Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Year!

I'm kind of astonished to realize that it's been one year since I started blogging here. I'm also one short of my hundredth post--who would have thought? Certainly not me. I opened my blog with a dopey post about a childhood toy that my mother was throwing away, and continued on that path of random until I hit my "must write about writing in every post" phase. That took way too much energy and didn't last long, which is how I ended up at my current policy of "whatever's on my mind, hopefully with a nod to books and writing as often as possible."

I started this blog as a way to reach out and meet other writers, and boy have I. This past year has been phenomenal for me in terms of making connections with other creative people and working on making my writing better. I was talking with a "real life" friend last night and telling her about all the writers I know who are querying and getting agents, and she commented, "Wow, it's like you have this whole other world." And it is, and I love it.

Having this blog was also a way for me to really commit to the idea of being a writer. I know that a blog does not a writer make, but it's public, and I have to be okay with the idea of someone I know possibly finding it and thinking, Huh, I guess Rachel likes to write adventure stories. Which is hideously embarrassing to think about, but there it is. Putting myself out there. Meep.

This is what blogging feels like to me
Thank you to everyone who's read my blog, followed my blog, cheered me on during the Great Thumbdrive Oopsy of 2011, and shared their experiences with me in the comments. You inspire me--I know it's corny, but you do--to push myself harder and put myself out there, and I love you, writing community!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Random Bits of Friday

Early Friday morning. An overpriced hotel room in northern California. Bleary eyes, no coffee. Yet.

  • I get to fly home this afternoon. This week has kicked my butt, both literally and actually--getting up super early every morning has meant that there is coffee flowing in my veins, but I also ran into the bedframe on my first night in my hotel room, giving myself what may be my most impressive bruise ever on my leg. It's still hot to the touch, four days later. Bella Swan ain't got nothing on me.
  • I don't know if it's the exhaustion or if it's the hotel room, but the mad revisions I was planning to do in the evenings here did not get done. No whining--it is what it is.
  • Tomorrow, my dear husband is flying to Turkey for a conference. I was almost going to go with him, since, as you may know, this is also where he is from and so we would get to visit his family. Alas, there were too many complications with a trip this last-minute, so I will be staying home with the cat.
  • I have at least three little notebooks that I have bought or been given with the purpose of always having them nearby to scribble down notes. And where are they? Stashed somewhere in my house. Which means that my revision notes show up on the backs of envelopes and receipts, and on a wide assortment of hotel stationary.
What I wanted to post was a shot of my crazy bruise, but that might be weird.
Happy Friday everyone! Have a good weekend!

Monday, November 14, 2011

One From The Road

I'm on a business trip this week, hanging out at the company mothership for a global conference. I always like coming up to headquarters for a taste of the dynamic environment here, but this week is extra supercharged because of the rare convergence of my entire team. So, lots of discussions on quality and policy and those kinds of fun things.

This evening in my hotel room, I'll be working on wrapping up those pesky revisions, made peskier by a critique partner's comment that unlocked new ideas for tension in some of my final chapters. What I'll want to be doing is reading the rest of The Death Cure, which I started while stuck at LAX for three hours yesterday. I love it so far, but I'm hoping for LOTS OF ANSWERS by the end, because right now I have many, many questions. One thing I really like about this book--even though I'm totally confused about who is good and who is bad, I feel like I have a very good idea of the entire dystopian world that it's set in. I've read other dystopians lately where the immediate setting is well described, but the world it's set within, not so much.

And, because I haven't got much else of note to say today, here are the books I've got queued up to read on my Kindle. What are you reading?

Holes by Louis Sachar
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak
The Curse of the Wendigo, and The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey

Monday, November 7, 2011

In Which My Cat Tries To Maim My Landlord

Does this look like the face of evil?
So my sweet little cat is napping by the window--no, check that, he's coming over to curl up on my lap for a snuggle. And yet fifteen minutes ago, he was trying to find the highest vantage point in my living room so that he could leap onto my landlord, presumably to destroy her. He was making scary yowly cat noises and had already shredded her ankle. She said she was fine after I gave her some Neosporin, but to her I am now forever the tenant with the psycho cat. What gives, cat? Got a case of the Mondays?

After having it recommended to me multiple times, I finally read M.T. Anderson's Feed this weekend. I find it a little hard to get into books that have their own invented vocabulary like, "I didn't want to be null for the unettes on the moon, at the hotel, if any of them were youch." But after a chapter or so, you get inside Titus's head and get the rhythm of his dumb speech patterns: "I wanted to say something, like, something that would be, you know, something about how she was more right than he was." And then you realize that this book is extremely clever and thought-provoking, and you just enjoy the ride. My favorite excerpt:
"It smelled like the country. It was a filet mignon farm, all of it, and the tissue spread for miles around the paths where we were walking. It was like these huge hedges of red all around us, with these beautiful marble patterns running through them. They had these tubes, they were bringing the tissue blood, and we could see the blood running around, up and down. It was really interesting. I like to see how things are made, and to understand where they come from."
I can see this book being on future school reading lists--or is it already? It's a very successful addition to the Brave New World/1984 category of dystopian literature. Read anything great lately? Or are all you NaNo'ers on a one-month reading hiatus?