And….I Just did Something Stupid

Posted: December 1, 2015 in Writing

For some reason Chrome wasn’t automatically signing me into a google email account. This was seriously bothering me. I took the signed in name – deleted it – hoping that I could re-enter it and it would ask if I wanted the system to remember the password.
It warned my that if I did this I couldn’t undo it.

It didn’t warn me that all my bookmarks would be removed

Yeah easily a hundred bookmark from all scopes of interest… gone

I’ll be in the corner weeping and trying to remember the passwords for those sites I used to have in my bookmarks header bar. The rest – Fuck me.

Ah well, it’s one way to clean the clutter from your world…. in the same way a house fire might be

BBB review & banner-2I – like I’m sure every other indie author does – checks his ranking on Amazon and the reviews on Goodreads. Every two weeks or so I record the numbers to see how they compare to the quarterly sales numbers. Usually the correlation is pretty obvious. Every so often when checking you open the page to find your ranking has shot up. A little pay back for the social media work, and hopefully some word of mouth sales.rank kid

This morning was one of those mornings.rankprize

Boy was it. 

On the 21 of the month my anthology, Blondes, books, & Bourbon, was ranked just over the 1000 mark in the category of ‘Anthologies & Short Stories’ as well as ‘Magic Realism’. Today it is number 365 in’Anthologies & Short Stories’ and 384 in ‘Magic Realism’. That’s a big difference. Now Amazon’s ranking algorithm is not always the most…trustworthy. That’s why I check every day but only record the the number once every two weeks – unless there is a whooping big change. The fluctuations of a couple hundred don’t mean much – but this sort of change is usually indicative of something.

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The anthology was very well received and got great reviews – especially for a collection of just my short stories after only one novel in that world, Tomorrow Wendell, having been released.

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A lot of people have said that although they usually hate short stories – they liked Blondes, Books, & Bourbon, even better than the novel.BBB review & banner 5Hopefully word of mouth really is getting out and about. It would be nice to have people actually, actively,  awaiting the release of the second novel, Bindings & Spines. Having fans is rather awesome… better really than the money.

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I have yet to manage to get back to writing.projectblankThis saddens me… and, I admit, worries me a touch. It’s hard to be an author when you are not being a writer.project block

However, stressing over it won’t help get a single word word written, so I go with the flow.

I busy myself during the day, with the other projects I have taken on. I’m trying to narrow the number of items I am working down. More often than not, I have a half a dozen – or more – projects all ‘on the go’ to varying degrees. I have reached a point now though, where I want to get some major pieces wrapped up and done. There are a few reasons for this, the first being the sooner I clean my plate, the sooner I can add new challenges. One of these pieces has been ‘in the works’ for far too long and need to just be completed now. There is also the A&S competition in March that I would like to enter. I’d like to enter at the more advanced level, of five projects – all of a different type of art or science. So, with little time left to me, I need buckle down and finish those five different items.project calendar

I have one project left to wrap up that won’t be connected to the competition – a lapis lazuli and opalite rosary for my lady. I bought the beads back in the early summer, and then stalled. Then I wanted to get going on it but had the bright idea to make it pomander beads… that slowed me down again. Slowed as in almost full stop. I have managed to make one of the two  pomander beads that, well not as good as I’d like, will suffice. I have to complete the other bead, which means making tiny hinges and clasp, to hold the two sides together. But I have already started string the beads – making little wire connectors for each bead. It has to be done – SOON…2015-11-24 16.16.46

Because I have this to finish by March2015-06-14 12.19.01and it has a lot of work to go yet.

2015-11-23 16.06.47It is a pendant… pomander….toothpick. Yup, a toothpick hung from a chain, that has pretty smells coming from it. It has been designed to resemble a sea horse (my lady’s heraldry is sea horses so just about everything I make for her – or that she makes for herself- has sea horses on it.) I have ground a piece of amethyst, which will be set on the front of the ‘door’ over the pomander, into the shape of the sea horse stomach. Now I am hand sanding it, so it will eventually shine. I still need to perfect the hinge connection of the door, as well as a latching mechanism. Also, the whole thing will have ‘gems’ set into it. I will be making these gems by carefully cutting down coloured glass, shaping it, and polishing it. 2015-05-13 14.42.01Then the gems will be placed in spaces slightly carved down into the metal body and the metal will be hand rolled over the edges to keep them in place. That is done with tiny repetitive moves, where one curls a minuscule layer of the metal up, and pushes it over outside edge. Pain staking effort -especially since one slip and the ‘gem’ is cracked or chipped- whose results are a securely held gem and a beautiful finish on the metal. Lots yet to do on this.

2015-11-21 16.27.29Then there is the Fian challenge I entered into – the carving of bone into a rosary. (Yup – another rosary). This must be done in a year and, although I am progressing nicely so far, anything can happen, so I cannot afford to take a lax attitude to it, for even a day. I am planning on entering one of the beads into the competition. I am assuming I can get at least one face carved in one bead by March. If I can’t, I am in serious trouble. So this makes two of five entries.

2015-11-24 11.08.44projectfanThe other thing I want to enter is a flag fan – very, very, popular for ladies of Venice in our time period. What will make this really different from the other entries of mine, is that this is what the embroidery floss was bought for. I could have just challenged myself to just do the embroidery (sense a theme of ‘challenging myself’ here -good, because I always try to). I never have done any before, and a small sampler would have been fine to enter, but I hate doing something with no end purpose…thus a flag fan.
I have started the embroidery. I am using a gold metallic thread to outline the body of the …. yup – sea horse. Metallic thread was designed in hell, by a committee of demons and criminals. It was brought into being by madman under the direction of the goddess Eris. I have nothing more to say on that matter.

The fourth thing I plan on entering – is already done.horn

The horn I made is both metal work and horn work, so it has aspects that are similar to the toothpick pomander and the bone carved bead. It is a step side ways from either of those however, making it as different as it is the same. The big thing is that it also falls into a category I have not touched yet – musical instrument. Yup, the thing can be played. I myself, with trumpet playing not utilized since grade eight, can get clear notes in three distinct ranges; low, mid and high. Having that already done is good feeling.project smile

So that’s four things – two of which need crap loads of work still.projectfour

What is the fifth item I’m entering?projectquestion

Damn! I was hoping you were going to tell me!

My Editor has found her grooveeditredThat or having just realized there are 45 chapters in this novel  has filled her with panic.editpanic

Either way the chapters are coming fast and and furious noweditfast

Yeah – you know I had to insert that pic.

I have chapters 17 thru to 20 of the next White Dragon Black novel, ‘Bindings & Spines’, now in my hands to work on. I know for many this would be a thing of dread and stress, I happen to get a little giddy with this sort of thing. I like the challenge presented by edits. I like forcing myself to think think outside my self-created boxes to find solutions to parts that just don’t work.

I first tackle the easy stuff, the corrections that are simple and I basically only have to agree to the changes. Then I move up in difficulty, say replacing a word that just doesn’t convey the right feeling, then I just keep following that tactic. Having read all the notes from my editor, I’m cognizant of the problems. The easy stuff gets me in the mood for change, and by the time I’ve got only the really tricky rewrites to do, my brain’s already been working at how to redo it.

I also take the hard parts and copy them then paste them on a blank sheet. I copy it twice – one on top for reference one below. I attack the second one. I rework, rewrite, and rearrange the words. The one above gives my the source… the concept I was trying to convey, and the reasons why it didn’t work. Eventually, the one below clicks. I then copy it and paste it in to the manuscript hoping my editor likes that version.

Edits are what they are – writing from a different angle.editbox

Nothing more sinister than that.

So I seem to be entering the next step up in my mental health cycle.cyclesteps

I shouldn’t be surprised – the timing is just about right for it.Cyclestairsman

This means I’m now even a little less ready to deal with the real world and a little more prone be irritable about nothing. I am more likely to ‘latch on’ to something and obsess on it, or gnaw on it in my head.  My general ability to relate and adapt to situations shrinks and I lose even more ability to focus.

And Yet….cycle mantunnel

This is the same time when, if I’m writing, I’m able to push out a couple thousand words in a sitting. I’m able to just immerse myself in the creative and produce. I seems that is also true with the more hands on projects I’ve now returned to, having joined the SCA. Tackling logistical problems, is being slippery, but carrying out the implementation of the solutions to those problems, is very controlled.

cyclefallingrockA life time ago, when I wasn’t on medication to help level my brains response and reactions, this would be a very bad time for attempting physical manifestations of my creative impulses. My anger control was shot, so the slightest issue would drive me into a state that resulted more likely in smashing my project into a twisted lump. I couldn’t make the connection to the image in my head and the way to manifest it in reality, and I would deal with self-esteem issues when I failed to manifest the thought into the physical.

Now, I have the ability to lean back, sigh, and tap my fingers on my temple, as I try to make the brains desire and the fingers skill mesh. I can struggle through and either try, and try again, or know enough to turn my attention to a different project in hope of finding some satisfaction from that one. This ability really changes the game for me. Now I’m not saying that it is easy – it is still hard, when the cycle is high, to fuse desire, intellect, and function – but it is now at least possible.

I can, with the help of the meds, turn the negative obsessive nature into a laser beam directed at one single project. I’ve also found music helps me stay relaxed, loose, and focused during this stage – sooth the savage breast and all.  I can even switch from one project to another. What I can’t do is come out of the intense focus on making a thing or writing a scene, into the real world. It’s a lot like waking for me, their is disruption, befuddlement, and a jarring sense of disconnection. Luckily my wife is used to this and waits while brain scrambles to put context to a wider reality.

2015-11-22 15.20.16 B
So I am progressing on my edits – just got chapter 18 and 19 for the next White Dragon Black novel ‘ Bindings & Spines’ this morning so, after my morning social media routine, I will have to take a look at them. I finally figured out how to put together a tiny pomander bead and actually implemented it yesterday – I need to recreate the technique once more for the project – and I started on making a face in one of the bone beads I’m making for the rosary challenge I signed myself up for. 2015-11-21 16.27.29

So I’m cresting and plunging to a degree, as the waves of my mental disorders slap the little dingy I’m stuck riding this life on.cyclestorm

I’m still seated however, and the view, once you get over the initial panic, is pretty spectacular.