Round Two Sunday Three

Wow, folks, I am on a roll. Here I am checking in again. I am still posting more consistently, even beyond the A-Z blogging challenge. Since all the posts were 90% written before April started, I can’t count them as proving consistency now. However, I am checking in more consistently than I have since, oh, 2016 or so. I have to tweak Y and Z, but T through X are scheduled.

After a rocky start last week, I did manage to write or edit for at least two hours a day Wednesday through Saturday. A lot of it was transcribing handwritten notes into a piece, but no one was going to magically do it for me, so it counts.

On the theme of life finding reasons to give one perspective, I looked back at the goal I set last Wednesday: Plan the move into the sabbatical space, for at least an hour a day for the next ten days. My perspective was altered by my boss, who told me Thursday morning that I have to vacate my current office by close of business April 30. Although my current office is a cubicle, it is a large “Head of Department” cubicle, with floor to ceiling windows. I have to move to a cubicle about half the size, with no windows. I regret even more how much I have accumulated in this office over the past six-plus years.

Need I say that I am looking forward to my sabbatical? I met my goal of planning for the move today, after 7 hours of packing. I am now going to concentrate on maintaining my writing goal: Write or edit for at least two hours five days a week, and increasing it on May 1.

Excelsior, everyone. I had to learn Longfellow’s poem of that title in third grade–imagine my surprise when I moved to New York State and saw the motto on the flag: Excelsior. Have a lovely week. Please visit the other RoWers here  or in the FB group.


RoW80 Checkin Spring Cleaning

It has been a busy few days since last Wednesday.  I found out that the president of the university approved my tenure, so I am not completely crazy to have bought a house.  We had a break from packing for (wait for it) cleaning!  I suppose I had let spring cleaning go this year, but it is finally nice out and I’ve opened all the windows while I scrub counters and walls and get cobwebs out of corners. I decided the idea of the house looking staged was not my problem, so I took down and carefully packed all our framed pictures.  Now at almost the close of the weekend, we can manage to make the place look neat with a few hours notice.

As for goals, my writing has been slow this past week.  I had to catch up on a course for work that is, well, just awful.  It ends this week, thankfully, with a group project, not so thankfully. I did spend a massive amount of time decluttering my cubicle at work this past week.  I noticed that someone had come into my cube to look at the nice writing notebooks I had on my desk, which weirded me out a bit.  I therefore decided that I had to have a desk where people who want to snoop at least have to put things back.  I had locked away all sensitive personnel stuff, but it still bothers me that someone was going through my personal stuff I had left out.

Part of the decluttering uncovered my notes from when I gave a talk about my non-fiction project in 2014, especially pictures of the illuminations I spoke about. I was very happy to find them, even though I have some cryptic notes from people talking to me after the paper that I can’t quite decipher. My mother had passed away two weeks earlier, so I didn’t give  a great presentation or take great notes of what people said afterwards.

Also on the plus side, I have gotten back into my World War II story.  My war bride wouldn’t talk to  me for almost a year, but she decided to confide in me, and hasn’t stopped talking since, not that I’m complaining.

Well, the packing is calling to me again, so I will leave you with the link to the rest of the RoWers. Give them a visit and some encouragement–we are in the middle of the Round, and determination often fails at this point.

smaller EM

ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW Check-in, WIPpet Wednesday Chugging Along

I now have a new regard for people who pack for moving companies.  Packing is incredibly hard work, although I suppose some of my problem is that I am doing a lot of thinking as well.  Keep or donate?  What room will it go in the new house (which has rooms, like offices and dens, that we don’t have now).  And should I separate the pleasure reading books in a box for the den, and the writing books for a box for the office?  Luckily, the move is far enough off I can make these fine distinctions.  The time will come soon when things will be swept into boxes labelled “dreck” and “scheiße,” in the heat of the moment.

On to RoW80 goals. I had to catch up on a course I am taking for the day job, which manages to be boringly simple and yet a lot of work. For a discipline that was originally based in Schools of Education more often than not, Library Science has a lot to learn about pedagogy.  I therefore haven’t had the breaks to sprint and get my words in as often as I would like, but I do sneak in a few minutes now and again.

I missed the Sunday check-in, sadly. I have to hold on to the fact that there will be more time and emotional space next Round when I am unpacking boxes in the new house. I will continue to strive for consistency in checking in and responding to comments.

Please go check out how all the other RoWers are doing here.

For WIPpet Wednesday, I offer more of a piece that I put up last week.  I realize the previous offering came rather in the middle of things, so I will give you the beginning of the story.  Here are 23 (5+18) rough sentences from the scene where the main characters from last week meet.

There is something about a man in uniform, so I was delighted when I walked into a party filled with GIs.  They all acted as though they hadn’t seen a woman in months, the way I had to fight my way through them. Most were respectful, and I was enjoying the attention, looking about at the manhood on display.  I noticed a tall American is his lovely olive green uniform, medals parading in tidy lines across his chest.  Even at my encouraging smile, he hung back–shy? Uninterested?  I was intrigued, as always, by the one who didn’t fall at my feet. My attention caught by him, I failed to notice a drunken soldier shouldering his way through his friends.  “Kiss me, honey! I love you English roses!” assaulted my ear, meaty hands closing around my waist as I was spun toward the new arrival in my coterie of admirers.  Before he could finish his drunken cry, or get anywhere near my lips, he was picked up, still pursed-lipped, and efficiently and firmly removed to a safe distance by the tall American.

“Do you want to dance?” my savior asked. I felt a warm victory that I had not lost my touch–he was shy, not uninterested. He grabbed my hand, and steered us through the press to the dance floor.  “I’m not very good,” he said. “I’ve not had a chance to practice in a while.”  His baritone voice was warm and soft, flowing over my skin such that I would have sworn I could feel it. His hand enveloped mine so completely, my long fingers felt small and delicate in comparison. His other hand spread across the small of  my back, so warm that I could imagine its imprint leaving a mark upon my dress. He was leading me efficiently, skillfully guiding us through the crush, avoiding most of the people bent on stepping on me, and putting paid to his claim of not being a very good dancer.  He was perfectly proper, but his hands sparked nerves all the way down my arm to my chest, and felt like an intimate caress at my back.  The crush on the floor soon turned the entire dance rather more intimate than planned, as we were slowly pushed ever closer and closer till I could feel his heart beating, and moving in the dance steps was becoming, well, a bit improper.

He bent down so that I could hear him, unconsciously stirring me with his warm breath in my ear, “Let’s go outside for some air.”  I went up on my toes to answer in his ear—all’s fair in love and war—“yes, please.”

There are a cadre of WIPpeteers here who would love to have you join them.

smaller EM


February 26 check-in Winding Up Week

Although I hope to continue to post check-ins, the move is upon us. The next two weeks are the crux of the move; the movers will show up on Thursday; we will drive out of town on Friday. I have to work through Thursday to preserve health benefits and income to bridge the gap until the new job’s income and benefits kick in, so the packing is going to take over the rest of my waking hours this week.

We will visit our eldest daughter and her family on the way. She lives exactly halfway between Gainesville and Albany. Then it will be on to the new house to undo all that I have done this coming week. The irony of that does not escape me, and figures in my new story.

Test mile: Although most of what I am writing is brainstorming instead of “real” writing, I turn to writing for sanity these days. To my surprise, I am having a lot of fun working through the sentient boxes story.

Packing: I can see the headlight of the train at the end of the tunnel. At least twice a day, I go to get something that has already been packed. It’s good, but frustrating. Our condo looks like an episode of Hoarders, with little pathways through the rooms, surrounded by piles of boxes. I laughed hysterically when the realtor wanted to come take pictures, saying she could work around the boxes.

What I have learned: Lately my inner nerd has been showing more than usual. 90% of the packing is done, so the detritus is either things that have to be packed at the last minute–the coffeemaker–or things that should be sold, given away, or tossed. My husband is the “throw it all in a box to deal with in Albany.” I hate that kind of procrastination. Don’t get me wrong, I have my favorite forms of procrastination, but I am enough of a nerd that “sort stuff later” is anathema. Hey, my day job is to organize information.

I am, however, restraining myself to a comment or two that I do not want to leave boxes unopened for a year again. Both of us are prickly as heck, which means that I am still learning how to deal with my husband, even though we will have been married for twenty-five years this summer. Interesting lesson.

The sentient boxes story is definitely horror or dark fantasy, which is such a huge departure for me. I have never written anything even close to this sort of thing. I have always thought that I could only write in my chosen genre. Who knew?

Please encourage all the other ROWers here.


February 22 check-in Dreams of Animate Boxes

My pride over replying to all the comments on my check-ins was short-lived.  Ah, well.  I do plan to reply to all the comments before the next check-in.  I do read them; they mean a lot.

Test mile: I managed to eke out the test mile 2 of the 3 past days, but I see the narrowing of the time tunnel ahead.  I will probably have to suspend writing while on the road, but I will try to continue in the meantime.
I did not manage to get the post on my other sites to act as a placeholder until I can get back to a regular blogging schedule, but I hope to do so before the next check-in.

Packing:  Gah.  I am at the point where I daydream of minimalism, and wonder why I bought all this stuff in the first place.  Of course, I didn’t buy it; I inherited most of it.  While I like some of the pieces, I yearn for my place not to look like indigent graduate student digs. Imagine, some people actually have matching furniture in their living rooms!

What I have learned: I don’t react well to stress.  Big surprise, but I didn’t realize how badly I react to good stress.  I’m excited and looking forward to the move and the new day job, but I have dreams of the boxes becoming animate in the night, shifting forward when I am not looking.  It’s a lovely metaphor and could be a really freaky short story, but in the heart-pounding dark of the night, not so cool.

I’ve also learned the importance to take some time to connect with friends.  I met C.M. Cipriani for a long, farewell lunch the other day; she and I had an interesting conversation about self-pubbed “authors,” (if you read her blog post here, you will understand the quotation marks) who do not edit, proofread, or in other ways improve their texts before they visit them on the public like yellow fever.  Even if we did trash-talk people who drag down our works in the same way that the washer on the porch next door and the three wrecked cars in the front yard two doors down kill our property values, it was such a wonderful thing to sit and share in person.  

I have not been on Twitter or Facebook much in the last several weeks, and I realize (again) how much I miss my online friends.  I need and appreciate your support, and can only hope that I can support you when you need it.

Please encourage all the other ROWers here.