partlyopenbook: (strong)
A follow-up to the previous post, about how many books I'm reading at one time, and what sort of challenge it would be to read everything on the list.

I listed nine books that I am reading intermittently... and it was actually ten. I forgot Mrs Dalloway. My apologies, Clarissa, Virginia. 

DONE
The Reverberator, 7/28
Mrs Dalloway, 8/9

REMAINING
Muddle Earth
The Sea, the Sea
The Wings of the Dove
The Little Minister
Rogue One
The Templar Legacy
Down the Garden Path
Blonde

Blonde is over 700 pages, and I believe it comes close to Wings of the Dove as far as word count goes. Yikes! I haven't started reading anything else... a couple of smaller, non-fiction titles that serve a purpose as far as education goes, but nothing fiction. I'm trying to stick to the goal. 

In other news, I finished writing all of The Buried Cellar on Tuesday, 8/7, the day of the partial lunar eclipse... The book wound up being about 231,000 words long. Since I don't plan to send it out to a collection of agents or publishers, I won't have to drain myself by draining words out of the story during the arduous editing process. I started writing it in February. It is the first novel-length story (over 80,000 words) I've finished since 2012. 

 A lot of little things are getting finished, too. Some decisions, both giant and seemingly insignificant, have become clearer. 
partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (read)
After a conversation with a buddy (which took place only online, don't get excited, I still don't have friends), in which he declared that he no longer reads multiple books at a time—only one!—I decided to take a personal inventory. But, seriously, one book at a time? One?

One book at a time! What is this madness?

He declared that it took him too long to read a bunch of books over time than it did for him to read one book.

Valid point. Check!

It led me to wonder this: HOW MANY BOOKS AM I READING AT ONCE AND OMG IS IT WAY TOO MANY?!?!

Am I stretching myself too thin, over books?

But back to the first question: How many books am I reading?

The answer? Nine. A staggering NINE books. Well, not simultaneously, but I'll pick one up whenever I feel like reading that particular style of prose, or swim in that particular story for a little while. The books are pretty varied. Really varied... 

Muddle earth ... Paul Stewart, Chris Riddell (illustrator)
The Sea, the Sea ... Iris Murdoch
The Wings of the Dove ... Henry James
The Reverberator ... Henry James
The Little Minister ... J.M. Barrie
Rogue One ... Alexander Freed
The Templar Legacy ... Steve Barry
Down the Garden Path ... Beverley Nichols
Blonde ... Joyce Carol Oates

There are two Henry James titles on here, you're not just seeing double. The Wings of the Dove is one of his "epics," and the Reverberator is a short novel that he wrote after two of his books, The Princess Casamassima and The Bostonians were critically, er, devalued. That's a tad weird, because The Bostonians has gone on to classic status (from which we've gathered our modern day phrase "Boston Marriage"). The Reverberator (incidentally, one of those "difficult" words to type on type-timing quizzes) is fairly light-hearted, and I am a titch more than halfway through it. And I don't know what those critics were talking about, The Princess Casamassima was fantastic. I read it in three days! 

I started reading BLONDE yesterday, after I knew that I wanted to get through this list and finish all the titles before I started something else. I simply couldn't help it. And I'm not sure if The Little Minister counts, it's more like A Study in Doric than entertainment, and Doric does make for an interesting read, when you're part Scottish and some of your favorite book creations are Scottish. The Templar Legacy could be good if I would just get into it a little more. I've started reading it twice. Down the Garden Path is delightful, but it's more a literary adventure best taken when the gardens are withered and brumal, and not when you're out frolicking about in your own flower patches. 

No doubt the first one to be struck from this list, marked as FINISHED, will be The Reverberator. As for the last, well, either The Wings of the Dove or The Little Minister. 

-x-

I'm still working on The Buried Cellar. I've become one of those people that I never thought I'd be, ever: someone who writes while in public, in notebooks, on the tablet, whatever... I hardly write at home now, only second drafts of initial public-typed writings. It's very strange. Since it took me so long to write again, I will take it however it wishes to come to me. 

I wrote the first part of the next book, with plots set out for two more books that are attached to the characters of The Buried Cellar (and also found in four previous books). One book is waiting to be finished, since I've worked out the plot kinks I'm sure I can finish it up in a few months. One book is waiting for an entire rewrite. Several more just want to be written. I don't know what I'll do with all of them when they're done. 

Donation time.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 07:53
partlyopenbook: a raccoon looks like it's clapping (yay)
A little while ago, I received payment from my books sold at Smashwords. It was $4.25, if you want to know. If you don't make enough money (I think it's $10) a quarter, they send you your earnings every couple of years, or something like that. 

But, as promised, I will make a donation to the local Animal Humane Society. Probably in the amount of $10, though the minimum is $5, I believe.

I got a new cat from them on December 27th, too, along with purchasing a few items (like kitty toys), so I've been a patron of theirs for a while. Even going back to when I got my other kitty in November of 2015.

The significant other and I also donated a stack of old bath towels, and they were happy to have those! 

Thank you to everyone who purchased my stories and made the donation possible!

***

I'm working on a new novel. It just passed 40,000 words yesterday! As of now, it's called The Buried Cellar, and it's a continuance of a previous manuscript originally finished in, I don't know, 2010 maybe. 

I'm still looking for submission calls that interest me, but mostly just want to work on The Buried Cellar... Someone asked me the other day how many books I'd written, and I honestly don't know at this point. Eleven? Twelve? Two of them I want to rewrite, at least one of them entirely, and the other one needs a new opening (at the very least). There's another one that I want to finish, that I put on hold when I encountered a plot-point issue that has been resolved. 

Over the course of the last two years, it's taken me a long time to feel like a writer again. While I wrote a bunch of short stories for submission calls in the summer of 2015, none was accepted (at least one came very close). Then I didn't write much of anything for over a year. I think I wrote two short stories for submission calls in the spring of 2016, but never sent them in. Both of them I would like to turn into short(!) novels that could probably be written pretty quickly. (Both are set in Canada: one in Ontario, one in Alberta. Again continuing the tradition that I can't write anything unless it's set in Canada or Ohio. The one that is set in Alberta I could easily move to another location.) Writing was always a part of my life, though (since I was seven), and eventually it'd squeeze it's way back into my everyday life. 

The importance of writing started its strong resurgence after I settled into my new place in November [2016]. I had my own office, and I thought that would be helpful, but it's actually really cold and uncomfortable down there so I started scouting for another location. It wound up being the back part of the kitchen, and an old aluminium camp table that belonged to my SO's grandparents. I'm next to a window, with a fine view of the side of the neighbor's house, and another window to the front of me that looks at the garage and the fence where the little sparrows conglomerate on cold Minnesota mornings... I'm also surrounded by plants. There's a jug plant, a giant peace lily, a variegated palm of some sort, donkey tails and other succulents, another peace lily, a spider plant, something that we're trying to root (it's doing very well actually), and, of course, the rhododendron that I brought from my former home. It's doing far better than I thought it would, with plenty of new growth after it sprouted three sets of flowers. I'm still typing on an old Dell (they're not even made anymore), because the keyboard is the best for pounding out thousands of words a day. I have a mug-warmer, a magazine rack that holds notebooks (full notes), my headphones, and a container with miscellaneous office-like items in it. I'm using a rectangular space roughly 4 ft by 3 ft, which includes the space for my chair. 

Ah, my chair. My chair goes with the old 1950's table, and while it is not the most comfortable of chairs (the back is low), it keeps me awake and keeps my legs comfortable. 

But with three cats and a dog, sometimes it's really hard to sit still for hours on end while writing: there's always something going on. 

At the moment, it's quiet. The dog is outside. The cats are sleeping. And, traditionally, plants don't make much noise. 

I've also taken up writing by hand, which I can do while I'm not at home. When I first started on the mission of "Okay, I can write by hand when it's slow at work," I really thought it'd be ridiculous and it wouldn't take at all. Quite the opposite. Writing by hand, with your favorite pen in a nice, old notebook already littered and wrinkly with notes, definitely has its appeals, and it's very calming. There's no stress when you write by hand. I can stop, do some work if necessary, and go back to it without feeling the jam of any creative flow, even without caring whether there is such a thing as "creative flow." I just pick up the pen and go. The only time I have trouble is when I'm tired, and, of course, when it's really busy. Even yesterday, on a day off from work, I thought about writing by hand rather than typing what I've written in the notebook. If you have trouble keeping on task when composing at a computer, writing by hand would be a really good option--at least give it a shot. 

Someday, I'd like to create a new dot-com, but not just yet. I'm still getting used to writing again, and I don't want to take on too much. I've thought of taking my stories off Smashwords entirely and just starting over. I don't receive very many downloads for my free books, about one a month, and no one's paid for my two .99-cent books in ages. Then again, it's hard to just discard all the work that went into creating those ebooks--and it is a lot of work. All you have to do is breeze through the Smashwords Style Guide to know it's a lot of work. So, for now, they're still available. I don't even know if anyone reads this journal. By this entry, you know that I was pretty sure, at that point, that I really wouldn't write commercially again, or have any kind of writing life on the internet. I'm not really interested in marketing myself at the moment, but I still have my goodreads account, and I've started looking at submission calls again. I've thought about throwing together another book of short stories (rejects or unsent stories through the years), but I think I'd like to release it through Amazon instead, probably under a different pseudonym. Using Amazon would be an interesting challenge for me. I've already done the Smashwords thing. Mostly, though, I'm all right with staying off the internet except for research, and just keep writing books even if no one ever reads them or they never get published. 

It's a tough world out there, which is exactly why I started writing again in the first place. I've borrowed my life from Nietzsche:

We have art so that we shall not die of reality. 

Most Popular Tags