uniquelyallie: (Default)
Once the weekend hit, I had no time to get to the iBook to post daily updates. :) That and combined with how Jeff's wireless has been acting up. :( But I've been keeping notes, will write up journal entries at some point, and post them when I can.

I've listened to five workshops from the Dallas 2004 National, and I think I'm done. The last time I listened to one was on Monday, and I could tell as I was jotting down notes that I really didn't want to be listening to it. And it had nothing to do with the subject matter being sensitive, i.e., goal setting or how to love writing again. I don't know what I would've done if I had crammed in all the workshops I wanted to listen to during the three days Atlanta was going on. My brain would've exploded, probably.

Since Monday, I've been stuck in Pollen Hell. There is *so* much pollen here in Philly... it's unreal. I've had a nasty sore throat that I can't seem to shake. And it's an allergy sore throat. I feel like someone has crammed their fist in my throat and left it there. That's how I can tell it's an allergy sore throat. Those are always worse than the ones I get when I'm just sick.

Since yesterday, we've been stuck in Heat Hell. It got up near 100 yesterday. Today? With the heat index? 112.

Pollen Hell combined with Heat Hell... I very seriously doubt I'm going to be able to get stranded in Washington D.C. today. (It's one of the tips I got for how to get yourself to write. You get stranded somewhere. I figure if I'm going to pay close to $100 for an Amtrak ticket... that should be an excuse for me to get off my duff and write. That and I'll get to see a cool train station, if anything.)

I had a revelation while drunk... either Friday or Saturday night... that I miss SF writing and I'm afraid of the Ediison story. *sigh* I knew this while sober, but it was much easier to deny this fear and longing sober.

I've also been dreaming again the past few nights! I haven't had any dreams--that I can remember--in a *long* time.
uniquelyallie: (Default)
I realized today that I'm not going to be able to stick to doing my Personal National during the three official days of Real National. I only managed to listen to one workshop today: Tips for facing the blank page. It was from the Dallas 2004 National. Presenters: Julie Kenner, Leanne Banks, and Pamela Britton. The one-hour workshop turned more into 1 1/2 hours because I kept stopping my iPod, rewinding, and basically writing down about every word of said workshop. Just because there was so much good information. Stuff that I really need at this stage right now since I'm paralyzed at facing the blank page. Well, okay, not so much paralyzed anymore, but I'm still not where I want to be. And the writing has yet to be fun again.

So, yeah, since it took 1 1/2 hours to listen to one workshop... I'm thinking my Personal National is going to go into next week. Which is fine.

I also decided not to follow my schedule of listening to specific workshops at specific times. I'm going to go through and listen to all of the Writer's Life workshops that I put on my iPod first. Although I'm kicking myself for not putting all of the Writer's Life workshops onto the iPod... but how was I supposed to know I was going to stray from the schedule. I'm also kicking myself for taking off the Prairie Home Companions I had on the iPod because I needed space. I had the brilliant thought today, after listening to a podcast of The Writer's Almanac to ground myself before listening to the workshop, to also listen to Prairie Home Companion after I finished listening to workshops for the day. But no... I took those off the iPod. And no... I don't have enough Writer's Almanac to get me through the extended Personal National.

After I listened to my one workshop, I sat at Rittenhouse Square and read another chapter of the Christmas Intrigue I brought with me. Then made notes of what I needed to do for Day 2 of FDin30, in case I wanted to write while Jeff and I were out tonight.

Speaking of Jeff... bonus points to him for not sending me text messages during the day. He even told me, when we met back at his place, that he didn't send me any text messages during the day because he wanted me to be focused. (Even if he did... I wouldn't have known because I had my ringer turned off.)

Because Justin is coming for a visit tomorrow... we had to shift some of my Personal National evening activities around. Tonight was supposed to be the "FF&P Gathering," but we went to Dahlak in University City for dinner instead. It's an Ethiopian restaurant, and they had a dining special where two people could get three courses for $30. The special ended tomorrow. I'm not complaining about shifting events around. I *love* Dahlak, and there's no Ethiopian restaurant in Cincinnati, as far as I know.

Afterwards, we took the trolley back into Center City and went toCosi for coffee. I finished up Days 1 and 2 of FDin30 (character sketch, general setting sketch, and character setting sketch), while Jeff did some physics work. So more bonus points for him for going somewhere with me, and letting me write.

We stopped at Wawa on the way home... but not for coffee. Paper towels.

Jeff's been wonderful the past couple of days, but I'm still worried that he's thinking I'm neglecting him or something. I told him, prior to coming to Philly, how my first week in Philly would go... that I'm trying to echo Real National as much as possible. But like tonight, at dinner, he asked about the workshop I listened to, and I just didn't want to talk about it. It's not that I didn't want to talk about it... it's just that I was just still processing the information. And it was a sensitive subject too: tips for facing the blank page. I had a freaking writer's blowout. This workshop provided tools to get me out. I needed--still need--time to digest all the tips. Plus I'm starting to think out more of a plan.

And then I'm afraid that I'm putting out vibes that I'm not having fun when we get together in the evenings. My mind was on writing all night tonight. And I got annoyed again when he mentioned, at Cosi, how it was getting late (we left at midnight), and that we probably should be heading home since we both had big days tomorrow. I got annoyed because I know this... I know he has to get up for work... I know I want a more full day, so I don't have to cram in listening to workshops *and* writing in three hours. I got annoyed because I couldn't stop thinking, "If I was in Atlanta... I'd be staying up late. You wouldn't have to poop on my party." And I kinda told Jeff this... prefaced with how I wasn't annoyed with him; just that me not being in Atlanta is probably having more of an effect than what I thought. So after I told Jeff this, he said, "Well, you can do whatever you want." He wasn't upset or nasty or anything. Just stating a fact. But, really, there's nothing I can do. Everything is closed except for bars.

I need to start thinking, "If I was in Atlanta... me focusing on writing... me not spending a lot of time with Jeff... all that would happen if I was in Atlanta." Because, right now, I feel guilty for attemping a Personal National. Even in spite of the fact that I'll be more "available" to Jeff next week.
uniquelyallie: (Default)
Another late start to my day. Which annoyed me somewhat because... if I was going to Atlanta... I would've already been there, settled in, and ready to explore the city. I was somewhat awake--but groggy--when Jeff woke up at 7:30 a.m. to go jogging. I was even still groggy-awake when he left for work at 8:30. But, at some point, I fell back to sleep. I blame Chloe and Contessa. Contessa was sleeping on the pillow next to me. Chloe decided to curl up against my head, so I had a nice, furry, soft, cat pillow. I can't resist the Power of the Kitty.

So no Manhattan or Washington D.C. adventure. There just wouldn't have been enough time to make the trip worth my while. And I was going to do something so un-Stephanie like: (1) I wasn't going to decide where I was going until I got to the train station. (2) I wasn't going to do any research on either city, to find things to do and stuff, ahead of time. Which, okay, I know it's cheating for Manhattan since I've been there three times, but still.

Instead, I went to Black's to pick up my Vera Bradley bag. Then I went to the Shops at Liberty Place for a late lunch. There's something odd about having a sushi bar at a mall food court. Mall food courts in Cincinnati? Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, Arby's, any kind of pizza place, Subway, Chinese, Gold Star Chili, Blue Chip Cookie, etc. Not sushi. Not Indian. Which was my first choice today, but it looked like no one was working at Cafe Spice Express. So I went with the sushi.

I got a table by a window, overlooking some street with lots of trees. As I ate, I worked on Day 1 of First Draft in 30 Days. I got up to the Personality Traits section of the Character Sketch, before quitting.

Afterwards, I walked a block and went to Borders. The plan was to get a couple really yummy Lindt creme brulee chocolate bars, but they had no Lindt whatsoever. I then decided to have my own personal bookfair, and was going to buy four books: a Sophie Kinsella book written when she was Madeleine Wickham or whoever; Something Blue by Emily Giffin; Everything She Thought She Wanted by Elizabeth Buchan; and some novel written by someone who teaches writing at OSU in Columbus that sounded rather Lovely Bones-esque. I got as far as the checkout line, before turning around, going back upstairs, and putting all the books back. I decided that I just didn't need any more books.

I did, however, decide that I needed $100 worth of earrings and barrettes after stumbling upon Nova Ice on Chestnut. My Becky Bloomwood rationalization: I would've splurged and bought something in Atlanta anyway.

For the KOD AGM/Dinner... Jeff and I walked around the city, and "stumbled" upon Mixto, a Cuban restaurant in Antique Row. I say "stumble" only because we've walked past this place many a times on our way to Swanky Bubbles or Penn's Landing, and we're always like, "We should go there," and we never do. So we finally went tonight. Jeff got a shrimp salad. I opted for something more Cuban: slow roasted pork chunks, black beans and rice, plantains, some sort of funky potato, and some sort of funky cornbread. We each had a glass of sangria too.

My KOD dinner was probably way better than the real KOD dinner. Though my KOD dinner wasn't free.

We wound up at Swanky Bubbles afterwards because, even for Personal National, one needs to hit the bar. :) I'm pleased to report that Swanky Bubbles was indeed Swanky Bubbles tonight, and not Skanky Bubbles like it was on the Sunday night we went there back in June, and they decided to be a dance club, and all these skanky women were shaking body parts that they shouldn't have been shaking. So yay! This gives me hope because this has always been one of my favorite bars in Philly. I got a butterfinger martini: Starbucks liqueur, Godvia dark chocolate liqueur, and Buttershots. Jeff opted for a mochatini: Starbucks liqueur and vodka. And, like all good National attendees, I even wrote at the bar. :) I jotted down some ideas for Mollie's (heroine in my chick lit novella) background and external conflicts because I was determined--still am--to get Day 1 of FDin30 done on Day 1. I need to do FDin30 as close to 30 days as possible.

Afterwards, Jeff and I stopped at CVS for toliet paper. A reminder that my Personal National is, indeed, just personal and not the real thing. We also stopped at Wawa for more coffee. (I love Wawa!)

As for Wednesday, I need to readjust my schedule beyond listening to workshops from the Dallas National. Jeff's friend from grad school is coming through Philly on his way to a bachelor's party in Virginia, and he's stopping by for a visit on Thursday night, and is also spending the night. Jeff plans to take Justin to a Chinese BYOB, and I'm expected to come along. This means I have to move around all the evening activities on Thursday to other nights of my Personal National, and I may have to get started on listening to Friday's workshops one or two hours later than planned. *sigh* If I sound annoyed, it's only because I wanted my Personal National to echo Atlanta National as close as possible, with hopes of tricking myself into becoming productive. Something I've *never* been with my writing.

And now it's almost 3:00 a.m., and I'm still delusionally wanting to finish Day 1 of FDin30. I just need to come up with some ideas for Mollie's internal conflicts, but this futon is looking mighty appealing.
uniquelyallie: (Default)
My first day in Philly was basically typical Philly. I slept way late, got ready for my day way late, and actually started my day way late. I didn't leave Jeff's place until 3:00. Made it halfway to UPenn, before turning around and going back to his apartment to get my sunglasses. I had left my clip-ons on a bookshelf in the living room, and had fears of Chloe (one of Jeff's cats) jumping up on the bookshelf, knocking the sunglasses off, batting them around on the floor, and scratching them up.

Usually, when I do my typical Philly thing of sleeping in so late, then not being able to do what I want to do before having to meet up with Jeff after he gets off work... I'm usually really pissy. I wasn't today. I just didn't care about the late start to my day. I figured if I was going to Atlanta... this would be a traveling day anyway. So I'm allowed to waste it.

As I walked to UPenn, I listened to Christmas music on my iPod. There's something just *wrong* about listening to Christmas music in the middle of July, when it's 80-something degrees, and you're wearing shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, and sandals. But I hoped it would get me in the mood to work on the Christmas novella. Which, obviously, it did. By the time I got to Cereality and settled down at the table with my bowl of Life Experience and iced tea... I wound up spending an hour writing down 56 plot ideas. I think I may even have figured out how to get a somewhat romantic interest involved. I also skimmed through Day 1 of FDin30, so I can focus on that for tomorrow.

Something I need to explore... I realized that I've been deathly afraid of writing. That fear cropped up when I briefly thought about the Edison story; made me realize that this fear has been there long before my writer's blowout back in March.

After Cereality, I went to the Shops at Liberty Place on a quest for a Vera Bradley tote bag. I had forgot to pack mine because I wasn't expecting to be going on an adventure tomorrow, and wanted a more tote-like kind of bag large enough to carry around any purchases or leftover food. (You can now call me Becky Bloomwood.) I found out that there's been difficulties with the particular pattern I was after (Java Blue) being produced in all the bag/purse designs. I kindasorta found what I was after at Black's Luggage, but the salesman had to request it from his other store. It'll be here at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Jeff and I went to Audrey Claire's for dinner. It's a Mediterranean BYOB. We usually share a bowl of mussels in tomato-plum sauce, clams with jalapenos and bacon crumbles, pita bread with three Meditterrean spreads, and chickpea salad. Audrey disrupted my food balance: Clams weren't on the menu. We had to get prawns instead. Chickpea salad was gone. We substituted tomato and mozzarella. And the one spread we really like--goat cheese and pomegrante--yeah, say it with me, was also gone. Don't get me wrong... dinner was still incredibly yummy. I just hate change.

We walked around Center City after dinner, then came back home a little after 11:30, after getting coffee at Wawa. I spent the past hour skimming through Romance Diva messages posted since last Thursday, and Jeff fell asleep. (He's totally cool with my need to have diva access nightly. I told him if I waited to read messages at the end of my trip... I'd never get all caught up. ;) )

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is my "KOD Pre-Conference Tour." I'm either going to Manhattan or Washington D.C. (Yes, even without the large tote bag! :D ) Tomorrow night is the "KOD AGM/Dinner." Jeff's picking out where we're going, and he's going to surprise me.

And, in typical National fashion, I'm staying up late... even though I gotta get an early start tomorrow.

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Allison Kelsey

December 2015

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