If I could draw, I'd storyboard my novel rather than outline. The fundamentals of my writing process have always been a little bit of voodoo. I see a word, and it unlocks a door filled with images and sounds, tastes and smells. It's a little spooky at times, but it works. At least, it works with poetry. So far, the outlining is going ok. I've got a fair amount of the structure laid out, I've got a sketch, (figuratively speaking,) of my protagonist and I'm getting a sense of her partner. He's tricky, doesn't like to talk to me much. Shows me things, though. Kind of harrowing things, in fact. I'm covering 30+ years in this venture, I've got a little family tree going, even. That's one part of the puzzle. Do I think I'm going to end up with a fully finished, polished, ready-to-query novel at the end of November? Oh, HELL NAW, I don't. I'm hoping to have a well-constructed and fleshed-out first draft of one.
Part of my process is music. It's an emotional shorthand, it's a mood-setting device. Music focuses me and calms me down. If I know what sort of music a character likes, it's an immediate in. A man that loves Depeche Mode and Nina Simone, drinking Glenmorangie 12 out of the bottle in the rain and covered in mud? I can get to know that man. I have to. After I wrote about a page of rough notes on him, I realized that the music I was listening to, was NOT right. I made a playlist, 200 songs, all over the musical spectrum. It's a start. *mutters to self* "Yes, you really do need the fucking hard drive." Note: Take the change jar to coinstar and get amazon gift card towards hard drive.
I feel pretty solid so far. Weird and without a clue whether anything I'm doing is, "The right way," but I'm not so concerned about that. There's a fantastic group of writers who drifted together on twitter, and I'm lucky to count myself among them.
Now...KITTENS. Just one, actually. here's all the info, including a picture of my new kitten, Ani DiFranco. I'm gonna see what she's like, but I really like the name, so unless the kitten seems totally NOT an Ani, it'll stick. BTW, if you can, throw a couple of dollars Beth's way. Vet bills are insane. Give up a latte, for heaven's sake. Also, if you can support your local no-kill shelter. It could be as simple as picking up a big bag of cat or dog food the next time you're at Sam's Club or Costco or whatever, and taking it to them. Not only do the shelters need help, but a lot of people are having trouble making sure they can feed their pets. There are a lot of folks that would love to keep their pets, but are surrendering because their homes have been foreclosed on and they can't have them in apartments; some, are surrendered because their owner lost a job and UI isn't enough to take care of their family AND pet. So, supplies not only help the shelters, but help them help owners. Think about how you'd feel if it was you, ok?
I did not have any intention of getting another pet. Not now, not anytime in the next 6 months. Losing Zoe, then Spike and knowing that Steppenwolf is not going to make it through another winter... It's a lot to take in one year. When the call went out on twitter, via @bethofalltrades, I re-tweeted and hoped for the best. My friend Jon, nudged and cajoled and irritated me to the point where I looked at the picture of this adorable kitten and couldn't imagine her not having a home. Beth's mom is from Pgh., and is visiting Beth in NY, and now Ani will be hitching a ride to me. Twitter power will not be denied. Saving one kitten at a time, sometimes one person at a time, if we're lucky. I bought Ani's first toy today, it's a squeeeshy sock w catnip, and a bell. The bell may be coming off, as it's on a long elasticized string. I'd prefer it if my kitten doesn't strangle herself. (Seriously, do they not think of these things?)
In other news, I had a total stress crack-up the other day. Weeks and weeks of stress at work, not to mention the underlying 24/7/365 stress of being the head of a household with a disabled parent. (She's got a sharp mind, but the body is in constant agony.) Let's just say that hours of sobbing ensued. I did feel better, which is good. It's like the, "Wall," that runners hit. If you can push through, you end up being in a decent state of mind. The limits of what I can control in the world became perfectly clear. For now.
I'm hoping that the last quarter of the year starts to show a bit of a turnaround. A new year and a birthday coming up, a clean slate to paint and write and make into something completely amazing. I love fresh starts.
So, new novel, new playlist, new kitten, new year coming.
Things can always change, right?