Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

Month: May 2016

Mini Art Month 07

So life blew up last week and continues its blowing this week. And yet! I’m writing more new words of fiction than I have in quite some time. So yay! (Other than the chaos that is life currently.)

The catch up for last week:

Monday (5/16): Nada. I blogged and started the uphill climb that is learning to typeset manuscripts for print. Art-related, but not exactly art.

Tuesday (5/17): 358 words. Started writing a new story using Dean Wesley Smith’s “Writing Into the Dark” manner — start with a character in a setting, and no fretting about having an interesting character or fascinating setting. So I found a random name online, set her at the Oregon Coast, and started writing. I have no idea where the story is headed, but in that sense it’s like reading. It’s an exhilarating and frightening way to write, but I’m enjoying it (once I can sit my butt in the chair and start typing).

Melissa Bradley sat on a cold hard rock staring at the white caps on the incoming waves, marveling at the way the water wrapped around the behemoth of a rock standing in the ocean. The water enveloped the base of the rock then continued its forward motion towards the sandy shore.

That’s the way I should be, she thought. Adapt to what the universe hands me and keep moving forward.

Wednesday (5/18): 553 words. Started this session writing from a different (and new!) character’s POV. I really like the dog.

The Australian Shepard mix sat at his side and whined. Come on, the dog seemed to say. What are we doing just standing up here when there is all that fun sand down there?

Thursday (5/19): Nothing. Life chaos got the better of me.

Friday (5/20): 380 words. Written in 10 minutes while waiting in the car. I’ll take that.

Life in the army had drastically limited his ‘facial opportunities,’ as Kaitlyn had called it.

Leave it to a beautician to call a beard a ‘facial opportunity.’

Saturday (5/21): Zip. Spent the day recovering from helping friends move, and a chaotic week.

Sunday (5/22): Zip part 2. Took care of some life maintenance, but otherwise no art.

Mini Art Month 06

I’ve been doing stuff, but dang if I don’t get to posting about it. Argh. So now I’m playing catch up.

Monday (5/09): More words. (566 of ’em) for the short story.

She stumbled to the bed and felt herself falling like she was in slow motion. It seemed like forever before her body sank into the pillow top mattress. She tried to think through what was happening, what could possibly explain these sensations, when she saw him.

Tuesday (5/10): Photo. It was bizarre to see on the sidewalk, so I had to take a picture.

Dead baby bird on sidewalk

Memento mori

Wednesday (5/11): Baking. Made pumpkin-cheesecake bars and beer bread with Kona Brewing’s Golden Ale. Photo because I have to show ’em:

Pumpkin cheesecake bars
beer bread


Thursday (5/1): More words (700) and finished the story. Had to review Dean Wesley Smith’s excellent Writing into the Dark book to get my mojo running again, but totally worth it.

At least her death meant something, she mused.

Friday (5/13): Photo.

Early, but gorgeous roses.

Early, but gorgeous roses.

Saturday (5/14): Did some work on the novel revision course, but no real, or even tangential, art.

Sunday (5/15): Baking. Made a new recipe for French bread (need to not include the sugar next time), as well as some white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies and dark chocolate-macadamia nut cookies.

Bad photo, but decent bread.

Bad photo, but decent bread.


So the good news is that I took my own advice and established some priorities and set some limits. Seems to have helped.

Mini Art Month 05

Yesterday I got 566 words in on the new story. I’m not sure where it’s going, but I liked this bit:

A car passed by, its booming bass music pounding so hard that she felt it press on her chest with the beating of her own heart.

Boom boom boom boom.

The booming kept coming.


Mini Art Month 04

As with most things, I had the best of intentions, but life got in the way. It seems to do that.

So here is the update of attempts (or lack thereof) to do the daily Mini Art:

Thursday (5/05): Mini Quasi-Art. I did get some time in thinking about the current short story I’m writing. This was good because I was stuck and needed to figure out where to go with it. However, there isn’t anything art-wise to show for it other than a bunch of scribbles on a tiny notebook.

Friday (5/06): A Big Fat Zero. It was a blank day. I can’t even remember what I did, but I remember feeling exhausted.

Saturday (5/07): An Effort. I made castella for the first time. It looked really good in the oven — the top perfectly brown — so of course I second guessed myself and followed the note that said if it was browning too soon, to cover the cake with a piece of aluminum foil. When I took the cake out of the oven and peeled off the foil, it took with it some of the top of the cake (the perfect brown top!), leaving behind a vaguely heart shaped crater. The funny thing is that the best tasting part of the cake was the not-quite-down doughy middle; the rest of the cake was dense and not at all what I expect from castella. Still, people took seconds, which I tend to think was out of kindness. The important part was that I tried a new recipe, had some modicum of success, and now have ideas of tweaks to try next time.

Sunday (5/08): An Old Favorite.  I made beer bread for a friend. I love tried and true recipes.

The takeaway from last week is that I need to set priorities and create limits*. If art is important, then I need to make it a priority, which means doing it first thing in the day. If I let resistance win (“I’ll get to it later” “I’ll do it when I get home”), then I generally don’t do it because the day grows increasingly chaotic. So if I want any chance at doing my art, I have to do it before the chaos truly ensues.


*Create limits = determining the most amount of time/energy I will devote to an activity, esp. activities that are Not Art. A load of laundry? Sure. Seven loads of laundry? Not so much. Dust and vacuum the living room? Sure. Wipe the baseboards down and clean the switch plates? Not so much.

Mini Art Month 03

For May the Forth (be with you), I put together a Star Wars display at work. It felt “art-y” to me, and took a bit of creativity and research, so I am counting it as my Mini Art for the day:

Star Wars book display

Two of my loves combined: Star Wars and samurai

Writing-wise, I electronically inputted what I have so far for a new urban fantasy story. Not terribly creative work, but necessary since at some point I have to get scribbled words in a beat-up notebook into electronic form.

Mini Art Month 02

I finally finished the short story I’ve been working on since, oh, March. (Did I mention that April didn’t exist this year? WHOOSH it went out the window . . .)

So a last line from the first draft*:


“No mice,” she said with a smile.


<bows and walks off the stage*>



*It is “Mini Art Month,” so one line is just fine. Although I did write 641 words total yesterday to finish the story.

**The bowing and walking is meant in jest, since it’s not a great line and it’s only the first draft.

Mini Art Month 01

I wrote 535 words of fiction today, and then came up with this Blackout Poem for my “mini art”:

Blackout poem 01

Short and simple blackout poem — and just about the way I feel

Taking inspiration from Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work.

May is Mini Art Month

Artists need habits. Let me clarify: artists need good habits.

Good habits involve making art every day*, and not getting all caught up with the mundanities of life like cleaning the house and doing laundry and when are friends coming over and oh god the flowers need arranging** AND I MUST DO ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW, and then procastinating on making art and thinking that it’s okay this one time because hey, I’m being productive, so that has to count for something, right? I’m making my house clean. I’m making my clothes stain-free and fresh smelling. I’m making preparations for a visit from friends. I’m making beauty by arranging flowers for the dining room table. I’m MAKING, so that’s good enough. Right?

Yes, we have to live in the real world (on occasion), and often that means having to do Grown-Up Things like vacuuming the floors, taking out the trash, and scrubbing the bathtub. However, that does not mean that the Grown-Up Things get to take all of our attention and energy. They may take a lot, but they cannot be allowed to take it all.

This was my situation in April. Sure, there were Events Beyond My Control, but I succumbed to the chaos and to doing the Grown-Up Things. Yes, the house needed cleaning before guests arrived (so they didn’t think we live in a dump), and yes, I needed to do the laundry (so I didn’t have to go out and buy more underwear). The crux of it is that those Events and Things really did not require all of my attention and energy. Hell, they didn’t require that much time, either. And yet, I let them.

This has to stop.

Mini Art Month is my answer.

Mini Art Month is my challenge to make (mini) art every day for the month of May. “Mini” means something small, like a haiku or a paragraph in a story or a Blackout Poem*** (it could be origami or a sketch or a flower arrangement or a bar of a new song, if you’re not a writer). The goal is something creative every day.

So take 15 minutes today and make mini art.**** See what happens after a month. I know I’m curious to see what the month and its mini artwork brings.



*Because you are an artist. What does an artist do? She makes art. There is nothing in the etymology of “art” that indicates house cleaning. (This is something I have to continually remind myself. It’s not just you.)

**I really did not need to arrange flowers because nature does a darn fine job on her own, honestly. I just wanted to prettify the table, which was procrastination of the worst sort. Note to self: arranging flowers is not Making Art for me.  It may be for you, though, and that’s awesome.

***I’ve been playing with Blackout Poetry lately, and while it seems silly, it ends up feeling satisfying because it only take a few minutes and voila! Art.  Blackout Poetry = take newspaper or a printed page of something, pick out words that make a poem (to you), then black out the rest of the text. It combines the best of quick art and violent marker scribbling.

****This is another reminder to myself. Really, it’s not just you.


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