Manhattan Special, and Lessons from Sience (sic)

Not going to lie, today is not my favorite day. We are now ten days from  moving out of this apartment, and we are still not one hundred percent firm on where we will be landing. Today’s packing focus is stuff that is, pardon the pun, extremely close to home. The TBR books go in boxes, naturally, and I actually want a bit of distance from this particular shelf, so that the anticipation can grow again. This is also the day that I pack my notebooks, and the art and writing magazines, and that is the part that’s bugging me the most.

Breaking down the stuff that I love and putting it away, to be replaced by empty space is not fun. I would rather be writing. I’m glad that I’m doing Camp NaNo this year, and I’m glad that I’m measuring my progress in handwritten pages. Coming to pen and paper at the end of the day is a happy place. It’s a place where I don’t feel the pressure of perfectionism weighing on me. All I’m doing is telling a story, and I love that.

Do I want this story to eventually see publication? Of course I do. I’m a writer. That’s what I do. I write. I have a white board in my office, and, right now, it has “do what you know” written on it. If the packing gets overwhelming, what do I know needs to be done? Is all I can do right now, put things that go together, together? Can do. Art magazines go with art magazines. Filled notebooks in one stack, blank ones in another, active notebooks in another, still. Bit by bit, it  all comes together.

That can be difficult to see, when drowning in a sea of cardboard, packing tape that is apparently self-shredding (seriously, if anyone ever invented shred-proof packing tape, they would be a millionaire.) There are times I am convinced our stuff is breeding while we sleep. This may be true of the printer paper, which is now officially serving no purpose, as we packed the printer last night.

Where I wanted to be, short term, right now, was handing in the revised manuscript of Chasing Prince Charming (to be fair, we’re almost there, and my co-writer also needs to hit pause for a couple of weeks) and forging ahead on Drama King, while bringing the second draft of Her Last First Kiss to fruition. That will still happen, only not on my schedule. I am not looking beyond each individual day’s writing for A Moment Past Midnight, though I do have to admit I am falling in love with the guy who does not get the girl, and very much look forward to finding the love of his life in another story.  I don’t normally think in linked stories, but at least one more, maybe two more stories, were part of the plan for AMPM from the outset, so we will see where this goes.

Where I wanted to be, long term, was farther along in my career. Print books. Glossy covers. Matte covers, for that matter. Actual, physical books to sign. Again, that cans still happen, and, with consistent work, it will, but, right now, it’s all cardboard and packing tape and Sharpie fumes, and the occasional emotional time bomb as I rip into the odd couple of boxes that never got unpacked from the last move.

040418oldnotebook

vintage notebook – score!

My handwriting identifies this notebook as dedicated to “sience” (sic.) It was only missing a few pages, and the rest are blank. Considering my grades in science classes over the years, this does not surprise me. Ironically, spelling was always one of my better subjects.  This is probably going in the box of unused notebooks, because I A) want to keep my box of active notebooks light, and B) the pages are regular white, with blue lines, and I don’t normally use that type of paper.

Still, there’s a connection. By the single doodle I found inside, I suspect I was ten when I took “sience.” Our family, then my dad, my mom, two dogs, one hamster, and me, moved that year, as well. I wasn’t too thrilled about that move, either, and remember an impassioned plea to be allowed to live on my best friend’s couch (spoiler alert: it did not work. Even though friend was fine with it, none of the parents were on board) the move still happened.

Today is gray and rainy, which is good writing weather. Is it good packing weather? That depends on how fond one is of the scent of damp cardboard, but I think we’ll manage. When I get into the packing groove, there’s a phase when I hit autopilot, the question of what goes where answers itself, and the people who live in my head (aka characters) get downright chatty. That part, I like. It’s not so much “writing” as it is “story,” and it builds a foundation I can build on when the dust (literal and figurative) settles.

In the meantime, these boxes aren’t going to pack themselves, and I’ve got some NaNo pages to write tonight. Totally pantsing this one, which is an adventure, but that’s for another post.

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