Hello from out here in Phoenix, Arizona, where the sky is cloudy, the weather is chilly, and nothing makes sense and oh yeah both of my twin boys tested positive for COVID so there’s that.
I know what the data says. I know the chances of them making it through this with little to no worry is very, very high, and minus a loss of appetite and need for more snuggles than normal, they seem to be doing fine. But it’s that “What if…” that lingers in the back of your mind as a parent, you know? That wonder if your kid is going to be the one, the outlier in the data, that it hits harder.
We saw family around the holidays, we all wore masks (mostly cloth, which, I don’t know if you know, are basically no longer effective unless you also wear a surgical mask underneath), we opened doors and windows, we sat outside around the fire pit as much as possible, and they still got it.
I know it’s not possible for everyone to be safe all the time, but I hope you are when you can and that we’re closer to this ending sooner than when it first started. Otherwise, drink water when you can, have an apple, and, I don’t know, eat a cookie before bed. Who cares?
Notes From The Field:
[Note: Since this is the first OFFICIAL Weeknotes, I don’t know what the actual set-up of this thing going forward will be. A day-to-day log of what I did didn’t sound too interesting, even to me, the guy writing this, but maybe notes on what I did and maybe what I thought? Yeah? This is whatever I want it to be, right? Perhaps it will be less formal next week. Always be a work in progress.]
- The coffee is dark at my in-laws house. We stayed up the previous night playing Mahjong for a few hours, and after being completely decimated by my mother-in-law, I have decided I am no good at this game.
- I’ve been doing my Morning Pages at night for the first two nights of the year, which I feel defeats the purpose of what they’re supposed to be, but when you’re freelancing for a couple hours in the morning and then your kids wake up, that takes away your writing time before breakfast time. Thankfully, today I was able to get them done in the early afternoon, while also getting a blog out about my 2021 notebooks.
- I would have liked to talk about them more, maybe delve into each one, but there is literally no time. Perhaps when I’m a super successful author and I can devote more time to my laptop I can have the time to reflect a bit more but since my Writing Time = Nap Time, here we are.
- That does feel like something maybe only paid novelists get to do. Talk about their previous year’s accomplishments in exquisite detail, while those of us scaling the mountain do it in quick strides.
- Starting Project: DEED’s 2nd draft for serious this time. I’m 8 pages in.
- My New Year’s, not resolution, because I hate that, but let’s call it that, was to tend more to the teachings of The Four Agreements, something I picked up on during my divorce therapy group. “Do your best,” is the one I remember the most, and it’s the one I forget the most. Monday was rapid fire, with me attempting to get the house back in shape after the holidays. For the most part, I felt I succeeded in everything I wanted to do, even my extra writing and enough time to get my freelance work done. Tuesday, however, was a little slower, and I conked out around 3p. My energy, spent. Does this make me a worse father? Writer? Husband? Person? No. Because I did my best.” Is what I tell myself.
- Well, that explains why I felt tired.
- Whole house is sick.
- Boys? COVID.
- Taking the day off.
- Waiting on test results to see if you and your pregnant wife have a virus wrecking the whole world should excuse you from writing work. Right?
- After days of being unable to sit and properly edit Project: DEED, the boys took a three hour nap and I was able to actually get a solid foot in on what the issues are with this story.
- See, DEED is a novel with a gimmick. It’s not an obnoxious one (at least I hope it isn’t) but it is central to how the story is told.
- To make sure it’s effectively communicated, I created a method for writing the story…1/3 of the way through. It took me a little while to figure it out, so the first 1/3 is going to take longer than the last 2/3, I reckon.
- Just a lot of retooling, saving bits of good narrative dialogue that might not work in the new format, and, of course, the litany of grammatical mistakes.
- Had a good session ironing them out, which will hopefully make me faster at ironing them out in the future. Left on Page 24 of 382. Hoping to get past 100 by the end of next week.
Book Quotes – Mañanaland- Pam Munoz Ryan (GoodReads)
“Max whispered her name over and over so he could hear it rolling off his tongue. ‘Renata…Renata…Renata…'”
“The nothing tat he had felt for so long had turned into a little something.”Pam Muñoz Ryan
I read Esperanza Rising years ago, back when I was studying to become a teacher. I fell in love with Pam’s unique style, her fairy tale way of describing the mundane and the every day. Though I can honestly say I haven’t read anything of hers besides Esperanza, that bad feeling is magnified because I’m loving Mañanaland so much.
At the time of writing, I’m not done with it yet, but it’s been pushing me along nicely.
Maximilliano Cordoba grows up in the small town of Santa Maria, a small village in the shadow of a grand fortress, called La Reina Giganta, something the elders and kids speak of as being a place where ghosts gather. Though his father doesn’t like delving into the non-real, Max has heard the stories of Guardians who once helped travelers hide and pass through as they escaped to freedom through the mighty fortress. While preoccupied with making the famous Santa Maria fútbol team, he’ll discover a mystery linked to his missing mother that clears the future up and rectifies his family’s history.
It’s lyrical, you know what everyone wants and feels at any time, and above all, it makes you feel like you’re there, in the moment, under the warm sun, watching La Reina Gigante in the distance.
Turns out you can work in Universal Studios, and it’s cheaper than renting an office space. This is the dystopian nightmare stuff that science-fiction authors never see coming but once it happens, they immediately thing, “Crap. Can’t believe I didn’t think of it.” Jason Pargin (author) once said on a podcast the hardest part of writing science-fiction is not developing new technology outright, but how the general public will react to that new technology and the consequences that come from it.
Overcharge for a big empty space? People just work at amusement parks. That’s a story bit you couldn’t possibly make up.
Efficiently Lean Storytelling. Something at the heart of Cobra Kai, currently in its fourth season.
Cobra Kai is an interesting beast, as if I think about it for more than three seconds I would go, “This is silly.” Which was my initial thoughts on the premise when it premiered on YouTube Red those many, many, many, four years ago.
But Rao is right. The storytelling, the lean bits being presented like a tasty piece of jerky (which is funny, considering how Johnny makes manwiches in the S4 but I digress) but it is just that. The characters, the beats, nothing else. No fat whatsoever.
Which is the kind of storyteller I want to be, that I think I’m good at. You come from a career trying to teach 10-year olds how to be better readers, you better be able to simplify and streamline things for them.
And I’m out.
Did what I wanted to do. 1) talk about my work week, save for my freelance work, 2) discussed the things on the internet that interested me, 3) kept up with my book quotes, 4) hopefully kept it entertaining.
Thanks for sticking around, if you did.
The week is done, but there’s another coming tomorrow.
Be ready for it.
Thanks for reading,