The MeFite as writer ... it's your weekly free thread
February 5, 2024 2:15 AM   Subscribe

What are you writing - a CV? A resignation letter? Reports? A spell? Academic papers? Job applications? A thesis? Letters to lovers? A book? A ransom note? Some code? A shopping list? Some interactive fiction? Erotic fiction? A journal or diary entry? Poetry (by Jessica Smith)? MetaFilter posts? And with what - a favorite pen? A pencil? The keyboard? Software? A stencil? A tablet? A paintbrush? A quill? Something else? Or talk about anything and everything in your life and your world as this is your free thread.
posted by Wordshore (182 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm about to career pivot from a decade in higher ed marketing and communications into being the ED of a small non-profit, but I'm hoping to carve out enough time/energy to actually write a comprehensive "how-to" manual on higher ed marcomms, which doesn't seem to ever have been done -- there are a few books out there, but they seem to be more esoteric "hey higher ed executives, this is what 'branding' means" kinds of books.

I've written about it in fits and starts personally before on my blog, but I'd really like to go soup-to-nuts on this, and build something that's effectively a playbook, from UG recruitment (well-trod territory) to grad recruitment, development/advancement and stewardship, channel allocation, staffing models, agency briefs... the whole nine yards. Basically, the book I wish I'd had when I got started.
posted by Shepherd at 2:28 AM on February 5 [17 favorites]


So much...

A shopping list
Comments on students' work
Three different small articles/commentaries (that are almost finished)
A speech
A bigger article probably related to the speech I think
A pitch for a new job (awaiting some material I have ordered)
Another article that is now delayed by two years. Not good, I should get that out of the way ASAP
A no-waste cookbook for fun and maybe just for my kids
A book about experiencing architecture which could be vastly improved if I could go on a study trip
posted by mumimor at 3:22 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Working on the 2nd/1.5th draft of what will by my fourth completed novel. I'm currently querying on the third, so I'm also customizing queries and other submission materials. I'm pitching the third as "dark upmarket fantasy," and the fourth, if I don't land an agent with the third, will probably be pitched as "upmarket occult horror."

Also MetaFilter posts.

I mostly write on a computer, but I did recently have a hankering to do some work by hand, so I bought a few new nice journals with thick paper. I'm thinking about possibilities for a short story or two between drafts of the current book.
posted by cupcakeninja at 3:31 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Going way off the suggested topic with this one but I have found myself deeply exhausted by something recently and just needed to share it somewhere.

There is a particular culture war issue that that comes up a lot online. In the past two or three weeks, I have suddenly felt totally saturated by it. (I don't want to name it lest it raise feelings with others, or prompt another online discussion conversation about it).

The issue doesn't affect me. It does affect some of my friends but we don't discuss it a whole bunch. And yet even as an observer, I am fully saturated with exhaustion over the issue, and am beginning to feel resentment towards all the people raising it everywhere. Not just for their views, which I often find to be inhumane, but also because it seems to have taken over every single page on the internet, and I cannot seem to escape it.

Wherever I look, it comes up. It started with a forum post on a 12 step recovery group where everyone was piling in on this topic. I am in recovery, and I was so shocked and saddened by the views people were taking in this group, which to me seemed so outside the culture and community I have directly known. It was quite disillusioning.

After that, I saw it everywhere. I deleted tiktok, reddit and Instagram from my phone because every other comment suddenly seemed to be about it. I subscribe to the Financial Times app for boring news about the UK economy and public policy. Without social media, I started looking at that more... But nope, it's coming up in the comments there, too. I rarely look at Facebook but in the two minutes it took me to recently change my password, I saw a Facebook group post on it. This group posts stupid memes about ultra running. Typically it is the nichest of niche jokes about needing to poop in the middle of 100 mile races. But what's this? Someone has posted a gross joke about a completely unrelated sport, which tangentially touches on this issue. Tens of thousands of likes, thousands of comments, all directed towards views that I find sad and distressing.

I am suddenly noticing the same type of comments everywhere. Long screeds, devoid of paragraph breaks, stream of consciousness diatribes about a relatively small number of people that the commenters really, really don't like. I am so depressed that such a sad matter makes so many people so angry that they need to invade every online space with their misery about it, even ones that seem to be unrelated.

I can anticipate what some of the responses might be. Some might be thinking it is an election year in the US, UK and many other countries, and this is a tried and tested way of motivating the electorate. If that is the case, then I am amazed that political speechifying and a few targetted ads could lead to what feels like a very organic upswell in online vitriol.

Others might tell me that the internet has always been like this, and I should take a break and touch some grass to rebalance. I am not so sure about this one. I have been under more stress recently, so maybe I am reaching my threshold of online bile more quickly. But I still feel like the magic of the internet is gone. Many other people have talked about experiencing such moment (I am sure the first people to experience brutal harassment on twitter experienced this ten years ago). But it's the first time it has happened to me. I genuinelly feel I have lost something I used to really like. I have seen multiple platforms come and go, start out great and then get shittified to make a return for investors, but it was fine - there was always somewhere else to go. I recently started using tiktok and for all the problems with that particular company and app, it was so much fun to see the doctors, scientists, mathematicians, linguists, historians, Bible scholars, etc.. all popping up with new knowledge about just the right topics to engage me. I felt a renewed sense of excitement at what the internet could do. And it has just as quickly gone crashing the other way.

You might be able to guess what this culture war issue is, and it might be one that affects you directly, too. All I can say is, if you are directly affected by this, I can only begin to imagine the exhaustion you must be feeling.

If you have made it this far, thanks for your patience, it has been good to write this out.
posted by Probabilitics at 3:47 AM on February 5 [23 favorites]


I have an occasional journal (trying to resume a 40-year habit) that I write in using a Lamy fountain pen. My father gave me a fountain pen for Christmas one year under the impression that I had already been using them; I hadn't. But I fell hard for it, so maybe he knew something I didn't.

I also try to keep my "to do" list on paper. I instead call it a "to SMITE" list - a stage manager I've known off-and-on called her own to-do list that and I've adopted it. Right now that list includes a number of ways I can get my home office into shape as I re-adjust to a new job and actually use the work-from-home option.

The biggest thing I'm writing these days, though, are blog entries. My blog is usually older films, but I also try to watch the Best Picture nominees every year and review them as well (so far I've done Barbenheimer, Poor Things and Zone of Interest and I am working on Maestro).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:49 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


The biggest thing I'm writing these days, though, are blog entries.

That's a good point. Wondering how many MeFites nowadays are still blogging, or have resumed blogging after a break, or are thinking of resuming blogging or doing so for the first time? Also, what is your blog?
posted by Wordshore at 3:55 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I'm writing a book (#3) and an annotated bibliography (one of these). As my class this semester is online asynchronous, that means I'm also writing discussion questions and responses to student responses to the discussion questions. Oh, and I need to write a paper topic...
posted by thomas j wise at 4:01 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


My most recent picture book was about my mom's escape from the Nazis. I'm very proud of it and I think it's an important story to tell... but right now, it's the only one of my published books with a Jewish main character, and I also want to portray aspects of Jewish life other than the Holocaust. So I'm working on a picture book manuscript about a kid's experience of Yom Kippur. The latest draft got positive feedback from my critique group, so I'm hoping it will be ready to send out soon.
posted by yankeefog at 4:17 AM on February 5 [17 favorites]


I journal every day, Day One really has been a godsend for me, especially during the pandemic. I used to blog and really enjoyed it. Then I had a kid and my life was very kid-focused and I did not want to write about the kid on the blog, so I stopped. I toy with resurrecting it once in a while, but my life still leans a bit too far on the kid-focused side.

One of my colleagues used a really archaic word in an email this morning and I had to resist the temptation to ask what year it was.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:23 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I had a book introduction published recently, to a 1940s girls' school novel. Annoyingly, I haven't actually seen the published book, as my father accidentally nicked it when he was over here. He has sent me some very long texts about reading it (the novel rather than the introduction) as it has evidently made him ruminate on his own school experiences. Apparently there were fewer pupils caught in tidal caves on secret islands and more bullying.

I'm trying to write a local history thing but struggling to get out from under various overwhelmments (health, caring responsibilities, clearing out my father's books and boat, state of my house etc). I'm likely to have less work over the next couple of months (freelancer, some work is seasonal), so ideally I would use that time productively. But ...
posted by paduasoy at 4:29 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I'm currently querying on the third, so I'm also customizing queries and other submission materials. I'm pitching the third as "dark upmarket fantasy," and the fourth, if I don't land an agent with the third, will probably be pitched as "upmarket occult horror."

Cupcakeninja, are you family with Pubtips on Reddit? It's one of the better-informed online writing communities I've found. People can post their queries and get feedback on making them stronger. I am lucky enough to be past the querying stage so I haven't done that myself, but I've seen it be helpful for others.

You, and anybody else still in the querying trenches, have my sympathy. For me, it was a long and demoralizing slog, and I was very seriously considering giving up on writing just a few months before I got my agent.
posted by yankeefog at 4:32 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I'm working on book four today. Book three, due to come out next year, is getting towards the end of the final edits before copyedits. Both are retellings of weird obscure historical fairytales with queer subtext. Or sometimes even text. (If you want to know which fairytale princesses have the absolute best reactions to learning their new husband is actually a woman in disguise, I'm here for you. The one in "The Unicorn" essentially says, "You know what? Not a problem for me, actually", and the one in "Florinda" is pretty much like "WOO-HOO! BEST DAY EVER!")

With the exception of outlining and occasional editing notes to myself, I do pretty much all my writing and editing on the computer these days. There was a time when I did a lot more of the preliminary and editing work by hand -- I'd often print out chapters to make notes and corrections on them. But when all my writing groups went online instead of in person during the pandemic, most of my need to print out material in progress went away, and I ended up switching entirely to doing everything on-screen.
posted by kyrademon at 4:36 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Hard act to follow.

I am normally writing ad-hoc apology emails. Also SQL and python, but I did an actual uni thing today, so now I will be writing made-up stuff about businesses that weirds me out because it’s all squishy
posted by pompomtom at 4:42 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I'm starting to transpose these things into "weekly three Freds" but I haven't seen any Freds at all this week, or last week either, to talk about. sry
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:45 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I write scenarios for pen-and-paper roleplaying games, and inflict them on maybe five of my friends, and occasionally the kids. And I write rules and background for a reboot of a particular game, one that we loved in the 90s, but only for myself.

Then I write presentations and guidelines at work, which I actually kind of enjoy.
posted by Harald74 at 4:47 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I have never met a Fred.

Anyone?
posted by pompomtom at 4:49 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I am anxiously waiting to hear back from my boss about being allowed to work from home permanently, and only come to the office on an as-needed basis.

My office is moving to another location that would turn my 20 minute commute into a 40 minute commute (or more).

My boss said he is ok with it, but it requires the approval of our company president, who is not overly favorable toward WFH.

Ugh.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:59 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


My grandma had a ghost called Fred. He came free with the house.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 5:03 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Hope you get to work from home permanently, Fleebnork! What a nightmare to have your commute double or more.

Fun to hear about all the writing projects so many MeFites have going. Last night I wrote an apology postcard to my kid. Today I need to knock out a couple of 500-word articles for my client before I crank out three features for the same guy. It's marketing bullshit but not the kind that kills anyone as best I can tell. It pays the rent, so I'm happy enough.

I was an early journalist blogger but stopped before it mostly disappeared. I am hoping to get back to it on a different topic. Blogging felt good to me and I miss it. Thanks for the topic, Wordshore.

Unrelatedly, I just found out my kid is expecting another child. Not big news in the greater scheme of things but somewhat major for me.
posted by Bella Donna at 5:08 AM on February 5 [13 favorites]


I’m coding today for fun. Loud music & coffee ftw.
posted by whatevernot at 5:10 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I recently revived a hobby project, Storyweek, which is mostly old public domain fiction I’ve repackaged and a few little bits of new fiction. It’s fun to dig up those old stories and read them and cobble together some notes on their authors, some of whom are quite obscure. Uhh, like this project.
posted by notyou at 5:12 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Some code today, more Blueprint than C++. If you’ve ever wondered what the “middle layer” of your favorite big-budget game looks like, Unreal is pretty heavily favored in AAA and Blueprint is what designers use to make both your favorite sequences and ancillary lightweight systems; heavy lifting’s still pure C++ by engineers.

Not sure that really qualifies as writing? C++ requires six hours of sleep, total concentration and a couple hours of bang head on desk debugging for me - I’m a technical/systems designer, not an engineer. Blueprint is half-code / half-logic flow visualization exercise that I can do after two days without sleep - it compiles down to C++, but it feels like a completely different animal. I’ve had 3,000 BP node implementations of entire game systems just *pop* into my head Nikola Tesla-style and “it just works” on the first try. That’s the exception, but in general it’s faster and once you learn to group functional blocks spatially, there’s a whole lot of selection box -> Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V that shifting functional context, namespace and scope make impossible to mimic in C++.

I wish the system I was writing today was a little more interesting (real nuts and bolts infrastructure stuff that you do a lot of in AAA but never have time for in indie), but this job is always one I can’t believe I get paid to do.
posted by Ryvar at 5:17 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


The novel-in-progress is queer mushroomcore fantasy and/or horror (I do not yet know how dark I want to get with it - I am a fairly squeamish person but it also seems like for this to be the kind of book I want it to be, I'll really have to dig into the gross stuff), slightly over 8000 words, and currently on its twenty-somethingth attempt after twenty-something false starts.

Now, if you're thinking, "that seems like a pretty bad way to write a book, aren't you supposed to just write them straight through?", you're right, but I need to explain how many times I have very earnestly started this book thinking: this time I've done enough planning, this time I'm absolutely going to write it straight through to the end, only to reach a point of hating what I was writing and not seeing any way to make forward progress on it. I've written novels before, many times, including at least one pretty good one, so it's not like I don't know how to do this; but maybe it's taken me a couple of years to start to figure out how to write this one.

This is not to ask for advice or anything. When I'm writing a book about decay as an extant form of life, about what can grow from failures and false starts, maybe the graveyard of bad drafts is useful and productive in its own way. Maybe I'm doing what I need to do even though it seems ludicrous. (Or maybe my failures with publishing have given me such an abject fear of submitting the darn thing that I'm avoiding finishing at all costs! Really, who can say?)

It would be nice to get this finished while mushrooms are still in, though.
posted by Jeanne at 5:18 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Remember when I asked this question on AskMe? Well, here is the result after months and months of procrastination and anxiety. It looks rough, it is new, and this is more writing for myself without expectation of audience or payment yet still sharing it with others. (It really does look terrible. I should work on that.)

A challenge for me now after five years of sobriety is learning how to write without the aid of alcohol. Like, early on in the booze years, I was inseparable from my computer: just me, a six pack, and the whole night stretching out ahead of me to write. Then the booze crept in everywhere else and those nights were abandoned. In fact, writing in general was abandoned. (I was afraid to try to write without alcohol once I got sober.) So my gift to myself after this five year mark is getting back to it, placing no expectations on myself except to sit down and write a 1000 words a week. Just write. It was what I wanted to do since I was a kid and at 47, I deserve to rediscover a joy that made me happiest.
posted by Kitteh at 5:21 AM on February 5 [22 favorites]


Today? A lesson plan, a set of class readings (more compiling than writing, admitted), probably a lot of email, and if I'm lucky I can get back to the second round (ugh) of article revisions.
posted by humbug at 5:28 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


A trashy murder mystery, set in Atlanta. Plot 1: a woman from rural south Georgia is found shot to death in the parking lot of a shitty motel. It's going to turn out that she had been all the way across town early that evening, trying to persuade a college student that she had to go back to her and the woman's home town to take care of the student's sick mother. The student lives with a bunch of anti-police young people (in Atlanta, the "Stop Cop City" movement) who keep messing with the detectives.

Plot 2: the recently-dumped same-sex fiancée of a woman who bought into a neighborhood when it was sketchy but has now been thoroughly gentrified is found murdered in their driveway after she takes a break from boxing up her things to walk her dog. The dead woman had left her illegally-acquired Oxy out where her fiancée's carriage house tenant's child could get to it—the child ODed but was revived and is fine now, but the now-dead woman was arrested and was out on bail when her fiancée dumped her.

There's a ton of Jane Austen references, because both the college student and the woman who owns the house are huge fans, and also because both crimes are fundamentally about independent women owning real estate.
posted by outgrown_hobnail at 5:31 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


i write visually i guess. my art practice takes images or equations then applies novel vectorization algorithms to create pen drawings. a lot of what i do is experiment visually, tweaking parameters, trying to evoke a mood or a thought out of numbers. all of my work is shown on my art mastodon or my tumblr. and you can buy it too. monday mornings i have a ritual of posting something coffee related (haven't posted yet this am tho)
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:33 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I've been writing (on and off) for 20-ish years. My blog turns 16 years old this week (in finnish, sorry..). I've written a daily diary longhand for years, but stopped around seven years ago because it started to feel like another chore and I was starting to resent it. So nowadays I have a notebook for that in which I write whenever I feel like it, maybe like once a month. I've also been writing (again, on and off) a novel for.. hmmm.. almost 13 years? It isn't easy, for me, as I don't think it is very easy for anyone. Sometimes I feel bad for not writing more, getting more done, even maybe self-publishing / getting published, but then again, I'm not really writing for anyone else but me. I've taken some classes in which my short stories have been very well received, as well as gotten very nice feedback online. I think I got maybe max 20 good pages on my manuscript last year, and there have been years when I've not worked on it at all, but the story is alive and well in my mind, so maybe in another ten or so years I'll have finished it?

Writing is a form of self-care for me and has at times been crucial for my mental health, and has definately helped me sort through my own shit in a therapeutic way. I kind of feel like I get the most out of writing when I'm having a (small) crisis of some sort, or my brain is bugging me with memories of old stuff, mostly romantic and things to do with my "weaknesses" for the lack of better term.. I've also done a lot of writing out my feelings for people no longer in my life. These are texts that I never show anyone. Writing gets the thoughts/ideas/worries out of my head, where I can view them with some distance and more clarity.

I've had some really rough times trying to write and failing to get the feeling (or whatever) to stay alive on the page, but then again I'm really really happy with some of my writing, and THAT is the thing that I chase. I also know – from reading a lot – that RIGHT NOW I'm better than many published authors (there are SO MANY shit books being published all the time) and that is also something that carries me. I also love to read about writing, lately been digging Junot Díaz's and Hanif Kureishi's substack blogs.
posted by fridgebuzz at 5:39 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


is learning how to write without the aid of alcohol.

I don’t know if this helps, but a critical element of rediscovering my love for coding, several years post-burnout, was EDM. Any fast-paced music will do, the important thing is to let it become a metronome for fingers pushing keys. I didn’t care for EDM before discovering this (someone I shared an office pit with liked to play it on speakers after midnight on crunch nights), and I think of Deadmau5 and similar purely as “work music.” Outside work I’m more of a Modest Mouse / Studio Killers / Billie Eilish (look, she and her brother are just good) type of music fan.

Point is… fast-paced, non-vocal music with a quick steady pulse can be incredibly helpful for pounding the keyboard. Once I’d begun using that regularly, it even worked for me when I had narrative dialogue actual writing-writing work to do. YMMV.
posted by Ryvar at 5:39 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Trying to get through the last mile of an academic paper with a couple of medical students before submission. I'm mainly a clinical educator and I don't do a ton of research so whenever I do write a paper I feel a little inadequate.

Also writing the first paragraphs of a novella that's been in my mind for a few years.

Throughout it all, trying to read regularly because that's when I feel most like writing. Wending my way through Moby-Dick and thoroughly enjoying it.
posted by adoarns at 5:41 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Others might tell me that the internet has always been like this

The magnitude is different, and the enshitification is certainly getting worse.

You hit your limit. I hit mine recently with the Musk/Twitter debacle. Part of the reason I'm here. Going back through old bookmarks after unplugging from reddit and the rest of social media.

Apparently the line isn't going up fast enough so in addition to cutting costs (i.e. firing a bunch of people) Facebook/Twitter/Tiktok/Reddit/etc are also squeezing harder on everyone's outrage gland. Maximize Engagement has been the mantra forever, but now even more so.

7% YoY growth has to come from somewhere, and for social media that comes from 7% more outrage than last year. It's the only button they have to push, so they push it. Hoping the slot machines spit out another 7%. If it does, yay! Executive bonuses all around. If it doesn't, boo! Executive bonuses all around. Fire some people. Push the button again.

I don't know if they'll squeeze hard enough to cause people to abandon social media en masse. But it certainly doesn't seem worth hanging around there to find out.
posted by howbigisthistextfield at 5:41 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


a favorite pen? A pencil? The keyboard? Software? A stencil? A tablet? A paintbrush? A quill? . . . Lawnmower!
Clue: "FÁILTE" [also June 2018, not today] If you're calling Ireland Inc. today and it rings out, don't be surprised. This is the first year of having an additional Monday bank holiday in the national calendar: to celebrate St Bridget, Imbolc etc.
posted by BobTheScientist at 5:42 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Now, if you're thinking, "that seems like a pretty bad way to write a book, aren't you supposed to just write them straight through?", you're right

I have been having such a hard time with my current book. When I left off doing romances and cozy mysteries I thought moving into books that were more me would be easier. Well, not easier--I foresaw a lot of work, imagining myself looking nobly into the distance finding the right words and right thoughts. But, y'know, I thought it'd be possible to write a book that wasn't constrained like romance or mystery. It turns out those constraints were the only thing that made it possible for me to write.

I've started calling my drafts hallucinations, like I'm an LLM going horribly wrong. I have done outlines, and thrown them away. I have plunged in without an outline, only to find myself lost within a few chapters. I don't know how anybody decides what happens in a book. There is so much that can happen! What if everything happens!? I took a few months off to write short stories just to convince myself I knew how to write a story (garnering my first rejection in years--one thing you don't have to worry about with self-pub!).

I didn't really want to have an ongoing existential crisis about a book, but here I am, existentially crisising. A couple of days ago I threw out the latest outline (which had taken me a month to put together); the whiteboard is mostly bare, the corkboard is completely bare, the scrivener document lies hidden on the hard drive. Which I guess means I'm starting over.
posted by mittens at 5:49 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


I didn't really want to have an ongoing existential crisis about a book, but here I am, existentially crisising.

If it helps, "Existential 2: The Crisisining" sounds like a banger title.
posted by howbigisthistextfield at 5:53 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


The other writing I am doing is python tests for my job. It has been a year and it is getting easier, but it still is not easy. And CheckPylint is being evil right now one particularly large file.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:56 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I really appreciate the free threads, but I don't post to them very often. It is great to hear what is going on for everyone, both the ups and the downs. I hope everyone who is struggling and suffering has the strength and wisdom that they need.

Things aren't going well. The apartment where I live isn't perfect, but it is safe, clean, and good enough, and the rent has stayed well below market rate for the almost ten years that I have lived here. But the family that owns it has decided to sell the house, and I need to move out. I have been looking for someplace to move to (in the Greater Toronto Area). I am finding that other apartments run the scale from awful to unaffordable. To make things worse, I lost my job last week. They don't call it "fired"... they call it "off boarded". I will talk to HR this morning to see what happens next, whether they can re-assign me to other projects, or I am out the door completely. So, now I have to find a place to live and probably a job in very short order. This makes me pretty cranky, and reminds me of all the myriad ways in which I have failed at life. I have a relative who can put me up in the short term, but no one is happy about the situation. I acknowledge that things could be much worse... one of my relatives was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and is not expected to leave palliative care.

One positive thing happened in the midst of all this chaos... Over a year ago, a recruiter was considering me for a government job that required a security clearance. I submitted all the paperwork, they applied for the clearance, and I never heard anything back from them. Until last week. I got an email informing me that I now have a Secret Security clearance. Where do I pick up my tuxedo and Aston Martin?

What am I writing? It looks like I will be working on my resume, now. I make obsessive notes and to-do lists in a Leuchtturm day planner. My favourite pen is a Pelikan fountain pen. I think it is a Souverän. It hasn't been feeding well lately, so I should clean it when I have a minute. (Hah!) I have a bunch of different pens which I like for different reasons, but mostly these days I use Muji ballpoint pens. They are inexpensive and reliable.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:12 AM on February 5 [11 favorites]


yankeefog, thank you for the rec. I only learned about it late last year, when I was already into querying. I had previously workshopped my query, as well as read all (?) of Queryshark. If this one doesn’t land, I will likely try PubTips for the next. I appreciate the solidarity!

As to blogging, I use my blog as my author site. I post when I have new work out, and intermittently about writing and such. Probably the best post on there to date is one that’s (happily) now mostly obsolete due to changes in horror—a thing about finding female authors in horror and weird fiction.
posted by cupcakeninja at 6:14 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Truly terrible poetry that will never see the light of day. Email drafts to people who are or were important to me, that will never get sent. Morning Pages, the only part of The Artist's Way that most people keep after reading it. Journal entries, some of which are rambling voice dictations and some of which are only six words long. So many lists. Ideas on my kitchen chalkboard, that I want to be reminded of regularly until they seep into my brain, at which point I take a picture for my journal, erase and repeat. Texts to the important people in my life letting them know how much I love them.
posted by The Vintner of Our Disco Tent at 6:18 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


>Secret Security clearance

not particularly religious but it looks like the universe is looking out for you here; luck is preparation meeting opportunity!

Had a weekend with my Vision Pro. Friend has a few-expenses-spared home projector setup and VP's MicroLED displays and rock-solid head-tracking combine to compare very favorably to that (just needs more oomph in the audio department).

Guess I'll get back into Unity now to see if I can get something in the App Store before the holiday selling season . . .
posted by torokunai at 6:24 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I'm working on blog posts exploring the history of two old computer magazines, the C64 magazine-on-disk Loadstar, and the more traditional (for its time) type-in magazine Compute. I think of itch.io as kind of the inheritor of that style of coding.

Regarding Compute, I'm in contact with the creator of one of its more popular (it seems) type-in games, a two-player game staring anthropomorphic sports equipment called Basketball Sam & Ed, which has stuck out in my memory through the decades.
posted by JHarris at 6:31 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I finished my v2 circuit board design and submitted it on Thursday, it's chugging along through the manufacturing process. No idea how much Lunar New Year might delay the delivery, but right now it is chugging along pretty fast.

So this week I'm working on writing the firmware. My v1 firmware was a chaotic mess so this is pretty much a rewrite.

Fingers crossed I didn't make any significant board mistakes on the order. I was a little drunk and overconfident when I pushed the "order" button on Thursday night, but I knew I could waste indefinite amounts of time reviewing it, and then still wind up missing something. And this isn't a crazy financial commitment- $180 for 5 prototype boards. Not exactly cheap, but on the scale of privileged middle-aged white dude hobbies, it doesn't feel ridiculously extravagant.

I did find one minor mistake already just from review, so there's going to be a v2.1 (and another $180, which is where the hobby does start to get a little pricey), but fortunately I can see a way to hand-solder a fix in for this spin. We shall see what else I might have screwed up, in a week or two.
posted by notoriety public at 6:34 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I mostly write songs. I don't have anything cooking right now, but since this is a free thread, and because this was actually inspired by a recent conversation on a MeFi climate change thread, allow me to share with you the lyrics for my song "Mostly Uninhabitable Hell Planet"

(Verse 1)
Baby, don't you worry 'bout the weather.
I know it rained all summer, it's a shame
but I'll take it over everything on fire.
Whether that's a good thing, who's to say.


(Chorus)
Get ready for a mostly uninhabitable hell planet.
Coming soon, to your neighbourhood.
It's just a mostly uninhabitable hell planet.
It's hard to think about it,
but we should.


Verse 2
Buddy, don't you worry 'bout tomorrow.
Tomorrow might as well be yesterday
and yesterday we couldn't stop it either,
so maybe just be happy for today.


(Chorus)

(Verse 3)
Darling, don't you worry 'bout the future.
I know it's not the one you had in mind
but I'll take it over nothing ever changing.
Maybe we can get it right, this time.


(Bridge)
Oh, the money men, they got their way, and left us with the bill to pay.
I'm not alright, but it's okay. We'll live to fight another day.
Dig down deep, and hide away. Bide our time and wait and wait and wait and wait
and wait and wait until the day, we look around to find
that all the pricks who killed the world have all just up and gone away.
With nothing left to drill or kill, or buy or sell, or trade or steal,
they all just kind of called it quits, with no one left to take their shit
so now we make a go of it, and do our best to live on this....


(Final Chorus)
mostly uninhabitable hell planet. Coming soon! To your neighbourhood.
It's just a mostly uninhabitable hell planet,
it's hard to think about it. So hard to think about it. It's hard to think about it,
but we should.

So baby, don't you worry....'bout the weather.

posted by mrjohnmuller at 6:34 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


My blog is at blog.starthief.net. Mostly about making electronic music but also personal thoughts and miscellany.

Most recently, I wrote up notes about several effects plugins. I meant to make it a Page on WordPress, like other similar things I've written up, but accidentally made it a Post and decided, eh, that's fine.
posted by Foosnark at 6:35 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I never comment in these threads, but I spent this past weekend editing my dissertation, which I am very close to finishing. It is incredibly weird to me to be able to even write something like that. I started a PhD thirty years ago and got as far as completing Chapter 3. Life, and who knows what, intervened. It hung over me for many years.

I started a new PhD four years ago just before/during the pandemic, and it has been a lot of fun. I have been fortunate this time around to be in a well-designed program, to have an incredibly generous and supportive advisor, and good friends in the program cohort.
posted by idb at 6:53 AM on February 5 [22 favorites]


The longest writing that I've probably ever done was a background for a character in the City of Heroes MMORPG. I've never been really tempted to do NaNoWriMo, but I do like coming up with character backgrounds for RPGs. That kind of leads into talking about my having participated in a relatively small gaming con this past weekend, which was mostly fun, except for the one game (and it seems like there's always at least one in every con that I've been to) in which another player contrives to suck all the oxygen from the table, in this case both from peppering the GM with questions that were wholly irrelevant to the game and from not knowing the mechanics of how to play their character and getting angry about it. Like, there are games that are much easier for the casual player to slide into, but this was relatively simple for an RPG. Oh, well. At least the last session was fun, with my character getting swallowed by a large creature, getting to set off an explosive area of effect attack inside the critter, and then cutting my way out of it, and then having a very Trekish discussion with the other players about resolving an ethical dilemma.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:59 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I am finishing a proposal for a new project. One of the infuriating part about it is I have to write a résumé of similar project site performed. I have done quite a few, but I don’t have a great autobiographical memory, so I have always relied upon exhaustive notes. I switched companies recently, and as I suppose is ethical I did not take a copy of my thousands of pages of project notes.

I know I’m going to build these guys an SBR. I’ve done five or six of them. Somewhere. I just can’t remember where or when or what size.
posted by The Monster at the End of this Thread at 7:01 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


My grandma had a ghost called Fred. He came free with the house.

Oh my god, so do we! We moved into our house ten years ago (ten years this past weekend, in fact!), and mere weeks later, we had our first child. During those first months, I was up and down the attic stairs a hundred times, storing things and throwing out junk the previous owners had left.

At least a year later, I went into the attic for something and noticed -- right at the top of the stairs, where I couldn't possibly have missed it, right? -- the word "FRED" painted in 6-inch-high letters.

The only rational conclusion (obviously): haunting.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:03 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


I am trying to finish my first novel for adults and it's K I L L I N G me. It just keeps going and going, the word count is growing, and I resorted to a bullet list to clear the path to the finale. I'm just over seventy thousand words and I've lost all sense of pace and timing. I expected to be done by now! The flailing happens when I write YA, but the ever blooming word count doesn't.

Oh god, I'm going to have to edit this.
posted by headspace at 7:05 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I'm waiting for my latest book to come back from the proofreader. I'm suppose to be working on starting my next book but I'm having trouble dragging my brain away from it's "waiting for the previous book to be finished" hyper focus.

The next book is a sequel, and sequels are difficult.

While I love writing, and it's essential for my mental health, I also kind of dread starting another book because I HAVE TO FINISH EVERY BOOK I START and that means once I start, I'm committed to that particular story for the next year or two.

I can't stand the thought of an unfinished story.
posted by Zumbador at 7:09 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Most of what I write these days is for my masters or for my full time job. I write papers, discussion responses, assignments, reports, and emails.

My bachelors is in fiction writing, and I'm currently trying to figure out if I want to go back to go back to writing fiction, and if so, how to do it. I was the kid scribbling in notebooks and making stuff up for my entire childhood, to the point where my mom decided that CLEARLY I was going to be a best-selling novelist. She's still disappointed that at 33 I haven't been published even once.

It's just... writing thinking that THIS is going to be the thing that pays my bills is too much pressure and I choke and stop writing. But if that's not going to be the thing that gets me out of administrative assistant hell, then I've got to do something else to do that, which led to the masters in information, which leads to... currently very little fiction writing energy and time, even though I would really like to still be writing.

I dunno, I hope the writing comes back after graduation, or that I figure out a way to start writing again before graduation.
posted by bridgebury at 7:13 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I'm currently writing this Metafilter comment. I'm nearly finished with it.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:14 AM on February 5 [22 favorites]


I unloaded a little rant about anxiety at work and now I’m abusing the exit window to delete it! Take care, everyone going through difficult times
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:16 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Writing a review of "The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store" (will be very mixed.)
posted by of strange foe at 7:18 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I'm working on a novel about an eight year-old kid that is sort of like a Ken Loach horror story. But set in Tennessee.

Anywho, it's nice to write again sometimes.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:21 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


butts.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 7:21 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I work at a non-profit and we've had a disappointing fundraising year in 2023, which meant that I had to layoff some staff. The process was one of the most grueling and stressful things that I've done in my career. We implemented the actual layoff two weeks ago, and this is what I wrote to my team in our Slack channel. Sharing here because I was told it was helpful for some folks, and so it might be helpful for others going through something like this as well:
So, today we say goodbye. It's hard to think of words that encompass all of the feelings that I have, but I'll share a story 🧵

I was laid off from a job when the 2001 dot-com bubble burst. I was a grad student, aiming to graduate in May, had a job lined up as a technical product manager for a European company working to tie your emails, voicemails and faxes into one web interface. We had no heads up. The entire US office was dissolved on a Thursday morning in late April. We had a month of severance. I hadn't gotten my Green Card yet, much less my citizenship. I needed a job by August if I wanted to stay in the country. My savings were going to run out in July. It was scary.

There's a diner called Sound Bites that has these amazing garlicky home fries and offered shakshuka a decade before Ottolenghi made it ubiquitous, though they called it "Moroccan Eggs". On a weekend, there's a waiting list that's nearly an hour long, and the owner is this hardass guy who will scold you if he sees you taking out the NYT Crossword. This is not the place to do the Crossword! People are waiting! Why you make them wait? It was honestly a stressful place to go, but I figured 10am on a Thursday morning would be ok; which it was.

I sat there alone, eating my home fries, when the grumpy owner comes by and asks, "hey, what's wrong? you look so sad."

"I got laid off from my job this morning. I have a few months left on my visa, maybe two and a half months of savings. I don't know what to do. I'm sorry if I'm being slow. Just have a lot to think about."

The owner pulled out one of the chairs, sat down, and said, "hey, take your time. Don't worry about the meal. You don't have to pay. It's on me, ok?"

"ok"

Then he got up and started to walk away, but said in parting, "but only this one time. Because the next time you come here, you will have a job and you can pay. This I know."

In the end I wound up talking to a friend who had cofounded a different startup focusing on document management and workflow automation. They hired me in August. I had to rack up some credit card debt that took me a year to pay off. It wasn't a product management role, and was initially a step back to IT, but opened a different path that got me into software development and data engineering. I wound up working at that place for 7 years. It was a really important step that got me to where I am now.

This is all to say, don't be shy asking for help. You have a lot of colleagues here who are rooting for you and want to help. You're all awesome. I'm sorry that I couldn't keep you. I look forward to seeing what you all will do, because it will be amazing. This I know.
Also, realizing on typing this out that I posted the same story previously in the thread about Shopsin's, so I also owe Metafilter as a place to help me keep this memory and have it at the ready when this event happened.
posted by bl1nk at 7:22 AM on February 5 [12 favorites]


I had been doing the odd bit of writing for our local paper through work, and was approached late last year about writing a regular column for them outside of work. I started at just monthly, but now I'm writing a column every two weeks. The column is about technology, always with a societal angle, and aimed at an audience that is primarily rural, not particularly enthusiastic about technology, and over the age of 65. I'm not an expert, and 800 words barely scratches the surface on most things, so these aren't deep dives. I also have to be a bit careful politically because I work in the public sector and need to conduct myself accordingly. I resurrected my long dormant domain name and started posting the articles there with all the resources I viewed/read/listened to while writing the thing I wrote about. That felt good. I hadn't done a blog style thing since the advent of social media.

I do sometimes wonder if I've bit off more than I can chew. I've been in active recovery from burnout for the last few years, and this is the first new thing I've taken on since downsizing absolutely everything. But we'll see how it goes.
posted by eekernohan at 7:23 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I have a blog (http://www.eccesignum.org) which I have recently returned to updating weekly or more frequently. I write about what I am reading, whart I am writing, and what's going on in my life. Also pictures of cats.

I'm trying to get my head into the place it needs to be to complete the draft of a novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2022, and with luck get it to a place where I can begin to show it to beta readers by mid-summer. I also have rough drafts and fragments of at least fifty short stories (multiple past NaNoWriMos) which I would like to sort and perhaps complete. Various life events have left me mentally exhausted for most of the non-NaNoWriMo parts of the past five years, and I am beginning to feel some despair about actually completing any of my projects.

I also journal, a habit I started back around 1991. I tend to write at least a paragraph every day, sometimes even several pages. My journals are where I put the things which clutter my brain so I can look at them from a (somewhat) objective viewpoint.

I have noticed that, now that I am in my mid-fifties, I am beginning to lose the memory of the order in which events of my distant past took place, and which names are associated with e.g. which high school classes, or which college parties. So I have created several timelines in Google Docs, and am using them to record the life events which are ever-so-slowly slipping away under the onslaught of the Perpetual Now.
posted by JohnFromGR at 7:32 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


geez, I used to write

lately all I write is letters of recommendation and (to the dismay of my team) "funny" things in Teams

I've taken to snipping others' comments and repasting them weeks, months, years later. Hear me out: when a colleague shares the following notification sent home from their child's Grade 2 teacher, how can you not preserve it and pull it out from time to time: "Dear parents, for the second time in three weeks a student has stolen another student's tooth from their locker or desk"
posted by elkevelvet at 7:32 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


I'm trying to transcribe 100+ year old letters my great-grandfather wrote home from France right at the end and immediately after the First World War. I've discovered that his handwriting, plus his spelling, plus his use of dialect, makes it surprisingly not easy. Oof.

Once I accomplish it, I'm planning on recording them so my family (and I suppose, anyone who has an interest) can listen to them versus read them. Of course, they can also just read the transcriptions, too!
posted by Atreides at 7:34 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


There's this guy on Instagram who I 'follow - @cedrusk who has these fantastic disquisitions on language and the great miss-moshy-ness of the 'western/near-eastern' ones. And then the other day in the car I was listening to RadioLab and it occurs to me that a lot of what I got/get from reading (narrative and its potential novelties) I am also lately getting from other sources. It's a pretty big change, from my POV at least.

(CW: Woody Allen related content)
A couple days ago I watched "Hannah and Her Sisters" because it takes place in the New York I love most, which is ratty, fucked-up 1980's NY. And aside from all the baggage that knowing way too much about Allen's personal life brings with it - damn but it's well written. I was looking for "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (for Jerry "Lenny" Orbach and his peculiar, almost diffident viciousness in it) or "Broadway Danny Rose" (more fucked up NY and the scene tramping around the meadowlands) but this was what was streaming in my region. The street scenes though, empty (empty!) SoHo really resonated with me. For all the same-ness of the time we're in (watch "The Fugitive" -with Harrison Ford- and tell me that wasn't made last year) changes like that, the filling in of cities, is one enormous change that I feel like I can't get right with.

Writing? I really want to write an episode of "Tatort" ('Tarot'= 'scene of the crime') - a German TV show that I revere. Every state in Germany, and a few cities, have episodes based there, it's state funded as a way of ensuring work for tv/film production people and it is frequently celebrated, rightly, for being atrocious. It reminds me a bit of "Law and Order" in that there's a rotating cast of actors who play the criminal one week, the nosey neighbor the next (in a different city) and then the victim (in yet another place) just when you've forgotten they were an axe-murderer a month earlier. Among the reliably 'good ones' are those from Kiel: And after a conversation with a friend one afternoon over coffee I got the idea to write an episode. I'm stealing the central conceit of The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha Christie - the detective gets a pivotal nugget of evidence right at the beginning but it appears to be a completely inconsequential, frivolous thing both to us (the reader/viewer) and them: a fillip of the narrative. What I have so far stinks, unfortunately, but if I don't do it - 'who will?' so, muddle through, try to make it a bit better than good and then on to the next ...

More darkly I've been trying to get a grip on a story about fathers hating their sons. It's not a thing that is talked about but in my circle it's a theme that comes up not infrequently and, well. I guess because of that it's in my head - well, a bunch of other stuff too ... but that's a whole other hedgerow to hop over.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:34 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


After a couple weeks of indecision, I finally decided to bite the bullet and tell my employer that no, I will not in fact be uprooting my entire life and orchestrating an international move just to continue working for them for 9 more months, so I’ll officially be out of a job by the end of this month (or two months, if they deign to bend corporate policy and let me run out my PTO so I can keep my benefits a bit longer). So I guess I’ll be writing cover letters and notes to former colleagues. This is the first time I’ve left a job on mutually unhappy terms and I’m surprised how many Big Feelings I have about it.
posted by btfreek at 7:39 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


I'm one of the millions of people who is convinced I have a book in me but have done very little to make it a reality. Something happened last week though that put me a little bit more on track: at work, due to some external pressures, I ended up writing nearing 3000 words of process and policy documentation, and creating a narrative out of all of it. I put out pretty quality stuff in just a few days, and even though it's far from the type or content I dream about writing, I feel pretty proud about achieving that.

This thread has been helpful, thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences, I find it comforting reading about the trials and triumphs of writers, both professional and not.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:43 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Friday morning a friend reminded me that I should send a farewell email to “everyone” when I leave the company, as I’ll be retiring at the end of next month. So I’ve started the pre-writing phase (i.e., thinking about it phase) – and have also dug up a farewell I wrote in 2009. That email was a positive note with slightly subversive, biting undertones, as there were many reasons to be unhappy, even angry, with the way my department was being managed. Given the way my current workplace is going, I could recycle a lot of that message.

For actual writing, I have my Dreamwidth blog of 21 years – the first 10 years of which I ported over from my LiveJournal account. I’m delighted to see other people’s blogs linked in this thread – so please keep sharing them!
posted by LovelyAngel at 7:56 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Retiring! That's the dream. Congrats!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:59 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


bl1nk - where is the rest of the story about going back to the restaurant?!

slimepuppy, I also have a book in me (an illustrated one or two). Congratulations on doing some!

This weekend I addressed some 16 or so Valentines - mostly because I signed up to send 10 for the 7th Annual Mefi Valentine Card Exchange and also did some extras. Tonight and tomorrow night I shall attempt to finish writing some nice/hopeful/cheerful type messages inside them all.

I haven't written in my (extremely sporadic) journal - a large spiral bound book started in maybe 2003, in some time. The last entry was from 12 days in my new place about 5 months ago (HOLY COW 5 MONTHS). I know this because it is sitting open and the first line is, "I have been here 12 days" and talks about a huge moth I tried to catch and lost.. and later found in a box in another room and successfully caught and released outside to fly away. I believe it was the same moth as I have encountered no others, and also have taken it as a good omen for my place.

I also filled out an application for a Cavapoo rescue, last week. It has been 6 days and no reply, which seems like a poor way to get dogs into new homes. But I'll give it another couple days before finding someone else.
posted by Glinn at 8:09 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


In terms of tools:

Current favorite pen is a Lamy Studio. I buy a lot of notebooks for fiction writing but I end up not doing a lot of handwriting except in my job - where I stay organized mostly with something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike bullet journaling.

I'm back on Word, resentfully. Word isn't actually that bad - it's just much more software than I need when all I really want is decent paragraph indentation and line spacing tools, bold, italic, and a font I like. (Two fonts, if the characters need to text each other). I've tried Scrivener, I've tried Google Docs, I've tried Komodo, I've tried LibreOffice, and I find it very hard to articulate why I don't want to use any of them (except for LibreOffice, because the fonts just don't look good, unless they've recently made a major update), but - for the moment - I can accept Word.
posted by Jeanne at 8:17 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


2024 is the ten-year anniversary of me writing that one play that was kind of a hit. It had a sold out run and remount in a midwestern city, and has since been produced a handful of times around the country. I'm proud of my work on it, but also it just happened to connect very powerfully with a community of people who didn't often see their story told onstage. Over time I've made something in the low five figures from that script, which is a lot for this perpetually dying art form.

Since then I've written 8 more full lengths, over half of which have had public readings and/or development opportunities, one of which got a (fabulous) workshop production with undergrads. After my big play, a few theaters commissioned ten-minute shorts from me. But nothing has had an honest-to-goodness full production. Nothing where I got to sit in the room with a group of actors and a director and watch something grow and come to fruition. The last full-length I drafted, I can't even bear to read in its entirety.

All of that is secondary to the actual process of sitting down and writing, of course. I'm losing the urge/ability to do even that. I'm wondering if I'm cooked. I'm reading that Billy Joel post and, unfortunately, seeing myself in it. I'm boring my spouse with kvetching about it. I'm still submitting plays to places. But I'm wondering how to define my sense of self by something other than an unforgiving, scarcity-mindset-led art form.

What I have done is run a lot of D&D (and a smattering of other TTRPGS) for friends across the US. So instead of a momentarily interested audience of hundreds or thousands, I have five people who are deeply committed to me helping them pretend to be elves every couple of weeks. The stories we build together are goofy and limited by the nature of genre and the desires of the participants to just have a good time, but at least I have an audience. I'm getting cast in more plays these days, what with other actors like me getting too old for this shit. I'm painting lots of D&D and Warhammer minis and even constructing crazy stuff inspired by this guy's delightful YouTube channel "Bill Making Things," sometimes with help from my 8-year-old. None of which is really "writing"; this post is the longest thing I've written in a few months. I understand that hitching my sense of self to an art form is not the healthiest choice, but here I am.
posted by HeroZero at 8:29 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Whatever it was in my soul that compelled me to write has died. Maybe six or seven years ago, I realized that I could no longer just sit at a keyboard and make stuff up. Maybe it's age, maybe it's too much time on social media posting empty quips, I don't really know.I blogged for a dozen years until Facebook rendered personal blogs obsolete, and when I tried to go back to it, I was all dried up. I did get a little of it back doing a food photo blog, but even that seems to have gone by the wayside.

Also, I have know several Freds, at least three I can think of, so there is that.
posted by briank at 8:31 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


About a month and a half ago I decided to try and write a poem a day. I've now written a little over fifty poems. Most of them are awful, but a few are pretty good! I do have to keep reminding myself that the goal of this is not to write a good poem every day, just a poem every day, quality be damned.
posted by SansPoint at 8:35 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


I had a girlfriend named Fred once.

"For fun" her parents had let her toddler sister name her when she was born, and she was named after a Disney character. In her first day at university, moving into her dorm, someone asked her name and she had a flash of I don't have to live with this anymore but pressed for time in the moment, couldn't think of anything. She panicked and blurted out "Fred." It stuck.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:39 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


last year I got back on a really good groove with The Book, which was awesome and I intended to continue that roll into the new year but then January happened.

so yesterday I dipped a toe back in and hope to get back in the saddle. I have a very eager reader impatiently waiting for more (which is so incredibly awesome!!!) I really want to make a big push in the "finish it" direction this year.

and for those of you following along at home with the "2024 Worst Year EVAR" game...yesterday there was a MASSIVE INSANE rainstorm with wind gusts up to 47 mph for the whole day. 2/3 of our lovely little Princess Flower Tree did not survive and we had to go out with tree saw and loppers and clean up (tree fell on sidewalk and neighbors luckily empty driveway), while I still had my wet hair in a towel from washing it. did I mention it was insanely windy??? fun.
posted by supermedusa at 8:41 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


A few days ago I wrote, "Yeah, I can help out" -- which was a big step for me, because I try to avoid taking on capital-R Responsibilities at work outside my actual role.

So in April I will be the staff member in charge of a bus load of college kids at a volunteer site. My own college-age kids don't listen to me, so I have no illusions how this might go: I will have the day's organizer on speed dial until I am safely home that afternoon. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:42 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I know a Phredd but no Freds. He's pretty awesome, and I miss him since he moved away.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:43 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I have a work event that is sending me to Miami in early March and I hope to get some writing done. I'm heading down early and plan to spend the weekend drinking coffee in places with a view and working on my book.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:46 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I'm finishing up edits on a strategic corporate research report writing sample so I can apply for a job doing strategic research for a union. Super niche subfield and my prospects aren't great but I enjoy it and think I'm good at it. Whatever happens, it's nice to have a clear eyed, evidence based assessment on what the capitalist class is up to.
posted by Hume at 8:46 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Having one of those names that people get wrong more than correct, I use Fred as my Starbucks name.
posted by hippybear at 8:46 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Whatever it was in my soul that compelled me to write has died. Maybe six or seven years ago, I realized that I could no longer just sit at a keyboard and make stuff up. Maybe it's age, maybe it's too much time on social media posting empty quips, I don't really know.

....that was me about 10 years ago. I had a lot of other life admin stuff going on and didn't have the bandwidth for it; I even tried a couple of random blogs here and there that also fizzled.

I just gave myself time and space and occasionally kept trying. Finally something caught and now I have a movie blog.

If you want to do something to pick it back up, I'd say just keep occasionally trying. Maybe something in you just needs to rest for a while.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:50 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I knew a Fred who liked to be called Blackula. He was a little odd.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:51 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I also filled out an application for a Cavapoo rescue, last week. It has been 6 days and no reply, which seems like a poor way to get dogs into new homes. But I'll give it another couple days before finding someone else.

Please be patient, and follow up with them if you see fit. I work with a breed specific rescue and the typical things that are common with rescues is 1 - they’re run by volunteers, who usually have regular jobs and daily life to deal with and 2 - people are really busy! It’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. A lot of rescues are just bonkers right now.
posted by azpenguin at 8:54 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I suppose it's also worth mentioning that the whole reason I got into my hardware project was because I wanted to make a retro Apple IIe RPG, after being inspired by Nox Archaist (which I learned about right here on MF!), and also Realms of Antiquity, a TI99 game which came out shortly afterward.

And then I looked at what the real, practical limitations are, when trying to program on the Apple IIe. And I thought, "no fucking way". But then I kept thinking, and eventually changed it to "maybe fucking way... but I'm going to have to cheat."

So here I am, pretty much exactly one year later after I started thinking about doing a game, and I'm sidetracked doing a peripheral card. Which is turning out to be an absolute blast, and will probably also sell a lot better than yet another retro RPG would. We're not talking making any actual money here, but I might be able to sell a couple hundred, and maybe even cover costs.

And then, maybe this time next year, I might have it working well enough to start writing a game.
posted by notoriety public at 9:00 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


ok the library downstairs in the condo i am pretty sure is largely seeded (at least in the fiction section) by old white ladies who think British colonialism was a pretty good idea and i am fed up with picking up books that i want to throw across the room. so i'm going to reread gideon the ninth. and i know i will have a good time.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:14 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I swear, my ex keeps reminding me why we broke up.
He is incapable of processing feelings related to me making a (spectacularly awful) mistake without lashing out at me (via text, thankfully, where I'd muted his messages because I felt this coming). Yesterday was the third time I had to tell him "It's ok to feel those feelings, but leave me out of them."
What I got back was, "It's hard not to act like your parents." (I've never really liked his Mom for Valid Reasons.)
Me: I was around 35, too, when I realized that I needed to stop acting like mine, too.

I thanked my current boyfriend for being the one good thing about my yesterday.
posted by luckynerd at 9:15 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Today: I'm writing a review of a mediocre restaurant. These are the hardest reviews to write (at least for me) because I have to thread the needle between being too positive and too negative.

Monday is also always referred to in my household as Dia de los Distracciones. My deadline isn't until tomorrow night, so chances are excellent that the kitchen and bathrooms will be spotless by COB today.

Near future: I'm starting work on a novel. It's loosely based on a real situation/event, and I'm contemplating using Scrivener, which I've never used before.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:21 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


So, in around 2014 I just....stopped writing. Freelance gigs had dried up so I didn't have a boss to tell me what to write, and I didn't feel like I had anything to write myself, so it was sort of a writer's block. I was busy with other stuff so didn't really get back to it until going back to school. I have a blog I started in 1999, took a hiatus during the writer's block years, but I restarted it last fall (although I haven't posted since November, I've been busy.)

I took a 400-level writing class, from an instructor who every time I see him makes a point of telling me what a good writer I am, like I'm a college freshman who needs encouragement. Thank you, yes, a good chunk of my income for years came from writing, I have a pretty good idea of the quality of my writing, and I don't want to tell him just how nearly effortless writing a college paper for him was. I am always appreciative of him, though, it never hurts to hear it. He also knows my wife, who is also a published writer, and tells her what a good writer I am too whenever he sees her, which she rolls her eyes at me for.

But, something exciting came in the mail Saturday! So, I wrote for a this-day-in-history radio program for North Dakota Public Radio, it was one of my last gigs before the writer's block, and I found out they recently put out a second volume of stories from the radio show, and I have several entries in this volume too! I love that things I wrote a decade ago still have life in them. Even moreso is the fact that the few small-town papers left still in the state re-run these stories as well, so I have bylines, which means news aggregators think I'm a staff writer for these papers now.

Next summer I have a screenwriting course, which hopefully will get me writing again -- it's also a bit different than what I've written before, I've been more of a nonfiction article writer, we'll see how it goes. One high-level thing I'm learning in my return to school is that film is...something I haven't put a lot of thought or understanding into in the past, though I thought I had. My first project, for my first film class, was essentially journalism, and not technically what I'm supposed to be learning in this program. Not that journalism isn't art or not a skill, but it's different than cinema. I liken this to learning how to curl your tongue; you can see it being done, it seems like a normal, common thing to do, but it's new muscles, a different flex even though cognitively I know those muscles are there, I've used them in other ways before but just not this way.

Tiny film student update:

Nothing particularly new; in 16mm film class we broke up in teams and were given a roll of film and sent out on campus to play with the camera. We misunderstood the instructions and only shot half the roll, then wondered why we were back in the classroom so much faster than everyone else. Oops, back out to shoot the rest of the roll. Because we finished that also on Monday, on Wednesday we were assigned to be "models" for other teams who had trouble on day 1 and were still working on things on day 2. One team failed to connect their film to the pickup reel, so it accordioned inside the camera and went sproing when they opened it.

In animation class they started something that the professor said we're going to do every week: gesture drawing. This is basically a 'draw quickly' exercise, the professor puts the Sketch Daily widget on the screen, set for one minute per image, and they let us go for 10 minutes drawing whatever shows up. After doing this, I was surprised how much better I felt emotionally after having a relatively crappy week. On Saturday I did it, just myself at home, and also felt better than I did before. I am going to try and make a habit of this. I don't really understand why it does, but who's to argue with results.

I got good news on Saturday about the audition I choked on -- I got a part! Not a lead, but a character who shows up at the end basically as a punchline, but it'll be fun and I'm Participating!
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:24 AM on February 5 [15 favorites]


Having one of those names that people get wrong more than correct, I use Fred as my Starbucks name.

No matter what the name is, "Fred" is always easier to be right said.
posted by howbigisthistextfield at 9:25 AM on February 5 [15 favorites]


I like writing outside, sitting in a park, usually, or maybe at a coffee-shop with outdoor tables. I'm a poet. We're like quantum objects--in solitude, we exist in a confused unresolved random blur: writing? Not writing? Who's to know? Only when we're near other people is it possible to exist as one or the other.

So winter's usually a hard time for me, writing-wise.

This year, though, I had a really great idea. It came to me mostly as an aesthetic idea. Down by the water in Brooklyn, there's a grey steel door in the side of a redeveloped factory building that now houses:

-a BBQ restaurant that sells $27 dollar brisket sandwiches
-an absinthe distillery
-a sake brewery
-luxury furniture warehouses
-pickle ball courts
-an overpriced Middle Eastern grocery / wine store
-a custom lighting fixture store
-a smithy, offering blacksmithing lessons starting at $300 dollars
-a small artisanal chocolate factory
-a Japanese food court

Over the grey steel door there is a neon sign of a Sherry Rabinowitz quote: "Artists need to create on the same scale that society has the capacity to destroy." Which struck me as unintentionally ironic--the gallery to which that grey steel door leads, and for which the neon sign serves as signpost, only exists because of the dynamics of gentrification and globalization and late-stage capitalism. The delights of Industry City (because they are delights) are the fruit of that garden.

And it got me thinking, I guess, about how artists are complicit with destruction. Every flower has shit at its root, and every beauty violence--the rag and bone shop of the heart, said Yeats, who was familiar with the subject. Art can't be apart from the world, since it is a part of the world. And the world is corrupt. And so any art is always corrupt, and by itself can't uncorrupt itself, as long as it seeks only to delight, only to add to the pleasures of the world, was my reasoning.

But art can hold a mirror to itself, and to the world. Borges, in "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius," has a heresiarch of the mirror-world Uqbar say that mirrors and copulation are abominable, since they both multiply the numbers of men. So perhaps abomination is the way out of corruption for art, and not delight, not beauty. Uneasiness, disorientation, disquiet, self-consciousness: the long way back to Eden, is what Heinrich von Kleist called it.

So I decided that I'd wear my translator's hat for January. There's no writing that makes one so uneasy. Translation is treason, pure and simple. It is an impossibility. It's an impossibility because everything in a language is linked together. There is no separating sound from sense. There is no separating sense from history and culture and place. Translate a pun? Impossible. Translate a metaphor? Impossible. Even individual words--there's no one-to-one correspondence. Because a word isn't just a word--a word is all of its potential relationships with other words in the same language. A word is all of the ways in which it has been used by other people. That's what we poets think, anyway. I don't know about linguists.

But so anyway I've been translating/betraying/mutilating/abominating a poem a day, or more, from this book--The Portrait of Echo? A Portrait of Echo? Portrait of Echo? Korean doesn't have articles--by a poet named Kim Haengsook. I don't know her work. I'm reading this book day-to-day, as I work on it.

I'm really liking it. Not necessarily all of the poems themselves--a lot of contemporary Korean poetry has this really cavalier attitude with regards to linebreaks that is irritating to me--why the everliving fuck is this a single line, is something that I often find myself muttering--but this business of trying to find English equivalents for syntax? Trying to write English sentences that move in ways that suggest the movements of the Korean sentences? That's really hard. And therefore really fun. In some ways it feels like my writing brain's firing on all cylinders in ways that it hasn't, really, since the early days of the pandemic.

Here's one from near the beginning of the book:


A pair of wheels

All the roads sucked into a pair of colossal black lungs.
All in order to keep a pair of wheels upright spinning.
I am living in a city in view of a mountain belching hot smoke.
A span of centuries.
Or a span of bicycle to spaceship.
Why I'm writing you a single postcard.
Unlike the bird flying from this building to the other.
I parked my bike and went into the bodega. Bought bottled water and cigarettes and condoms.
I'm living in a city without bicycle thieves.
I'd ride beyond any sight of you but the bike's no good.
You were always trying to hold onto something.
But the things around here.
Are like a pair of wheels, spinning.
Why there are two ears for every head.
Why things don't pour out when you lean over.
Why there are so many ways to enter the black forest.
They're saying there's going to be a great flood in the fall.
The constellations shift.
Still, the forecast predicts a winter with no snow. Not bad, right?
Even when day and night have changed places it only takes two days before nighttime feels like nighttime and you fall fast asleep.
And the ocean grows warm and my dreams grow tepid.
I'll forget you soon.
posted by what does it eat, light? at 9:25 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Nature awakens the sublime for me like nothing in conventional art. Last night a river descended from the heavens and kept me slightly awake. Not horizontal, but vertical. I kept thinking of the weight of the water, of the fluid dynamics. I loved the sound, and yet it terrified me. I was ready to throw all of my jewelry out the window to appease Tiamat. This morning the news provided a picture of an ornate piano upended in the mud on Beverly Glen that apparently appeased the goddess. Glad everyone is ok so far, and sorry for those folks that lost their houses to the mud flow.

I been running through an academic course on the immune system on YouTube. I am truly in awe of the intricacies of the immune system and its method for protecting the body. I have so much admiration for scientists who are patient and brilliant enough to understand its language of organic chemistry and use it to further benefit humans.

An underlying subtext of the study of immunology is the shadow of HIV. Having lived through the era where it emerged and claimed many in my community, I can follow the academic discussion of the disease and realize how researchers teased apart the progression of the disease and how this knowledge benefited our response to the SARS-COV2 pandemic.
posted by effluvia at 9:25 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


oooh all of you fountain pen users. jeellllllly!!!

I used to write with a fountain pen. I love calligraphy and used to have very nice penpersonship, if I do say so...despite being left handed, which makes writing with a fountain pen more challenging.

but I cannot do it anymore because I have arthritis in my hands and just don't have the stamina to write well, or for long. and I need to write large. I hate having to fill out tiny little form fields ugh.

enjoy those lovely pens for me! (I still want a Mont Blanc)
posted by supermedusa at 9:29 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I got a part!

AzraelBrown that is great news! and you get to be the punchline, that's kind of perfect. Do you mind expanding on what it means to be the punchline?

After decades of a hiatus, I am getting involved with community theatre again. One of my last roles I was Ellard Sims in "The Foreigner" and we had so much fun. This March we have a series of skits poking fun at the community, I have a role in "Four Farmers" (a riff on the Monty Python "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch) and we're having a lot of fun with our punchline (it involved naming a nearby community, and anyone from a small town knows how it is with the next nearest town/rival/nemesis).

this is so small town/local it hurts.. someone stepped forward about doing 5 min of stand-up.. they have never done stand-up (or live theatre, if I'm not mistaken), it's so odd. They read some material and it's all Bazooka Joe level stuff, like "there was a pile of Lego in the room, I didn't know what to make of it" I think it will cross out the back end of funny/not-funny into surreality. After he 'performed' a few lines we told him he'd get 4 min maximum
posted by elkevelvet at 9:41 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I love that things I wrote a decade ago still have life in them.

I've kept my following of Atlas Obscura even though I haven't written for them in 10 years. Every so often they will dig up and repost a link to one of my own articles.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:45 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


AzraelBrown that is great news! and you get to be the punchline, that's kind of perfect. Do you mind expanding on what it means to be the punchline?

So, the film (from what little I know) is a horror comedy; my character and a woman arrive at the very end and react surprised at the carnage that happened, sort of a "OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED HERE" thing. Since I didn't actually read for the part I don't even know what their lines are. Whether we are THE punchline or not I don't know, or just the straightman for the main cast to try to explain to, we'll see. There's going to be a table read in a couple weeks, filming the first week of March.
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:45 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Somewhat unexpectedly I appear to be going viral on Bluesky because I wrote a post about this week's Lidl supermarket food brochure (here in England) which features the cuisine of the USA. People seem fascinated that, over here, we can currently buy American staples such as chicken rings, hot dog stuffed crust pizza, and Duff beer.
posted by Wordshore at 9:53 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


a favorite .. pencil?

I recently learned of the kuru toga pencil -- it rotates the lead while you write, just a little bit every time you lift it off the paper, which means the tip is always sharp. It's art/drafting pencil but after randomly seeing it and buying one on a whim, I bought two more in different widths and I use one for taking notes in school. I learned drafting with t-squares, triangles, and pencils and it was burned into me to rotate the pencil in my fingers so the lead doesn't get flat on one side, so now I don't have to, the pencil does it for me!
posted by AzraelBrown at 10:00 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


bl1nk - where is the rest of the story about going back to the restaurant?!
unfortunately, Glinn, the aftermath is not much of a story. I went back and the owner didn't really acknowledge me. Might've been because it was another busy weekend and his attention was on moving people in and out of the diner. Or, it might be that while it was a significant and memorable experience for me, for them it was a Thursday.
posted by bl1nk at 10:00 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I have never met a Fred.

Anyone?


My wife's Uncle Freddy is a seventy-something year old kickboxer who in his younger days was sometimes a civil rights activist and other times a (shall we say) ne'er do well. The first time I ever met him, before I had a chance to say anything, he introduced himself as follows:

"Hi, I'm Freddy. I've been shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, incarcerated, I've rolled my car off a cliff going a hundred miles and hour, I've been run over by a backhoe and I can still kick the top of a door frame."

For context, this was at my father in law's funeral.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:03 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


My weekend went great. I was in SF with my mom, visiting a cousin of mine who does museum exhibits/installations. After four years of working on one, they finally got to install it at Fort Point. (Should you go, the large one in the back of the building is the best.) I don't generally hit it off with relatives, but this cousin is the closest to my age and personality and we kept doing a whole lot of "great minds think alike" sort of stuff. It's a shame they're an East Coaster and I'm a West Coaster and we only see each other every 10 years or so.

Cousin also came out to my mom as nonbinary. Cousin had told me this a few months ago and I was all, "yeah, that makes sense, your personality's always been in the middle," and Mom took it well, but the pronouns thing is clearly going to be difficult, as she continued to introduce cousin as "him" all weekend. Hell, she had me doing it because I've been trying to "they" when mentioning cousin to other people the last few months, but I've had to hedge when talking to her since she didn't know yet (I presumed cousin was going to have The Talk in person), and then I kept doing it and argggggh. That will be the hard part. I did get amused at seeing the text she sent to her boyfriend about it and he made a supportive comment along the lines of "we need to make less pancakes and make more love." (I'm not entirely sure on the context of it, but it was sweet.) She did kind of interrogate me on the topic on the way home, though, which was tricky to explain. "So cousin's gay now?" Um...they haven't switched sexual preference, but.... hoo boy. Also she kept bringing up sex for some reason* as to "if you're trans, do you never have sex with your spouse again?" and I kept going, "Mom, that is none of our business." She did this with several people too, and again I was all, "nope, none of our business if you can't picture Other Cousin boinking, none of our business about whether or not your trans friend is boinking the wife or not." Hoo boy. Well, overall she dealt with it well, which I more or less figured, but I had had Concerns.

* Fun fact I found out this weekend from the boyfriend: Mom, who was always very Prim and Proper my entire life, has seen Fifty Shades of Grey. I died laughing.

As for San Francisco, it's a real mixed bag location for me. It has very cool unusual things you don't see anywhere else, and I spent most of my time at Fort Point or in Golden Gate Park, both of which are lovely. The food was very good. The weather was varying levels of Storm of the Century (I note it was horrible driving home, I note the rain started being horrible the second I hit the freeway and dried up once I got off of it), but we saw an awesome view of the city from the de Young tower. The hotel was this mix of inside/outside--open within the buildings, patios, lots of rain in that. The area we were in didn't feel particularly dangerous, thank goodness, and nobody got mugged. However, signs are everywhere saying DON'T LEAVE LITERALLY ANYTHING IN YOUR CAR, THEY WILL BE STOLEN IN 3 SECONDS, and we were forced to use a divey automated parking garage with no security because there were no other options, and cousin's rental car got broken into because the car was one where the seats can be folded down to get into the trunk. (Note to everyone else: don't buy a car like that or at least don't bring it to SF.) Nothing was in there to be stolen, but that still probably won't be fun to explain to the rental company. The hotel employee said he didn't feel safe anywhere in SF and he lives there, and even my mom, who loves SF, said it's scary now. (Employee said it's always been like that.) Also, that bidet never did work. :P

While i was gone, I got a call for a job interview this week. I'll have to look up what that job is. I don't know what to make of that other than being flattered. I would like to prioritize getting a transfer at my organization over whatever this job is, but I should probably go through the motions here, at least. It involves testing in the interview, apparently. I'm going to try to not worry about it too much. I was mostly offline this weekend due to some areas of SF not having reception and doing battery-draining things all day, so I am not caught up.

On to the topic of this thread: I do still blog. I've lost track of how many I have because some I don't update often. I do daily journaling on a private site, and I don't tend to remember to convert those most of the year. I was going to post the ones I update the most here here, and then saw this remark, so, um, never mind, I guess :( I have a "here's my craft projects" blog, a book review blog, and a Silly Links blog that would fit with this subject matter, but now I'm not sure if I should keep my trap shut or not for safety reasons. I find that blogging is easy to get away with these days if people don't see/read it and it's not on social media, but hearing "everyone gets hacked" just made me scared. Only certain friends read the craft blog, the book review blog just gets search hits, and I think one person reads the silly links blog (online friend I passed it to) because my stalker coworker tried to dox me when she found out about my previous silly links blog and I only told that person when I had to switch. I'm annoyed that I was going to share them and now I have to worry that I'm going to get myself in some kind of trouble if i do, dammit. None of them have my full name on them or anything like that, but still. I guess if someone wants the link to one or more of those, MeFi mail me?

Oh, today is my 22nd workiversary. I'm still employed, albeit "technically" at this point since they don't seem to be able to fire me while on disability leave. I didn't think I was going to make it to today. On a related note, I decided to post a celebratory "I made it through January" post on my FB theater account (one is required to use FB if you do theater shows now, so that one's under an alias, friends only, my work stalker is blocked and I only friend people I can verify) on the 1st, which turned into two hours of writing it on my phone, sheesh. However, after writing the first two paragraphs, I realized I was going to have to explain this post to the people who I haven't seen in person and thus trauma dumped all over, so I had to write out all of the work drama. And then I really snapped and wrote an apology to the ex-friend that they probably won't see, to boot. (They have not defriended me yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if they muted me or something like that.) Then i got myself off FB for the rest of the weekend and haven't looked at the responses yet. It kinda looks like from the notifications I haven't read that there were a lot, probably nice things, but ex-friend probably didn't and that's why I didn't check all weekend. I know, i know, it's over and I dynamited it and there's no way to come back from that. My therapist suggested asking to talk in person and that clearly I haven't been able to resolve it on my own without input from ex-friend, but also ex-friend may very well never want to speak to me again in the first place.

Anyway, I've written a novel here for like an hour again, and at this point need to wrap it up before there's a computer crash or something. I need to do things like shower and read email and job hunt, but it was a long weekend and since I'm not working, I'm justifying taking a rest this morning to uh...write on Metafilter :P
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:09 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I forgot to say that I do write Wikipedia articles. I'm at 28 now, of which 27 are about women. The one I did about a man, although he was rather a marginally notable person, it was noticeable how much easier it was to find sources about him. The one piece of info I struggled to find was his wife's name.
posted by paduasoy at 10:26 AM on February 5 [11 favorites]


I send out a lot of letters and greeting cards. Three years of drafting classes in high school have bestowed upon me very exacting printing that people seem to appreciate.

At the end of last month I sent out texts to all of my friends to see who wanted to receive a Valentine's Day card this year. I recognize that all sorts of people feel all sorts of ways about Valentine's Day so my cards for that holiday are strictly opt-in. A little over thirty people said they wanted one so I've been writing a few a day and I'll send them all out later this week.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:54 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I'm writing a letter destined for the mail-à-la-snail using an Alpina SK24. Also a blog.
posted by misteraitch at 10:55 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


1. Resume Update
2. Asteroids type game code
3. Graph Traverser code for a puzzle solver
4. A music sequencer thing
5. A couple comic book.
6. An RPG/Fantasy game plot novel thing.

And none of the above will probably ever be complete except 1.
posted by symbioid at 10:58 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


so...unlike so many of you here (!!!) I have never published before. I did not even know what querying was. so now I am looking into that. and I find the idea really scary. like, I really really want to finish The Book, and would be so utterly spiffed to have it get published. but doing the query thing would be the first actual step I would take toward that goal (other than the writing part) and I'm a bit frightened of that. I guess I'm just sharing but if any of you accomplished authors have any words of wisdom or encouragement that you would like to share, I'm all ears!
posted by supermedusa at 10:59 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I'm currently writing this Metafilter comment. I'm nearly finished with it.

How did it turn out?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:01 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I have a blog (http://www.eccesignum.org)

I know this isn't correct, but my mind immediately translated that as "Here's Your Sign" (a la Bill Engvall's routine).
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:08 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


AzaraelBrown, I also learned technical drawing and commercial illustration the old fashioned way. Shaker and Kuru Toga mechanical pencils seem to be in every drawer and under every pile of papers in my house.

There are several models of Kuru Toga. Some like the Advance Upgrade have metal parts for better weight, some like the Pipe Slide have a fully extendable spring loaded sleeve to prevent the lead from breaking, some like the Advance have the W Speed Engine that rotates the lead 360 degrees in 20 strokes instead of 40, there are one with rubber grips or gel grips. And then there is the Dive, with magnets, adjustable auto lead advance, nice materials… if you are lucky to find one, let me know how it feels. I have exhausted my Japanese and German writing instrument budget for the next 10 years.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:12 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I forgot to mention my favorite pen: an uniball eye from mitsubishi pencil co. I buy them ten at the time. Before I had fountain pens and I dream of a Montblanc. But until I can afford that, the uniball it is.
I like using an ink pen rather than a pencil, because then I can't erase. I have to make the decisions. But I too learnt to make the technical drawings and all the stuff is still here.

Right now, I am baking a lasagne. I've made the lasagne from scratch, with spinach, something I've dreamt of for several years. I think maybe we had this on a very weird roadtrip we were on when I was 8 and my brother was 7. The baby was a baby. Anyway, my kids gave me a pasta machine for Christmas and this is the second time it's in use. Youngest daughter helped me, and also made two delicious-looking salads: one with puntarelle and one with tomato. I can hardly wait to indulge.
posted by mumimor at 11:17 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I'm certainly better with writing than I am with anything else I've had to do today....(nothing serious, just having a pecked-to-death-by-ducks kind of day)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:17 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I'm a technical and corporate finance proposal writer. I write at least 100 pages a week, but only read by about 50-100 of my coworkers. I also read the same documents, prepared by peers and interfacing companies. Probably read 500 pages a week.

That always blows my mind - in ~20 years, I've basically written an entire encyclopedia line, read by about 1000 people.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:18 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


On writing, I have a knack for writing tutorials and instructions, also enjoy doing the illustrations. I am also decent at world building, have been a DM on and off for 30 years all in homebrew worlds.

I complained to a friend who is a fine essayist and short story writer that everytime I try to write a story in one of my worlds it ends up reading like a manual. He convinced me to try to write a manual for something in one of these worlds and see if it can be something fun to read. I started on this, then real life got in the way.

What I -have- been writing are job descriptions, technical emails to partners and clients, project onboarding handbooks, and helping others polish their resumes and interview skills.

Maybe I’ll write a job description for an egg sorter at the glowing pools of the temple of the recovered cesium rods. I bet if I post it on LinkedIn I would get a few dozen candidates.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:24 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


supermedusa, I will echo the advice above to visit the PubTips subreddit as well as QueryShark. PubTips will critique your query letter (I think they are sometimes stricter than necessary about the things that don't really matter, so you may need to gird your loins and take things with a grain of salt) - but mostly it's just useful to see a hundred different examples of query letters that are excellent and query letters that are good but still have room to improve.

Dated but useful advice: On the getting of agents and Slushkiller.

(The thing that has dated the most is this: The easiest time to get an agent is when you’ve just gotten an offer on a book. There are so few publishers that accept unagented submissions that it really is easiest just to go ahead and query agents; agents take risks all the time on people who don't have anything besides an excellent book and an excellent query letter - not that either of those things is a guarantee. I link the post anyway because the concept of a "gormless agent" is a helpful one. And some of the agents who have very hip and active social media presences, who make you think, "Gosh, I wish she were my agent!" are by all indications pretty gormless.)
posted by Jeanne at 11:28 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


> "I guess I'm just sharing but if any of you accomplished authors have any words of wisdom or encouragement that you would like to share, I'm all ears!"

My advice, for whatever it's worth, would be:

1) Do a web search for what should go into a standard query letter. There are plenty of examples online.

2) Pay close attention to the requirements of anyone you send it to. If they want three chapters, that's what you should send them. If they don't take the genre you're writing in, don't send it to them. And so on.

3) A lot of people recommend personalizing a query letter ("I see on your webpage that you have an german shepherd. That's awesome -- I raise german shepherds!") It's not, like, a terrible idea or anything, but it's also not really a necessity the way some people make it out to be.

4) Probably the most important part of the query letter is the hook -- the first sentence or two where you tell them about your book in the briefest possible terms. Make it interesting.

5) You can and should include biographical information that's relevant to your book or your writing history in general, but you might want to keep it to that unless they specifically ask for a longer bio.

6) Many places will ask for a 500-600 word synopsis of your book. These can be a little tricky to figure out if you've never written one before. It should include the main events of the story only. Do not get lost in the weeds of subplots and exposition; tell only what is necessary to convey the basic story. Include as few character names as you reasonably can (like, if you name the main character, the love interest, and the main villain, try to just refer to anyone else as "a friend" or whatever.) Absolutely do spoil the ending and any important twists.
posted by kyrademon at 11:29 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


For the first time in more than 10 years, I'm polishing up my resume. The company I've worked for for quite some time is about to be acquired, with the intent of shifting me and my team onto a different emerging product.

I don't find the new product completely unethical on its face, but it could easily be used in unethical ways. There is very little appetite to prevent this (as long as it's a paying customer), and I'm pretty sure that I'm going to find myself in a nasty situation sometime during this upcoming election cycle (both my current product and the new one are politics/lobbyist adjacent). At this point, I kind of feel like I have to prepare to go, which is a huge bummer.

On a related note, if you're a small to medium sized company that's interested in talking to a 30 year sysadmin (or leader of sysadmins) with a ton of current DevOps and DevSecOps chops and a history of public-facing products (and four, soon to be five "exit events"), please get in touch.
posted by toxic at 11:36 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Currently engaged in my usual game of PMS chicken, in which my hormones argue that I must cleanse all that I survey with nuclear fire while the rest of me just tries to get through a workday like normal. My period will then begin at ~5 or 6 pm and my desire to become death, destroyer of worlds, will perish for another month (as long as I have not ended the world first).
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:49 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Blast Hardcheese I send you virtual chocolate! (from the land of postmenopause)
posted by supermedusa at 12:05 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I’ve spent the last month or so largely in an artists/writers residency in rural Finland, though currently I’m home. I was supposed to come swing by for two nights to spend some time with the kids before heading back to the residency, but a couple of friends visited with their kids, one of whom turned out to have a Norovirus infection. So the last twenty four hours have been very not fun.

I and an American translator got a grant to work on a collection of my poetry, translated from Icelandic into English. She’s been slowly working on it for seven years, and now it’s almost done. We have three weeks left of the grant period, so everything from now on will be a bonus. I’m also working on a new poem, and hopefully that’ll get done soon.

It’s been great to be able to focus on my poetry, but being away from the wife and kids has been strange. It’s okay during the day, when I’m working, but going to bed and waking up has been disorienting.
posted by Kattullus at 12:25 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


What I'm writing: My shopping list is on my phone; no writing needed just select/de-select items from a permanent list. More long-term reminders and events I keep on my calendar app - barely any typing and a few taps/mouse-clicks. I write countless little notes to self and to-do lists but I think that hardly counts. I occasionally tweak my resume/CV, not that it's helped much. Then of course there's all my excellent and highly enjoyable Metafilter comments. I used to write code in dBase III (which wasn't too terribly far removed from COBOL) to create a couple of self-contained applications. It was fun but I haven't done that or any other coding in more than 20 years; these days it's no more than the occasional SQL query. For a while in my 20's-30's I did a whole bunch of world-building and creating scenarios to use when I DM'd for the D&D groups I was in, but gave it all away after my interest in the game waned.

Recently I was required to pull together glowing and insightful "Talent Profile" and "Performance check-in" documents about myself for work, in which I had to play up what I've accomplished job-wise in the past year and what I plan to do in the next. I think it turned out well but I found it exhausting work because it's essentially advertising; I hate advertising in any form but I especially loathe tooting my own horn*.

Most of my longer-form composing has been in the technical sphere, which I've always enjoyed:
  • Compiling "best practices" documents, sort of guidelines covering things our team gets wrong and how to do them right when creating knowledge articles from support tickets. Those articles are customer-facing and need to be clear, jargon-free, and easy to follow for non-technical types (and ideally they should look nice and "professional" too, since we're a big multi-national company and ought to present ourselves as one). Unfortunately "clear, jargon-free, and easy to follow, let alone "professional", seems to be difficult for most technical support staff, and until recently there's been no incentive for engineers to do more than the absolute barest slap-dash minimum, which is often quite terrible. I'm hoping my "best practices" docs will make a difference, but I've got my work cut out for me.

  • Creating voice-over scripts I then record for customer-facing "how to" videos I've been making for the software products we support. Apparently I have the best voice on the team, and since I have larger voice-over aspirations I'd bought a good large-diaphram condenser microphone. I spent way too much money on it, but as I've also spent a couple hundred bucks on acoustic treatment for my office (to reduce reverb - that "recording in a bathroom" effect) my recordings sound absolutely amazing. So amazing in fact that I don't even experience the "Ew is that my voice!?" reaction people usually do when they hear a recording of themselves. That all means that I've sort of locked myself into "volunteering" to voice videos other people have made/will make as well, which I'm okay with.
What I'm writing with: As you can tell from the above, the large majority of my writing is on a computer. For hand-writing, up until recently I exclusively used and enjoyed writing with a Uniball Jetstream ballpoint pen. But last year, despite my initial hesitancy I ended up collecting quite a few inexpensive fountain pens along with maybe a dozen different colors of ink. I'll admit I find them more fiddly than I'd prefer for a lot of quick-and-dirty note taking, they usually require a little extra effort to get the ink going after they've sat untouched for a day or 10. But I haven't given them up yet; it's fun having a handful of pens loaded with different colors available to my whims, and now that I've found flexible nibs I enjoy the way the varying line thickness gives my scribbles a slightly elegant air.

By the way, these Metafilter comments are the closest I have ever or will ever come to blogging / journaling / whatever. In fact I've started thinking about pulling together my more biographical free-thread and MetaTalkTail Hour comments and build a collection of stories about my life - someday after I'm gone my son might enjoy reading about things in my life that he wasn't directly involved in, and I've told quite a few stories here that I probably haven't otherwise mentioned to a friend or two. Of course, that will probably make me think of more stories to write down, but so be it. Perhaps I'll use it as an excuse to do more with all those fountain pens....

*I know what you're thinking. Naughty!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:40 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I'm writing job application cover letters, which is incredibly demoralizing (doubly so since they're just being fed through "AI" to be silently auto-rejected).

So as something of a balm, I've been working on some blog posts on stationery and note-taking and drafting snarky posts for Mastodon.

Right now, I'm taking notes during a great live stream of Mystery AI Hype Theater 3000.

And always writing something in my journal.
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:52 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


A couple of decades ago I wrote my first novel, about a bisexual empath guitarist who had used her empathic talent to win over her piano playing roommate and now was trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. I never ever tried to market it. Then I wrote the prequel, which was the actual story of how the guitarist and the pianist got together. Finally, I wrote a third novel, a science fiction thing with the end of the world and a nuclear bomb-propelled spacecraft, the main characters of which were basically the same two women from the first two novels, minus the empath stuff and adding in clones. This is the only one I tried to market, and it went nowhere.

So, realizing I was basically using the same characters anyway, I decided to go back and work on the first two novels again, since I fell in love with my co-protagonists way back in the beginning and I think the stories were closer to my heart than the science fiction novel (despite the presence of clones and an atomic bomb-propelled spaceship). I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the prequel’s rewrite tunnel. I doubt I’ll try to formally publish it…perhaps just self-publish on Amazon and Kobo, and let it out as a serial somewhere. It could probably use editing I can’t afford, so it’s a hobby, and maybe someone, somewhere will end up reading it someday.

Oh, and this is all on computer. Mostly as a Longform project in Obsidian. I work on everything from my MacBook Air to my iPad Mini to my iPhone…BlueTooth keyboards are the bomb.
posted by lhauser at 12:53 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Wordshore: “Wondering how many MeFites nowadays are still blogging, or have resumed blogging after a break, or are thinking of resuming blogging or doing so for the first time? Also, what is your blog?”
I have resumed thinking about thinking to start the process of moving the posts I care about off Facebook — mainly the 100+ entries in my Post-War Japanese Film Festival — to a blog and the ones I don't — e.g., Current Statuses which are always links to music — to Mastodon or something. My blog currently consists of one post, my Saturday pizza making procedure.

You can get an Eleventy blog on Glitch for free.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:16 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I have so many books/movies that are 60% or more completed in my head. There's a bonkers pseudo-zombie one, in which parasites can not only wear dead human beings like suits of armor, they can recombine parts to get particular effects/abilities (six arms, ten feet tall, three torsos on one waist, whatever.) There's one where a guy time travels to keep Elvis Presley from becoming irrelevant/dying and Elvis ends up a punk. There's an action movie about a sixtysomething Hungarian woman killing a bunch of Nazis. And there's a baseball story about an aging minor leaguer playing one game for the worst team in the league on the last day of the season, but the game will settle a playoff spot. There's a Superman movie in there, too.

Oh, and a mockumentary about a town where a movie franchise-like slasher killer has returned once a year for decades to kill a bunch of people, but everyone is used to it now. "Some towns have hurricanes or wildfires. We just have Sam, I guess."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:35 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I used to write constantly -- journaling, prose, poetry, short stories, all interspersed with sketches and doodles. I stopped writing after a situation regarding subletting my room to a friend for what was supposed to be just a few months. The subletter decided they weren't going to leave and disposed of everything I had left behind in storage, including all of my notebooks full of writing. The other roommates, who were also friends, chose the path of least resistance, thus siding with the subletter. Since then, I've written song lyrics and I jot down some story ideas every five or six years but nothing much beyond that. I stopped journaling entirely. It'll be 20 years this August.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:39 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


I love this thread! Thank you, Wordshore, for posting.

Would anyone be interested in body doubling or weekly/biweekly write-ins to help focus on projects? If so, please memail me. The wonderful joannemerriam hosted a few write-ins when we were doing Nah-NoWriMo over in IRL a year or so ago and I found the structure to be so helpful. They were about 60-90 minutes-ish.

A poet friend in Tokyo has organized a postcard poetry project and we're in the middle of it now -- it started at solstice and ends at the spring equinox. Every three days, you scrawl an impromptu poem on a postcard, whatever comes to mind, and send it to a stranger on a list, and then three days later, another, and another, always moving up the list. And over the past six weeks I've amassed a whole stack of postcard poems from strangers who I don't know, but who know my friend somehow or another.

It's terrific fun and I'm really enjoying it. I'm not really a poet and I have no real idea what I'm doing. I'd worried that I'd panic and end up sending a half-hearted succession of increasingly filthy limericks but the opposite has happened: I'm writing things I actually like. And now I have a basket of postcards to flip through to pass the winter.

Most of my writing these days is on notecards, Nabokov style. I need to type them out.
posted by mochapickle at 1:42 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Star Trek fan fiction, lol. (AO3 link)
posted by jabah at 1:43 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


The recent interview of Albert Brooks on Marc Maron's WTF podcast is really good if you like Albert Brooks,
posted by neuron at 2:01 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I am amazed how many people write novels/books/etc on here. I guess I shouldn't be surprised honestly. Most of the folks on MeFi seem to be creative thoughtful types.

Shocker, I write too. Mental health more than making a living... so I self publish everything on SmashWords and Amazon and just bypass the whole "this is an awesome product" thing, which means my quality is probably terrible, but hey, mental-emotional-spiritual release was accomplished.

I am working on draft 4 of my 6th book, an Indiana Jones style adventure set on another world. Which is dreary (the editing, not the book). So in the small stints between editing sprints, I spend a lot of time working on short form things, one of which is set in a fantasy/magicpunk/steampunk sort of world, and the main character discovers that magic picks you, not the other way around.

Bravo to all of you that make the time and take the energy to sell your work. We should have an index of MeFi's writing projects for those that are fighting the good fight. How can I support you all? Memail me your links so I can at least pick up some books without it breaking any terms of use of MeFi posts? Please?
posted by discardme at 2:11 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


My grandma had a ghost called Fred. He came free with the house.

Oh my god, so do we!

Having one of those names that people get wrong more than correct, I use Fred as my Starbucks name.

No matter what the name is, "Fred" is always easier to be right said.


RIGHT DEAD FRED: I'm too sexy for my body.
posted by otherchaz at 2:12 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I'm writing a short story about my heroine"s disastrous vacation. My tools are a notebook that claims to be scratch and sniff and a fountain pen.

I continue to edit the novel I drafted in Scrivener. Moving the edit to Word let me spot more errors to squash.

Also, I have a bullet journal in a notebook that lights up. It helps even when I can't get a lot done.
posted by dragonplayer at 2:21 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I am avoiding my assignments by writing a cozy fantasy novel. I allow myself a couple of hundred words of distraction and then have to go back and do real work. At this rate, neither will ever be finished.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:43 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Are there any Kilmarnock FC fans out there? I am going to view my first match (on a screen) with a true fan.. Saturday morning, very early but that's time zones for you
posted by elkevelvet at 3:10 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Wow, what a thread – thanks Wordshore! That’s nice to hear slimepuppy and like neuron I’m amazed at how many book writers are here.

I‘ve got a tradeshow next month – Wanaka in NZ’s South Island, and spending most of my time making posters for my stand – I’m promoting some new ideas (esp. making landscapes for Passivhaus buildings, and integrating landscape architecture with geotechnical design – mine restoration) so tons of reading, writing, scribbling and CAD, post-its and notes everywhere. And my wife has just built me a new website so I’m trying to find time to add more content to it – as I have 100% access now. Yesterday was spent writing & senting a questionnaire on Passivhaus and already getting replies from across the planet, from one-person companies to professors to large architects – the internet community is still amazing.

I normally have a small marquee with posters inside and out and then sit like a spider in my web. This time I'm doing something different - I've got (what I hope is) pole position so I'm dispensing with the tent, making a large fabric backdrop and taking a very bright green beach umbrella - company colour, plus hay bales to give me a bit of a separation from the crowds – this show gets 30-40,000 people over two days – and there’s about 600 stands.

Early in my career someone (who didn't become a client) called me “Just a fucking gardener” to my face, idk why people hate on gardeners. Anyway the phrase has a certain frisson, so toying with whether to use it and how – at the moment a flag on my parked car with More than Just a Fucking Gardener, Site # is appealing. This is an agricultural show and that’s my target demographic, that and rural property owners, so there's a fair bit of earthy humour.
posted by unearthed at 3:18 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]




I wrote my first tune ever yesterday. It, well, it sucks. But it was fun, and maybe after a whole lot of practice at it, maybe they might suck a bit less.

No one still wants to hire me, so yay.

But the news I'm actually thrilled about is that (starting tomorrow when a cable arrives in the post) I can finally record my violin without ambient noise for the first time in my life. The drawback is that it's the electric violin that I'm recording. I don't like the electric too much, it's not as much fun to play as my acoustic instrument. Recording the acoustic, without a dedicated recording space or a lot of money, is a right pain. The electric allows me to practice in my apartment though so it's a necessary evil. I have a cable coming tomorrow, so the recording goes from the fiddle to the amp to the computer, and then later this week I'm getting an audio mixer. The mixer lets me play the electric instrument and a different audio track concurrently through a single pair of headphones. I have singer friends who like to send me tracks to accompany and I will be able to work on their songs with the mixer now.
posted by wurl1tzer_c0 at 3:34 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


I had a first date yesterday for the first time this century. It was lovely.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:47 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


I don't like the electric too much, it's not as much fun to play as my acoustic instrument.

I know what you mean wurl1tzer_c0. For many years I played an electric upright bass (a/k/a "baseball bat with strings") in small jazz groups because that's all I could afford. It played well and felt like a real upright bass, but it always bugged me that I could never get it to sound quite like a proper acoustic upright - it didn't have That Sound. Eventually I moved on from bass and focused on other instruments.

A few years ago I decided to pick up upright bass again - but this time I could finally afford a decent (acoustic) instrument! I found one I liked, bought it, upgraded the strings, and it plays and sounds absolutely fantastic - all that air, and swell, mmm! 🥰 Looks gorgeous too. Made me feel like a proper Upright Bassist. Alas, the irony - I ended up not getting back into bass playing after all. So it sits in a corner gathering dust and taking up space...but I can't bear to sell it now that I finally have one after 20 years of wanting one!
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:51 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


supermedusa, most of what else I’d add has been covered by kyrademon.

The other thing, though—unless you are made of money, keep a weather eye out for individuals (some nice, some well meaning) who will charge you all manner of rates to edit, read, improve, massage, or critique every bit of writing you do en route to publication, from your fiction to your query to your synopsis. Some of them are good and can help writers, but all of them are making money from those writers.

Also, maybe check out Delilah S. Dawson’s essay about becoming a trad pubbed author. It’s a decade old, but still full of wisdom. There are many such essays out there, but this one is quite practical in ways I have found helpful.
posted by cupcakeninja at 3:52 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


We had our first official family visit in our new (to us) home, and it went very well. Everyone seemed to be able to sleep and eat and share the single bathroom, to be flexible about daily plans for food and sightseeing and relaxing, and to chill out as needed. I got Ubuntu installed on my old touchscreen laptop so I can start another project, transcribing my bulging recipes folders into something sleek and searchable. I might try using a diagram software that will allow me to simply make an ingredient list then link cooking actions to blocks of ingredients that can then link to other blocks. That way nearly any recipe can take up only 1 page at most.
I was also able to work on my cards for the Valentine's /February card swaps, mostly artwork while some kind of message burbles in my unconscious. It's a challenge to say something in a small space to a stranger and hopefully sound real, and share a little bit of life.
Always is the looming memoir project; I've been reading some memoirs that Mary Karr recommended and really enjoying them. Meanwhile, house fix it lists, cleaning and painting and getting estimates, corralling tax documents, and thinking up ways to store things yet be able to find them. Ironically this involves unpacking clearly labelled boxes and putting things into containers without labels in what may be a good place or may be some kind of black hole of stuff.
posted by winesong at 3:58 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I'm working on my first novel (or novelette, or novela, whatever). I'm 26K words in but keep getting tripped up on character arc and other non-fun aspects.
posted by signal at 4:11 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I checked in at the American Airlines desk (at MSP) two days ago, and the guy wore VR goggles the entire time.

I was too taken aback to ask what he was watching: nothing? X-rays of my bag? My reservation? Was it an assistive device, or some security tool, or was his boss out sick so he was watching high school hockey??

The future feels weird.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:14 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


I shall recite a poem that was inspired by a philosophy professor I hung out with at the bar.

Hank Impersonates President Bush.

me, sorry.
...Bar and I are
going up to Naropa (hand gesture)
gonna do that Jackie Kerouac
stream of consciousness thing.
posted by clavdivs at 5:15 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I've mentioned this before: I used to write a lot, and I don't as much anymore. It's not a bad thing for me, it's just a matter of my priorities shifting, and not conceiving of projects oriented to text but to other things instead.

I used to create a fair bit of writing in fiction and non-fiction (essays and reviews in small periodicals). I wrote a bunch of short stories and some novellas which explored personal ideas in a non-commercial fictional context. I felt that they expressed what I wanted to convey at the time.

Several years ago we moved and changed jobs, and around that time I became less interested in exploring ideas in words (except for wasting time on social media). Since then, for creative things I've been doing more sculpture and more music. The toughest thing for me now is songwriting and composition, which is hard to do well, and infinitely challenging. I'm almost always discouraged now, but I'm thankful to have an interesting mental struggle to work on.
posted by ovvl at 5:23 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I am wrapping up a novel I have been working on for 17 years. Here is the blurb.
------------------

I know everything,
Says the note left for Rick by his wife.

Kate is wrong, though. She does not know everything. Can never know everything. Because Rick fiercely protects his secrets. About his past, his work, his women. So many women.

Now, though, after decades of his gaslighting, Kate persists. As she cracks open some secrets, Rick fends off her efforts to expose others, including the ultimate and most unforgivable betrayal. Until his main side piece, frustrated and angry, provokes a confrontation that has unforeseeable and catastrophic results.

Can Rick now change his ways? Become the man his new love innocently believes him to be? Or does he persist in fulfilling his appetites, blithely confident he can forever outrun the avalanche of consequences headed his way. . . .


S U D D E N
S I L E N C E
a tale of secrets, suspicion, betrayal, death, and consequences
by Skip Harris
posted by charris5005 at 5:51 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


For work:
- Developmental editing a series of LinkedIn posts on enterprise software for a freelance client
- Writing a client's email newsletter
- Writing another client's podcast prep documents

Otherwise I'm trying to figure out what the hell to do with my life next and how to make awesome things happen for my family this year. Lots of brainstorming with ink on paper and it's beautiful.
posted by allthethings at 6:41 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I'm new into therapy so I'm writing notes about my life daily. I've tried to keep a diary for literally decades but now that I have someone that I might talk to these things about? Oh yeah, I'm all over this now.

Years ago I wrote some liner notes for a series of album rereleases. This came about because I posted about this musical artists here on MetaFilter, back in the day of MegaPosts, and someone attached to that artist saw my megapost, got in touch with the artist who got someone at the reissuing label to contact me about this writing assignment.

I've done other paid-for-hire wiring across the years, but this is the only part of my career that was released internationally. I wish I'd been slightly more professional about the job, but it's the thing I'm most proud of in my writing so far.

I can sit and write for hours about things I have researched. Typing is a nearly zero effort activity for me and thinking is fun. What I have never been able to figure out is how to find a book topic for non fiction I'm willing to invest myself that fully in, or a story for fiction that I contain within myself that is worth telling. I did NaNoWriMo once, and it is one of the blackest parts of my life.

So, I guess I'm aspirationally a writer of books, but I have written other things!

Mostly these days my writing is in those notes for therapy or doing posts and comments here on MetaFilter.
posted by hippybear at 6:57 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


"clear, jargon-free, and easy to follow, let alone "professional"

I hate it when I'm talking about creating clear professional writing, and miss something as glaring as a closing quote mark. Thank goodness I review and re-review and re-re-review my work-related writing! (and still miss occasional random typos but we won't talk about that just now)
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:36 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I just don't think about it. I blame the Turbian/Chicago manual style schism

history major is really got it rough. all those footnotes one " out of place and it's the red pen of HA. I've almost actually forgotten what it's like to finish a novel. it shows. but the short story, the short story, the short story. always stands out. the first one for me, the catbird seat anytime I ever think of that it's all has a cat got your tongue. I laughed my ass off for economical reasons. one of the most harrowing short stories is a good man is hard to find. I mean holy s***. A Vanderbilt professor once told me they tagged along when Miss O'Connor visited and had the uncanny tactile ability to swipe away any comment stating the obvious.

imagine Joan Didion three martinis deep into an eight ball. sorry Joan. but I don't really blame myself and as you said quote "Hollywood is a the city of slow No"
unquote.
just another imaginary spiral hook for the short story. the short story. it's either bad or good anything else in between is a writing exercise. bad short stories are like a text message when you have the phone someone back for clarification all the while dotting on the ornamentation. good short story makes you want to read it twice and then again all the while reaffirming your faith in literary poignancy were brevity becomes still.
At University I fell in love with someone that could do no wrong consciously, and I immediately appreciated someone that was more intelligent and wiser than i. On our third date under the stars I told her story.

8 KB a bad data processing sent the second Mars expedition off course slingshotting around the planet further out into the solar system. the compressed ion engine will not work without a new processor. the husband and wife crew acknowledge their fate but still maintain communication with Mars and Earth as the days go by that communication seems less important, a continuous task. but control still keeps calling every hour and leaving messages or status updates which starts to disturb the crew slightly after one month so they shut it down. everything after that was private, it became a gray space in the history of space travel. day 94. the CO2 filters failing, active radar comes to life. small silvery ship pulls alongside the size of three canoes. the crew turns on the communications discovers that's the craft next to them is an experimental probe that carried equipment that they needed for their journey back to Mars the only thing they could wonder is why their life depended on secrets but they took it just the same.

"you should write that down"
I just did

2 years later I burned almost everything I ever wrote. why did you do that. because it's average it's an exercise and it's mine.
you don't realize that some of the words are a small part of me lifting an ashy scribbled fragment and I realized there are some things you cannot escape.

even after 30 years.
posted by clavdivs at 9:51 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


For those with an interest, the two most recent MetaTalk threads are about MeFite writers (one involving awards, one a book birthday!).
posted by cupcakeninja at 3:20 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Pretty good day, although not writing, strictly speaking.

Finished the print layout for a book, which is always a big, fiddly headache. Finished the cover art too, hopefully I've got the spine in the right place for the page count. Improved the back-of-the-cover description (which is code for "deleted two-thirds of it").

Figured out how to generate a barcode of the ISBN, also for the back cover.

This stuff I can do. Selling, not so much.
posted by Zumbador at 5:46 AM on February 6 [6 favorites]


elkevelvet: Do you mind expanding on what it means to be the punchline?

OK, I got a copy of the script last night, so here's a better explanation of being the punchline:

The premise for the horror-comedy is it's Christmas, and an old tube TV magically appears on a family's doorstep -- but it's haunted and evil. Silly and scary events ensue. In the climax, the TV is smashed and the family is saved.

Immediately after is where my character and his wife, Christmas guests, arrive with presents, etc., we enter, see the destruction, act surprised, ask what happened, and the main cast answers: "Yeah, uh....We got a new TV". Fade to black.

So, the second option from my previous post, we set up the punchline but don't deliver it, we're the straight man who says the normal line so the funny man can deliver the final, funniest line of the joke.

Also: My writing professor, who always tells me what a great writer I am, got one of the roles I read for 😊 Our first table read is next Monday, which will be fun.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:16 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


I'm tangentially up for a Stoker this year! (I'm in the anthology Darkness Blooms, which is up in the collection category. The editors - Alin Walker and Monica Louzon - actually get the award.)

Yesterday I wrote a flash fiction for Tales to Terrify's annual contest. Last year I was a runner up. (Episode 591) We'll see how that goes. This year's theme is "secret societies," which I struggled with; I have a little too much knowledge of the subject and they're all silly when you get down to it. I think I got it back to horror, and under the wordcount limit too.
posted by Scattercat at 7:34 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


I wrote an obituary for my Dad and am working on a eulogy for the funeral. He was on hospice for 6+ months so it was no surprise, but the barrage of requests is stunning. For example, yesterday we took a shirt to the mortuary for them to dress him in his coffin. The mortician asked for a pair of pants and underwear (!) for the body as well. Who knew cadavers needed underwear?
posted by olopua at 7:40 AM on February 6 [14 favorites]


Supermedusa, I will second the excellent advice you've gotten above. I'll also add:

* The single most important step in writing a book is finishing a first draft. Your brain is going to come up with all sorts of reasons for you to stop writing (including but not limited to a fear of querying!) Push through them. Once you've got a first draft on paper, you can start revising it. Once you've got a final revised draft, you can start querying it. But you can't revise or query blank pages.

* Among the millions of people who have thought about writing a novel, only a minority ever put their butt in the chair and started writing. By actually braving the blank page, you are already in an elite group and you should be proud of yourself. If you make it to the last page of your first draft, you will be in an even more exclusive club and you should feel immensely proud of yourself.

* Our society puts too much emphasis on the market value of creativity. It's easy to fall into the mindset that if you never get paid for your book, you wasted the time spent writing it. This is completely false. Once you finish that first draft, you will have Done The Thing. If you then find it meaningful to revise and polish it until it is publishable quality, you will have Done A Whole New Thing. And if you then find it meaningful to seek publication, you will be embarking on a New Thing Entirely. All of those Things are worthwhile and can be fun or meaningful... but you never need to do the Next Thing to justify the time spent on the previous one. Being a human is the only justification you need to spend time creating stuff.
posted by yankeefog at 8:12 AM on February 6 [24 favorites]


yankeefog that's absolutely excellent advice.
posted by Zumbador at 8:17 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


olopua, I am sorry to hear about your dad. My own dad had a health scare recently and I am still spooked by it.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:29 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


ob1quixote: “You can get an Eleventy blog on Glitch for free.”
Coincidentally, the Glitch "Code Jam" for this month is "Welcome to my blog."
posted by ob1quixote at 8:34 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


olopua, I am so sorry. Planning a funeral is really weird, you find yourself making all sorts of decisions that you never expected you would have to have to make.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 3:13 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


This is about something I already wrote, but I just got an acceptance today for a paper I’d been working on, in fits and starts, for about six years. Heck yeah!!

In other household writing news, Little eirias recently won a poetry contest! (One of many winners.) Her poem is really pretty good, in my 100% unbiased estimation. My own attempts at poetry never rise above doggerel, so I don’t know where she gets it, but I’m proud.

Congrats to all you novelists and other fiction writers. I have no idea how you do it, but I’m glad you do.
posted by eirias at 3:47 PM on February 6 [12 favorites]


Never been much of a writer. Did my LotR ripoff novel when I was in middle school. Cringe. Not Legolas by Laura, (would link but too many TWs, look it up yourself), but how about an original idea dude? Terry Brooks did it better. And wrote a ripoff of Shadow Over Innsmouth after that, but without the racism or the fish-people? My baddies were just a cult? Can't remember.

The only thing I physically write are shopping lists, and component counts of games I am inventorying. And what do I write on my computer? Of late, not very damn much. Email exchanges with the people I'm gaming with, occasional posts on BGG, (shoutout to any RSPers!). Many posts on Metafilter. Have three or four monologues started, but rarely get to the second paragraph...

But! a PBEM wargame conundrum has hit me, and I said to myself, "I can figure out a solution to this!", and fired up my old Delphi 2010. Haven't done any coding that wasn't mostly, hook the parts up, look at the data. This one is trickier. So I have sort of started writing code again, though still thinking and just making tables and hooking stuff together at this point.
posted by Windopaene at 8:30 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


And shoutout to the freethread concept, and Wordshore. We are (mostly) a great group of people. We all have our axes to grind, and we totally do.

Metafilter: We all have our axes to grind, and we totally do.

Put it on a plate you will enjoy it more...

I have had so many ask comments deleted, because I forget where I'm at. All the free threads have let us comment in ways that may not apply to the various subsites. Keep doing what you are doing y'all
posted by Windopaene at 9:07 PM on February 6 [7 favorites]


I do a lot of roleplaying online by writing. I feel like it fosters a very particular kind of writing skill, one that's very different to novelistic writing, but a good one to have. It teaches you to cooperate. It's also kept me active in a fan community that I've been in for 20+ years and that I'll be attending a con for next month, getting to see people I really adore.

In unrelated news: got my 2 1/2 week follow-up out of the way today. It's all good news, confirming my cancer had not spread so I'm not going to have to do chemo or radiation, and that my surgical recovery is going well. I can now pick up anything weighing less than 10 lbs., which means my smaller cat is about to be pretty unhappy. "NO SNUGGLE I", she says.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 9:33 PM on February 6 [14 favorites]


Wending my way through Moby-Dick and thoroughly enjoying it.

Fist bump to adoarns! I'm also reading Moby-Dick, and enjoying it so much more than I expected! Thought it was going to be a slog, wasn't committed to finishing, just wanted to read a few chapters and see how it went. It's so good! Funnier than I had any idea, dense in exactly the right way.

It's been on my list for years, since staying at a cool book-focused hotel in Newport Oregon, where each room is themed after an author. I stayed in the Tolkien room, my parents in the Melville room. I'd read some Tolkien, but no Melville. At the time it seemed like I should someday, and it took me around 20 more years to get to Moby-Dick! It needed read in the winter, and like I said, I thought it was going to be a slog, so every winter I would think, hmm, am I up for a slog? And decide no, it can wait another year. Well! I'm glad I finally got to it!

As for the week's topic, I'm not a writer at all. A big reader, and I can talk your ear off, but writing? Anything that can't be listed in bullet points is a struggle. I probably write more actual paragraphs here than anywhere else.
posted by dorey_oh at 11:01 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


I'm writing a novel. Sometimes I feel like the guy in this cartoon.

I often suspect I'm just doing this to have a world to escape into. If I'm really going to get any book to a publishable standard, I'm going to have to interrogate the characters more vigorously. An author I admire was recently online saying she keeps writing fiction because it helps her think more clearly. That's an interesting way of lookig at it, for me. Not that you have to think clearly in order to write, but that you will think more clearly through the practice.
posted by BibiRose at 3:07 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


From a good ways upthread:
Translation is treason, pure and simple.

A couple years ago I got kinda sorta roped into a translation project . I had offered more than once to edit this person's texts, they are a visual artist with no interest in coherence when it came to texts/artist statement-type necessities. I really like their work and have great respect for them and their ethic as an artist... but the language thing drove me up the fucking wall - even as non-sense it was non-sense. I mean, not even compelling non-sense, which non-sense sometimes is. Yet the artist has always been wildly resistant to making any changes at all and, of course, I gave up years ago. So, I get asked to do the translations for a book they are bringing out and I say yes, gladly. A big chunk of the text was poems and much to my surprise they were goooooood. Coherent (poetically coherent) and moving and just fucking solid. I was really blown away, I never saw it coming. They sent me with the originals plus a bunch of lightly edited machine-generated translations that I read through and put aside because they were garbage and an affront to the originals. So I dug in and did my thing and was, frankly, proud of my work because I think it brought the poems over the bridge, into English : This is, of course, the treason. In my defence, they needed to be in English - English needs them, in the way poetry is necessary for a language.

I sent over my translations, they were 'approved' and a couple months later I got a copy of the book. I was really looking forward to seeing the whole book because I was really looking forward to this artist having a chance of expanding their audience through having a book in English, the kind of book that shows up in museum books stores and etc. - and the translations were the machine-generated ones. I couldn't believe it at first and had to double check - I thought maybe they just didn't like my work and made their own edits - because of our history that was plausible. But no, it looked like they hadn't used my work at all. (Work I was paid for.)

I moped on this point for a good year, was assured by the artist that the work was good, they had appreciated it etc etc etc (and they told other, unaffiliated third party the same)... And then one afternoon I realised what had likely happened - they had sent the wrong file to the printer (they saw to this themselves, not an assistant). And, sadly/annoyingly/frustratingly now a whole big slice of potential audience is closed to them.

I printed out my copy of the poems and keep it in the book. In this story the real treason is perpetrated by the computer.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:09 AM on February 7 [11 favorites]


Oj, that is sad on so many levels. Ouch. dorey_oh, thank you for being a reader! We really need readers, including ones who don't write a word. Folks on the blue tend to be readers (among other things), and that is part of the wonder of MF for me.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:14 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


wenestvedt observes:
I checked in at the American Airlines desk (at MSP) two days ago, and the guy wore VR goggles the entire time.

I was too taken aback to ask what he was watching: nothing? X-rays of my bag? My reservation? Was it an assistive device, or some security tool, or was his boss out sick so he was watching high school hockey??

The future feels weird.


Can people use this device to apply a kitten filter in realtime to all the people they see? If so, my money is on that.
posted by eirias at 2:30 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


My interview went fairly well. Shorter than I expected, they only asked maybe 10 or less questions and the last three were stuff like "you know we're in the office every single day with no telework, right?". A couple of them I don't think I did so well at, like "how does your previous experience line up with this job" ('cause it does not) , I probably did alright on the majority though. I had to take a test that was a little weird, but I think I figured it out. They are interviewing around twelve people and I have low expectations, which is fine since I'm not sure if I'd take it anyway. Might be interesting and they sound like a nice, happy bunch at least.

I then went home and put my normal clothes on again and I feel better. I still have to write a cover letter though, which, bleah.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:27 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Writing down everything I'm worried about to try to get a grip on my anxiety. My dog is recovering from having a huge tumor removed on Tuesday, and he's not able to hear. They found an ear infection in both ears, and they've been packed with medicine now, hopefully his hearing will come back. His throat is all swollen from surgery so we have to be careful with food so he doesn't choke on it until the inflammation goes down.

Worried about the political situation in the USA.

Worried about my friend who's having heart trouble.

Not sure listing this out helps, but I'm trying everything. None of the things I'm worried about are problems I can solve so I just have to let things go.
posted by mareliz at 11:33 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


im late to fred but my current writing project is a book-shaped object called "What does it mean to trust a machine?" meant to serve as introductory text on trust metrics et al. as part of documentation for a software library of tools for applying this sort of math. My intended use of the library is in measuring trustability in aspects of software objects built within a reproducible "derivation" as in Gnu Guix, with a view toward programmatically generating executable images for random junk for which i can find or make opensource drivers

this work is going slowly because i am mentally ill and also not good at it plus i live in a van
posted by Rev. Irreverent Revenant at 4:32 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


oh yeah and i write in emacs org-mode
and publish on autistici/inventati blog platform
posted by Rev. Irreverent Revenant at 5:47 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


I finally after a couple of months of asking if we could hang out just told the only person I actually know around here after my work life falling apart that I fucking need to have some social interaction.
"I'm trying to get some help and get healed.
Anything social going on I might go go this weekend to break me out of my isolation?
I keep hinting that I'm dying a social death but I am done hinting. I need social mixing. Any suggestions?
I wish you weren't the only person I know here in Spokane but you are.
So sorry to keep asking for social contact. Just reading out in the only direction I know"

which has led to an invitation to me coming over to sit in his hot tub for a while tomorrow. And has left me feeling dirty for making the demand.

I don't know why I've spent literally months asking to hang out and being shunted aside every time. I can only assume that after some 25 years of friendship he no longer wants to know me. If someone I felt was a friend had asked me 3 or 4 times across the past months to get together, I would have found a way to do it.

So I guess I go hang out? Or I don't and call it off and just cancel the friendship? I've been asking to get together with him for literally months and he's given me a ton of excuses but it seems to me across months he could have found a few hours for me before now?

I think despite our decades-long history I've tainted this well. Maybe I just bail and delete his contact information.
posted by hippybear at 6:08 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]


I would like to write a thank-you note to people who participated in previous CD mixes here. I can't offer to run one so I am not complaining that they are no longer made. But when we cleaned out our car to get it detailed this week, we found a CD book with several years' worth of the mix CDs, which brought back all the good memories of bands I learned to love from those mixes.

So: thank you to the folks who did the organizing work and the folks who participated, from a participant who had great times mixing and making CDs and enjoying the work that other folks put in doing the same!
posted by gentlyepigrams at 6:20 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


I would like to write a thank-you note to people who participated in previous CD mixes here.

Yes, Me too. And also, yes, I understand why we don't do this anymore.

But yes, thanks for the CD mixtapes. They influenced me in ways I wasn't expecting when I put my name onto those lists.
posted by hippybear at 6:52 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


So I guess I go hang out? Or I don't and call it off and just cancel the friendship?

If I was in your position I'd go, feel the vibe, then either bail early with an excuse if it's not working and give up on the person, or revel in a renewed relaxed friendship if you're lucky. And either way, maybe apologize for being pushy if it helps assuage your guilt. But y'know, at least give it a chance...assuming you've got the spoons for dealing with the consequences of a possibly not-good time, that is. If you don't, and you don't like the odds of it going poorly, then cancel ahead of time (with aforementioned apology) and move on.

As an alternative, have you tried meetup.com?
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:04 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]


hippybear: I've read a lot of Shasta Nelson's friendship advice and she points out that some people are just terrible at initiating. In this case, you did have to openly ask to get the person to hang out, but that's still a win.
I get at least an email a week from someone about to give up on a relationship because they are tired of being the one to always reach out.
To be clear: I'm not one of those who believes that initiation has to be 50/50, and I don't believe in this "the ball is in her court" business. I'm completely fine hitting the ball repeatedly. I know many amazing relationships where one person is the primary catalyst, the initiator, or the scheduler. I know in our marriages that we settle into "roles" that we each play on behalf of the relationship, without each person needing to every chore 50/50. In a perfect world-- our friendships could be like that, too. I also think some people find it easier than others to reach out --based on practiced skills, insecurities, and personality types--and I'm all for each of us showing up with our strengths.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:39 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]


hippybear, I also have the same tendency to isolate, and I have the same doubts when I reach out to people. But lately I've found that mostly when I've been ignored it's because my friends were going through their own stuff. One particular friend tends to do the same thing I do, just shut down all social contact for months when things go badly, but we've been getting better at signaling when we're hunkered down for a while. Just because someone's bad at staying in touch doesn't mean they don't want to be friends. If that makes any sense.

Anyway, I had my follow-up appointment with my surgeon a couple of days ago. My recovery has gone remarkably well, and I say that as someone who has plenty of basis for comparison. I was doing well enough last week that I set to work on an elaborate watercolor, one of the most ambitious that I've done, involving a pen and ink sketch of a rod of Asclepius with decorative geometry and a nice background wash, done in greens and browns and gold ink. I've been painting avidly for a couple of years now, ever since I gave myself permission to just do the fun stuff. I still haven't shown what I've done to many people. But I wanted to do something nice for my surgeon, and since he'd just moved into a new office I thought some art would be a thoughtful gesture. So I customized a frame, finished up the watercolor, wrapped it up and brought it in to the appointment.

He was absolutely delighted when he opened it. I'd have trouble expressing the gratitude I feel at having been able to trust him with my care twice, knowing that he does excellent work, or for the relief I felt as I healed faster than expected, but when he saw the painting I knew that he got it. I'll be riding that high for a week.

Then we had a nice conversation about his metal shop, and I recommended he try 3D printing casts for some parts he needed to forge, so that was nice.

Other than bloviating here and on Reddit, I haven't been writing much these days. I was brought up to be a writer, educated to be a writer, and I'll probably go through a writing phase again sometime, but for now I've found that I'm enjoying expressing myself through art, music, making instruments, and just the occasional rant.
posted by MrVisible at 11:02 PM on February 9 [6 favorites]


Went and saw the friend, it was a nice visit. He's been going through his own shit but some weird cross-messaging about how he wasn't doing anything and then next sentence about how so-and-so had been around recently, etc.

It was a nice enough visit, and it lasted exactly long enough. I think I might be able to make a similar ask again in the future, so that was good.

Zero idea why he had me on the "avoid list". Not sure I'm off it, but it was really good to actually visit a friend.
posted by hippybear at 11:55 AM on February 10 [8 favorites]


As an alternative, have you tried meetup.com?
posted by Greg_Ace


I'm keeping more of an eye on it these days. Part of my attempting to be in a better mental space is realizing that I don't have many local friends, and making friends as an adult sucks. But yes, I am looking at that, and if I find the right thing I will go.

Back quite a while ago I pulled together a furry fandom community here using Meetup to do a monthly bowling meet, something that was regular, public, and could be approached by anyone. It worked really well. I tried to develop the group in a way that it wouldn't be centered around me, but I didn't do that right because once I started to withdraw the group started to fall apart, and then came COVID...

So yes, I'm looking at Meetup. It's a great resource, and once I get myself stable enough, I'm going to start up the bowling meet again. Because that was a good thing in general.
posted by hippybear at 7:40 PM on February 10 [5 favorites]


A new weekly thread, around the (optional) topic of What are you reading?, is open for commenting.
posted by Wordshore at 8:14 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


I'm a little late to this thread, but here goes. For the 2022 NaNoWriMo I started working on my first novel. I set a goal of 80K words for a romantic suspense story and as of last month I met/exceeded my goal – the story is just over 122K words! I know, I know, that’s too long for the genre, but I’m too close to the characters to cut anything out. So, now I’m looking for beta readers to give input on what works and doesn’t work. If you like to read romantic-suspense and feel like helping out a first-time fiction writer, me-mail me and I’ll share it with you as a Google doc. Thanks!
posted by kbar1 at 9:45 PM on February 13 [5 favorites]


Good luck, kbar1, that's quite an achievement! I hope you get some beta readers that are versed in your genre.
posted by Harald74 at 12:46 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I've just had this Wednesday's battle with my autistic 16 yo to get him in the shower. We have a deal where he's supposed to shower every other day at least, and every day he's had gym class (where he's really putting in an effort, thanks to Greatest Gym Teacher Of All Time)

I'm just tired from rehashing the same arguments again and again, and I'd like to get to bed myself and a bit cranky. Trying not to let it show.
posted by Harald74 at 12:49 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I just wrote out a whole email to my boss in lieu of our touching base today (she's super busy), and just by doing that I proved to myself that I'm actually a little more organized than I thought I was. I've been in the "I'm new and I have no idea what's going on or how you all specifically do things and I feel dumb" stage for a week and a half, but this was a potent reminder of "oh, no, I'm actually more under control than I thought" and I'm MUCH better now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:54 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Ugh autistic offspring and hygiene. Ours says she is a bacteriophobe and won't clean anything without gloves on, but her breath, her god damn breath. Kid, brush your teeth before bed. JFC.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:03 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


« Older For you, but not by us   |   A Gorey/Bellairs Discovery Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.