Ducksign

Slow Duck

The library was closed yesterday, not because the Presidents whose Day it is cared nothing for literacy—they were a bit busy with other things—but because when City Hall is closed, so are we.

The kids were off school but in day camp and my husband had morning classes and afternoon appointments and my MIL was occupied with her own errands, so I had several hours to myself which I’d fully intended to use for writing, or maybe for thinking about writing, or maybe for intending to write but watching the eighth season to Would I Lie To You instead.

Or napping.

But just as I’d sat down and opened up my Odd Duck binder and plugged in my Odd Duck flash drive and opened up a browser window to fire up just one episode of WILTY . . . the screen informed me that I had no Internet access.

It wasn’t the computer—my desktop, tablet and phone all said our home network existed, but something wasn’t producing any of what it’s supposed to produce in order to fulfill its purpose as a source of Internet joy and pleasurably guilt-ridden procrastination.

I went downstairs and hit buttons and turned things on and off and called the provider to listen to a message saying everything was fine on their end, so whatever wasn’t happening was our fault (I’m paraphrasing).

No dice.

Reply HazyI’m one of those writers who is always asking the Universe/Powers that Be/Deity of my Choice/Random Banana Peel Generator/Available Magic Eight Balls for constant signs that I’m not fooling myself with this writing business.

Am I supposed to be a writer? Am I supposed to spend my time plugging away at this particular story? Is this really what I’m meant to be doing when there’s so much more to the world than a keyboard and the inside walls of my own imagination and the television remote has been left unguarded and there are three full cartons—not boxes, cartons—of Girl Scout cookies in the house?

Apparently, today, the sign was clear and the answer a very definite “Yes, you idiot.”Duck!2

So I sighed, sat down, and dove in headfirst.

Four hours later, I had hammered out most of the continuity wrinkles and plot changes and obvious stupidities up to roughly chapter twenty-two and added [NOTES IN BIG, BOLDED BRACKETS] about what scenes and details I’ll need to add to make things make sense, things I need to research to make sure the writers of that half-remembered episode of Law & Order hadn’t fudged their details, and a legal pad of side worries about whether or not I need to get rid of a character or maybe even a subplot.

I also had the shakes, so I stopped for lunch.

Then I dove back in for another hour or two, until I hit a strange place where parts of one chapter and parts of another seemed to mesh well, but not for the book I thought I was writing. The rest did appear to fit the book, but not necessarily with each other on a temporal level.

Or something. Not sure.  It honestly could have been me.

But I’d tipped into the Just Get It Done Now mindset, so I printed both chapters, planning to do some literal cutting and pasting, and also maybe some shredding and directed fireplay, because I was starting to develop mental blocks made of exhaustion and compressed short-term memory loss and when you reach that point, self-righteous shredding and the burning of sage seem perfectly reasonable reactions to plot confusion.

But then the WiFi returned and so did the kids.

I saw that as a sign, too, and knocked off for the day before I did any actual damage.

Probably. I hope.

I’ll have to take a look after work today.

You know, unless the WiFi is working.

House Wifi

 

Random Thursday, with 76% more Technology Content

After much debate and a desperate e-mail to the fabulous and infinitely patient Sarah Wendell over at Smart Bitches, I’ve decided to get a Sony Touch.  I thought I might spring for the Daily Edition with free 3G and WiFi, but I’ve decided that it’s not worth the extra bucks.  All I want is to conserve shelf space by keeping as many virtual reference books as possible and save on chiropractors by not lugging my manuscript or Netbook around in my bag when I want to make notes or edit on the go.  Don’t need bells and whistles for that.

Besides, I’m beginning to think that WiFi is the root of all time suck . . . Wow—that sounded a lot dirtier than I thought it would.

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My family is on a Shel Silverstein kick right now.

I love all of Mr.  Silverstein’s  work with the sole exception of Runny Babbit.  I’m incapable of reading it the way it’s printed on the page and trying for more than three minutes gives me stabbing pains in my left eye and a queasy stomach.

Naturally, my children adore Runny and his aneurysm-inducing adventures , so I have passed the responsibility for the reading of this book to the other adults in our immediate vicinity, in addition to Fox in Socks* and Amelia Bedelia.**

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I was searching the 1930s newspaper microfilm the other day and caught sight of a one-panel cartoon called The Girls, which features ladies of a certain age and outlook.

In this one, the lady was trying on hats in a shop and telling her impatient husband in the caption, “No, I’ve made my final decision.  Now I have to make every decision that comes after that.”

It may have been microfilm-daze, but that sounded incredibly profound to me.

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Twitter-training this afternoon for the library’s new feed!  Judging from the verbal staff observations around here, it’s just as well our tweets are moderated by the PR department.  Our library already has over 200 followers.  I have no idea whether that’s good or not.

The training was so interesting that I thought about reactivating my personal account, which I let lapse after three days of absolutely nothing to say—stop laughing.

I don’t know if I need to be on Twitter right now—I do follow several people, just not through an account.  Blogs are honestly more my speed.

If my phone could do anything but make phone calls, I might consider trying again . . . but on second thought,  see unfortunately-phrased time-suck comment above.

Plus, there’s a certain observer-mindset that comes with twitter . . .  I’d like to think that if someone fainted in front of me, I wouldn’t be too busy tweeting about it to help them.

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Someone left a gold glitter pen at our public desk a few days ago—we had a crowd of junior high school students on Saturday.  No one called to ask about it so it’s mine.

It has an incredibly smooth flow, which is my excuse for using it for everything from initialing order forms to taking meeting minutes.  I’m planning to go to the office supply store and see if there are any available without the glitter, but if not, well  . . . do they sell navy blue or black glitter pens?

This isn’t a mid-life crisis, by the way—I don’t have one of those scheduled for another forty years.  You might want to stick around—it’s gonna be a doozy.  And mostly likely will not involve glitter pens . . . though I’m not entirely ruling out their use.

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If you hover over my avatar in the left-hand corner up there, supposing I haven’t changed my blog theme, you’ll see the name of the song I’m currently whistling or humming under my breath. 

See?  Who needs Twitter? 

___

*Except for the Tweedle Beetle Battle, which in our household is traditionally done in Rock Horror-style chorus.

**After seven years, I’m tired of Amelia Bedelia—but these books  seriously drive my mother up a tree. “She’s just so dumb,” she wails, when presented with one of Miss Bedelia’s adventures by one of her insistent grandchildren.  “Any normal human being would stop and think.”   I believe that my mother’s secret reason for supporting early childhood literacy is so kids will quickly learn to read this series all by themselves.  Silently.