Friday, September 28, 2007

O, When Will My Bed be Clean?

Ah yes, pardonnez moi for being so long absent. I have been busy doing Lord knows what. Learning how to dump over in a kayak and not drown. Visiting family in the Bay Area. Working hard for one insane week at Geeksoft headquarters only return to my sun-dappled life of leisure this week. Rewriting yet again that article about backcountry skiing that I struggled with so hard the first time only to have it come back and BITE ME IN THE ASS.

As I've said I-don't-know-how-many-times before, DON'T BECOME A WRITER. Unless, that is, you want to suffer constant rejection from snooty editors who don't even bother to reply to your query letters (never mind that you are a published NOVELIST, ahem!); constant self-doubt and guilt; and the fear that you will never ever make a living doing what you love because most likely you WON'T.

I should have listened to my father when he told me to become a computer programmer. But if he wanted me to be a computer programmer why did he feed me the Great Novels from an early age instead of, say, programming manuals? Why did he tell me that I could be ANYTHING I WANTED TO BE, pay for my college tuition, and not make me do any chores, therefore ensuring that I would grow up impractical, lazy, and unfit for anything except daydreaming?


Methinks perhaps I have been travelling a bit too much. You can always tell how recently I've been on a trip by how much crap is piled on my bed. When in a state of post-travel disarray, I keep the rest of my condo relatively neat and dump everything on my bed. Sometimes I can hardly sleep for the piles of luggage, shoes, books, magazines, toiletries, that threaten to push me off the side.

Right now the pile is medium high due to last weekend's whirwind trip to the Bay Area. As soon as I get it cleared off it will be time to embark on my next trip - nine whole days in Washington DC and Virginia - a part of this lovely country to which I've never been! I'll be visiting Galpal #2 in DC and then hiking around in the Shenandoah Valley hopefully where I better see some great fall colors or I'm gonna kick some serious ass. Got that Mother Nature?

Meanwhile, tentative work on the new potential-possible-novel-in-progress continues. Coming to a bookstore near you in 10 years!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Waiting. Procrastinating. Daydreaming.


I am in a phase where I am just WAITING. Waiting to hear from people who - damn them! - should be rushing to call me. To hire me! To stock my book! To buy my articles!

But my inbox remains stubbornly clean except for spam.

Meanwhile, Dave and I did host the best beach party ever on the face of the planet last Saturday. The weather cooperated too, spreading sunny splendor over his verdant lawn and lovely little slice of beachfront property (oh we thank you parental types for your financial foresight back in the day when you were drinking martinis at lunch, making Boeing great, and snapping up property that would one day make your children gazillionaires, that is if they could afford the property taxes, which they can't, but still, they can at least throw great parties!)

Then, on Sunday, we enjoyed the great weather further by paddling in and around the Arboretum. There were so many people there that at I felt like I was on a water ride at Disneyland but we escaped by paddling across the lake (nearly getting run over by boat traffic in the process) to the shores of Laurelhurst, where I was going for a very peaceful swim alongside the kayak until the cursed milfoil (invasive, foreign weed!) got so thick it started wrapping its tentacles around my neck, suspiciously like a giant squid, and threatening to drag me down to the bottom of the lake.

Nonetheless, I have enjoyed my many swims in Lake Washington this summer, courtesy of aforementioned beachfront property. Slipping from the kayak into the water (or jumping in from the dock), looking down into the peaceful (scary) blackness of the lake, looking up to make sure Dave is still there paddling next to me as I do my cross-city swims (Bellevue to Mercer Island!), adjusting to the temperature, and - at last - stepping out of the water exhilarated, the days worries washed away by whatever scary bacteria is in the lake.

And now. Well right now I am just procrastinating. I should be working on my next novel, you know, the one that is finally going to make me famous and let me escape my benevolent master, Geeksoft -- or at the very least I should be looking for a job that will pay the bills when my forced 100-day break comes up in December instead of waiting to hear from non-profit employers whose jobs I desperately want, the salaries of which wouldn't pay for pellets for a guinea pig (good thing I don't have one anymore, but remind me to tell you about the failed guinea pig empire of my youth) but anyway, it's easier not to do all that practical stuff and just daydream the morning away.

Finally, you should go out and buy a copy of the paperback version of Beachglass by Wendy Blackburn - not least because it's a very good novel: sad, funny, satisying -- but because yours truly has a BLURB in it. Yes, that's right. My first blurb! I'm so proud.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Post Labor Day Blues

I returned from the long weekend on Monday and still have barely regained consciousness. Yesterday was a Lost Day. I went to the office but my soul was somewhere else, hiding. I was catatonic, unproductive, grumpy. Everything reminded me of my own creeping decreptitude and eventual doom.

All except the fact that I did write 1,000 words in what is my next-sure-to-be-discarded manuscript! During that hour-and-a-half period of the day, I escaped to a parallel world where I was Lord God Creator of the Universe and only my characters suffered and decayed and had stupid dreams and I floated above it all in my latte-induced omiscience.

The weekend was spent recreating in that giant playground that is my backyard. Paddling glacial blue-green lakes and hiking along trails populated with bears and eye-popping views.

(The bear, who we dubbed Carl, is not visible in this photo -- of Lake Ann taken from Maple Pass in North Cascades National Park-- but that's because, unbeknownst to us, he was right behind us on the trail).

There was a wee bit of tension in our REI tent since co-captain Dave apparently, envisioned having time to "relax" on his vacation while I pictured it as a nonstop three day marathon of strenuous mountain-related activity ending at midnight on Monday as we collapsed exhausted into our beds.

We worked this situation out by - how do you say -- "compromising." I am not very good at this "compromising" though I tried to do it with a modicum of grace. I therefore only complained quietly three or four times - instead of the usual 25 -- when we came home early on Monday for "relaxation" purposes rather than squeezing every last drop out of the weekend.

Next on the docket comes a kayaking class so Dave and I can learn to rescue ourselves should our sturdy kayak (pictured above on Diablo Lake) capsize and so we can learn about tides and currents and such so as not to get swept under bridges like those kayakers in Boston! And so I can continue my quest to become jock of all adventure sports, master of none!