Archive for the ‘Graduate School’ Category

Some Poetry

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

In honor of National Poetry Month (I think it is, anyway) Here’s one of my favorite poems, by H.D.

Sea Violet

The white violet
is scented on its stalk,
the sea-violet
fragile as agate,
lies fronting all the wind
among the torn shells
on the sand-bank.

The greater blue violets
flutter on the hill,
but who would change for these
who would change for these
one root of the white sort?

your grasp is frail
on the edge of the sand-hill,
but you catch the light–
frost, a star edges with its fire.

I’d never even heard of H.D. before grad school, and I’m glad I was introduced to her poetry. Her fiction, not so much, but her poetry, yes. She was a compatriot, lover, friend of Ezra Pound, who was responsible for giving her the intials H.D. (Her name was Hilda Dolittle.) Sea Violet is my favorite of hers, I think. I love the language and the image and the emotion of this poem.



Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

I’m frantically working to get my sh&t done by May 4th. The day job is taking up too much of my real life right now. Argh! I’m taking the last day of April (my birthday) and May 1-4 as vacation so I can get things polished and formatted correctly. Carolyn the web hound is ignoring just about all her email and barely paying attention to MySpace (where I continue to find really neat friends who like to talk about books.) I’m testy and tired. I dropped off my Master’s introduction for my professor to read — she wanted to see a draft — precis whatever it is and all I could think during the drive there and back and the really brisk walk to Nichols Hall and back, was that I could be writing… Then it was, do I stop and buy my son Fish and Chips for dinner or find something at home to cook when I already made him have frozen chimichanga’s (well, yeah, he cooked them first) last night. Right, F&C it is.

Despite my panic, I think Magellan’s Witch is going reasonably well. I’m now going through front to back and editing the hell out of everything. I’m at 74K and working on chapter 6 tonight I think. I have no ending and am hoping by the time I get to the end I’ll have one.

My last bit of news is that I should have news on Scandal shortly. Nothing I can talk about yet, but good things it seems. We’ll see.


The end is near!

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

Today I finished a really solid draft of the introduction for my Master’s project. Yay. Now I can concentrate on Magellan’s Witch and getting that in decent shape. I’ll need a few days to get the formatting right and there’s forms to be filled out etc, but soon I will be done. I can see the finish line!


Late Again

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

I’m at 71K for Magellan’s Witch. I’ve made a little adjustment (that needs to be rolled throughout the pages) that gives the title some added meaning, which I always like. I’ve reordered a chapter or two, got myself into and out of a corner or two (again) and realized that my hero is a bit more twisted than I thought. I was going to print the thing off tonight, but then I saw where a chapter needed to be moved, and then I deleted enough words to put me below 70K and since I didn’t want to be in the negatives for the night I decided to fix just enough to smooth out the chapter and at least get back to 70K. I made it to 71+ but now it’s late again.

Right now, my big worry is that when I do read it through it’ll be a disaster. And I only have 20 days to get it into decent shape. Before tonight I was stressing over the lack of chemistry between my hero and heroine, so I notebooked that at the gym and decided maybe I’d have them get together a lot sooner, but for a different reason. Which is what I wrote tonight, and I think it came out pretty good. I felt like they were realistically hot together.

This weekend, I have to work Sunday, hopefully only in the morning, but still that’s hours not writing. And I want to complete the precis this weekend, which I think means no fiction writing this weekend. Stressing. Yes. Definitely.


My e is nearly gone!

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

I’ve had my keyboard a fairly long time. And, I’ve been lucky not to spill any water on it. Which means that certain letters are fading to nonexistence. E, A, S and Backspace. R, T, N, H and M are looking a little faint, too. A couple of the arrow keys. Just noticing.

In writing news, my long weekend was not quite as productive as I’d hoped since I woke up Saturday feeling pretty awful. Sore throat, etc. This, of course, explains my falling asleep the previous Thursday. My body was fighting something off. Rats. So I mostly stayed in bed and read the new Laurel K. Hamilton Danse Macabre in between sleeping. The dog and all three cats cuddled up for some fever action and to be honest, it was OK for feeling crappy. I was comfy enough and it wasn’t a hideous illness.

I was better by late evening and did get some stuff done. And today was Easter so we did the family and friends things. Still, I have 66,449 words for Magellan’s Witch, and all that came while conforming the last few chapters I have. Some good stuff came out of it. At this point, I pretty much don’t use my chapter outline except rarely. Instead, I switch to keeping a list of Action Items, so I can remember details I need to change or develop. In one scene, my heroine is wearing a sweater, but not much further on, in the same time setting, I changed the sweater to a shirt. So I need to remember to change that.

Tomorrow it’s back to work. Sigh. Next week, the Master’s precis has to be done, so I’ll need to pull some more time for that. Time is looking like a precious commodity right now. I’ll into the beginning meat of it now and it’s going well enough. Boy, do I just want to be done with this. Really.


Just a dash!

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

I’m at the library at Sonoma State right now. I’m meeting with my prof in 17 minutes. I was just looking at the theses/creative projects other students have done. I have a handle on that and know what I want to do. But now I wonder if I have a problem. The MA project counts as published. I think I have to clear this with my Warner/Grand Central Publishing editor. Uh-oh. I hope it’s not a problem. Later I have some hellaciously funny links to post. When I get home, I promise. And last night I printed off my outline on index cards and they fit neatly into my purse. Useful I hope. Met my minimum and notebooked at the gym, made good progress for what I intend to write tonight.
OK, I’m off.


Larry the Pharmacist non-human

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

Today I worked on the two chapters of Magellan’s Witch that I labored over yesterday. It was not as painful today, thank goodness. I cleaned them up even more and, joy of joys, when I came to a part yesterday which I knew no longer worked where it was (but decided to leave for the moment since I was tired and it was late) I knew where it belonged. And so it did. Sooner in the chapter and replacing a sort of lame-o bit that was much shorter and much less effective.

Then I went to see Zodiac. Well, odd, you know. It was a good movie for sure, but the Zodiac Killer was operating right in my backyard. Seriously. Petaluma is 45 miles north of San Francisco. I work in Sonoma, have driven many times through Vallejo and have been to Napa lots of times. And, when the killings were taking place, my school had us practice ducking on the bus. The primary suspect moved to Santa Rosa, back then 20 minutes north on the freeway (nowadays an hour or more). I used to live in San Francisco. And they seem to have shot at least parts of the movie on location. I certainly recognized many of the shots in San Francisco, as well as some of the more rural areas. So, I kept being bounced out of the movie as I said to myself, hey! that’s the Transbay Terminal! Or what have you. Something that wasn’t in the movie is that after the primary suspect moved to Santa Rosa, several young women attending the local junior college were murdered. Unsolved to this day. Creepy. Really creepy.

In happier news, I am still reading Philip Pullman’s series to my son. We’re on number 3, The Amber Spyglass and I continue to be awed. Wow. In tonight’s reading a particular thing happened and my son and I both went "What!!??!!" and he said, "But now how is Will going to help Lord Asriel?" And you know, I have no idea. Things seem pretty hopeless right now.

As a writer, all I can do is say, man, oh man. That’s what it’s about.

In other news, my agent has not told me I need to further revise the synopsis for Scandal, so I think that, indeed, it goes out to editors tomorrow. All I can say is that my chapters rock since I took a scalpel to the parts everyone in my Fiction Writing seminar really liked. Kind of interesting, no? I remember sitting there listening to the input on the chapters I submitted to the class and feeling more and more anxious as people agreed this section of chapter 2 was their favorite. I was anxious because I secretly felt myself that it was the most problematic, the least focused and the most off point. And when Sandy Schwab read the chapters and said things didn’t get really interesting until chapter three, I knew I had some serious work yet to do. I rewrote Chapter 1 to give it the intensity of chapter 3 and deleted the entire scene my Grad School class liked best. And that fixed everything.

I guess now I have to explain my post title. Which is that in Magellan’s Witch, the chapter I was working on was the previously blogged about Pharmacy scene. I ended up naming my non-human Pharmacist Larry (of course that’s not his real name!) and whenever I read that today (which was several times) I smirked because it’s just so ridiculous. Larry the Pharmacist non-human soon to be stud. And then when he is a stud, well, geez. Larry? So I guess I’ll have to change that, but right now it’s amusing me and that counts for something as we head into Monday.


Beef, Jaguars and writing

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Now that I’m all registered for school and filling out the forms for graduation, and now that soccer is over for a bit, it occurs to me that I now can think about starting back up on some of the things I gave up for grad school. I had to stop the Tae Kwon Do, for example, when I was just a year or so away from getting my black belt. But now I want to take Tai’Chi, so I’ve started looking around for classes. I found a place that has Tai’Chi on Mondays and Pilates two other days a week, so maybe I’ll do that, if it’s not too expensive. There’s also a place that teaches Flamenco, and I have always wanted to learn Flamenco. So I’ll call around tomorrow and see what I can do.

I’ve now read three of my RITA books, and unlike last year when I had serious issues with almost all the books I read (it was painful, really painful for me) so far, they’ve been darn good. One in particular is by a new and really talented writer. I think this book has some flaws, but they’re flaws from someone who can write, and there’s a big difference between that and the kind of flaws that crop up in books by a writer who doesn’t have the beef, if you will.

I didn’t get all that much done this weekend, on account of Saturday being sucked up by soccer, and last night reading a RITA book, and then another one this morning. Then my son had an indoor soccer game and since the other team didn’t show up, the parents went out on the field and played the kids instead. What a hoot! I was on defense, and I have a whole new respect for my son’s position. We were losing until my son came out of goal and went on offense, then the proud parents scored several goals. Yeah! The kids who played goalie after my son had never played goal before and we took shameless advantage. We had to. Those kids are in shape!

There was a report in the local paper about three sightings of a "large black cat" about two miles from here. One by a biology student on her way to school. There are mountain lions around here, and there’s a local park, a big wilderness type park here where my son’s class actually saw a mountain lion, but we don’t have black panthers here. If the sightings are real, there must have be some jerk who had one for a "pet" and it got free. Scary. If it’s true, I imagine we’d hear shortly about livestock being killed. Lots of cows and sheep out that way. We have foxes, coyotes and bobcats out here, and, as mentioned the occasional mountain lion, but panthers? Yikes! Hopefully, it’s not true.

I’ve been working on Magellan’s Witch and will fail the word count minimum, of course. But things are going OK. I’ve started the 2nd of the two new chapters, and darned if I didn’t find out that my hero has a tragic love in his past. I like when that happens. All the planning for writing just doesn’t substitute for actual writing. Back to it for a bit.