In Which Our Heroine's Brain Gets Compliant Again

24 May 2004

Yesterday we had a negative energy field of some sort around the house. It was permeated with slackons, the particles of not wanting to get anything done. We got some things done anyway, but it was one of those mehhhhhhhh days around here.

The Cloud Sketcher is nowhere near as bad as I'd feared from the opening. If I was not a Finnophile, I probably wouldn't read it anyway, but I am, so there you have it. I'm no longer thinking of returning it to the library unfinished. (My local library books are due tomorrow, and I'm going to need to renew at least three of them, no doubt about it. The question is whether I can finish using another two before then, one reference for some work and the other The Cloud Sketcher.) Actually, I might even find it work reading for non-Finnophiles: it's an architecture novel, if you can get past the Finnish childhood bits. It's a 1920s architecture novel. Which has its own appeal for me apart from whether the hero has sisu.

The dishwasher is still broken. They can get in to fix it on Tuesday around lunchtime. Which means that we can't have lunch with my aunt and uncle Tuesday, but their schedule was free next Tuesday; problem solved. Yay. It's the kind of week where we're all calculating the number of things we'd like to do plus the number of things we have to do plus the number of things we aren't going to get to at all, and wondering which list eating and sleeping should go on.

It turns out that I shouldn't listen to the soundtrack for "The Two Towers" at this point unless I want to work on The Mark of the Sea Serpent. It's a good thing to know, and having a mental road into some work yesterday was a good thing: I did a scenelet for MSS, and then I turned off the soundtrack and worked on Sampo and some articles like a good little writer.

Yoon took a writers' quiz, and one of the questions was, "What do you do to get past writers' block?" Heh. Briefly: whatever I can. I put on music, I turn off music, I get up and wander around or go do yoga or Pilates, I plunk my butt in my chair and refuse to leave, I talk about the story with someone who believes in my work (I keep two of these in-house, plus there's e-mail), I ramble about it in my paper journal, I clamp my mouth shut and don't talk about it at all, I bake, I clean, I read, I re-read what I've got so far, I take my paper journal and the manuscript in question out for coffee...if the words aren't coming, I try whatever I can think of to change my mental state. If there are writers who always do the same thing, I'm surprised. What I do is what I have to.

My brain is pretty compliant, as brains go. Sometimes I have to be firm with it, but since I've been doing this, I've only had really a month of long-term block, and that was right after we moved and everything was in an uproar, unsettled. Mostly if I'm stubborn enough, the brain decides it really does want to put the words on the page or the screen after all. The stubbornness is probably to my credit, but I don't think the basic brain directionality is. I work hard, and I work a lot, but I get frustrated when people act like they're worse writers because they write fewer hours or words a day than I do. Good stories are good stories, and nobody works the same way, and nobody has to. That's the beauty of it. Doing it your own way is all right. Is good.

Still damp this morning. Paul Douglas The Weather Guy is saying more rain today and Wednesday. Not sure if that'll give Mark enough time to plant the lobelias tomorrow. Tonight's plan is pizza up at LaTuff's, and then Timprov and I are running the book club at his dad's church. We're doing Tam Lin. Should be interesting: this book club has been fun when I've gone, but they're not primarily fantasy readers, so their perspective may be a bit different from what I've been used to. I'm going to try to run a few things up to Minneapolis for Lydy's birthday in the late morning/early afternoon, if anybody's home around there.

And there's work, and there's work, and there's work. Good thing I like work.

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