In Lieu of TEC

So I’ve abandoned all strict regularity in regards to The Echo Chambers as you may or may not have noticed. I’ve always done well with deadlines, but not so much with assignments. It’s a strange distinction, I’ll grant you, but there you go. So The Echo Chambers will continue with the ultimate goal of posts three times a week, but I can’t promise it. Alas, when one has a full-time job, it’s hard to do everything one wants to do in the limited space that remains between the work that pays the bills and the work that keeps the household functional.

Sketches 003 Edited

I’ve also been exploring some of the hobbies I’ve let drop off over the years. In fact, TEC is what inspired me to get back into art and painting.

 My friend, the Lovely K, slipped in the little mind-seed that TEC could work well as a graphic novel. With no income, connections, or time to seek out a compatible artist to explore this possibility, I decided to dust off the old pencils and give it a go myself. 

I just had one problem: in the 10+ years of formal art education, I successfully avoided all figure drawing classes.

Beehive Painting

That’s right. I’d never drawn a full person. I excelled at parts, oddly enough. Eyes and hands mostly, as all good art class teenagers must sketch and imbue with Great Meaning. So I found a website that offered still images for practice, joined a weekly figure drawing group, and bought a big sketchbook. I have the TEC pictures in my head. We’ll see if they make it out in any way similar to the mental images, though I still have some practice to do.

I’ve also been practicing with a new style of painting, in keeping with my exploration of the comics design. It’s been fun and productive, even if it’s mostly behind the scenes. I just wanted to give thanks to all those who have and will continue to stick around. Venturing beyond our comfort zones is how we learn and grow, and it’s easier to do with support.

How to Wake Up Early

Presenting NiRei’s tried-and-true, guaran-damn-teed method of waking up and staying up:

Step 1. Relax the night before by reading a book that begins with someone breaking into the heroine’s bedroom while she’s asleep. Then go to bed.

Step 2. Wake up at 3:50 am from a nightmare. In your sleep-fogged mind, convince yourself that there’s someone in the apartment despite the lack of evidence to support that theory.

Step 3. Spend the next few minutes beside the closed bedroom door, trying to work up the courage to venture out into the living room and check the doors and windows. Logic tells you no one’s out there; adrenaline argues otherwise.

Step 4. Startle so bad you bang your knee against the doorframe when you hear a car horn suddenly blare in one long, continuous blast.

Step 5. Curse loudly when you realize that said horn is coming from your car, which has been honking itself every time you turned the wheel while driving but has now apparently learned a new trick.

Step 6. Throw on your bathrobe. Race out of the apartment (making Step 3 moot) barefoot and frantic, past the cute radiologist from next door who’s come outside to see what the hell is going on.

Step 7. Silently acknowledge that you must look as attractive as a half-drowned possum even as you stumble on the stairs in front of said radiologist, curse some more, then run to the car, fumble with your keys, and finally lunge inside to jab the horn and silence it.

Step 8. Tape the horn down so it won’t go off again while explaining to an understandably irate neighbor from the other side of the complex that you were not, in fact, leaning on the horn. Thankfully, your half-tied bathrobe, bed-head hair, and sleep-deprived mutterings seem to convince her that there’s no need to call the authorities.

And it’s as easy as that! With the adrenaline still pumping through you and the fear that your car horn will start to go off again–thus convincing your neighbors that you must die a slow and painful death–sleep is nothing but a dream. (Sorry. Bad pun. I’m going to blame it on sleep-deprivation.)

Here’s to a happy Friday.

The Pen’s There for a Reason

Last night, I was blogging in my head. Not that it does me a lot of good being in my head and all, but there you have it. I’ve decided to take it as a good sign that I may be falling back into the habit. Now all I have to do is translate that habit into something electronic and printed, and it’ll become more than just yet another way my mind likes to keep me up at night.

Naturally, I couldn’t remember a thing I wanted to write about when I woke up this morning. I don’t remember anything other than at one point thinking to myself about a specific line, “Hey, that’s pretty good.” I even keep pen and paper in my nightstand drawer but did I bother to pull it out? Noooo… You’d think I’d have learned by now.

Ah well. What’s life without a few quirks? Besides, it’s those same idiosyncrasies that make characters stand out, so in a way I could consider my own personality ticks a form of research, albeit a vague, meandering, and unhelpful one. *Grins* The ultimate goal in life: to define the world in such a way that it’s able to fit neatly and with finality into a set of personal parameters constructed over time by evolving patterns of experience, environment, and genetics. In other words, to come up with reasons for why we do what we do without having to wonder why we wonder about why we do what we do. Or more succinctly, to find ways to believe our own excuses.

Of course, that’s my take on it, relevant only for as long as I feel the need to grumble about why I don’t want to work on the manuscript I think I should work on.

If this Reillan Ruled the World

Ten Rants on what it’d be like if this Reillan Ruled the World.

1. Mechanics would all be implanted with lie detectors. That way, when they start talking about transmissions, spark plugs, and how you’re going to die any minute because of the problem with the brakes/radiator/tires so you should get them fixed right now for just an added cost of $500 (and that’s with the discount, little lady, because you’re just so pretty), a little light will go off on their foreheads. Green for when they’re telling the truth, and red for “DANGER, Will Robinson, DANGER!”

2. Genre fiction will be included at all universities as a standard part of their English programs. Broadening one’s horizons should include more than just Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, and Shakespeare.

3. Eating an ounce of dark chocolate would burn calories equivalent to a half-mile jog. Eat more, lose more.Box of Chocolates

4. Everyone would have to walk a while in someone else’s shoes. Are you a bit of a misogynist? You get to work in a male-dominated environment with Joe “God’s Gift to Women” Smith over in Accounting. (Don’t forget the high heels, honey. You’re a professional after all.) Tend toward racism? Then you get to try a whole new look and hit the job market. Think that waiter doesn’t deserve his tip because he forgot your water? You guessed it; time to live on a budget and off those tips.

5. Recess, art, and music would never be taken out of schools’ curricula.

6. Do I even have to mention peace on earth, or is that just assumed by now?

7. Double Standards need not apply.

8. There’d be a fantastic rock radio station in every city. (Hey, this is my world here, remember? If I want rock, I get rock. Amazing how frustrating the lack of a decent radio station can be.)

9. More people would read.

10. Last but not least, I’d be able to earn a decent living with my writing. And, this being fantasy, I may as well add that the life of a full-time writer would not be fraught with overdue royalty checks, ugly book covers, carpal tunnel syndrome, poor sales, isolation, lack of exercise, condescension from fiction snobs, or any of the other foibles of the profession.

Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Out of the Frying Pan…

Well, I’m back. 🙂 I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. My status on this first day of December stands as follows:

1. NaNoWriMo ended at a little over 20,000 words. I just had too many problems crop up that couldn’t be set aside, but some of those problems also reminded me of why I want to write.

2. I still want to complete 50,000 words of my WIP, BEAR, by the end of December. This includes, of course, the Christmas holidays. My family may be a little off-put about it, but I need to work.

3. I’m also more determined than ever to revise CAROLINA NORTH and renew my search for an agent. I know what needs to be done with the manuscript, and I think I know how to do it, I just need to get it done.

It’s hard trying to get back into the swing of things after this past week, but I’m already plotting the next thousand words of BEAR for tonight. I’ve written the manuscript into a lull, so I’ve arranged a couple of events that should shake things up again. I don’t mind lulls so long as they don’t hang around long. They can always be edited or tightened later. So ready or not, it’s back into the fire for me. 🙂

A Brief (and Current) NaNoWriMo Update

Word Count: See Day 6

NaNoWriMo has temporarily stalled. “Why?” you ask. Well, dear friend, wipe those tears from your eyes and raise your chin because all is not lost. NaNoWriMo has stalled because my car has stalled–er, ceased to move at any rate. My trusty, faithful Chloe (aka my car) still has her Go Get ‘Em attitude, but currently has the equivalent of a fractured leg. She can’t even limp along.

Why does this affect my writing schedule? Because now, on top of the Day Job, I have been negotiating with insurance companies, tow truck drivers, and my archnemsis: The Mechanic.

Dum-da-duuum [Dramatic music for emphasis]

This adventure (ahem) has taught me three things:

1. When bestowed the gracious honor of being your local chapter’s Librarian, remember that keeping the library itself in the trunk of your car is only efficient when you actually have your car.

2. Despite how many times I’ve said this is in the past, it apparently bears repeating. I need to take a basic automotive course or buy a book. Just something so when someone says “lower ball joint”, my first thought isn’t related to anatomy.

3. I have some truly wonderful people in my life.