Sunday, January 31, 2010

Can't ... stop ... writing ...

By crikey, when the muse hits...she lays smackdowns like a mack truck.

I've been trying to squeeze out the Pompeii story, but it's been tough. This is clearly a tale that needs to be coaxed out. I'm just having trouble getting into the vibe of the story. But lately, I've been distracting myself and doing some research on a possible travel destination. (I NEED to get out. Somewhere. Anywhere but here.) And while reading about it, I found out that one of the towns apparently boasts that it has the highest concentration of "hidden people" anywhere. Elves. Faery. Dwarves, Trolls, Pixies! Now, that's on my list of *must-see* destinations, even if it is as touristy and cheesy as I think it will end up being.

Mix that knowledge with an hour of rocking Miss E to sleep in a quiet, dark room...and you have the makings of a new story. It's not that I'm not trying to work on Pompeii - it's more like writing this new tale is a total compulsion. I've been sitting here writing for two hours and I already have a little over a thousand words. I know that's not a lot for some writers, but for me - that's a metric assload of writing.

I'm a little reluctant to share what I have so far, 'cause it doesn't do a very good job of showing what the story is all about (and it's DAMN cool - at least the version in my head is), but I daresay that it's a nice introduction. I suppose the new story fits under the category of fantasy or magic realism. Definitely in the vein of Charles De Lint. Cheesy and overpopulated as a category, but it makes me happy to write. And that's important, yes? I'll post some of it later, once I start getting into the good bits.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thanks guys...

Seriously, after reading the comments on the last post, I am very grateful that I have friends that like me just the loud, obnoxious way that I am. You guys made a grown woman even leak a few tears. The previous post wasn't meant to be a rant - it was more of a dear-god-someone-please-explain-what-the-aliens-are-doing-now kind of post. But I deeply DEEPLY appreciate the support and love that you sent my way. Thank you again. FYI, I have been sending responses to your comments, but I have a feeling that they're not making their way through the ether. Please let me know if you're getting the messages. Oh and about the pastiness...don't take it the wrong way, my friends. I live in Nova Scotia and it's January. Hell, *I* am pasty in January, in NS. I've gone from being a golden beige to a pale lemon meringue. Blegh.

For all you who found this blog through Facebook ...






It was with more than a bit of alarm and stomach-curdling fear that I saw that my blogging was now synchronized with my FB status updates. Couldn't figure out why for the life of me why it was happening...until I remembered that I had allowed an application to nab my blog data, as I wanted to use it to follow another blogger. So much for web anonymity, eh?

I just wanted to talk about a game that I've been playing lately - Borderlands. It's stupid, FPS fun on the PS3. But the best part is that you can play two players, split screen. Sweet. So the Mr. and I have been playing co-op, and it's been going well. Reminiscent of the days of Diablo. And that's a veeeery good thing.

Oh course, you can't frag and knit at the same time, so my knitting has been neglected as of late. Still working away on a headband for myself, as the yarn did NOT want to be a touque. Or a beret. Or even a flouncy elf hat. Surprisingly, the yarn (Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran) has held up well to the repeated froggings.

Instead of knitting, I've been having fun with my dye pots. Meet Sedna and Crushed Roses.

The first one is a skein of Silky Malabrigo that I practiced overdyeing on. First, splotches of blue and purple, steamed in my crockpot. Then, it went into a bath of green. Very labour intensive, but worth it. And the second was simply kettle dyed Henry's Attic sock yarn base in vermillion with a touch of violet. So far I just have the solo skeins in each colour, but I'm thinking that I need to make more of the Crushed Roses - I am down to just three pairs of handknit socks for my own feet. Shameful, I know.

And writing? Yes, I'm still writing. I am setting myself some homework - 500 words a night. And whether it's on the Pompeii story, or on a dalliance with a different still counts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Too much estrogen...

I'm a stay at home mom. Yup, a gen-u-ine homemaker. I bake, clean, mix drinks and I even do it in a handmade apron, on occasion. You don't see many women opting to ignore years (and years and fucking years) of schooling and general social pressure to keep up to a certain material standard much these days. And I think that it's a personal decision - what works for me definitely wouldn't work for some terrific moms that I know. Most days, I'm pretty good with the choice that we made to get to the point where I am. But I'll tell you the one really big thing bothers me about this situation...

The women.

Frankly, I suck at being a girl. I have no idea how to navigate the intricacies of female social networks, and the concept of bonding over backstabbing is totally foreign to me. Subsuming your true nature just to fit in...I can't do it. Growing up, I always hung out with guys. I was the guy with boobs and long hair. I simply understand and appreciate the male code of behaviour better than the female one. And the thing is...the only people that I seem to come into contact with in the stay-at-home parent world are women.

Last year was Mr. Munchkin's first year in school and I tried something new. I dressed in Mom jeans, bought a pair of big bugeye sunglasses and generally acted like a 9th grader feeling out the situation and trying on new personalities every week. I hated every minute of it. It felt like I was living in someone else's life, and wearing their clothes to boot. But the good news is that as of late, I've grown bolder.

I realise that I've got a fairly outsized personality. (Translates to: I'm loud and usually obnoxious in public.) Not to mention that I am awful with names and faces. Lots of people will be turned off by that, and I'm good with that. I've grown used to being socially straightened over the years. Moving around every few years will do that to you. But what I can't stand is a group of women whispering and pointedly staring at me (without ever having spoken to me) based on what I'm wearing. Look, I can't help that I'm the only ethnic person within a 5 km radius. (Seriously, there are days that I feel like high fiving any other person with a dark skin colour...just because they happen to walk past me on the sidewalk. It's lonely out here in the land of the pasty white.) But I don't think that it's my race that bothers them, as much as it is the fact that I am just not even trying to fit in anymore.

For example, today - my hair was done up in two little buns and I had on my white fleece motorcycle jacket. I realise that this "look" is young and that I am not the svelte nymph that I once was. But really? I don't think that it merited the looks of disdain that I earned. Then again, maybe it was the knitting and walking at the same time.

Oh well. I think that I'm going to relish my future status as *that* mom.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Second thoughts...

After writing for a few hours last night, I started rereading what I'd written. The most uncomfortable feeling started creeping over me, and I realised that the story is much gentler than I initially thought it would be. And...I'm not so good with the sweet stuff. My forte tends to be writing stories about glossy and mindless violence. Take this introduction to the Cyberpunk game that I was talking about before:


Night City is the kind of place where Hope wears mirrorshades, a permanent sneer and a large bandolier of bullets. In the right parts of the city, the shimmering opalescent office towers are a whore's paean to money and power. The corporations rule here - and they don't bother with the velvet glove. It's all about the iron fist...enforcing their control though the use of horrifically efficient heavy weapons teams and good old doses of pain. But the city is glossy...all brilliantly neon, so no one ever notices the occasional blood splatter on the wall. It's just considered to be part of the exotic appeal of Night City.

But in the ugly parts of town...well, that's another story. Boostergangs run wild, terrorizing those who are either too poor to be Mallplexers or too stubborn to move to a better part of town. Since human compassion doesn't earn any Eurobucks - the corporations don't really give a flying fuck about anyone down here. The dinged up but earnest police force struggles to keep the peace here and they try hard, too. But these days, there are just too many powers fighting for control of the badlands. So, it's vigilante heaven. Kill or be killed, babe. Not to say that no one gives a damn. There are heroes, oh yes. But why do any of them do what they do? It ain't for the money. It's all about the Glory, chombatta. That, and the chance to piss off the corps every once in awhile.

The lives of a couple of cyberpunks are about to intersect...and brother, are they *ever* going to take the piss out of the corps tonight.


Now, THAT was fun to write. (Ignore the slang, it's indigenous to the gameworld.) And while the Pompeii story is haunting me, I just hope that I can do it justice in the end.

On to the knitwear!

A last minute baby gift for Mr. Ninja's cousin who is having a baby girl next month. Bunny Beanie pattern. And now for one of my favourite FOs ever.

Veyla. But modded to make it into flip-top mittens. With mother of pearl buttons, and in BFL sock yarn. I love love love love these, but unfortunately am not keeping them. They're for the Gods/Goddesses/Mythology Swap that the Odd Ducks are doing. But I will definitely be making the pattern again for myself. I have all the buttons for it, after all.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Okay, here goes.

Once upon a time, I had one of my stories read out loud by a prof, while in class...quite possibly one of the most agonizing experiences of my life. And I fully understood the phrase "wanted to sink into the floor" after that day. But it wasn't so much that the story was being read out loud. Rather, it was one of the few times that I wasn't honest and didn't use my own voice to tell a tale, and instead wrote something for an audience of one, and hopefully for a grade of A. I'm not proud of what I did, but I did get into grad school based on that particular prof's recommendation letter. But whoring never feels good, regardless of what body part is involved.

That being said, I've learned my lesson and can offer this snippet to you with a clean conscience. Please keep in mind that this hasn't really been edited at all, and is still mostly raw material being poked and prodded into shape. So be kind, ok? This part is taken from the chapter where one of the protagonists is entering Pompeii for the first time.


The heat was stifling. Caeso dutifully walked beside the wagon, hurriedly ducking a gaggle of matronly women as they crowded the entire sidewalk. The women managed to simultaneously berate him for not getting out of their way, squawk about his awful manners and loudly giggle amongst themselves about his stained tunic. They did so without breaking their pace and speaking at each other as loudly as possible. Making a mental note to visit the biggest, most luxurious bath in town as soon as possible, he carefully inched his way past the group of women, unwilling to let them push him off the raised sidewalk and into the filth that the road barely contained.

As he finally managed to get around them, he looked around for the wagon and found that it was now a full block away from him. With a groan and a tiny slumping of his shoulders, he quickened his pace and casually cursed under his breath. The ill-begotten daughters of goat fuckers had caused him to slow down, and undoubtedly his father would have a few choice words for him. Probably something about the wagon, his lack of attention to said wagon, and how could he ever hope to become a successful merchant if he lost his goods in the middle of a city filled with thieves, murderers and villains? Caeso was not in the mood to listen to his father’s usual lecture and broke into a sprint, hoping to catch up to the wagon.


Yeah, it's rough. But I'm delighted with myself for finding a Roman male name that I absolutely love. He's starting to take shape, as is his female counterpart. More next time, if desired. Speak up in the comments if you're interested in seeing more of the story, please. Otherwise, I'm happy to keep my lunacy to myself and will go back to posting crafty stuff exclusively. Not a bad thing, either. Actually, I have a delicious FO that I *will* post about next time - I'm very happy with how it turned out.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Existential mittens, more like...


Are evil mittens. They look innocent, yes? (Pattern is Instant Mittens - Rav link) But the pattern calls for an embroidered design after the knitting is complete. The originals have a very pretty heart on them...but that's not really my style. And after trying to figure out exactly what design I *did* want to show to the world...I collapsed into a major identity crisis. Who the hell am I anymore? And what do I want the world to see when they look at me? Gamer? Mommy? Village idiot? It's a nasty spiral of self-doubt and exploration. Two weeks after completing these, I still don't have any answers and the mittens still don't have a design. I have a feeling they may stay that way for a bit while I sort my head out.

Another quick knit - French Press Felted Slippers.

If you know me, you know that I don't much like wearing socks unless it's below zero. But I've been feeling the cold in my extremities more often these days - something to do with getting old - and this pattern is too cute to resist. FAST knit. Very warm slippers. And I only wiped out three times before figuring out that I needed to make the bottoms more grippy. Clearly, I am not a fast learner. Well, that...or I'm in denial about my balancing skills.

Speaking of balance, I've been playing my Wii Fit every two days or so since the New Year. I haven't shed a single damn pound. Buuuuuut. My back doesn't hurt as much, and I'm developed the ability to bend and twist like nobody's business. Something that my dusting skills have always needed, apparently.

In another twist to the identity crisis, I was recently asked if I'm still writing stories. I realized with not a little bit of horror that the last thing that I wrote was over two years ago. To be honest, I don't really have an excuse - the stories are there (and occasionally wake me up in the middle of the night), I just haven't written them down.

I suppose in a way, I'm still hung up on the story that I was developing for the Cyberpunk game that I was GMing a few years ago. But I'm trying to put that aside now, and have been working on a new story set in Pompeii. But note to self - do NOT let husband review writing, as his comments are total buzz killers. For example, "It's really...wordy." He tends to like his fiction to have exploding wizards in it, just so you know what I'm working with here. Next post, I'll show you a snippet of the new story. But that's next time. At the moment, I'm needed to mediate a war between dinosaurs and the evil teapot. Gotta use that diplomatic training for something useful. *sigh*