hannah: (OMFG - favyan)
"The register's not working, so everything's free" is the sort of thing that happens in the movies, not real life. Except it happened today. I guess New York City is about as real as the movies.

There's a bakery that just opened in my neighborhood, so my brother and I stopped by for its soft opening. And as soon as we stepped inside, we learned that - at least for a little while - every order placed would be free. No charges leveled whatsoever. It's not a sustainable business model, but for an afternoon, when you're building up a client base, you can't get a better reception.

I ordered coffee and a breadstick, and tipped them with a two-dollar bill. It seemed appropriate.
hannah: (Zach and Claire - pickle_icons)
I'm at the stage of "put my head down and get to the end" writing the first draft. I don't much like it, and I know it's because I'm starting to figure out how to tell the story. It's always frustrating, and it's always an important part of the process because it's where I figure out what it is I'm trying to do. So I'll keep at it, because there's no way out but through.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I have a fair bit of job hunt stuff I need to do that I put off today by running errands and watching a movie. It's a very different sort of unpleasantness that also needs to be punched through. The main difference is it's not under my general control, and my ability to perceive my impact on its ongoing progress is basically nonexistent. So as ever, taking refuge in creative projects is how it's done.
hannah: (Winter - obsessiveicons)
It snowed today, and not enough. A dusting, less than half an inch, beautiful to watch come down while drinking smokey tea but not enough to last. I know the obstacles snow creates when it sticks around. I'm still ready to encounter them again. It's getting on through the year and it's been a few days of cold, and just a couple days of snow. There's been no settling into winter.

Maybe I just need to take a vacation to the midwest or upstate sometime. Or even just back to Pittsburgh for a couple of weeks. Really get it out of my system for a while.
hannah: (Reference - fooish_icons)
I recently found a book that'd I'd been trying to track down on-and-off for some months now - Partners in Grime, something that needed the search string "book three kids principal office dumpster" for the internet to give it up. It was something where I knew I didn't hallucinate it wildly and could conceivably find if I looked in just the right way, especially since I remembered enough details to have a decent shot. It's not like that one short story I read in second or third grade about tigers singing in the jungle at night about how they were peaceful creatures and didn't harm others anymore, which is a more difficult question.

That said, there's something I sort of hallucinated which might or might not be real. A couple of nights ago, I had a deeply vivid dream - one of those third-person narratives where the actions unfold without the dreamer's input or agency, something with genuine plot. It was a small magical being, a pixie or sprite or fairy, decided he wanted to become human. He'd have to leave everything he knew behind: the marsh, the bogs, the magic trees. He did so, wandering out of the forest as a young human boy, clothed in rags and without any sort of memory. He could talk and act like a human, but inside he was still something transformed. Just human enough to be accepted as one of them.

What separated this from other stories like it that I've encountered before is that his regret was almost nonexistent. He came back to the marsh years later to look at a place that he couldn't ever return to, because like all good fairy tales it was a one-way trip. And he just looked at it wistfully, then waved good-bye and walked away again. Because he'd made his choice and was happy with his life.

I can't remember if I've read anything of this sort of transformation that included that kind of character note at the end. I'm sure it exists and I just don't know, or I've just forgotten where it came from. It's bugging me because I really liked that note of maturity and growth, and the contentment and happiness with the choice made long ago. And if it does exist, I'd like to not have to go to the trouble of writing it in order to read it.
hannah: (Interns at Meredith's - gosh_darn_icons)
This hasn't been a day for major accomplishments. It hasn't been one for minor ones, either. I can't entirely chalk it up to post-concert hangover - the loss of the morning, sure, but the rest of the day is on me. For no reason or cause other than inertia. I went grocery shopping for canned and frozen goods, took some time at the gym, and rewrote a scene. And that was the sum total of my output for the day. Didn't get to tidying up the floor. Didn't spend time on the job hunt. Just didn't do much.

Some of this I can recognize as a low phase that needs momentum. The key to that is building it up. Another key is understanding it for what it is, which is an internal issue pressing outward onto reality. It just sucks that it's not something as straightforward as doing the dishes.
hannah: (Marilyn Monroe - mycrime)
I love going to concerts where I don't know the band, I don't know the songs, but I do know the lyrics "Whooo-aaaa-ooooh!"

It was Dawes, and I've since put in hold requests for every album the library's got to share.
hannah: (Interns at Meredith's - gosh_darn_icons)
Because technology has limitations, I didn't get the notice about the monthly NYC Fangirl Brunch until I showed up to the restaurant and found out there wasn't any reservation.

Only momentarily daunted, I went ahead and ordered tacos for lunch.

My other plans for the day were to hang out in a coffee shop and get some ideas written out for something I'm thinking about pursuing a few projects down the line. The ride to and from Queens took away the time for that, so I'll have to put off the ongoing Bohemian fantasies for another few days.
hannah: (Running - obsessiveicons)
Ten rats spotted in the subway today, which makes a new record. On a note like that, it feels like February is off to a good start, even as much as I know that it's my own responsibility to at least make an attempt at getting my feet underneath me.

Additional fun news of the day was walking into a lingerie shop and getting a small cup of champagne. The sign outside said I could stop in for such a drink if I wanted, and I did. Having it on the heels of a flat white made for a very interesting few minutes there.

Comments have been building up; I need to take time to answer them. Hopefully this public statement will help me hold myself accountable.
hannah: (Winter - obsessiveicons)
I'm not caught in the worst of the cold, and it was still bad enough that my hair froze today. I left the gym with wet hair, and in the two blocks from there to my building, ice formed. Not over the whole thing, and it melted fast - but still. Frozen hair. A new experience.

The other highlight of the day was someone calling to sell me some sort of home security system, and I turned it around on them right away by asking, "How did you get this number?"

Don't worry: I was polite and said I wasn't interested and wished them the best of luck with their next call. It was still fun to take the Ron Swanson approach for a moment.
hannah: (Running - obsessiveicons)
I don't understand all the celebratory posts of women cutting their hair. Yes, their little internet corner, sure, that I get. But the driving ethos of them is so far outside of my own context and worldview it might as well be dispatches from Saturn.

In other news, last night I finished the POV shift rewrite of the ongoing WIP, and last Thursday I finished up physical therapy. September 25 to January 24 - not a bad amount of time to be able to walk up and down stairs and run again. I'll still be doing the at-home routines a few times a week, because I've gotten so used to them it feels odd when I skip it.
hannah: (OMFG - favyan)
I can't say I bumped into Tim Gunn today because I didn't make any contact with him. I didn't accidentally walk into him and I didn't stop to say I was a fan of his work. There was nothing. I saw him and walked on by.

Well, I caught a glimpse of a terrifically dapper white-haired man with a rolled-up full-length umbrella tucked under his arm inspecting the baked goods at a grocery store. I couldn't be sure, and didn't want to stare. So I gathered my fruit and my chocolate and walked past him to the next aisle and ducked out of sight.

I lingered long enough to hear someone else tell him that she was a huge fan of his work and to hear him thank her, getting secondary auditory confirmation that yes, that is in fact Tim Gunn.

I left, but glanced back when I was outside and he was occupied with something else. The profile clinched it.

Without the umbrella and sharp jacket, he would've been a typical neighborhood resident. If he'd been wearing a long stylish raincoat, he could've been Mr. Gunn. If he'd brought a collapsible umbrella, he could go by Tim to his friends. But all of it together was what made him into Tim Gunn.
hannah: (Spike - shadowed-icons)
The podcast "Buffering the Vampire Slayer" will be interviewing James Marsters in a few days. They're currently fielding audience questions. Because I'm me, I want to ask him about a small-scale independent dramatic movie he made a little over a year ago. I'd like some feedback on what I'd like to ask him about it, here presented in two slightly different ways:

- I know you began your career with stage work. Your recent movie "A Bread Factory" struck me as being filmed very much like a theatre production, with a limited number of fixed locations and fixed sets, and certain touches such as the quickly choreographed summary of part 1 at the beginning of part 2. Did it feel that way to you as well? What first drew you to the project? Do you have any plans for other projects like it in the future?

- I saw "A Bread Factory" as a double bill last November, and it struck me as being filmed very much like a theatre production, with a limited number of locations, fixed sets and camera shots, and certain touches such as the quickly choreographed dance summary of part 1 at the beginning of part 2. Did it feel that way to you as well? What first drew you to the movie? Do you have any plans for other projects like it in the future?

Any comments and suggestions would be welcome.

Unrelated to the question for the interview, a note I'd like to attach to be delivered to Marsters if possible:

As an individual who lacks a natural facility for social interaction and struggles with making friends, I found your portrayal of Spike deeply moving - someone who very much wanted to be accepted by a group even while constantly being turned away, and still worked to manage that eventual acceptance while not denying or turning away from his nature of being a vampire. He managed to become a person while staying a monster. As someone who's been called monstrous and freakish, it makes me feel better - that I might become a better version of myself while not changing who I am. Thank you.
hannah: (Breadmaking - fooish_icons)
A couple days ago, when there was still the promise of snow, I decided I'd hole up in my apartment and use my oven to weather out the storm. There wasn't any snow, but I stuck with my original plan anyway.

Today I made spaghetti with oven-roasted tomato sauce and Brussels sprouts, along with a lentil stew. I also baked lemon-ale cakes, Australian beer cake, and because I still had some beer left over from the just-over-a-pint bottle, a variant on this beer bread. The beer bread and the lentil stew were, themselves, not too exciting - but the stew with the bread has definite promise.

I haven't yet finished folding my laundry. Or done the dishes. It's worth the delay in bedtime.
hannah: (Captain Jack Harkness - darththalia)
It turns out that for More Joy Day, I get to share that I had a cardinal sit on my head.

The bird, not the church dignitary.

For context, I'm still volunteering at the Wild Bird Fund, but now I'm helping out with data wrangling to help with end-of-year reports. Some of the birds get released, some get adopted, some are made comfortable and given a good death, and some stay on for the rest of their lives. The cardinal's one of them. He's bonded to people and likes pecking at my jewelry. Since he was out at the same time I was helping to deal with the mallard duck intake statistics, I let him sit on my shoulder, then moved him up to my head, where he camped out in my hair for a while.

Then he pooped on me.

I figure, I was planning on taking a shower anyway.

Also, I got to gently pet a kestrel named Coral, and managed to mimic a pigeon mating call well enough to get one to call right back to me.

I'll be back in on Monday afternoons for the next few weeks until the report's done. Then something else. It's not a paying gig, but it's got animal company and a reminder I have useful skills which other people need - both of which are helpful in the ongoing job hunt.
hannah: (Library stacks - fooish_icons)

I plan on spending a couple of hours tomorrow wandering through and introducing myself to new people.
hannah: (Captain Jack Harkness - darththalia)
Day 15

Talk about why you participated in Snowflake &/or what you got out of it. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

The Snowflake challenge always gives me the feeling of a solid start to the year. Getting back into the regular blogging habit, meeting new people in a low-stakes, low-stress, all-celebratory environment - it's a good way to kick things off for another trip around the sun.

hannah: (Marilyn Monroe - mycrime)
Day 14

In your own space, talk about what you think the future holds for fandom. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Fandom is going to be early adopters, lovers of novelty, boundary-pushers, spelunkers to the depth of what constitutes good taste. Fandom is going to go feral, running out into the wilds, and come back together to reinvent civilization with all its rituals and routines. Fandom is going to pick up its pen and write, hit the keyboard and set it on fire, grab its pencil and sketch out a love song. Fandom is going to have a great time. Fandom is going to eat itself. Fandom is going to break the internet, again. Fandom is going to take the tools given to it and create something unanticipated and completely fantastic. Fandom is never going to have more than one bed. Fandom is on its way for a complete deconstruction followed in short order by a swift and thorough reconstruction. Fandom is going to remember what it lost and try its best to built it again, perhaps not better but for certain as best as it knows how. Fandom is here, was here, will be here.

What the future holds for fandom is that it's going to have fandom in it. What fandom needs is to be there, for people who need it - for people looking for that queer spark, for people looking to find new friends.

When people set out to find their people, they're trying to figure out who they are. And that's where fandom comes in.

Because fandom is where you found yourself.

I think that what the future holds for fandom is fandom itself. The surface level aspects will change - for example, where to find the porn - and the etiquette is going to keep shifting - say, shipwar protocols - and fandom itself will keep on going.

hannah: (Dar Williams - skadi)
Day 13

In your own space, set some goals for the coming year. They can be fannish or not, public or private. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

This year, my goal is to stumble less.

Not necessarily in terms of physical locomotion, though that's something to be aware of and try to minimize, and not only in terms of reducing the number of social gaffes I commit, which I always try to take as gracefully as I can. I mean in terms of personal stumbling blocks - the things that trip me up for no good reason. I noticed it today in my procrastination on going to the gym, and how over the last few weeks, I've had fewer such delays when I have music and podcasts playing.

Just creating a playlist of music to have as background noise to fill up the space would be a help.

Going past asking "what do I need to do?" and looking instead to try to answer "what do I need to do to be able to do what I need to do?" Syntax issues aside, it's a question I've found good to ask. Sometimes just forcing myself to recognize I'm putting off a completely reasonable task, like going to bed at a reasonable hour, can help me manage to get it done.

Also, I'm going to aim to do a full at-home physical therapy routine at least four times a week, see to the completion of my current original project and begin work on the next, and also try to complete the two other Buffy fic ideas I've decided to pursue. Which all seems reasonable.

hannah: (Library stacks - fooish_icons)
Day 12

In your own space, create your own challenge. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Sometime in the coming week, use your local library.

Get a card if you don't have one already. Use it to borrow something you've been meaning to get to for a while now - an album by a band you've been meaning to get to, a novel by an author you've wanted to try, a movie you saw a while back and want to see again. The book of concept art from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse - which I got today and is utterly fabulous, well worth the short wait time it was on hold.

See what else they offer besides traditional media: book sales, film screenings, craft classes, gaming afternoons. Have they got a special set of collections that aren't allowed offsite but are worth the visit, like a fabulous map room or vintage children's books? Set aside a couple of hours and indulge yourself. Maybe you've got a Library of Things nearby - go and see what's on offer.

If you can't make it to the library: see what online services they're hosting. Ask a reference question. Borrow an ebook. Watch a movie. Get a recommendation for something in their collections and then place a hold on that so when you've got time to head over, there's going to be something waiting for you.

hannah: (Reference - fooish_icons)
Day 11

In your own space, talk about your creative process(es) — anything from the initial inspiration to how you feel after something’s done. Do you struggle with motivation or is it a smooth process? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to pull out when a fanwork isn’t cooperating? What is your level of planning to pantsing/winging it? Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I use small rituals to set my writing time apart from the rest of my waking life. They're never elaborate: usually it's just closing the curtains, lighting a candle, turning off the overhead light, and turning on my desk lamp. Sometimes I don't even bother with the candle, and in summer, I'll leave the curtains open for hours. The main goal is to put myself into "writing mode" and approach that time with the understanding that inspiration is secondary to productive output. It might be what got me started, but it's not going to necessarily carry me all the way to the end.

I don't write every night. Sometimes I'm sick, sometimes I've got an outstanding religious or professional commitment, sometimes I'm traveling. These things happen. On the nights that I do write, I aim for a minimum of 1,000 new words. On the nights when I'm editing, it's also a minimum of 1,000 words to get through - or at least six pages, if I've printed the story out for red pen notations.

I try to maintain steady momentum and ongoing forward movement. Doubt isn't a luxury I can afford in the main composition phase. Write first, worry about pacing later.

The main thing I use to motivate myself to get my fingers to the keyboard and keep going with the work is the knowledge of how much I want to read the story that I'm writing. If someone else had written it, then I'd go off and read that one. Sometimes they have, and I go read it and be happy. Usually they haven't, and almost invariably, I have to come to terms with the fact that if I want to read a particular story, I have to write it myself.

Another motivating force is spite. As in: I can't believe everyone else is doing this wrong. As in: I can't believe someone with so much less skill and talent than me got this much adulation or that book deal. As in: I know I can do better than what's out there, and I need to show everyone that.

And yet another is having been touched so deeply, and with so much care, by all sorts of works - authors, musicians, actors, painters - that I want to make something that will resonate into someone the way these other works have resonated into me. I can't rewrite East of Eden or the album "Haughty Melodic." But maybe I can make something that can set something off in someone else the way those set something off in me.

So I roll up my sleeves, light the candles, and get to it.

I do it linear, I do a basic outline and overview with plot points and scenes I want to hit, I don't post until it's done. I do this because I've found it's the best method for me to get to the end of the story. I don't recommend it to anyone else because creative endeavors are so idiosyncratic that I'm not going to recommend anything other than "whatever gets you to finish it." If what works for you is doing it out of order and posting as you go, then do that. If you pants, great. If you plot it out down to the very last commas, splendid. Just so long as you get it done.

I also like to use accountability readers - not betas, not cheerleaders, not even alpha readers, though all of those have saved me many times over, and sometimes it's the same person for every one of these roles. Accountability readers exist so I have someone I can send the story to at regular intervals, whether it's every 5000 words or each chapter, who then put their hand on my shoulder, tell me it's fine, and to keep going. I can motivate myself to keep going well enough. It's still a big help to hear someone tell me to keep going. Even knowing they're saying it because I asked them to - well, I'm still hearing them say it.

Every so often, I wonder why I'm pursuing this particular idea. Then I tell myself: if this existed, I'd want to read it. Even if nobody else wants to read it, I already do. So I'd better finish it so I can read it. And maybe they will, too. But I'm the audience right now. Okay, sometimes the audience is also someone else I think would appreciate my take on something or other. But more often than that, vastly more often: I'm writing the thing I wish already existed so I could read it.

Sometimes I take a walk in a park or go to the movies to unstick myself. Sometimes I'll talk through a plot thread in my empty apartment to get a better idea of what I want to communicate in the story. Sometimes I'll sit down in a coffee shop with a notebook and pen and align some ideas that way.

And it's always to the service of getting the work done.

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