Saturday, November 28, 2009

Painful book binges and other hazards of being a book nerd

I guess I lucked out in my self-control battle.  I forgot how when I use my arm on my days off for things such as moving books (or washing dishes or cleaning the bathroom), I pay for it in added pain.  Depending on how much I use it, sometimes I end up not being able to sleep at night.  This used to just be frustrating and exhausting, but that was before I started reading No More Sleepless Nights.

This book actually helped with an inner debate I was having about sleeplessness and reading.  It advises that on those nights where you're not sleeping, you need to get up, turn on the lights and do something (such as reading something you like). 

The book did not comment on whether your brain will then see sleeplessness as a reward, but, seriously, with the exhaustion, loss of coordination and coherence, and stress from trying to keep alert while driving, I don't think my brain could be messed up enough to equate sleeplessness with happy things.  I guess we'll see.

So I still kind of had my book binge, just in the wee hours of the morning the day after Thanksgiving.  I was kept company in my lack of sleep by all those folks out shopping at stores open insanely early in the physical world or online.  At least they got something done.

So did I: about 200 pages.  I stopped when I hit a patch of something that screams Too Convenient Plot Device Designed to End This Madness at Book 6, So I Can Get on with Writing More Dresden Files Books.  I realized that I didn't have a problem with that.  :)

I'm waiting to find out what will happen to the Codex Alera's most notorious traitor because I am desperately and shamelessly still looking for a way to save my own traitor in my story without it feeling cheap. 

I think reading the Night Angel Trilogy was bad for me because it set new standards of honest author brutalityagainst characters in keeping with the world one has created, and anything less than that amount of darkness feels like a fakey happy ending.  Uh-oh. 

Not that a completely happy ending is likely at this point for many reasons, but, you know, some things will end well.  Probably.

When you can't sleep, what do you do?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Happy Thanksgiving, Booknerd Style

I had all sorts of plans for Thanksgiving, but because I am a big, huge, booknerd, I spent a significant amount of time rearranging my book and DVD collection, and I feel fantastic!  No more clutter; everything alphabetized (mostly) and neat, thoughtful decorations spaced well, no more dust.  My 385 square feet feel much better.  I feel much better.  Even though I didn't get much else done.

At least I managed not to book-binge on First Lord's Fury.  Successful use of willpower!  Kind of.  Since I didn't manage to do anything else I wanted to . . .  I'm so glad to have so much to read!  What a blessing!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fighting temptation (First Lord's Fury)

I am trying to prevent myself from going on a book binge on Thanksgiving.  I blame peer pressure.

Jim Butcher's new book is not a Dresden Files book (to my sadness), but it will still be great, and all my book friends will read it.  If I don't read it now, while I have the chance, I'll have to put it off until after I find a new job, which could be years from now.  (If I don't get fired, but that's another story.)

Anyway, I hate having things spoiled for me by people, and the more people I know who will be reading a book, the higher the chance of spoilerific actions.  My solution is to try to read it first.  Unfortunately, I have all manner of plans for my waking hours tomorrow, such as cleaning, job applications, writing submissions, a really nice dinner, and a whole lot of peace and quiet, with no crying. 

If I read this book, I'm sure there will be crying, and I'm sure that at the end of it, the story won't actually be over, and I'll be left hanging like at the end of the last one, and it will make me crazy.

Clearly, for the sake of my sanity, I should read the book.  But I can't afford the time.  Self-control, wherefore art thou?  Stay tuned.

Has this ever happened to you?  Did you stay strong or give into temptation?  What was the book?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving for writers '09

I sent out another submission yesterday.  I picked up the journal in question last time I was at the library, and I found some really great stuff in it, which makes me despair because I'm not nearly that good, but it also makes me excited at the chance to try to be published alongside those great writers. 

I think I'm going to try to get another submission or two out on Thanksgiving since I have the day off.  I'll need a break from resumes and job applications.  Maybe I'll read one of my rainy day books, too.  It's supposed to snow, so I'll be watching for that, too.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Uses for sweaters

In Japan, I discovered that I am allergic to buckwheat pillows, which should be illegal anyway.  We spent several nights in some cute business hotels that reminded me of home because they were small and efficient.  These establishments seem to prefer the buckwheat pillows, which are probably slightly less uncomfortable than, say, buckshot pillows would be.

It's a good thing I had packed those ridiculous sweaters (in case the temperature dipped and I needed another blanket) because they rolled up decently to serve as pillows and could be worn on the way home to make more room in the suitcase for the ridiculous number of used books and cute toys that came home with me.  At least I'm consistent.  (And much more souvenir-savvy after my travels. :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Books for Dessert

Do you ever withhold books from yourself?  Do you refuse to let yourself read something you really want to in order to use it as a reward if you're good?  Do you save them for the next bad day, so you can read them and feel better?  (Or do you go for books you've already read and know are excellent to pick you up after a bad fall?)  Are you doing this with any books right now?  Do share. 

Here's a partial list of mine:
  • Front and Center by Murdock
  • Pluto 6 by Urasawa 
  • Grace Notes by Dove
  • Crocodile Tears by Horowitz
  • Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  • Apprenticed to Hope by Julie Neraas
  • The Ode Less Traveled by Fry
  • Unseen Academicals by Pratchett
  • The Clown in the Belfry by Buechner

Monday, November 16, 2009

How writing is like being a cow, kind of . . .

I enjoyed this bit of an article a lot as a creative person.

The best example of this third kind of time wasting is a cow. A cow is a miracle on four legs, producing milk that fuels all kinds of people. But if you look carefully at a cow through the day, it looks remarkably unproductive. It spends hours chewing and then re-chewing. It takes less than five minutes to download the milk that it took 24 hours to produce.

But when you're creating milk, you just can't make it go any faster. There are limits in the creativity game.

If you are going to create, you need some time to chew the grass and stare into space.

In my experience, the more creative people are, the more space-staring they need to do. You can make instant coffee. But milk takes time.

For me, production-enhancement time wasting usually involves some activity that I love just for its own sake. I read history. I go to the ocean and stare at the waves. I do a crossword puzzle. I call up a friend. I put a fire in the fire pit outside. I play the piano.

What do you do?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

autumn haiku

today I feel dry
leaves drag across the asphalt
swept by wind brooms

or something like that

I'll keep tweaking it

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why I copy quotes from what I read

 "Writing is, in short, the most perfect and passionate way of reading, which is doubtless why adolescents, who usually have more time on their hands, often take the trouble to write out a poem they really love: rewriting is not only a way of appropriating a text, of adopting and endorsing it; it's also the best, most exact, most alert, most certain way of reading it."

"My Favorite Book"
by Javiar Marias
translated by Margaret Jull Costa
The Threepenny Review
Fall 09 Issue, page 15

Monday, November 9, 2009

What I considered naming my car

What I considered naming my car
  • Dumbo (you should see the side view mirrors)
  • Deathscythe
  • ARC (until the license plate got stolen)

What I call my car

  • (Poor) Little Car

What I have decided I would name my car if I drove a Chevy Impala
  • Vlad

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Someone else's good rant for anyone with a job (dreamy or otherwise)

Well, Patrick Rothfuss is still at work on his next book(s), for which I am happy!  He recently posted this bit about being a writer.  It made me laugh.

"But the gist of my theory is that, in general, people think of writers as a different sort of person. And by extension, writing is a different sort of work. It's strange and wonderful. It's a mystic process. It can't be quantified. It's not chemistry, it's alchemy.

"While some of that is true, this belief makes it really difficult for me to bitch about my job."

Ah.  It is indeed "an inalienable right," in my opinion, to complain about one's job.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An epigraph I might want to use for a book of poetry

"Poetry starts a conversation, like a story - it's a great way to begin a conversation."
- Julie Neraas

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quote about acknowledging the weird

"I'd like to thank people who read and think and people who have made me think and read and those who think while reading and read while thinking, but you shouldn't read while driving because that's a safety issue."

- from Going Bovine by Libba Bray on page vii of her hilariously kooky Acknowledgments section