Category Archives: Write on Wednesday

Write on Wednesday – Birth-days

Today’s WoW is about birthdays. Coincidentally, I’m staring down the barrel of the big three-one next week. Last year I celebrated surviving my 20s. This year I’m officially a thirty-something. I didn’t used to be old, but now suddenly everybody calls me “ma’am”. When did that happen? But enough about that. Our fearless WoW leader specifically spelled it “birth-day” which makes me think more specifically about the day of my birth. Which of course I don’t remember, but I’ve heard stories. I know I was the easiest birth for a number of reasons: (1) I was the last of four children; (2) I was the smallest baby; and (3) the next youngest child, my sister, was the largest baby. I’m sure you can imagine the requisite jokes about catcher’s mitts. My brothers babysat my sister while I being born; one of their memories is pushing my sister around in a big cardboard box. Apparently she loved it.

I don’t do much for my birthday these days. We go out to eat, maybe do something fun like visit the aquarium or something, but with the exception of my 30th last year I hardly ever throw parties. This year, however, I get Tokyo for my birthday. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to top that.

Write on Wednesday – True Love

This week’s WoW prompt is True Love, perhaps the subject most written about.  Below is my experience with it.

About a month after moving to the Northern Virginia area, I decided I was tired of having no friends so I did what I do best: I went online. I’ve met loads of folks online over the years, both awesome and, er, less so. I used to say that I’m a walking statistic, but I’m careful. Anyway, I went on Friendster, where people are connected by friends-of-friends (-of-friends-of-friends-of…), and I found this dude, some four or five degrees of separation from me, who looked kind of interesting. We had similar taste in music and movies, and I decided maybe I’d try somebody who liked things I actually liked, rather than things I wish I liked. Sure, I think mountain climbing is cool in theory, but let’s be honest here: I wouldn’t be able to keep up with somebody who counts it as one of their primary interests.

Side note, so this makes sense for those of you playing along at home: I have found that I really don’t enjoy being around people who share my interests. Just go with me for a second. See, I’ve found that the people who share my interests tend to have pretty much no other interests. The sorts of things I like – writing, science fiction and fantasy, drawing, SCA, theater, cats, etc. – tend to be Sole Fixations for a lot of people who also like them. I find I can’t relate to someone whose life revolves around a single hobby, so actually seeking out someone who shared my interests was a big change for me. (Granted, I’ve now met plenty of folks who both share my hobbies and a variety of others, but at the time it was trending in the opposite direction.)

Now, please note that I was looking for friends. By this point in my life I was quite happily determined to be a terminal bachelor. I told said dude (whose name is Bill, by the by) this directly. (Not that this is always effective; during grad school I was broken up with by two guys I had no idea I was dating.) He agreed, saying he had no interest in dating anyone either.

A quick timeline: I sent the initial email on a Wednesday in July, we talked on the phone on Thursday, and we decided to meet in person on Friday. I drove up to Maryland (which made sense, given the traffic situation) and we had dinner and talked. And talked and talked and talked. We ultimately ended up spending the entire weekend together, and every weekend thereafter until getting an apartment together in May of the next year. I remember quite clearly, when I lay down on his bed that first night, that it felt like I’d done it a hundred times before. I can’t explain that.

The weird part was that there wasn’t any giddiness, no initial crush, no anxiety. We just sort of fell into step with one another. By the time we finally got around to getting engaged it was almost a formality. I commented at one point that it was sort of like how there are plenty of other perfectly good chairs out there, but I suddenly didn’t feel like sitting anywhere else. It wasn’t a passion, just a quiet certainty.

And it’s something I could never have understood prior to meeting Bill. As I am so fond of telling people, you can’t really judge your future relationships by your past ones; after all, it only works out once. They say you just know when you’ve found The One, and that was certainly true for me. Somehow I just knew that I was done looking. The trouble, of course, is that while you may know when it’s right, it’s very difficult to tell when it’s wrong. It also doesn’t help that everyone’s different. For me there were no butterflies; for some there still are even after a decade together. It’s a comfort thing: I know I can tell Bill absolutely anything, that I don’t have to hold back or censor myself. He’s my very best friend, which magazines tell me I’m not supposed to require in a husband, but I was lucky enough to get it. We’ve been married four years and together almost seven, and we still like nothing more than to just hang out together.

So is it True Love? I don’t know.

But I think so.

Write on Wednesday: Taking Risks

This week’s WoW we’re talking about taking risks. More specifically:

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done? What risky thing would you like to do? What’s a risk you’re just too afraid to take (although you really want to?)

I’m not much of a risk-taker. I suppose the riskiest thing I did was offer to support my husband financially while he followed his more artistic dreams. We were living together but not married, and he was absolutely miserable at his umpteenth tech support job. And he was making me miserable. Eventually I told him that I made enough money to support us both, and I offered to pay for him to go back to school so he could devote himself to his recording studio full time. “If this is what I have to look forward to,” I said, indicating his general unpleasantness, “then I don’t want to marry you.”

Granted, it wasn’t a very difficult choice for him: job you hate versus woman you love. It was tough for him to get used to not “pulling his weight” financially, but eventually he got into a groove and now works regular hours on both his recording studio and his web comic. He’s happy and I’m happy. And as an added bonus, he does all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, and grocery shopping. That alone is worth it to me.

A risk I’d love to take but probably could never do would be to make a drastic career change myself. Don’t get me wrong – I like image science just fine – it’s just that I’ve always wondered how I would do in a more arts-related field, like working in graphic design or writing magazine articles. I wonder what I’d do if I were to pursue an MFA, for example. But I don’t see myself doing that. Financially it doesn’t make any sense (two artists under one roof can’t make the mortgage payments), and honestly, most things I want to do I can do while working full time – they just take longer. So I continue to do what I always do: work on stuff in my free time, and hope that one day they start paying for themselves.

Bloggiesta, et al.



Forget two birds; I’m killing a whole flock with one stone in this post. See, this week’s Weekly Geeks is basically “participate in Bloggiesta-type activities” so I feel perfectly justified in using this post (and, honestly, the previous one too) for both challenges. I’m even squeezing the recently restarted Write on Wednesday in here too – the prompt is “fresh start”, and that’s a lot of what Bloggiesta is about: catching up and starting anew. Check out all the stuff I’ve done over the course of Bloggiesta:

  • Added “addthis” bar to the bottom of my posts, which is pretty awesome.
  • Added genre tags to all book review posts. (mini-challenge)
  • Added copyright footer plug-in for posts and feed. (mini-challenge)
  • Some housekeeping on my other website, Sine Fine Films.

More Mini-Challenges!

Not going to participate in blogging mentor challenge. Likewise with the mind-map challenge, because my last five posts were either book reviews or a list of the books I read last year or intro posts to reading challenges. Not much to expand on there. But it’s something to think about for the future.

The dead link challenge was particularly handy for me. I ran Link Valet and it worked very well. Sure, it didn’t delve into the depths of old blog posts, but I’m not too concerned about those right now. A lot of my oldest posts referred to news articles, and I’d expect those to disappear sooner or later anyway. I did, however, discover a weird bug: some of the links to my oldest posts no longer work. I’m not sure what’s going on, since I can edit them just fine. Changing the URL for these posts seems to help, so I’m slowly going through them and fixing them as I find them.

The putting your best forward challenge interests me as well. Here are some of my favorite posts:

  • The series of posts I did during the recent Basic Drawing class I took.
  • Mr. Peep Goes to Illinois: an adventure in landmark snarfing.
  • My review of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Love it or hate it, it’s huge right now, and I happen to be rather pleased with my review of it. I know it’s the only book review I included, which implies it’s my best review evar, but I’m not so sure about that. It’s just a recent one that seemed to work really well.

There are probably others, but it’s really hard to sift through the over 900 entries I’ve posted since starting this blog back in 2003.

Bloggiesta’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve gotten a lot done, both on my blog and in other ways: I cleaned up my study, caught up on a few forums (fora?), and logged a few outstanding snarfs. Thanks for hosting, Maw Books!

Write on Wednesday

This week’s WOW is about daily life versus writing life: Is your writing life healthy these days? How do you keep your writing life alive? What are some of the remedies you use to revive it?

Actually, my writing life has recently taken a bit of a turn for the better. I’m currently collaborating on a comic book series with my husband: I write the story and he does the art. Since he can’t really do anything until I’ve done my part, he regularly gets me back in front of the keyboard when I’ve been procrastinating. It’s not easy to find good collaborators, and I’m extremely lucky to have married someone I can also work with.

Lately I’ve also been doing a bunch of creative writing for swaps on Swap-bot. The latest two were fictional diaries: one from the point of view of a vampire, and one from that of a time traveler. They were a blast to write and it felt really good to get back into the groove again.

For a more short-term boost, I’ve collected a large number of writing prompt websites, which other people seem to use far more often than I. Instead of online prompts, I’m slowly working my way through Judy Reeves’s A Writer’s Book of Days, which is basically daily prompts plus weekly inspiration. I don’t write daily, so I’ve fallen a bit behind the schedule, but it’s a nice option to have whenever I feel like writing but need something to start with.

Lastly, one of my resolutions for this year is to finish The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. But not, of course, before finishing the next comic. :)

Write on Wednesday

This week’s Write on Wednesday is a short survey. I know I’ve been horrible about actually doing these on Wednesday, but ehh, whatever.

1. What’s your favourite genre of writing? — Humorous fiction, often with a fantastic bent.
2. How often do you get writer’s block? — I don’t really believe in writer’s block. Sometimes I have more trouble with a story than others, but I’ve never been like “OMG I can’t write anything!” I can always blather aimlessly on paper. The trick is turning it into something worth reading.
3. How do you fix it? — Blather aimlessly on paper until my brain stops farting around and gets down to business.
4. Do you type or write by hand? — Both. Freewriting is better by hand, for me, but when I’m really cooking on a story I prefer to type because I can do it far more quickly.
5. Do you save everything you write? — Yeah. I don’t always look at it again, but it’s all there, either on a drive or in a box.
6. Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it? — Yup. Never turns out how I’d expected it to back in the day, but it’s always interesting.
7. Do you have a constructive critic? — My sister is helpful in general. Unless you mean Inner Critic, in which case not just no, but hell no.
8. Did you ever write a novel? — Only if you count NaNoWriMo, but I don’t.
9. What genre would you love to write but haven’t? — Historical fiction. My problem is that I get so excited when I first start a new project that I lack the patience to do the research, then once I get into the research I’ve lost momentum on the story. I’m kind of self-defeating that way.
10. What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will? — Political drama (science fiction or otherwise).
11. How many writing projects are you working on right now? — Actively? Uh, I guess two. An interesting project on Swap-Bot and the next chapter of Animal Faith.
12. Do you write for a living? Do you want to? — I write for pleasure. I tell myself I would love to get paid for it, but deep down I suspect that harsh deadlines would turn it into a chore.
13. Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper? — It was a college magazine, but yeah. Some awful piece on Hare Krishnas.
14. Have you ever won an award for your writing? — Not unless you count a minor poetry award on Artella.
15. What are your five favourite words? — I don’t have favorite words, though an old boyfriend was convinced my favorite word was “obnoxious”.
16. Do you ever write based on your dreams? — I’ve tried but it never comes out very well. So instead I write down my dreams and occasionally take some of the imagery from them, rather than trying to turn the mess into something coherent.
17. Do you favour happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers? — Happy endings. I don’t like going to all the bother of reading something only to have it be a cliff-hanger, nor do I enjoy making an emotional investment in characters only to be disappointed in the outcome. After all, there are more than enough sad and unresolved endings in real life.
18. Have you ever written based on an artwork you’ve seen? — Yes, and the artist loved the story. I kept meaning to write based on other stuff but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Write on Wednesday

So tell me, what are the areas closest to your heart? What aspects of your life in general do you find yourself sharing in writing? Do you enjoy reading/writing personal essays? Who are some of your favorite essayists?

I could spout about various things close to my heart like education and beauty and adventure, but when I look back through my notebooks I find much uglier themes recurring: obsession over food, frustration with hypocrites, and fear of my future. My freewriting is often whiny or angry.

That said, when I come to the page with a specific subject in mind, I wax introspective about names and titles, come up with crackpot (and often intentionally humorous) theories, or preach about the importance of consistency. Some of these see the light of day; others rightfully stay hidden from the world.

A well-written personal essay can be grand. My personal favorites – David Sedaris and Laurie Notaro – are both very funny. I suspect that’s because it’s just so easy to find tragedy in the everyday that unearthing comedy from the same materials is a rare gift. Granted, not everything Sedaris and Notaro write is funny, but those occasional serious pauses are all the more meaningful for their rarity.

Alas, though I like to write personal essays, I often don’t know how to end them.

Write on Wednesday

Write on Wednesday for this week is about warm-ups. Warming up is important in a host of activities, from running to singing to, yes, writing. I suppose there are people in this world who can just sit down and churn out great prose, but alas, I am not one of those people. Often my warm-up is a blog post or a book review or a diary entry, but I’ve found even those activities, as unrelated to the task at hand as they may be, help get my mind into the writing groove.

The original post mentions morning pages, as described in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I have a copy of this book on my shelf, and have read up to the start of Week 1, so I know about the morning pages and the artist dates. I’ve never done the date, but I have tried morning pages from time to time. I can’t seem to make them stick. First off, my mornings are already pretty packed: I get up at 5:45am, eat breakfast, make my lunch, take a shower, and go to work. I’ve tried getting up earlier but every time I end up getting sick within a month. I think the idea of morning pages is fantastic; I’ve just had no success at incorporating it into my life.

That said, freewriting is still a big part of my writing practice. I use a writing prompt or just start rambling about whatever’s on my mind at the moment. Sometimes it’s focused freewriting, which is how I approach quality-free challenges such as NaNoWriMo, but most of the time I just let myself wander. From time to time a nugget of a story pops out, and that makes it all worth it.

Write on Wednesday

Okay, so it’s not Wednesday, but I just discovered this blog and I’ve decided to participate here and there. This week’s Write on Wednesday talks about – what else? – NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. I’ve blogged about this before, how it’s a month-long challenge every November to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. I’ve participated four times (2003-2006) and won the latter three times. In 2004 it was a Real Accomplishment. In 2005 I won and got married in the same month. In 2006 I finished in only 13 days. After that I decided that my problem is clearly not blathering on for pages and pages. You see, I have yet to actually read any of my NaNovel manuscripts. I haven’t done any rewriting or editing, and though those stories may conclude with “The End”, they are far from finished.

Do I feel that NaNoWriMo is a waste of time? Of course not! Writing practice is terribly important. The more you write, the better you become. I write pretty much every day, even if it’s just some random scribblings in one of the beat-up old notebooks I drag around with me everywhere. One of these days I may decide to buckle down and churn out a real novel, and I may even use a NaNoWriMo-like schedule to get a first draft. But for now, I think I’m happier doing my own thing. Good luck to all you NaNoers, though. Writing with wild abandon is fun.

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