23 November, 2014

it's not a blog if you don't write in it

And by that extension, I ain't a writer if I don't, you know, write.

It's that point in the quarter where things are letting up a little. I have 57 students and I read 2-3 things from them every week, with 2-3 of those things requiring (sometimes) comments and feedback. It's a little like a puppy mill, only with words. Sometimes the feedback is conferences, which is both less and more exhausting, but does not mean working nights and weekends. But they don't need me as much right now, and so my brain (which wants nothing more taxing than my knitting and something on Netflix) can consider its own wordish obligations.

We shall not speak of fiction. Not right now. Ideas are percolating, slowly. I am reading, actual research. I should probably be taking notes, but since the book is hardcopy and we own it, I will probably just rifle through it when I need a detail.

That's a downside to the e-book. You can mark the pages, yeah, and even annotate, but it's not as conducive to indexing for me, who learned to index with the cards that bear that moniker, and a pen, and all that. O technology, how you have freed us! But also, how I have learned to prefer pens for some purposes.

Especially since my pen is a pink aluminum Smith and Wesson (SERIOUSLY) with a glass-breaker on one end and a stylus tip on the other. How can you not write with a pen like that? The iPad stares on, jealous.

Anyway, major project may begin in spring quarter, when I am down to 38 students. And maybe also done with Dragon Age 3 because, well, that needs playin'. The sad part is that I've had that game sitting on the kitchen table since release day, and I haven't even popped it into the Xbox yet. No time, I tell myself, and I am being good and responsible and refusing to embark on a 60+ hour investment of my energy before I am done with all the knitting for the holidays, and also my classes.

But really, I suspect I'm a little chemically flat right now (because depression is far more serious and crippling than this, because I can overcome this, to some extent, with raw will) and I don't have the emotional energy to invest in the story.

Okay, maybe that does count as depression. I can point to Reasons(tm) and I know it's cyclical (although it's getting worse, as I age), and I also know that means the end is drawing nigh-ish. So fuck you, biochemistry. I can wait you out. I didn't wanna start DA:I until Thursday, anyway.

It's super warm and super dry today--that watery sun that's hot when you're in it directly and abruptly not the moment you hit shade or a good blast of wind, of which there is no shortage--and Idris is being more of an idiot than usual. He's attacking my hand, as I type, because if I am standing here I could just as well be over there playing with him. And because my cat plays fetch better than any dog I've ever had, I am going to go do that. It makes us both happy.

07 October, 2014

poetry day

At some point soon I will talk about graduation from teacher training, and yoga, and some of the more surprising (to me) revelations contained therein. But in the meantime, a different sort of revelation.

Ten British actors read 10 British poems.

I love that poetry lives and breathes because these actors make it live and breathe, and that people actually care about that. I try and imagine a US network doing this, and I can't. Perhaps one has, and I just don't know about it.

I admit a particular perspective (the writing teacher in a classroom of business, econ, engineering, and biosci majors), of people who do not like poetry in the same way they do not like vegetables, because it is perceived as unpleasant or difficult or whatever. I wish we had some aesthetic, trained from school, that this stuff is beautiful and important. I don't know that I had teachers try and explain that to me until maybe high school (it obviously stuck, because here I am); but they were exceptional teachers, too. Deidre Gilbert and Margo McCoy taught me how to read it, and maybe more importantly, to hear it.

So go listen.

Anyway. Two of my favorite WWI poems are partway down the page. The Eccleston version of "Dulce Est Decorum Est" gave me chills. (But, confession: much as I adore Cumberbatch's voice, I still don't much like John Keats.)

31 August, 2014

not at all lazy days

Summer is almost over. We are not amused.

I'm in the middle of teaching my final project for the American Viniyoga teacher training. It's a 6 class series themed around The Avengers and aimed at Geeks with Ambition, which is to say--people who spend too much time sitting in front of computers, but who also have aspirations to badassery like their favorite characters. So yeah, aiming at the Comic Con crowd. In reality, I'm teaching 1-3 students a session. I don't know how I feel about it yet. Teaching yoga and teaching writing have a lot in common. I'm not exactly nervous, except that I'm not as much an expert in yoga as I am in writing. But I also don't know if I like it that much, teaching yoga. Still deciding. I do like creating sequences. That's more like algebra. There are rules to follow, and a certain elegance when those rules are well-executed.

I'm gathering courage to actually cut the Icelandic colorwork sweater I made for Nous so I can install the zipper. I have a deep-seated aversion to actually cutting stitches. This may take another week of courage.

Round two with the agent and revisions. I was not in a good place at first, having to do another round. You know. The doubts descend: it's clearly not good enough, just fucking quit and go watch more Veronica Mars (which I recommend with some reservation) and get on with knitting those baby hats.  For the record, the agent's been stellar and nothing but encouraging, so the issues are mine; I think she's trying to get this manuscript as clean and flawless as humanly possible, because the style's difficult and it won't be an easy sell (which I knew, and I'm happy as hell I found someone in the field who also likes a book where you have to pay attention to the words). The Rat has agreed to read the whole damned thing again, which only proves she's the best friend in the world.

Baby hats, yes, but not my baby. The Rat and Shan are having Evan in October, probably right around the day that revisions are due, school starts, and my final yoga weekend commences. The hats, by the by, are finished. Shan hopes very much that Evan's head is as tiny as the hats appear.

Visited parents. Parents visited here. Next year I'd like to spend a week in CO, in a cabin someplace where we can bring the cats, and just get some damned hiking in. People can come up and see us. We shall see. The job hunt begins again for Nous, so next summer is this vague shape of Things Will Happen.

Honestly, I like my summers blank and dull, with a few weeks of interesting, so that I can catch up on knitting projects and get some actual writing done. I've been lax on the latter this summer, or at least, I have produced nothing of length for submission. I do have a pile of books to read for research, however, for the next project.

And! This is how I started my summer. I tell ya, if I'd had tattoos in my 20s, I'd've been a lot more diligent with the sunscreen. This is the Hårdby swordwoman they found, which lots of folks are calling a valkyrja, and which lends support to the idea that women in the Viking age might've fought.