Grey and rainy.

The weather’s gotten properly icy, now; it’s below freezing at night, and winter coats are required. I can still get away without wearing winter boots, though.

I missed Sunday for NaNoWriMo, but I wrote yesterday and today, and I’m still ahead; slightly more than 25% done on the wordcount, although with what I had drafted up already I may hit the end of what I need to have written before I get to 50,000 words. We’ll see.

The usual small flood of magazines came in, and I’m working at getting my owned-and-to-read pile back down to a closer-to-reasonable level. It’s a process. I’m cherry-picking short works and ones that came out in 2017 (Hugos next year, and all).

I bought a sweater quantity of yarn, in a sort of raisin colour, and cast on a pattern tonight. I’m hoping to have a sweater done this month or early December.

Raw material and shelf space.

Sadly, I’ve written 27,701 words this month. I say “sadly” because I was aiming for 30,000, but I did something fairly painful to my hand yesterday evening so I’m not making that goal.

I also managed to read ten magazines (eight came in, which is a pretty heavy month for me; most months it’s less), so I’m at least a lot more on top of short stories this year than I was at the start of the year. (I’m also trying to be more organized about noting down things that I might want to keep in mind for Hugo nominations for next year, which has caused me to notice that I haven’t exactly read a lot of 2017 novels yet.)

I’ve also slacked fairly badly on story submissions, and really need to catch up on that. Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with the month; I just need to spend more of May that is usual focussing on revising writing than I usually do. Here’shoping the transition goes smoothly.

Words and dust

I used to sew. And for years I’ve had a subscription to Threads, which I find to be a lovely magazine (perfect-bound, too!).

For a lot of years. My mom got a subscription when it started up, you see, and I got one when I moved out, and… Oh dear. I might actually have, give or take, two decades worth of the magazine, here.

On paper.

I’m ballparking that at about 12,000 pages, and no, there is not an extra zero in there.

I mentioned that I used to sew, right?

So I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that there is actually no-one who wants these things (no, libraries don’t usually take old magazines), and I have no use for them, and they are taking up a kind of ridiculous amount of shelf-space, and…

And I feel guilty for not having kept up with them. I feel guilty for not still liking them, as if I owe it to the person I was a decade ago to not change. I feel guilty for not being able to go through them and use them up to produce a brilliant and trenchant collage that is both a commentary on modern society and a funny and uplifting story (although with 12,000 pages, quite frankly, I am not sure where the hell such a collage could be stored and also I’m now imagining glue in all the cat fur help this is out of control).

But the magazines are meant to be something I enjoy. If they’re making me feel unhappy and vaguely anxious, they are defective and the situation needs to be corrected. I think I’ve finally managed to get through the guilt and figure this out, and that’s a good feeling.

(I’d still love it if sometime in the future magazines became edible. Then they would be easy and economical to dispose of, instead of quite this fraught.)

Managing the flood of words.

I’ve finished six books so far this month (bringing me to twenty-six for the year), and I may finish another one tonight. That said, March was the month where… hang on, counting up titles and being slightly embarrassed…

March was the month where eight e-magazines dropped into my inbox. Eight. Also two print magazines came by mail, so I’m going to call it… thirty-five stories, probably.

Most months don’t have quite so many magazines, but March was something of a perfect storm. I’m thinking it’s really time to get through some of them. It’s hard, because most of them are e-magazines and I don’t tend to actually parse that those are piling up, so they get out of hand a little more easily.

So I think that, in addition to Camp NaNoWriMo, April is going to be the month where I put down the books and focus on my magazines for a bit. It’ll feel a bit strange because those aren’t tracked in Goodreads, but by the end of April I should still be ahead of the curve (I’m only aiming to read 65 books this year) and the stack of stuff on my ereader and end table will be down a bit.

Processing.

So I was discussing fantasy novels with a co-worker today, and I mentioned The Last Unicorn, and they asked what that was, and I made a noise which is perhaps best described as “glk”. It looks like they might check it out, though, so that’s probably to the good.

Continuing to make progress on my clearing out of stuff; a couple of boxes of assorted smallthings left out for the CDA, and a bag of clothes. I’ve gotten rid of maybe another foot’s worth of books, and am organizing the remainder a little better now.

I feel older. Does that make sense? Realizing that I am not going to use things seems weirdly tied to realizing that I won’t have the time or energy to use them, and that realization makes me feel slower and more run-down. It’s not a bad end result–I am loving the decreasing of clutter–but it’s a somewhat melancholy feeling.

Books, spaced and sorted.

I’ve gotten a total of 58 inches of shelf space cleared over the last two weekends–and I’ve just realized that while if that was stacked up it would not be quite as tall as I am, it would still be pretty impressive–and I am thinking that I might need to change how I organize my books. Usually I sort fiction into anthologies, collections, and novels[1], but lately I’m thinking it might make more sense to subdivide the anthologies.

I’m starting to feel like the ones I have fall into two general groups; some are reference works (most of the annual “Year’s Best”, for example) and some are themed works (many one-shot anthologies, and my goodness I have a lot of post-apocalyptically themed ones). And organizing them that way–splitting the collections of ones selected for notability away from the ones selected for theme–might start to make it a little easier to get a handle on the… well, the general flood.

(I have over two hundred books that I own and haven’t finished. This doesn’t really make me very happy.)

I have also just realized (because I was updating Goodreads while sorting the culled books out) that I have finished one book this month. One. And it was a fairly slim graphic novel loaned to me by a friend.

(I am, for the record, in the habit of finishing between five and eight books a month. The higher numbers do usually include graphic novels and e-novelettes, both of which are quite fast reads, but still. So I feel a little bit better having evidence that I’ve actually been ridiculously busy, but at the same time I little disconcerted to realize how busy I’ve been.)
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[1] Well, usually I sort them first by hardcover/paperback/mass-market format, and then by anthology/collection/novel within that format, with the caveat that certain authors–Terry Pratchett springs to mind–get their own section by virtue of being who they are. Graphic novels, RPGs, and non-fiction are grouped by subject. The favourites shelf and the Mythos shelf (both of which are expanding past the “single shelf” category) may both ignore all these restrictions.

More air, less pulp

I’ve been cleaning things out lately; not even decluttering (which suggests to me either putting things away or disposing of casually accumulated things), but actually revisiting what I do and don’t want to keep. Things that I decided yes to a couple of years ago have been re-evaluated, and some are being kept, and some are being gotten rid of.

(The paper recycling is going to be heavy as hell this week, for the record. I feel a little bad about that, which is probably not reasonable.)

There are several more square feet of space in the room I am focussing on, and the impromptu cat bed has been replaced by a promptu one (surely not the correct word, surely a comprehensible incorrect one). It really does make a huge difference to how clear I find myself feeling when I’m in the room.

I’m hoping to get a chance to work on my office a little this weekend. At some point, I’ll need to comb through my physical books again, but that’s never an easy step to take. However, we’re at the point where we need another bookshelf to keep all the books we have[1], so something needs to change. I figure I’ll look at it once the rest of the house is better sorted.

[1] We already have thirteen.

Approaching transit

My laptop bag doesn’t quite fit my laptop, so there’ve been some relatively last-minute packing adjustments. There may be more tomorrow morning, although if there aren’t it will still be fine.

I’m waffling over what books to bring. I like magazines for airports – they’re very thin, and the length of articles and stories handle interruption well – but I’m not sure about the books, or about whether to bring physical ones rather than electronic ones.

I’ll sort it all out, I suppose. And my plane takes off in twelve hours and change. 🙂

Make it a pome. Real pomes rhyme.

I have rhymes in my head this morning; a little bit of Poe, a little bit of lyrics from the Traveling Wilburys[1], the perpetual stressed-silver-and-dust chime of Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm”.

I didn’t get as much done as I’d like to have gotten done over the last few days, but on the flipside, it was actually really relaxing. The weekend felt like it was a weekend, not just a recovery period.

Possibly related to this: the light of my life has set up his controller in my office, and I got to play video games again for the first time in a while. There is a bit of a learning curve with the new controls, but it’s definitely a workable solution. At least for Fallout: New Vegas, which is what I have especially been craving lately.

(Also, I cleaned off everything which had slowly accumulated on my desk. Currently my desk is much neater, and I hope to finish sorting the accumulata by the end of the week.)

[1] I am constantly astounded that I never heard of them until this year. First, I am really fond of at least two of their songs, and second, their lineup is the kind of thing I would expect to have heard of.

London, travel, computer, flail.

…dammit, I wish that title weren’t so apt. Anyway.

I’m leaving for Loncon in ten days, and I am trying to decide whether or not to bring my laptop, and if I bring it whether to keep it in my (non-con-located) hotel room or take it with me to the con.

(Important note, for deciding: I can keep the con schedule on my phone.)

If I leave it at home:

  • pro: it will not get lost.
  • con: my laptop. Life without my laptop for eight days. In airports. (I will note that I have not had an international plane trip not take an extra half-day at least in years.)

If I take it to London and leave it in the hotel:

  • pro: I will have all my writing, my Skype, my bookmarks, my GDrive connection, my everything
  • pro: I can write while in transit. I find I actually really like doing this, and while it is technically possible to do on my phone, the smaller screen makes it much more of a PITA.
  • pro: I will not have to carry it around a con (I have a Lenovo Thinkpad; sturdy as all hell, but kind of bulky)
  • ???: I would need to get a laptop bag. My current laptop bag is actually a backpack. No-one who is at risk of standing behind me or in my blind spot wants me maneuvering in a crowded area with a moderately heavy backpack, even with padded corners.
  • con: I would need to leave it in the hotel, which would probably be perfectly fine but which would, for at least the first two days, distract me.

If I take it to London and to Loncon:

  • pro: will have all my writing, my Skype, my bookmarks, my GDrive connection, my everything.
  • pro: I can write while in transit.
  • pro: can sit in A Spot at the con and get stuff down. (At Anticipation–the Montreal 2009 WorldCon–I ended up posting eight times from the con itself. Admittedly at that point I was in the con hotel, which makes a slight difference… OTOH, judging by FarthingCon, I really do like having my laptop with me. The “back off, breathe, find a place to sit for late-night coffee or dessert, and type” is a nice way of processing events.)
  • con: carrying around a heavy thing, which means that if I pick up anything else (get thee behind me, dealer’s room) or am carrying anything else (such as books to get signed), the total weight will be that much greater.
  • con: will need to lug it along if/when I decide that I should go somewhere/do something else.

Ugh. I don’t know. But at least I have every pro and con I can think of down, so I may revisit this in a bit. Thoughts?