Three is Just One Too Many

I’ve talked before about how good it is for me to work on two writing projects at a time. The mental gymnastics involved in switching back and forth keep my mind limber, and when I hit a wall on one story I can work on the other one without losing momentum.

Three at a time?

To quote from Charade, “That was a dumb move, Herman.”

I could plead, “But I didn’t mean to! It wasn’t supposed to happen! The third story snuck up behind me and lammed me over the head, then tied me up and refused to let me go until I wrote it! And I thought, OK, it’s just a novella, but now it’s demanding to be a full-length novel, and I still haven’t finished the other two, and it’s not my fault!”

Alas, excuses. True though they may be, they aren’t very helpful.

My goal at the start of the year was to have Wings of Song published sometime in the summer. It currently sits at 26,000 words out of an estimated 40,000-ish. I also planned to publish Magic in Disguise, the sequel to Magic Most Deadly, in late September or early October, right around the one-year mark of MMD’s publish date. That story currently sits at around 36,000 words out of an estimated 60,000.

My plans have gone, as they say, out the window.

Granted, if the turning-novella-into-novel for my space opera From the Shadows continues as it has gone so far, that should easily be published by late September or early October. So it’s not all bad news.

But I will do my utter best to keep from getting swamped with three projects at once again (says the woman who currently has three Halloween costume dresses in various stages of sewing scattered across her living room). That’s just too much disorganization even for this scatterbrain writer.

Lord, Have Mercy

Saw a snide comment today on Twitter about how “all people who aren’t talking about Ferguson are contributing to the problem” and it enraged me. Enraged me to the point that I am having to do something I expressly don’t want to do, which is engage on social media about this.

There is a lot of horrible stuff going on the world right now. Ferguson, Irag, Ukraine, two Amish girls kidnapped from my old stomping grounds (thankfully they are now back home with their parents, but the media is still exploiting their story for all it’s worth), a group of kids and adults, short-term missionaries from the North Shore here brutally attacked on their way to the airport after completing a week of working overseas, atrocities still committed regularly in Nigeria …

It’s horrible. The world presses in heavily. And I don’t see that Twittering about it is going to make it any better.

If it comforts you to express your thoughts and emotions in 140 characters, by all means, do so. I can’t. I have tried to do so in the past, and it leaves me feeling more frustrated and helpless than before.

Instead, I am praying. Lord, have mercy. It’s a lot less than 140 characters, but it’s going straight to the throne of grace instead of getting lost in a sea of banality and empty outrage on the internet. Lord, have mercy.

I am acting. I am sharing food from our garden with our neighbors. I am reading to my children and giving them hugs. I am speaking words of encouragement and love to those I see.

I am living. Living as though life is worth something. Living with joy, because that is so much more powerful than shouting in anger.

I am creating. Making art, making music, writing stories. Because the act of creation trumps acts of destruction any day of the week.

Hatred doesn’t fix hatred. Darkness cannot defeat darkness. Only light can defeat the darkness. And for me, personally, spouting off on Twitter or Facebook is not contributing to the light in this world.

So, angry person on Twitter criticizing people you don’t even know, sweeping everyone under one comprehensive judgement: I understand, because there have been times when I have felt that other people’s silence equaled a lack of care. I hope I know better now, and understand that sometimes silence means a person cares too deeply to be able to say anything at all.

Sometimes it isn’t that something isn’t important enough to be tweeted. It’s that it is too important for such a useless exercise.

Restored and Ready

We have safely returned from our camping extravaganza! And now my morning coffee isn’t half as good without my uncle brewing it for me in his french press over his little camp stove, and I find myself turning around to make a joke to my cousins only to remember they aren’t here way too often.

On the other hand … sleeping in a real bed is glorious. Having my clothing and hair not stink of campfire smoke is bliss. Reading books on my Kindle via a bedside lamp instead of a flashlight is lovely.

Camping was fun, and returning to civilization was sweet.

I didn’t do any writing, and very little reading, while we were away. I hadn’t planned to, knowing that our time was going to be taken up with camping stuff and family stuff, so it’s not like I was surprised or disappointed. In fact, I think it was good for me, because when I saw the email from Amanda of Fly Casual on our drive back home, with a rough mock up for the cover of the sci-fi novella I wrote, all kinds of creative juices bubbled up fresh in me.

Of course, those all went toward Ooh, we should really take Laura’s advice and turn the novella into a novel, which wasn’t exactly in the plan – I was supposed to come back and be inspired to finish Magic in Disguise and Wings of Song. Oh well.

Be that as it may, I am working on ways to expand the novella (titled From the Shadows), Amanda and I are talking about the cover, and yet with all this, I’m still thinking about MID and WOS. And while thinking isn’t writing, it does make the writing go much better.

So yes, a good vacation all the way around.

I came home to a letter approving our education plan from the school district, and we are going to start school again next week, and while the kids are less than excited, I am pumped over our plans for homeschool this year. Lego and Art club at the library, a new homeschool group meeting weekly, lots more of Mummy reading aloud and the kids being creative, a simplified schedule, field trips to explore nature at many of the local estates and farms … I know that plans go by the wayside as soon as real life starts, but I also know that the better the plans are, the better things go even when chaos hits.

It’s been a wonderful summer, and I am so looking forward to the fall.20140816_104637 20140816_105152 20140816_113302

(Pictures not from camping – I barely turned my camera on while we were there – but from a recent trip to a local estate whose gardens and forest trails are open to the public. This is one of the top spots on my “field trip” list.)