Today was a bit of a wash, but here are some cute pictures from my photoshoot. I think Christine at Entwined Portraits did a great job working with my total awkwardness. She was so nice and professional, and she made the whole experience fun. We even worked the pups in there right at the end because we had extra time, and I’m a ridiculous dog person and insufficiently ashamed of it.
I’ve had all the anxiety lately about… Lots of stuff. I get the self critical brain weasels pretty easily. When I let myself get dragged down by all that, it gets pretty hard to feel creative or inspired about anything. Which makes it worse, because then there’s the added fear that my inner muse is just broken. I can work up a pretty paralyzing downward spiral when I get stuck on those thoughts. It’s lots of fun.
So, I was going to stay over at my boyfriend’s place just before my road trip. We had a great night and got ready for sleep. I was totally relaxed for the first time in about a week. I even slept for about an hour. Then I woke up, and my brain was clear, and all the ideas came pouring in. I knew how to fix a plot issue that had been bugging the crap out of me, and that led to a handful of other important details that I could change or fix. I started rearranging dialogue in my head, and I didn’t want to lose any of it.
Normally I would have just written on my phone until it was all down, but that phone had finally given up the ghost after some truly appalling treatment, and I hadn’t been able to replace it yet. I was pretty certain that I would lose things if I just let myself drift back off to sleep. I could stay in the warm cozy bed and take that risk, or I could wake my very tolerant boyfriend up, make my jumbled explanations and rush home to write it down. I did the latter, so it all got saved, but I felt pretty ridiculous about it.
It’s hard to take myself seriously as a writer. It feels awkward as all hell to me, but I did it, and it was fine. I feel really lucky that I’ve got people in my life who are supportive and who give me the space to be who I am and do what’s important to me. And, in the future, I’m gonna be much nicer to my phones so I don’t have to bail on super inspiring snuggles.
I got a Pixel right before leaving, so I’ve got that covered now. It’s pretty cool. It takes nice pictures, which is very important on a road trip. We’ve seen some pretty impressive stuff.
I’m driving down to Palo Alto to visit my family, and the pups are with me. I love these trips. Driving is exactly the right level of stimulation that gives my brain space to work while also keeping me alert, so I usually get good work done, at least in my head. I still have to pull over occasionally and write things down. We’re stopped at the vista point just inside California at the moment. It’s hot, but so pretty.
Edit: Upon arrival I enjoyed the traditional California greeting meal.
So, that’s fun. I made this nifty banner, though. I’m fairly proud of those roses and I plan to put them everywhere. The castle kinda looks like a birthday cake to me, although my sister pointed out that maybe I’m looking at it wrong – maybe birthday cakes just look like castles.
I’ve had the most intense urge to play Minecraft the past few days, because my brain is just refusing to kick into gear. I know that that way lies literal mountains and caverns of wasted time, but it’s so tempting. This is the reason I haven’t installed it on my semi-new laptop yet. It would be so very bad. (But so good.)
Building games are totally my favorite, which is weird because I was never that into legos. Playing with physical toys seemed like a lot of effort to very lethargic young me. I did like Age of Empires, though. That shit was the best. I would herd all the deer and boar into pens and get annoyed if my clueless peasants ever shot them for food. Their lives were a sacrifice I was willing to make in order to build a tiny menagerie in the middle of a frozen wasteland with actual hordes of enemies on all sides. I graduated from this to ZooTycoon, which was also an excellent building game. Strangely, I never got into The Sims. They could’ve hooked me if they’d had more Thompson’s gazelles and velociraptors, I think.
I’d like to think all this means I was a creative kid, but I think it mostly means I liked to play god. In fact, now that I think about it, I also loved that game where you play an actual god with a giant monster pet that occasionally stomps your hapless villagers to death.
I dunno. Clearly writing is the career for me, since it is the ultimate license to build anything I can imagine and control all the little characters. Maybe my stories just need more popcorn kiosks and escaped lions.
Oh, I’ll be visiting my family next week, so that’ll be fun. I actually tend to get decent work done on trips, too, so that’s something to look forward to. There’s not much else to do for hours and hours but think, so I always get good ideas on the road. Who knows, maybe next week’s blog post will be on time and have actual content of some sort.
So, I thought I’d pull out my tablet and fiddle with drawing characters to see if that sparked some inspiration. It kinda worked, but it led to like eight solid hours of drawing, which wasn’t really the plan. I forgot to eat. I also forgot to put up a blog post, because I’m a bad person. Anyway, this is Orane, the main character in Somnolence. She likes hunting, so I gave her a nice woodsy background.
So, I had a professional photoshoot today, which is a really weird thing for me to say. The last time I had a photographer take my picture, I was getting married, but I’m gonna need some better quality pictures for various book purposes than I can take myself, so that’s what I did today. It was actually pretty fun, and the photographer was very nice and helpful. As were the people in the friendly neighborhood Starbucks, because it turned out that the library in my building that I had planned to use as our location has been closed for remodeling. Fortunately, I buy an obscene amount of chai from them, so they let us take some pictures in a comfy corner.
I’ll post some of the results when I’ve got them back, but here’s a selfie for now. I actually went outside properly for the first time this week, yaaay… My dogs were very happy about this. According to them, I am super boring when I work, although I seem to make an acceptable pillow.
I saw Wonder Woman, because of course I did. I’m not gonna go into detail, so there are no spoilers to follow, but I’m not as excited about it as I kinda wish I could be. The thing is, it’s only revolutionary compared to the bulk of really fantastically sexist crap up to now. It’s still good to see, and it’s a step in the right direction, but they could have gone a lot farther. I enjoyed the fight scenes as much as the next person, but there were a lot of points where I wished for a little (or a lot) more boldness and awareness. I feel oddly uncomfortable with the amount of praise it’s getting, even though I understand why it is, because treating a female superhero like a male one shouldn’t be anything other than normal. They still played into the born sexy yesterday trope, so they didn’t even quite treat her like a male superhero, but even if they had. That’s what we should expect every single time, from every single movie. That’s not something we should have to celebrate, and we shouldn’t have to ignore any problematic elements to encourage them to make more. I’m glad I saw it, but I’m sad that basic non-shitty storytelling isn’t common enough that we can just shrug and call it a decent superhero movie with some issues.
I’ll say this again and again. Sexism, racism, ableism, etc are all elements of bad storytelling. We shouldn’t be saying “well, it was a great movie except their female characters were all basically cardboard cutouts with boobs, and the only people of color were evil, as fucking usual.” We should call that a bad movie, because it is both incredibly lazy and harmful to rely on the same offensive stereotypes and narratives. Normalizing equality is important, and while it’s totally understandable that we treat anything that gets even a little bit close as exceptional, it’s still a serious sign of how messed up things are that Wonder Woman is such a huge goddamn deal.
On that uplifting note, I’m still in the midst of revisions, and I’m hoping to be done with them by the end of June so I can stay on track and get Somnolence off to be line edited. We’ll see how realistic that is, but I’m pretty sure that if I give myself more time I’ll get complacent and slack off.
I’m also preparing to buy some ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers.) That’s a whole thing. You need a different ISBN for every version of the book to be published, and the pricing scheme is kind of bizarre. At the moment, one number costs $125 and a batch of 1000 numbers costs… $1500. Bowker is the only source for these numbers in the US, so I guess they can basically do whatever they want. There are also some midrange options, which I’ll be taking advantage of, but the scale is still a bit startling.