Sunday, November 30, 2014

Six weeks in

I've been here now for six weeks.

In this six weeks I have slept a lot, eaten a lot (too much!), and finished writing my book.  Yes, the book is done.  It's online and available to be read but it would make much more sense if one is up to speed on all 9 episodes of BBC's SHERLOCK.  It's a good book and I'm happy with it.  So happy that I'm starting another one.  It's not a direct sequel but I'll say it's part of a series.  The response has been positive to the first book, and that's good.

Today it's raining, and we're expecting some quite heavy rain this week.  That'll be good for the drought, but it will all be dried up by next week as if it had never happened.  It doesn't seem to bother the hummingbirds who are still out there in force sucking up the sugar water like little drunkards.

On Thanksgiving day I drove the landlady and her mother into Glendale to a Scottish restaurant/pub called Tam O'Shanty's where they met with other family members.  We're going again around Christmas.  The food is great but I won't be ordering again what I ordered because I just ordered too much food.  Well, they are very generous on the meat portions, and as delicious as it was, I won't be ordering meat again.  An appetizer and a side dish are plenty.  The creamed spinach came inside a big Yorkshire pudding and that was a meal by itself.  One of the appetizers was cream cheese filled dates that were wrapped in bacon.  I could have eaten a zillion of those things.  They also had limpa bread, which is a very dark Swedish rye - dark like chocolate cake, and with a very soft texture.  I took some of that home and reheated in the toaster oven.  Very, very good.

I've been so reluctant to purchase anything outside of what I've needed to sustain myself, but I finally gave in and got a couple of pillows, a little mat for in front of the kitchen sink, and some green cloth napkins for Christmas which I will fold into Christmas trees. I also purchased the book, "The Sherlock Chronicles" which is coming from the U.K.  That will, of course, have to go into storage in about 3 months when I hit the road again.

Besides all that it's just quiet here.  I spend much of my day writing or at the computer.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nerves of steel, nerves of dust

To be honest, I've been a bit nervous about getting back on the bike since the last time - and it's been almost three weeks.  I only went 4 miles that day but nearly had an asthma attack.  Just couldn't breathe.  I know that was from the anemia, but that feeling of not getting enough oxygen is not something one likes to repeat.  I think I'm recovered from the anemia now, and it's an overcast day, so a perfect day for riding.

I must say that everywhere I go here that I am always looking for bike racks.  I see almost none.  That means tying up to a tree or a street sign, and I'm never comfortable with that, even though I lock the entire bike down thoroughly.

I finished the 13th chapter of my book and am now at least 1/3 of the way through chapter 14 and am building towards a big action sequence, something that is not my forte.  I just sweat over every little sentence because it all has to be choreographed in my head.  It's not just a fight scene but a lot of cat and mouse, cloack and dagger.  Yeah, that stuff is hard for me to write.  I always think of that whole opening sequence in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I know I could never have thought up all that action upon action upon action.  Yet I know that whatever I write has to be completely realistic and believable.  So I'm just taking it one line at a time.  I don't know if chapter 14 will spill into being a chapter 15 or whether chapter 14 will just be long.  I was desperately needing some new background music to help me through the chapter, and I had a strong suspicion that the soundtrack from the upcoming movie The Imitation Game would provide that, so I downloaded it from ITunes, and sure enough, it's helping greatly to set the mood without being too harsh or driving in its ambiance.

I still think of Britain, but I know that God firmly shut that door, and who am I to try to open it again or curse Him for it?  But He let me go there and be in the land before He said, "This is as far as I can let you go."  Is it a permanent "no"?  I don't know.  It doesn't matter any more.  I feel a bit burnt in general about international travel, however, and I'm not willing to try again any time soon...even though I still have tickets to Hamlet at the Barbican in London for October 2015.  Might have to resell that ticket.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Two pots of coffee per day

Today I am tired.  Some say it is the pollen.  I don’t know.  Two pots of coffee per day while I try to finish writing my book are certainly not keeping me up at night.  No, I collapse and sleep.

I am at a very difficult place in the book – the climactic big action finish, and action is so hard for me to write.  It’s like getting blood from a turnip.  I keep referring back to the old adage: “How do you eat an elephant:  one spoonful at a time.”  So I’m eating the elephant metaphorically.  Part of the issue is that as I develop the critical issues in the story, I have to go back and tweak earlier and ending chapters so that everything lines up properly:  dates, timelines, plot points.  It has to make sense.  Yes, I have 12 chapters done, but chapter 9 seems to require the most tweaking of all.  I also have the last two chapters written although what their real numbers are I don’t know.  I just assigned them numbers way out in the distance.  I know what they are because I don’t write in a linear fashion.  I write where the muse takes me and sew the pieces together. 

I have actually been surprised when writing this Sherlock book that the muse has really been quite copious with inspiration.  Whereas my book does stay pretty much in canon with where the BBC1 show has taken the characters, it also has a richness of depth about Sherlock’s past – things that are hinted to in the series but never fleshed out.  I don’t fully flesh them either, but at least I take the time to offer a plausible explanation and timeline that would never contradict anything the show has done.

One of the Siamese cats I am living with.
This one is Lionel.
One of the things I do here each day is to check the six hummingbird feeders and to refill them as needed.  I also scoop all the cat litter from the large containers – and there are 17 to do, which include the two in my little apartment.  This complex is pretty much a cat sanctuary, but the two that live with me still haven’t warmed up to me although they will come out of hiding when the landlady visits.  They are apparently sweet enough.  They do come over and sniff me.  Maybe if I dabbed myself with sardine juice they would be more inclined to check me out. 

I now have 4 new pairs of shoes, including 2 pairs of crocs, and I will undoubtedly have to send some into storage when I take to the road again.  How much of the clothing that was purchased for me that will go into storage, I don’t know.  I did empty one of my 3 food containers.  Definitely only taking ONE when I head out onto the road again. 

And while I’m talking about heading back out onto the road, let me just clear something up:  my end destination is NOT the Atlantic coast.  I don’t know where or when my end destination is.  Oh, I will go to the Atlantic coast, but I’m not stopping there.  I know for certain I want to go to the Florida Keys.    I know there are a lot of places I want to see by bike.  I know that even as I sit here in the comfort of this free apartment that there is NO part of me that wants to settle down and start all over with a lifestyle that I just purposefully gave up.  Except for basic food and toiletry supplies, I am extremely resistant to buying anything that I just got rid of.  Didn’t even want to buy a spatula.  I have such crude, basic supplies, but they work for me.  I get given a lot of food… persimmons, other fruit, bread, veggies.  Of course I had to buy laundry soap and dryer sheets.  I’ve been given lovely new towels and washcloths. A queen-sized inflatable bed was purchased for me (and the underwear still keeps pouring in).  The six pairs of socks are nice although I need to get more.