I’m trying to catch up with myself, and reassure myself that although I’ve been running about like a blue-ar**d fly I have managed to accomplish something, though it feels woefully like I haven’t.

We survived last week. That is a major achievement, given the level of stress, illness and activity we had to get through. We have done, between us, one gymnastics class, one music class, one toddlers christmas party, 2 kindergarten christmas productions, 3 primary christmas productions, 4 colds and 5 ballet exam coaching sessions. Minni Bellaboo has overcome 3 new teeth a cold and an MMR injection. Rumpus just is. Honey did her ballet exam today. It was lovely to have some her-and-me time on the way there and getting her ready. The school do such a fantastic job on them, getting them ready. Her hair looked absolutely stunning and I almost didn’t recognise her, she looked so ethereal – she wa impressed too, because she refused to take it all down when she got home . . . . of course, now she thinks I can reproduce it. oh dear. But she absolutely bounced out of the exam, so we’ll keep fingers crossed for a good mark. Another milestone passed. Rumpus announced that he wants to do ballet. I think it’s a fantastic idea . . . maybe he’ll be the next Adam Cooper (oh, be still my beating heart), though his daddy is not very happy about it, no matter how much I tell him what an incredibly demanding physical challenge ballet is for male dancers . . . we shall see. I guess he’ll do a couple of lessons, hate the discipline, and drop it. Still, he does Karate, so maybe, just maybe . . . .

On the textile front, I’ve shifted a huge amount in the last month or so . . . I’ve done an extra-large multi-pocket shopping bag with embroidered flower, a velvet lavender pillow with beading and embroidery for a 90th birthday, a number of small lavender pillows for the mill, a blue silk evening bag and one patchwork playmat for a baby. phew! Now I’ve just got one more project to do before Christmas and then I’m done and can please myself. I’m itching to do some experimentation – I got a fantastic book on manipulating fabric (Colette Wolff : The Art of Manipulating Fabric) and I’m desperate to experiment with some of the techniques in there. I need to take some time off and please myself, get some new ideas going with it all . . .

On the writing front, I have finally finished the edits on ‘Anneth’. I’m pretty pleased with it, and think it’s pretty strong. It’ll be up in my crit group from January, so I’m a bit nervous/excited how it’ll go down there, particularly as there are a number of non-fantasy readers in the group. When I look back on it’s first incarnation, when I had only the vaguest notion of plot, I am stunned by how far I have come in terms of my writing. It’s encouraging, but I fear I have still a way to go with it. Which is why I’m setting myself a target of finishing the disconnection rewrite for April, and the ‘Serpent’ edit as well. I desperately need to get some more work up out of the first draft pile and into some sort of productive state, and I’m looking forward to that.

‘in skin’ got rejected by the edge online. I have given it the quick once over and sent it straight back out again to Interzone. Fingers xxxxxxd

‘afternoon of thorns’, the shortlisted piece from MsLexia got the same treatment and is ready to go . . . to the Chattahoochee Review. I need to get into town to the big post office, as it’s the only place I can get IRCs. Such a pain in the a**e that I can’t buy it online, and that the USPO are not selling US stamps abroad. I bet I could get them on ebay, if I could be bothered . . . .

I’m reworking ‘pony of the north wind’ for les bonnes fees. It’s the only place I can see that does fairy tales, so it looks like a one-shot deal, there or nothing! So, it’s got to be perfect, and they set the bar pretty high. Wha’s good is that I can see the major flaw in the story – it lacks conflict – so I need to have a good long thing about who my protagonist/antagonist is, what they need and how it twists, all within the constraints of the genre. What I’ve got is well written, but there’s no real story there, and that’s what I need to dig up. I’ve got some ideas, tho.

It concerns me slightly that I’m not writing anything new at the moment – lots of ideas, but nothing concrete. I don’t know, though. I’ve got a lot of back-catalogue that I need to go through and either turn into active inventory (to borrow a Jay Lake term) or retire, permanently. Not just short stories, novels as well. I’m in a real edit phase at the moment, all very left brain, and I don’t have that spark for writing. After Christmas, I must reignite it and get back to the regular discipline of writing because I know I’m capable of indefinite procrastinating on this and that’s no good.

I’m glad I’ve been through this. It makes me feel less hopeless . . . and makes me realise that I’ve done quite a lot, because this doesn’t take into account any of the regular ‘stuff’ involved in running a house and large-ish young family AND that I’ve had a stupid cough/cold/sorethroat/thing going on for the last two weeks as well. Sometimes I wonder if I’m forcing my body to make promises it just can’t keep up with the late hours, lack of serious exercise (beyond the school walk and the odd weights session) and total lack of relaxation.

I went to Nirvana Spa and had a total day off. I didn’t think I would enjoy it, was dreading it, really, because I couldn’t envisage a worse hell than doing nothing all day, but it was heaven. From the moment I got there and had my first dip in the pool, through the float (which, incidentally, unblocked a major sticking point in the planning for the new novel, SERE) and the massage, it was just gorgeous to indulge and not have to worry about anything or anyone else. I’m now counting the pennies and working out when I can do it again. The massage, particularly, was a revelation – the delightful Kelly told me she’d never come across such tight shoulders before, and spent a fair amount of time chasing a big lump of knotted muscle around. She had to give up in the end, but told me I needed to get it sorted. Humph. Like I have time . . . .  BUT, a reminder that I do need to switch off every now and again, and a big “hello, my name is ellsea and I’m a workaholic” moment. Even people with regular jobs get time off. I need to give myself a break, take some time off, kick back and relax. Maybe in the new year . . . . 😉


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