Cat-Proofing the World

I found some cat-proof usb cables on the internet, and I’m having a 3 pack delivered. I’m hoping the animal won’t go through them as fast as he does the usual ones, and that I can replace some of the ones he already has bitten through and maybe charge two things at the same time. I also have little plastic tubes that go around all the real cords.

I had to switch to a wireless computer mouse almost instantly. He especially likes the wires on headphones (going wireless there, too, I’m sure.) And he will attack my shoelaces, starting as soon as I take my shoes off.

Well, I’m still getting used to having a cat.

He belonged to my sister, and he was supposed to go back. And now, I own a cat.

The animal pretty much knows the exact moment that I have to wake up… and pounces right about twenty minutes before that.

**sigh**

So, that’s me, right now. Hot, sweaty, and recently mauled by a semi-domesticated cat. One USB cable hanging on by a thread.

I might give the cat a bath, later on, if I still have the energy after work. He needs it.

Really, I’m not turning into one of those animal lovers who has nothing better to do than write about the cat. I’m having trouble even saying “my cat”.

Fighting for My Right… to Sleep

Oh, there is far too much “awake” in my life, right now. It could be the change in the weather–it’s a little too hot for sleep, and a little too cool for air-conditioning, right now. In all honesty, a little air conditioning–if it were warm enough–might kill off some of the allergies that keep me from breathing. And I’m actually getting fairly enthusiastic about my revision, again. (I’m filling in the nice-to-have scenes.)

I’m beginning to suspect the cat might have a hand in it.

The cat spent last night on the Catio, after knocking some things off shelves and waking me up.

And, one of these days, there will have to be a B-A-T-H.

I have some anti-allergy gel that’s supposed to keep him from dandering and me from sneezing. I think it works pretty well, when I keep on top of it.

I’m not really one of those people who always needs more sleep, but more than three or four hours in a night might be nice. And it would be nice if they were arranged in a more convenient pattern, too.

I’m getting that Do I try to sleep for a few more minutes or do I give up and get up? timing.

The Answer is Tourism. Always Tourism.

I live in a historic town.

You can tell by the road signs and billboards, and by the fact that here and there, you have a building that is more than a hundred fifty years old.

It’s not a particularly exciting history.

And honestly, it’s not that much different than the history that the other 4,683 historical small towns in my state have on display. By the luck of the draw, we were first at something, once. There’s a plaque.

And if you go on a tour of downtown, you’ll find a lot of plaques. The downtown committee put them up a few years back, so that you can read all about what the empty buildings and tumble-down ruins used to be.

There’s not a whole lot left to bring outsiders here. A few old papers in the archive, and an eclipse that will come and go this August. We got eclipse glasses printed up with our name on them.

So did the towns next door.

And down the street.

The “historic” market share is minuscule.

Sure, it worked for Williamsburg, and that picturesque little town on the river–the one with all the B&Bs and the arts festivals, every summer. The one that grows to five times its size, every year. But they got their start decades ago. Before the market was divvyed up.

Before any of the bigger towns even realized they would need to be historic.

Back when we still had businesses in those empty buildings.

Back when we were modern, and proud of it.

Choosing Trust

A while back, I wound up trapped in a conversation with one of those I’m Telling You This For Your Own Good people. The topic was critique groups, and the woman was basically a stranger.

I know you’re bracing for a horror story.

So, here it is.

Someone she knew stole her title.

I won’t tell you what the title is, but I will say that it churns up nearly a thousand results on Amazon, and it has that vaguely familiar feel to it. It’s one of those deep and meaningful titles you find on literary fiction and questionable poetry. It ain’t Snakes on a Plane.

I’m sure you’ve heard something like this, before. The general idea is that when you take your writing to a critique group, it’s in horrible danger of being stolen, and people lie, and flatter you, and really, how do you know they aren’t just saying what you want to hear to make you happy. Or, you know… ripping into you for shits and giggles.

On the other end of the spectrum is the guy who says you shouldn’t be afraid to give away all of your work. (Eventually.)

I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t think the people who criticize my writing are doing it for their own amusement, and I believe that if someone says my work is good, they actually mean it. (Whether or not they’re objective is another thing.)

I post work on my blog from time to time, and even chunks of longer works. I blog my thoughts, and I’m choosing trust every time I push the publish button. I’m not sorry.

But I’m not good at trust, either. I password protect things. I keep my website–and sometimes my writing–a secret from my real-world acquaintances. I think about things like my rough draft being sold in Lebanon without so much as being told. I’m not the jump and trust the Universe to catch you type.

There’s that voice in the back of my mind that says things that are a lot like… I’m telling you this for your own good. And… This probably sucks, you know.

And there’s the real world stuff-the at what point is it published, and how much can I share before it turns the publishing industry off? A lot of that is fuzzy math, but I think I’ve stayed in the clear.

The other thing that occurs to me is that not every writers’ group has to be a deep and deadly serious critique group. I’ve gotten a lot out of groups that were mostly just social, and I’ve found critique partners there.

How far do you trust people with your work? Any hard limits? Any suggestions to avoid those critique group horror stories?

Happy Where the Hell are My Pants Day, everyone!

So, today’s the day I haul my carcass out of bed and go back to work to find out what kind of mess is waiting for me. For those of you who are playing along at home, a co-worker quit while I was gone, so they’ve been down a couple of people.

Back into the routine. I’m awake, and writing a blog post that should have been done, yesterday, and writing down details of my morning–when I got up, what I ate (caffeine), an assortment of vitamin pills I’d probably forget if I didn’t write them down, and of course, writing progress.

I am still typing all those bits and scraps of paper that were waiting for me before my little vacation-ish thingy. Must remember to do that as I go. (Pause for laughter.)

Nothing quite like getting away for a while to remind you how much you don’t want to go back.

Someday, I will live in a town where there are more options.

Honest.

Trigger Warnings for the Modern Reader

The first time I ran into the idea of trigger warnings, I was working on revising my first (and eternally unpublished) novel, and writing a second (or third, or fourth, or fifteenth). I was on the NaNoWriMo forums, talking to people I didn’t know particularly well, whose names I no longer remember, and who were probably not writing in the same genres as I did.

And somewhere in the conversation, someone “suggested”–with more than a hint of self-righteousness–that I should put a warning sticker on my book.

I took it as a joke. Something like those parental advisory stickers that used to come on music, back before music came off the internet. And why wouldn’t I? I mean, the title of my book was something like “Slicey-Dicey Serial Killers of Death,” the cover–if it had gotten that far–would likely have shown a dead woman (or some portion thereof), and it would certainly have been shelved under murder and mayhem in the bookstore or library.

What more warning could you possibly need?

That was before e-readers. Back then, the question was pretty simple. Trigger warnings, yes or no? And since publishers mostly only publish one version of a book at a time, a little debate, and then everybody gets stuck with the same answer.

Now, to be quite honest, I don’t just not want to be trigger warned, I very much want to not be trigger warned.

But…

We’re not talking about some over-arching trigger-police running amok in the libraries, stamping things with stickers, anymore.

When I read a book, more often than not, I read it in my preferred font, at my preferred size, and that impacts… exactly no one other than myself. When I buy a book, I frequently do it in an internet store that remembers my previous purchases, and makes individual suggestions. When I search for a book–on Google or in the store, itself–the ads I see aren’t the same ones you see. And there are parental controls on my devices, even though my only child uses a litter box.

Everyone sees their own internet.

Trigger warnings don’t have to be a sticker on the front cover, anymore. They don’t have to be front and center, spoiling the book for everyone. It is not a zero sum game.

They could be–like my preferred font– a personal setting either on a sales website or on your e-reader, itself. People who need them see them, and I don’t. You could even use it as a marketing tool. (that little red exclamation point means they’re there, if you want them.)

And they could be incredibly detailed.  Wanna be warned about abuse, but not be told in advance that Beth dies? Fine. Set your reader settings that way.  Want your warnings up front, or chapter by chapter? There could be a setting for that.

It’s time to move on. We’re at a point where we could easily move from static, one-size fits all trigger warnings to customize-able trigger controls. And put the reader in control.

 

A-to-Z Challenge: Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic is a basketball team based out of Orlando Florida. Basketball is a game for very, extremely tall people, in which they attempt to launch an orange projectile through a net located somewhere in the lower stratosphere.

I was tall, myself, once… and then, the coach realized I was five years older than he thought, and wasn’t on the team in the first place. My parents chuckled for a week, after I asked for money to play this particular sport, and somewhere along the line, my fascination with it died.

Back to Wikipedia.

Apparently, the team has three whole uniforms. There are diagrams. (Okay, so I’m a fan of sports with more minimalist sartorial tastes. Who isn’t?) Sorry, girls. All three uniforms are basically variations on burlap bags.

Blah, blah, blah… started in 1989, and the team mascot is a dragon called Stuff.

You’d be surprised what a short jump it is from basketball to sexual fetishism on wikipedia.

Nope. I have no attention span for statistics, although there are clearly plenty of them..

If anybody has anything to add, go right ahead. I don’t think this particular M caught my attention the way some of the others have.

 

2017 A-to-Z Challenge: Ante Meridian

Morning, in other words. Technically, all the time before noon, but not in my neck of the woods. Around here, there’s morning, and there’s the day’s half over. You wake up in the morning, not in the day’s half over. How do you tell the difference? Well, look around. If the sun’s up when you open your eyes… Congratulations, slacker. You just slept through to day’s half over.

If the sun’s not up when you open your eyes, get on with it. Do you have time to get dressed, feed the animals, milk the cows, get the kids up and dressed, cook breakfast, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, take a shower, get dressed again (city-like, this time), throw the kids on the bus stop, and get some words in on your novel before you go to work?

Good. That would be morning.

Morning can, of course, be delayed through wise career choices, such as not being a farmer, and through the judicious use of birth control.

It will still exist before the sun is up.

However, by special dispensation… During hunting season City-People will be permitted to observe morning at eleven, or noon, or at whatever time there’s enough light for someone without a farm husbandry background to reliably distinguish between a prize-winning Polled Hereford, my cousin’s husband, and a deer.

Yes. This will be on the test.

And possibly the indictment.

This year, my inspired Alphabetical Challenge theme is “The Letter M”. I’m working my way through the alphabet, one M word, M, person, or M place at a time. No, I don’t have any idea what my Muse was thinking on this one.

Love, Patient Zero

I’m giving up on calling this thing allergies and moving on to where I just admit that it’s a cold. The good news is that means it has a lifespan of a couple of weeks. The bad news is that by then, the farmers in Kansas will be burning their fields, so I’ll probably just transition smoothly into allergies.

I have pills that are supposed to help, and probably do, since I woke up at the stroke of “allowed to have another one” and a nifty OTC inhaler which smells like furniture polish, and works, if you’re actually able to… ya know… inhale.

Tea might be the answer.

I will be faking my way through work, pretending I feel fine because there’s just not an absence policy that lets me stay home that long.

After the next pandemic, I’m sure the survivors will all be sitting around, saying If only they’d just been allowed to stay home back when we thought it was a cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring, Cleaning, and Strappy Sandals

My spring cleaning has kicked up a lot of dust, and my allergies are going haywire. My eyes are dry and itchy, and my neighbors are circulating a petition to have my nose removed entirely, as it’s now an unauthorized water feature.

I’m not doing anything completely insane. I’m not washing the soap or alphabetizing the rejection collection, but a little tidying here and there might not kill me.

The inescapable truth is… I have a lot of index cards. I use them for my writing, and for my programming, and probably for notes on half a dozen other things, when I happen to grab one. Recipes, too, although the last time I cooked was… uhm… well, I can cook. I think I made some fry bread a while back.

It’s the time of year when I realize that I own a pair of ice tongs shaped like dragon claws (Why?!!), and that sometime last summer, I hid a pair of strappy sandals from the cat, and they’re still in pristine condition. (Yay!)

I’m also going through a quick inventory of clothes in my closet. Spoiler alert: I’m going to need some new clothes. I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for, but something that makes it a little easier to pretend I’m an extrovert.

Other than that, back to typing up all those handwritten pages that have been building up in my purse, and maybe find some rubber bands for some of those index cards.