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I really don't have a good reason to, either. I went to the writing group last night, and the short story was well-received. One of the other writers' stories half killed me with trying to be polite. We've read four chapters of Joe's POV and now we get two chapters of his wife's POV covering the same events? AND her motivations are exactly what her husband thought they were.

It was not badly-written, just dull. And he went on about how, if I'd read the whole novel from Joe's POV and then read her POV it would be more interesting. But no. Just... no.


Then I couldn't sleep, and woke early when I finally did. I got my hours in today, but I'm still two behind for the week. *sigh* I can make up some time tomorrow, my "day off."


The other thing is... I don't know if it's the writing, or the generally feeling down, or the lack of sleep, but I'm just not very into anything right now. Not the writing or anything fannish or anything. I feel old and ugly and less-than-talented.

Part of it may be that, when I express concern that certain politicians speak with authority about "God's laws" someone always takes it to mean something I didn't say, like, "Christians should not be allowed to express their opinions!" Whence These Flowers? REALLY?

Christians dominate public offices at every level. The majority of the government is made up of Christians. What makes all my sphincters pucker at once is when one of them decides to speak for God, or claims, implicitly or explicitly, to know God's Will for the country.

Because then, people who disagree with them cannot merely be reasonable people with a difference of opinion. They are IN LEAGUE WITH TEH DEBIL!!!!11!!ONE!

To say, whoa, maybe it's possible that you're not hearing the Voice of God, is to persecute the poor Christians. Yes, it is persecution now, to disagree with a political agenda that you find uneven, inequitable and lacking in focus.


To cheer me up, I'm posting some links and things:
Otters who look like Benedict Cumberbatch, and Martin Freeman is a Hedgehog )
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 05:26pm on 29/02/2012 under , , ,
Now that I am employed for real and can take time off if I need to for, I dunno, my birthday or something, I feel a bit more like I can plan for things.


I am also now not in a city over 800 miles from the nearest one that was showing it on its last run (though GOK when/where it will be showing, since it is still way too early for tickets to be on sale).

This time, I swear, nothing short of a serious, protracted illness or death will prevent me from seeing this. TWICE.

Here's the original trailer:

Danny Boyle, you magnificent bastard.


The writing of my short story went so quickly (when I actually had time to dedicate to it) and turned out so well (if I dare say so myself - but feel free to check it out yourself) that I am reconsidering my work routine. Note cards - pen and paper - typing/revision = DONE ... might just be the equation for me.

Pen and paper just feels more organic for the creation phase, and typing feels right for the revision stuff. I will continue my experiments and report my findings.


In other news, there is a writing group nearby that does the "come in and read aloud" thing. I avoided it because, well, that kind of thing isn't a good measure of writing, to me. A poorly-written piece can be performed well, and a well-written piece can blow like crazy if you're spitting cotton. Still, part of me wants to give it a go.
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 01:46pm on 05/05/2011 under , , , ,
I've had a full day already and it's just past lunchtime. O_O

First, I walked to the coffee shop to meet my friend Andrina (a usual Thursday thing). We had some fruit tea and a chat.

Went home and set back out on a bike ride with the hubby. We went on the levee, which was a first for me.

But that's not my Thing. My Thing for today is that it was the first time I've ever ridden my bike somewhere for lunch. Back in Georgia, I'd go to the bike trail and ride 30 miles, but it just wasn't safe to ride on the streets. People routinely rode their bikes on the sidewalks, and no one got ticketed for it. The cops knew it was a self-preservation thing.

So, biking has always been recreational for me, not actual transport. In New Orleans, this is no longer the case.

Photographic Evidence )

I loved the excursion so much that we spent lunch talking about how to trick out my bike for doing the food shopping and the like. The weather is about to get unpleasantly warm, but early morning and late evening rides will still be doable for most of the summer. It will only be rare mornings when heat stroke will be a risk (though midday heat stroke risk is fairly high by June).


I had to do my Thing early, because one of my NOLA writing groups has a meeting tonight with a guest speaker (a local literary agent), and I'm driving a carpool. :P That's also a new thing for me - driving a group to Mid City.

I feel as though I have become Action/Adventure Olivia.
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 11:31am on 13/11/2010 under , ,
Thursday, Ellen Kushner, one of my favorite writers, tweeted that she was at the Cafe du Monde, and I totally would have driven down there just to fangirl on her if I had seen it in time. But I didn't. I did tweet to tell her so, though,and she tweeted back that she lives to be admired, and we'd have to catch each other next time.

I was, erm, all a-twitter over that. :) Silly, I guess, but there you go. I'd probably have pestered her by saying how badly I want her to write more books, and that wouldn't have been good. One should not call one's favorite author a slacker, especially when one's pot is much blacker than said author's kettle. Ah well. ;)


I had to go to my writing group meeting anyway. It was supposed to be a write-in, but we had a new member and ended up talking about everything and getting to know him (and him us). It was crazy and wonderful, one of those group conversations that is so awesome you forget about time and food and generally everything else. I also found out that my co-organizer (while Mer is away taking care of her mom who has cancer) is a big Whovian and Torchwood lover, too. The new guy is an artist and comic book/general geek as well, so we created a geek vortex and generally spun out of conversational control.

It was AWESOME. The geek mind-meld time warp was in full effect. It was six thirty, and then a minute later it was ELEVEN. Wow.

My writing-group curse may be broken. I think I need this sense of community at least as much as I want critique. Plus I think they might be willing to read and give feedback when I'm ready, so I may be able to get both.


In GC news, today I posted a fun bit for the Geek Video of the Week involving Roger Ebert and Jon Stewart discussing the relative merits of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' weapons. It is a thing of beauty which I had to share.
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 02:41pm on 03/08/2010 under , , , , ,
In GC news, so far this week we've had Pearce's ....okay, Predators?, in which she comes to the whole Predator thing fresh and contemplates a ripped Adrian Brody.

AND! Nightsky's exciting breakdown of Comic-Con! which was evidently Femme-Geek rich in content, so much so that there are hopes of more next year. WOOT!


I'm finally back from der hinterland, and boy, was that a trip. It was great to see friends and family, but in my absence the hubby, who had insisted that he would 'cherish the silence' got all weird and grumpy and isolated. I came home earlier than planned.

Then Big Boy got homesick, and the in-laws brought him back earlier than planned, and spent the weekend. It was fun. We got to go to the WWII Museum, which was great. It was also very traumatic for me, because going through the part of the place and the film that dealt with the Pacific, I couldn't help but think of my Grampa Robert, who was on Iwo Jima and other places, and traumatized to the point that we were forbidden to ever ask him about the war. Once he got lost in Atlanta, and forgotten who and where he was. In his mind, he was back in the war. I don't know what happened, whether a mugging or something set it off.

The only time he ever mentioned the war was in the 80s, when the famine in Ethiopia was all the news. He said there were children starving, everywhere they went in the Pacific, and he got in trouble for giving them his food.

So, yeah. I was affected by what I saw at the museum, but I could not help but think about how the same media that helped me understand what he went through could have been very destructive to him had he seen it.


In other news, I got nothing accomplished on my novel while traveling -- too many people to see and too much to do. I did not escape several calls from writing group people wanting to talk about stuff. Seems they have staged a sort of revolution to set up new rules and not listen so much to the organizer. At least I was out of town for the fireworks.

I like the group, but I suspect they are all too kind to me when it comes to critiques. I suppose I have some decisions to make.


Soon my oldest will be going to school, and I'm all tense about it. He's not. I know he'll be fine, it's just... being a parent is tough. I mean, we all have our defenses - people strike out at us, and we can take it. Our kids can take it, too.

What they don't tell you (or maybe they try, and you just don't get it) is that having a child is like having your tender bits hanging out there, defenseless. When Big Boy was six weeks old, I realized that I would be capable of killing to defend him, and not even think about it until afterward.

He's a teen now, and I'm trying to keep the Mother Bear on a short leash, but it isn't easy.


So now I'm back and I'm feeling behind on everything, like nothing is getting done. But that's not true. I have stuff going forward. My novel is still almost complete, though no closer than when I left. I'm in a better place to tackle it.
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So, there is an unfamiliar venue for tonight's Writers Circle, new members (I'll have to take up dues and get them to the organizer somehow before I leave town tomorrow), and a packed roster so I'll have to be particular about the time (20 minutes to each submission).

Between now and then, I have to make notes on the submissions, buy groceries and get the big boy his shot. There should be a shower in there somewhere, too.


Now here is a video that I think the writers on my flist will appreciate. It is a TED talk, so just under 20 minutes long, but so worth it.

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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 08:50am on 12/07/2010 under , ,
First, there's the awesome Twilight Saga: Eclipse: With Cats over at Pop Suede. I love how they photoshopped the Edward Cat's eyebrows.


Oh, here's another thing I found interesting, if not particularly fun:
ADHD and School: The Problem of Assessing Normalcy in an Abnormal Environment.


The more stuff like that I read, the less happy I am about my Big Boy going going back to school, no matter how awesome and prestigious a school it is. Then again, it seems so providential that he was accepted to this amazing school that I can't really toss the opportunity aside. The staff there have a reputation for being very nurturing and helpful. Involved. I think he may well thrive there. I have to let him give it a go.


I submitted "The Sanguine Philtre" to the writing group this week. In part because I didn't want to burn them out on my novel too fast, and in part because I really need to get that puppy out in the world, and I figure one last brush-up couldn't hurt.

Then, last night, the group organizer emailed to ask if I could guide the next meeting in her place, since she's ill. O_O I'm happy to do it, of course, but surprised she asked me. I mean, K. is an MFA creative writing student, and probably has more experience with seminars, etc. than I do. Plus, she's older and all. Maybe she's not going to be able to be there, either.


In between writing things, I seem to be moving into a 'feeding' phase -- spending more time than usual on the consumption of stories. I moved on to Wire in the Blood season 3 this weekend. It managed to surprise me by not being as facile as Season 2. I was hooked by this show because the first story of the first season was so stunning. And by stunning I don't mean anything other than the literal feeling of being stunned by it.

Subsequent stories veered toward the puerile, had less than believable mental leaps and played very fast and loose with what it tried to pass off as "psychology" - especially in season two. But Season 3 was better.

Then there was Kurosagi. When I told my husband about the premise (it's about a swindler who makes his living swindling people's money back from swindlers), he said, "I thought that show was called Leverage." Snarky man-beast. It's not really like Leverage at all, though. The protagonist is a kid whose father killed himself and his whole family (except for him) because he was swindled. With the help of the swindler who stole his family's money (!) he sets out to destroy other swindlers. The old swindler who 'helps' him seems completely aware that the young pup intends to do him in, but he's sick and old and either doesn't care or is playing a long game on him.

Enter the young, poor girl who wants to be a prosecutor, and frowns on Kurosagi's methods even while she swoons over his sweet, pouty Asian lips. *loses train of thought* Erm, where was I? She disapproves even but falls for him, even though he gives her no indication at all that he might like her. In fact, when she unwittingly rents an apartment he owns, he tries to evict her. I pretty much always find female characters in Japanese dramas terribly annoying, and this is no exception. OMG, there are TWO pretty girls, friends in the beginning, who end up fighting because they both like him, while he deliberately ignores them both.

Even when he's beaten up by a cop and the girl who lives in his building takes care of him, he's a total bitchwad to her. Bitchwad boys are apparently very attractive to Japanese university student girls, for some reason. Also, these girls fight with each other largely because the one saw the other leaving his apartment (after she looked after him when he was beaten up) and thinks they got it on. Apparently, these BFF's are allergic to talking to each other like normal people.

*sigh* But the lead has pretty lips, gets beaten up/cries prettily, and I want to know what happens, and what the old/dying swindler is really up to. So I keep watching.

My reasons for this (and, let's face it, most anything) are at least 70% shallow. I rarely watch shows in which I do not find anyone attractive. Who was it that said TV is about watching people you'd like to have sex with doing interesting things? So true. That's probably why I loved Life on Mars but hated the American version. The lead in the American version held no appeal for me, while I would totally tie John Simm to a chair on the second date.
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My town is getting more than its fair share of poison, but hey, who's counting? I've just been to my Writers Circle, and I'm more positive than ever about it being a good fit. However, I probably won't be critting my novel with them because of time constraints. I've come to some other conclusions about writing and how I need to handle some things.

One, I'm nearly to the end of my novel. The last quarter will be done and in first draft shape by the end of the month, I'm thinking. When it's done, I'll be wandering around, begging folks to read it and give feedback.

Some time ago, I started a live journal just for that story, but during the re-write that turned into a prequel, keeping up with posting there was just plain too much to do while moving, writing, and teaching my two kids at home. I still have the journal, though, and whatever I post there will be friendslocked, of course, but I was hoping that maybe some of you would be interested in friending [ profile] lethe_maya to give feedback.

I'd also dearly love a couple voluntary Wise Readers to read the whole novel when I get it in (or at least very close to) final draft form.

If you'd like to read a bit of it to *see* whether you would be interested in reading it, friend the [ profile] lethe_maya journal, because the first chapter is going up there this week. If it doesn't interest you, no harm no foul, just unfriend the journal or tell me to unfriend you so it won't stink up your feed.

Or, if you do like it but would rather wait until you read the whole thing at a gulp, just let me know and I'll add you to my list of possible whole novel Wise Readers. I will do whole novel readings in exchange as well, if you have something you'd like me to read.

I really appreciate the help if you can give it, and I totally understand if you can't as well.
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The writing circle went really well. Of the pieces we discussed, all were competent (at the very least) and two were well-written (but not so stunning that they seemed to have no need of a group). In other words, we were there to learn, all of us -- to get reactions and see how we were doing. (Well, except for one guy, fresh from Afghanistan with a hard mil scifi epic under his arm, which he described as an AK47 while telling me my story was more about feelings (from the three paragraphs I read aloud as a refresher, since he had *just* joined and had not received any of our work in advance).

That really amused me. I was less amused by the nice organizer, who came dubiously to my defense saying that we all have different styles, from Hemingway to Joan Collins. (I got the impression she preferred Hemingway, whom I only read when I could not avoid it for coursework, and whose stories tended to bore me until we got to the "thematic dissection" phase of lit class on them. I confess I really enjoyed Freudian criticism of his work, and not because I thought it had much validity.) I have never read Joan Collins, but I suspect she uses adjectives and adverbs. I try to avoid adverbs, but have no issue with adjectives, as long as they are not overused. (I mean, really? Adjectives are bad, now?) I probably have a higher tolerance for adjectives than the group's leader.

In any case, not having read any Collins, I wasn't sure how to take the comparison. Except I'm very glad not to be like Hemingway. SRSLY.


Had a long talk with [ profile] hominysnark afterward. She asked incisive questions. Considering my past writing group experiences (crazy stalker men, sulky teens, early stage ESOL folks, and one guy who shoved a shotgun full of commas and shot his manuscript with it repeatedly), I was glad that the subs didn't suck and that no one was mean or creepy to me or anyone else.

So, when she said, "But will this group help you do what you want to do?" I had to think about it.
Details below the cut to spare the disinterested. )

It was good to realize, yet again, that I can take criticism, and even better to realize that I can distinguish what is useful and incisive from what is personal taste, even when the critter cannot. So, baby steps.


Also, I am about to turn 41, and have finally reached the place in my life where I really don't give a flying fig whether everyone 'likes' me. Not everyone is going to like me, and it's not my job to make them. Life is too short for that crap.


My Beloved brought me a homemade waffle plate with blueberry compote in bed. (All of it he made from scratch, using fresh blueberries a co-worker picked and gave him.) Then he let me go back to sleep. When I woke up, he took me shopping for new summer dresses (my choice, since my birthday is this week). Hooray for Macy's One Day Sale. Once again I ended up with dark colors, but they are comfy like pajamas and look nice.

I am the luckiest beeyotch in Christendom.
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posted by [personal profile] asato_muraki at 09:51am on 13/06/2010 under , , , ,
First off, up on GC Friday, we had Amalia the Savage's On the Set of Thor, complete with behind-the-scenes video. (The lead is cute and Kenneth Branagh is directing, so, WOW. I still want to punch Natalie Portman in the face for comparing eating meat to 'condoning rape' and then signing that freaking Roman Polanski petition (Really, Natalie?), but I guess everyone's allowed to be stupid once in a while.)


For the writers on my flist, here's a pep talk that Neil Gaiman wrote for NaNoWriMo a few years ago. It resonates with me right now because I'm so there, Dude.

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm---or even arguing with me---she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, "Oh, you're at that part of the book, are you?"

It's vaguely comforting to know that even people who make their living full time by writing get the 4th quarter blahs. I know I just have to keep going. Pick another word and put it down. Pick the next one, put it down.

I'm up to 76,000+ words, and have about 80 pages to re-work my way through before I get to the end of them and start adding new ones. I got through about 20 pages in just a couple of hours yesterday. I can get a few more hours in before I have to go to a birthday party this afternoon.

Next week is a camp week for my youngest, so I hope to have some extra morning time to write while i wait on the West Bank for camp to finish.

It's all going quite well. I got a piece in for teh writing group, and I am suitably antsy about it. Forward ho!


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