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Books et cetera )

I've been having a pretty sleepy spring break. I wrote a scene and a half of a play and I revised a short story, also I wrote a kind-of-prologue for a novel that doesn't actually have a plot. Sent a story or two out and a few more queries. I am having vague tickles of ideas; we'll see if any of them go anywhere.

Don't Wanna go back the day after tomorrow. Especially because I'm getting my second quantum midterm next week and the week after that is tech week for Midsummer...but, well, onwards. It will be nice to have structured Things To Do again. (I might get to go to some bits of ConBust next weekend but we'll see; Midsummer is eating my life.)
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Pixar's Brave is a distillation of approximately 60% of my childhood fantasies. Red hair? Check. Princess? Okay, chieftain's daughter--check. Feisty? Check. Good at archery? Check. Pretty, pretty horse? Check, and exactly the sort I wanted forever until I actually got near a horse and decided they weren't all fiction cracked them up to be.

(P.S. yes, that link implies that I now have Tumblr.)

I got a free postcard yesterday at work. I am not sure which way is up. It's from the College de pataphysique, a slightly absurd (but not absurdist) and kind of surreal (but not surrealist?) French organization of which, for some reason, our Archives and Special Collections seems to be a member. At least, the publication I was trying to find a WorldCat record for yesterday doesn't seem to exist, so maybe it's one of their "internal publications" they only send to members?

I just submitted my application for summer funding. To go to London and do research for five weeks! I have never been off the continent. And part of the other 40% of my childhood fantasies involved England. And it's an awesome topic (Anne Conway! you rock!). And omg British Library. (And London Pride, and the World Shakespeare Festival is happening, and The Mob will still be in Cardiff when I get to the UK so I could go visit. So many reasons to flail and cross my fingers.)

Other than that, life continues apace. Homework, occasional rehearsals for Midsummer, work, poking occasionally at story-like things.

well.

Jan. 24th, 2012 10:33 am
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Back on campus. Settled in, and almost surprised at how settled I've been feeling. Less stressed about almost everything than I was during January. Whew.

This may have something to do with the fact that I decided Not To Worry this weekend. On Friday I listened to the Swordspoint audiobook on the plane instead of freaking out about A Returning Power. I lazed about. I saw the Tennant and Tate Much Ado (aaa, their faces) and the Tennant Hamlet (...his face). I bought groceries in Northampton and made oatmeal-raisin cookies and ate most of them. Yesterday I had a to-do list but I only did half the things. Today I have done some more of the things! Someday soon I hope to return to full Alena functionality.

Meanwhile, it is the 24th. Going by my original goal--of "send query letters out by the end of January"--I have a week left for polishing A Returning Power and its query letter and its synopsis. And deciding which set of agents to query first. Today I realized that the first two scenes have to be combined. La.

But, well. Today's the first day of classes, but somehow I only have one class each day for the rest of the week. So I will have time to work on the novel, and then it can be out in the world and off of my mind. And then I will write something else.

(I may or may not be auditioning for a production of Midsummer Night's Dream this weekend. Um. Theater! I like it! It's not writing, but it involves lots of awesome people.)
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My brain might be growing back. Rewrote the first scene in the yep-still-untitled short story, and I think this time it actually works. Um. Yeah. It's nice, having a brain. I mean--I have been writing, but there's a difference between putting sentences on a page and actually thinking about them.

The last of the last cake was eaten a couple of days ago, marking the first time since my birthday that there hasn't been cake in the house. But I discovered today that Whole Foods, at least the one I go to, sells maple cotton candy. Temptation officially has been succumbed to. This is probably bad for my soul, or teeth, or something. Oh well.

I was thinking about dried things this morning. On my birthday I received flowers--they are by now very dead and were finally disposed of today. A couple of stalks of little purple flowers dried out in preference to other modes of dying, though, and I saved them (for a time, at least). Remembered, carrying them back up, finding a dried leaf in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell earlier this summer when it fell out from between the pages. At the time it must have been something treasured, a keepsake, but now I have no memory of when I put it in there. Odd how your own keepsakes can become someone else's treasures, even if that someone else is yourself in the future.

Nice book recs on home and family in comments to my post yesterday. I think part of my curiosity is why my generation chose, or stumbled on, or fell en masse into the reading of speculative fiction as a mode of exploring thoughts around home. That's one of those questions that may well not have an answer, though.

Speaking of books, I'm rereading some Wimsey. Murder Must Advertise, right now.
I also read Brave New World for the first time. I had been meaning to do so for quite a while, but never quite got around to it, til now. Peculiarly preserved gender dynamics, retro-future tech... I hadn't known how much Shakespeare it actually has in it. Not quite what I was expecting, not quite what I wanted, but interesting.
And I had something else out from the library, but now I can't remember what it was.

I've also seen a couple of movies since last recording here--
Captain Blood, a very swashbuckly Flynn movie that took a peculiarly long time to get to the swashing and buckling but did eventually deliver.
...and a rewatch of Princess Bride. Which swashbuckles all the way through.
Did I post here about going to see the newest, and last, Harry Potter movie? I did see it. Behind us, before the movie started, a middle-aged woman was talking about how odd it was that the theater had so few children--since, after all, Harry Potter was a children's book. And I frowned, because, well, yeah, in the Harry Potter generation here (may I humbly submit this over the Oughts or the Noughts or whatever ghastly phrase we've got now?), and not so much a kid anymore.
Anyway, the actual movie was as impressive as it ought to be, with that budget, and there were some moments that made me extremely happy. There were quite a few moments that did not make me happy, but then I never really liked the seventh Harry Potter book--I only read it once.

Probably I am missing various media-things. If I think of them I shall add them. Now I should go finish up my video for the REU program, but I might type up the bits of Queen of Spades from this week's notebook-writing instead.
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Today it rained all the rain. We attempted to not get swept away walking to class, and were mostly successful.

Additionally, I have now seen DEBS, which is a very silly movie--teenage spies, just add lesbians. The supervillain anti-hero woman is the most sensibly dressed of them all.

I actually washed all my dishes today--and last night I finally finished the second Lymond Chronicles book--and today I picked up my ILL books... and read Strong Poison because Sayers is still my favorite. So I feel a little accomplished, even if I didn't work on any novels or do my laundry or anything actually useful like that.

Tomorrow perhaps it will not rain, and I will get some writing done, and maybe actually wash my clothing. Who knows? The days are filled with boundless possibility.
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So there was no writing yesterday. It was one of those days. It felt like autumn, not the middle of July--cool and chilly and overcast. I got up too early, was in rural Wisconsin for the morning picking basil and peas and generally helping out around a farm, hung out with my friends and drank scalding tea to chase away the chill in the afternoon, and went to see the new Harry Potter movie in the evening.

The movie was all right. It never really drew me in, which probably has something to do with how it was made and something to do with where I am right now in relation to the Harry Potter books. Overall, I was okay with the movie, which is intriguing because the sixth book was the one I disliked the most.

I had an hour to myself between the afternoon and evening engagements, and spent it mostly staring at the walls, as far as I can tell. Objectively, I could have gotten some writing done then. Subjectively, it wouldn't have been a good idea. My mind was too full of other things, and I didn't have enough time to lay all of them aside; and right now I'm in the middle of writing a Large Active Scene which will soon come to a Big Decision. And I have no idea which way my character will choose.

So those are all the reasons that I didn't write yesterday.

Today, however, I have nothing whatsoever to do. So far I've eaten breakfast and read the rest of the fifth Dark Tower book. (Soon I should go to the library and check out a few more of those.) At some point today I think it is safe to assume that I will be outside somewhere in the sunlight with my laptop, writing.

I get the feeling that I will not be working on this first draft for very much longer. Yesterday was a nice break, and potentially a much-needed one. Now I am taking in the deep breath and diving for the end.
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"Graduation practice" yesterday turned out to be their method of trapping us all in the school auditorium for two hours while we waited in line to get our caps and gowns. I am deeply disappointed that the said caps and gowns are in fact purple--I had been looking forward to having a ready-made wizard costume.

However, if all goes well that is the last time I will ever be forced to go to that building, which is awesome.

Then I went with friends to see Up, which I liked quite a bit (though I noted some not so feminist things about it), and then hung out with them until one in the morning.

We've all taken to hugging each other fiercely when we say goodbye, even if we know with absolute certainty we'll see each other later that afternoon or the next day. Because now--time is limited, all of a sudden; and maybe that certainty isn't so certain any more.

The funny thing about going to bed at one a.m. is that you feel absolutely no desire to wake up at five thirty to work on your not-a-novel. So I slept in (which for me means eight), and then had a lazy breakfast and a lazy day, nursing the bruise I got from biking to school last week and the scratches I got on one arm from a failed attempt to climb a gigantic tree last night. I cleaned my room; it's amazing how quickly it becomes clear that all of the paper in which your desk is submerged is, in fact, programs from plays that you went to see five months ago, and assignment sheets for homework which has been done, turned in, and returned graded, and old college mail and information booklets from when you were still searching for a college.

By now I've kind of given up on getting any writing done today. I attempted to make a playlist for a story I want to write, but it turns out that I have exactly zero trickster songs. (Recommendations?)

So, on the whole, a peaceful day. I think I get one of those once in a while, right? Later I will go and drop in at my friends' grad parties, and maybe wander out 250 words on the not-a-novel just so I can say that I did something today, at least.

And tomorrow is a new day, and I don't have to go to school that day either. Or the day after that, ad infinitum until September.

August 2015

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