Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Beautiful Mess of Pencils

The positive side of my NaNoWriMo transcription project (aside from the fact that I now have a digitized NaNo novel, such as it is and what there is of it) is that it reminded me of just how much fun I had playing with pencils that month--lots and lots of pencils, lots and lots of hours spent with them. I've been more or less fixated on the fountain pens lately as I'm working my way through all my pretty ink samples from Goulet Pens.

But last night, I got the pencils out and started working on a short story idea. The wonderful tactile realness of pencils combined with their optional impermanence makes them one of my most confidence inspiring writing technologies. Love 'em.

How's this for a lovely cluttered autumn palette of pencils? (Please to ignore the eraser crumbs and cat hair...)

Pencil clutter

Pencils of the evening yesterday were the General's Semi-Hex (love those: dark, *and* they hold a point forever) and the General's Layout. Unintentional theme.

No real point to this blog post. Except gratitude, I suppose! Life is good.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

NaNo Liar, Pants on Fire

First of all...I had to laugh at this comic. Note that this could apply equally to pencils and typewriters. Old school FTW!!

Ahem...moving on.

NaNo Lie

Brought to you via Elmer, the Lettera 31.
Olivetti Underwood Lettera 31

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Long Expected Rereading

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, 
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, 
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, 
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne 
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. 
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, 
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them 
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

I first read J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was about thirteen.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to that first read-through, recapture that first wonder.  It took my breath away: that vast world with all its many races, cultures, languages; the varied landscapes, the maps and runes, the staggering scope of the history.  Although it's an often criticized aspect, I loved the richness of the many layered names for people, places and things. I warmed to to the innocent, comfort-loving hobbits, felt for them as they left innocence and comfort far behind in order to do what needed to be done.  I felt the panic of being chased by Black Riders, by evil unknown.  I felt the awe and wonder of the hobbits at Rivendell; like them, I wanted to linger, listening to the songs and stories of the wise, unthinkably long-lived elves.  And then, at Rivendell, just when the adventure seemed about to end, the true quest began, filled with danger, beauty, darkness, love and friendship--and an ultimate victory that, as is so often the case, is nevertheless touched by sorrow and pain.  And along the way, I fell deeply in love most particularly with two characters: the sweet, ever-faithful hobbit Samwise Gamgee, and the brave, wise, and utterly romantic Knight of Gondor, Faramir. (Ladies: just try reading his scene with Eowyn in the Houses of Healing without swooning a little...)

I don't need to go through every detail of the entire story.  Those who have read it are likely already wandering there in their minds.  Those who haven't...really should. 

It's a long story in its own right, but for better or worse, I quite literally would not be where I am right now without these books.  You could say they were, in a very real sense, entwined in my own destiny.  And it had been too long since I last read them.

Today, I begin the adventure anew, starting with Frodo and Bilbo's birthday, which happens to fall--funnily enough--on September the 22nd.  When I was planning to set aside some time for this reread, it seemed an appropriate day to begin the journey once again.  I am very much looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Too Much

Some reflections, partially drawn from my recent brief blog hiatus (the virtual type-in dragged me back...;)

Too Much Too Much_0001 Too Much_0002

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

NaNoWriMo roll-call

I was going to preface this with this year's web badge, but they aren't up yet...

I know we're still a few months out, but since it came up in the type-in and since I've seen a few whispers elsewhere...who's planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

And for those of you wondering 'What's a NaNoWriMo?', go here and be enlightened. Essentially, you spend any free time you can wrangle up during November writing your brains out to get to 50,000 words. (Unless you're Mike Clemens, in which case you spend one week's free time writing your brains out at X-TREME WARP SPEED, and then spend the rest of the month twiddling your thumbs and smiling indulgently at the rest of us still slogging and stumbling and whimpering through the muck.) (Not that I'm bitter.) (OK, maybe I am a little.)

This will be my tenth year (!!), which is sad, in some ways. I am exactly the sort of person who the NaNoWriMo naysayers ridicule: all that writing, and for what? Most of the stories are still utterly unfinished, many of them are not worth finishing. But you know what? I've had fun, and I've made friends along the way. That's good enough for me.

I don't exactly have a set-in-stone plot (do I ever?), but thus far, I'm thinking something off the beaten track: kind of a detective novel set in the future, in a world where magic has become part of the "real" world, which...complicates things a bit. And so far, I'm thinking I may write by hand again. Except, this time around, I'll actually transcribe as I go, more or less. I'm still working on transcribing last years--finishing that is one of my goals for September, actually.

How about you? Any clue yet what you'll be writing about? What typewriters/pens/pencils/paper/computer software you'll use? Any special plans you'd like to share for keeping organized/focused/caffeinated/sane?

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Virtual Type-In!

Eek...I go away a couple of days, and blogger has completely changed the interface on me?

Anyhow...today, we made typosphere history: at noon PDT, Adwoa, Richard Polt, notagain, and I met up for a completely virtual type-in via a "hangout" (video chat) on Google+. It wasn't flawless--in particular I had some trouble hearing Adwoa some of the time, and anytime we all typed or talked at once, it was hard to hear everyone. Still...I'm pretty impressed at how well it worked! Here are my messy, messy notes from the event. Aside from the typos, I also managed to drip water on them. Yay for the brutal honesty of typecasting!

Virtual type-in Virtual type-in_0001 Virtual type-in_0002

There were quite a few other typewriters in attendance, besides those mentioned in my typecast. I sort of gave up trying to keep track of them all. Peter (notagain) has an interesting Noiseless (love the sound that thing makes!), and Adwoa, of course, had all sorts of cute and colorful typewriters. Fun seeing them all! There were also quite a number of feline attendants.

I believe others planned to stop by but missed out--we were there an hour, but then some needed to get going. I think some folks were going to meet up again at midnight PDT, for anyone who'd like to stop by!