Daily Pages and Rambling

Beautiful grey, rainy day here in upstate NY, and I am stuck inside because, yes, cold is still hanging in there. Real Life Romance Hero, aka Patient Zero, is back at work, and I am making a stab at doing the same. If I can be half as productive as my immune system, I may be able to make up for lost time, or at least babble incoherently.

The notebook in today’s picture is from Punch Studio, as is the small notepad propped against the monitor. Yellow sticky notes are plain Post-Its and get tossed as soon as I’ve dealt with whatever is scribbled on them (the note to buy Kentucky mints -the kind with jelly inside- has been there for far longer than I would care to admit. Must deal with that soon.) This notebook is for my version of morning pages; two pages, one sitting, as soon as I can in the day, all by myself, no stopping, no censor. Two pages, rather than three, because a) achievable goals, and b) the interior pages are printed with two-page spreads in four different designs. I’ve been doing this since October 26th, every weekday, and so far, so good.

One good thing about being sick is that staying home gives me a better perspective on how I use the space in my home. Going into the office, closing the door, and breaking out pen and paper feels like an indulgence, far more than flipping open my laptop and pounding keys. It may be convenient to flop in the recliner, put the lap desk on my lap and make with the clickety clack, but the alchemy happens with paper and pen. Being around my art supplies (which really need more organizing, when I am done with all the drippiness) also helps remind me that, while there is discipline needed for a productive writing career, there is also a measure of creative indulgence.

Right now, I’m making a list of historical romances that take place at least part of the time in Russia. I’ve had a passing interest in Russia since one of my dad’s ex-fiancees (yes, plural,  and yes, only one at a time; my dad still had it far into his later years) and there is a lot of Russian interest/influence in ballroom dance, which I also love (strange life lesson learned; if you’re at a dance show and the Russians get up and leave before intermission, the show is bad.) but it wasn’t until the heroine of Her Last First Kiss told me she was half Russian that I knew I had to get farther into the zeitgeist of eighteenth century Russia. Not that my heroine would know much about that, as she’s never been outside of England, nor seen her Russian father since she was seven, but I need to know these things.

For some, maybe most, this would mean stocking up on biographies of real life historical figures. I do not work that way. I have tried, but it’s Sony and I’m Beta or the other way around (or whatever the distinction was; technology and I have a complicated relationship.) While I don’t advocate using movies and other works of fiction as sources of factual research, for me, those things have what I need even more. The feel of the time and place. Yes, I know that’s interpreted through writers and editors and actors and directors and set and costume and la la la I can’t hear you.

I’m not writing scholarly texts. I’m writing love stories that take place in a certain time and place, and, to the characters living this story, they don’t live in Historical Period X. They think they live in Now, because, to them, they do. They don’t know who’s going to win the war, or if the long-awaited royal baby will be male, female, stillborn, or healthy and whole. With the state of communications (as I tell RLRH, they didn’t have Twitter in the eighteenth century) unless my characters already live near Court, they aren’t going to know about the goings on until they are went-on-a-while-agos. Whole different mindset.

Annnd I’m rambling. Which is fine, because rambling is still writing.  The post is still here, and I’ve stayed more or less on topic, so I am going to call this a win. I’ve gone through an entire box of tissues, have a big dent in my second bag of cherry cough drops, and am feeling up to actual food for lunch. It takes my mind longer these days to wander off, which I count as a good thing. Characters, however, are still prone to do whatever they want as soon as they hit the page, but it works better that way. Easing up on the iron grip gives them and me both room to do our thing, and if this cold from beyond hell had any hand in making that happen, then I will accept that purpose without too much complaint.



Typing With Wet Claws: Almost Anty’s Birthday Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Feline Friday. This is a special week, so I wanted to have a special picture today. Tomorrow is Anty’s birthday. In case you are wondering how much Anty likes her birthday, it is very close to this:

Because I was born wild, with no humans around to record these sorts of things, we do not know my birthday. The shelter people said I was about ten months old when Mama and Anty brought me home, so we count ten months back from the day I was adopted and use that when a vet needs to know these things. Anty is also adopted (I do not know how people shelters work when getting human kittens to their parents) but she does know her birthday and even the time she was born. That was eight in the morning. Anty was a morning person right from the start. Her mama and papa got a phone call very soon after that, to tell them Anty was born and it was time to come get her.

The way the story is told, Anty’s mama had to go on a plane by herself because Anty came sooner than they thought she would come and Anty’s papa still had to be at work. One would think humans could be more understanding about things like that. They probably would be, now, but this was a different time. Family lore says that Anty’s mama got very worried on the plane ride back, because she fell asleep on the plane and when she woke up, she could not find Anty. At least not her face, which should have been sticking out of the blanket in which she was wrapped. Anty was all right (as you may have guessed, because she is here now) and had squiggled herself down to the very bottom of the blanket. I do not blame her. When I was first brought home, I huddled in the back of my carrier, too, and I was a big girl of ten months. Anty was only three days old and had no idea what was going on.

She likes to think she has learned a few things since then. Like how to write good stories. She did teach a cat how to blog, so that is something. Anty really likes birthdays in general. They do not always have to be hers, which is good, because birthdays are one to a human every year. She gets  equally excited about Uncle’s or Mama’s birthdays, and she even likes my adoption day (that is in December, and she says that allows her to tick “Christmas kitten” off her bucket list. I am glad I could help her with that one.) This one is hers, though, and she is glad that it happens in her favorite time of year, October. The days get shorter, nights get longer, leaves turn pretty colors and pumpkin flavored things are everywhere. It also means Halloween and Thanksgiving are coming up, and then Christmas, which is her favorite day of the whole year, even more than  her own birthday. It counts as a birthday, though, and an important one for people who believe the way our family does.

This birthday is Anty’s, however, and, for her, it is the start of a whole new year. She likes to mark the start of a new year with new notebooks. Here are two.

Future story receptacles?

Future story receptacles?

Both of these notebooks are blank right now, but they will not be that way for long. The solid blueish notebook is a Moleskine, and has a soft cover and dotted pages. That will be a new thing for Anty to try. Well, she did try dotted pages once, but the pages were a funny whitish color and hurt her eyes, so she had to give that notebook a new home. She is interested in trying the dotted pages on Moleskine paper, which is a nice, soothing ivory.

The other notebook is by Punch Studio, which makes very very pretty stationery. Anty has been accumulating a lot of Paris-themed stationery, but here is the funny thing; she does not have any Paris-set ideas right now, so she is not sure why. She knows why she collects peacock-themed stationery (they are very pretty birds and probably taste good, because they are related to turkeys. I have recently started eating turkey, in case you are wondering, but Anty collects peacock things because they are important for a future book.) but the Paris thing remains a mystery.

There are some other things in this picture, taken on the desk that Anty had wanted fro her own since she was a very young human kitten. Now it is hers, so that is another life goal reached. The stuffed bunny in the corner is Happy Bunny. He says “let’s talk about me” when Anty squeezes him. She says he is good for focus. The big square thing is a stress cube. It is good for squishing when Anty needs something to do with her hands. Sometimes that is a lot, during the part of writing when she stares at things that are not there and has to think really hard. The fact that there are sticky notes and papers around these books are proof that they are going to be written in very very soon. The solid notebook will become her all purpose computer bag book once the current one is filled. As for the pretty Paris book, she does not know. It has pretty page inside, three different designs repeating. Anty thinks this might be a good book for morning pages, as it is easier to write on pretty pages than completely blank ones. She is not sure yet, though.

What she is sure of is that it is time to read Critique Partner Vicki’s chapter, so that is about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling
(the kitty, not the book)

Until next week...

Until next week…