The life of two artists.

(Warning: this is going to be a slightly sappy post about me and my husband.)


It's official. We are out of food. At this point our refrigerator contains only condiments, such as ketchup and mustard, a couple of apples and way too many onions.

This is because my husband, Dan, and I are both artists--he's a musician and I'm a writer--and our time is pretty much divided between not having enough money to go shopping, and just plain forgetting that we need to buy food. (We are going shopping tonight, by the way.)

I know they say opposites attract, but I love being married to another creative person. There are downsides, like forgetting to clean the house or having tight budgets on some months, but the advantages are enormous. Since we feel the same way about our respective art forms, we're very respectful of each other's dreams.

Right now Dan is the major bill-payer (he drives a school bus and works as a bassist for hire) while I serve coffee part-time and work on my writing. We have a roof over our heads and enough money to buy food and gas for our two old cars. We have second-hand furniture and good air-conditioning. I go to his concerts when I can and he reads all my first drafts. We never tell each other that we're stupid or immature, or that it's time to find a real career. We just keep plugging away at our dreams and encouraging each other.

It's not easy. But it's very worth it.

(I was worried that I ended this too abruptly, but I showed it to Dan and he said it was fine. -grin- )

The saga continues!

Ah, rewriting... Aren't you cute? You seem so small and easy next to the pull-your-guts-out effort of writing a book. So simple and harmless and fun. Like a gremlin.

And then I feed you after midnight....

Now you're a monster. I've lost all my motivation and have spent the last three days re-arranging the living room, partly because it needed to be done, but also mostly because then I don't have to think about you. My mind is a constant swarm of self-pity and excuses. I'm too tired, my head hurts, my laptop blew up, the desktop computer chair is uncomfortable, I have to do laundry, I have to do dishes, I have to build a rocket ship and fly to Mars, etc.

No. I refuse to be defeated! Who needs comfortable chairs or clean clothes? I will sit down, start typing, and get this done if it's the last thing I do.

So there!

My husband is a hero...

After great labor (on my husband's part) and great stress and worry (on my part) the rewriting has been saved!

I am limp with relief. But now I must take a moment of silence to mourn my faithful friend, the laptop.

I'll miss you, buddy.

(sniff...)

Aaarrggh!

So I know this post is on the wrong day, but my laptop blew up a few minutes ago.

With eight hours of rewriting work on it that hadn't been saved to my stick drive.

I swear, I'm thinking of getting a typewriter. (Of course now that typewriters are all hi-tech, it would probably die as well.)

Argh.

The rewriting begins...

I started revising my second book on Thursday. It's such a weird experience, reading something you've written after a month or so of not looking at it. And draining...

See, I'm one of the meanest authors ever, and in the last half of the book, I put this girl through so much crap that it's exhausting for me to read. The Lord only knows what my First Readers will think. (my First Readers are a small group of three or four that read the book before I do any really serious rewrites. It gives me a better perspective.)

I also came to the conclusion that I must like killing characters off. Granted, it's kind of a murder mystery, which means there have to be a few bodies, but still... I'm afraid I'm turning into a conflict addict in my writing. Things start to settle down a little for my characters and I think, "Gosh, someone needs to be punched in the mouth. Which one should I hit?" On the other hand, nothing livens up a story like a good fight.

(This is funny because I used to avoid direct conflict in my writing. In my early stuff, all my characters had massive internal conflicts, and very little exterior ones. It's still hard for me to write dialogue for fights and arguments.)

There are encouraging things. For example, nothing beats reading something you wrote some time ago and realizing that it's good. I wrote this book differently then anything I'd done before, writing the first draft out by hand and then periodically typing what I'd written into my computer. I didn't do a whole lot of rewriting when I first typed it in, just made sure that all the plot lines were consistent, names matched, etc. Going back and reading it, it turns out that this method works a lot better than I thought it would. The book still needs work of course, especially the end, but it was a very pleasant surprise.

By the way...

So, coming back to the problem of me and libraries. I have a book out that is overdue, and cannot be renewed because someone else wants it. I've known this for the last six days.

Every day I get up, putter about the house, glance at the pile of books by my door and think, "I need to grab that book and drop it off after work".

I've been at work, and within easy access of a library all week. Have I returned the book yet?

No.

Maybe the library will take my firstborn child as payment...

Macaroni and cheese

I've been thinking a lot about food lately. One reason is that I recently cut severely back on sugar. I'm not supposed to have it, really, and I was being good for a while, but over the last few months my sugar intake has climbed again.

So, out goes sugar. (and chocolate, sniff...)

The other reason is that it's been a rather stressful summer, to put it mildly. Things were just starting to even out again when I got sick. (This of course was the same week that the scheduling gods at work accidentally scheduled me for nine straight days.)

To sum up my point: Emotional stress+ Physical exhaustion/discomfort= Need for comfort food.

And there is no better comfort food for me than good old mac'n cheese.

I've always loved it. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with tasting different kinds, from the stuff we made at home--adding real cheese, not butter, thank you--to restaurants and deli's and such. I thought of myself as a connoisseur. (Yeah, I was that kind of child.) My parents still tell how I would go to all-you-can-eat buffets and the first thing I would get would be macaroni and cheese. They didn't understand. Why would you get something at a restaurant that you could make at home?

I didn't have a good reason. It just made me happy.

It still does, but I can't eat it so much anymore. For one thing, I'm not supposed to have a lot of flour either, and it's hard to have pasta without flour. For another it's full of fat and carbs and low in all the healthy things I'm supposed to care about eating. So most of the time I'm disciplined and adult and eat vegetables and chicken and fruit and stuff.

But not today. I slept badly last night, woke up sick still, went to work and ripped my pants in a rather embarrassing place. I was tired, grumpy, headachy and upset, so I went next door, bought some deli mac'n cheese and ate it. My doctor won't be pleased.

I'm not sorry though. Sometimes the needs of the body just have to give way for the health of the soul. Besides, Fred Meyer makes the best deli mac'n cheese ever. It's like the holy grail of deli foods.

Bonus post!

So, I've already posted once tonight, but it was long and serious and rambley, and so I want to post again.

About chicken noodle soup...

I adore chicken noodle soup. Actually, anyone who knows me well will tell you I adore soup in general, but CNS has a special place in my heart. In fact I strongly suspect I may be addicted to it. I've had three bowls already today and I still crave more.

That may be because I'm sick though. Whenever I don't feel well, I only seem to want chicken noodle soup, saltine crackers and diet coke. Whenever I'm really emotionally drained, all I want is macaroni and cheese.

And now I have a terrific urge to go get some diet coke.

Argh.

PS. I also just realized that the links on this page to my other blogs were not working. They have been fixed, so if you missed them before, you get another chance.

Library confessions

There's a pile of library books sitting by my door. To be specific, there are nine. I know for a fact that there are also five to ten others in my car. All of these library books have been read already and are waiting to be returned.

They have been waiting several weeks.

Sigh.

Why can't I return library books in a timely manner? It's not because of locations, or gas prices. I work, and have worked for almost three years within ten minutes of a library. I could go there before work, after work, or even on a lunch if I were desperate.

But I don't. And if I do, then half the time I forget my books, and simply end up checking out more books, and the pile by my door grows larger.

My personal record for a library fine is upwards of forty dollars. Granted that was a special case. I had about twenty books out and went on vacation for two weeks without checking the due dates. But still...

It has gotten better lately. I do return books mostly on time, and the fines are usually in the range of one to four dollars. I kind of accept it now. I'm a book junkie, and if paying a fine every couple of months for my fix is what I must do, then I do it gladly.

Besides, I'm pretty sure I personally paid for the library's new carpet.
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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.