Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cheesecake and alchemy

It's a gorgeous sunny day, and almost looks like fall here. My fingers are freezing from the window being open, which I love even more. It's the perfect kind of being cold, although I have to type slowly or I get thdfj a;skdfjpieya.

I passed on the "The Harvester" to both John and one of my favorite beta readers yesterday. To my massive delight and relief, they both say it works. I do need to de-knightoftheholygrail it, though - any comparisons to Monty Python would be dreadful, and perhaps clean up some of the awkward spots, and then off to the rest of the writing group and OWW it goes. It's not the story I expected to finish, but I'm so thrilled I've got a workable draft.

And now I wonder - maybe I can even finish the novel around it - which I already have 40-ish thousand words of. Some of the key elements would change a little, but it could really work...perhaps it was the end that has kept me fumbling at it, and now with this new end, found in the short, the novel is accessible again.

I'm going to over to John's mom's tonight to hang out with her & my sisters-in law. Girls night, with a movie and dinner and pumpkin cheesecake.

This is from the Martha Stewart recipe, which doesn't let you open the oven. It was extraordinarily hard for me, but I tried not to think about it, and it turned out pretty good, aside from the fact that I used the six inch springform pan instead of the nine. The extra cheesecake batter naturally turned into pumpkin chocolate chip cheesecake brownies. I think I've made brownies once in my life before, and have certainty never even thought about pumpkin chocolate chip cream cheese brownies before, but damn, were they good.

I just picked a random cheesecake brownie recipe, poured the cheesecake over that, threw in some chocolate chips, and swirled it with a toothpick. For the last few months, anything I've slightly experimented on has sucked, big time. And sure, I should have taken them out of the oven when the buzzer went off, but the cheesecake looked so runny I couldn't bring myself to - I will next time, since the outside of the brownie was a little chewy. But these weren't anything like the time I tried these cookies that literally melted into a sheet of sugary chocolate - I nearly cried. It was awful. And some of my soups have gone astray, the breads, etc. I don't know why I think I can throw shit together and it will work, because it suddenly stopped there, for awhile. Yet these brownies mean its possible. That's probably not a good thing.

The cat is whining at me. Now I must do my morning pages, because I've been procrastinating by answering emails and posting pictures and brainstorming about alchemy. And then I'm going to think about a loaf of bread for John.


Oh, the cat's not whining at me, he's whining at the dog. But the dog doesn't want to play. I swear, sometimes, that dog is so slow.

The picture is a little distorted from where I sit at my desk. Kitty is only about 1/3 the size of Buddy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mom & thirdpersonotherworldhotmess

Krista and I were talking about grief the other day, and Mom, and how not much seems to have changed since last year (awful first year holidays) except the actual pain. While I may not actively feel numb and cold and wondering how I can get through this, I still react to anything and everything much the same way. Whether its learned and/or habitual, or like Krista thought, residual traces of grief that needs to be felt, it's fairly inconvenient, and exhausting, honestly.

It sounds silly, too, but I'm dreading the flip to 2011 - because then Mom didn't just die last year anymore. And it's still so terribly new to not be able to call her, or talk to her, or see her. Terribly awful.

I found these pictures on my lovely sister-in-law's facebook page; I'm not sure why I hadn't seen them before, but I swiped them immediately, since Mom looks so pretty and healthy and happy, as does Dad.

Denae had made her a quilt, with squares that we had all contributed on. Mom's birthday, 2007.


Writing has been hard, lately. I think it's because I want results, even a finished draft, and what I'm working on now isn't something that just churns itself out quickly. Third-person-other-world stories are really hard for me. Give me first person, a teenager, and/or a quirky idea and I can write it quickly, and it can be good. But the worldbuilding takes time for me (potentially more than it does others?), as does the science, real or made-up, and I rant and rail at myself all along the way and think that perhaps this is all a big joke, or I'm the big joke. And I conveniently forget how long "Child of Fortune" took, as well as "Light Stones" - I struggled with that story like nothing else, and it was the first one of mine to find a home.

So, yes.

Back to the practice idea that I blogged about weeks ago - real practice means working on something I suck at. Which means I must be on the right path.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Writing update

I'm unusually spry this morning (yes, I'm an old geezer) for a Monday - it's refreshing. I'm not certain why, but I'm not complaining. So far: slush read, one OWW crit done, and I've got another friend's revision up next, and some nits to "Child of Fortune, Child of Labor" before I tinker around with the worldbuilding a bit. Or maybe the new short for the Anywhere but Here anthology, in case the venue where CoFCoL is currently out at decides to take it. But I liked X6 so much that it would be silly for me to not try for something in a couer de lion publication.

And then there's "Fish out of Water" to work on - less cliche characters, Ilan says. And the alchemist short which I haven't touched because either I've taken a wrong turn, or it's not the right time to work on it. I've got six other shorts out there right now, and as I hear back, that will mostly likely mean more revisions. Which is good - I need to do all I can before tax season, which is already looming over me.

Oh, and I need to read the rest of the Apex Magazine Muslim/Arab issue (I loved, loved, loved the El-Mohtar,) the Toblar and the Daly at Fantasy Magazine, and some Electric Velocipide, too, in case they ever open again to submissions. I'm not sure if anything I have will fit there - which is why I need to read them.

Cute, aren't they? The difference in the size of their heads is hilarious to me. John made Buddy sit next to the cat, who got up and left right after he snapped the picture. They've both been so sweet lately - aside from the cat trying to escape for freedom every time we open the front door, which is the only obstacle from sweet killing of birds and feline HIV. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I warn him of the latter, it never sinks into his cat brain. He just wants to kill, kill, kill.