Knitting the Raveled Sleeve of Care

I haven't been, actually, though I've been trying. Just wasn't trying very hard when I had Ready Player One on my Kindle last night, and I was down to the last few chapters and had to Finish it, so I was up until 2 am reading. It was good, not great. Simple YA with straightforward villains. Little depth, but it didn't need it, and it'll probably make a visually vivid, action-packed movie. Fun, especially with all the 80's pop culture references, great gaming references, and some lovely Nerd references, particularly the one about the protagonist's love interest being like Jordan from Real Genius. That made me laugh a lot.

Thing is that it magic-wanded some very real and nasty technical problems that were mere extensions of problems that we already know about today, was a post-fossil fuels world that used unsustainable energy sources on an every day basis, and made a few social problems of today something that was still huge in twenty years. There... actually pinning them down now helps me.

I'll be laying wood floors tomorrow morning, and I'm still sore from fencing for the first time in 27 years(!!! John and I did all the math... and I only fenced for seven years, three with a club that was so lacking in resources that I was teaching) with Jet, who beat me handily by the sheer expedience of having a lame where his front arm wasn't registering attacks. Oops. Anyway... I'd forgotten how much I loved it, and how bad I think I'm at it, when everyone around me thinks I'm okay at it.

I feel that way about a lot of things, at the moment...

Several years ago Ira Glass gave a four part talk about storytelling, and one of those parts had to do with the idea that your taste is what gets you into creating, but that there is a long period where your abilities don't satisfy the very taste that made you long to make more of THAT. Where everything feels like a disappointment when it's actually made.

My writing is definitely right smack in that point, and Ira also says that the only cure is to keep writing. I believe him. I'm just having a hard time doing it, and getting past the points where I am disappointed in what I write. I'm wrestling with, of all things, a game write-up, the thing that got me into this writing thing in the Very First Place. *laughs* I thought I had that Down.

But I don't.

I have five other things I'm working on, and I keep ripping them apart and rewriting instead of just Getting On With It, and letting the shallow stuff stay that way, and digging my depths into the things where it'll matter. It amuses me that I was writing about the Ukraine and Russia before Kiev and Crimea's riots happened, but writing too near-term always has the problem of being overturned by reality. Amusingly enough, none of the social speculation I did with respect to Ukraine's relations with Russia have been overturned, yet, but it's going to be interesting to see where that goes. Still, it'll look more like Old News than speculation by the time this is finished.

What I really have to do is that 1000 word stories and just churn them out on a deadline and get going with it.

I am feeling that way about my painting, too. Lots of people around me are all about how amazing it is that I paint, but what I'm now painting doesn't *satisfy* me or my sense of what's good, and that's just driving me insane. I need to just sit down with a brush some more and make more pictures. Isabel was here for two weeks, and I knew that she wanted a 8x10 sized painting, sometime, and I had been thinking and thinking about it and finally painted her something in the last evening she was here. She loved it, and that should be good enough for me.

My fiber arts has kind of stalled, due to hands that are just not all here yet, since November, they've been aching and on and off I've been having some of the usual nerve problems from overuse. But I managed to make a hat for Harold, who is a glass artist and who always wears a hat in the winter, and he loves it so much I can't ignore the fact that he does. *laughs* He makes me so happy every time he tells me how much he loves the thing that I still am amazed. I have a couple of pieces in the church's art show this month, too, handspun, handdyed, and handknit.

I've been cooking more, lately, and that's been going really well and hasn't interfered with other things. I've also already started the garden, eventhough there's snow tonight, the lettuce, spinach, and sugar snap peas will only welcome the moisture.

I'm learning enough about the construction to know that I can't do it every day the way John is. He's going every morning for a half day of work. We have 23 families we're now working with, got a third grant of another $10,000, and there's a lot still to be done. The money's about to run out at the Foundation, so we'll have to probably find other ways to fund it, too. That'll be an interesting piece. I've been doing electrician work, finishing work, am about to do floors, and I'm letting other people paint, on the most part. *laughs* Though Ben, from the first house, was so impressed with me painting two coats of primer on nearly all of a big storage room in about three hours. There really wasn't anything else to do then, and I'm happy to just do the work that is needed. Especially now that it doesn't involve hauling 5 gallon buckets of river sludge from crawl spaces.

Lots of things going on, and Jet's schedule has become more and more full of things that he needs transportation for. He's really happy about being in jazz band, and he's doing extra ensemble work. He's also playing a lot of D&D 3.0 (thanks amberley!!) with a bunch of friends, and I'm now running a game for him and his best friend and making up the dungeon as I go. It's been pretty cool as the friend's been trying to run for his rowdy 15-year-old crew, and he appreciates me taking the time and effort to run for him. Still, as my first stint as an actual game master, it's been pretty crazy here and there, and I'm learning a lot really quickly about what I need to have prepared for each time, and why amberley's preparations have been so amazingly good.

The other thing I'm doing is being moderator for the church, which is mostly a balancing act of putting the right people in the right place and letting them work it out. I don't have authority in this position over a bunch of volunteers. All I have is my ability to influence people through my integrity. It's kind of daunting in some instances, but good in others. I try to follow up, help out, do the thing that makes it not just easy on people, but where they can exercise agency and make a difference in the problems that they see.

It's involving meetings most weeks of the month, calling a lot of people cold with requests, and doing a lot of coordinating and communication that sometimes doesn't want to get heard. It's all about people and managing them, and there are flashes where I can see why Charles was so willing to offer me an MBA, because he wanted me in management because of the kinds of agreements I can get when I really work at it. But there are times when I'm so utterly disappointed in myself. I've only been doing this job for less than two months... *laughs* So I shouldn't expect my abilities to match up entirely with my expectations, but... still... I have to try and get better and see where I make mistakes.

So lots and lots and lots of learning fast in places where I'm not that good, yet, and KNOW that I'm not so good. But it's all right. I'll get there. A lot of these things I've done before to some extent... I'm just having to remember a lot of things, find out what are the bad habits of old really fast, get rid of them, and move onto the the things I really want to be doing.
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You're so busy that I need a nap after reading all of this!

It's kind of crazy when kids need all that driving around, but in a few more years Jet can start driving himself around. :)
Aaah!! *laughs and laughs*

My God, the idea of Jet driving around. He'd be good at it, I'm sure, but... Aaah! But, yes, you know the driving madness well.

I need a nap, too. :-)
Well, we're used to Robert driving around and bringing Kate home from school and being generally useful. Kate has her permit but is resisting driving a lot. We want her to get her license so she can drive herself to 0 period at 6:20am next fall. Or she could walk. :P

Robert tried to very helpfully point out that he thinks she'd be good at driving. "You crash less than any of us in Mario Kart!"
*laughs and laughs* I LOVE Robert's point!!!

That's so cool. I hope she does gain the confidence she needs to drive herself more! Especially at 6:20 in the morning. Ugh...
Wow you are busy! I wish I had your energy.

I'm guessing that since you've had grants, you know how to apply for grants? Because if ya'll don't have a person who knows how, I'll bet you can find a class on how to do that at the local Adult Education Center. That's where I took my class. I haven't actually managed to DO any grantwork, but I'd like to...

I am full of admiration for you, always. Recognizing obstacles, recognizing the difficulties in surmounting these obstacles, making a plan to do it anyway, then winning. That's good stuff right there, if you hadn't noticed.
We know how to apply grants, yes! It's been a learning experience, but it's also worked out pretty well so far. I do thank you for the advice, though!! You should do some! It's amazing when people actually give you money to do what you want to do...

I hadn't noticed. *grins sheepishly* Thank you so much for pointing that out... but, yeah... the doing it anyway, even if I don't know exactly how it's going to work or what's going to happen, just going on with the next steps seems to be rough sometimes, but... well... good. Thank you!!!
I mentioned it in particular because you sometimes don't notice when you're doing well at difficult things!

As for plans....

I really should set up a couple of creative milestones for myself and then put them where people can hold me to them. It would probably motivate me more, and get me off my ass with respect to the writing and the painting.

Like post a painting at least once every two weeks. Or get a story, any story, or chapter, complete and together every two weeks, to submit or to post here. Which might not be a reasonable rate at all, but I won't know until I try, will I? ♥

Edited at 2014-03-12 05:51 am (UTC)
Announcing milestones can be very helpful, if for nothing else than making them concrete forces you to think through the process, needs, materials, etc. Plus there's something marvelously fulfilling about telling people you're going to do something and then doing it.

And there is no shame in making a schedule and then adjusting that schedule due to reality rearing its rainbow-hued head and roaring like a giggling Pegasus (I meant Pegasus but my fingers really REALLY wanted to type "Pegasaurus").

Hm. Definitely past my bedtime.
Hee. I like Pegasaurus better. *laughs*

Yes... Reality is a bit like that. *nodnods*

I think it can't hurt to say it and then try and do it and adjust if it doesn't work.
I've been doing electrician work, finishing work, am about to do floors,

You see, your house-building experience (floors! OMG!!) is why I took "I'm still sore from fencing" to mean that you also build the fences around them, so that "the sheer expedience of having a lame where his front arm wasn't registering attacks" flummoxed me. 'A lame? Like a handicap? Maybe it's a video game?' 'At school? A fence-building club? They *do* that?' No caffeine on little sleep is a brain-rotter.

Add my voice to the chorus of admiration for your energy and skillz.
*giggles and giggles*

Yes, I was too lazy to look up the special character to have that make more sense...

I haven't actually built fences around houses... though the CAM people that were living at our church did hundreds of yards of fence with concrete posts. Bah...

The flooring turned out beautifully. I should put up pictures. Christy is so happy, she's a single mom who's a substitute teacher and when the flooding took out her whole first floor she didn't have either the emotional or financial means to restore her life. So we're helping... it's been huge for her and really amazing for us.
Oh... and I'll admit that the whole new concept of electrical scoring for SABER, which always used to be four judges and the main ref back in the day when I was fencing, is still boggling my mind. There's wires that connect the metallized helmet to the jacket and it's kind of amazing to me.
Let me also cheer you on. I am always impressed and admiring by how much you try, do, and get done.

You are an inspiration. :) Actually, seriously, you are.
*hugs* Thank you so much.


It was amazing to see Faber again. *laughs* He's been lurking about in the back of my head lately, and I don't know why... but maybe I should post his follow up to Caliah's story too...
You should!

My old website at seems to have gone down - I suppose I should email to check up on it, but to be honest I have a sneaking suspicion that I haven't been paying for it properly for a few years now, since that web provider renamed itself and changed hands, so I decided that perhaps I'd just let sleeping dogs lie and start moving all my stuff onto AO3 anyhow.

So yes! Let us expand the AO3 In Nomine section.

And here I was feeling like such a slacker for not "really" writing or painting or knitting for quite some time...

One of the parts of Ready Player One that made me happy, that Jordan reference. Because it made me think of you.

That book didn't work at all for me until I quite deliberately turned my brain off. The energy source issues were driving me absolutely round the bend. When I did just go along for the ride, it was fun. But I still kept wishing he'd thought out the consequences of his world-as-built.
*blushes at the first*

Yeah... I think that that was what I ended up doing, too. It was a fun ride! But yeah... some of the other consequences that he'd ignored really did bother me.
I do agree that there comes a time when what you want to create can outstrip what you *can* create, and the cure is to keep learning and growing. But I'd throw one idea out there (and it may be completely irrelevant to you). If there's a time when it hurts to write, don't. And I don't mean writing is a comfortable process, I mean if you find that it isn't just frustration, if sitting down to write is something you actually feel a bit of fear toward, it's time to take a deliberate break for a bit until that part goes away.

You do need to write more, paint more, create more, eventually. But you don't have to do it *right now* if it's really hurting. You don't want to have any wincing when you sit down to create.

(Of course, this is advice from someone with fatigue issues, and it might seem a lot more sensible from that perspective. :-) )
:-) No... that helps....

There was a time period where your advice was spot on, and I just really couldn't write. Stuff happened that made it really painful and hard and just the wrong thing to do. I am still working through the tail end of some of that, but I think the worst of it has passed, but I have this habit of Not-Writing, now. Both fiction and here...

Though given that I did the 50,000 words in November, I have a feeling that I can if I get myself back in balance with myself, I might be able to finally get to where I really want to go... but, yeah... I get it, and do thank you for the thoughts.