Tampering with perfection & #ROW80 Report

Tired
Tired

I am so tired I ever could.

Because last night I waltzed up to the watermelon buffet and chose

  1. Complete the edit the AMW story for its (I hope) final major critique

If I’d been taking naps, #1 would be only a memory. But there’s more to do.

Weeks ago, I edited out a couple of sentences but later realized I’d removed a bit of necessary information and created a contradiction. The error would be so difficult to resolve, and the lapse in logic was so subtle and so trivial, and the remaining text flowed so smoothly that I thought about saying, with Walt Whitman,

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself;”

and leave it alone and hope no one would notice.

But someone always notices. Sometime, somewhere, some reader would say, But the character says this is going to happen, and this doesn’t happen, or maybe it does, but whatever happened, she never says another word about it, so it sounds like maybe both things happened, and she should have told us… 

So I tried a number of fixes, none of which pleased me, settled on one, and moved on. In a few days, I’ll go back and try again.

Just wo-ahn out
Just wo-ahn out

In moving on, I went from editing/revising to tampering. The official word is polishing, but I tampered: with words–thank goodness for thesaurus.com running in the background; with phrases; with sentence structure… Tampered with things better left untouched.

Tampering–especially when you think you’re polishing–is doomed to fail. It usually takes place near the end of a project, when you think everything is perfect, but not quite. So you make one little change, and then another, and another, and soon, part of your brain–the part where judgment lives–shuts off and you go on automatic pilot. You keep on clicking that mouse, cutting, pasting, copying, deleting, inserting…

Do this long enough and you can drain the life out of a story.

I’m most likely to tamper when I’m tired. I was tired last night. I should have watched Acorn TV or read or, better yet, given in and gone to bed at a reasonable hour. But I didn’t. Hyperfocused on the manuscript, I lost track of time and stayed up long after midnight. Then, in a perverse turn of events, I woke today up at 7:00 a.m.

So, as I said at the top of the page, I am tired.

A deadline approaches. I need to finish that story.  First, though, I’ll let it rest. Several days. A week. Until I’m sufficiently rested. Until I don’t hate it with every fiber of my being. Until I’m detached enough to distinguish the good from the bad from the ugly.

#ROW80 Update

The July 20 Buffet

The original Buffet was meant to cover 80 days beginning with July 4, not just a few days or a week. Some haven’t been completed. Number 5 is on-going. So nothing changes.

  1. Complete the edit the AMW story for its (I hope) final major critique
    Tried but didn’t finish, might have created a monster instead. See above, if you haven’t already.
  2. Draft the second half of the story “Texas Boss” and submit to AMW for critique–Nope.
  3. Finish a very rough draft of “Thank You, Mr. Poe”–Nope.
  4. By September 5th, read at least ten of the books on my 20 Books of Summer 2016 list. (The list appears at Writing Wranglers and Warriors.)
    Still reading Isabel Allende’s The Japanese Lover, 68 pages to
    By Mutari (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commonsgo. I used the calculator to figure that out. I didn’t have to. I can still subtract in my head. But I don’t want to think that hard. Sad.
  5. Post #ROW80 reports on Sundays and Wednesdays.
    It’s Wednesday and I’m posting.
  6. Visit three new #ROW80 blogs a day.–Nope. I don’t know why, but nope.
  7. Take three naps a week.–Nope. And I’m so sorry I didn’t.

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The July 27 Buffet

They don’t change much. The point of the buffet, per shanjeniah, is to have choices and plenty of them. So I’ll add more watermelon.

  1. Complete the edit the AMW story for its (I hope) final major critique
  2. Draft the second half of the story “Texas Boss” and submit to AMW for critique
  3. Finish a very rough draft of “Thank You, Mr. Poe”
  4. By September 5th, read at least ten of the books on my 20 Books of Summer 2016 list. (The list appears at Writing Wranglers and Warriors.)
  5. Post #ROW80 reports on Sundays and Wednesdays.
  6. Visit three new #ROW80 blogs a day
  7. Take three naps a week
  8. Go to bed at by 11:00 p.m.
  9. Cook at least one decent meal for David
  10. Spend an afternoon at the Blanton Museum of Art
  11. Play the piano
  12. Dust the piano
  13. Get rid of ten things a day
  14. Collect and organize books
  15. Shred

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A Round of Words in 80 Days (#ROW80) is The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life.

To read what other #ROW80 writers are doing, click here.

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Fort Worth Indie Film Festival & # ROW80 Report

Fort Worth Indie Film Festival, 2016
Fort Worth Indie Film Festival, 2016 – Family Shorts Block – “The Places You’ll Go”

It appears to be Wednesday–the scheduler from my doctor’s office had to tell me it wasn’t Thursday, but since her call woke me up, I take no responsibility for mixing up the days–and thus time for the #ROW80 report.

If I were playing by the rules, I would have reported last Sunday, but we’d been out of town all weekend and there was little to say. And since #ROW80 knows I have a life, I play by my rules.

I probably shouldn’t post today. I’m not in the best state of mind. I feel the way many of us do when we did the right thing, and because we did, life went all to you-know-where. But that’s another story. For anyone wanting more information, check the end of the post.

Fort Worth Indie Film Festival, 2016 - Family Shorts Block - "The Interview"
Fort Worth Indie Film Festival, 2016 – Family Shorts Block – “The Interview”

On a brighter note, which I’m sure will be welcome, David’s “Alike and Different” was screened at the Fort Worth Indie Film Festival on Saturday. There was a good turnout, and the audience laughed in all the right places. The one drawback was that two of the other films starred very cute children and thus received an inordinate amount of attention. I’ve advised David to include William and Ernest the Cats in all future videos. Children, no matter how cute, are not as cute as our cats.

 

*****

The #ROW80 report:

The Buffet set on July 13 with updates:

(The Buffet is explained in “Writing, Reading, and the Watermelon Buffet,” on Writing Wranglers and Warriors.)

  1. Edit the AMW story for its (I hope) last major critique
    On the way home from Fort Worth, I scribbled on the manuscript. No major changes, the kind that will make a difference, just little changes in wording that will make no difference at all, but that will keep me doing the Should I? Shouldn’t I? dance. Just north of Waco, I put the ms. away to look at when I don’t care.
  2. Draft the second half of the story “Texas Boss” and submit to AMW for critique
    Nope.
  3. Finish a very rough draft of “Thank You, Mr. Poe,” the story I started last week
    Nope again.
  4. By September 5th, read at least ten of the books on my 20 Books of Summer 2016 list.
    I’ve read about half of Isabel Allende’s The Japanese Lover. I’m glad I made the effort to see Allende when she was at BookPeople several months ago. I’m glad I bought the book. At the time, I felt guilty for buying a hardback I don’t have room for when I could have spent less for a Kindle “copy.” But after I read the first few pages, guilt atomized. It’s a delightful book, one that, for maximum enjoyment, must be read from paper. I  still don’t know where I will put the book after reading it.
  5. Post #ROW80 reports on Sundays and Wednesdays.
    I skipped Sunday. See paragraph #2, above.
  6. Visit three new #ROW80 blogs a day.
    Started this but fell along the wayside. 
  7. Take three naps a week.*
    Not too bad. Napped Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (on the way to Fort Worth; I think that counts), Saturday (practically passed out, so maybe I can’t claim credit), and Sunday (on the way home). Sad but true, I can’t remember what I did Monday or yesterday. But that’s five naps, two more than I set for myself, and four more than I expected to take.

*Start as soon as this has been posted.
I did, with a nap.

*****

The July 20 Buffet:

The original Buffet was meant to cover 80 days beginning with July 4, not just a few days or a week. Some haven’t been completed. Number 5 is on-going. So nothing changes.

  1. Complete the edit the AMW story for its (I hope) final major critique
  2. Draft the second half of the story “Texas Boss” and submit to AMW for critique
  3. Finish a very rough draft of “Thank You, Mr. Poe”
  4. By September 5th, read at least ten of the books on my 20 Books of Summer 2016 list. (The list appears at Writing Wranglers and Warriors.)
  5. Post #ROW80 reports on Sundays and Wednesdays.
  6. Visit three new #ROW80 blogs a day.
  7. Take three naps a week.

*****

A Round of Words in 80 Days (#ROW80) is The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life.

To read what other #ROW80 writers are doing, click here.

*****

"Alike and Different"
“Alike and Different”

 *****

For the curious: The reason for my nasty state of mind: I flossed out a crown. And had to get it put back in. As I said, you do the right thing, and still…

What Have I Done?: The #ROW80 Wednesday Report

“watermelon” by Harsha K R is licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0
“watermelon” by Harsha K R is licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0

My #ROW80 goals posted on July 10, plus progress:

  • Edit the AMW story for its last (I hope) critique;
    Not yet, but tomorrow I’ll get a critique from another partner. It’s better to have everything in before making changes.
  • Write and schedule the WWW post at least two days before the July 19 deadline;
    It’s finished, and SIX days before the deadline. I’m going to the doctor to see what’s wrong–I never finish a piece SIX days before the deadline. I’ll continue to change little things, but it’s polished enough to be posted today. So I’m putting this one in the Watermelon Met* column.
  • Draft the second half of the story “Texas Boss” and turn in to AMW for critique;
  • Finish a very rough draft of “Thank You, Mr. Poe,” the story I started last week;
  • Complete the piece for the AMW blog and schedule it to post before midnight tonight.
    I posted it. Not before midnight. At 3:00 a.m. But I met the AMW deadline, and that’s close enough. Watermelon Met.

Summary: I set out to meet two deadlines and met them. The three remaining tasks aren’t time-sensitive. They carry over. The first, polishing the story for the proposed AMW anthology, must be finished by August 1, so it’s priority.

I’m adding three new goals to the list. Then I’m going to take a nap.

  1. Edit the AMW story for its (I hope) final major critique
  2. Draft the second half of the story “Texas Boss” and submit to AMW for critique
  3. Finish a very rough draft of “Thank You, Mr. Poe,” the story I started last week
  4. By September 5th, read at least ten of the books on my 20 Books of Summer 2016 list. 
  5. Post #ROW80 reports on Sundays and Wednesdays. 
  6. Visit three new #ROW80 blogs a day.
  7. Take three naps a week.* 

*Start as soon as this has been posted.

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Read about A Round of Words in 80 Days (#ROW80)

Read posts by other #ROW80 bloggers–check the list on today’s #ROW80 Linky.

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Watermelon Met will be explained in my Tuesday, July 19 post for Writing Wranglers and Warriors.

ROW80: The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life

Today I’m posting on the Austin Mystery Writers blog about A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80): The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life. I hope you’ll want to read the entire post. To do so, click the link at the bottom of this excerpt.

(If you read the whole thing, you’ll find out what I mean when I say I have the fantods.)

Austin Mystery Writers

Posted by Kathy Waller

It is a truth universally acknowledged that to accomplish anything of worth, one must first set goals.

English: 85. Functions and Use Scenarios Mappi... English: 85. Functions and Use Scenarios Mapping to Requirements and Goals (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But goals drive me crazy, and that’s no secret either. Periodically, fellow Austin Mystery Writer Gale Albright pulls out her notebook and says, “All right. Let’s write down our goals.” Her goals, my goals, goals for us as a team. She’s serious about goals.

As soon as she says the magic word, I start a major case of the fantods. I can come up with goals, but when I see them on paper, claustrophobia sets in. I dig in my heels and think, “I will not do [whatever I’ve written that I will do]. And you can’t make me.” Sometimes I don’t just think it–I say it.

I’ve said it to Gale so often that now when she pulls out…

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Dedicated to the kindness of strangers

Alike and Different
Alike and Different

In June, David’s “Alike and Different,” a video “dedicated to the kindness of strangers,” won the Out of This World Award at the Lionshead Film Festival in Dallas.

The emcee who introduced the video said–and I wrote this down so I would get it right–“Not much I can say. Four minutes.” And then, to the audience, “We’ll see what you say.”

But he was half grinning/half giggling, which said a lot. And the audience laughed in all the right places.

When people you don’t know, and who don’t know you, laugh in all the right places–well, it makes you feel darned good.

Afterward, the emcee said David’s video shows what can be done using just a few household objects. I assume the household object to which he referred was my vegetable steamer. It does make a stunning spacecraft.

David @ Lionshead Film Festival, 2016
David @ Lionshead Film Festival, June 2016

When David told me the festival would be held at Valley View Center, an old mall on Preston Road, I said, “I know Preston Road.” And that is true. Sort of. I know approximately two blocks of Preston Road. Or, I knew two blocks of it. My knowledge peaked sometime between, oh, 1957 and 1965.

Consequently, as a navigator, I was hopeless. I read the big green exit signs and said things like, “There’s Walnut Hill Lane. I know that.” And, “There’s Belt Line. I know that.” I’m just a bit hazy on how all the streets I know fit together, like on a map.

  • [Typical on-the-road conversation:
  • David: The mall is in the Galleria area. Do you know where the Galleria is?
  • Me: Yes. It’s in Houston.]

Fortunately, David had performed due diligence and we reached our destination without having to depend on the kindness of strangers.

The Lionshead festival was smaller than others we’ve attended: all fifty-two films were screened in one small room. But I was impressed by the quality. “Call for a Good Time,” was one of my favorites. It was named Best Student Comedy Micro Short. The director, a student at Baylor University, said it was inspired by Baylor’s Moody Memorial Library, which serves as an unofficial social center. He said you have to get pretty deep into the library to study, which is what his characters do. Sort of.

My other favorite was a comedy titled “Hard Broads.” I can’t explain. You have to see it for yourself. It was named Best Female Directed Short. I didn’t see a Best Male Directed Short on the list.

Two days before the festival, the Dallas City Council voted to tear down Valley View Center to make way for the Dallas Midtown development. It seems it’s “a dead mall on life support.” Dead, maybe, but I liked what I saw of it–art galleries and studios and kiddie rides and a train. I’m a sucker for trains. And stuffed animals, and a store displaying the most well-endowed mannequin I’ve ever seen. I snapped a few of the highlights.

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For more out-of-this-world experiences, check out Alien Resort.

 

William’s straw

William and Ernest have been part of our family for seven years now–or, more accurately, they have been the family for seven years–and to celebrate I’m reblogging a piece originally posted on Whiskertips. It was written when they were little and cute and spent less time sleeping in sunbeams.

Please forgive the mangled text. Because of changes WordPress has made to its platform, captions that appeared under photographs in the original posting do not appear under photographs in the reblog. They appear in the main text and make a bit of a mess. This poses a problem, as is obvious in the post below, but I can’t correct it.

Whiskertips

William's straw William with straw When William came to live with us, he brought a straw toy.

He offered to let Ernest play with it.

William and Ernest with straw William and Ernest with straw

Ernest thought the straw toy was neat.

More William and Ernest with straw More William and Ernest with straw

After three months, the straw toy had become so mangled that “straw” was no longer accurate. See photograph, above.

A new straw was acquired and a new toy constructed. It doesn’t have the character of the original, but the owners are working on it.

William and Ernest without straw William and Ernest without straw

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