Creative Commuting

I’m in LA this week, to see clients and friends. 

I flew down here yesterday on the first Alaska flight out of Portland on Monday morning, and the back of the plane was full of creative commuters.  Besides moi, there was the Danish screenwriter that I sat next to.  Across the way, a man was doing audio mixing on a powerful laptop. I never figured out what the man in the row behind me did, but he was a commuter also, because they had all been stuck on the last flight out of Burbank the previous Friday, which was memorable because it had been delayed five hours.  Which happens to be over twice as long as the actual flight itself.

Anyway, apparently there’s quite a group that commute back and forth on a regular basis.  Its a nice combo–LA/Portland, so very different. 

Quel Disaster

This is just awful.

My fabulous new blog network, on which I had two blogs, Powered by Books and Powered by Writing, crashed and burned this afternoon. 

They had a power outage for a few hours and somewhere in the midst of that the software completely compromised itself. 

These are the nicest people and they spent tons of money for this launch and things were looking really good. And now this.

I’m so bummed.

I’ve gone through and rescued my blog posts from over there and the good news is that now I’ve got tons of new material to post here.

But still, God.

Can’t help but wonder if it’s old Mercury Retrograde striking again.  They did the launch a few days before it started, but it still can have a powerful affect.  I was thinking of revamping things on this site–deleting my two other writing sites which I never post on and making Word Strumpet Books and Word Strumpet Causes blogs.  However, I’m thinking I’ll just wait until Mercury Retrograde is over on that.

New Posts

In your internet travels, hop on over and check out my new blogs.  Looks as if they’ve gotten a lot of material posted over there, its still a start-up which went live only last Monday, so bear that in mind.  Think its going to be a good blog network, though.  I’ve written a number of posts for them.  A girl could spend her whole life posting on blogs, and a good life it would be, too. 

My kingdom for a world in which my time was split between writing novels and blogging.  But I digress.  Here are the links:

Powered by Writing

Powered by Books

See you there, see you here…

Mayborn Contest Deadline Extended

My friend George, writer-in-residence at the Mayborne Literary Nonfiction Conference of the Southwest, has let me know that the deadline for the book manuscript portion of the contest has been extended for a week.  Manuscripts will now be accepted until 4 PM (central time) on June 22, next Friday. 

Its a good contest, with a book contract as the prize!  C’mon, you can’t beat that.  George urges anyone working on a non-fiction book manuscript to enter the contest.

Read more about it here.

Vanity Fair & Binyavanga Wainaina & Bono

I’m slowly reading the June issue of Vanity Fair.  It’s the Africa issue edited by Bono.  I’ve got this fascination with Africa and all its complex issues.  Me and half the free world, it seems.

The issue is pretty amazing.  It’s full of informative articles and I like that they aren’t all gloom and doom.  There’s one written about Kenya that chooses to take a positive look at the country and the reforms it has experienced in the years since President Mwai Kibaki was elected in 2002.  The article talks about the Matutus, brightly (some might say garishly) decorated vehicles that serve as taxis in Nairobi and other cities, and the mobile equity banks that have sprung up.  Also a touching vignette abou election day and how practically the entire populace hung out at the polls to ensure a fair result. 

The author of the article is Binyavanga Wainaina, and he is listed in the contributor’s notes as the writer-in-residence at Union College in Schenectady, New York.  He is apparently an award-winning author and journalist who is completing a book of creative non-fiction(though why the editors at VF felt compelled to put creative non-fiction in quotes is beyond me–makes it sound like a fake genre). 

Anyway, I’m in love with Binyavanga now.  So far it’s unrequited love, and based on sentences like the following:  "I, too, spent 10 years locked indoors trying to make writing work, full of crazy acts of imagination and fear."

Sigh.

I’m actually reading the magazine really slowly because Bono makes me feel like such a slacker that I end up putting it down and going back to work to try to Accomplish Something.

A New Gig

I’ve been remiss in posting because I’ve been the wee-est bit distracted by the usual suspects–the necessity of making a living (oh, yeah, that).

But I have good news–I am, as of Tuesday, the official new host (hostess?) of two new blogs on the Powered By Everything blog network.  I will be the one and only blogger for Powered by Writing and Powered by Books. 

I’m kind of excited about this new site.  It just went live on Monday and I think it has tons of potential.  I like the categories they’ve chosen and the blog posts I’ve read so far have been quite good.  Oh yeah, and my friend Suzanne Peters just so happens to be the host of the Powered by Pictures site.  So go check it out.  And then give it a few more days while we all get our feet wet and go visit again.

Don’t worry, I have no intention of forsaking Strumpet.  I’m hoping that the two sites will support and encourage each other and I’ll get tons more readers on all of them.

Kiva

There’s a wonderful article about Kiva on the ABC News website.  Its called "Finding Peace Through Paypal" and you can read it here.

You may have noticed the large ad for the organization on this blog.  I think its a great idea, a way to help other entrepeneurs help themselves.  Apparently, we can now lend money to people in Iraq, which is tres cool.

Check out the article and the website. 

Current Reading: Tied to the Tracks

I’m more than halfway through reading Tied to the Tracks by Rosina Lippi.

In general, I like the book.  It kept me going on the treadmill for a lot longer than I originally intended (note to self: a good book is key to a good workout on the treadmill). 

The novel is kind of a southern chick-lit romance.  Our heroine, Angie, is hired to produce a documentary on a famous writer who lives in the small, charming and quirky southern town of Ogilivie–which also happens to be the place where the love of Angie’s life has recently returned to. 

Can you see where this is going? 

As I said, the book is a page-turner.  It has this wierd quality, though, that I as a writer probably notice more than lay readers.  The scenes often turn on what I would call unearned emotion.  There was a scene when Angie was going to see John for the first time.  She sets off in emotional turmoil, yet relatively calm.  However, by the time she gets to John, she is hopping mad–and I couldn’t quite figure out why.  Same thing happens in a scene with the town cop.  All of a sudden, halfway through, she is blazingly pissed off at him.  Huh.

But the novel is full of fun, charming characters–I love Tony, the 50-year-old who can’t stay out of married women’s bed, and Rivera, Angie and Tony’s kick-ass lesbian partner in the documentary business.  And the southern town is charminly evoked. 

I do beg to differ with Angie, though–she professes her love for sweet tea.  I cannot stand the stuff.

Quote of the Week: Quit Being a Laggard! Or, Its All About Willpower

Last week I took myself out for coffee and wrote up this whole elaborate schedule for finishing this draft of my novel (Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior). 

This made me feel virtuous and disciplined.

It made me feel disciplined until it came time to actually finish chapter eleven by my appointed deadline–which happened to be last night.

After a wee bit of a Happy Hour and a dinner of grilled bratwurst fresh from the Farmer’s Market, I was feeling just the tiniest bit unmotivated (read: tired from the wine).

But every Sunday night I get an email in my inbox from Kevin Hogan.  I hate to admit this, but I’m not really sure exactly who he is–some kind of marketing and motivational expert.  I will say that Sunday night is a good night to send out promotional material because nothing else ever comes in and so out of sheer desperation I generally read much of what Kev writes.

This is saying a lot because sometimes Kev irritates me.  I don’t always agree with his pronouncements and he says them in a very authoritative way which always makes me feel rebellious (sorry, Kevin, its really nothing personal, its just my nature).

But last night, as I was dithering about how I hadn’t finished my chapter and was thus in line to screw up my careful schedule before I’d even really gotten started, in came Kevin’s Sunday night email.  And, lo and behold, his first article was about willpower. 

Kevin talks about how developing willpower is what makes the difference between those who achieve their goals and those who don’t.  Its really a pretty good article.

Here’s Kevin’s takeaway quote on willpower:

"You CAN exercise willpower the same way you exercise your body (a little bit at a time gradually increasing intensity of your workout).

The important thing is to do it every day until you form a new habit. Habits don’t require self-control energy. Once exercise becomes part of your routine you can operate on autopilot. Funny thing is that soon you won’t need any self-control to exercise your willpower. "

I wrote the chapter.  And today I started on the next.  Thanks, Kevin.