Ruminations on Writing: My Aging Brain and Trying to Keep it Shipshape and Yar During Session

So this year, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to not take a hiatus from writing during the legislative session. I’ve mentioned time and again how after a prolonged break from writing it feels like my writing muscle has atrophied and I need to build it up again.  It’s getting harder and harder to tone it back up these days.  Compounding the stress of session with the stress of writing might be the height of folly, and I’m sure there will be episodes of frustration and failure, but I think it’s something I should attempt.

I’ve noticed that those elusive, transcendent periods of writing flow, where the words and the story stream from mind to page in a euphoric epiphany of rightness are becoming not so much elusive as extinct.  I’ve waved the “Writing is Hard Work” banner at nearly every panel I’ve spoken on.  I know better than to expect cake.  But there have been vast stretches of time—months and months and months—where it seems all my hours of writing, day after day, have been spent groping for words that never come.  I’d almost forgotten what flow felt like until one day last month when I was working on an additional scene for Demon Queller, and I hit it.   Then it was totally, “Oh, yeah.  I remember this. This is what writing-love feels like. Where have you been, baby?”  And I realized that the last time I remembered hitting flow was…one year, no two, maybe could it have been even longer ago?  And that made me go buggy.

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Day 1 of the 2011 Georgia Legislative Session

Georgia’s Governor has declared a state of emergency because of the winter storm, but it’s Day 1 of the legislative session so I braved the snowy roads anyway.  Was creeping along on 400, nearing exit 5, in the home stretch…only to discover the ramp to the North Springs MARTA station was closed.

Glargh!

Much swearing and Droid consultation commenced (I pulled into a Home Depot parking lot to do both) and I made it to the Sandy Springs station. Waiting (and freezing) now.  I’m definitely going to be late, even though I gave myself an extra 40 minutes.

Not an auspicious beginning to the 2011 legislative session.

Ruckus at the Capitol: Lost Valentine Filming

Came in to work this morning to see huge equipment trucks parked in front of the capitol.  Seems they’re shooting a movie here today. A quick Google check informs me that it’s Lost Valentine starring Betty White and Jennifer Love-Hewitt.

They’ve set up white lighting backdrops and several furniture prop pieces in the rotunda.  I’m amused that all it takes is a few long benches to transform the interior of the Georgia State Capitol into a train station:

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The Day After, Conventions, and Linguistic Subconscious

The morning after Day 40, and the atmosphere in my office is totally transformed. So peaceful, so quiet, so serene. ‘Course there’s hardly anyone here, but even so, it’s like a benevolent wind came and whisked away all the tension and anxiety and stress, leaving everyone blinking and grinning.

Although I am a little scared to open up my to-do list or bring up all the emails I’ve flagged as “needs response.”

In other news, I got my official guest approval letter from Dragon*Con the other day. I’ll again be wearing multiple hats at D*C this year. And OutlantaCon begins today. I’ll be at the opening ceremonies tonight. Hope to see folks there!

   


Writing Stuff

Haven’t had much time for writing these last couple days—a situation which is greatly alleviated now—so only managed something like 300 new words on “Rampion.” Did have an amusing instance of subconscious serendipity though.

I like for the names I give my characters to be somehow meaningful to their nature or their role in the story. I often spend far too long researching etymologies and the meaning of names to find just the right one, although I also sometimes just use whatever strikes my fancy at the time.

In my current WiP, I have a character who is obsessive, driven to assuage an unappeasable intellectual hunger, and I came to the point of “he needs a name now” while in the middle of some good writing flow. So I didn’t want to pause to do my usual name deliberation. Often in circumstances like that, I just stick in “XXXX” and go back later and do a Find–>Replace on the appropriate holder text. But this time, the name “Esur” popped into my head, and it felt right. So Esur he became.

This morning, while I was groping for a synonym for “hungry,” thesaurus.com offered me “esurient.”

“Wha—?” sez I.

My vocabulary is fairly respectable, at least so sayeth all the standardized tests I’ve taken in my life, but this was a new word for me. Hopped out to etymonline.com and discovered that it’s from the Latin esurientem, the present participle of esurire, “to be hungry.”

Huh.

My Latin is nonexistent (to my enduring regret, I listened to my mother and took Russian in high school instead of Latin). So was this a cosmic coincidence or some odd linguistic quirk of my subconscious? I’m going with quirk. It’s cooler.

Day 40: Sine Die, Callooh! Callay!

It’s Day 40, the last day of the 2010 Georgia legislative session. O frabjous day! There were vast swaths of this year where I wasn’t sure it was ever going to come, that we were trapped in some malevolent, infinitely recursive loop of never-ending, perpetual session.

There’s still today to get through, of course, and it promises to be a looong day laden with uck. But that’s okay; I brought my bunny slippers. Tomorrow it will be over, and next week I go back to a 4-day workweek.

Happy sine die.

Day 39 of Session 2010, Writing Progress, OutlantaCon update

It’s Day 39, the penultimate day of the 2010 Georgia Legislative Session. Thank Jeebus it’s finally here.

This session has been light on the midnight oil and slammed-unto-death days, but it’s been the longest session evah, time-wise. I’d rather have more oily-slammed days and have session end in March than this extended twitch-when-will-it-be-over-twitch stress which permeates the office. Gah.

Clawing my way to the end of this week with broken and jagged fingernails, woo.


Writing Stuff

  • Got an update on my panel schedule from the OutlantaCon folks. I’ve also been slated to be on “Beware of Homophobes, Homophobes Beware” Sat. at 6PM: Would you boycott purchasing an anthology that had writers you like in it, just because one story was by a known, vehement homophobe? Would you refuse to submit to a publication that included homophobic writers?
  • And I’ve been invited to be a guest at Sci Fi Summer Con in June.

New Words:

  • 3K words on “Rampion” and it’s officially a novelette. Hmph. How did that happen?

State of the Eugie

The General Assembly has set out its schedule for the remainder of this year’s legislative session. We will be adjourning sine die on April 29th.

Blargh.

So not soon enough. This extended session is running roughshod over me. My concentration is shot. The towering stack of items in my to-do list is about one “reply to person x’s email” from becoming sentient and rampaging through downtown Atlanta. And now my wingstubs have started acting up.

It’s not that it’s been a particularly hellish day-in-day-out sort of session; it hasn’t. But the prolonged stress permeating our office and the capitol is thrashing my already less-than-robust immune system. My energy level is way down, and when that starts crashing, it dominoes into all my other sundry human suit issues. I’ve even upped my stimulants to try to counteract the worst of it, and my brain still just flatlines once afternoon hits. I’m loathe (and somewhat scared) to increase it any more, so in order to restore my faculties to some semblance of wakefulness, I have to down enough caffeine to make me sick to my stomach—and I’m not doing that again anytime soon.

So yeah. Glad to have a date when this interminable session will end. But gawd, I wish it were sooner.

[/whine]