Category Archives: Silly Nonsense

Need Reader Feedback

Hi folks.

I am going to be closing down this blog in the next several weeks. There are many reasons for this, but I won’t get into them now.

What I would like to do, however, is compile the most useful posts into categories and bind them under an e-cover for download in case really, really interested folks still want to read them, or share them with others.

This is the compromise I’ve come to between just shutting down OR leaving the blog archives sitting here forever.

What I would love from you is some nominations for posts you’d like to see preserved in e-book form. I will try to edit and/or update any posts that go into that format, so if your favorite one is old and needs some revision that’s okay too.

I have in mind a total of say, 100 posts.

Help? (Please leave your suggestions in the comments so people can see each others’ okay?)

 

P.S. I’m also taking some of the posts from this blog (mostly since 2009) and backfilling Muse of Fire with them. So much of the more recent material will still be on a blog.

Use It or Lose It

I recently revisited my closet organization as I do about four times a year and decided that I am no longer allowed to cart around all this fabric I’ve been carting around for the last 15 years. I can either make something with it, or freecycle it. So I’m going to go on a binge of making stuff, whether I know how or not.

I can’t sew. That is to say, compared to people who can sew, I can’t sew. I have a no-frills sewing machine and can make anything that is essentially a rectangle requiring nothing but straight seams and little to no gathers. I do not make buttons holes, insert zippers, line things or understand patterns.

But there is this dress I used to have that cost me about $200 from Banana Republic and I wore it until it was a rag and sadly told it goodbye a couple of years ago. I have always wanted it back. As I remembered, it was constructed on a very simple principle almost as easy as a rectangle. So last night I just laid out some muslin–of which I have been hoarding yards and yards since I overbought when I commissioned someone else to make some (muslin-) lined silk drapes for my old bedroom.

I laid it out and got my scissors and just started cutting. Then I got out the sewing machine and sewed those nearly straight seams. Then I put it on, pulled and pinned it into the shape I wanted and resewed the seams again. Then I put it in a vat of Easter egg dye (because that’s what I had) and left it over night.

This morning it was this:

 The neck, arms and hemline are all rough cut and I think rather than giving them a shirttail hem like the dress had, I will trim them with something that I’ve been hoarding. Not sure yet what that will be.

And if this dress turns out well, I’m going to use it as a pattern for the same thing made out of that drapery silk (a dark ivory raw silk) with some interesting elements added from the embroidered silk (in autumn reds, browns, golds) my mother used to make the christening gown the girls were both baptized in. No idea where I’ll wear such a dress, but I’d rather drag it around than a crate full of fabric.

I’ll keep you posted on these projects as they go. I have a lot of trouble with the idea of wasting my material by screwing up a project, so I’m trying to remember that this fabric wasn’t going anywhere but in the closet anyway.

Right?

InSoWriMo: the Second

Slight improvement over last week, I think.  This is based on a true story of how I had to go across the country (um, the country of England, that is) on an emergency basis on the day before my twenty-first birthday.  And there was a crazy blizzard the like of which Southern England had not seen in fifty years.  And BritRail was stumped.  And then I got really lost when I did manage to arrive at my destination.  Not sure why I thought of it.  But I figured it was as good sonnet fodder as anything else. Well, not really.  But anything that came to my mind this week.

The Wrong Kind of Snow, 1991

 

When I turned twenty-one it snowed all night

And in the morning all the trains were stalled

I set out for the station before light

I told them “Epsom” and they were appalled

 

“You cannot get there in this kind of snow,”

The ticket agent argued with a frown

But I stood my ground at her small window

And in the end I got to Epsom town.

 

Circling around my goal in snowdrift dark

I searched for my hotel room in the cold

No sleeping town had ever been so stark

As midnight struck, I suddenly grew old

 

I wonder where the dancer is today

Who turned nineteen on that year’s shared birthday?

InSoWriMo: the First

Here's REALLY hoping they get better as the month goes on, but the week is slipping by and I was desperate, so here you go.

Ode to the Morning Routine Around Here

Shall I compare thee—“two girls want to eat!”

Cereal flakes, buttered waffles or toast?

Milk first, the kettle filled, Sesame Street

Cued on the laptop—the one you like most.

Batter my heart three—“scrambled eggs and cheese!”

Where is the frying pan? Still in the sink—

Crusted with last night’s leftovers and grease

By the bananas beginning to stink.

I caught this morning—“the milk on the floor

Needs to be wiped! But I didn’t mean it!

Just an accident—I’ll do it no more.

Especially if you make me
clean it.”

Writing a sonnet in the morning is

Not easy when you’re waiting on two kids.

Now, where's yours?

I Love Rob Brezsny

My horoscope for the week:

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): On behalf of all us non-Aquarians, I'd like to
express our appreciation for the experiments you've been performing.
Please don't be discouraged just because the results thus far have been
inconclusive and left you feeling a trifle rudderless. We feel confident that 
sooner or later you'll come up with discoveries that will have bottom-line
value to both you and the rest of us. We'd also like to apologize for the
shortsighted and timid types among us who are acc
using you of being
unrealistic or overly optimistic. Please keep trying those novel approaches
and making those imaginative forays.

Most excellent for the week in which I received my second agent rejection.

But let's be honest.  The book wasn't ready.  60K words in eight weeks is impressive and all, but come on, obviously it's not a final draft.  I have officially cooled my query jets and gotten back to the book itself in a serious way, following up some super helpful feedback from some super smart and encouraging (but usefully critical) readers.  Now I'm 6K words heavier (so far) and the thing is getting richer by the hour.

After I sat back and gave it a good proofing, I realized that what I instantly had was a decent romance novel.  Which is great, seeing as writing a romance novel was my original plan.  Except that as I wrote it it grew into something more complex than a romance novel–at least I decided I wanted it to grow into something more complex.  In which case, it needs meat on its bones.  My readers have really spurred my thinking about what kind meat and where to put it.  So I'm doing mostly that now, though I did do an easy email agent query this morning on a lark.

The rejection doesn't bother me.  I've just decided that querying agents I don't have an actual personal introduction to is like throwing darts blindfolded.  Either I will hit the right one or I won't, but the more I throw, the better the odds.

So, you wanna know what's more complex about the book now?  As I was writing it, about a gazillion more little stories started spinning off of it in my head.  I have a strong outline of the immediate sequel, plus a strong idea of a related, concurrent story set tangentially to the main action and characters of this first one.  I have a third idea which will be another immediate sequel focused on the twin sister of the main character of the sequel I've already outlined.

What I have on my hands is a full-blown family saga in the making.  The twist (and the difficult marketing angle) is that's its a queer family saga.  That is, not every character is gay, but several characters are literally queer in a sexuality or gender way, and the family itself is based on a female-female couple of progenitors (okay with a reproductive leg up via a brief heterosexual marriage).  Meanwhile I've also got a not-as-rare-as-people-think-but-certainly-underrepresented-in-pop-culture Black/white interracial marriage (circa 1899) and its offspring.  Then there are the celibate nuns and their special friendships across time and eternity and well…it's a queer family saga.

I have no doubt you and everybody you know will not be able to put it down.  But I have to find an agent who is convinced she can convince Random House (or you know, Simon and Schuster or whoever will give me the most gigantic contract) of this.

Hand me a few more darts…

Is it Just Me, Or Is the Apocalypse Coming?

22 August and the thermometer on my patio reads barely over 60 degrees (F).

It's been like this for most of the summer.  What the heck?

People Are So Weird

Need to vent a little here in personal space.  So I wrote this thing (you might have seen it) at Strollerderby about questioning the appropriateness of pirates as a theme of children's play.  Mainly, it was supposed to be kind of funny, like "huh, yeah, never thought about it, but how DO you explain a plank to a 3-year old?"  (I told my kids their Little People Pirate Ship plank was a diving board.)

Anyhow, now a few commenters are convinced my children are micro-managed and having their creativity and learning opportunities cramped debilitatingly.

It really never ceases to amaze me how much assumption people can load onto the smallest pieces of information.  In another recent post, a woman said she was terribly worried about the children of anyone claiming to love their spouse more than said children and accused such people of having a sick "codependent" relationship.  You know, just in general.  Without knowing anything more than a silly comment on a blog about "love" which can interpreted in about a thousand different ways by a thousand different people.

For the record, my kids own about 300 books, buckets of blocks, a basket full of dress-up clothes (some girlie, some decidedly NOT girlie), baskets of dolls and stuffed animals, tea sets and play food, cars, trucks (and yes, even a pirate ship), a dollhouse and tons of furniture and dollhouse people, a miniature piano that has two and a half octaves of real keys, several drums and bells and other rhythm instruments, a real ukulele, blankets they use to build forts, a closet full of art supplies, more balls than I can count, scooters, tricycles, and yes, even videos (gasp!).  Plus more free-play time than any kids their age I know.

I hardly think I'm cramping their style by thinking twice about certain toys or books or videos. I mean, ALL parents choose what they let their kids play with to at least some extent, right?  (If they don't what's up with that?) My kids are still too little for peer influences, so I'm not exactly fighting them over their true passions.  They don't even know pirates exist (in spite of the Little People).  They don't miss them any more than they miss Hannah Montana, whom I sincerely hope they never discover (yeah, yeah, wishful thinking, I know).

Sheesh.

Something Completely Different

This is so cool!  A human-sized Hobbit hole.

Need a Book Recommendation

I am looking for a nonfiction book that will tell me all about Parisian lesbian subculture in the late 19th century–preferably related to women's higher education in some way.

I am embarrassed to tell you why, but here goes.  I have been working on the plot of a silly romance novel and a piece of it turns on the existence of such a subculture.  It doesn't take place there throughout most of the story, but there's a scene or two requiring it.  In fact, the whole drama really depends on the fact of such a subculture's existence.

It can be anywhere from, oh, 1875-1900.  That's in my period, but my expertise is in the U.S., not France!  Help?  Thank you in advance!

If I can get a bit of "research" done by November, I'm thinking of doing NaNoWriMo.

This Just In: Free Mediocre Television!

Robin, from The Other Mother comments to tell us:

“Hi Shannon, Dana and I will be giving away 20 DVD sets of The L Word Season 5 starting tomorrow. We have staggered our schedules as follows: Friday 5 copies given away at Mombian Monday 5 copies given away at The Other Mother Tuesday 5 copies given away at Mombian Wednesday 5 copies given away at The Other Mother If you could let people know, that would be cool. Thanks!”

Now you know!

I am laid low with illness and will soon be over my head in babies as my BFF arrives tonight with her 15-month old. So I am not going to be blogging here or Strollerderby much in the next few days. But I promise to get back to that list soon and give you babysitting preference explanations and hair styling funformation!