Maytag Neptune Unleashes Kraken in Laundry Room. News at Eleven.

Go home, Washing Machine. You're Drunk.

Image from reddit. I presume it came from somewhere else first. #memeappropriation

My day so far:

  • Feed and take care of Business with my dog.
  • Pour coffee, open news feed.
  • Mom and her dog come downstairs. Feed and take care of Business w/both dogs.
  • Warm up coffee, reopen sleeping news feed.
  • Mom starts laundry.
  • Ungodly noise from washer.
  • Bang around on washer. Seems to still be working?
  • Cross fingers
  • Ungodly noise continues.
  • Throw out first coffee. Pour fresh mug.
  • Give up on news, open work email.
  • Ungodly noise continues.
  • Open WIP file. Put on headphones and white noise.
  • Ungodly noise stops. So does washing machine.
  • Look up error code online. Curse.
  • Look up service manual online–Maytag has discontinued washer and does not keep that SM online. Curse.
  • Google “Washing Machine Repair.”
  • Look up bank balance.
  • Curse.
  • Explain to Mom she will have to go to Laundromat.
  • Explain Laundromats have improved since 1975.
  • Open WIP file. Put on headphones and white noise.
  • Stop and look up Laundromat with excellent Yelp Reviews.
  • Open WIP file.
  • Stop and look up directions to Laundromat with excellent Yelp reviews.
  • Open WIP file.
  • Stop and tote Mom!laundry to Mom!car. Instruct her not to try and carry into laundromat all in at once so as not to hurt herself.
  • Realize Mom will ignore me.
  • Realize there’s nothing I can do about it.
  • Open WIP file.
  • Sit in quiet, peaceful house and stare at screen.
  • Stare some more.
  • Blog about this like it’s important.

The thing about setting up house is that because you get most of your appliances at the same time, they will inevitable start needing repair about the same time.

That’s the only Profound Truth I have for you this morning.

Moving All The Things

Some days nothing will help but that you rearrange all your furniture. Friends PIVOT

Okay, not all my furniture. But after two years of it driving me crazy to have my back to the room when I sat at my desk, I literally stood there with my cup of coffee yesterday morning and was like, I could move the couch over, get rid of that massive hutch thing, and turn the desk perpendicular to the wall. Done and done.

I may have been procrastinating work. But I do like this about a hundred times better.

Once I got it out in the middle of the room (something that has to be done if you’re going to turn a honking big piece of furniture around, I laid down on it, and Mom looked down from upstairs (I keep her in the attic, like Mrs. Rochester) and said, that thing is exactly as long as you are. Which is not really that impressive. Also, what she may actually have said was more like, “What God’s name are you doing down there?” Then she said the desk thing.

My Space

This is literally one third of the desk I used to have in the old house, and though it took up a good bit of my old study, there were also three bookcases and a small sofa (and large ottoman) in there. And it was one of the smaller rooms in the house. (For those of you who tuned in during the last two years, I downsized my life drastically in 2013, from a big house with two attics and a giant garage to a small townhouse with no attics and no garage. It did come with a mom, in case you were wondering what that Mrs. Rochester business was about.)

On one hand, it seems impossible I’ve lived in this place for two years. (For one thing, there’s still some boxes I haven’t unpacked. Or as I like to call them, “my nightstand.”) On the other, my memories of the old house are fuzzy and oddly foreign, like it’s a place I visited once. The brain is weird.

Now, it’s back to work. Or possibly I’ll keep looking on Pinterest for my perfect office.

Perfect Office

Leonardo’s To Do List and Michelangelo’s Groceries

I really like lists.

Leonardo da Vinci's To Do List circa 1490 (direct translation, amendments in brackets by Robert Krulwich). Illustration by Wendy Macnaughton for NPR. Original Article here.

Leonardo da Vinci’s To Do List circa 1490 (direct translation, amendments in brackets by Robert Krulwich). Illustration by Wendy Macnaughton for NPR. Original Article here.

Lists, timelines, graphs, charts…not because I’m the most methodical of people, but precisely because I’m not. There’s always a lot going on in noggin, and it’s not terribly orderly in there. The big ideas are kind of wibbly wobbly all over time and space, and the little idea are sort of this gnat like cloud around my head.

I’ve always kept a sort of catchall journal. My packing list for World Con will be right next to my character notes for Splendor Falls and a (terrible) sketch of the layout of Bluestone Hill.  A reminder to get dog food is on the back of the page that has the Goodnight family tree which is next to my notes about who I’m going to vote for in the next election. It’s a little willy nilly, but it’s the way I’ve done it for ten years, and the notebooks are lined up on my shelf.

Recently, as part of an ongoing quest not to forget so many things, I’ve been on a quest to find The Perfect System that works with my system. The smartphone is great, because there’s nothing like something that will ding at you. But there’s also nothing like paper for permanence. In college, I used to study by rewriting my class notes into a neat outline. By the time I was done, I knew the material. I am much more likely to remember something I write by hand than enter in my phone. (Which is not to say I’ll remember it, just that I’m more likely.)

There’s the idea of physical permanence, too. When I look through a previous year’s notebook, it’s interested to see where my head was at a particular moment, or what I was dealing with while I wrote X book, or what I thought was important to remember from Y conference. I’ve found ideas jotted down on paper napkins, and business cards from people I’ve met (sometimes I’ll even remember who they were). Sometimes I’m impressed with my brilliance. Sometimes I wonder why on earth I though I needed to pack three sweaters to go to Alabama in October.

I remember finding a stack of letters that a great-great-aunt wrote in the early 19th century. Genealogy is great, but reading Audrey describe her train trip to Palacios and ask if Rosemary (!!) has recovered yet from her cold, made her a real person.

Da Vinci's packing list.

Da Vinci’s packing list. “Get hold of a skull.” (Image from an article in The Daily Mail)

The illustration at the top is a direct translation of a recently discovered (well, recent in 2011) “to do list” jotted down by Leonardo da Vinci. I mean, that guy wrote everything down. But It makes me happy to know sometimes he wrote it down just for himself.

Da Vinci’s notebooks are a record of his genius and all, but this packing list sketches a more personal picture. No pun intended. (Okay, yeah, pun totally intended.) “Spectacles with Case. Human skull. Nutmeg.” I’m sorry, but how awesome is it that “nutmeg” seems like the oddest thing on this list.

Michelangelo's Shopping List (image credit: Casa Buonarroti)

Michelangelo’s Shopping List (image credit: Casa Buonarroti)

Then there’s Michelangelo’s grocery list, which he had to illustrate because his servant couldn’t read. Let’s just think about that for a sec. This is a grocery list illustrated by the painter of the Sistine Chapel. And we know he liked herring and anchovies. Yum.

Not that I’m comparing myself to Leonardo or Michelangelo (even in a Mutant Ninja Turtle sense). I’m not jotting things down for posterity… just to remember them after I’ve slept and cleared the data banks.

I mean, I have to do something so I can get on with the business of being a genius!

Edited to add: I came across this in my quest for the Perfect System. (Pinterest, incidentally, was so helpful that it was not helpful.) Twelve types of journals you can keep. 

Are you a lister? Is yours one of those planners covered in colored pen and washi tape? What kinds of things do you like to write down? (Typing counts, too!)

All. The. Feels. — IF I STAY on Movie Monday

IF I STAY has been on my list to watch ever since it came out on video (it’s on Netflix right now) but I knew that was going to need the right mood and moment. Though I have not (to my shame) read the extremely well reviewed book by Gayle Foreman, I knew what I was getting into. (This is not a spoiler—Mia’s family was in a car crash, and she is in a coma deciding whether to stay or go. She relives the past that got her where she is, and watches the present as those she love gather around her.)

(source)

“Heartstrings” courtesy of Sean Molin on Flickr under Creative Commons license (source)

I knew I couldn’t watch this in a movie theater. I knew I couldn’t watch it when my Mom was around, or right before bed, or in the middle of the day when I’d have to go be productive after. But last night, I had the house to myself, the evening off, and a blog I needed to revive.

I expected to need Kleenex (see description above). I did not expect to completely lose my shit. I’m not just talking sobbing. I’m talking gasping, shaking, and the occasional un-stifle-able keening cry. If I hadn’t been alone, it would have been mortifying.

Before you say, “God, that sounds awful,” I should explain that it was emotional, and beautiful, and ultimately hopeful and up-lifting. But for me, it cracked open that shell I keep around the loss of my brother and father, and that that grief, love, and loss came pouring out as if I were there again in the hospital. It’s not just the loss, it was everything–the vigil at the hospital, the disbelief, the anger, and finally that moment when you have to say to the person you love, “It’s okay to go.”

Which is what this story is really about–staying or going. Keeping to the course you’re on, or taking a new direction. It’s a theme that happens over and over, by characters in the past and the present, in little decisions and big ones. It’s beautiful, and it’s elementally Young Adult in nature. It’s about change.

The thing I loved most (and what spoke to me most, as someone who has so much anxiety about change) was the idea that there are no right or wrong choices. There’s only option A or option B; both can be happy, and both will have a measure of pain.  I read and write mostly genre fiction, where there’s a strong element of fate, and destiny, and pulling the sword from the stone, and what not. So this idea that both options can be satisfying in a different way is what made this such a realistic story.

I like moves that give me lots of thinky thoughts, and IF I STAY. I really do recommend it. Not everyone will find it so painful, I just have certain triggers.  I thought several times about stopping the movie, but I had to watch to the end. My objective brain wanted to see how the creators ended the story. My subjective brain knew that Mia’s decision didn’t matter–she wins either way, and she loses something either way.

The WHY of Your Story

I feel like a sloth for breaking my blog silence with a reblog. But it’s from DFW Writer’s Workshop, and it has something really key to say about writing, even if it was written by my arch-nemesis A. Lee Martinez.

Emotional intent is what turns a plot into a story. It’s simple, but sometimes hard to explain, and ALM does a great job. Even if you’re not a writer, you might find it interesting to know why some scenes connect with your gut, and some never get past your head.

See you on the flip side, peeps. –Rosemary

DFW Writers Workshop

The first thing you should ask yourself is why?

A. Lee Martinez A. Lee Martinez

Writing isn’t as simple as putting down words on paper. If it was, everyone would be doing it, and at times, it feels like everyone thinks they can. If we’re talking about sitting in front of a keyboard and typing until you have a few pages, then, yes, everyone can do it. There’s a difference between doing it and doing it well.

Asking why is that difference.

Let’s stick with fiction for the moment. Much of this applies to non-fiction as well, but it’s easier to focus on one right now. Fiction is, generally, a series of scenes that string together to form an overarching story. All basic stuff, you might think, but you would be wrong.

The Why (capital W from this point on) is Why this scene must exist in the first place. Your initial answer…

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It was the best of cons, it was the crowdedest of cons.

So, San Diego Comic Con happened. I took some video but I haven’t had a chance to approve it. I tend to get a lot of up the nostril shots when I try to get cute with the video feature on my phone. You’ll have to content yourself with still photos.

Friends Kate and Jenny and I wait for the shuttle to pick up our badges. The first of many shuttle waits.

Friends Kate and Jenny and I wait for the shuttle to pick up our badges. The first of many shuttle waits.

Anyway. I guess my main impression was the lines and and the crowds. There was tons of cool stuff. Saw the Twelfth Doctor Who looking for a restaurant. Discovered that I have some kind of recognition malfunction where I don’t recognize people from TV, even if they’re standing right next to me. I’m pretty sure someone was at some point.

Mostly it was this crazy weekend ping ponging between “that is so cool” and “I am in hell.”

Captain Carter (Kate) poses with the Team.

Captain Carter (Kate) poses with the Team.

The Mashable #MashBash (which was amazing, and also, Elijah Wood was the DJ)

The Mashable #MashBash (which was amazing, and also, Elijah Wood was the DJ)

So. Many. People.

So. Many. People.

You basically have to buckle down and decide to enjoy yourself, no matter what. If you’re in the right place at the right time for something cool, enjoy it. Make the most of it. But if you go in with an “I must see/get all the things” attitude… well, you’ll either be unsuccessful and surly, or successful and annoying. (In other words, do not get between a fan and his Comic Con Exclusive Collectible.)

Was it fun? Yes, because I was there with my friends, and there’s this in the trenches camaraderie that happens. Also, they tell me it’s like childbirth–after you recover, you only remember that it was worth it. I don’t have a kid, so I’ll have to take their word on that.

So, I have a question. If you could go to one panel to listen to the cast, crew, writer, or director of some book/show/movie… what would it be?  What would YOU camp out overnight to see?

Brace Yourself. Comic Con Is Coming

I… have no idea what happened to June. Like, the entire month.

Let me recap the month for you: work.work.work.work.work.work.HOLY.CRAP.COMIC.CON.IS.IN.TWO.WEEKS.totaldenial.
work.work.panic.work.work.work.TOTAL.MELTDOWN.threats.from.friends.if.I.backout.
work.work.panic.DEPART FOR CALIFORNIA.

Technically that last part happened in July.

So, yeah. I’m going to be at San Diego Comic Con this week. I was supposed to go last year, but had to not go at pretty much the last minute.  I’ve not mentioned this because 1) I’ve been working really really hard both to afford the trip and to get some Very Important Stuff done before I go, had have barely come up for air, let alone Internet; 2) I’ve been in denial. Seriously. I have no plan, I don’t know who is going to be there (unless I know them personally), and I have my calming mantra Sharpied on my arm.

Just in case you live under a rock, San Diego Comic Con is such a huge thing that it makes even normal non-nerd news cycles, because it’s not just deep nerd stuff, but movies and TV shows and all that. Why do people go? Because random stuff like this happens:

Loki surprise appearance at  Comic Con

Loki surprise appearance at Comic ConC

Cool, right? I’m going to a place where there is a real possibility someone famous (more famous than me) could photo bomb my selfie.

Why am I panicking? To get to the panel where the above surprise happened you had to stand in this:

The line to get into the infamous

The line to get into the infamous “Hall H”

Obviously, I’m not going to do that. But here’s what the inside looks like (according to my research, by which I mean my Googling, because if it’s on the Internet, it must be true):

comic con crowd

Right now, you are all going “Rosemary, you WIMP.”

Am I? Maybe I am a walking Panic Attack waiting to happen.

Or maybe I’m posting those pictures from past comic cons so you won’t envy me too much.

The truth this, I’ll be hanging out where the book stuff is happening, which won’t be nearly the madhouse that the movie stuff is.  My friends Rachel Caine, Jenny Martin, and A. Lee Martinez (and many other acquaintances) will be on panels. If you ARE going to SDCC and you want a break from the MAJOR madness and deal with only MINOR madness, look them up and come see us.

(I’ll be the one rocking myself in the corner. Ha. Ha. Just Kidding.)

Or you can follow me on Twitter and see if anyone famous photobombs my selfies.

Professor X Photobombs Wolverine and fans. Hashtag Epic

Professor X Photobombs Wolverine and fans. Hashtag Epic