And there’s no remedy for memory
Your face is like a melody
It won’t leave my head …
— Lana Del Rey, “Dark Paradise”
P.S. While you’re at it, may I suggest you try the other stories in the issue? I am personally very fond of “Oscars on the Rue Jules Verne.”
Probably the biggest new happiness multiplier in recent memory: I (re)started taking ballet at local studio. Although I am a complete beginner, I grew up on a steady diet of ballet books at varying qualities. I don't remember when I first saw the photos but I remember being completely entranced by the unparalleled beauty of the form. Lessons were not possible, so I read books, which is always the next best thing. I read all the Noel Streatfeild books, random teen serials where no book is complete without someone bursting into tears mid-dress rehearsal, and of course I read Jill Krementz's "A Very Young Dancer" so many times that it's burned into my mind. I also read all kinds of books about technique, and pored over photographs of classical ballets. Thanks, well-stocked childhood library!
One of the really flattering things that a teacher said at my very first lesson was "I can't believe you've never taken ballet before." And no matter how failhard I am at every lesson, I definitely laid up that comment to live by whenever I feel discouraged (the adagios in center practice, they slay me). And I do fail pretty hard, even for a beginner. My hips are stiff, I can barely follow simple choreography, and my placement is a mess. But I flatter myself that I have been mentally dancing for a very long time. So even when my feet are not right, I do know exactly what I am supposed to have done, and that sometimes--somehow--just a bit--shines through the mess of bad posture and worse turnout.
The other thing I love about ballet is that ... I am a fairly competitive and perfectionist person in most areas of my life, but dancing shuts down that part of my brain. That makes it freeing and meditative--I suspect that ballet is to me as yoga is to a lot of people. If my steps are not perfect, that's just my version of it and it's as valid as anyone else's, and I am shockingly content with that.
Which is the complete opposite of how I feel about writing! I submit my stories for publication, and I love it when people read and hopefully enjoy my stories. Part of me feels that a story is not real until it is shared--that it's just a hallucination in my brain until someone else confirms that they heard those voices too.
In ballet, I do not feel that way. I am overjoyed just to be in the studio. I could do endless tendus alone save for the accompanying music on my phone. I feel absolutely no need to be on a stage.
I wonder if I would be a better writer, if I also felt that way about my writing?
Anyway, this was a rambling post. If you want to read a serious post about taking ballet as an adult, I wholeheartedly recommend the excellent essay "Swan, Late: The unexpected joys of adult beginner ballet."
If she logs into Wordpress, she will see that she needs to update her Wordpress installation.
If she tries to update her Wordpress installation via wp cli, she will get weird cURL errors.
If she tries to investigate the cURL errors, she will discover her MySQL process is obsolete and needs updating via migrating data. This has nothing to do with her error which turns out to be a hosting issue, but she's still going to want to fix it.
If she tries to migrate data, she will have to make a new user for the new MySQL process.
If she makes a new user, she will have to figure out why she can't seen to grant it @#$%&*! privileges.
If she figures out all of the above, then voila, she will have successfully migrated her data and her website is loading correctly!
... and then she will want to write a new blog post all about the experience.
(By which time the cURL issue will have magically resolved itself, because it was completely unrelated ... but it's good web admin practice even for a n00b, right? laughingcrying.gif)
I love sewing but don't usually have enough uninterrupted free time for a project. So on Memorial Day, I treated myself to a morning spent making Wiksten bloomers for my almost-two-year-old Bean. Three hours to make and three weeks to outgrow! If I'm lucky.
Now for a brief review of the pattern, followed by process photos under the cut. I consider myself an adventurous beginner (applies to sewing and pretty much the rest of my life). The pattern was perfect for my level. Highly recommended, especially if you have a small human on hand. If not, perhaps you will make a relative or friend very happy.
( Process photos under cut. )
I enjoy many creative endeavors but sewing and knitting are special to me. I think it's because of the unspoken the guarantee of the craft: if I do all the preparations and follow all the instructions correctly, I will end up with exactly what I intended. For this writer, that is the true treat above all treats.
I love all my children equally ... said the parent of one child (and this is true, she said, in Peter Sagal's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me voice). But in all earnestness, A Remedy for Memory represents something special to me, not least that I don't know when to quit. I wrote my first version of this story back in 2009, and since then I've lost count of the number of times I revised or completely rewrote the piece. I was going to rewrite it again--I still have the outline in my Google Docs--if there were no takers this year. But I am beyond happy that someone does want it.
As for the story sitting in my revised outline, I still plan to write it, or something like it, one day. Like I said, I don't know when to quit.
I was still waffling until last week when a close friend, who is not generally given to Acts of Carpe Diem, announced that he was going to climb freaking Kilimanjaro next month. I've never been one to give in to peer pressure, but that was a challenge I couldn't entirely ignore. Also, I've been feeling a bit in a rut lately, and this was a kick that I needed.
So I made some spreadsheets and then decided to go for it. Aside from the excitement and opportunities of Worldcon, I just want to see Helsinki! I also have very probably unrealistic dreams of doing some light hiking with my DSLR in tow.
I still haven't decided how many days I'll go for--in any case I can't be there the entire time, my employer beckons--but I'm full of excitement and plans. Which is, if you will permit the cheesiness, my absolute favorite state of mind.
Me: move to Colorado, try not to wipe out in Camry, live too far to bike to work so drive everywhere, give up. Leave Colorado for Maryland, buy a Subaru, bike everywhere.
And the day after purchasing the car, I ordered some wool socks and merino leggings.
Spousal Unit: What are you going to do, turn on the a/c in the Subaru while wearing them?
Now, because I have a very poor sense of direction, the household joke/diagnosis is that I live in my own personal TARDIS. I usually only get lost in space, but you could argue that in this instance, I've once again* gotten lost in time and I was actually buying all these things two years ago in Colorado, when they would have been much more useful.
* So there was also the incident when we were trying to go to a Moscow museum of classical art and I somehow navigated us to a modern art museum. Artistic satire in the form of a Stalinist-era golden toilet stall is really something, let me tell you.
Usually this results in a few days of wallowing in all my failures of the year, followed by a few days of vowing to do better and scrambling to put systems in place to do so. This year was no exception, and my brain fixated on my fiction writing, which I didn't work on as much as I would have liked in 2016.
The reasons aren't all bad. Some of it was failure and procrastination and laziness. But I also burned the candle at both ends successfully developing my career in writing non-fiction. That job keeps my family fed and sheltered and warm, and I'm also pretty fond of it for its own sake. So I'm happy and proud of what I've accomplished in that arena.
Still, we all only have so many Action Points in a day. If nothing else, 2016 taught me to honor my limits. And I had to admit that I simply didn't have the resources to spend as much time grinding at my fiction tech tree*. And that was okay. Everything builds on everything else, and what I did accomplish is not a waste. It's only a waste if I forget what it's all pointing towards.
So in 2017, my goal is to rekindle that love, commit to finishing more stories whether or not I submit them for publication, and in general rebuild the foundation (of love, and squee, and passions both dark and light) that drive me to tell stories.
*If it wasn't already obvious, I view life as a mostly frustrating RPG.
This will be interesting because I am petite (5'3") as well as--not to put too fine a point on it--not a cylinder. So customization is mandatory in all sweater patterns. I had previously sworn up and down I was only going to do top down raglans in the future because it's SO EASY to adjust the most troublesome measurement areas for me. Also because seaming is the worst. So really, what I did last night shows that I had completely taken leave of my senses. XD However, the pattern very thoughtfully provides line drawings with all the measurements for all the sizes, so hopefully I should be able to mix and match? Thank you, Dianna Walla, for being so considerate of non-fit-model figures.
I don't get a lot of time to knit, so it's always special when I finish something. This weekend I bound off / washed / blocked my Mother of Pearl sweater, which is pretty much the sweetest little thing. (I prefer simple shapes in clothing, and until Bean has the words to tell me what she likes, so does she by proxy. Haha.)
Knitting is by far the biggest competitor for my writing time (the relatively quick gratification is so nice as a writer!), and if good yarn weren't so expensive it would win a lot more often. So you see, Madelinetosh et al's price points are a good thing ...
For any knitters who may be reading this: I made the 1 year old size with a lot of adjustments. The yarn was Dream In Color Classy (worsted) in the blue sulk colorway, which is obviously very different from my photo—I think they changed it though, because my yarn does not look like that at all, even allowing for lighting/monitor differences. Anyway, you can find the details on my Ravelry page.
IFTTT is pretty good for this sort of thing but it doesn't have a Dreamwidth module, and I still want to maintain my DW blog, so it'll have to start from there via RSS feed and post to WordPress. The only irritation is that it doesn't transfer tags, so that's something I will still have to manually update, but it's better than nothing. DW can also automatically crosspost to LJ, which is nice. Anyway, this is the first post testing IFTTT functionality, so pardon my dust, etc. Much to do ahead as I tweak the WordPress.
(Sorry too tired to translate, but Wikipedia covers similar territory)
It's just so hard to get any other form of exercise thanks to Bean, not counting the ~1hr a day I get walking her in a stroller + chasing after her.
Resources would be loved--I did Google, so I have a couple of beginner Youtube vids and such called up, but if you have a ~favorite~ I would love to know it! Thank you in advance ♥
I am really, really tired and brain dead but I want to write this now so that I don't forget *_*
( spoilery squee and ramblings below! )
In short, oh my god the next book, I need it. <3
But in the meantime, I will reread (to catch all the things that I inevitably missed the first time) and then join the threads if they're not over yet ...
Spouse: I don't know of any.
Me: What? That is so obvious, it should be a cliche.
Spouse: *staring now* I think your mind works ... differently ...
Anyway, all this is to say: if that story exists, someone point me towards it. Please no outright horror, I have an 8 month old! Bittersweet okay, although I would prefer sweet. Please and thank you! Or, if you like this idea, feel free to steal. I would love to read it when complete. <3
Spousal Unit returns from his trip of creating evil overlords tomorrow. Can't wait. It was not as bad as I thought, but it was only three days.
(... and you know the saying about not counting chickens before they hatch? Chez moi we are busy staking out some velociraptor eggs in case they hatch.)
(I can't wait until The Bean is old enough to start demonstrating some of these ... while I'm holding a phone to film the incidents. My God, my God, I am so glad that I was a child in an era where film was prohibitively expensive. And
Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, nor against any building; nor eat sand.
Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not that humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.
Day 1 was actually good. Super anxious that some calamity will happen tomorrow. But I do not know the day or the hour, right? So, more whiskey until I pass out asleep. =_=