Events

Quick Update

This is more of an update to yesterday’s update. In it I stated I hoped to finish up with characters that day or today. Well, add my plan to the large pile of plans that didn’t work out. I was only able to work for forty-five minutes before I had to go home and do the photography course. It sucks but it was for a good reason

It started a few days ago. I was at my normal writing spot completely into what I was doing when something made me look up. It was just in time to see one of the girls who works there pull out the thing that holds tea/coffee grounds and drop it. The grounds went all over her hand. She was clearly hurt but only stood and stared at the ground. One of the other workers ran over and after some coaxing, got this poor young lady to go to the hospital.

Fast forward to Monday, she was back at work. Her hand was wrapped up and she kept it behind her back. Her stance showed how much pain she was in and her face was full of frustration.

Now I go to the place almost every day. I don’t precisely know the people working but I’m friendly with all of them. I spent some time talking to her about how she was doing. Second degree burns and little memory of what happened plague her. When the accident happened she went into shock. She told me when her coworker came running she only said “Why are you running?” Her friend had to tell her, she didn’t remember saying it. She laughed about it, but all I could think was it was a good thing her manager talked her into going to the hospital. Poor thing!

I don’t know how long we talked but when I got back to writing I realized I only had thirty minutes left. I’d only worked for 15 minutes before talking to the girl. It didn’t help that I took so much time to write the long post before getting down to work. Oh well, I don’t regret my choices.

It simply means I have to get a lot done today. I went to the gym, then instead of driving further away to go to ‘my’ spot, I just drove across the street to another place. It’s a different location of the same grocery store chain I frequent. Both places have a coffee/tea shop inside them and large seating areas. This one is set up in a way I don’t care for but I’m not so uncomfortable I can’t write. That said, I despise the chairs here and will probably regret this decision later.

They have a good salad bar so I plan to eat here and work until time for physical therapy. If I go home I will get distracted. If I can finish building my characters today I can start really writing either today or tomorrow.

Once I get really into the story I assume you will see less updates from me for a time. I tend to get lost when I’m making stuff up! It’s certainly happened as I’ve worked on characters.

As for my back, well, I didn’t get on the bike today but I could only use the elliptical for 12 minutes before it started hurting. It was a strange arc. I got to the gym with lots of pain. A couple of minutes into cardio I had no pain. Then right before the twelve-minute mark the weird pain from yesterday showed up. I’ll talk to the therapist about it this afternoon.

One last update, then I’m getting to work. My eye is still twitching! It’s very distracting. Maybe this is my muse telling me to give one of my characters a tic…


WR

I Guess This Is An Update – 6/20/2016

Today started with me not wanting to get up. I stayed in bed for at least forty-five minutes after I fully woke up. This is unusual because it hurts my back if I don’t get up quickly. I didn’t care. I played silly games on my phone for a while, stared at the ceiling, and did my at-home physical therapy exercises. Still I didn’t sit up, I just felt off, weird.

One eye was twitching and both felt swollen and dry. Aha! Allergies! Technically I have allergy issues every day, so I should have figured it out sooner. Today is a special day for histamines. It must be since they came out to play in full force. It’s one of those days where my body laughs at Claritin and betrays me. Now, hours later, when the meds should have kicked in, I still feel yucky.

I also decided this would be a good morning to not take a muscle relaxer. I can’t blame allergies for dumb choices.

I managed to drag myself out of bed and eat breakfast before going to the gym. While there I made another bad decision, but I didn’t know at the time it would work out that way. I got on a regular elliptical for a while, then switched to the arc trainer. I felt decent afterward so I moved to the recumbent bike. This was the bad thing. I set it for a fairly low intensity, the one I always use. Normally I go for about ten minutes, or until I reach a mile because if I stay on longer it hurts my tailbone.

Since nothing about today is normal, after five minutes my back started hurting again. You know, as if I hadn’t taken a muscle relaxer or already done cardio. I don’t know if it was a one time only happening or if the meds were masking problems caused by using this equipment all along.

What I do know is I’ve been going to the gym for a while now and when I leave I have almost no pain but after a couple of hours it all returns. It’s bad enough I’m in physical therapy. So I’ll talk to the therapist and see what he thinks.

Speaking of therapists, let’s talk about another potentially stupid decision I made. I started going to therapy a couple of weeks ago. My therapist set up a program, including him being okay with me doing cardio at the gym every day if I wanted to. Then he went on vacation. Last week I worked with a different therapist and she told me not to go to the gym on days I have therapy.

I was not happy! I’m not addicted to the gym but I am a creature of habit and I knew not going would throw me into a tailspin. It did. I didn’t go on Tuesday or Thursday because of the therapy. On Saturday I didn’t go because…I have no idea! Time just slipped away from me. I never made a conscious decision not to go, that I know of. I simply didn’t make it to the gym. I tried at one point, was almost ready to leave. Then I realized it was almost time to go pick up my husband from work, something I don’t normally do on the weekend. Why didn’t I go after that? No clue.

Sunday’s workout was hard. Really hard. I struggled with the elliptical and arc trainer both. I got it done but it was a struggle. In fact, as I realized on the way home, it was hard on Wednesday too, and Friday.

This bring me to my potential stupid decision. The two therapists have opposing opinions so like most humans I am going to go with the one who said what I wanted to hear. I’m not skipping the gym again. I’m finally getting stronger and it’s not hurting me to go daily. Today was an exception but I think there is a fix.

Now I’m at my favorite writing spot. After I finish this post I’m hoping to either finish working on my characters or get close. My time is limited here because I have photography class live online at 1:00. I’ll get as much accomplished as I can while out though because it’s so much easier to work away from home. The class lasts an hour and I hope to finish up whatever I need to with characters.

If I can finish this part today then I can concentrate more on just writing. I still have some world building to do but I’ve got enough to start with. I figure I’ll build more as I need it. This appeals to me more than spending months building the world only to have half my work go to waste as the story changes. My muse is a tricky bitch so I have to be cautious.

Building characters has already taken much longer than it normally would. If I’d only worked on a protagonist, antagonist and a couple of major characters it would have been fast. I needed to build six main characters for an ensemble, and two bad guys. I’m writing a trilogy so I’ll have a lot more players but I don’t need to do deep building for each. The characters I’ve spent so much time on are all very different. Three are from the same place but the other three are all from other lands so their cultures are nothing like the first three.

Working on them was beneficial. There were two characters who were important but I hardly knew them. Sure I knew what they looked like and what they would do in the story, but they were so generic. It was like having two level 100 human paladins. Each was just a representation of a trope. Now they are fully fleshed out characters. Each is a person, with hopes, dreams, flaws and needs. Coincidentally they can’t stand each other, which was interesting to learn.

When I started writing this story, more years ago than I like, all I had was one character (one of the ones I felt like I didn’t know actually), and some dragons. I didn’t know it would be a trilogy or have an ensemble cast. I was pleasantly surprised when some demigods showed up and astounded when they morphed into real gods.

The biggest shock was when the first character I came up with turned out to NOT be the main character! All these awesome changes happened when I decided to spend some time planning instead of trying to write by the seat of my pants. It’s been worth it to build each major character and their realms.

Now, well hopefully tomorrow, I can write the story without working myself into a corner. I know where I’m going, what I want to happen and how it will all play out. There is even plenty of room for my muse to swoop in and make major changes. Planning hasn’t destroyed the magic of writing, it’s made it possible to concentrate on only the magic.

I don’t do real outlines, I make index card outlines instead. There is wall across from my bedroom door where I’ve put up large cork board squares. I write a one sentence (most of the time) scene description on each index card and pin them up. This helps me see holes in the story and it’s easy to rearrange or replace cards if I make changes. I can hardly wait to do this.

The original boards I did for each of the three stories are pinned over my bed. I made them with poster board and Post-It notes. For the new one I’ll only be working on the first story in the series. When I have it finished I’ll take down the originals and make new ones for the last two books. I will only fill them in with what’s necessary though.

I’ll post another writing update on Friday if I can to let you all know how the story is coming along. I’m going to try to write in a linear fashion. Jumping around is more natural for me but it also gets me in trouble.

Unimportant sidenote: My eye is STILL twitching!


WR

Everything Update – 6/14/2016

Writing: It’s going better than it has in a long time. I’m still working on characters. Until yesterday I was struggling with names, which interfered with me actually writing occasionally. Now I’ve settled on permanent names and I feel I can get back to figuring them out. It seems to be taking a long time to do all this pre-writing work but it’s been worth it.

I was previously a seat of my pants type of writer. That’s all fine and good at times and for some people but not me. I learned I need some planning to avoid writing myself in a corner or losing interest.

I’m somewhere between a planner and a pantser, or as the people from Nanowrimo say: a plantser. A lot of writers believe if they plan then the writing isn’t organic or they lose the creative edge. I believed it too. However, I figured out that even if some of the writing is a chore after I do the planning, I’m still just a girl making stuff up. It doesn’t matter if my muse is working during the first stage or the second or whenever.

Besides, writing is work. Like any job, there are going to be parts you don’t like doing. You know what I don’t like doing? Writing something organically and getting to a point where I realize I can’t use it or have to rewrite part of it. Maybe even realizing I don’t know where I’m going with it and struggling to figure out the next scene.

Too much time was spent writing this way and I kept stopping, for weeks, months and sometimes years at a time. I refuse to let it happen again. So, I do a little planning and I write steadily now.

After I finish with character back stories I’ll get back to world building but it will be minimal, only enough to get me started again. I have a pretty firm picture in my head of what most of the realms look like. I need to work on the tundra and glacier area, learn more about what grows in the desert and what the land is like bordering the desert. I suppose I need more research than world building but they go hand in hand.

Other Writer: I have several ideas for short stories and I plan to write one for a flash fiction contest. I can’t guarantee I’ll actually enter it but I’ll write it. When it comes to contests I’m the Cowardly Lion. Eventually I’ll find the guts to do it but I don’t know when.

I’ve been going regularly to a writing group. It’s going great. I think every writer needs to be around other writers at least occasionally. I definitely missed it. Everyone gets along and there is so much to talk about every time. Several members of the group went to The Writer’s Academy last week and talked about it on Sunday. This is something I want to do next year so it was great to hear how well it went. There are many different week-long courses. They went to one about self publishing. There are several I’m interested in so I’ll have to make a decision when they announce them next year.

Medical: I’ve been put in physical therapy by the neurosurgeon. My x-rays looked great and I’m healing perfectly but I have a lot of pain from the surgery site up to between my shoulder blades. He said it’s normal and the therapy should help. My insurance is covering it at 100% so I’m all for it. Actually, this is the first time I’ve been happy to go to physical therapy.

It is not the funnest thing but I want to get better so I’m an enthusiastic participant. I get super uncomfortable doing the stuff required so I crack jokes often about the awkwardness. My therapist laughs but I think he doesn’t know what to make of me.

I’m going back to the pain doctor at the end of this month for a follow-up about the pain in my toes. The medication is working but sometimes I still feel the pain. I refuse to raise the dosage of the meds though. I was hoping the pain would be gone by now but it was not to be. The PT guy has me doing exercises that aggravate the nerve right now but after some time will help. I still like him though.

Just about me: I saw Warcraft on Sunday and I loved it. The critics didn’t but most of them don’t play the game so they were judging it as just a movie. As a player, I was happy with it. There were some flaws but I didn’t care. I hope they make several sequels. There is so much lore to pull from. Also, it sparked my interest in playing World of Warcraft again. Since the new expansion comes out in August I’m glad. My husband is super glad since we play together.

I also saw X-men Apocalypse recently. I adored it. I don’t care that it wasn’t precisely like the comics. It was interesting, fun, full of action and meant something to me. What more could I ask for?

Reading: Not much to report here. I spend my time writing instead of reading for now.

Photography +: I’ve been taking a photography class online. It’s going well. I was always decent at taking pictures but once I got a good camera I only understood part of it. I knew how the functions worked but I didn’t truly know how to utilize them. Now I get it. My photos have gotten so much better. The higher my skill level gets the more I can concentrate on the creative side of things.

I spent a lot of time in my life with no creative outlet. Now I have several ways to express myself and it’s wonderful. I’ve even been drawing a little. I’m not very good but I’m better than I realized. We keep a white erase board on our fridge that everyone draws on. One day I decided to draw on of the cartoon characters the kids liked when they were little, Danny Phantom. It took some effort but I did it well enough the kids knew who it was, even though it was all with dry erase markers and I had to pull up pictures online and go super slow.

After that I drew Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable and Rufus. Then one of the Powerpuff girls and Luna from Sailor Moon. I probably won’t put a lot of effort into drawing right now but it was fun doing all that. My mother is good at drawing, two or my nieces are great and my two daughters and one of my sons are amazing at it. I shouldn’t be surprised I have a little ability hiding somewhere in me. I feel like I could be decent if I tried but I have enough on my plate. Maybe someday.

Beware The Enthusiastic Writer!

I’m learning writing is contagious to other writers. I suppose I have always been aware of this phenomenon since I tend to get inspired by being around other writers. This time I’m on the other side of the equation.

It’s probably more accurate to say enthusiasm is the infectious factor. I’ve seen my excitement about stories affect others before but those were people who were already writers. Each simply needed a nudge, a little encouragement and perhaps a bit of happy writerly vibes.

Today I had a different experience. There is a man I previously worked with who now works at my regular writing spot.

I see this guy almost every time I go out to write and we always say hi in passing. A few weeks ago he stopped me and asked what it was I did all the times he saw me. I told him I was writing a book and it was often too distracting to write at home.

His eyes lit up. He told me he wanted to write, but complained he didn’t have much time. I later learned he also didn’t have much discipline. He wasn’t writing at all but really wanted to. From that day on I gave him little tips and subtle encouragement. Maybe it was guilt because in the three years I worked with him I never knew he wanted to write. More likely it was just me being me and wanting to reach out to someone who needed help.

It’s hard when you have no faith in your ability to do something you dream about. Passion is destructive if not channeled. I could hardly bear seeing someone ripping himself apart the same way I had.

I started with telling him to carry a little notebook with him at all times and if he couldn’t or forgot to pick up a napkin and write anything that came to him. He was startled at this and told me he always carried one with him years ago but got out of the habit. A couple of days later he had one in his pocket.

I really concentrated on throwing on tips on sneaking in writing. If you read this blog regularly, you know I’m all about writing in short bursts if it’s the only time you have!

As the weeks went on he would occasionally wave me over and tell me about something he wrote. Today he showed me a note on a napkin. I was so proud of him! It was in this moment I realized talking to me about writing was really helping him. It’s a slow process because in my opinion he’s still assailed by fear (we’ve talked about what fear did to me too). The important thing is he’s writing!

I didn’t do anything but tell him what I went through, encourage him, and throw out a few tips. He took it from there and I hope he flies with it.

It’s so sad when frightened writers aren’t able to be around other writers. This man is twenty years older than me and he’s only now getting to the point where the fear isn’t stopping him. Our conversations are never more than five minutes, most of them have been maybe half that but it was the push he needed.

If you are a writer and know someone who wants to be the same, help them. Even a few quick words of reassurance or pointing them to a great website with tips can make a huge difference in their life.


WR

Busy Day Today (And Tomorrow)

The title says it all. It’s only a little after lunch time and already I’ve done enough for a full day, and I still have more to do. Tomorrow will be worse.

I had to get an x-ray today so my doctor can have it for my appointment tomorrow. The imaging center was busy so it was a long wait but once I got into the room it only took about a minute.

From there I drove to the campus of the local university, Texas Tech. There is a horticultural garden I wanted to roam through to take pictures. It was wonderful! I am not really an outdoorsy type but I enjoy being outside occasionally for longer than ten minutes. I don’t know how long I was there but I got a lot of photos and some of them are pretty spectacular. Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what the little beastie in the above picture is! He was so patient while modeling for me.

Once the bees took an interest in me I left and headed to the gym. This was what I like to call one of my ‘hard days.’ On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I do a circuit workout, plus cardio.

Starting so much later than normal through me off a bit at first. I discovered I really like working out before I get the rest of the day started. I felt so sluggish and unmotivated fora  while. Then the Fall Out Boy cover of Beat It came on Pandora and I got myself in gear, haha. Unfortunately, tomorrow I’ll have to start late as well but as long as I find the right music I should be fine.

Now I’m writing this post but at 1pm central I have a live webinar to attend on Photography. I’m excited about it because I’m learning so much. Getting back into photography is awesome.

I haven’t written today. Hopefully I will after the class. My characters are really taking shape and I want to continue working on them.

As for tomorrow, I have to go to the doctor, workout, eat and rush to court. I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s a follow-up thing for my ex about child support. I was surprised I am required to attend but I’ll be there.

The upside is there are some great places to take pictures near the court-house. I’ll be prepared!

Well, I’m off to my class. I’ll have a better writing update posted soon.

What’s Up With Tuesdays?

Last Tuesday I was having ‘a day.’ Today is just flat-out crappy. Two Tuesdays in a row don’t necessarily make a pattern but if next week is bad I’m staying home!

It all started with an ill-mannered dog. His name is Link and he’s a pain at times. He always thinks he has the right of way. Also he likes to walk right where he knows you’re going to. He is the ‘any attention is good attention’ type. Normally I can avoid his foolishness and he does understand the word ‘move.’ Today was different.

I don’t know what made him do it but after sitting with the others to get a treat he shot out in front of me as I was stepping forward and there was nothing I could do to save myself. Down I went. I would have fallen on the other dogs but they were smart enough to dart out of the way. I have no idea what sound came out of my mouth but I know it scared the hell out of Link.

His usual M.O. when he messes up is to get as close to me as possible, to the point of trying to crawl under me at times. Not this time. He stayed as far away as possible. I was so angry and in so much pain.

I stood up and gave the dogs their damn treat and went to wake up my kid. Then I went to my room and sat and fumed. For the rest of the morning if the poor dog came near me when I was walking I firmly said move. He acted like he was going to be kicked or something. I’ve never struck an animal. Hell I already felt guilty for being so mad at him. It’s like being mad at a toddler for accidentally spilling milk.

Eventually I made Link feel better and let him try to crawl under me, adding to my pain because I got down on the floor but he needed it. I wasn’t mad at him anymore but I was still in angry mode.

The gym beckoned and I’d hoped to work off the frustration but it was not to be. The pain was bad enough I only did half the workout I normally would. I was on the Arc Trainer (similar to an elliptical) for 7 minutes before I was forced to give up. I was on the recumbent bike for about four minutes and that was only because I was pushing myself. I didn’t try any machines or weights.

None of this helped my mood. I was irritated I couldn’t really work out and scared I’d done some serious damage to my back. Planet Fitness has massage chairs so I sat in one for ten minutes and it helped so the fear went away. If that could help me then it wasn’t as bad as it could be. Knock on wood and all that.

I left the club and headed to my normal writing spot. There were a bunch of cars in the parking lot, which is odd for how early it was. As I parked I knew those elderly table hording couples had to be there. Sure enough they were. The ladies had learned to take up only one table. Unfortunately it was MY table lol.

There were others along the way so I sat down and started to get comfortable only to discover I never put my earbuds back in my laptop bag. It wasn’t the end of the world but not only was there loud, bad music playing, but this place gets super loud at 11:00 so I need to have my music in my ears or I won’t be able to get anything done. I packed my stuff back up and ran out to the car to grab the buds from my workout bag. I’m almost positive I’m going to be upset in the morning when I realize I forgot to put them back.

About ten minutes later the female part of the elderly group got up and started to leave. I waited until they were away from the table and I moved my stuff. It got a little funny because they hadn’t actually left but were standing around the table their husbands still sat out. One of them went to throw something away in the trash can near the sought after table and thought my stuff was one of her friends. When she asked if it was theirs her friend said “No, she’s moving.” Her tone was worthy of a pissy teenager. The one who’d asked looked shocked and kept staring at me as if I’d stolen the spot out from under them.

I couldn’t help but silently laugh. They were offended I wanted to sit at their table and I get all grumpy if they’re at my table. It’s nice to know that even older adults can be as childish as I can be haha. They are probably creatures of habit just as I am. Next time I won’t be irritated now that the silliness of the situation is apparent. In all likelihood I wouldn’t have been as grumpy about it today or last week if I wasn’t already having a bad day.

Reading back over the last paragraph makes me want to make something clear. I wasn’t laughing or cheered up because I pissed off some old ladies. I was laughing and cheered up because they made me realize how ridiculous I am at times, especially when I’m angry.

If I’m not too distracted I’m going to work on world building some more today. I also plan for one of my characters to have a bad day too (thanks for the suggestion Jesse) so I’ll be doing actual writing.

School ends this week, which means two half days and little time to work for me, so I might not have any updates until next week. I’m going to try to write a short story. If I do I’ll post it soon.

I wonder if writing this post could be considered procrastination?


WR

I’m Having a Day

I don’t want to say it’s a bad day, but it’s not good either, hence the title of this post. Maybe I should call it a blah day.

It started with waking up in pain and hearing growling. No, it wasn’t my stomach. Our dogs sleep in kennels. One of my kids, who is not a child, forgot to close the door of one last night. When that particular dog woke up and naturally came out of the kennel the others started freaking out. My dog named Link can’t see very well in the dark so he was losing it. Luckily the unpenned dog didn’t do anything destructive or get hurt. She’s very young and it could have gone much worse.

So I started the day irritated. However, today is the birthday of the offspring responsible so I reined it in. I woke him up and told him what happened; he felt terrible. Then I told him happy birthday and left to take my youngest to school.

Next was the gym. For the second time since starting my exercise regime I didn’t want to go. I knew part of the pain I was feeling would get better if I worked out, but the other part – the surgical site – was a different story.

I started on the Arc Trainer, which is like an elliptical but it makes you move your feet backwards, sort of. It’s easier on joints and good for someone in my situation. It wasn’t fun and after only ten minutes my back told me I had to switch to the recumbent bike.

The first bike I tried kept making weird noises and I felt a popping, jerkiness occasionally. It turns out the strap on one of the pedals was about to break. I let the staff know and got on a new bike. It worked but it made the most awful sounds. I’m not sure it will live much longer. Changing again would have annoyed me so instead I annoyed everyone who had to hear all the noise.

Oh, and there is this woman who is there almost every time I am. I found out today I’m not her favorite person. We do Not know each other but when her significant other is there he always makes a point of saying hi to me (I don’t know him either).  Yesterday me and this lady were both in the 30-minute workout room and she kept looking at me and shaking her head. I had no clue why. I figured I was mistaken but she made eye contact regularly. Honestly I thought maybe I was using the machines wrong or something but now I know better.

This woman gave me so many dirty looks today that other people working out noticed. It was like she was going out of her way to make me notice. After a while I started remembering how she reacted when her husband (or maybe boyfriend) had talked to me all those times and I can only conclude she doesn’t like him talking to me. It’s weird. I don’t really respond besides a quick smile and answer whatever he says: “I’m good, how are you?” or whatever, and I keep walking. I’ve never stopped to have a conversation.

Or I could be misreading the situation entirely. Perhaps she doesn’t like the way I look. Maybe I used one of the machines in that room when she really wanted on it. Who knows? I wish more women would work to help and build each other up rather than instant hatred and nastiness.

After I left the gym I went to my regular writing place. Every table big enough to fit all my writing paraphernalia (and against the wall which is crucial) were taken. There was a  group of elderly couples who I guess didn’t want to sit together. The women pushed together most of the tables I prefer together and the men sat at a different table. Also, both had enough seating for eight people but there were only four people were at each table.

This led to more irritation but they probably had a larger group before I showed up so I stamped it down and tried to get some work done.

I found myself too distracted to do the world building I’d planned on. So I sat there, starting at the ceiling and thinking about my characters. I’m pretty sure I’ve locked in the names for the ensemble of main characters.

But another problem reared its stupid head. I always listen to music while writing away from home so I don’t get sidetracked by the people around me. Unfortunately my ear buds were hurting one of my ears. It was enough I couldn’t use them anymore. I remember thinking ‘really?’ and ‘of course.’ Feeling sorry for myself was getting old though so I put the ear buds up and pulled out some regular headphones I keep in my laptop bag for just such an occasion.  I also laughed at myself, which caused all those greedy table grabbing people to look at me like I was crazy. The laughter continued for much too long.

Eventually a better spot opened up (when the couples left en masse) and after I moved the tables back where they belong I sat down with the intention of getting to work. Did I? Nope. I’m writing this post instead.

It’s better I get it all out of my system. This isn’t a terrible day but it’s enough to bitch and moan about for a few minutes.

Actually, as I’ve been typing I keep thinking of a scene where one of my characters is annoyed with another. I think I’ll go write it and instead of going back to having ‘a day,’ I’ll turn it around into a good, productive day.


WR

Ramblings

Two posts in one day? What is this world coming to?

Today is my oldest son’s birthday. He’s a real adult in my head now. Legally, he was an adult four years ago but like every parent, I didn’t immediately see him that way. Now I do and it makes me feel less than young.

Besides my kid being grown, several other things have happened lately which have made me nostalgic and a bit sad. I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in close to fifteen years. There was a falling out all those years ago and we didn’t keep in touch and she moved away. When I saw her and her husband I found out they’d moved back to town a year ago. I was surprised I’d never run into them during all that time but I shouldn’t have been. I rarely run into people I know when I’m out and about for some reason. This city isn’t even that big, barely over 250k people live here, so you’d think it would happen more often but it doesn’t.

Well, if I’m honest, I have to add I’ve become such a homebody I rarely get out except to get groceries and an occasional date night. I got especially bad about staying in once my back pain got really bad. Then with the surgery, well I’ve complained enough about that.

Eventually even I got cabin fever and by last weekend I was determined to get out and do something. There was the annual Art’s Festival on Saturday and Sunday. It was significant because last year at this time, while at the festival, I was forced to admit it was time to see a doctor about my back pain. I knew it would be a little hard on me to go but not compared to the last time.

I chose to go both days because I wasn’t sure I would make it through the whole thing in one day. I roamed around for hours, wearing myself out but loving every second. Then I ran into an old friend’s husband. I was so surprised to see him I almost believed it could actually be him so I walked past and kept going into booths and checking out all the cool stuff. We kept crossing paths and finally I believed it was him and said hi. We talked for a bit and he told me his wife would be there soon to work in one of the booths.

I didn’t know how I felt in that moment. I hadn’t seen her in so long and our friendship had ended on very bad terms. But we’d been friends for thirteen or so years before it all fell apart. I loved that woman like a sister. We were so close I was there when one of her daughters was born. Our kids had played together. We babysat for each other. We’d been there for each other through bad marriages and equally bad divorces. While a little nervous, I wanted to see her but I had one major issue. I was exhausted. I needed desperately to get home and lay down. I stayed for about twenty minutes but I got worried I wouldn’t even be able to drive so I had to leave before she arrived.

Obviously her husband was going to tell her we saw each other. I have no idea if she thought I was avoiding her or not.

The next day was my husband’s day off and he went with me to the festival and we dragged my friend Jesse with us. We saw my old friend but she was busy so we roamed around so the guys could check out everything, eventually making it back to where we started.

As soon as I got to her she hugged me. We talked for…I don’t know actually, my husband said 20-30 minutes. It was nice and it was strange. It was almost like stepping into the past.

Later in the evening my husband and I were talking about it and I got a little teary. The whole situation has been on my mind for days now and will probably continue to be. I don’t know what will happen next.

The last thing to happen to bring up old memories happened Monday evening. I met up with Jesse, who is also a writer, to talk about our writing. We went to a coffee shop we never go to. While there we ran into another writer who is part of the Nanowrimo group. The three of us talked for three hours straight. The encounter itself made me miss going to a writing group but some of the specific subject matter brought up a few painful things and one important truth.

Have you ever given advice you knew damn well you needed to follow? The other writer we ran into was talking about the guilt she felt for not working on a story she’d been trying to write for many years, eight I think. She said other stories popped up which she found more interesting and she would work on them. She also stated when she talked to people about the newer stuff she always got more interest than in her older novel. It was easy for me to tell her to put the old one to the side. I did the same thing, mostly. I explained how the more she writes the better she gets and by the time she gets back to the one bogging her down she would be better equipped to fix whatever it was that made her stray.

It’s what I did with a story, a trilogy actually, I started back in 2003, one of the worst years of my life. I really did put it aside. I made some story boards and put them up on the wall over my bed then I walked away. I occasionally have ideas for it but I simply jot them down and keep my distance. I do however still feel some guilt about not finishing the stories.

By the end of the night both me and the other writer felt less guilt about temporarily abandoning the burdensome tales. I was left with the memories of how excited I was to write the story in the beginning. How it grew into multiple books. How creative and amazing I felt and how no one cared but me. I got married for the second time a few days after the story first came to me. At first my ex pretended to be happy for me but I found out quickly it was something he was jealous of and hated. He found inventive ways to make me put my pen down. I do mean pen, back then I wrote exclusively by hand before typing everything up later.

After a while it wasn’t even hard for him to get me away from writing. I hated myself for walking away from the only thing I ever truly wanted to do and hated him because he was okay with that trade-off. Unfortunately, for years my trilogy carried so many negative vibes I could hardly stand to touch it. I did pick it back up the first year I did Nanowrimo and made some serious progress but there really are times you have to put certain things aside to make room for better ones.

The story ideas are sound but I was so bogged down in it I wasn’t making progress. Not on it or as a writer. When I stepped away and started writing really short fiction everything changed. I now have twelve stories in various stages of completion, many of them very close to being done and one completely finished waiting for revision. That’s twelve novel length ideas I’ve worked on in two years. I shouldn’t count one since I started it on Monday but I’m so into writing this one it needs to be on the list. I won’t include the two children’s books until they are edited. Add in the close to a hundred pieces of flash fiction and I think it’s safe to say it was a good idea to step away from the trilogy.

None of this would be possible if I was still spending all my time and effort on a series of books that only drag me down. Some day the memories won’t stop me from writing it. In fact I’ve used some of those memories to fuel other stories, at least partly exorcising their power over me. Until then I won’t feel bad about it, anymore. Besides, it’s there are the wall waiting for me whenever I’m ready. I won’t forget about it.

On a lighter note, I spent the morning working on my new story. I need to come up with a vague outline but I have all the pieces I need to do it. All the bare bones are there. I sat in a coffee shop for three hours sipping hot tea and writing any scene that came to me. My head was all over the place but it worked for me today. Now I need a little more structure. I’m not a real planner but some planning is beneficial. I like index card outlines.

I have a wall outside my bedroom that was used for nothing. It’s in a tiny hallway and the only decoration I tried putting on it got knocked off and broken. So I bought 12 inch cork board squares and red yard to make a giant index card outline. The last story I had on it used the three act structure but I put up extra boards so I could use it for any structure I wanted.

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All the labels and yarn are put up with tacks so it’s easy enough to change. Ugh the handwriting! Having it outside the bedroom means I see it every time I go anywhere else in the house, which is great.

Once I have cards up for the new story I’ll be able to easily see where the holes are and work on filling them in. There is no estimate on when I’ll have the thing written. I’m in no hurry, I’m just thrilled to be writing again. I don’t think I’ll put this one away to work on previous stuff though. No need to clutter my recovering head space.

It’s odd, I was going to use one of my prompts from Write Anything Wednesday, the one about a birthday present, but I wrote this rambling post instead, plus all the writing I did this morning. Not a bad thing in my opinion!

Also, my inner editor is aware of how many times I used the word ‘that’ and how many unnecessary commas this post has but I refuse to get into editing mode while I have new ideas flowing. So pardon the mess while I’m still under construction or whatever.

Tiny Medical Update

The discogram went well, if extremely painful. I have an appointment set up with the surgeon on the 16th to discuss the results and find out if I’m going to have surgery. At this point I hope I DO end up having surgery since the pain keeps getting worse. I’ll post an update after I find out more.

Update

Actually, I have very little to update. Not much writing has been happening at my house. On Thursday I managed to hurt my back more. All I did was shift around in my seat in the car and BAM pain abounds. I don’t know if it was a muscle spasm or what but I know that ever since that day my pain level has risen and stayed higher than it was previously and now I have pain shooting down my leg.

The good/bad news is I have a procedure on Friday that gets me one step closer to fixing these issues. The bad part is what they will be doing to my back will hurt, on purpose. It’s a test designed to figure out how bad the disks are and which ones need to be fixed. From what I understand they will insert a needle into each disk and apply pressure in three rising stages. I then tell them how much it hurts. At the same time they will put a dye in and I’ll have a CT scan after they finish so they can see how bad it is.

This is a necessary step before surgery but certainly not one I’m looking forward to, hence the good/bad.

Because of all this extra pain I haven’t gotten a thing done. I’ve been thinking about my stories, which is necessary, but no physical writing. Today and tomorrow I plan to make a index card outline for my witch story. I’ve decided it needs to be written in the three act structure and pinning the cards on a bulletin board will help a lot. If I can I’ll start writing the thing, fingers crossed!

Wednesday is for flash fiction. I don’t know what I’ll write yet but I hope to write 3-4 five hundred word stories. There is a prompt I came up with for this weeks Write Anything Wednesday that I can’t wait to tackle.

Thursday I’m not allowed to take my pain meds so I don’t think writing is on the menu. The doctor told me that by Friday evening, after my procedure, I should be leveled out with the pain but that means a full day of ouch so I don’t have high hopes for getting work done then either.

Next week’s update should have more writing than medical junk. Have a great Monday!