Saturday, August 25, 2012

I am sad

I haven't been posting much lately, but I feel like I have to say something.

In my little bio on the side bar it says that I stopped writing at 17 to pursue my dream of doing science.

It's not true.

It should say: "At the tender age of 17, I was completely convinced I needed to go to the moon. I had read all the Life magazine profiles of the Apollo astronauts, and more than anything I wanted to get my hands on a rock from the moon. I wanted to stand on that world and gaze back at the Earth--finally quiet--and contemplate the vastness of existence. To that end, I picked up a career in science because even I knew I'd make a crummy test pilot (Ummm, yeah, so no one's flown it yet? why don't you have one of those other guys give it a shot firs...). I assembled models, comparing to images to make sure they were accurate. I researched the application for astronaut training, and I even went to space camp to make sure I had the best chance ever of getting in."

In that pursuit, I read The Right Stuff, and figured out what it meant to be a steely eyed missile man. I watched the movie The Right Stuff, and that was my first introduction to the Planets by Holst (seriously awesome, and they used Jupiter a lot). But something happened today that I never anticipated in all my dreaming of joining up to shake the bounds of our gravity well:

Neil Armstrong has died.

I doubt I'm breaking this news to anyone, but I'm... well, I'm heartbroken. It seems only logical. I mean he was 82. Sally Ride was only in her sixties. That was shocking. But this? I just don't know what to say. And so close to the death of Sally, my other great hero, it's hard to process. How can all of these people whose mere existence changed the course of my life be dying?  It's like they were somehow the embodiment of my dreams. I guess that's why it feels like my dreams are dying.

I am sad.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stuck in an 80s movie music montage (80MMM

The 80s movie music montage, or 80MMM for short, is that scene in every 80s movie where our lowly padawan goes from getting their butt kicked at the bus stop to being the bad A55 who wins the black belt tournament.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try out this classic MMM here.

This is one of the reasons that I both love and hate those movies. First, I love that the skip the boring part where the people are going from n00b sandwich, to Awesome Sauce sprinkled liberally on toast. That’s important in a movie. Skip the boring stuff. In books too, of course. Really any form of entertainment should skip the boring stuff.

The problem is that then we don’t know how to manage the boring stuff in real life.

I am stuck in the 80MMM.

And it looks like I’m going to be here for the next foreseeable month or three. And it’s boring, hard, grueling work. Why can’t I just have a Divo song play and then I transform into pure awesome? Why world? Why?

The answer is simple, sad, and straightforward. I haven’t learned anything in the length of time it takes for a Flock of Seagulls song to play. The whole getting better thing takes time. And writing a novel? That takes time too. Everything of value takes forever as far as I can tell. If you don’t pay the time, you just don’t get the end results. There are no shortcuts.

I’m just stuck in the boring part, and I don’t even get the cool camera angles or the awesome soundtrack…

And speaking of the 80s, did you see the costumes the Pet Shop Boys wore at the Olympics? I think I might need that hat.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Would that be Alchemy Punk?

It’s the What if blogfest!

I’m writing for team Plot Twist (note the pretty picture, man I love twisty straws, why don’t I have a twisty straw). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go here and sign up, you can join and post pretty much all week long. The piece needs to be a scene from the story that demonstrates the what if aspect of your story. 

Here I go:


If I do this right, you will never know my name. History will wipe me from existence, and prophecy will be served by a pig boy.

I saw Arthur die. The boy-to-be-king fell from his horse on his way to Avalon. They brought him inside my father’s hut, but no magic could save him from a rock through the skull. Old man Merlin, didn’t know what to do, and he started to drink. He never stopped. Father needed a new gate latch, and Merlin fashioned one from metal. From that day on, the ancient wizard took up metal craft to pay for his mead. He was too drunk for magic, but even a drunkard knows England cannot survive without a king. There was still prophecy to be served: he who pulls the sword from the stone shall be king. And that person was named Arthur.

Arthur’s dead, but Merlin said I was the same age.

In secret, we worked in his forge. We made clever—magical—discs with teeth that laced together, and when I wore the suit of discs, I had the strength of ten men. He built a shell of scales to cover the suit, metal dragon skin. We left in the night to avoid the Romans. We stole a plow horse—no normal riding horses could carry me in the suit.

When we reached the sword in the stone, I expected something grand, but only old men and children camped around hoping to see a miracle. Maybe they’ll be enough.

I wrapped my fingers around the hilt and heaved. The discs whined, and I pulled. Only the worthy may pull the sword from the stone. I pulled anyway. The discs slipped and with a hiss, the sword shipped free. Now to be king.

Call me Arthur.

Let me know what you think, and go check out Write On Con. It starts in just a few hours…

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


A bunch of people have mentioned that they can't sew or sewed a long time ago.

And that's pretty much true for me too. My aunt taught me to sew when I was eight. It was A: not easy, and B: very humbling.

But like everything else in the world, I got better with practice. I used my grandmother's sewing machine, an actual antique, and I got better and more proficient. I'd like to say that I'm not actually very good, and most of my sewing goes into making costumes. Because they aren't usually for everyday wear (I wish, the clothes I make for myself fit better than the ones I buy for myself!) I take short cuts, and those are risky, but sometimes it pays off....

Sometimes it makes a hat that has to be remade completely.

And yes, sewing is an awful lot like writing.

(Here's the hat.)


Monday, August 6, 2012

And for my next trick...

I’ve spent most of the weekend reducing piles of cloth into clothing and hats with nothing but a sharp pointed stick of metal and some string.

It sounds pretty mystical when you say it like that, but really, there’s very little magical about sewing. The most impressive thing about sewing is that we pay other people to do it for us (and they have the gall to charge $80 for a pair of slacks??? You must be joking). With sewing, the most difficult part is taking something that is completely flat and fitting it onto a human body, which is not (unless you’re a 10 year old boy, but even they have some curves). You have to know how to sew curved edges to straight edges, and once you crack that mystical barrier, the whole sewing thing steadily becomes easier.(I have pictures, but I can't find that silly cord that connects my computer to a camera.)

But it’s not really that simple. I took my considerable experience and sewed a witch's hat, and learned once again that I do not know everything I need to know about sewing (the hat is too small for me to wear, so I’ll be crafting another or getting some bobby pins to hold it in place…).

Writing is sort of like that. Using nothing but twenty six letters and a handful of punctuation, we build whole worlds. It sounds pretty mystical when you say it like that. Once we have the basics, we can put our thoughts onto paper for someone else to experience. How cool is that? Sure we make mistakes, and sometimes we put a curve where there should be a straight line, and the hat's too small to wear. That's part of the process, that's a rewrite. I'm really enjoying my writing and my sewing. But I’m only human, and making costumes takes a lot of time. So does revising a dissertation. Also, next week is Write On Con. Because I’m only human, I think I’m going to blog a little bit less. I don’t know for how long these tasks will slow me down, but expect a few cheating posts where I show off my L337 Ski11z with a needle and thread. I’m also signed up for a couple blogfests that I’ve already done a bunch of leg work for, so that’s what you can expect out of August. I promise I'm still around, just not as much...

Also, if you haven’t seen, the Game On Blog Tour started today!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Yay, blog awards

The ever sweet Kathy at Imagine Today gave me the versatile blogger award wrapped up with a Fabulous Ribbon (Thank you!). As you all know, I’m a rule breaker, but today I’m planning to not break rules, or rather, break the rules I want.

The Rules for Versatile Blogger are:
1. Thank and link back to person who gave you award (done)
2. List the rules (right here, watch me go)
3. List seven random facts about yourself (find those below)
4. Nominate 10 people for the award and notify them (I’m breaking this one)

Seven Random facts about me: (I’ve done these a few times now, so I’m sorry if I’m starting to repeat, I’m not that interesting…)
1. My two biggest fears are nuclear bombs and bollide impactors
2. I know exactly two songs that I can play all the way through on the piano despite owning a baby grand (I inherited it from someone who could really play).
3. I have a scar on my leg from the exhaust pipe of a 1960 corvette. For the longest time, I took the crescent moon shape of my scar as an indication that my super powers were bound to come in any day. (And unless dark humor is a super power, they have yet to come in. I’m waiting…)
4. I once walked past one of those “find a pearl in an oyster” stands in Hawaii. The guy heckled me asking me to “Pick a pearl, pick a pearl.” I told him it wouldn’t be fair to him, and he asked why. “Because I’m going to pick an oyster with two matching black pearls, and you’re never going to be the same.” I had no idea what I was saying, but he scoffed at me sort of rudely. I said. “I warned you,” and picked an oyster. Out popped two matched black pearls. The guy nearly passed out. I had the pearls set in a pair of earrings. (I still don’t know how that happened).
5. I once got tipped for letting someone else merge into a line of traffic at a ferry terminal (seriously, 5 bucks, but when I went to give it back, he’d already landed his ferry and left).
6. I was so happy when I saw they were rereleasing the Sailor Moon Manga that I jumped up and down and doing the happy dance in Hastings. (And they’re doing a remake of Sailor Moon, but I’m sort of scared, what if it’s not as awesome… The fears we have to live with.)
7. I wish I could get many of the clothes my daughter wears in my size.

The Rules for Fabulous Blog Ribbon are:
1. Post the rules
2. Name five of your most fabulous moments in real life or in the blogosphere
3. Name five things you love
4. Name five things you hate
5. Pass it to five other blogger

Five of my most fabulous moments
1. The cliché moment, but my life just changed when my daughter was born.
2. I once woke up from a dream that made me feel so powerful that I wrote a novel about it in less than a month. Trying to share that feeling of empowerment is why I still write.
3. Dueling in Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
4. Every time I’ve stood at the top of a mountain and looked out across the landscape below.
5. Yule Ball at Dragon*Con. Absolutely fabulous.

Five things I love:
1. Comic books
2. Portal Stories/magical girls/horse/talking animal/dragons/unicorns (preferably all in one book).
3. Dessert
4. The smell of a freshly opened box of tea. Do they put crack in that?
5. Standing in the rain.

Five things I hate:
1. I hate that despite having to pay into unemployment, my job doesn’t allow me to qualify for unemployment benefits (how is that fair?).
2. I hate that dessert has calories.
3. I hate when movies use infants and dogs to up the tension in a movie. Cheap, do better work Hollywood!
4. And speaking of Hollywood, I hate that I’ve wasted both time and money on Uwe Boll’s movies. It was before I knew to pay attention to things like directors, but seriously? Wing Commander? That may actually be the worst movie ever.
5. I hate that most of my favorite songs are one hit wonders. As in I wonder where they got that from?

Okay, if you’ve made it this far, Thanks! I’m not passing these on today, but some day really soon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

IWSG: The eighth girl

Wow, these have been going on for almost a year now. If you haven’t come across one of these before, be sure to hop on over to Ninja Captain Alex and sign up.

I’m sure I’m not alone in watching a ton of Olympics action lately, and I’ve been struck by something: the cost of being an Olympian. I was watching an interview with a former gymnast from the 1996 games, and in the interview she said they were still paying off credit cards. Sixteen years later and they’re still paying it off.

And that made my heart sink because honestly, only seven girls made that team. You might have noticed the teams are smaller now, just five girls for the women’s competition. Five. We live in a country with right around 300 million people, and we sent five.

Okay, I can hear what you’re saying, at least half of them aren’t even the right gender, and three quarters of those who are left are too old to pursue gymnastic as a career. That drops the number down to 40 million girls who may (or may not) have dreamed to be on the team. Just make the team, mind you, not even medal. Then I immediately thought about that eighth girl, the one who was damned close, but just not good enough to make it. Once you make the Olympics, you’ve already sacrificed and paid for trainers, moved away from home and sacrificed your childhood. And that eighth girl didn’t make it.

In the interview, they asked the gold medal winning Olympian if it was worth it. Of course her answer was yes. I want to ask that eighth girl. Was it worth it? She sacrificed and trained and went to worlds, but was never good enough to take home the gold medal at the Olympics.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m that eighth girl. I’ve accomplished more than I ever planned to. I’ve come closer than I’d ever hoped to, but is close good enough? Will this all be worth it? I read about great authors who just stick with it forever before landing a contract and an agent (I’m looking at you Beth Revis who had a book go to the acquisitions committee and get turned down). I don’t know if I have that ability to pick up and keep going. Could I suffer the heart break of that eighth girl and still keep to it? Would it have been worth it?

Luckily, this isn’t gymnastics, so I don’t have to drop it all if I miss on the first run up. Gymnasts need to be young to make the Olympics, so they have one, maybe two shots at it. But with writing, I can have as many chances as I want or need. How many times can I survive being the eighth girl? How many times can I brush up against my dreams and be turned around and sent back to the keyboard?

Do I have it in me? I don’t know, but I’m finding out.