Thursday, April 15, 2010


I just passed the six hundred post mark. Six hundred posts? Really? In August I'll hit my five year mark, so I guess it's not all that many, all told. Still. That's a lot of yammering.

Another milestone, though more a spring-oriented one: the tulips and pears are in full bloom, while the last of the quince, and peach blossoms are fading. The apple blossom buds have just started to barely open, which means it's time to plant asparagus seeds. The instructions on the packet don't recommend direct-seeding, but I'm following Gardening West of the Cascades and I want to give it at least one year so I can see for myself how well his methods work. I have a couple of asparagus survivors from the great greenhouse upset, so I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket, but that does leave a lot less margin (I'd planned on six seedlings and fourteen direct-seeded plants) than I'd initially worked toward.

The DH and I are one step closer to a finished ceiling downstairs. I spent the sunny part of yesterday painting the first coat on our new ceiling--on the ground, where I don't have to rest every few minutes to let all the blood return to my hands. He got a ton of mowing done, and now the orchard field looks gorgeous, like something out of a postcard. The girl had JR (our rabbit) out hopping around for over an hour, which must have felt great to him after several rainy days stuck all day in his cage. We celebrated with yummy bbq, and the bunny got fresh mowing clippings as a treat.

In writing news, I'm finding that working on House of Goats is easier, at least for the moment, than writing first draft short stories. I don't know if it's that I'm coming down with the same illness that have sent both kids to bed, or if my creative energy is being siphoned into trying to manage and organize the return of the downstairs to a lovely living space. It is creative work (and a lot of elbow grease) to essentially build a to-do list and put the items into the proper order. For example, we had to consider whether or not to tear out the laundry room wall. I think it'll be okay. It doesn't feel unusually cold (which would suggest that it's soaked with water) and I don't see any discoloration. So I decided to run the clothes drier, a lot, to keep the place vented and warm to assist in drying. Which involves not only going through our normal laundry needs, but also curtains and such.

Stuff like that. Every aspect of the downstairs, from the ceiling joints and sections where the ceiling tore or damaged part of the wall, down to figuring out where and how to start eliminating the piles of dust, to figuring out a cleaning schedule so that the kids' rooms don't become dangerously filthy not only from their own lifestyles but encroaching remodeling, takes a surprising amount of creative energy.

So imagine my surprise when I started painting again recently. Imagine my even larger surprise when I had a dream about painting portraits, and woke up thinking that the techniques I used in the dreams would actually work.

Now I just need some writing dreams where my dream writing techniques would actually work ... But I'm getting lots of writing done overall, so I guess I shouldn't complain. Maybe my difficulties with short stories right now are a bit inevitable anyway. I've always been primarily a book-length writer, and as my energy gets eaten up, it's natural that I'll favor that length. It's my understanding as well that if (when!) I start getting books published, I might very well end up with a schedule from the publisher as far as what books they'll want to see next (usually sequels.) Combine that with my own plans for what books I want to write, and that will leave less and less time for short story writing. The increased difficulty of writing short stories (for me), decreases in time, and decreases in energy, make the slow reduction of short story production seem inevitable. I guess it's another transition, like quince to tulips. But I think I'll always write short stories. They're not only fun, but they let me explore ideas that wouldn't necessarily fill a book, they let me play with different voices, and they teach me lots about writing.

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