Sunday, November 30, 2014

A perfect 10.

One more time around the sun. One more November spent with this hideous ogre hanging over my head.

But now we are officially all done. I am hanging up my fingers or whatever and calling it.

It has been a long decade. Count those years: Year OneYear Two. Year Three. Year Four. Year Five. Year Six. Year Seven. Year Eight. Year Nine. (and then, you know, this year).  And it is time to show myself out.
A friend of mine is embarking on writing her dissertation and she is worried about getting it all done in a time crunch. On Friday night, over beers, I shook my head at her stress. 

"You just do it."

"I don't know if I can do it."

"But I know, you will just do it. You have to just sit down and start writing and once you have started, you will just keep going until it is done."

This is a weird thing to be confident about and I could tell that she was all "you don't know me," but the thing is, if I can do this - anyone can do anything. I am the procrastinating procrastinator. I have the attention span of a real spazzy goldfish. I am always hungry.

Yet, despite being me, I can get this done. So to you - who may be doubting your ability to get things done, allow me to assure you, you can absolutely get it done.

About one million years ago, my sweet baby cousin J, was attempting to teach me how to skate backwards. I tried to get her to break it down and explain it for me. After about six minutes of watching me both fail and ask questions, she stomped her little seven year-old foot and said, "you just Do It." and skated off.

So that is my advice to people who ask me, with mouths agape, "how did you do it?"

I simply shrug, "you just do it."

That is all there is to say about it. If you want to do it, you will find a way to make it work. Even if you are putting it off for most of the month, and regretting the plot you have picked, and struggling to make it better mid-story, you will get it done.

I was super embarrassed when people asked me what this year's novel was about because it was not only hard to explain, it was pretty stupid. But I knew that Year 10 was not the year to quit. So I just did it.

Now, in the words of everyone's favorite president, Josiah Bartlett, 

"What's next?"

There will be no more writing of words unless true genius strikes. Instead, there Shall Be Editing. 

There are 500,000 words, over three different laptops (which might mean some of those words might be lost to humanity). Through all of those words, there is a voice, there are ideas, there are small moments of inspiration in dialogue, in "showing not telling," in the giving of nicknames. So now it is time to put those all in the sausage maker and try to find something delicious.

The first goal is to uncover all those words, find as many of them as I can, and print them all out and read them, with a yellow highlighter and an open mind. Next year, by this time, there will be something. I am not sure what it will be - maybe I will have just finally found all of the words - and managed to sneak-print all 500-or-so pages at the office. 

This was the easy part. The hard part is next.

As always - this dumb shit does not happen just because I open a fresh new word document. Thank you to:

The new La Colombe Coffee Shop on Foster. I wrote 12,000 words yesterday and I could not have gotten that done without the fresh hipster vibe, and delicious cappuccino provided in my new favorite Andersonville spot. 

The West Wing. How did Willy Shakes write all those plays without the sweet dulcet sounds of Allison Janney reciting Aaron Sorkin's words in his ear? In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (parts one and two) are some of the most inspiring moments of anything. 

Sweet coworkers and friends. All these people are so patient with this particular brand of psychosis and who provide endless hours of excellent distraction and boozy time and face time and boozy face time.

Yates. For forever and always. NaNoWriMoYates. I miss you.

Boyfriend. Who just shakes his head and says, "write your novel." Thanks (in advance) for buying my ticket to see Mockingjay Part One tonight.

Miso, the newest member of the dream team. She is so damned good at keeping legs warm. Our apartment is normally about 20 degrees below freezing, but she manages to keep the blood in my legs circulating.

Hazel. She was conspicuously absent for most of this journey, but as I rounded the bend at 48,000 words, she snuggled up and was there for the victory lap.

On to presents! Happy December everyone!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pride and Podcasts Part 1

Last week, I crossed a big item off the bucket list.

I got to participate in my first ever podcast.

Like any narcissist worth her salt, I am fascinated the sound of my own voice and re-hearing bits I have already done to see if they make me laugh again.

Thanks to the amazing Mel Evans (who I have discussed ad nauseam on this blog) for hosting us for this first romp of many (I hope). 

Please give it a listen.Your reading or viewing of Death Comes to Pemberley is pretty inconsequential as we will explain all the important points of both the book and the movie while giggling. But here is my review of the book from a few years ago.

Also, you can totally download the podcast on iTunes (or your podcast app because it is 2014), if you want to listen to me "can't even" about most things on your morning or afternoon commute.

Thanks also to Jane Austen for the source materials. The amazing J.Ker_pow for being the calming to my manic. The cats for being an excellent source of entertainment, and the wine for allowing me to relax, maybe a little too much for my first podcast.

All critiques should be left in the comments of this blog for me to over-think and then slide into a deep depression.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Dress you up (in my love).

Our very first picture together:

And now our very most recent:

For two pretty photogenic people, we take a lot of really terrible pictures. Something about Halloween though brings out our brightest, least awkward smiles.

Also, we love a good free Halloween costume.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The More You Know (about Water)

Voting is one of my favorite parts of being a grown-up. I've been getting boozy and smoking cigs since I was a wee lass, but voting - can't use a sketchy fake ID for that.

I thoroughly believe a well-informed voter is the sexiest type of voter. So - I'm here to help you get it on, by being all up in the business of the nine candidates for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner.  Just think of me your wing lady...

Cynthia Santos. DANG. Her website game is on. point. She's also been doing this for 16 years, and water has been coming out of the taps for at least 8, so I feel good about her. She was a girl scout, so she knows her way around a cookie. She has a section of her website called "Service is a Craft," which makes me laugh because it makes no sense and also makes me think of crafternoons, which are fun.

Frank Avila. His website game is a little less on but his picture is hilarious - so small and yet such a big ole' grin. Also look at all those papers! So much business to attend to! He's a vegan which makes me judge him both as a elected official and a human being. He apparently hires sketchballs to work for him. He's just another cog in that olde-timey Chicago political machine.

Timothy "Tim" Bradford. No website? Weak. Not even a facebook page. Listen Timothy, get with the "Tim"s. He looks like Buzz, my favorite not-actual-grandfather-grandfather but I think he may have sold his soul to win that "top of the list" lottery.

James (Jim) Parrilli. Ugh, he looks like he smelled a fart in his picture and he supports Bruce Rauner. NEXT.

Herb Schumann. Schumann on Sewers is a great name for a website. And Herb is a great name for a bald guy with facial hair. Also the quote, "The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer," makes me laugh and the fact that (apparently) everyone's favorite drunk uncle, John Madden says it makes it even more hilarious. His website has no other information on it. I'm chalking this up to no news is good news or maybe running out of money for his website. Either way, I'm glad the John Madden quote was considered more important than the "sewer issues" tab.

R. Cary Capparelli. He has a commercial spot which is full of nice stock footage of Chicago and people turning on water faucets. He lost me when he filled out the questionnaire for the Daily Herald and selected George W. Bush as a current leader who most inspires him. For the record, George W. Bush isn't a current anything.

Karen Roothaan. Apparently all the Green Party candidates are sharing a website - what a bunch of filthy hippies. She founded an organization called "Trees R Beautiful" but makes up for her refusal to use extraneous vowels by (apparently) going to the bimonthly MWRD meetings before she was even running. Bonkers. City-level governmental meetings are the most.boring. They make them like that so you won't come and bother them. Well played. Also, your most inspiring current leader can't be dead (making them no longer current). Did you guys even read the question?

George Milkowski. First things first - his name is spelled wrong on my sample ballot. So whoops. Second, his ideas about how to make things better are depressingly naive and optimistic.  Does he know he lives in Chicago? I like your spunk, but dream smaller, hombre.

Michael Smith. He writes EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS.  BYE. And in his picture he looks like he is trying to sell me a time share.

Here's the thing - the more I read, the more this entire department sounds like a huge scam. Just give everyone a rain barrel and cross your fingers that the Chicago River gets so toxic it just kills the Asian Carp for us.

Seriously though, vote. Tomorrow. DO IT. Vote for the people who are all about women having control over their bodies and medical decisions, who recognize that we were all immigrants with ancestors who got lucky at one point or another, who just want schools that work - whatever that means.

Nothing changes if your participation in the system ends at watching the Daily Show. Get out there and vote for three of these clowns, some judges (but the right ones), and some other people. Go. Go!

She's pint-sized and amazing.