This Week

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Life

Hello from the midst of another Portland ice-pocalypse! FunkyPlaid and I have a fire going in the fireplace and still have power, but the sidewalks and roads are covered with ice. Now that I have somewhat recovered from last year’s Project 365, I thought I’d attempt this weekly review again.

To combat the winter doldrums, I’ve restarted my daily mood tracking with Exist, which also integrates data from various other services I use to find trends and correlations. Some of the correlations will be obvious — like a better mood on weekends — but I am looking forward to the less obvious ones.

One of the services that Exist integrates is RescueTime, which I use to track how I’m using my computer time. It tells me that I have been 65% productive, which is a 10.2% increase from last week. (That is an overall productivity score, not only during work hours, so it also includes how much faffing off I do online during nights and weekends. This is intentional.)

Work

Three big deadlines hit all at once, which means that I spent too long in my office and felt pretty disconnected from my team. When I got home each night after work, I was too drained to do anything useful. But somehow I managed to begin a new short story draft!

Media

I finished reading Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt which is a gorgeous novel. It perfectly captures that free-fall of a passionate love affair and all the ennui-ridden rumination that accompanies it. I’m looking forward to watching Carol now that I have read the source material.

I started reading You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life because that seems like a good plan for 2017.

This week I have been listening to a lot of Real Jazz on SiriusXM. I also listened to the La La Land soundtrack a couple of times and finally listened to the newest Dinosaur Jr. album, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not. Hearing Dinosaur Jr. again prompted me to once again attempt to reconstruct one of the best mixtapes I have ever received. (Adam, if you’re reading this, that mixtape haunts my dreams.)

FunkyPlaid and I saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and enjoyed it quite a bit. We also finished watching Westworld, which was ultimately a disappointment. I loved the first few episodes, at least. Then we started watching Luke Cage which I like so much more than Jessica Jones!

On the Internet

[ more tweets & retweets, etc. ._.-. this section will be better in the future ]

Ink o’ the Week

I gave Rohrer & Klingner’s Verdigris another go, but it is too dark for me. I’m still enamored with the cool greenish-grey of De Atramentis Charles Dickens. Maybe I should look for an ice-blue to go with all of this wintry weather … recommendations?

Day 282 of Project 365: Reading old drafts.

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Today’s big task was to reboot my writing routine, so I downloaded Scrivener for iOS and synched some manuscript drafts to my iPad. I love using Scrivener on my Mac, and I’m so glad that the iOS app was worth the wait.

While learning how to use Scrivener for iOS, I re-read part of last year’s NaNoWriMo manuscript. I had become somewhat disheartened about it after telling a few people bits and pieces of the plot and worrying over their responses. Re-reading the draft today affirmed my belief that there is a story I want to tell in there, and it’s got solid bones that I can edit into something good.

I won’t make the same mistake again, though; from now on, I’ll keep the details of early drafts all to myself.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: soft autumn rain.

Day 241 of Project 365: Time is on my side.

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Lately I’ve been struggling with time management. At work, there rarely seems to be enough time to get things done. At home, there is never enough time to relax before I have to get back to work. And on the bus, time smushes up so that even when I have extra hours to read, to listen to podcasts, or simply to ponder life, I do a little of those and a lot more dozing off.

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One thing is for certain right now: I’m not spending enough time writing. I’m heartsick whenever I realize another day has gone by without significant progress on any draft. Eleven weeks into the new job and I’m fixating on being unable to write short stories on the bus. Something is wrong here and I need to figure it out.

Day 16 of Project 365: Panda says relax.

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Many hours later, I am still riding the high of an epic karaoke evening with Writers’ Bloc. The month I moved here I saw them perform for the first time and thought to myself, “I would love to be in Writers’ Bloc someday.”

A year later, I was.

Since then, we have shared many pints in the back room of a local pub, critiquing and scheming and blethering on. I’ve been lucky enough to perform with them a few times, too. Both the critiques and the performances have been invaluable, and I would not have half the excitement for and confidence in writing that I currently do had it not been for Bloc’s influence.

One of the pre-karaoke cocktails I had at Panda & Sons had a hidden message folded up and tucked into it. Panda said relax, and I listened, and I sang, and I laughed, and I will remember.

Writing from: a frosty lounge in Edinburgh. Listening to: the anti-karaoke, Chopin’s Nocturnes.

Day 14 of Project 365: Be ready.

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On the way to the Writers’ Bloc meeting tonight, Gav pointed out this pair of boots stranded on Princes Street. I’d like to make up a story about how they came to be stranded on Princes Street, but I know the truth.

The person last seen wearing these boots was walking down Princes Street, minding her own business, humming a tuneless tune to herself. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone approach, and her heart immediately sank; she knew the types in brightly-coloured jackets who lunged cheerfully into one’s path and asked for donations to good causes. She walked faster but could not shake the figure who now loomed into her space. Before she could beg off the donation with mumbled appeasements, a piece of paper was thrust into her hands. She squinted after the hastily retreating figure and then back to what it had given her.

“If you want to fly, jump now,” the paper read. She turned the paper over in her hands, looking for any distinguishing marks, or caveats, or disclaimers. Fly? For how long? To where? And jump? A big jump or a little jump or straight up or to the side or …?

She stopped walking then. She folded the piece of paper once and put it into her pocket. And then she looked up, way up until her eyes unfocused, and she jumped. The boots couldn’t go where she was going, so they stayed behind.

When you encounter an opportunity that scares you, be ready.