Posts Categorized: writing + blogs

The 3 am Edit

Wed. 11.06.19 – After writing yesterday’s blog post, I was quite happy with the whole post and went off to bed. I woke up at 3am after a bad dream with an upset tummy and quite worried.

So, I did two things:

1) Took some Tums.

Now that Zantac has been pulled off the market, my go to 3am sour stomach meds are a revolving door of new tries.

Tums was a VERY BAD IDEA.

First off, it did not settle my stomach. It made it much worse. At 7am I jettisoned out of bed to have even more digestive excitements. Then my brain said, “Why would tummy meds give you the trots?”

Oh, let’s google if Tums is gluten free.

And… It is not. Thus, the Celiac’s Revenge.

GAH.

I will be very excited when Zantac 75mg is back out on the market, as it works for me to settle my stomach and it gets rid of my hives.

2) After taking the Tums, I spent the hour between 3 and 4 am worrying that a variety of bad things would happen if I left yesterday’s blog post as is.

While I did not write where this happened, it is a place that I frequent often and don’t want it go sour if Old Creepy Guy makes things difficult if he googles my name and finds the blog post. Or the manager of the place gushes about my photos again and says my name.

So, I edited it to take out the detail with sleep blurred eyes; which then killed the irony and the black humor of the whole thing.

As I laid back down to go back to sleep, I got mad at myself that I was caving into the good girls make it easy for creepy dudes to keep creeping.

In the end, I decided that the on going safety of myself at the location in question was more important than a black humor #metoo blog post.

November 1st : The Turn of the Year

Happy Dia de Muertos!

11.01.19 – It is that time of the year again, November has arrived. And thus starts my favorite time of the year: Autumn and Winter.

Happy Diwali! Happy Halloween! Happy Dia de Muertos! Happy All Souls/All Saints Day!

Happy start of NaBloPoMo! Yes, I will do my best to post daily here this month!

Wahoo!

******

Photo of the Pumpkin contest at the Irvine Hyatt House taken by Ms. Jen on 10.28.19.

The London Skyline at Dusk from the Embankment Bridge

The London Skyline at Dusk from the Embankment Bridge

Sun. 11.18.18 – Yes, I am back in London to write. I find that I write best here, for a number of reasons both known and rather mysterious to me. When I am home in California, I can muster 2000-4000 words per month, hardly words enough to finish a short story in reasonable time – let alone a book. When I am in London, I can reach that word count in two days or less.

The last two years of US politics have heavily weighed me down and when I get to London, as long as I stay off of the news and social media sites, I am able to feel slightly bouyant again. At least here, I can float in my imagination – unfettered from the fecal matter of US politics – long enough to create and write.

While I am not participating in the NaBloPoMo nor NaNoWriMo, I am doing my best to restart my blogging practice in a more regular fashion – albeit in clumps – as well as finish writing a few stories and a book.

Here I am for a month. Let’s see how much writing and editing I can get done. Wish me luck.

Photo taken by Ms. Jen from the Embankment Golden Jubilee Bridge at dusk with her camera phone.

Writing and Reading

While I have been on my Big-Five-Oh birthday gift to myself writing retreat, I have also been reading. So far, I have worked my way through a re-read of the whole Ben Aaronvitch’s Rivers of London series and I am nearly finished with re-reading Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series (minus the more recent co-author or other author Pern books).

Why am I rereading books I have already read many times before, particularly in the case of the Pern books? I am reading them not just for the joy of the story but also to see and analyze how two authors who I admire have constructed their stories and series as a whole and from various writing perspectives.

What this past two months of reading and writing has shown or revealed to me is that I have a preference for multiple person point of view / main character stories or at least multiple threads of story interwoven over a single main character’s point of view with one story arc.

McCaffrey’s Pern books are almost always, with the exception of the YA books, multiple main characters with multiple threads of story. While Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series is from the POV of PC Peter Grant, each book weaves in multiple strands of story, including one series long story thread. One of the things that I also like about Jane Austen books is that by and large her stories are also ensemble stories, even if we see the story from the POV of one or two main characters.

The novel length story I wrote from 2015-2017, A Quiver Full, was a multiple character POV story. I started writing it as a short story for a writing challenge and it was originally written from the POV of two characters, after I expanded it to novel length – several more characters demanded their share of the conversation and stage time. After the fact, I got the feedback from a reader that it should have more of the romance of just two characters and not so much of the other stuff.

After finishing writing A Quiver Full, I printed it out, then I put it up on a shelf for a bit of aging before I reread it and started rewriting. It was six weeks on the shelf when I received the above feedback, which hit me enough of the wrong way that the first draft has stayed on the shelf and I started writing a whole new novel in December of 2017.

This second novel is from one character’s point of view. It is meant to be a humorous mildly unreliable narrator story wherein by the end the reader should be questioning if the main character really was all that and more or if we want our hero to be heroic rather than a mere man. Now more than seventy percent of the way through writing the story, I find myself longing for more strands of story – not in the novel I am writing now but in general.

Then it hit me about a week ago, as I was knee deep in my Pern reread that I prefer multiple characters with third person limited POVs in the plural to one or two main characters. I want more story, I want more points of view, and I want to be stretched. When I return back to California, I will be ready to take A Quiver Full off the shelf and start the rewrite.

But before I can do that, I have got to finish writing my one guy and his POV story.

Ha!

Wed. 25 April, 2018.

When I was a young teen, I attended several sleep-overs where late at night some of the girls played the ‘parlour game’ Ouija.

Not me, as I was tucked into my sleeping bag trying to go to sleep. When they would encourage me to get up and join them, I would decline. One time I watched the first ten minutes of the proceedings but was considered a joykiller as I kept asking if it wasn’t their hands moving the game piece to get the answer they wanted.

I was sent back to my sleeping bag.

The second time this happened, I was in the state of nearly asleep when my friend Tiffany screamed, “Jenifer!! The Ouija board says you are going to die in your forties!”

“That’s nice, I am going to sleep.”

Fast forward to yesterday. My fiftieth birthday. As of today, I am officially completely out of my forties and am not going back.

Take that, Tiffany’s Ouija board!

******

p.s. Happy 15th Birthday to this Blog Today!

p.p.s. This post was originally posted as an Early Access post at my Patreon.

Back to Plain Ole WP Vanilla Comments

Mon. 03.05.18 – I was using the Disqus Commenting plugin here for the last three plus years, but was never fond of it in the first place as it violates my Own Your Own Stuff on the Internet as much as Possible policy. The very idea of a hosted comment system when one has a self-hosted blog seems a bit silly.

Last week, when I read that Disqus had been amongst the legion with a data breach, I decided to ditch it. I have reset Black Phoebe :: Ms. Jen back to plain old WordPress comments and have added a plugin that makes all comments literal, thus no scripting. In addition, comments are now moderated and comments close after a week.

I welcome your thoughts, comments, and really – I don’t anticipate a flood of spam as one of the delights of the alledged death of blogging is that the spammers have gone elsewhere.

😉

Napping Blog…

Napping Canela

Sun. 07.16.17 – Unfortunately, much like everyone’s favorite little Canela the Chihuahua, this blog fell asleep and has been napping since early May.

Life has been a bit too busy. Hopefully, this upcoming week will allow me to catch up somewhat, as I have been collecting links for the Sunday Tidbits for the last two months and they are a bit overflowing now.

Photo of Canela taken by Ms. Jen with her Nikon D800 yesterday afternoon.

Conuberation : The Neologism that Keeps Giving…

Thurs. 02.23.17 – For years I have used the word ‘conuberation’ to mean a rather exuberant mashup of people or things or emotions as if someone took a conurbation of said things and put it in a trash compactor on speed. For a long time I used it about my mother’s family, who are known to be rather exuberant and opinionated all at once. In 2003, it was pointed out to me by Wanda that it was not an actual word.

Now, I use conuberate or conuberation to mean any crazy pileup of things all at once. I even tried to write it in a comment on a story yesterday that I am beta’ing and then the quiet voice in the back of my head reminded me that it was not a real word but a word I made up. I went back and read my original 2003 blog post about it, wherein I decided at the time that it was a mashup of conniption + conurbation. Last night, I followed the rereading of my blog post up with an extensive search in the Online Etymology Dictionary and decided that the way I use conuberation now is more in the line of exuberant + conurbation as it applies to people, things, and ideas.

I wondered why if the prefix con- means with or together and there are a number of words that have the same base word but different prefixes, then should I not be able to take the base word of ‘uberate’ and add con- to it? According to our friends at OED, uberare means “be fruitful” in Latin.

Con + uberare would be fruitful together or an abundance together – which is basically how I have been using conuberate for the past two decades or more.

This folks is what happens when one takes Latin in high school and then it has years to percolate through a creative brain. How do I suggest it to become a real English word? Do we all have to use it before a dictionary will pick it up? Do I start a Twitter campaign?