Sunday, May 14, 2006

Once More, With Feelings

Do you ever have a day when you feel restless for no particular reason, and find yourself putting off everything you would normally do because you're in no mood for any of it?

That's been today for me.

Oh, it started just fine. I got my hair washed and still made it to the Red Cross by my appointment time, and succeeded in giving blood for the first time in the last four tries. My iron was high enough at 40 (minimum is 38), and they managed to get into my vein, and everything was cool and groovy.

But then I got home and checked my email, and there was nothing much there, aside from a few acknowledgments of my LJ piece. This has been one of those dead Saturdays when nobody seems to be blogging. Even Scalzi is conspicuously absent. I hope that means he's having a belated birthday celebration with his family.

And I had a frustrating conversation today with someone about whether I "screwed up" and "lied" Thursday night in writing something that wasn't true, even though seven of the ten paragraphs in the entry either stated or implied that one of the remaining three paragraphs was a fib. My friend thinks he should be able to skip to the part he's interested in and take what he sees at face value, without having to worry that I might be lying about it, or that he's missed some vital information in all that introductory stuff. I think this is nonsense, but it bothers me. It's been bothering me all day.

Another irritant: Sunday, as far as I'm concerned, is Motherless Day. People tend to assume that because I'm a female adult, it's appropriate to wish me a happy Mother's Day. But I'm not a mother, and never have been. And my own Mom is no longer alive to receive my gifts of pansies or irises. It's been decades since we gave her those, anyway.

I finally finished reading that free Tor novel, A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park, which has kept me up nights all week long. It's a good, engrossing book, but a little unsatisfying in some ways. The writer spends many more pages inside the head of the antagonist, the villainous, pathetic and slightly mad baroness, than in the heads of the eponymous Princess and her friends. The result is kind of unbalanced and discomfiting. I don't end up with much feeling about who Princess Miranda is, how she feels and why I should care, whereas I end up rooting for a murderess. The book stops at a crisis point, and so I'm stuck waiting to find out what happens next. (The 2006 season of Doctor Who on the BBC also ended in a cliffhanger tonight. Drat.)

Do people like cliffhangers? If they're annoyed, and want to get to the next bit right away, that proves that the story is engrossing. That's a good thing, right? But I hope that when Mages of Mâvarin is finally published, probably in three volumes, people will be able to scratch their reading itch by buying the rest of the story that same day. One volume a year just isn't going to cut it. That will be up to the publisher, though, not me.

About that. This is another reason I'm feeling restless. Last weekend I was surrounded by people who are actually doing what I want so badly to accomplish myself: writing books and seeing them hit the stores, even win awards. After thirty-three years, Heirs of Mâvarin may finally be on its way to becoming a real book. I'm happy and anxious about that, and will continue to be so until I hear the magic words, "We want to publish your novel." But what about Mages, my "magnificent mess," as I like to call it? When am I going to get that ready for submission: clean up the inconsistencies, add more concrete description, tighten the prose and give the three sections of the story a veneer of self-containment? Isn't that what I should have been doing today, instead of reading and shopping and sleeping? Isn't that what I should be doing every night? And yet I don't, because it seems like such a big job, and I don't know how to find my way in to do it. Do I work with files or printouts or both? Should I drag my laptop to B&N, or just clean my desk off so I have room for the printout? Do I take it from the top, or figure out where I left off last time? I know I've been over and over the first five pages. I'm sick to death of them. But where can I pick up the story, and be sure that I've made all the corrections I took notes on a year or two or three ago?

Ack. Enough.

The highlight of the day was a phone call from a friend, making arrangements to meet me tomorrow. It was amazing to hear her voice, although it's a perfectly normal voice. I've known her online for about 14 years, but never met her. I think I may have called her once before, years ago, but it's still cool to actually talk to her.

So tomorrow I drive up to the Valley of the Sun (that's metro Phoenix, according to the Visitor's Bureau hype) for the third time in less than a month. I doubt that I've ever been up there this many times in quick succession, except to see Arizona Fall League games in 1993 and 1994. But this time I'm going to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West in Scottsdale, at least from the outside. There's still an architecture school headquartered there. Then we will go eat what's supposed to be the best pizza in the state, and chat until it's time to drop my friend at the airport. I've spent the evening printing out Yahoo maps and directions, because last weekend Google's map stranded me on a closed street in Tempe.

It should be fun. And the two hour drive each way may be exactly what I need to get over this restless feeling.


P.S. Another thing I'm restless about: I keep forgetting to mention the next Round Robin Photo Challenge, "Reflections." Please see the Round Robin blog for details. I'll try to do a proper promo here later.

And Part Four of The Jace Letters has now been posted on my fiction blog.

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Paul said...

I recently changed the tagline of my journal to this:

"All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies."
— Bokonon

julie said...

Enjoy your trip.

And yeah, rewrites are no fun. No fun at all. At least you've got something to rewrite!

Becky said...

Godmothers count too. :-) I've finished reading everything you sent me and I still owe you my comments and thoughts. I'll have a chance to compose them one of these days...I hope. :-)

Sarah said...

I'm so glad we finally got to meet! And again, thank you so much for making the drive up to Phoenix for the scant few hours we had. It was a great ending to a great weekend. So - China visited, sister married, Karen met. Now I have to find something else to look forward to. . .

Carly said...

Hey :)

Yeah this past weekend was crazy busy for me too. I am doing a Round Robin promo tonight for Tuesday. I am sorry about being a little late with it. Sigh. And believe me I understand about how difficult Mother's Day can be for a daughter who no longer has a mom. :(