Special–Happy Halloween: 2014 Edition

 So sweet. A beloved childhood toy. Well-played with. You can tell by the cut hair and barrettes. I give you…

Rag Doll.

 

Halloween 2014: Rag Doll

Halloween 2014: Rag Doll

I don’t even have to try to be creepy. Doll faces tend to be that way by default.

Happy Halloween!

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Writing–Let’s See Where This Goes

Rainbow paperI’ve been working  on “Nadie Has a Dog” for the better part of the month and I’m finally getting to the point where it’s wrapping up.

I’ll be honest with you; I’m only now sure how it will end. I wasn’t sure before. In fact, the ending is nowhere near where I thought it’d be.

That’s probably because when I started the story, I only had a couple of scenes in mind.

-The beginning, in which we establish who Nadie is and how she got her name.

-The scene in which she acquires her dog.

-The first scene illustrating what she and her dog do.

After that, I figured I’d wing it. More than likely, writing those scenes, stringing together those parts of the story would lead me to the end. Actually, I thought the last scene was the climax and Nadie and her dog would ride off into the sunset.

Only they didn’t.

And I had to see where the story decided to go.

That happens occasionally with my short stories. I try to be a little more planned out with my longer works, like novellas and novels, just because there’s so much going on that I need to keep track of all of my threads. I let myself have some room to play, of course, but it’s more like dallying between set pit stops on a road trip rather than full on wandering in the woods.

With short stories, I can wander more, though I don’t usually. When I sit down to write, I know what the story is. I still manage to surprise myself, but the overall story is usually written with a solid beginning and ending.

With Nadie, I thought I knew the ending, but I didn’t. There was more story there than I’d originally thought. That’s both scary and neat. The potential to go so far off the rails that the story meanders into nothingness is there and that worries me. I don’t like it when my stories end up as bupkiss. But it is kind of a thrill to just write as it comes and see what happens and see where things go.

Nadie has turned out to be longer and not as overtly shocking as I thought it’d be. Instead there’s a touch of sweetness and a even a little humor to the story. And I like that! It feels right.

Sometimes it’s good to wander.

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Megalomania–The Mini Dress Is Sew Different Now

I’m running out of sewing puns.

Anyway, at some point during my existential incident, I decided that I didn’t like my mini dress as much as  thought I did. It was pretty okay, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. And so it became a project during my unhappy productivity.

Ragdoll dress with sleevesThe first thing I did was cut off the collar because that had been annoying me since I started. And then I decided to add sleeves. Yes, I know. It was a vindicating move for me to get rid of the sleeves that the shirt originally had, but that’s only because I hated them. In the end, I really wasn’t feeling the dress without any sleeves. So I took the sleeves off of a third shirt that was destined to be upcycled and added them to the dress. I wasn’t crazy about the cuffs on the sleeves and second opinions questioned the overall length of the sleeves, but I felt those were minor problems. I took off the cuffs and was much happier with the overall look.

ragdolldresslengthAnd then came the matter of adding some length. I knew that doing so would make the dress a bit long to be called a mini, but I felt it was necessary. Point one, until I lose some junk in my trunk, a mini dress is dangerous for me to wear if the fabric isn’t heavy enough and this fabric didn’t have enough weight. Point two, with the white sleeves added, it felt abrupt. The strip of white (taken from the same shirt as the sleeves) added to the bottom tied everything together. And it’s still pretty short.

The final two decisions involved adding a button to the bottom of the dress to compensate for the new length and taking off the breast pocket. In the end, I decided against the button and for the pocket removal. I added the patches to cover up where the pockets were more seriously attached (I had to do the same thing on the other shirt that I used for the bottom of the dress).

ragdolldressdoneAnd then I called it done.

I’m not messing with it anymore (unless it’s some follow up stitching to reinforce what I’ve already done). It now contains three shirts. That’s gotta be enough.

It is no longer the mini dress. It’s now the ragdoll dress.

I’ll put that new name to the test later this month.

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Rerun Junkie– The Big Valley

Though the TV Westerns were starting a downward trend, there was still a need for the adventures of a strong matriarch and her brood of grown kids.

Big Valley

The Barkley family included widowed mother Victoria (Miss Barbara Stanwyck), eldest son and lawyer Jarrod (Richard Long), rowdy son Nick (Peter Breck), only girl Audra (Linda Evans), bastard son Heath (Lee Majors), and youngest and rarely seen son Eugene (Charles Briles).

Over the run of the show, the Barkley clan dealt with murders, rustlers, bigots, prejudice, political scandal, PTSD (though it wasn’t called that), corruption, rabid wolves, mountain lions, dynamite, forest fires, and folks that just didn’t like rich families named Barkley.

But they're so delightful! And hardly snobby at all!

But they’re so delightful! And hardly snobby at all!

Friends and enemies of the Barkleys included: Western staples Royal Dano, Claude Akins, Dub Taylor and son Buck; Bing Russell; Richard Anderson; LQ Jones; James Gregory; in everything at the time Harold Gould, Virginia Gregg, Nehemiah Persoff, J. Pat O’Malley, John Hoyt, John Dehner, Dabbs Greer, and Kevin Hagen; Gavin MacLeod; Paul Fix and Johnny Crawford; Robert Fuller and Julie London, with a Bobby Troup cameo; Adam West, Yvonne Williams, and Van Williams (Batman, Batgirl, and Green Hornet); Sheree North; Jeanne Cooper; Eve Plumb; Pernell Roberts; Wayne Rogers; Mako; big names (either current or future) Dennis Hopper, Yaphet Kotto, Charles Bronson, William Shatner, Buddy Hackett, Diane Ladd, Ellen Burstyn, Milton Berle, Leslie Nielsen, Anne Baxter, Karen Black, Regis Philbin, Cloris Leachman, Ron Howard, Martin Landau, Colleen Dewhurst, and Richard Dreyfus; Keye Luke; Joe Don Baker; Judy Carne; Arlene Golonka; Russell Johnson; and Joyce Jameson.

As I mentioned before, Heath was a genuine bastard son, the product of a romance between Tom Barkley (Victoria’s dead husband, but he wasn’t dead at the time of the affair because it was scandalous, but not THAT scandalous) and another woman when he was in a bad way.  In fact, a few episodes were devoted to this bit of scandal, including the pilot when Heath first shows up to claim the Barkley name and an episode in which Victoria travels to Heath’s hometown to found if Tom loved Heath’s mother and if he loved her. Pretty deep and saucy stuff for a Western.

Part of the afternoon Western line-up at the time, I got sucked into watching because there was nothing else on. I quickly noticed defining character elements: Jarrod frowns; Heath glares; Audra frets; and Nick (my favorite) punches people. And Victoria Barkley? Oh, she just kicks ass. Seriously, the woman could handle a gun and a whip and she went up against anyone without flinching. I wouldn’t mind being her when I grow up.

Maybe with less blue eye shadow thought.

She owns it. And you will call her ma'am.

She owns it. And you will call her ma’am.

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Megalomania–Crisis Averted…Mostly

ThinkingI’ve had my bout of existential episode and I’m feeling better now. It took some long, hard thinking and some meditating and some avoidance and some more thinking and some prioritizing, but for the most part, I think the crisis has been averted.

The biggest hurdle was asking myself if I want to continue with my writing career. The answer to that is yes. I like to write, I’m going to do it anyway, I might as well try to make some money off of it. That said, I’ve come to accept that I’m not the kind of writer that will be able to support herself exclusively through writing. I lack what it takes to do that. And that’s fine! Well, it’s not really fine, but I need to accept it as fine because there’s not much I can do to change it and accepting is better than being all salty about it.

So with that lined out, other things have sort have slotted into place. I’m still a writer at the end of all things, I’ve just now wised up to the fact that I can and should be more things. This isn’t a failure. This is me reassessing my writing career and coming up with different goals that are more realistic. This is me reassessing my life at present and re-prioritizing things and coming up with goals that are more realistic. That’s necessity, not failure.

And you can believe me because I know a thing or twelve about failure.

Once I sort of got all of this hashed out, I realized that I felt better. Not necessarily happier. Definitely not content. But better. I had my “What the fuck am I doing here?” picnic and now I can get back on the path to my greatness, whatever that is.

I also came to the conclusion that if I don’t stop every once in a while and assess my state of being, I’m going to end up chugging along out of habit or stubbornness instead of really paying attention to what I need and what I want and changing to accommodate that. And that would be a real drag. It’s okay to change. Like the song said, it’s the only thing that stays the same.

No, I can’t remember which song. My brain is a jumble of song lyrics and pop culture trivia.

Anyway, I’m back in the saddle and marching to a beat of a different drummer and taking it one day at a time and whole bunch of other cliches that illustrate poorly that I’m not giving up, just moving on.

That’s the trick.

To keep moving.

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Megalomania–The Unhappy Productivity

treesWhen I’m feeling blue I have a tendency to bury myself in projects.  Writing, sewing, drawing, crafting, jewelry-making, anything creative that has a tangible result.  For me, sitting still, wallowing and indulging in my unhappiness, even for a little while, which would be perfectly acceptable, just makes it worse for me. I feel like I’m not doing anything to not be unhappy. I’m being a lay, fat lump and that just makes my blues worse.  Happiness is something I should always work for!

So I take action.

I fill up my time with projects until my mood changes.

I’ve been feeling a low grade unhappiness for  the past few weeks, just a subtle, lingering thing that won’t seem to go away, like a cough, and it’s finally motivated me to action.

I’ve cleaned and organized my fabric and sewing projects and my jewelry stuff. I made a cardigan. I’m going to make alterations on my mini dress (which may be a bad idea, but I’m riding it out; unhappiness makes me reckless, too). I made trees. Maybe I’ll finish my memory blanket. I have plans to upcycle two t-shirts and make another cardigan. I submitted work to an agent. I’m working on writing two stories, planning for NaNo, and revising two projects. I’ll probably write another story and revise another project before this is all said and done.

Basically, I jam my time full of things to do.  I can’t be bothered about being unhappy when I’m busy. This is particularly helpful when I’m unhappy for no/no good/stupid reason/reasons, which is usually the reason I’m unhappy.

If I’m lucky, by the time I stop for a break, I’ll feel better.  If I don’t, well, I always have things that need to be done.

These periods tend to yield a lot of things I have no room/need for, but that’s a separate problem.

At least I’ll feel better.

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Writing–October Projects

pumpkinsJust because I’m experiencing a writing crisis of sorts doesn’t mean the party stops. While I’m  seeking validation by submitting to agents, I also have a different plan on the board that I’m executing, one that is sort of independent of that whole writer-validation thing that I talked about doing last week. Basically, it’s Operation: Get Some of This Shit Off Your To Do List, Woman!

So, last month involved me doing a round of revisions on the Zak novella (no, it still doesn’t have a title), writing a couple of short stories (“The Seaweed Man” is a lot longer than I thought it’d be and I’ll need another week or so to finish it; I also ended up writing another short story called “People Are Terrible”), and getting the pre-order of Spirited in Spite set up. All of the was done even while I was having my “Why am I here?” troubles.

This month, since it is of course October, I will have NaNo prep, which will basically just be me going over my outlines for the next two Ivy Russell novellas to make sure I know what I’m doing. Yes, I’m doing two novellas again for this NaNo and I will talk more about them in another post.

Speaking of Ivy Russell, to help me get in tune with that world, I’m going to finish the rewrites on The Timeless Man, which means finally figuring out and writing the new ending. It will be smooth sailing on further revisions once that is done.

I also need to do another revision of Hatchets and Hearts. I’m changing the time period. I think that will be the final big change that will really tie the whole thing together. It seems like everything I wrote during a certain few months of last year/this year was nothing but a struggle. It will be a victory when I get that all sorted.

And so there won’t be any dull moments, I’ve got a couple of new short stories I could write if I need to: “The House Down the Road” and “Nadie Has a Dog”.

Slowly, but surely, I’m going to get this To Do List whipped.

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