Thursday, March 23, 2006

Avoidance Tactics

I realized the key to writing on this blog is... well, nothing, just log on. If only I'd read my comments, my mood would've been lifted! And I don't usually lack things to ramble about. (Thanks for the comments on the last post!)

I've been avoiding this blog for weeks though. I went to sleep on my birthday on such a high. I had a few friends over and we ate:

(Here are the aforementioned cheeses.)

Stilton with Apricots

The Douanier was a huge hit! Absolutely delicious cheese and not as pricey as it tastes! It's somewhere between a great mozzarella (or maybe friulano) and a super mild/soft Oka. We drank wine. I had some chips and almonds and pecans on offer. And some apple and pear slices, and dried figs. And then cake and coffee. Much hilarity ensued. I felt perfectly content and loved and full of love for my friends.

Except the next day I got a wee bombshell of an email from a friend who felt neglected/affronted by my behaviour at the get-together. I won't go into it, but suffice it to say that this quickly brought my mood down. And I sort-of hibernated for a while. Long term friendships are funny things. People change, and I've never been one to "break up" with friends. It's still a muddle.

Then there was also the statement at the top of this blog - the one that says the novel should be done... oh, next week. That's not going to happen. That creates the temptation to run! run away! too. But I can't do that anymore. Even as I write this, I've been exploring being an ESL teacher, a gemologist, working my way up through a french cosmetics company, working my way up through Starbucks, etc. etc... That is, I've been exploring the "give up and run" options instead of just. Finishing. The. Book. Because, really, all those options will still be there when I finish the first draft too.

I finally looked at it again - all my various pages and have realized I just don't know where to go next. I'm stuck. I know the plot points but something's missing. Not sure if it's a structural problem, or just my own fear.

A writer friend suggested I talk to a well-known local agent (and former publisher) - someone I took workshops with a few years ago. She said he really helped a friend of hers hone in on the problem areas in her manuscript. I would like to talk to him, but I don't know that I want to sign with him if he asked. And I don't know if it's fair to ask an agent's advice and then not sign with him after you take that advice. Maybe I could just pay him for a critiquing session.

Well, last Sunday I actually took my laptop to Starbucks and wrote. Only 500 words. But it alleviated some of my guilt. So, I'm blogging again.

Also, I've been sick of my behaviour and it's pretty easy to recognize the signs with me. As soon as I'm back to watching CSI (which happens to be on approx. 5 times in a row on various stations on Thursday nights), I know I'm in trouble and avoiding my life. CSI and knitting. I managed to knit a too-short scarf in a pattern/texture I can only call "moldy ice cream". I'll try and post a photo.

Lastly, I had to go online to check my sister's blog, 'cause I miss her so, and I haven't written her a word (sorry).

As for the secret to my sister's radiance - she's found something she loves to do, and she's applying herself to her studies and has not once complained to me about how hard her classes are or how dumb the teachers are - nor has she revealed any self-doubt. She also has simply decided what she wants to do and has followed through without asking for anyone's approval.

Now, for all I know, her classes are swell and her teachers are perfect, or maybe she's just saving the complaints for other people, but all I can say is that her approach to her career change has been incredibly positive and admirable. I'm trying to learn from it.

At the local pet food store they sometimes sell puppies (from reputable breeders in Ontario). They currently have both a Saint Bernard puppy - with adorable huge paws - and a sweet sweet all-tan Mini Pinscher puppy with uncropped ears. I loooove him. The Saint Bernard's going back to his breeder if he's not sold by this weekend, 'cause he getting too big for the cage, poor guy. I love big dogs, but I can't even entertain the thought right now. The "minpin", on the other hand, is so perfect for an apartment. I didn't even know their natural colour is all-tan. People have just popularized the "Doberman" markings for some reason. Okay, I'm mewing... I'll go now... but one day... one day...

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I am half-watching the Oscars on mute. I am taping them, so I am turning the TV on at random just to see if I can catch Amy Adams in the audience. I'll resist the urge to Oscar-blog.

On a sad note, my poor neglected Betta fish has died. Well, that's "spin". He was up high to keep him away from the cat. But up high on the shelf meant I frequently forgot about him. Poor thing. So truly, he died of neglect. I am guilty. Why did I have a cat and a fish? It's a long story.

My cat, thankfully, is alive. (She's not neglected, and is much louder.)

Tomorrow is my birthday. When I turned fifteen, I was grumpy.

"What's the matter with you?" asked Mom.
"I'm fifteen!" I said.
"So? I've been alive for fifteen years and I haven't done anything! And in another fifteen years I'll be THIRTY!"

She laughed at me.

But my fifteen year old self was right. Now I am turning thirty. What do I have to show for the last fifteen years? Not much. Of course, I've grown and changed and bla bla bla. But have I been effective? At anything? That is, what effect have I had? Not much.

I'm not as grumpy about it though.

And I just discovered that George Eliot wrote her first piece of fiction at 38.
In Ottawa I found a three-volume set of the works of George Eliot published in 1887. The set was in great condition and only $20, so I bought it. One of the volumes is "Middlemarch", which I read over the course of a year and loved. The other is "Romola", which I haven't read yet. And the third is a collection of writing including poems, plays, etc. It includes Eliot's last work, Impressions of Theophrastus Such.

I started reading it last night, and this quote resonated with my musings on turning 30 (except of course, that I have no published work):

I have done no services to my country beyond those of every peaceable orderly citizen; and as to intellectual contribution, my only published work was a failure, so that I am spoken of to inquiring beholders as "the author of a book you have probably not seen."

(I was in Ottawa for the dual celebration of my b/f's 30th birthday and his mother's 60th. Their birthday is the same day. There ought to be a name for that. Anyone know enough latin?)
Ok, this is a long post as is. More tomorrow, when I will divulge the secret to my sister's radiance, and the four kinds of cheese currently in my fridge.

I know, you're riveted.

Writing? No progress since I last wrote. I'm not proud.