Friday, December 25, 2009

'Tis the Season

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!

By the way, I just did the math - 60% of the gifts I gave this year were books. I guess that means something. :-)

(Another 26% were old photo-related.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Pictures Says a Thousand Words.

Last month, when she was going through the piles of stuff that collected in our house during and after renovating the house, she found some old pictures. 3,797 of them (I just checked iPhoto). This November, I scanned them all - although some of them were repeats. I organized them and gave them out as Christmas presents this year, and even though it took a lot of time, I enjoyed it immensely.

I learned a lot. For instance, my father and I looked a lot alike as toddlers.

Obviously, he doesn't know that I've posted this picture here.
He is too dignified to want his inner cuteness exposed.

See how chubby our faces are?
See how eager we are to get out of our cribs?

I also learned that I've always been fond of Christmas presents, even when I was only four months old.

I saw that I always liked to dance, even before my little sister was born.

Okay, I'm either dancing.
Or talking with my hands, which I also do.

I remembered how prissy I used to be, circa age 4.

My uncle gave me this Tigger for Christmas one year. :-)

I remembered old stories.

Ms. Folk, my kindergarten teacher, told my mother that I had a gift. I think she was the first one, but she said that I was a good writer. I used characterization, which is apparently unusual when you're only five years old. My mother loves to tell this story.

I learned new stories when my mother stood at my shoulder and watched me go through the pictures.

I tried to climb out, but I got stuck - for hours. Eventually, my parents had to cut me out, but now before taking a picture of my dilemma.

It was great to look through them. It reminded me what I was like as a child - wide open, adventurous, and adamant about getting my way.

I won't say that I've really changed, but I've learned to hide some of these qualities.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The First Week

The bad news: in the six days since I've arrived, I've only left the cabin once. I know. It's shocking. Especially since I didn't actually count the days until a few sentences ago. :-/

In my defense, it's been ridiculously cold. The mountain temperature hasn't gotten up to zero in days. Yesterday, I brushed the snow off my car yesterday and drove down to the grocery store. The temperature read negative eight at the cabin. I lost feeling in my fingertips, even though I wore gloves and had the heat blasting. To make sure I kept all of them, I bought some handwarmers at the grocery store before driving up.

Apparently, last night, it got down to negative 20. Getting out of bed was tough. I made a fire, which started out really well.

Ten minutes later, it didn't look so hot. :-(

The good news: I made an awesome chicken pot pie.

This is a sure sign that I have too much time on my hands.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The First Day

Today has been devoted to altitude sickness.

Which basically means that I gave myself permission to be lazy on my first day up the mountain. And I kept a glass of water next to me at all times. I lost count of how many I drank.

I don't mean that I haven't done anything with my day. I unpacked. I typed up all the manuscript scribblings that I have. I added two new scenes. I did a little yoga. I called my sister twice, because it's her birthday. I received a bunch of calls - from my father, my uncle, my ex-roommate, and my mother - all of them worried that I might be lonely.

I wasn't lonely. It was just too quiet. Cars rarely travel this far up the mountain, and the snow muffles sound. If I had moved here straight from New York, I might have gone a little nuts, but Charlotte was a good transition. Now it's easy to fill up the silence. I watched two movies. While I unpacked, I turned up my iTunes and sang along as loud as possible.

This is where I'm hanging out.

My view. I know - it's a hard life.

My library. I packed forty-some in my luggage, which surprised me when I counted.
I expected there to be at least 50. Don't worry. I'll get more. :-)

My writing nest. Usually, the blanket goes over my lap.

The cold is still a problem. I emailed back and forth with my coworkers about it. I heard a rumor en route that it was negative twenty up here, so I was relieved when I woke up to five whole degrees. (Yes, still pretty sad, but better than being below zero.) It doesn't look like I'll be skiing for a little while. :-/

I'm relieved to be here, where writing is the whole point. My dad called this the first day of my new life, and I think he's right. This is where I can get really serious about my writing career and put that seriousness into action.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Day of Travels

I am in Denver on my way to Montana, posting here courtesy of free holiday internet. Very exciting times.

The thing about being at home means that you revert to many of your old habits, even the ones that aren't good for you. A major one of mine is doing stuff for other people - so much, in fact, that I stop making progress on my own agenda. This is a catastrophe for a writer, especially for a newly professional one like myself. I’m too embarrassed to admit how little I’ve gotten done, but I did know this would happen.

That’s why I arranged to spend a couple months in an isolated log cabin with only my computer and the internet for company. I want to finish two novels while I’m up there, and to revise one extensively. After that, I’ll move to California.

This is the first time that I’ve ever lived alone, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I practiced. In college, while I was studying abroad at Oxford’s St. Catz, I tool a ten-day solitary tour of the U.K.:

Edinburgh – the castle as seen from my hostel’s front door

Bath – the Royal Victoria Park in Bloom

I didn’t get any good pictures of it, but I also went to Haworth, where the Brontë sisters lived. (Yes, I am that much of a literary geek. I also went to the café where J.K. Rowling penned a great deal of Harry Potter. They have great scrambled eggs – very fluffy.)

I won’t lie: I’m a little nervous. (So are my parents, so it has been necessary to downplay my own jitters.) I’m nervous about how cold it’ll be. I’m worried about driving in the snow and about cabin fever. I’m worried about not getting enough exercise. I’m worried about being lonely.

But I’m also incredibly excited. I’ve been craving an adventure.