Monday, October 30, 2006

Switching Gears

I'm in LA right now taking care of some stuff before heading to World Fantasy, but next week I'll be back up in Vancouver working. I'll be compositing on one of two films, but I'm not sure which one yet. Neither is particularly high-profile or exciting, though. So, I'll be spending my days and evenings sitting in front of a computer monitor staring a film frames instead of sitting in front of a computer staring at half-blank Word docs. (Half-blank or half-filled? Doesn't matter. Either way, the story isn't done.)

What this all means is, I don't anticipate getting much writing done for the next few months, which is probably a good thing. I think I need to give my brain a rest. Note that I didn't say I wouldn't be getting ANY writing done, just not MUCH. I still have a few projects where I have some sort of clue of what's going on. But I need to shift the focus off of trying to get as many stories done and out the door as possible. That approach is proving counter-productive for me. I end up spending too much time trying to figure out how to compress the story so I can finish it faster instead of telling the story the way it needs to be told. And I end up trying to rush the planning and development process, which is crucial for me to be able to finish the story. So then I get stuck and jump to another story. Repeat cycle. (When will I learn that there are no shortcuts?) Now I have broken pieces of three different stories scattered across various drafts rather than one decent, completed story. And I have stories out that I know are broken or incomplete as well.

Moral of the story: don't try to be someone else. I've been spending too much time watching people who can wing their way through a draft with only the faintest clue what's happening next. People who can finish drafts way quicker than I can. I wish I could work that way. But I can't--I've tried, and things just end up in a muddle. So, I'm taking some time to regroup and focus on other things to coax my poor, browbeaten muse from its frightened retreat.

Today's mantra: Writing is not a competive sport.
Also: Trust yourself.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More Vancouver, with pix

So the day after I posted about buying salwars from, we went to the Little India section of Vancouver. Three blocks of mostly clothing shops selling saris and salwars and all that. I bought another salwar kameez outfit from the place in the picture, after experiencing several minutes of sensory overload--too many choices. (I still like the styles on eShakti better, but it is nice to be able to look at the fabrics when you're buying.)

We also went to Queen Elizabeth Park and took some pictures. Beautiful sunshine, nice cool air. Great day.

On Sunday we headed over to the Space Center to hear Spider Robinson read from Variable Star. Spider is entertaining to listen to, and while the section of the book he read was mostly talking heads, the dialogue was rendered engagingly enough that I could almost forget that nothing was actually happening. I am hoping that there are action sequences at some point in the book. Not that I bought it. My to-read list is already too long.

All in all it's been a fun trip. (And right now it looks like I'll be coming back up here to work in two weeks. Yay--I think.)

Vancouver Pix

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Shopping for Salwars

I'm not a particularly fashion-conscious person. It's not that I wouldn't like to be fashionable and nicely dressed, but working against that are the facts that a.) I don't like spending money on clothes, b.) I think most clothing in stores is boring, and c.) I generally hate going shopping. But every once in a while, I'll get inspired to try and spice up the old wardrobe (and believe me, most of it is really old).

Which brings me to my latest discovery: I have a weakness for Indian fabrics and trims, so this place totally sucked me in. They sell salwar kameez, which are loose pants and tunic outfits popular in Pakistan and India. Some of the prints and combinations get a little busy for my tastes, but there's enough of a range of styles and fabrics that I spent several hours browsing and drooling. One of the things I hate about shopping is that you'll see an outfit you like and then find out that they don't have your size. Not a problem here: you can put in your measurements and they'll custom make your outfit for you. And while you're at it, you can specify what type of sleeve or pant cut you want, change the shape of the neckline or the length of the tunic. And for all that, the prices aren't bad.

After spending a few days deciding what I liked best, I took the plunge and ordered some outfits. It took about two weeks for them to get made and arrive from India. The fabrics are beautiful and everything looks as promised. Some of the clothes are too loose (part of that has to do with the fact that they're made to fit loosely--just a little too loose for me), so I still have to get them altered a bit. Overall, I'm happy though. Perhaps I'll have pictures later.

Now I just have to find some matching shoes.

Monday, October 16, 2006

In Vancouver

I'm up north here visiting Brad for the next week and a half. I arrived late Saturday and, whadya know, it was raining. Also rained all day yesterday. We went out anyway, rain being something of a novelty for me these days. "Walking in the rain sounds fun,"I thought. And it was--for about an hour. We stayed out for four.

We went to Chinatown and then sloshed around Gastown. Seeing as how it was wet and miserable, we didn't really feel up to looking around either place much. We did stop into a bakery in Chinatown for lunch and had the best steamed pork buns ever. Brad said they reminded him of the ones he had in Beijing, but the ones I got down in WuXi were never that great. The pork buns yesterday though were fluffy and soft with tangy shreds of pork in the middle.

Of course today, when we aren't going out anywhere, it's nice and sunny. Hopefully the weather will stay that way for at least a few days while I'm here, because I'm sure Vancouver's very pretty when it is. There's some hints of fall color in the trees , which is a nice change.

Funny, I 'd forgotten that I have seasonal allergies, not having lived any place with real seasons for such a long time. My sinuses remembered, though.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Tanka for Maura

Empty and silent,
The unbroken field of white
Awaits spring blossoms.
Dawn undoes the curse or tracks
Muddied ramblings in the snow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

House Guest

Rudy here is staying with me for a couple of weeks while his mom is in Thailand. He's an old guy who wobbles around on arthritic legs, but he still likes to chase pieces of string, albeit very slowly. He's adapted well to being in a new home, taking over a section of the couch and munching out of Pixel's bowl.

Pixel, on the other hand, has not adapted well to have someone impinging on his turf. Lots of growling and hissing whenever Rudy comes near. Like his mother, Pixel is not particularly well socialized. It takes him awhile to warm up to others, especially those who sneak into his food and keep him from being the center of attention. Damn prima donnas.