In Which A Pen Is Lost and Priorities Found

10 November 2003

It's nine o'clock. Do you know where my pen is?

No, seriously. If you know, I'd love to hear it. My Waterman has gone missing. If I have to ask for another Waterman for Christmas, I'm going to be most put out. Right now I'm writing with a black Uniball Vision (well, right now I'm writing with a computer, but you know what I mean), and it's incredibly beaten up. One of the pen chewers of the household got at it before we got it here. It's quite functional and better than a ballpoint. But still. (Why have I gotten such crappy ballpoints lately? The cheap Bics aren't fancy, but they write consistently and at a rate that's dark enough to read without requiring me to press through the paper. Our wossname, house inspector, gave us a fancy orange clicky pen, but it doesn't write for sour owl crap.)

(That's my grandpa's, right there: sour owl crap. The things you learn from Marines....)

For the first time since we moved, I have an empty inbox. (So if you were expecting to hear back from me and haven't, I didn't get your message; please resend.) It wasn't on purpose. It was the consequence of spending a week sick, I think. That's about the only list I have that's empty. Being sick let a few things pile up. I did cut back hostas yesterday -- we have conflicting opinions on whether they need cutting back, whether they need mulching, etc. Uncle Phil is the hosta king, but he's much more into them than I am. We'll see. People kept telling me that doing tasks around the house and yard would make it feel more mine, but in truth I found that I kept expecting some genuine grown-up to come up behind me and screech, "Aaaaaaah! What are you doing to my hostas?" I think it's just because cutting plants that far back seems like a naughty child thing to do.

I can sing normally today -- although I'm not going to tempt the phlegm monster by doing Gollum songs -- which is quite a relief. I'm afraid it's giving me delusions of grandeur. Tasks are peeping out at me, being all flirty. Towel bars to install. Pictures to hang. Window wells to replace. Articles to write. And also groceries to buy. I'm trying a recipe for stuffed squash tonight. I have no idea who will be eating it. Probably Timprov, if he's up in time; probably C.J., if we ever find him again; most likely Bobbie, since Cal has a night meeting and she's coming down to help with the leaf blower and all. So I have a fair idea of who might be eating this stuffed squash. Just not an exact one. I've also bothered to make a sort of meal plan for the week, so that I don't have to hang around going, "I don't know, what do yoooooou want to eat?" (Which is particularly useless when Timprov is asleep at the dinner hour and C.J. is playing volleyball and I'm eating by myself.)

I am not working on the Not The Moose Book this week. I am working on contract work, Reprogramming edits, maybe some short stories. No Not The Moose Book. I need to get through the contract work and the Reprogramming edits, and if the siren song of the Not The Moose keeps calling to me, I'll end up having none of them done when Thanksgiving comes (because I'm not close enough to finish the Not The Moose right away). It feels strange not to be working on it, even though I've only been not-working on it since I went to bed last night and I wouldn't always have worked on it by this hour of the morning. But I've been mistrusting my own motivations. Trying to act as though everything I could possibly choose to focus on is wrong. And I need to remind myself that it's a matter of a few weeks to get the contract stuff and the edits done, and then I'll be glad to have them.

Right now, Reprogramming is a doorstop. Not even any good as a paperweight, since it's not bound and would be just as likely to fly away as any paper it was holding down. It's in a stage where I've put almost enough work into it, but I can see the work it needs. And I don't want to send it around any further without doing the work it needs. So it languishes. This is the problem with improving. This is the problem with getting more than one go at things.

So. First priority is contract work, because it has a deadline, second is Reprogramming edits. It says this on my list quite clearly. I've just been ignoring it. (Actually, the list of priorities is a bit more complex than that, starting with "0. Take care of self and family," but items one and two are currently not under my control, and item three is "write short stories that make me laugh or are due for a good anthology." But very clearly, right there in white-on-black, is "4. Reprogramming re-edit; 5. NTMB Part 2." So there you have it.)

I told Timprov last night that the publishing business only has two speeds: faster than you can handle and slower than you can bear. Sometimes both at once.

I'm enjoying what I'm reading now, the Rushdie collections and Patricia Wrede's Talking to Dragons, which is mine all mine and only cost fifty cents at the library book sale and counts as work because of the Wrede bit for my contract work. That makes me happy. Also, feeling like I've made a decision and can follow through with it makes me happy, when it comes to this whole writing priorities thing. I like having clear goals. And I almost always have clear goals; but this time they're much clearer in the short-term than they have been lately, and that's good.

I need to update my index page, and my links page, and my picture page, and probably a few of the "recommended activities" for when one's in Minneapolis. It's on the list. I just haven't gotten to it yet. Same song, forty-leventh verse. Time to get to it, all of it.

Back to Novel Gazing.

And the main page.

Or the last entry.

Or the next one.

Or even send me email.