I am kaitco

a writer's log

Lessons Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:29 am
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I’m getting a raise at first-job; a pretty sizable one, but I knew this on Thursday and it hasn’t given me a lot of thought until now.

I got promoted at first-job in April, but even though I got the title and an overall increase in pay, everything totaled to be far less than what I was making prior to the promotion. I tried to negotiate, but worried that the offer might get rescinded and accepted based on the fact that I knew the pay was still liveable and that God would take care of me in the meanwhile. And, God has taken care of me. No bills have gone unpaid and I got to buy my car, which I love dearly as it is a symbol of patience, faith and love…and is also a very pretty, sparkling grey!

It wasn’t until I learned about this new raise today, however, that it occurred to me that everything occurs on His time for His greater purpose.

I went the entire month of July without going to church once and, when I did return at the beginning of this month, I started to tithe again as if I had been tithing the entire time; sort of starting over fresh. I knew I should have given God and His church what was really due, but I didn’t, citing poverty to myself at that time.

Last week, even before the pastor said a single word about tithing, I wrote my check and realized that I wouldn’t have enough money at the end of the month to cover what I wrote unless I moved around some things. It was in this moment that I made up my mind to be more mindful about how I spend money since, if I couldn’t find a way to carve out the 10% I used to give without fail a year earlier, then I clearly needed to re-evaluate some things.

As I discussed my raise with my mother today, it occurred to me that in just a few weeks, I’d learned a lesson about money and my spending habits, mainly that they had grown out of control months earlier and that I needed to ensure that I was living within my means…and now, once the lesson has been learned, I’m getting what I’d wanted back April.

I wrote 536 words today (so get over it and do your thing) and though I’m about to celebrate my 27th year on this Earth, I’m still surprised by my surprise about how God takes care of me.

 

More work ahead than behind Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The part of creating a draft is seeing how my views about characters can change before I’ve even got to the end. Original purposes can easily be drowned out by subtle detail changes and before I know it, characters who were just marginal and only there to help create a scene take on lives and full personalities of their own and then I’ve got to go and make changes to the rest of the story

Case in point when I consider Tabitha, Semaj (now Carver), Desirae (who’ll need to be renamed) and Damen’s art teacher Mr. Brannon. In the original heavy notes, only Tabitha existed and now I’m considering dropping her altogether as these others come further into the light. Semaj is named after a Sim-baby and I had no specific purpose in mind for him other than creating some doubt for Damen, but I’m wondering if it’s worth it develop him further now that I’ve included him in another class with Damen. Desirae was only given a name at all because I wanted to demonstrate that there were black kids in Damen’s class and that the kids were lined in alphabetical order, but now she’s appeared in so many other places and goes to show much of Brit’s angst with being a black in a suburban community that I can’t imagine ever trying to extricate her from the project. Mr. Brannon, in just the last few days, has taken on an amazing personality that I wish develop to the point that I’m willing to drop some of the drama that lies ahead in the story just to fit in everything about him.

I know I’ve heard somewhere that it’s the characters that chose the writer and, if I’ve seen anything in writing Damen, I know for certain that’s true. It makes me sad, however, when I consider all the brain cells I killed in drinking in college and all the characters that went with them. All the voices that won’t be heard because of my decisions in my early twenties…

I wrote 605 words today (grinned wider as he left the room) and I know I’m going to struggle to get there, but I’m really going to push to make the jump to a thousand words a day for the month of September. If I don’t hit my birthday goal, I can always bring the goal back down to a healthy 3-500, but at least I can look back on this year and know I did everything I could to get this novel done.

 

Changes Monday, August 29, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Today marks Day 2 of studying my bible prior to writing…I’m not noticing anything particularly different about how I’m approaching my writing, though I’m rather disappointed in myself for feeling like this was an extra chore in my day. It’s not that I’m not fond of reading and studying my bible, but the obligation of writing just seemed far more difficult when I’ve piled a brand new piece to the exercise.

I’m honestly bereft of anything meaningful to say for and since I’ve just spent 60 full seconds staring at my screen wondering is worth sharing in the blog tonight, I think I’ll just call it quits while I’m still relatively coherent. I wrote 585 words tonight (work either of these in the coming weeks) and I can sense some major changes coming in my life. Some welcomed; others, not so much.

 

Before I Sit to Write… Sunday, August 28, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Not much happened today. I went to church, planned this Cape Cod trip with my mother, played The Sims and watched an entire season of Scrubs. That first thing I did, however; that was very enlightening.

I’ve heard my pastor preach about putting God first a million times in the past five years I’ve been attending church and usually I nod and tell myself that I would do better, but sometime between the moment I get back in my car and the next week Sunday, the message disappears. This time, it struck a little deeper.

In order for me to put God first, I must actually do this as a part of my daily routine. Right now, I put my writing ahead of everything else in my life, which is why I believe I suffer so unnecessarily at times. To write right, I’ve got to put Him first in my life, so I’ve decided to start actually studying my bible before I sit to write.

I’d asked Pastor last week or the week prior about the best way to actually get through all the books of the bible since I usually get lost somewhere in Exodus and even when I make it past there Kings rids me of a lot of my interest. He advised to start with the New Testament and then work my way to the old, which makes a ton of sense given that the New Testament holds the truths of the Christian faith and reading through it in its entirety will get me accustomed to studying before I write so that when the usual walls come in Exodus or Kings, I’ll already be in a rhythm.

I managed a bit of before writing in that I studied the first chapter of Matthew, but this was hours before I actually sat down to write. Monday will go much better, or at least that’s the plan. I wrote 523 words today (years in England before returning home) and a part of me can’t wait to sit down to study and then write on Monday.

 

1098 Saturday, August 27, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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I’ve not got much to say about today.

I went to a bachelorette party yesterday, which was wild fun and I got a lot of accomplished at first-job, much more than I thought I was going to get done, but I’m still having trouble focusing for long enough to separate these chapters again.

I wonder if I’ll just let the rest of these chapters remain in a single document and let the separations flow naturally. Then again, that much freedom and lack of structure has never aided me in the past, so I’m not sure why it would now.

I wrote 1098 words today (impending divorce of a Hollywood couple.) breaking 1K for the first time in a bit. If I can keep my word counts over a thousand for the next three days, the September daily goal will be 1K instead of just 500, but still…I find it worth mentioning that I’ve not used the “None” tag since the 31st of January which, considering that I’d once gone entire months without writing anything in Damen at all, is something rather spectacular.

 

500 words a day is !@#$%& hard Friday, August 26, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Something I’ve realized recently is that there is a reason I’ve not made the jump to 500 words a day earlier. This crap is hard!

It’s not just the act of getting a post up on time or getting in the words within a specific interval of time. “Days” have a very different meaning when you go to sleep and wake up in the same “day” all the time, but it’s the act of finding what I want to say, pushing myself even further to get to the chosen word count and then finding a way to shut off the faucet once I’ve got all these words flowing.

Somewhere between 350 and 600 words, I fall into the zone and then I just can’t stop writing. Thoughts of “just a little bit more…just a little bit more…” flourish and before I know, the morning is lost and I’m running late or I’ve written well into the early morning and won’t get any sleep for the day.

I suppose there are worse things from which I could suffer, but there’s a certain level of frustration that comes battling my way up a hill, only to crash into something at the bottom once I go careening down it on the other side.

I wrote 990 words today (a dozen others at other tables) and I’m wondering if I’ll find that “off” switch today or if I should just give up for the time being and just let it flow until it’s time to call the plumber…

 

Poorly adapted Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yesterday, I watched the absolute worst adaptation of a Jane Austen I’ve ever seen. I’ve not seen all that many of them, but I have seen my fair share of 19th century England period pieces and this was, by far, the worst. Mansfield Park from 1999…bleh.

I hadn’t read Mansfield Park at the time of watching, but I could tell within twenty minutes that something was amiss. The characters were not speaking in the 19th century mannerisms and, at several moments in the film, I wondered if these were indeed British actors as the acting was so bland and uninspired and I’d grown accustomed to expecting much, much more from British actors.

Also unlike other adaptations I’ve seen, I did not care about the characters at all. In watching Mansfield Park, I didn’t necessarily care for Fanny, the heroine, or care if she ever married or found happiness. I also didn’t care about her beau-to-be Edmund, whom I found duller than even Fanny. I didn’t care whether Edmund married another girl and, the way the story was set, I wasn’t even sure until the very end of the movie if Fanny and Edmund loved each other and would end up together.

There was also a lot of discussion about slavery throughout the film which, while interesting in concept, never went anywhere. It was as if everyone on the screen was talking about physics and all of a sudden Fanny mentioned something about slavery…and then it was never discussed again. It was like some kind of forced theme to make someone who did not care for Jane Austen’s story find something interesting about the plot.

I compare this adaptation to the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. I hadn’t read Sense and Sensibility prior to watching, but within the first ten minutes of the film, I loved the Dashwood sisters and was interested to see if they would find a suitable place to live on their pittance or if they would be forced to stay with their half-brother and his horrible wife. Later, I was just as heartbroken as Elinor when Edward did not arrive at the cottage and when she learned about Lucy’s involvement and then was just as stressed out when Edward did arrive in London when Lucy was visiting. Equally, I was just as excited to see Willoughby at the ball in London as Marianne and cried with her when she had her heart broken as well. There was none of this in Mansfield Park in which the writer and director had the audacity to dress up Jane Austen by dumbing down the language and pulling at strings to make it appeal to an audience that’s obviously incapable of understand why I a story about a lady seeking a suitable husband is interesting.

I think what hurts the most is that Netflix rated this as a possible 4 stars for me and I only gave it 2 stars and that was only because it was a period piece.

I do all of this ranting because I love Jane Austen’s work and I really can’t stand to see such wonderful literature destroyed in an adaptation. Why bother calling it an adaptation? Why not call it something different and add “based on the novel Mansfield Park” somewhere in the credits? I’ve seen other great books destroyed like this. Directors constantly did this to Michael Crichton novels; Congo, Sphere, The Lost World! It just makes me so angry!

Despite this movie that kept me up half the night because I was so mad about it, I wrote 617 words today (else to Brit for the rest of the period) and I’m bringing all the remaining chapters together in a single file to divide a bit later into “c” files once I’ve re-arranged the story a bit.

All the elements are still there, but I’ve removed some of the slow-moving ones and made the rest of the story flow properly, rather than seem like just a series of events seen through Damen’s eyes.

Tired now…and still a bit angry about that movie. I think what also irks me about this is that I worry that if Damen were ever published that some crazed director might hack it to pieces and call it an adaptation. A part of me wonders if I’d rather just not be published at all than risk that happening…but I try to quiet that part and just focus on my writing.

 

Another effort Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:31 am
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I’ve not got much to say this morning since fairly little occurred between now and my last post, but as I’m desperately trying to make this “writing in the morning” thing work, I thought it worth mentioning that I’m taking another stab at it.

I’ve reached a new point in the novel which I don’t really remember having with Flight. With Flight, I had a complete outline of the entire story and barely deviated from it when I created the heavy notes and then the first draft. Damen is becoming more reminiscent to Evan or even Alex which I wrote before I went off to school.

I find myself struggling to pull together the remaining parts of the story and I’m beginning to have thoughts of completely re-ordering the rest of the novel. I’ve all but decided to drop one character entirely or at least downplay Tabitha towards the beginning of the novel, though I’m stubbornly retaining Dana Barrington as I’ve at least identified a specific use for her.

I want to list all the “occurrences” between now and the end to make sure everything is flowing properly, but to be this far along into a draft and not have all of this sorted out by now is a bit disturbing.

I thought I had figured out all of this. The heavy notes were done! I was onto the draft…Here I am, however, still getting tangled in the plotlines. At this rate, the 26th will be staring at me in the face and I’ll watch another birthday come and go without having achieved a goal.

Sigh………….

I wrote 560 words today (passed over her face for just a moment) and will write a bit more throughout the day in hopes of getting what I need before I do something insane and start stripping the novel even before the draft is complete.

 

Impossible Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Filed under: Music,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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by Christina Aguilera (feat. Alicia Keys) ~ Stripped

I’d forgot how much I like my “Z-Write” playlist; if anything, it gives me a much wider range of music and song titles to use when I run out of original titles for posts.

I can’t even remember when I created the playlist since it was at least during the iPod Classic years, but it has long since been a writing staple for me as it consists of music I dearly love and to which I’ll often break into song while in the middle of some prose. The purest thing about it, however, is the ability to disappear when I’m concentrating and not re-appear until I’m ready to hear it again, which is usually when I sing along with the music.

The “writeabilty” of the list comes from the fact that I love all the songs a ton, but not to the point that it’s overwhelming. There are few songs on the list that when I hear them, I have to stop what I’m doing to consider the lyrics or sing out my heart because I love the music so much and that is what makes this list of fifty-some songs so perfect as a writing backdrop. I can think about the music when I have the desire to do so, but not a moment prior to that.

I wrote 517 words today (new semester and taking the roll call) and all of them were written to my Z-Write playlist, so called to ensure that it’s always at the bottom of my playlists and easily findable and also because I love to say that it’s “zee right playlist to use for writing.” when I explain it to others.

 

305 Monday, August 22, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Considering all the free time I had today, it’s a little disappointing that I barely had 300 words in me for the entire day, especially when I consider that I’m striving hard to pump myself into 500 or more words each day for the month of September; hopefully I’ll be able to bump it to a full one thousand a day.

I feel myself coming round to a specific curve on my emotional cycle where I’m not really sure what I should be doing and have difficulty setting proper tasks for myself. Normally the cycle will be a normal flow of inspiration and purpose, then a sharp drop in motivation where I feel blank and incapable of thought, then comes a low point where I’m ready to start writing morose poetry to describe my mind, then a huge spike in creativity and drive where I can write for ten hours straight without realizing it, and after that spike, I come back down to a blank stage before coming round to the normal flow of inspiration again. I’m definitely back to that blank stage, but the problem with this cycle is that I’ve no idea how long any particular stage lasts or what spurs one to move into the next. I suppose for now, it’s well enough that I’m able to identify the cycle in hopes that my future self will have some inkling for what I do the things I do.

I wrote just 305 words tonight (he had collected from the Internet), but even though I wrote very little, I managed to neaten my kitchen and plan to make it the third room in the house, after my living room and bedroom, to which I delved an entire weekend into cleaning and forced myself to retain it’s relative cleanliness, so that’s got to count for something.

 

Dorienne vs. the devil Sunday, August 21, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Every Sunday for the past three or four years, I’ve had a personal ritual that took me close to a year to recognize. Each Sunday following church, I require a three to five-hour nap. The nap by itself is nothing remarkable as many people take naps on weekends because the time is available, but I am not a nap person. The only time I end up sleeping during the day is when I’ve gone the last 28 hours without sleep and I have to go to sleep; I don’t nap. Every Sunday, however, I require a nap following church.

This Sunday nap only occurs on Sundays when I go to church. After going the entire month of July without setting foot in my church, I’ve tested this empirically and came to a conclusion I suspected long ago, but never had the opportunity to truly examine.

What’s fascinating is that I’m not doing anything that would require sleep on a Sunday afternoon. I usually get a full-night’s sleep Saturday evenings, the drive to the church doesn’t take any longer than the drive to first-job , I don’t wake any earlier than I do during the week and most weeks I don’t do much more than clap a little, sing with the choir a bit and take notes from the sermon. Logically, there’s no need for this Sunday nap, but when I sit down and really consider what is happening to me each Sunday morning, it makes perfect sense.

My current schedule with first-job makes it virtually impossible to visit my church throughout the week, so the only time when I have an opportunity to enter God’s house with the specific purpose of praise is Sunday morning. Every Sunday, however, I run into a gamut of emotions and “whisperings” in my ear that would prevent me from attending church.

First comes sheer laziness, as my bed is never as warm and comfortable as it is when I have to leave it to go to church in the morning. Adding onto that laziness comes procrastination which comes in the form of everything from checking all my e-mail accounts to perusing every single Facebook update from the past sixteen hours, even those I’d read the previous day, and on occasion even finding my way to StumbleUpon or Twitter to really waste the morning.

On Sundays when I make it to church, I must actually battle through all the negative, lazy thoughts and the onslaught of procrastination thrown in my direction just to get myself to the shower. Even after that, I’ve got the slow haul of getting dressed and putting on my makeup and, in that time, all these thoughts of “Wow, you’re already going to be late. You probably should just give up for now.” flow through my head. Some weeks, I give in to this line of thinking and don’t get to church, but when I pray about it the previous night and I set my mind to it, I can usually push through all of this and can get out the door.

Once out the door, a hunger, that I never usually meet so early in the morning, can often set in and all these desires to make pit stops along the way to church come to mind. Perhaps a stop at McDonald’s first? Maybe I’ll just stop at the Walgreen’s real quick to get something? Still, if I focus on the task at hand, I can get to the highway and finally get to the neighborhood where my church is.

My church’s neighborhood is not in the best of places, but that is where God put me and despite my best efforts to go elsewhere…that is where He put me. That said, when I come close to that neighborhood, thoughts of safety sometimes spark. “It’s really not safe for me to be out here” is most common, but even within three minutes of the church I can still get thoughts of all the million other things I’ve got to do that day and given that I’m already late…well, perhaps I can just get there next week when I’ll be on time?

After I push through all of this, I get to the church parking lot and on most days, I’m usually fine once I can see the finish line, but even there, I can still be tempted. Some weeks, I’m almost an hour late for service and the desire to not appear to be one of “those” Christians is deep and on one disastrous occasion, even caused me to just drive home, even though I was already there! With that memory in the back of my mind, thoughts of “You’ve done it before” and “You can always go next week” continually filter into my mind. God is good though and it is rare that I’ll turn away once I get within thirty seconds of the church doors, but still…it takes quite a bit of effort just to get out of the car.

Phew…

All I do on a Sunday morning is get up, get dressed and go to church, but the act of doing all of this is a battle. It’s a weekly battle that gets no easier as time continues; in fact, it gets more difficult the longer I try to walk in line with Christ and, after a morning of stepping around the mental boxing ring with the devil, by Sunday afternoon, I’m completely exhausted and I just need a nap.

I wrote 714 words today (window popped on the screen from “himebrit”) and, while I had to battle to write them, that fight is nothing compared to the one I’ll face next when it’s time to go to church again.

 

Fah-ti-gew Saturday, August 20, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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When I consider my childhood, I always think back on the many ways my mother inadvertently shaped me into being a writer.

If I asked how to spell a word, she would make me look it up in the dictionary and if I claimed that I could not look up a word that I could not spell, she would make me start with the first letter and go through the dictionary until I found it. If I were to end a sentence with a preposition, for example, “Mom, where’s my book at?” she would respond with, “Behind that preposition.” and then refuse to answer the question.

Many times, however, she would purposefully mispronounce words so that I would “hear” how they were spelled. For instance, she would often come home from work and explain that she was “fah-ti-gewed” which helped reiterate how the word fatigue was properly spelled. Tonight, I am very, very fah-ti-gewed.

I wrote 1299 words throughout today (didn’t really talk to her) and despite my best efforts at keep my second-job, not so much secret, but just understated, I continually broach the subject to help answer what I do with all my time. I think the answer of “Well, I’m writing a novel” sounds far better than, “Well, I’m playing Rock Band for hours at a time” or “Well, I’m asleep on my sofa watching a TV channel I created from my own videos” sounds to other people. The weird writer sits better with others, I suppose, more than just being weird.

 

To the Cape Friday, August 19, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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I’ve made up my mind that I’m going to Cape Cod for my birthday. I need to get away from everything for a while and the only place I know where I feel truly calm is near the water. I’ve not decided where on the cape I’ll be going, but I know that in September, I’ll be in the land of the “ahs.”

Every month or so, I come to a point where I’m driven to do something I hadn’t wanted to do and the rush I get from it is purely exhilarating. Sometimes, it can be related to writing since that is what drove me to start posting and thus writing every day starting last November, but other times it can be something as simple as cleaning up the house or weeding or something that’s just been nagging me. Yesterday, it was my darn kitchen.

I don’t cook, but somehow all these dishes manage to pile up over weeks and often months and since I don’t cook, I never feel the need to do anything about them. Each time I pass the pile, however, I grow a little more sullen because the pile has grown to gargantuan heights that I’ll never be able to overcome, but yesterday I did. I fell asleep on the sofa without doing anything else last night, but at the very least, I tackled the pile.

With that done, I’m moved to do more; maybe really complete all my laundry in one day like I’ve been wanting to do all year; maybe attack those six-foot weeds on my patio; maybe detail my car; maybe even complete and entire chapter in a weekend. Who knows?

I wrote 524 words last night (whatever the hell she wants all the time is beyond me) and have the urge to pelt out another 2 or even 3K words throughout all of Saturday. Or perhaps, I’ll just finish the rest of the dish pile while I’ve still got the drive.

 

Into the West Thursday, August 18, 2011

by Annie Lennox ~ Lord of the Rings: Return of the King soundtrack

So much and so little has happened today that I’m not entirely sure what I should and shouldn’t say. In reading a few articles, I think I understand myself a little better than I did even yesterday and I feel some of my friendships moving into new directions, some good, others not so much. I’ve done so much thinking and so much reacting today, that my mind’s been left bereft of any journaling thoughts for the moment, hence the song titled post instead of something original; I suppose it’s better than the word count title I originally planned, but still…a lack of creativity is just that.

I wrote 1229 words tonight (“You ever go fishing?” he asked) and I think some of this blankness may come from letting my mind come back from “Corey” and back to Dorienne. When I write Corey, I feel as if I have to become a different person because he swears so much and speaks in a manner that I, as myself, could never do and I guess it takes a little time to get out of the Corey mindset and back to myself.

Writing is a fairly odd craft…

 

The end is near Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:27 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

While I’m technically on Chapter 21 of Damen, I’m through what was once Chapter 18 in the original heavy notes which means I’m most likely looking at close to 29 or 30 chapters before I’ve finally said my fill.

Though I’ve said it earlier, I think I’m getting further into the meat and potatoes of the novel. Hints I’ve made at characterization are finally starting to see light and, as I knew would happen, I’m starting to fully understand Damen’s relationship with Corey as I’ve allowed it to develop. Originally, I just wanted to force them into something, but I knew it would sound too preachy to be readable and so, I pitched that idea early, hoping for character inspiration later in the project.

I can tell that I’m definitely on the final lap of the novel, though. New ideas are popping to mind so frequently that it’s difficult to get them all in my AwesomeNote app fast enough. They’re strong complete ideas as well, not just “a guy name Derek decides to rob his mother to feed his daughter” ideas; these are well thought out project ideas that often times come with their own plot, even in the preliminary note phase. This only happens when I’m nearing the end of my current project, not simply tiring of it.

To tire of what I’m writing means that I’m just sick of looking at it for a bit, but even if I tried, I couldn’t attempt to write anything else. It happened with Flight hence the number of various SVU stories I’ve still got sitting around my “stories” folder. The plethora of stories didn’t come until I was reaching graduation and was about to finish editing and publishing the final chapters of that massive book. That these ideas are rushing towards me again can only mean the end is near and what a relief that is! 🙂

I wrote 761 words tonight (every few minutes for the rest of the drive), despite yesterday’s perceived “cheating,” and I think tonight, after I’ve played some Rock Band, I’m going to sit and watch Persuasion again and perhaps read a bit of it in the morning. I’m so in love with this movie, it’s pretty ridiculous and since this version is such a faithful representation of my favorite of Jane Austen’s, I love it even more, crying at all the appropriate moments right along with Anne Elliot and feeling much like I’m approaching the August of my youth as I too reach my 27th birthday.

 

 
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