I am kaitco

a writer's log

Three weeks into this new year Friday, January 22, 2016

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 4:41 pm
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I sat staring a blank screen for a long time this afternoon before I decided to write. I say “decided” rather than “found the inspiration” because as I’ve aged, it’s become apparent that inspiration has its own timetable and it is not likely to arrive when I want, no matter how much I pout.

I read through old posts on this blog for a while, trying hard to remember why I set myself these tasks in the first place. I’ve found nothing that jumps out at me; no a-ha moments or great epiphanies. So, instead of pondering on why I write, I’ll just ramble about what I’ve written.

I’m nearly done with the first Part of Flight. I use the word “done” very liberally because when it comes to phases of novel construction, I’m far from actually done. I’m still in the noting phase, which means I’ve still got to pull together all the notes from all my scattered resources and pull them into a long file that is set to some kind of chronology. Once I’ve got that completed, I’ll still have to flesh out those notes so that they’re consistent, then build onto them, and then edit and build onto that before I reach the phase before I have what could be considered a first draft. When it comes to Flight, this process can and has taken months and will likely take many more as I go into the second and third Parts. But…I’ve nearly reached the next rung on the ladder. It may be only the third step on a ladder that reaches 40 feet into the air, but I’m nearly done.

What makes this round of Flight seem like it’s taking forever is that I’ve already gone through this drama and I know what lies ahead for me. For example, when I was 15, I had major surgery on my left ankle to correct an abnormality and also some gross damage to my ankle bones. I clearly recall my doctor telling me in the summer that I would be up and active by the time basketball season came and that afterward we would do the right foot. One can only imagine my sour disappointment when I watched the first of the open gyms leading up to try-outs that year from the sidelines while still on crutches that fall. My healing made significant progress and that December, we prepared to go through the whole process again. Only now, I knew what lay ahead of me.

Another season of missed athletics lay ahead, not to forget the schoolwork that would have to be made up, the nausea from the anesthesia and the painkillers, the inability to walk, the rehab, the frustration, the sense of overwhelming depression and despair stemming from every minor task becoming a major chore, and then the pain! The incredible pain after awaking, the pain in the hours after going home, the pain in accidental movement of the foot, the pain of moving from a soft cast to a hard one, the pain of removing primary stitches and then the secondary ones. All this recalled pain pressed upon me as I walked with my mother to the prep rooms for the second surgery and I had nothing but dread when moved onto the gurney to be wheeled into surgery. Even when I first awoke in recovery, the foreboding had not dissipated and I started to sobbing as I stared at my now bandaged right foot, eventually yelling “No! I don’t want to do this!” until the staff brought around my mother (though admittedly, I was coming out of major surgery, so some craziness was to be expected).

Though there had been time to prepare, the second surgery had gone worse, emotionally, than the first, and several years later, when my doctor had to go back in and make further corrections, all of the foreboding returned in full swing, making the third and fourth surgeries even more pleasant than the second time.

I can’t help but liken my current round with Flight to that second surgery. I’ve already written this book and now I’m attempting to re-write it. I was sick for a month after I finished it the first time and, with this round, I’m well aware of what’s coming: the sleepless nights, the days of writing and then realizing that it’s all garbage, the weeks and months keeping the entire story straight in my mind, the countless edits/re-writes/further edits/more re-writes until I’m ready to throw out the whole project, the writing until I’m physically ill and still trying to write through the sickness, the experiencing of all my characters’ emotions to the point that I struggle to recall what’s real and what isn’t…

Then, once I’ve acknowledged what occurred on the first round, I get to imagine how all of the above will affect a body that has experienced almost ten more years of life with the jobs, and the bills, and the deaths, and friends, and the family, and the godchildren, and the volunteering, and the previous books, and the current projects placed on hold, and the general stress of trying to make each year a little better than the previous one. I experience a little pain in my ankles from time to time, but I fully recognize that 31 is neither 15 nor 22 and I’m not going through all that pain again unless my only other option is amputation, and even then, I’ll ask for another opinion. Despite having the foresight to know that I’m unable to go through the mess and pain of surgery again, I press forward with trying to re-write a 450K-word novel that nearly killed me during its initial creation.

I just have to keep telling myself the same thing to avoid throwing in the proverbial towel too soon: I’m nearly done!

 

Brilliant Movie Night Monday, August 20, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 11:10 pm
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Yesterday evening, I took down my braids which is normally a 4-6 hour event. I awoke from my usual Sunday afternoon nap to find The Miracle Worker playing on my so-called Dorienne TV and from there, after crying at the end like I always do, I queued The Silence of the Lambs and after that watched The Godfather. Throughout these cinematic adventures and humming the tune to The Godfather through half the night, I completely forgot to post anything. All this notwithstanding, I didn’t really write anything yesterday, so there was nothing about which to even write.

I’d hoped to get the book down the 150s by today, but I’m either experiencing my first real migraine or I’ve got an emergency trip to my ophthalmologist coming in the next week since I’ve not been well all day and my eye has been in constant pain. While this does pose a few problems when it comes to staring at a bright laptop screen to create, I’ve worked through worse pain, so I’ll just chalk up today to simple sloth.

I’m off tomorrow as well and the night is not over, so if I can push forward to write here, I can at least begin the re-write of Chapter 14.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Fifteen Friday, June 15, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 9:06 pm
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I’ll get this over with nice and early…

I’ve been down all week and it’s finally caught up with me. I left first-job early and I probably would have slept into the wee morning hours if a friend hadn’t called.

To say that I’m ill is an understatement and since I’ve barely the energy or capacity to do much more than make myself a hot toddy and wrap myself up in my chair, I think it goes without saying that I’ll not be writing anything today.

Well, I can hardly hold the iPad upright any longer, so it’s time to make my tea while I can still see.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Fourteen Thursday, June 14, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:49 pm
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Well…

I’m in a lot of pain today, not that it’s an excuse for anything, and I’m quite tired. I’d hoped to get a little more than 1764 (Brit said, still giggling) written today, but I didn’t and I’m ready to write off this whole week as a steaming pile of failure.

I hit a small patch of inspiration earlier in the day, but got distracted and so, here I am.

I keep telling myself that if I just get a little rest, I’ll have the strength to push through this, but from where this rest is coming, I’ll never know.

I think what’s got me so very down today is that I’d hoped to at least be into Chapter 30 by now and I’m not. I’m barely into Chapter 28 and at 1500 words in, I’m already over budget on this chapter’s word count. Not to mention, I’ve not felt well all week and I sometimes feel like I’ll be in my same position at first-job for the rest of my days, whether I’ve got a hundred of them to go or another thirty-thousand of them…

Oh well…onto tomorrow.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Twelve Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:34 pm
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I’ve not felt well at all today and so, I’ll have to use the dreaded “None” tag for this post, as I should have written something, but failed to do so.

I did manage to pull together my notes for this revised chapter, along with the word count limits for each scene, so I suppose that is some sort of victory.

Something I noted to myself yesterday is that I’ve made a lot of progress in the last two weeks and I know this blog has had much to do with it. I’ve no one to hold me accountable for my writing since I seldom speak of it with my family and friends, so outside of the very rare, “So, how’s that book coming, Dorienne?” I’ve got few reasons to chug along outside of personal drive. This blog, however, serves as a record of the things I have or have not done and it gives me that accountability I desperately need if I’m to get this thing done.

So, while I’ve not actually written anything this evening, I’m fully aware of my failure because I’ve had to write about it and because I don’t like how the shade of failure looks against my skin, I know I’ll strive hard to prevent it from appearing tomorrow.

 

Minecraft Abbey Friday, May 25, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 1:11 am
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Yesterday was the first day in almost three weeks that I did any significant writing. I’ve known for about a month earlier that I would get the writing “bug” again once I returned to my normal job at first-job, but it wasn’t until I actually returned that I saw my own “prophecy” fulfill itself.

I’ve only got excuses for the last week; the rest of this month has been a blur of fatigue. I was on vacation last week and instead of using the time to just plow through and finish this book once and for all, I spent ten days watching the old X-Men cartoon, the old Pirates of Dark Water cartoons, reading X-Men comics and watching and re-watching Downton Abbey. On the latter end of this vacation, I discovered Minecraft which, like The Sims, is the detriment to all things literary. My blame, however, for not writing will be placed mostly on the shoulders of Downton Abbey.

I love the characters of this show and I am really invested in a TV show for the first time since I started watching SVU, almost a decade ago. Given that they only produce 7 or 8 episodes a YEAR, I’ve taken to watching the available episodes often and often while playing Minecraft, either on the iPad or just on the laptop. With such focus, I’ve been oddly left with my literary tastes whet and with no desire to write at all. I even found myself wondering if I should even continue writing anything at all.

Thankfully, I died an aggravating and horrible death in Minecraft and decided to shut off Downton for the time being and this cleared my head long enough to for me to want to write again.

It’s rare for a TV show to satisfy me in a way that previously only the act of writing could, which I think speaks volumes about it, but it troubles me that I could be swayed into giving up my very being over something so simple.

I’m back to writing, thankfully, and I am, in many ways, back where I belong. That said…

I’ve been having flashes of all sorts of nightmarish conditions for myself as I consider what could possible be wrong with my left hand and wrist. Some time last week, in the midst of Minecraft, I noticed some pain in my left pinky finger. The altering numbness and pain spread into my ring finger and now across the back of my hand, making it very difficult to type normally, hence the reason I’ve decided to pen this via iPad, while it would take half the time on the laptop.

I’m not sure if this is carpal tunnel or something worse, but a writer, at least in this day and age, who is unable to type is really quite crippled, isn’t she? I know I have to keep writing no matter what, so for now, I’ll revert back to my old ways when playing soccer and basketball in high school and “play through the pain,” but I can’t help noting that I’m a bit worried.

…all this not withstanding, I know that whatever happens, God will provide.

 

Autosave! Why hast thou forsaken me?!? Friday, September 2, 2011

Last night around midnight, I decided to keep writing and finish Chapter 21. I was in the midst of a zone and in mid-word when the screen suddenly turned blue and said something about an error. Long story short, my laptop crashed in the middle of everything I was writing and I sat worried about the blue screen of death facing me. I hadn’t written a lot after I’d last saved, but I had some notes written in a Notepad doc that I really wanted to keep and I liked the little bit that I had been writing.

While I completed two hard restarts and allowed some random Windows repair screen to do its thing, two thoughts rushed through my mind: Did my novel autosave? and Was my Sims 2 game at risk? Now, the former was more of a wishful thought than anything else because autosave has failed me in the past and I did not expect much from it, but the latter was really a surprise.

I guess knowing that I had saved at least the bit that I’d included at my last word count and also knowing that the novel is not only saved on a separate shared drive between all three PCs in my house, but also backed up to my DorienneSmith.com server eased any real concern about the safety of my work, but my Sims 2 game was not so well-guarded and all I could think of as I waited for the autofails autosave’s inevitable failure was whether I’d lost some eight years worth of gaming with just one crash.

I instantly Googled how to make a laptop hard drive into an external hard drive in case the laptop couldn’t be started again and eventually I considered all the pain of not having this particular laptop when I traveled later in the month and then again about that autosave, but a real fear and this amazing sense of loss started to overcome me when I thought about my little game.

I don’t get to play the game as much as I used to play, but Jill is a story born directly out of my Sims’ game and I consider each sim and each family a potential character or set of characters. If it wasn’t for Beau and Alexander Goth and their adopted sim children, I would have never looked at Jill and said, “Hm…there’s a story in this.”

I’ve spent a long time playing this game and, as odd as it sounds, I’ve been playing some of these characters longer than I’ve known some of my friends…my good friends. So, it’s not so much the loss of the game that troubled me, but the loss of so many characters, all at once, with no hope of recovery that caused an ache in my chest and probably reduced some of my life expectancy.

Even though my amygdala started sending out all sorts of irrational thoughts, I did not completely freak out and I found that my fears were, more or less, groundless. The autosave did, indeed, fail to live up to its name, but my game and all its characters were safe. That said, I immediately created a back of my game just in case another random crash comes in the future.

I wrote 614 words today (before she sat across from him) and after each and every pause in writing, I took a minute to Ctrl+S my work to avoid another incident. I’m also going to attempt to upload the 12+ GB file that is my Sims 2 game folder…I’m sure my webhost will shut me down long before I succeed, but it’s worth try.

 

 
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