Quiet time and busy thoughts

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Everyone’s getting sick around here these days. Lots of upper respiratory and sinus problems. I think it has something to do with the terrible air quality in Phoenix. Tomorrow we’ve got a pollution advisory because they’re expecting some more dust storms. It seems like I hear sneezing, sniffling and coughing everywhere I go. And I keep getting on again/ off again pressure headaches and congestion. Fortunately, the neti pot helps, as does nasal spray. I didn’t realize this until a few days ago, but I had been using a bottle of nasal spray that expired in 2009. I had no idea it was that old! Time flies when you’re not regularly using nasal spray. When I bought and used a new bottle this week, I was all amazed and shit at how well it worked. Who’d have ever thought that fresh nasal spray might work better than 2+ years expired spray?! Huh. Learn somethin’ new every day.

Life’s been pretty quiet, overall. I haven’t had much to blog about, but I have these moments of extreme boredom/procrastination when I am supposed to be working on things for work, and writing this helps me get past it. I don’t know why it helps, but it does. When I finish this, I’ll end up wrapping up the article I’m editing right now. I wish I was one of those “buckle down and get it all done at once” kind of workers. I feel like a flighty, weird ditz.

I can’t remember if I mentioned Match in the last post or not, but it’s semi-active again in there. It must be because I put my “expiration date” on my profile, letting people know that as of November 16th, I’m out. Suddenly a lot of guys have been emailing me. Several of them are just the typical, average, boring guys that I’ll never reply to. But two have piqued my interest. One is an artist named Sam, who’s very talented and has had shows in galleries and everything… and he teaches art to middle school kids. Seems like a pretty interesting guy. I wrote back to him, and after a couple emails, he didn’t reply back again. So I don’t know what’s up with that. Still, at least he was someone UNIQUE. Any time a unique dude pops up on there, it gives me faith in the singles-world, in general. They are out there. It’s just that they’re all spread around the place, so they’re harder to locate.

Last night, an even more intriguing guy came out of the woodwork. He’s physically the hottest guy so far, but not in the usual way. In my way. He’s got very long brown hair. Very long. Sometimes, he has a beard, and I think he does the hippie thing here and there because his profile pictures include him doing volunteer work in Uganda and South Africa. Yet he was also wearing a Metallica t-shirt in another photo, so he can’t be *that* much of a hippie. He loves Ricky Gervais and reading about psychology and human behavior; he’s a software guy for a living, and notes that he has “a house and a 401K.” And his name is Ben. (Oh, I do love that name!) Either way, he’s kind of fascinating and I want to know more about him. He emailed me and explained what he liked about my profile. I wrote back today. I haven’t heard anything yet, but I might. Or I might not. Either way, it’s another encouraging sign that they are out there.

Am I looking for a man, or an alien?

I don’t always know, really. I’m a little weird.

I’ve been very introspective these days. Keeping to myself. Layin’ low. I’m happy doing it, too. I am really into my book right now. I finished reading “Outlander” finally, and I really did love it. But, like almost any novel I read anymore, I learned a few more lessons in The Art of Writing a Book while reading this one:

1) Don’t be afraid to be ultra-descriptive. Go ahead and detail things. Diana Gabaldon did this very well in this book. I loved the prose. I forget about prose a lot of the time when I’m writing. But in the few times I have done it in my own book, I like what I have done when I read it back.

2) Research is good. Go ahead and get as much information about the world I’m setting the story in as I want. The author here clearly dove headfirst into history to make her story come to life, and it paid off. It’s cool as hell when you feel like you have learned something you didn’t know much about before… while reading a work of fiction.

3) Don’t get carried away and drag out the story, though! The main issue I had with this book was its length. Maybe I’m just so acclimated to YA novels now, but I was getting to a point where I’d feel all antsy and wishing the book would just get to the point, already as I was reading it. I felt like there were a lot of scenes that could have been cut altogether, or at least, trimmed back. I recognized something I do in my own writing, which is pad things until I can get to the “good stuff.” I have a bad habit of feeling like I can’t just get into the action. I feel like there has to be some buildup to everything, and the truth is… it’s not true! Reading this book reminded me that I can just get to the point without a lot of fluff.

4) Sex scenes can be very hot. There are more in this book than any book I have read so far (outside of those Anne Rice/pseudonym Beauty novels–the ones I ended up selling in a yard sale many years ago), probably because I’m reading YA all the time and we all know sex is relatively chaste or non-existent in those books. The sex scenes in this book weren’t over the top, or kinky, or anything… just very sexy. I liked this. I decided I really can make an effort to stop being such a prude about sex in my own writing and just go for it. Well, I have already written my first sex scene in my book, but I “ruin it” by having someone walk in and interrupt it. (I think this is my subconscious jumping in and saying, “no, no… don’t get too erotic with things, now; sex is wrong” and frankly, I’d like to shove this part of my subconscious off a cliff.) I’m sick of being so weird about sex, in general, in my life. I have to stop being afraid of it, especially in my books. This was a good wake-up call for me.

You know how I worry about being a slow reader? Well, as I write this blog post, I think that one of the obvious reasons I’m so slow is that I am analyzing everything I read as I am reading it. I’m simultaneously enjoying the story for what it is and then studying the author’s technique. I can’t just read a book and separate myself from the “gears” of it. I imagine it’s how my Dad feels when he sees a gorgeous, restored classic car. He loves to look at it for its style and beauty, but he also wants to look closely at the engine and think about how it’s built and what makes it run so well. He imagines how he would build that transmission, or what he might do to make the thing run faster and smoother. He might admire the work of the other mechanic, and get ideas for something he could do, himself. Or, he might see things he would do totally different. Either way, it’s the mechanical nature of the car that interests him the most.

And the mechanical nature of novels interest me the most, too.

Anyway, I’m glad I shared the Goodreads review on Facebook, because friends recommended other historical novels that are similar and now I have a bunch of new things to consider reading. I did mean to start reading “Dragonfly in Amber” right away once I finished “Outlander,” but since I didn’t have it on hand right that very minute, I ended up picking up another long-waiting book from my shelf and now I am reading “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Even though I’m only about 4 chapters in, already I am fixated on how the two authors wrote this book together. The dual-author thing is fascinating. My favorite book of all time was written by two authors: Peter Straub and Stephen King. How do they do it? I don’t know if I could work with someone else on a book. Then again, I have never really considered it… maybe I could. I don’t know.

I absolutely love thinking about writing, and actually doing it. I wish I was writing my book right now. Maybe, if I go and finish my work for the day, I’ll have a few minutes at the end of the day here where I can open my file and write at least a couple of new paragraphs…

It’s just so much fun.

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3 responses »

  1. I still think you should give the Black Jewels Trilogy (and it’s most recent addition- Twilight’s Dawn) a try.

  2. I will, one of these days… I think the key is that I need to buy a copy because the last time I tried to read them, it was a library book and I just read way too damn slow for that. I wish I could be a library person instead of a “buy” person sometimes…so much cheaper! Fortunately, used books are just as good. 🙂

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