Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's a Girl

The lovely little new princess has come into this world (Seattle).

Waiting on baby name... Revision to Post - Lillian Gray Spata was born at 6:56 (pst) at 5 lbs., 3 oz, and 17" long. Mom and baby are both doing well.

Anyone out there who thought they knew a true animal lover has seen nothing until they check out my lovely Amy's blog.

Can't complain about snow and cold to her, she lives in Denver.
Jenn is having her baby! Right now!

Congratulations to Jenn and Drew!!
Well, it didn't snow after all, but damn it was cold. Woke up around 3 a.m. and had to shut the door to the balcony as the temperature dropped from 45 to 10. I couldn't get my car doors open this morning. This kind of weather can make happiness difficult to feel. When so much of your energy is spent just trying to stay warm or walk faster and get out of the cold. It makes the day seem way too long.

Forget moving back to Wooster. I'm headed for the Bahamas baby. Or... there must be some place on this planet where the temperature stays moderate year round. I will find this place and be gone with this cold misery.

Back on to Chapter four tonight. Must finish this chapter by the end of the week. It should have been done by now. Too many distractions. Work. Takes up 9 hours (or more) of my day and what is the benefit - I get Middle-Eastern men staring down my blouse. Not exactly the attention I was looking for this week.

Or maybe I'll just work on some poetry submissions. Seven published so far.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The first day back in the art studio was wonderful. I can't believe how much I missed being in that environment, how much more at peace I felt. Even more so than writing, though writing is in a very tight second.

It was warm today, almost spring-like. There is a storm blowing in now. High winds, lots of rain.

Of course, it's going to drop thirty degrees and snow in about five hours.

Perhaps that's why the following phrase is so commonly used in Ohio: "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Some good news today. My physical therapist gave the go-ahead for art classes. Though, she still won't allow me to start running again. Which sucks because it was a beautiful 50 degree day that would have been perfect for running outside. Oh well. Back in the art studio tomorrow. Something to which I can look forward.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

And just when I thought the day could get no worse... Matt puts my FAVORITE brown, 100% Italian merino BR sweater in the dryer... and SHRINKS it beyond repair.

Whatever the future holds, it doesn't not include men doing the laundry.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's late. Or early in other parts of the world.

I can not fall asleep.

Last night was the same, though at least last night I got a large amount of writing done. Not on chapter four, not on any particular chapter that I know of yet. Perhaps what was written last night will be used near the end. Well, the outcome of the two main characters could very well be determined by the actions and words within these ten pages.

Ah, yes, the ending. And here I thought I had figured out the ending. Alas, that is definitely not the case. So I will continue with the "novel" concept of writing it from beginning to end and worry about the end only at that time. Somehow, though, these ten pages of written word will find their way into the ending, there is no doubt in my mind.

In the mean time, writing these ten pages has served another purpose - a temporary relief for the unraveling and restless mind, a temporary way to ease the tension I'm currently feeling. Temporary is definitely the operative word. Only at some point in the near future, weeks away I suppose, will those ten pages serve to give some sort of long-term solution or definition. (I fear saying "permanent" - not one of us can predict the future entirely, even with an abundance of clues.)

I did see a wonderful movie this evening: "There Will Be Blood" and there was blood. Absolutely wonderful movie. Think Hemmingway with a slight twist of Poe.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chapter four is taking a lot longer to finish than previously anticipated. It has proven to be an emotionally difficult task, as is much of the subject matter in this book. But it is necessary. And not just for me.

I will hopefully be going up to Wooster again in a few weeks. Dr. Jake and I will have to hang out all by our lonesome selves. We could fake Andrew being there and we'd probably crack ourselves up laughing in the process. Hopefully his mom hasn't rented out the house, we could sneak onto the front porch and just drink beer there. Hell, I'm almost laughing now just thinking about it. (And don't think Andrew isn't laughing when he reads this also...)

Okay, I'm getting strange looks from those surrounding me in the coffee house.

Need to focus on chapter four. Need to focus in general. Get all the other crap out of my mind and just write until my hands go numb.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A good, strong long island ice tea can ease any pain.

What more can I say?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Finishing up the chapter in Germany. I think this character's arrival in the Wooster-like small town will be a different chapter, and if so, the same format will be enforced for the other characters - their departures from their previous location and their arrival in the small town will be separated.

A good deal of my time in Stuttgart was spent in the Hpt (train station) - the long hours awaiting for my ride to my destination, a village about fourty minutes south of Stuttgart, as there was an apparent miscommunication regarding my arrival, and the many, many long hours waiting for a midnight train to Paris only three days later.

Had I realized at the time that that day would be one of the most imporant in my life, I would have taken some pictures of the inside of the train station for later reference. Of course these things can only be know in hindsight.
And so, the effect of returning to work this week is obvious in so far that I have had very little time to do all of the creative things that make this life worth living. No longer the days where I could choose to both write and draw and read and take a long walk and watch a good (old) movie all in the same day for many days in a row.

"What gives... what helps.... the intuition
I know, I'll know
I won't have to be shown
the way home...

The destination known
only by the one
whose fate is overgrown...

A love is not complete
with only heat...

And it came - a heatwave
A merciful save
and you choose
you chose
poetry over prose

a map is more unreal than where you've been or how you feel

and it's impossible to tell
how important someone was
and what you might have missed out on...

and did I and did I..."

A lovely song ("Intuition") by Feist playing in my head phones soothes the work day away. There is much more to the song, and in the missing lyrics is perhaps the more important message of the song. I discovered the song a few days after writing the opening chapter of my novel and was struck motionless with how it's lyrics so perfectly matched the chapter. It is the first chapter. Perhaps I will add it to the beginning.

It's impossible for me, after six weeks of being away from the office (while still enjoying the benefits of being salaried and thus getting paid even though I wasn't there a single minute of those six weeks), simply impossible not to feel the aching pit in my stomach beginning the moment I get into my car, long before the sun has awaken, growing throughout the day into a dull ache and then finally subsiding only after I have parked the car and walked into my "home." I have not written much more than a couple of pages this week, drawn once, and read myself to sleep. Gone are the days when I have the choice between one and another.

I do worry, however, of the day when I stop feeling that ache in my stomach when I arrive at my bill-paying job... Feeling a sense of comfort in something you don't actually love can only mean the loss of one's soul.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today is definitely a more art/drawing day for me. I'm completely feeling it today and that doesn't happen as frequently as I would like, so I'm taking advantage of my muse's arrival. Plus, I have a photo shoot tonight, so I will soon have more material from which to work. With exception to the gray, gloominess outside, it's an okay day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I had a very difficult time deciding if I want to write or draw today, or both but which to do first. I've settled on writing and drawing tonight. Soon I'll have new material from which to work on the art - I am working with a wonderful local photographer on some more nude modeling and he's very generous to give me prints and discs from which I can upload the photos. I think I'll use this next session's photos as the basis of my posssible upcoming art show. Fun times. Back to writing. My goal is to have chapter four completed by the end of the week. Shouldn't be too hard, I've been writing at least four pages a day on this chapter. The chapter will have to eventually end.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New art work posted on the Art Studio blog. These were all done during a 10 week session of an open studio for figure drawing. some of the new work is actually just quick, two minute gesture drawings. Enjoy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ten more pages completed on chapter four this evening. It's a perfect night for writing. It's finally cold again and the snow is coming down very heavy. Add some hot coffee and a brief and nice interruption to take a call from Dr. Jake, and I've got a wonderful night. A bonus: just before dusk, the sky turned an amazing shade of blue and you could see the bright white snow clouds off in the distance. Though you could not see a single star or the moon, it appeared that there was some sort of light in the sky. It was very beautiful.

Ten pages and I don't think this chapter is nearly complete. It's amazing what I've been able to remember about my trip to Germany in 2002. I do need to get out my scrapbooks, though, and find the names of places I stayed etc. I didn't take too many pictures on that trip (I really wasn't there long enough), but I do have pictures from my previous trips to Germany in 1999. I'm on a roll, so I must continue on...
Not a very productive weekend for writing, but definitely productive for my art (and watching NFL playoffs… that’s a different story). I finally got some digital pictures of some of my older drawings and paintings. And as it turns out, I may have an opportunity to display some of this artwork in the near future. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve had a show of my own, but I definitely appreciate the additional exposure. Of course, I need more pieces to actually have a complete show, but I’m so glad that I have the ability for other creative mediums. So, even though I didn’t write a single word this weekend, being able to express myself in other forms has left me energized to continue working on the novel.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Taking a small break from fiction and working on some poetry submissions today. I would love to post some of the poems on this blog if I didn't worry about some shlop stealing them and using them as their own. I'm an optimist, but not naive.

This picture is of Allison, Tamara and I, and Tamara's unborn (at the time of the picture) baby boy back in the summer when she came home from Israel for a small vacation. The baby, Boaz, is sooooo adorable. I'll try to find a picture of him to post later.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

After a long day of hard work on the novel, I took a break to enjoy some very delicious cheesecake with my favorite red head in the world.

The revisions to chapter one are complete.

Oh, and I found more pictures of the Troutman Harvest Fest back in 2003. After the considerable amount of wine consumed throughout the entire day, it's possible these pictures are the only proof that these events did occur.

This would be the contest in which two people race to stomp enough grapes to produce a cup filled with juice. Andrew won. He has bigger feet than I.

I'm not sure what "game" is going on here...
Chapter One was too important to leave alone, more information was needed, and some details needed to be removed. This chapter has gone from 3-4 pages to at least 7 or 8 and I'm still not finished. I have been working on chapter four as well and that chapter is going well. That will probably be the easiest chapter for me to write as this is the one chapter is actually "true" for me, it is based on my real experience of moving to Germany and then the decision to leave Germany three days after arriving. I have the journal in which I wrote nearly every detail at the time of the experience. It's definitely very helpful in writing this chapter. Though I also have hindsight now and am trying to not let that influence the emotions felt at that exact moment.

After this chapter, everything else turns fictional. All of the other characters are fictional from the beginning, though they are based on combinations of people I know. In the end, after all is written, no one should be able to recognize a character as themselves completely. I don't believe that any piece of fiction is completely, 100% fictional. Everything one writes is in some way, even if loosely, based on some knowledge of real people and events.

The heat wave passed last night, out with the wind, howling all through the night. It's still warmer than it is normally in January, just not the lovely 70 degrees that it has been for the last few days.

Soon, my physical therapy will be complete enough such that I will have to return to the working life. I hope to have as much written prior to this day to keep the momentum going. I will definitely miss the six weeks I've had to do everything that I actually love doing. I must find a way to make my "job" what I love. There was a time, back in the day of Hemmingway, in which writers raised funds so that other writers did not have to endure the live of corporate America. Hell, after the Depression the government had vast sums of endowments for artists and writers. This is not the case any more. Now, it is much harder to get our hands on endowments and grants. I have applied for one and should find out sometime next month. If that grant should come through, it's a year of traveling and writing and traveling and writing. What a dream! Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

Back to the novel.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Photos

Commonly referred to as the "APT" gang, much of my time was spent in this apt. I was called "furniture" on a number of occasions (though I was not the only one with this nickname).

Lexi and our two favorite men of all time.

Contrary to popular belief, Andrew does smile.

See... give him some wine and a little attention from the wonderful Dr. Jake and it's all good.

Too much wine and he starts playing with ducks. It's a fine line.
A lot of time spent uploading new photos of Wooster today. Am still working on Chapter four. This chapter will not be short, how long exactly I'm not sure yet. It is the main character, so.... and she does have quite a few thousand miles to travel before she gets "home."

It's another warm and sunny day in Cincinnati, though quite windy and apparently some rather dangerous storms heading our way. That is what Nature does when the air is this unstable. Oh well, I got to wear my flip flops for a second day in January.

Some photos to follow.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Another Disappointing OSU Loss

Unless some miracle happens in the next 12:00 minutes of regulation time, I will have just watched a repeat of last year's National Championship game, which wasn't fun since OSU lost.

Perhaps I can hope that after posting this message, said miracle does happen and I'm proven wrong. I really don't mind being wrong in this case.

(insert very sad face here)
It's definitely warmer than the weather forecast predicted, which was a high of 70. People are walking around in shorts and tee shirts. I myself am sporting my very favorite flip flops and at one point had to turn on the air conditioning in the car. Crazy. Love it.

I've reduced the number of possible interruptions to my writing and shall engross myself in only this task. Writing can be so healing to the soul. Plus the story really does need to be written. I've only been talking about writing it for the past five years. Only now, though, am I able to have a (somewhat) distanced perspective of the true events on which the story is based.

Chapter four in the working today. This chapter is Sarah's. I would actually like a different name for this character, but have yet to find something fitting that I really like. Any suggestions?

Though, I will need to entertain one distraction today. My Buckeye's are playing for the National Championship. Can't miss that! Go Bucks!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Heat Wave

There has been a re-arrangement of chapters; the second character will be in chapter five rather than chapter three. It does actually work better this way. There have been many changes to the first chapter today as well, influenced by a variety of events occurring in the last two days, some that may not feel too well right now, but are probably for the better in the end. The first chapter is more "accuracte" now, more fitting to the main character.

We're experiencing a typical mid-American heat wave currently. Tempertures between 45-65, maybe even a little higher next week. This happened last January too, and then we got our asses kicked in Feb/March, where we were lucky to hit 20. Enjoying it while I can though.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Writer Interrupted

I live about five miles away from an airport. EVERY single time an airplane flies over, I get knocked off of my wireless network. Seriously every time. The Cincinnati airport is a slightly busy airport. To do research from home requires a re-connection approximately every five minutes.
Wooster, Winter Storm 2004

All Research and No Play

There must be a million websites offering information on Central America... After three hours, I didn't even come close to getting through a dozen. But, research can be fun, when the coffee house has a liquor license. I found some beautiful photography, but nothing compared to that of Andrew's portfolio.

Will continue the research over the weekend and hopefully get started on the actual writing by Monday or Tuesday. Otherwise, continue research and skip the chapter and move on to the other two main characters.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Chapter Two Completed!

This introduces the character Marie. One of the four main characters. Chapters Two thru Five are each character's journey back to the same hometown, though they did not previously know each other, during the summer of 2002.
The next chapter will be slightly difficult simply because this character is coming back from an area I've never been to, yet. Luckily, I have a friend who has been to the area many times and over the last five years has shared many, many stories. Considering the research needed, this chapter will take longer than the previous.

Good Ol' Sitwells

It's been ages since I've sat in this coffee house. There are so many new faces, such that I can no longer identify the "regulars." This coffee house is nothing like my beloved Seattle's in Wooster. Good art hangs on the walls, decent music plays, though I have my headphones on anyway, the crowd is not too noisy and the service is decent due to the two employees currently working who have both worked here nearly a decade and know me.

The sky is so gray today, it's very depressing. It snowed about two inches last night and the temperature finally dropped to below zero for the first time this winter. The change has come, the dark season has arrived, and only the mentally strong survive.

Chapter Two of the novel is nearly complete. I really wish I could be in Wooster right now for the duration of writing this novel. Every time I start working on some new writing project, I feel some magnetic force drawing me back to Wooster. Why? Could I really move back there, away from the city and re-engage myself in the "quiet" life? Most of the people I love from Wooster have left, though there are still many friends still living there, maybe for the same reason I feel the desire to reside there, or perhaps because they are stuck. I'm betting on a even mixture of both. Well, maybe just a weekend there will satisfy the craving for now.