'm sure you've been there, set on a plot, in the middle of one, bored with one...and then along hops a plot bunny. It sits there, staring at you, enticing you with its promise of something better, something fresh, sparkling and new. Ooooh shiny!

It captures you with its hypnotic stare. Never easing. Never resting. Taunting you while you slog through your current project. Sowing seeds of doubt over which thing you should be working on.

"Just take a few days to get to know me", it says. Try this out. You might like it. You might like it a lot better than that thing you're working on.

But you know what? If you give in to the plot bunny... more will come! They breed like...well, bunnies! Lock them away until you need a new idea, but don't give in to their hypnotic stares. Oh, and keep them separated!

Yes, another NaNo raffle prize is born. Bunnies, monkeys, birds... what could be next?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: A Broken Race 3

Time to hop back on the SSS train. This week we meet the Matron and William. William is pretty ticked that I picked one of his less than shining moments to share with you, but he'll have to get over it.

In this scene the Matron isn't happy with the fact that a Jack has managed to break into the women's room and harass her charges.

“You take care of this, William, or we’ll all be sorry. You hear me?”
He put on his most placating smile. “I will.” 
“Oh save it, you impotent ball of fat. This is about reviving humanity, not about getting me to stop nagging you." 

Check out all the other Six Sentence Sunday excerpts here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Screw hearts, bring on the monkeys

Guilt monkeys that is. Yes, it's Valentines Day, but bah, it's time for yet another creative explosion! (I'm a total romantic, can you tell?)

This project was more fun than a pile of monkeys. I'd go with barrel, but I don't have enough (nor do I plan on making that many) to fill one.

I'm blaming this sewing tangent on Adrianne too. She didn't even have the pattern for it. No, all she did was suggest something I'd already been considering: adding actual guilt monkeys to our NaNoWriMo menagerie. 

The pattern came from prowling the internet. Evil, evil internet! My starting point came from here. I added a tail, because it seems I have a thing for adding tails. And really, what's a monkey without a tail? It's just wrong, that's what it is.

These unimpressed little guys take about 40 minutes each from cutting to stuffing and are all hand sewn. I've found this is the perfect project for placing me in front of the tv with my kids - not something I normally do - which my daughter has enjoyed. Since this is an easy and mostly mindless project, I'll likely keep at it for a little while. Next up, monkeys with different expressions. *rubs hands together*

But first, I should get a little writing done before they start flinging poo at me.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A little bird told me

My efforts to cut back on my various obligations has led to a little extra time which has in turn lead to a creative explosion. Not only have I been writing more lately, other projects have demanded to be worked on. My sewing machine has been getting a workout.

These Babbling Birds will be part of this year's NaNoWriMo prize selection. Ever wish you had one of those little birds everyone claims told them the juicy bit of info? Well now you can have one. Babbling birds are sure to offer all the best gossip on what your characters have done in their past or what they might do in a given situation. Who's going to hook up, keep a slave in the closet, or re-gifted that birthday gift from their mother and got busted? These little birds know and they can't wait to tell you. They really shouldn't. No, really they couldn't. But if you must know...

This little project was inspired by my fellow ML, Adrianne. She's always suggesting things that light my creative fire. Darn you and your creative distractions! She made this pattern for cute valentine gifts. I twisted them to avian gossip slingers. I'm sure this says something about us, but I'll let you draw the conclusions.

You can find her pattern and step by step instructions here. Along with not so innocent intents, I added wings, a fabric tail and button eyes. I would also like to add that good old cotton fabric is ideal for this project. I had some heavier stuff sitting around for other projects (which will be featured here soon) and tried it on the cream-colored birds, but as you see, they look a bit stiff. It was also much harder to turn their beaks right side out.

As a slight side blaming note, this project was encouraged by my need *cough* want *cough* to try out the Drtiz Tube Turner I'd purchased months ago (for yet another sewing project that I haven't really started yet beyond cutting some pieces out). These are awesome tools. I shall never sew small pieces again and dread turning them right side out. Now its so easy! I used it for the birds themselves and the wings and tails. The rounded dowels that come with the kit also are prefect for pushing stuffing into all those little hard to reach places-like beaks.

Friday, February 3, 2012

In search of a little funny

In my effort to be less this year, I'm seeking out ways to be less stressed. Laughing seemed like a good start.

The first book I read this year, Sara Barron's, People are Unappealing  made me laugh inappropriately in all sorts of places. When I spotted this book on the shelf, it was the title that grabbed me. Normally I'm a cover kind of girl. Titles aren't my thing. Usually. But this one was so damn true that I had to nod in agreement and skim a few pages. While I found it entertaining, it wasn't the sort of book I usually read so I put it back on the shelf and went about my search for books on writing--which was why I was at the bookstore in the first place.

A couple weeks later, still haunted by the amusing title, I made my way to the bookstore and sighed with relief when I found it was still there. I'm rather one tracked minded once I'm set on something and if the book hadn't been there, I would have had to drive to another bookstore until I'd found it. Ordering it, and then having to wait for it, just wasn't an option.

With my new purchase in hand,  I went home and cracked it open. And laughed. And laughed so hard that I had to leave the room with the book rather than attempt to explain to my husband what was so damned funny in front of my kids. FUPA anyone? Filled with all aspects of unappealing life from dealing with parents to sex. The vulgar observations were so up my alley that I brought this book with me everywhere. It fit right in my coat pocket. I even schemed my way out of the house for an extra half hour of quiet reading time by offering to drive to the pizza place, order, wait and then bring it home. I'm pretty sure the girl at the counter thought I was on something from the amount of snickering I was doing over a particularly amusing passage wherein real people are "renamed" to protect their identity.

I was sad when the book ended. I'd had so much fun laughing my way through that one that I had to get another. I went back to the bookstore and came home with four more books. One of which was Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Also known as the second book I read this year. Not quite as funny as the first book of the year, but still amusing and much safer to leave sitting around the house.

Filled with short essays that are the perfect lunch-break size, this book covers everything from speech therapy as a kid to drug binges, artistic expression, jazz bands, leading an unmotivated life, claiming the perfect boyfriend in order to have a house in France and attempts at learning French.

As a writer, the last section of the book where he divulges his daydream characters is by far my favorite. Anyone who desires to best describe their hair as cravy is all right in my book. Curvy, wavy, yep, totally makes sense to me. I've seen that hair. Some great character tidbits in that section, yes indeed.

Laughter. Yep, I feel less stressed already. I wonder what the third book of the year has in store? 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Feeling the love

After last week's rousing critique round of pointy sticks jabbed mercilessly into my uncooperative short story, I'm feeling the warm fuzzies of being back in crit land again. It's been almost a year and the masochistic part of me has missed it. I just need to put the warm fuzzies away and continue to jab the short story until it agrees to convey what it was meant to.

The Liebster Blog Award originated in Germany. Liebster means dearest or beloved, and Liebe is love.

While we're talking love--yes, I know I'm early but not a big fan of Valentine's Day anyway--I've been doubly the recipient of the Liebster blog award. Lots of love going around lately. So I must thank, Fred and Chrystalla, both of whom are wonderfully entertaining and talented writers.

If I'm playing by the rules of this award, I'm to pass along the love to five blogs that I love. However, A) Three of the five blogs I intended to pass the award to have already been loved and another didn't want to play along. B) I don't like rules. Therefore, as I sit here surrounded by bloody crit sticks, I'm going to announce that I love you all. There. I said it. Don't expect to hear it again for another year.

Now you'll have to excuse me, I have pointy sticks to sharpen and then I'm off to return them to their owners.