In Which We Consider the Lilies, Both Toiling and Spinning

17 July 2003

My to do list for the week fits on one screen of my notepad program. This is progress. I didn't get all of my work from the trip typed yesterday, but Lord knows I tried. And it was interesting to me, and I didn't think it sucked entirely, and it actually has been getting me even more excited about working on this book. Definitely a good thing. Especially as I was excited before.

As much as I love my journal, as much as it's useful, as much as I don't anticipate ever not having some kind of paper journal...even with all of that, I'm glad I have a computer for most of my drafting work. Really, really glad. I've written big chunks of most of my novels in my journals, and I'll probably continue to do so. When I revise, I print out the novel, and I write the new intervening scenes longhand in the journal, almost always. But. But. The computer is so useful for the vast majority of this stuff. I think it's bunk that writers don't think as carefully about what they write as they did with typewriters. They just have an easier time improving it, is all.

Last night demonstrated why I don't do freewrites as often as I feel I should: I ended up with a pretty complete new story idea, even with a title. ("Gilding the Lily" -- although I'm thinking it might be some other flower, since the reference would still be pretty clear, but I'm not sure which one. Pansies are right out, as are hostas and hyacinths, bachelor's buttons, honeysuckle, Indian paintbrushes, poppies, geraniums, petunias. Roses? No, no; overrated for sure. I can hear my mom, my dad, Timprov, and Mark all calling out the suggestion: "Bougainvillea!" No. We will not be gilding the bougainvillea. Hee. Dandelions? Hmmm. That's a clear enough reference, a different idea, you like that? I kinda like that. Let me know what you think.) It's got a goldsmith monster who smells like molding cornbread. It's got a front porch. It's got squelching wet sneakers with no socks.

I kind of wanted a story idea to come out of this freewrite. But it did, that readily. They're just waiting for me. Lurking in the recesses of my brain: more stories. On top of the starters file and all the old paper journal entries. Oof. Sometimes they all weigh in on my brain. Other times it's scarily exciting.

I feel like sometime when I'm not writing a novel, I should -- hee hee. Hee hee hee. When I'm not writing a novel. Oh, I'm so funny. When I'm not writing a novel. Hee. Let me take a break and pull myself together here. Heehee.

Ahem. I feel like I should be able to anticipate a time when I'm not writing a novel. I don't think the time between one novel and the next novel counts, especially as that time is somewhere in the negative numbers for me right now. I've been picking and poking at various other novel projects for awhile now. At any given time, I have something in mind for my next project, if no new evidence presents itself for my consideration. I'm just used to writing novels now. This is what I do.

Maybe when I'm doing a first run-through of edits, though, maybe that would be a good time to -- yes, I'm finally going to finish that sentence! -- go through my starters file and knock off a couple of short stories in there at a time, just for the heck of it. I did this a bit after The Grey Road and again after Reprogramming, kind of mentally clearing the decks of short stories that were immediately interesting to me. I haven't done it since, really, and I blame the Not The Moose. I started that right after Reprogramming, and I've taken two breaks in it, to write shorter YA novels, but I didn't consider myself to be permanently not working on the NTMB at that point. I didn't stop coming up with short story ideas, though. I still haven't. It's a fertile place in here, this brain.

Hee. That reminds me of Jennifer Jaworski. We were in Honors English I together when we were 14, and we were sitting around before class talking about Girl Stuff, when we had started our periods and when we'd started needing bras and all that. Jenni had just found out that I was on the early end for these things, and -- as the rest of the classroom had a lull in conversation -- she blurted out at top volume, "Oh my Gawd, M'ris, you must be really fertile!" I was generally not an easily embarrassed person, but at 14, I wanted to crawl under my desk, a bit.

(I wonder how she's doing now. She was one of the rare people I miss and think, "Oh, I should google her, her name shouldn't be that hard to find." Hah. Evidently I was wrong about the commonness of Jaworskis.)

Anyway...I've been doing the unfree-writes about novel-related topics, and that's been good, and maybe it'll do for now. We'll see. Even now, I come up with random revelations in the middle of conversation -- I say things casually as I'm thinking, "Crud, is that it, really? Who knew that?" And the answer is, I did, but I wasn't telling me.

On the phone last week, Kev respectfully referred to the Not The Moose as "The Long Night", which is, in fact, the working title, but it gave me a bit of pause: I never call it that. I still fear that I'll have this book published and still be calling it the Not The Moose Book, which reminds me of my grandmother calling her fiftysomething nephew "Jimmy."

Enough with the book stuff. It'll be good, and I'll end up with a lot of stuff written, and the proportion of books and short stories will work itself out in the long-term, one way or another. Right? Sure. Sounds good.

I've got pictures from Minneapolis, more pictures from Minneapolis, pictures from Omaha, and more pictures from Omaha. When I load this, not all of those pages will be done. You'll just have to be patient, if you care at all. I'm sure you can do that, right? You're just that kind of people.

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