Meant to post this on Monday, but I got sick this week, which knocked me flat for several days. Since I’m starting to feel better, I’m posting it now.
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Last Thursday night I attended the fantastic Cito.FAME.Us Women’s History Month open mic, which featured the amazing folk duo Q&A and yours truly. I’ve been a fan of Q&A ever since I first heard them and so it was a great honor to have been paired with them for my first feature performance. I made a video of one of their new songs and hopefully I’ll be able to upload and share it soon.
I also attended the Her Story to Call Her Own open mic, which was a wonderful grounding experience, full of many beautiful women singing or speaking many beautiful words.
What I’m Reading
I just finished Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick, which was beautiful and not at all what I expected.
Blue by George Elliott Clarke, which is a powerful collection of poetry.
Still enjoying my slow read of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.
What I’m Writing
I made it halfway through a chapbook submission, which I’m starting to feel fairly solid about. I’ve got some more work to do on it, some cleaning up of some of the poems and than I should be able to send it out.
Goal(s) for this week: Finish and submit chapbook.
What’s Inspiring Me Right Now
Amazing women and artists who live in this South Bay community and who open up their voices to share.
I ran the She is Beautiful 5K last year, which was an amazing and moving experience. I just loved being surrounded by so many different women, of all shapes and sizes and abilities and ages — and all beautiful.
This year I decided to up my game and challenged myself by signing up for the 10K. Life has been hectic this month, so I haven’t been properly training over these last few weeks as I originally intended. I didn’t think I’d be able to run the entire event, but was joyful to just be there.
Mile One: The morning was misty, but not overly cold. My sister and I danced through the starting line and started into a stable, steady pace as we weaved through the crowds of walkers.
Mile Two: We smiled at our fellow runners. I felt strong, moving with this massive wave of women through the streets of Santa Cruz. My sister moves out ahead and I urge her on to run at her own faster pace.
Mile Three: The crowds thin out as the 5K runners and walkers head back to the finish line, leaving the rest of us to continue the journey. I wipe sweat and mist from my forehead and smile.
Mile Four: The tiredness started to set in and my pace slowed. But I pumped my arms and cheered as I past the mile four marker. I made it that far; might as well keep going.
Mile Five: As I rounded a corner and started into the only downhill section of the run, my legs got wibbly wobbly and my knees started to ache sharply. It’s important to respect signals from your body, so I slowed down to a walk. As soon as the ground flattened out again, I pushed back into a run and chugged up a long uphill stretch before the final mile.
Mile Six: Slow, so slow. Exhaustion sat my chest, urging me to stop. My legs felt numb. My hips ached. I churned my body forward at a tortoise-paced jog, watching the grey rolling ocean and the horizon beyond. I put one foot after another. One foot. Another.
Finish Line: I wore a mad smiled and shifted into a higher gear, finishing the race with every ounce of run I had left, with my sister cheering and joy in every fiber of my aching body. My sister and I were so proud of each other, both having run a 10K in its entirety for the first time.
What I’m Reading
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, which is intriguing and thrilling. A group of colonists living on another planet (I think) were infected with a disease that killed all the women and has made it so everyone can hear everyone’s thoughts in a constant stream of Noise. I’m finding it to be a page turner.
I’ve also started a slow read of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The story is quite funny at some points with a surprising amount of toilet humor. Since a lot of the humor is based on the book’s satire of courtly romances featuring errant knights and damsels and other such things, it helps that I’ve done some reading of the classic Arthurian tales, which provides good context.
What I’m Writing
Half of my week was taken up with traveling to Orlando for a work conference, so I didn’t get around to actually putting words on the page.
However, I spent several hours this weekend beginning the process of organizing my writing life. The system I developed should work — mostly. Paper drafts of all my poetry is problematic, since it would be ridiculous to have an individual file for each poem, so I’m still trying to work that out (and likely it will be best to keep poetry primarily on my laptop rather than in print). Works great for fiction, scripts, and nonfiction, though. I’m planning to post about the system sometime this week.
Goal(s) for this week: Finish organization. Edit and prep poetry for reading on Thursday. Prep poetry chapbook for submission.
What’s Inspiring Me Right Now
Accomplishing my goal of running six miles on Sunday was amazing and has me feeling that I can accomplish all sorts of things at the moment. I’m hoping that feeling will linger.
Where I’ll Be
March 26: I’ll be a featured performer at Cito.FAME.us at Iguanas in San Jose. The open mic begins at 9 pm and I’ll be opening, so come early, if you want to see me perform.
21 Ways to Break Out of a Slump provides a list of simple measures to switch things up, like heading out to the farmers market or do a cell phone detox. I particularly liked its link to a 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge, which would be a challenge indeed, but represents an awesome approach to something I’ve been meaning to do.
Thing One: The printer works! It actually works! Honestly and for real! Huzzah!
Thing Two: Last nights Cito.FAME.us open mic was mellow and lovely. Performers had to rock without the mic, so a lot of fantastic acapella. Khaliah shinned with joy as she shared her Dance of Peace and Ang Whee read and sang some beautiful words. Everyone was wonderful.
Since there were only a few people signed up, so I was able to read a number of poems, rather than just one — a nice warm up for March 26th, when I’ll be featuring.
Thing Three: I’m off on a work trip to Orlando tomorrow, where I’ll be through Wednesday. Therefore, there will likely be little to no blog posting next week, unless I get a gumption.
My weekend was filled with FOGcon and I’m pleasantly exhausted. It’s always a blast to go, reconnect with friends, and talk about speculative fiction and movies and other geekery. This year I also did karaoke for the first time and despite my pounding heart had quite a lot of fun.
One especially interesting thought, for me, was the idea that nested stories reflect how life works, in that we are the center of our own stories and our lives are filled with interjections and asides, from the gossip we tell a friend to the stories we relate about ourselves to the wikipedia article we pause to look up in the middle of a conversation. We are constantly stopped by interjecting narrative and it was even suggested that we are the frame narrative for every book we read.
For writers, it was noted that nested stories can sometimes be an engaging way to slip in exposition, reveal layers to the world, or characterization. However, the story needs to be just as compelling as the main (frame) narrative. Since it is interrupting the narrative flow, the first line of the interjected story had better be better than what came before it so that it doesn’t turn readers away. It was also noted that some nested stories work better as fragments instead of complete tales.
Notable book recommendations: The French Lieutenants Woman, by John Fowles Was, by Geoff Ryman Order of the Stick, comic by Rich Burlew
I’m stoked to be attending FogCon this weekend, where Kim Stanley Robinson and Catherynne M. Valente will be honored guests. In preparation for the excitement, I’ve been doing some homework to mentally prepare by reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson and Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente. Joanna Russ will be the Honored Ghost, so I am currently rereading The Female Man.