I’ve been writing love letters to Rob every night and tucking them in places that I know he’ll look when he gets home.Â There’s one in the refrigerator.Â One under his journal — but not inside, as that would have required opening it.Â One on his computer.Â I’ll leave one on his pillow. ((He doesn’t read my website so I may safely confess such things to you, dear reader.))
I used to do this when we were first courting and I’d head off on tour. It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to write my fondness for him down with pen on paper.Â I’m enjoying the tangibility of these expressions.
I talked to Rob very briefly tonight.Â The area he’s in gets spotty cellphone coverage, at best, so I’ve had one text message from him, but otherwise it’s been radio silence.Â He found a place tonight where, if he didn’t turn his head, I could hear him.Â le sigh. I miss him.
Which is absurd, when you think about it. I mean, I worked in Iceland for six months without him.Â For the first three years of our marriage we spent about half of it apart due to our varying schedules. Being separated is not a new thing.
But, it’s the first time I’ve been alone in the apartment without him and all the near misses of our schedule for the next month are comic.
We just had the realization that even if I take the last train from NYC to Boston, it will still depart before he arrives back from the film shoot.Â So now I’m trying to decide if I want to take an early train on Friday or just give in and go up Thursday without seeing Rob.Â I say again, le sigh.
I’m only home for fifteen days this month. Yesterday was the only full day that Rob and I will have together until August 11th. He’s leaving to go to Canaan for a film shoot today and returns the 17th, the day that I leave for Readercon. We might overlap that day, but likely not.
I return from Readercon on the 20th, which is the day Rob leaves to go to the IPNC. We won’t overlap that day.
He returns from IPNC on the 30th, which is the day I leave for Launchpad. We might be able to see each other at the airport. I’m not kidding.
Launchpad and Worldcon are back to back and I return on August 11th.
All of which is leading me to think that I should go up to Canaan with Rob today and spend the night. BUT, I have twelve days left this month in which to build a realistic wounded dog puppet ((This is a side effect of having a dead dog in one’s portfolio)) On the other hand, I haven’t received the petty cash to purchase supplies yet and if I don’t do that today, then it will be Monday before I can work. Ten days to build a dog. Doable, but only just.
After two fun-filled weeks of writer’s retreat and a medical emergency, I’m heading from one home back to the other. I’ll see Rob tonight and get to spend two days with him, before we begin a month of out of town trips, each of which has us poised to arrive back in NYC on the day that the other one departs.
It’s been an interesting year.Â I’ve been so busy that I can barely breathe, but Rob spent then entire year looking for work.Â And that’s almost literal.Â He sold his first article a bare two days before our one year NYC anniversary.Â He’s got a couple of other jobs coming up, so I’m really hoping the dry spell has broken.
It will be interesting to see what the next year holds.
The show that used the moose head ended today and Rob handled the process of picking the props up from the theater for me. He just sent me this email about moving the moose.
It’s in our hall now but we had to walk it up the stairs. Comically, we managed to coax it into the elevator but the slight difference in door geometry on our floor sent us cursing back down to the lobby.
Even on the 50 foot walk from the curb to our building, two people (New Yorkers no less) stopped to gawk, chat, and one took a photo.
I thought you might like the attached images for your blog.
Broken turn signal, broken clutch lever (I just went to BMW and paid $157 for a replacement to make the cycle rideable while I wait for the insurance adjuster to call), damaged front fender, damaged hand guard, damaged exhaust pipe, and shredded cover. That’s what I can see at the moment. I’m going over to replace the lever and start it up.
Rob signed up for the virtual ticket line last night and, much to our surprise, won tickets to the show. We’re going after all.
Just in case you don’t know about the virtual line:
While the majority of Free tickets for Shakespeare in the Park are distributed via the Free line at the Delacorte Theater, a limited number of tickets will be available the day of each performance online. Specific locations for senior and handicapped accessible seats are not available through the virtual ticket line.
Register anytime at PUBLICTHEATER.ORG and then log on between midnight and 1PM on the day of the performance you want to see to submit a request for up to two tickets. You must log-on again between 1PM-6PM to see if you have been selected to receive a pair of tickets. People are chosen at random, not in the order requests are received.
Rob and I left the apartment at the same time today, which is a rare occurrence. I kissed him goodbye, got on the train and he headed off to ride his motorcycle.
When I got off the train, my phone rang. Rob.
He rarely calls me, so I had a sinking sensation. “Hi. What’s wrong?”
“Someone hit my motorcycle.”
I had a moment of no breath.
“It was tipped over when I got to it. [Some technical term] is broken and the [other term] is bent.”
And just like that, I could breathe again. He hadn’t been on the bike. I don’t worry when he’s outside town, but in the city is another matter. I made some sound that meant, “Holy crap, that’s awful but I’m glad you were nowhere near it when it happened.”
Rob continued, “So, I’ll have to deal with insurance today and probably won’t be able to stand in line for tickets to Hamlet. I just wanted to let you know. I’m sorry. If I finish up, I’ll try but–”
“Don’t worry about it. No Shakespeare tonight.”
Do you see the kind of man I married? His very expensive toy is broken and his first thought is to apologize to me that we can’t go see a play.
Meanwhile, I’m sure he’s furious about someone hitting and leaving his bike. Our insurance company is pretty good, but this is a hassle that the poor boy does not need.
Our friend Daddi is in town for a big expo and he brought us several packs of our favorite Icelandic treat. FlatkÃ¶kur are flat cakes, that sort of look like burned crepes. Made with rye flour, they are sooooo tasty and I’ve missed them a lot. There’s nothing comparable here.
I don’t talk about my writing process all that much on this site because every writer has their own way of figuring things out. That and I generally find it dull, but the motorcycle ride yesterday reminded me of a trick that I find handy and you might, too.
I spent a lot of time on the back of the bike doing “headwork” and trying to sort out character motivations and worldbuilding. The moment we stopped, I pulled out my keyboard and started writing. Not story, but jotting down what I’d been thinking about during the headwork.
In fact, the term is misleading because, while I spend some time just thinking, like yesterday, I usually write a lot of this stuff down in the form of a dialog with myself. Sometimes this happens at the beginning and sometimes in the middle when I discover a plot problem.
The key is writing it down, because that makes the ideas less slippery. I can see when I’m covering the same territory because I have a log of my thought process.
I was going to use yesterday’s session as an example, but it’s sort of too in the middle of the project, to be useful to anyone except me. But, while working on “American Changeling,” I found my characters stalling a lot, which is a sign to me that I don’t know what they want. Now, I knew that my main character needed a Key to open a magically shut gate. But what was that key? I had no clue. Here’s my log of the headwork I did to sort that out.
What does Kim want?
To fit in.
What do her parents want? Love her, but loyal to the Faerie Queen
How does she unlock the gate?.
First of all… Who locked it? Queen Elizabeth? To protect her borders because the Fae were going to make a deal with the Scots or the Irish. Research that.
OR did the Faerie Queen lock it herself to keep out the mortals who were corrupting her people OR to stop a threat from the Unseelie Court.
Let’s go with Queen E or no… the catholics but for similar reasons. ((Eventually wound up with Queen Mary)) Now. Where did the key wind up?
Ah… The Portland Art Museum as part of the Britannia exhibit. Make something up there that makes sense. Clearly the key is iron. ((Because then fairies can’t touch it, which was important to the story)) Is it necessarily key shaped? No. What else could it be…
A chalice. A mirror. An ink pot. A vase. A… What’s a reliquary. Now that’s an interesting idea. Yes. If the — oh, not the Art museum. A catholic church — reliquaries hold the bones of a saint, preferably a woman or child, but is actually the bones of a Fae. Yes. That makes sense.
All of which led me to a clearer understanding of my backstory and once I knew who my bad guys, I could make smarter choices about their actions. The thing about writing it down is that it makes it less ethereal. It gets it out of my head and lets me look at it without the sort of idealized Ah-ha! moment that vanishes when actually examined.
I won’t pretend that I made this idea up. I know a lot of writers who do it. I picked it up in Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp and, boy, has it made my life easier since.
For the first time since Halloween, I left the city for non-work reasons. Rob and I took a ride on his motorcycle up to a little town on the Hudson. So cute and so many antique stores. We didn’t buy anything, but it was so nice to have the leisure to just poke into shops and look at things.
Having the hour on the back of the motorcycle to just think and look at trees — and three deer, geese, a wild turkey and her chicks — was incredibly relaxing. I sorted out a story problem that had been stopping me from moving forward in a scene. I knew what the character needed to do, but her motivation for doing it made no sense. Now I’ve got one that does.
When we got back, I did some work on various not-interesting-to-talk-about projects and moved on to outing two. Alaya and I had a writing date. Now, I think we spent half the time writing and half the time chatting. When we’ve had writing dates before, our ratio has been better, but I haven’t seen her in months and we had much catching up to do. It’s bad when the only time you see a local friend is at conventions.
Now, I’m doing layout and feeling cranky about it.
Today was, if not lazy, at least filled with dull work. I got home from that around seven and took the evening off. Granted, I had stuff to get done, like, say, the last of the fifty bajillion edits in Shimmer. But it’s been so long since Rob and I were both home in the evening that taking some leisure time seemed mandatory.
He’s washing the dishes now, so I’m going to go rub his back. Have I told you about that? It’s been our deal since shortly after we met. Whoever does the dishes gets their back rubbed. I’m going to go pamper my husband a little.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]