I won’t be carrying Yoda on my back, either . . .

epic win photos - Hacked IRL: This Old Bucket of Bolts

Every year, near the end of July, there’s a seven-mile road race held in a town down and across the river.  It’s not the longest race in the country, but a lot of the winding course is more vertical than one might expect.  It attracts a lot of distance runners, including a few who go on to win or place in bigger races.

My parents often come up to walk the entire course while the rest of the family does the two-mile family fun course.*

I’ve done the full seven miles only twice—once when I was three-months pregnant with Janie and once when I was unknowingly pregnant with Sunny and tried to run it, which was the beginning of the end for my knees.  Between my balking joints, my general aversion to the outdoors during high summer, and a residual superstition concerning reproduction . . . I haven’t considered tackling it.

This year, I think I’ll try again.  I’ve three months to get myself from a sitting start to a respectable amble.**  I started small this morning—a fifteen minute walk around the mezzanine at work before I clocked in.

In retrospect, Skillet, 3Oh!3, and Metallica might have been a bit of an ambitious playlist  for my first power walk in (cough, cough).  I wish my feet weren’t talking to me right now . . . But my knees have remained silent,*** so we’ll see how it goes.

I’m hoping it will go at least seven miles.  But if not, at least I’ll be moving forward, right?

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* Or drops them off and writes for a couple hours until it’s time to pick them up . . .

** I’m not running it, so all of you wonderful people who just pulled up another tab to find the Couch-2-5K schedules for me, I truly appreciate your enthusiasm and help, but no.

***Or I haven’t been able to hear them over my kvetching tootsies.  Tomato-tomahto

Six Sentence Sunday: Full Metal Librarian XXIII (Off the Record)

Six Sentence Sunday is open to all writers. Just pick a six sentence passage from anything you’ve written—published, unpublished, whatever—and post it on your blog on Sunday.

Registration for the upcoming Sunday list opens the previous Tuesday evening at 5pm CST. More information is here.

Check out all the talent!

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 I know I’m not supposed to say this, but Reynard Times-Courier is one of my favorite characters.  He’s also one of the reasons I don’t like to go into my subconscious unarmed . . .

Murderer’s Lover killed on Daughter’s Doorstep.  Broadcast,” he said, giving me a bird-like stare from his single, human eye, “at eleven, twelve, and two.”

“Get out of my house,” I said, advancing on him.

“I want words first—off the record.”  He slowly moved a finger to a blue button on his breastplate and pressed it. 

The hum that emanated from him dropped in pitch until all was silent, and the small red lights on his equipment went dead. 

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Previous Installments:
First ♦ Second ♦ Third ♦ Fourth ♦ Fifth ♦ Sixth
Seventh ♦ Eighth ♦ Ninth ♦ Tenth ♦ Eleventh ♦ Twelfth  ♦ Thirteenth
Fourteenth ♦ Fifteenth ♦ Sixteenth ♦ Seventeenth
Eighteenth ♦ Nineteenth ♦ Twentieth ♦ Twenty-firstTwenty-second

Eliminating the Impossible . . .

After several years of thinking about tattoos, I finally made two decisions:  Since words reflect who I am far more than images ever have, I wanted a literary tattoo—and I would get it done before my next birthday.

I narrowed the choices—so, so many choices—down to three, and spent more time than is strictly sane on FontSpace, downloading and experimenting, apparently willing to spend the next fifteen years tinkering.

And then life dropped me a wake-up call or three.

The day I learned the results of my biopsy, I started looking for an artist.

If you’re going to be tattooed for the first time, I highly recommended taking my SIL with you—she let me drag her all over the place, looking at portfolios and policies and general cleanliness and she leaps in when the artist asks you what you want done and your brains freezes up because oh, my God you’re actually going to do this.*

I made an appointment at one place with an artist whose portfolio showed beautiful lettering and I wanted her to do the Big One—but she isn’t free until June, so we kept looking around, just to see.

Yesterday, we had lunch out and decided to stop by a nearby studio.  The girl at the desk told us that there weren’t any artists available, but that one was subbing for the piercer and could at least talk to me about what I wanted done.

While we were waiting for him to finish in the sterilization room—which I thought was a comforting sign—we wandered around to look at the  photographed work on the walls.  It all looked good, especially a selection of portraits in a single frame.

A few minutes later, a guy with a friendly smile and extensive sleeve art came out of the back and asked me what I thinking about.

I told him was thinking of having a phrase from one of my favorite quotes done and showed him on my laptop.**

“What is that from?” he asked.  “It looks really familiar.”

I told him the rest.  “It’s from a Sherlock Holmes story.”

He broke out into this huge grin.  “Yeah! I remember —man, I love Sherlock Holmes.  My dad’s a huge fan, too—we watched all those old movies together!  Which font?”

I told him, and he started laughing.  “That’s excellent.

And I knew I’d found my artist—even before I learned those portraits were his.

He checked with the owner to see if he could tattoo me that day and got the go ahead.  Then he walked me through it and we worked out the placement, alignment, and size together—his enthusiasm is completely contagious.  He also answered all my questions, some of which had nothing to do with the matter at hand, since I tend to go all scattershot when I’m nervous.  But he was terrifically patient, kind, and gentle to this newbie.

And he does fantastic work.

So, here it is:***

When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
—Sherlock Holmes, “Sign of the Four” (Arthur Conan Doyle)

Done in a slightly tweaked Old Baskerville font.

I love it.

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*She also keeps you distracted in all kinds of inventive ways while the actual tattooing is going on, including a soft shoe routine that I can’t possibly describe.

**Something I also recommend bringing for a text-based tattoo, along with a flash drive for easy transfer to the artist’s software, if s/he’ll be using any.  I had no fears about misspellings and he was able to see what I wanted and modify from there.  Saved us a lot of time.

***Looking grayer than it really is, because I took the photo.  The ink is black.

Random Thursday: Inspiration, Perspiration, and Murdering Unicorns

For your browsing pleasure, some of my favorite quotes about writing.

I’m planning on putting the Fitzgerald one on a tee-shirt . . . 

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Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.
—E. B. White

One of the hardest things about writing lyrics is to make the lyrics sit on the music in such a way that you’re not aware there was a writer there.
—Stephen Sondheim

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
—Anne Lamott

Writing is the most fun you can have by yourself.
—Terry Pratchett

If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.
—Kingsley Amis

“Writers aren’t exactly people, they’re a whole lot of people trying to be one person.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald 

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I flat-out stole this from Laura Maylene Walter, who posted it (with some quotes that are far cooler than the ones I’m sharing today) yesterday:

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Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”;
your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

—Mark Twain

Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.
—Ernest Hemingway

Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.
—Robert Frost

Writing a book for me, I expect, is very similar to the experience of reading the book for my readers.
—R. A. Salvatore

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I’ve posted this before, a long time ago, but it’s so beautifully wrong, I had to do it again:

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I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.
—Steven Wright

Whatever asshole said that thing about work (or genius) being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration should probably be punched in the face for giving advice that rhymes because, pshhh, c’mon. Rhyming? Really? Still, he’s right. You want to write a book, then learn that the prevailing feeling is one of frustration. In writing a novel you will feel wayward and weird just as often as you feel energized and excited. Your book does not thrive on inspiration. Your book is born only of work.

Your book thrives on your ass finishing the job.

Stop chasing that dragon.

You do not work for the Muse. She works for you. Chain her to the pole and make her dance

—Chuck Wendig, Murdering Unicorns: Ending the Myths that Poison the Writer’s Life.

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You fail only if you stop writing.
—Ray Bradbury