Big plans, changes underway

Obligatory statement that I have been terrible at updates here. Excuse for such behavior: school. Declaration that things will change very shortly…

Hello there, 2012

Delicious consumables...and this is just the food

Our NYE party has come and gone, along with its delicious spread of spreads: pear-blue cheese chutney, mushroom-walnut pâté, spicy hummus, homemade crostinis and cinnamon sugar tortilla crisps, various cheeses, bacon-wrapped shrimp, cranberry-orange relish, bhel puri…many of these recipes I will present in the near future for your own experimentation.

As much as New Year’s lists can seem trite, I think it’s important to document where I’m at as an arranger of words, as well as where I am in my life at large, in a space that allows me to revisit my desires and goals and that enables others to encourage me to keep my word. So, without further adieu:

Things to Do in 2012

I. The Professional

  • Set up and maintain a solid, unchanging three-day a week writing schedule, during which I write for three-four hours at a time.
  • Maintain this blog regularly: Adventure Day recaps/status updates at least once every two weeks, more recipes (with photos and perhaps video)
  • Maintain Drawing Coffee regularly: update/cycle through my writing portfolio online, columns/essays on the state of writing and writing-, narrative-, and publication-related issues at least once every two weeks
  • Develop coding skills.
  • Finish all of the work I’ve begun revising and new work I’ve started over last fall and the coming spring.
  • Make some decisions about my thesis by September.
  • Secure at least one internship.
  • Develop bookmaking and binding skills.
  • Write personally about my writing process and my critical self once a week.
  • Submit my work to ten publications.
  • Finish reading one book a month.
  • Perform at three readings.

II. The Personal

  • Set up and maintain a workout schedule three times a week by the first week of February.
  • Take one day a week for myself–to write personally, to get things done around the apartment, to make food for the coming week, do laundry, clean my work space, play video games, etc.
  • Write and adhere to a personal monthly budget.
  • Volunteer.
  • Find/start a band, and play at least one show.
  • Plan at least one road trip.
  • Plan a writer’s retreat+trip for January next year.
  • Acquire enough poster frames for all of my artwork.
  • Go to at least one Cards game.

The beginning of the year has to come to be a very significant time to me. At the beginning of 2010, I felt like everything in my life had dropped away and left me suspended, free-floating in empty space, and I couldn’t tell if I was flying or falling. Graduating from college felt like I had run a marathon and vaulted over a single last hurdle off the edge of a cliff with no base, no ground to crash to. I forced a minimal amount of writing, and mostly stopped altogether. 2011 started with a bang and a bruise, celebrating in Chicago for the first time with tons of significant people who, though they may not know it, help keep me driven even though they are typically far away. And I was, of course, playing the waiting game in many ways, including hearing about grad school admissions. As compared to the previous year, however, I believed in the direction I had come to, and was cutting through the air around me despite not having hit the ground yet.

On the front page of my datebook for 2011, I wrote an important note to myself to be read every time I opened it up–“Devote this year to love.” Over the course of the year, my understanding of love developed in incredible ways. Love–big love, capital-L Love, not just the kind you say to your family or your SO, but the way you feel about life and what’s in it and all the people and objects and places you will never know–is why I write, is one of the things at the center of me that makes me the person that I am. Life is too short not to genuinely extend yourself, the best part of yourself, to as many entities in as many ways as you can and to try to see them for what they are and what they can be, to try to understand them in the way they understand themselves and to be a force of exploration and curiosity and growth and passion in their existence, if only for a brief instant.

More than any other goals for 2012, I plan to devote this year to love. My feet brush the ground beneath with every step.

Oh yes well

For those of you who don’t know:

  1. Sorry, no nanonovels this week. I’m revising stories (gasp!) for writing samples for grad school applications (double gasp!). Oh yeah, I’m applying to grad school or something.
  2. Didn’t see anything on Twitter already about surprise not-vegetarian foods (I probably just didn’t look hard enough). #Vegwarning seemed too long and potentially confusing, so I opted for #notveg. If you notice anything that surprisingly isn’t  vegetarian (like some miso soup, much to my chagrin), take my hashtag for a whirl.
  3. Going to Boston on Saturday. Expect some posts about it. Other things to expect in the near future: photopost and recipes for successful seitan tikka masala, and a discussion about writing in a digital age.

Well, now I have to go enjoy the unseasonable warmth.

A new project: nanonovels

Ladies and gentlemen, get all the information about my latest writing project, the nanonovel, at their new page on Drawing Coffee. I posted the first nanonovel today on my Twitter (which you can read the to right of this post, in the sidebar beneath my photo), as well as a link to the appropriate comments page. Read! Discuss!

I’m trying to decide how often to post these nanonovels; what are your thoughts? Twice a week? Three days a week?

The dark(ly humorous) side of origami

I posted some new writing up at Drawing Coffee. Go check it out, it’s called “The Art of Forgetting: Making an Origami Lotus”.

More Drawing Coffee revisions

Spent this evening revising the Legal, Opinions, and Creative pages at Drawing Coffee.

In other news, didn’t have to wear my ankle brace today at work and didn’t have to take any NSAIDs, despite biking 50 minutes at the gym tonight. Also playing Song Summoner on my iPod while biking was pretty sweet.

Redesigning Drawing Coffee

More from me later this week, but in the meantime, check out what I’ve been working on. I redesigned the Drawing Coffee site, and I’m working on revising the pages so they are both more informational and more professional–so far, only the “about” page is done, but I think it’s much better than what I had before. And for those of you into punishing yourselves, expect to see a bunch of my academic essays posted to DC in the near future.

A fusion of life and work

Woke up at a normal person time of morning, showered, and dashed off to the Springfield farmers’ market downtown. Much as I would have enjoyed hazelnut shortbread cookies, sweet focaccia (focaccia with powdered sugar and preserves/jam), or a massive cinnamon roll, I abstained. It was worth it to be out in the humidity just to smell the baskets of strawberries for sale. I sat in Andiamo to do some work, which meant e-mailing some people while listening to the rest of Morning Edition and deciding what I will need to do over the course of the year to get tech-savvy and marketable. I contacted someone from the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals today about possible learning opportunities for grant writing skills, though I am still somewhat unsure how I feel about it.

Got my haircut on Monday but decided today after giving it a chance that my bangs are not quite right; trying to see if I can get that fixed before the weekend.

Figured since I was already out and it was sunny and hot  and we weren’t going to get wiped off the face of the planet by torrential rain like the last two days, I would wash my car (though the rain at least had the courtesy to take care of the squirrel piss my car had been subjected to just prior to my neck getting pissed on as well). The pay-and-spray (ha) I go to usually is right down the street from an oil change place, so I took care of that too and felt pretty accomplished by the time I got home. Later on, it rained harder than it has the rest of the week and hailed on my car. At least I didn’t plant my wildflower seeds today–maybe Friday, since there is still a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms here tomorrow and that has meant guaranteed monsoons the last three days.

Lunch, tons of rain and flooding all over town, late getting to the gym. Lifted tons of weights today since my ankle pain came back with a vengeance shortly after lunch. Ibuprofen seems not to have any effect, so I’m sitting here with a back-size ice pack strapped to my leg while I write.

Also, I lucked into a part-time on-and-off job for the next few months. Jackie called me while I was on my way to get my oil changed and mentioned that she and her daughter are leaving to visit another of her daughters in California for a few weeks (which I knew, but I guess I didn’t put two and two together), so the flower shop where her daughter works would need a part-time assistant during that time. I’m supposed to be at the shop at 10am tomorrow for some on-the-job training.

Business stuff–I plan to start taking a lot more photos as writing starters. I’m also probably going to start asking a lot more questions of anyone reading about what kind of content you’d be interested in seeing from me. I know a lot of you take your own photos, also, and I would love to work some writing out for things you’ve photographed. If you’re comfortable sharing your pictures with me, I’d love to generate writing for them (particularly because I won’t know anything about them, where they are, why you took them–that is the whole point. Don’t tell me anything about them), and I will post them to Drawing Coffee as they are completed with full credit/reference to you as the photographer in whatever format you choose. If you would like to discuss this further/send me your damn photos already, I can be reached at chelsea dot fiddyment at gmail dot com. Quick note: I’d prefer they are not posed (or naked) photos of you, especially if I know you pretty well. Maybe someday I will write a story about all you lovelies, but for now, it’s just too distracting. Places/stuff/unknown (clothed; don’t violate their privacy!) people preferred.

Final question: if your favorite writer had a Twitter, what kinds of things would you want to read from them? Would you care? Why or why not? Talk amongst yourselves.

Bullet points

Quick entry before internet curfew.

Hurt my ankle running. Tried working out on a cross-trainer for thirty minutes Monday, which didn’t make things worse but also didn’t make them any better. Bought a couple of braces (including an athletic one that I wore today while doing weights) and I’m trying to take it easy for at least the next week. No cardio. Ice once a day, though I may move that up to twice.

Caffeine withdrawal week going pretty well so far. Staying away from coffee; had some iced tea on Tuesday to help with my headache.

Eyes are feeling much better after feeling as though they were going to shrivel up inside my skull last weekend.

Graduation weekend in Urbana was a good time that I’m glad I stuck around for.

New layout here on What the Fidd, plus I’m working on a new one for Drawing Coffee. DC is kind of a mess right now, but you’re welcome to check it out while I work on it. Copyright pages were added to both blogs, and I’m thinking about business strategies as I read the Atlantic’s article on Google saving the news.

I’ve overstayed my internet welcome! More tomorrow.

Three-Minute Fiction and little bits of writing

Some of you may remember that I entered round four of NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction competition a while back. The piece I submitted didn’t get anywhere, and when I read the winning piece today, I can understand why. If it’s not too bold a statement, I might venture to say that my entry was like a proto-version of the winner…the elements of success are there, but the winning author is clearly someone who has much more finely honed writing skills than I do. Good for a first try, I’d say. You can read the winning piece here, and check out some of the honorable mentions and runners-up, too.

That said, with the contest judging finished, I’ve decided to post my two pieces to Drawing Coffee. You can check out “A Portrait” (my personal runner-up) and “Until I Looked” (the horse I bet on) over there. Enjoy my first two creative pieces posted to DC in I think over two years. Enjoy.

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