Saturday, October 31, 2009

The SG-1 Returns!

A sampling of the Blue Moon wares

Blue Moon Coffee

Some of the antique typewriters
A few of the antique typewriters on display at the store


Urania at Blue Moon Camera and Machine

Note: I tried to get some decent pictures of the newly shiny SG-1, but need to wait for better lighting. Trust me, though, it's stunning!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Update Just to Update (UPDATED)

1. I finished Peace Like a River about a week ago, and enjoyed it to the end. It's kind of a hard book to describe--part pretend Midwestern memoir (though it's so vivid, I have to believe at least some of the memories are things the author actually lived through), part outlaw adventure story, lightly sprinkled with miracles. And, as I said, plenty of typewriter content. Definitely one of the best books I've read in awhile.

2. Continuing from the Bejeweled is Evil subject of a few posts back, I think I need to de-technologize myself a bit in the next little while. Lately it seems like I get up, mess around on the computer for an hour, go to work where that's pretty much all I do all day, come home and play computer games or watch TV until after ten, go to bed, and then do it all again the next day. It ruins my concentration, wastes my time, leaves me jittery and unfocused. Not to mention it means I never get any housework or writing or reflecting done.

I'll be spending most of November tethered to the typewriter in one way or another for NaNoWriMo, and want to use most remaining free time for thinking, reading, and other more profitable activities. Following on November comes Advent and Christmas, and there too it would be a far better thing for me to quiet my mind, detach from the more frivolous computer time-wasters, and focus more on the important things in life.

3. Speaking of anxiety and lack of SG-1 should be ready to pick up the weekend of the 7th. Is it 11-7 yet? Is it 11-7 yet? Is it? IS it??

UPDATE: they called THIS AFTERNOON, and it's already done!!! I'm astounded! And trying to decide if I can drive down there tomorrow on such short notice.

4. I still haven't decided where to jump into my story. *sigh* The beginning of it is likely to be UJTU-like.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mission accomplished!

1959 Olympia SG-1

Addendum: just happened to think--the SG-1 is a 1959, making it 50 years old this year. A trip to the typewriter spa seems like a pretty nifty way to celebrate!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Psych me up, and other assorted blathering

OK, so this is really just an Update Just to Update (UJTU) in disguise. So sue me.

1. Psych me up.
Fact: for going on three years now, I've been wanting to get down to Blue Moon Camera, preferably with at least one typewriter-needing-help in tow. This is the time of year when I come closest to actually making the venture, but so far I've never quite talked myself into stepping out the door. Fact: statistically, I probably will *not* be instantly squished the second I drive out of Lewis County. Fact: this Saturday, the weather is supposed to be cloudy, but not raining, which is a rare occurance this time of year. I'm also not on call. The chance of both of these items coinciding is going to become less and less probable as time goes on. Fact: the SG-1 has several issues that I cannot fix on my own, but would be an amazing thing indeed if those were fixed.

So...lie to me. Tell me I can do this, and why I should. Tell me there will magically be a HUGE empty parking space with bright shiny arrows to guide me when I arrive at the end. Tell me I can get there in one straight shot without getting lost, despite my miserable sense of direction. I know, I'm not giving you much time to get me riled up, but if I wait too long, I'm afraid I'll lose my nerve again.

2. NaNoWriMo dreaming
We now come to that antsy stage where we have some idea of what we're going to write (even the pantsers like me), and have been conversing with our characters, feeling 'em out. I keep imagining whole scenes, the dialog, the way people are standing and moving and the state of their clothing, and not being able to write them down instantly is killing me. Urgh! I also need to come up with working names for characters. Right now I have names like bassist-who-is-off-visiting-Aunt-Somebody, accidental-children's-writer-who-hates-kids, Thump, and sister-of-Joey. Also, the whole thing revolves around people living in an apartment building, and a lot depends on shared walls/floors/stairwells, and I haven't yet decided on a final map. I need Legos or wooden blocks or something.

3. Computers are evil
On my birthday, my friends introduced me to the Bejeweled game on Facebook, which is, essentially, crack in game form. You have to slide little colored gems into rows in order to make them explode. Sounds so innocent and dull, doesn't it? But oh, it will suck your life away. I spent about an hour last night saying to myself, "Just one more game, and then I'll quit. OK, just *one* more...." I love and loathe it. It is yet another reason I'd be far better off avoiding the computer for most of November.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Birthday redux typecast

The one musical artist I did discover this weekend was actually by means of the Alphasmart Flickr group: Gordon Bok was mentioned by one of the frequent posters, and I looked him up out of curiosity. I like what little I've found. Actually, he also got played in my Pandora mix, somewhere in the realm of Stan Rogers. He's a Mainer with a great slightly-rough-around-the-edges baritone voice who sings everything from sea shanties to ballads to original songs. I'll be looking deeper into his music.

Ah, and now we're back to Silly Wizard. I <3 Andy M. Stewart. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Update just to update

1. I've been reading Leif Enger's Peace Like a River. I'm about halfway through at this point, and I have to say, if it continues to be as good as it's been so far, this may be one of the best books I've ever read. It's one of those books where you're on edge, holding your breath all the way through, thinking that sooner or later it'll let you down, because it's too good to be true. He's definitely a writer's writer--beautiful poetic prose, lots of literary references sprinkled throughout (in a very comfortable unpretentious way that makes me want to read any of the references I'm missing). Oh, and typewriter content, too. Gotta love that.

2. Unlike other typospherians, I have not finished last year's NaNoWriMo novel. I'd kind of set it aside, but now I'm motivated/guilted to *maybe* try and get the last few chapters done before starting all over again. If I went at it NaNo style, I could do it. I'm torn between that and thinking on this year's project. But who needs planning anyhow, right?

Oh, and congrats to Mike!

3. Saturday is my birthday. That's probably part of why I've been a bit of a gloomy Gus lately. It'd be nice if I could have a party without racking up a bigger age number, but I think it's gonna be the other way around. However, I did get a very cool early birthday present from my Dad when he was in the area a few weeks back: Volume I and III of The Waltz Books. And not just *any* Volume I and III: he gave me the original copies we've used over the years--the first one in particular has some wear on it. OK, so it isn't decades old, but we got it when all of us (him included) were really starting to get into playing music, and it includes notes on when we started to learn each tune, bowings and chords that worked better, other notes in the margins...lots of memories there. We played music out of them while he was here (mostly him on fiddle, me on mando), and he said he'd either buy me copies or let me have the good old marked up books. I'm a sentimental fool, what can I say? ;-)

So maybe for my birthday, I'll lock myself in and alternate Neo-ing with mando-ing until either the story or my fingers are finished....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

On Writing: The Agony and the Ecstasy

The writing process can feel as though you're riding the waves of a stormy sea: one minute you're being tossed up into sunlight and warmth, the next being dragged down into the breathless dark, where you wonder if it's really worth the effort to fight your way back up again. You finish a project, feel on top of the world, feel like you've done something real this time and want to share it...but that feeling can't last. There's always a sort of postpartum downturn, when the gloss wears off and the seams show--or just because you come to the realization that you can't fully share that elation with anyone else in the world. No one fully understands what that story felt like to write and how you feel about having completed it.

Writing, perhaps more than any other creative activity, is often a lonely outlet. You don't see every reader, you don't know what every reader thinks, you rarely get feedback or even know how many people you reach. I'd guess this is a frustration for anyone who has ever composed a paragraph, from people posting on forums or listservs all the way up through best-selling authors. So often you pour out your heart and soul into your work, and it goes into a great blackhole: there's no way of knowing just where your words—all those pretty little lined up words you were so proud of—are going or what they're up to out there.

The Internet is a wonderful horrible place that compounds this issue many times over. Any Joe Schmo with a keyboard can now reach thousands of people—or more—with a few keystrokes. Oh, the power! But we have even *less* knowledge of who we're really reaching. Yes, there are such things as hit-counters, and some sites like Flickr and Scribd give you some vague numbers. But having those is perhaps worse. Watching a number go up without getting any comments or other feedback, you start to think, “Who are all you people???” And you wonder, do people not comment because they have nothing nice to say?

I think these things, despite knowing how many blogs I cruise on a daily basis without ever commenting. In the typosphere, there aren't many blogs I don't follow continuously, but a lot of the time I feel like I have nothing worth contributing, or as if the writer has already said all there is to say, and I wouldn't have anything to say aside from, “Right on!” which seems kinda lame, honestly. (That said, I treasure every “Right on!” I get on LFP, even while I—DuffyMoon-like—sometimes question the sincerity of the Right-on-ians...)

And then, feedback is just one piece of the puzzle. The truth is that the writing process itself is a matter of ups and downs. Some days you love what you're writing and think it's actually pretty good. Some days you hate it. Some days it just seems so pointless that you can't muster up anything as strong as like and dislike. The never-ending instability of it all can drive you crazy. I can understand only too well why so many authors and poets have led troubled lives, many with unhappy endings.

This month, I've been rereading bits and pieces of St. Therese's autobiography, Story of a Soul. She is someone in whom many of us, regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof, would find a kindred spirit. She talks a great deal about her struggles with desiring the approval of others and the anxiety that can bring, as well the ups and downs that one experiences in spiritual life, when at times you feel nothing but dryness, unable to pray or concentrate: very much mirroring what we may feel in other areas of our lives. Without putting words in her mouth, I think I can say that the trick is to accept the “consolations” when they come—those moments when an encouraging word or a burst of creativity lifts us to those glorious heights—without clinging to them too hard, treasuring them in retrospect without expecting them as the norm; and to take the difficult moments as just a part of the path rather than the end of it all, knowing that the next bend may bring another breathtaking vista.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Galaxie-cast: Kiss of a Rose (Flash Fiction)

Quick and dirty fiction typecast, written this evening. Aaaand I didn't exactly work the page breaks all nice. Such is typecasting, I suppose. It also could use a pretty flower image. I could sooo easily get sucked into the photography cult.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


By rights, today I should be posting something deep and thoughtful about the young woman who inspired my blog's name, the Little Flower herself: St. Therese of the Child Jesus. The first of October is her feast day. I did go so far as to spend some time reading a few passages from Story of a Soul, but I'm once again unable to write.

It's so painful to have the drive, but nothing to say. I know it's mostly just a matter of doing. I need to start sitting down again in the mornings with pen and paper or what-have-you and letting whatever happens happen, good or bad. It just feels like nothing I have to say matters at the moment, ya know? I hate to even post to other people's blogs, 'cause I feel like all I can do is babble right now, and I'm just endlessly annoying everyone by existing. :-\

In happier writing news (perhaps!) the great NaNoWriMo forum purge is occurring as we speak, and in short order here we'll be barreling toward the starting line. If that doesn't get you excited about writing, what will?