I’ve spent the day banging my head against the table. Writing is such a two-steps-forward-one-step-back job.
The weather today is HOT. I believe the high was 92 degrees Fahrenheit. Ole!
I’ve held off all spring on putting away my blankets and winter clothes, as the weather has yo-yo’ed so dramatically! Just 10 days ago, I was wearing long sleeves and long pants in a cold snap! However, now that it hit 92, and given that my house is a crazy mix of winter supplies and summer supplies, I’m doing it. The blankets are in the dryer right now (I probably need to go get them soon!). I sorted out all my summer clothes and winter clothes, and the winter clothes – long sleeves, sweatshirts, embroidered shirts – are now safely stashed in the back of the closet. The summer clothes – tank tops, shirts with t shirt printing, shorts – are in the dresser drawers.
Now let’s just hope it’s here to stay!
I turned 30 years old last week.
I should probably have some words of wisdom to share, but I don’t. Instead, I will share this, a list of 30 things turning 30 this year. You can add “Melinda” as number 31.
This paragraph is from an article on Foxnews.com’s story about the Boston Marathon bomber, specifically about how no cemeteries will accept the body of Tamerlen Tsarnaev.
Glad I’m not that attorney!
A few adorable photos for your daily dose of cuteness:
Dogs in Suitcases
Photos of cute and cuddly canines with their owners’ traveling gear. I think next time Sadie visits us, I’ll have to set up a bit of a photo shoot with her and a suitcase. It’s almost as good as the best eggcrate dog beds and wayyyyy cuter!
This man, a writer, lived for an entire year without internet. He proved that it IS possible to be a member of society but without any internet.
I have huge respect for him for choosing to do this, but I have to say (perhaps selfishly) I don’t think I would do that. I know it’s possible and that I *could* do it, but I am just so plugged in that it seems like it would be too difficult to do my job or participate in life without the internet.
Yesterday, it was over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I went for a run, wearing shorts and a tank top, and thought about how it was close to becoming unbearably hot. I even had to turn on the air conditioner when I got home!! (Luckily we had the AC serviced when we had a late-season furnace and AC repair a couple of months ago, so it was safe and ready.)
Today it is below 40 degrees (right now, 38 degrees). They’re forecasting snow and even colder weather tonight and tomorrow, with possibly up to three inches of accumulation. I’m wearing jeans and short sleeves, but I could comfortably add a jacket. My toes are covered by socks. It’s rainy and damp outside.
Street crews around here are preparing snowplows to clear the streets. They’re putting the blades back ON the trucks, because they mistakenly thought they were done with snow for the year!
Students in Minnesota and Wisconsin got a snow day. They have reports of 14-17 inches of snow.
It’s May 2. Today is my sister’s birthday, and my birthday is in 3 days. This is definitely a most unusual birthday present!
In the spirit of a glass-half-full… I do have a 5k on Saturday, and at least it won’t be terribly hot!
Curiosity and imagination are occupational hazards of being a writer. The story of history is filled with questions, answers, and more questions. It’s pretty amazing to imagine the experiences of the men, women, and children who came before.
Today, a team of researchers published information that, for the first time, shows evidence of cannibalism at Jamestown, the first English settlement in what was then the “new world”. The winter of 1609-1610 was known as the “starving time”, and was incredibly difficult for the Jamestown colonists. There wasn’t enough food, leading to hunger and starvation, and death.
On the one hand, I’m not shocked. They had no food. Other people in similar circumstances have done the same thing.
But on the other hand, can you imagine? What goes through a person’s head when they are faced with eating the body of a person who used to be your friend, your neighbor, even your family?
I hope I’m never in that situation. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard that must have been.
As a reader, I never gave much thought to a story’s setting, but as a writer, I’ve discovered that the setting can make or break the story.
Of course, some stories lend themselves to particular settings. A story about lumberjacks probably needs to be in a reasonably mountainous location, but a story about a lifeguard is more likely to take place in a neighborhood of Port St. Lucie homes near the beach.
Science fiction or fantasy stories can be a little more complicated because you have to actually create a setting, whether it’s a spaceship, a mythical forest, or another planet entirely.
Then of course you have the “settings within the setting”. For example, your story might be set in New York City, but most likely that includes your character’s home, work, and a variety of recreational locations.
I’ve also learned that a new setting can be the perfect solution for writer’s block! By taking my characters to a new location (whether it’s a location within the larger setting, such as a coffeeshop or a friend’s house, or a new city entirely). It can give a shot of life to a dying plot!
When in doubt, a photograph can also inspire your writing. I think every writer creates a “mental picture” of their setting, and though it may not match the mental picture created by the readers, it is important to have a thorough understanding of it in order to complete your story!
If you haven’t heard this yet, you need to head over to the Smithsonian Mag to hear an early recording of the voice of Alexander Graham Bell. The recording was made in 1885 on a cylinder composed of cardboard, wax, and paper that Alexander Graham Bell donated to the Smithsonian (along with 399 similar cylinders). For the past hundred years, those cylinders were too fragile and delicate to risk playing. Recently, though, a team of physicists used a 3-D scanner to create high-resolution optical scans that could then be converted back into the original recordings.
It’s phenomenal to be able to listen to the voice of someone from over a century ago. There are so many great orators whose voices have been lost to history! Can you imagine if we could listen to Abraham Lincoln or George Washington? I’ve read that Thomas Jefferson was not particularly good at giving speeches, but he was clearly an excellent writer. What about the Pilgrims or Christopher Columbus or even William Shakespeare? Amazing.
Things are going well around here. It’s been a relatively quiet week (which is a good thing!). Lots of writing, daily workouts, some time cooking in the kitchen (I made a cake this morning!), and more writing.
Today has probably been the busiest day so far this week. I’ve got oodles of freelance work to catch up on, my usual daily freewriting work, and several continuing education-type articles from American Writers and Artists that I want to check out. Plus I still need to switch my RSS feeds from Google Reader to Feedly!
I finished my 1040 and paid my taxes earlier this month. The IRS requires quarterly payments from self-employed people like myself, so figuring out my yearly 1040 and quarterly payments can be a pain! I’ve learned that I have to keep incredibly detailed records of my finances – it helps a lot! The only downside is that I require a HUGE file cabinet to store those records!
I should probably look into getting health insurance soon, since Obamacare is going to require it in a few months. Since my car accident is considered a “pre-existing condition”, my insurance would be VERY expensive, and since I don’t have insurance, the entire cost falls on me. Since I am blessed with excellent health, it’s just not worth it to pay hundreds of dollars each month for health insurance.
Incidentally, I’ve been doing an awful lot of work between midnight and 2:00 am lately. I’m thankful that I can get away with that, but I should probably adjust my schedule and do more work when the sun is out so I can get more sleep. What can I say – I’ve always been a night owl! (When I was in college, I did a very large amount of homework between midnight and 4:00 am. I’m certainly not as energetic as I was back then, but I still like working at night, I guess!)