Quote of the day: Deadlines

Deadlines make us see deficiencies, not accomplishments. – Jean Balconi

I said this as encouragement to an acquaintance who beat herself up over an external deadline. She had an impressive list of all the things she’s done so far, but she couldn’t appreciate her own hard work. She reminded me of a game character running towards a goal while the timer is counting down in the corner and obstacles keep popping up in the path.

When I say something remotely profound, it usually applies to my situation. This case is no different.

My own deadline is looming: August 15. That’s the date for my rough draft to be complete. I’m not at the freak-out point yet, but I’m giving short shift to the reading and reflection parts of my DIY Writer’s Summer Camp. I returned Ender’s Game to the library unread because I’d rather write.

During the last two weeks, I wrote thousands of words in between day-trips, guests, and errands. Unfortunately, the content is slim: three versions of the same dialogue. I didn’t re-write, mind you. I wrote three different takes on the dialogue from scratch, each time implying a speaker’s intention or opinion.*

I’m quite pleased with the results, since each version has parts that will make a better whole. But I have thousands of words and a dozen chapters to go. And I must mention the obstacles on the horizon: my original antagonist has changed to a helper, the main antagonist hasn’t reared his stupid head yet, and the outlined ending stinks worse than the final entry of a series.**

Now I’m off to face the day – and the deadline.


*If you’re wondering where I got the idea, it’s not from any book I’m using. I was at a teacher’s meeting about reading and the facilitator asked us to look for different implied bias in the same text. So it’s a reverse-engineered writing exercise.

**I needn’t name one. You, dear reader, are already remembering a book series or a TV program that disappointed or enraged you.

The Book Project continues…

Have you ever noticed that when you decide on a course of action, serendipity comes into play? Something similar happened when I started the Book Project.

First, the library started taking donations for its March book sale. It’s hard to give up books, knowing may never see them again.  But our librarians are thrifty. If my donated book is particularly interesting or in better shape than a book in their collection, it will end up on the shelf.

I started bagging books that someone else might enjoy. I filled three bags!

Second, I got a free copy of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I can’t say it was on my reading list. In fact, so many people were discussing it, I felt as if I’d already read the Cliff Notes and listened to the audio commentary!* Continue reading

10th Day of Christmas 2015

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone

Poor Dumbledore. I’d like to take them off his hands. I didn’t get any books as gifts this year, although maybe that’s good. I’ve been working on organizing what I have.

As a bibliophile, I’ve long been captivated by libraries. Many years ago, a friend invited me to a fundraiser at Meadow Brook Hall, a Tudor-revival home.  That was my introduction to a private library (and a gorgeous one at that). Continue reading

My huuuuge library

“Your library millage at work,” announces the ink stamp at the bottom of the book. It’s hidden unless the book is lying on its side. The message repeats in the stack on the dining table.

I’m happy looking at it, seeing that the tax I voted on myself is buying interesting books. Even when I was a kid, I thought of the county library as an extension of the small collection at home.

My current local library is similar in floor space to my childhood one, but it seems smaller.  Computers take precedence, including a glass-walled room with rows of tables topped with monitors.  But those same computers enable the library’s lending system to tap a broader, deeper collection.

The five books stacked on the table – the result of bibliomanic period – illustrate my point. Two are from the library in a neighboring town, two from the city north of that. They range in age; a haiku anthology published in 1958 rests on last year’s Story Trumps Structure by Steven James.

I don’t have a lot of time for reading at the moment, spring having arrived – and left – and come back again. But it’s nice to read a little after dinner and again before bed.