"I Breathe" continues to grow in pieces. It has now lingering just under 3200 words. It's hovering somewhere in the back of my mind, pestering me, haunting me, and I keep getting up from my current reading (Madame Bovary, for those of you who are interested) or stop in the middle of doing the dishes or watching a repeat of Trading Spaces to go type a few words, or delete a few, add a sentence here, a scene there. I actually added two more scenes onto the end of the story, after realizing that I was striking the wrong note. The echo was wrong. I think. Everything about this story is hesitation and fear and tiptoeing--and maybe, if I believe Jim Kelly, that means it could be something good. Who knows? All I know at this point is that this story contains some of my very favourite exchanges, some of the coolest lines that I've ever written, and yet I can no longer read it without wanting to turn away. I hope that's just 16 or so months of familiarity with the whole thing, not a gut reaction to some inherent flaw that I've thus far failed to notice.
Ah, sigh. I'm alone right now, my hands still wrinkled from doing the dishes, and my old Counting Crows CD is playing in the next room. "... and I wish it was a small world, because I'm lonely for the big town ..." It's a quiet sort of happiness. (Though maybe I do need a phone call.)
Oh, sweet lord, thank you--I HAVE INTERNET ACCESS!!
Okay, well, I almost have internet access. Carly has access, and I am paying for half of said access, and we're going to network this stuff soon, and Carly's room is all of three steps away from mine, so it's really the same thing. Me. On the internet. FINALLY!
It was badness for a while there. I had use of a borrowed AOL account for a little while there, and then even that was cut off, and the computers at the York library wouldn't let me check my email or anything, so... Plus, I was receiving so damn many email-attachment viruses that my spam inbox was overflowing and pretty much all my real email was bouncing. I know of at least two email messages that bounced, and there are likely very very many more, so if I don't respond to you I probably didn't get it. Or I don't like you.
In other news, I got over the very nasty cold mentioned in the last entry. However, I caught the less-bad-but-still-yucky cold that my parents had, meaning that I'm still sick. Attempting to get better.
While sick, I kept right on reading. I will not be overwhelmed!
Wow, this is disjointed. Okay, just one more announcement. I wrote that story. Working on the thing for a year and a half, as I said, and now the first draft is done. "I Breathe" is a grand total of 2,700 words. I had to delete a lot of cool stuff to make it work, and I'm not even totally sure that it DOES work (have to send it out to some people who feel like crititquing for me...), but it's a story. At last.
Yes, of course I'm sick again. How could I have escaped it? Impossible, I tell you. (M'ris: the psychic wall is up.)
The story is still not quite a story, though I think it could be the rough structure of a story. A story with holes that need filling. But this is a story that I've been attempting to write off and on for about a year and a half now, so I'm not going to make any declarations of its completion or imminent story-ness until the thing is done, done, DONE.
The remnants of hurricane Isabel are moving in. Outside, leaves are beginning to toss and flip on their stems; the house is creaking and rattling around me and I tell myself that these are just night noises, noises I have been too loud to hear before now, but I insist on believing that this is the way this place sounds before a storm.
I have taken down the umbrella and set heavy things on top of anything on the porch that might blow away. I have checked and double checked that the new windows are all sealed and locked. And yet in a part of my mind I’m already worrying about tomorrow—I’m supposed to drive to New House to help my parents unpack and then again to help my grandparents pack. (Must everyone I know have their things in boxes?) I keep saying to myself, I should have driven there tonight, while it’s quiet and not raining. To which I reply, But Carly’s sick and she shouldn’t be left alone, and the rain won’t be that bad, surely, and I really do want to sleep in.
Besides, being here in the quiet and ignoring my school books has allowed me to (maybe, almost, oh-please-let-it-be-true) write a story. We shall see.
So, something occurred to me today. See, this site is hosted by Rogers, the kind people who provide the high speed internet access for my family's house. Which house? The old house, of course. And while, theoretically, they will also supply internet acess for New (Somewhat Fit for Human Habitation) House we're still working on getting lights and sinks and flooring there; cable internet is still somewhere out there in the great future. This site still exists but if it suddenly up and vanishes ... well, you know why. My email at least stays the same (and stays overflowing, no matter how much I delete).
The last week has been busy, to say the least. "Busy" also describes pretty much every day for the last few months. Classes have begun, and the campus is (of course) absolutely overflowing with first year students. (Those of you who do not know about our lovely double cohort situation here in Ontario ... well, ask me some other time.) Every class I have has a shortage of chairs, from the 100+ lecture to the cosy little gathering of students in easy chairs. Though I know that in a few weeks, people won't bother to show up quite so often and there will be breathing room, but until then...
My classes look good; interesting and informative and even entertaining. They also all require a lot of reading. I think that every class but one began with the professor saying, "There will be a lot of reading required for this class..." One of the professors was quite seriously saying that if we could not handle a very, very heavy reading load for his class then we should drop it and take something else and he would totally understand. Ack.
I have 53 required texts, four course kits, and two extra-but-required texts. The smallest of the 53 is about 100 pages long (and already read); the longest (that I've bought so far) is Anna Karenina at 838 pages, followed by The Golden Notebook at 649. The rest are somewhere in the middle. And they're almost all trade paper, and priced accordingly. I'm buying used where I can, and from Chapters.ca and Amazon where I can, but will still be spending an amount approaching a quarter of the year's tuiton. This is, without a doubt, my most expensive year yet.
And yet I'm glad to say that it's interesting reading, too. Annie Dillard's short piece "A Voyage to the Pole" was simply amazing (Susan, Beth, you have to read this one) and the quirky non-fiction book Home about (one guess) homes is surprisingly entertaining. This afternoon I found myself yelling at Werther to hurry up and do himself in, enough whining already, but that's been abot the lowest reading point thus far.
Plus, the time spent on the bus and/or subway has proven to be most excellent time for reading, and so (if nothing else) I have about 2 hours each day devoted to getting through these texts, one way or another.
In other news, the apartment is cool and continues to become cooler as it is decorated and furniture is rearranged. The newest discovery is that our kitchen floor is heated. Fantastic! Course, I'd have to pay for it on the hydro bill and thus am unlikely to be heating the floor in anything but the dead of winter, but still, how cool is that? (I am, as we know, easily entertained.)
New House progresses, as I've said, though the vast majority of my stuff is still somewhere in that basement, in boxes. My Oma and Opa will be moving in in just over two weeks, whereupon the house will have to be called something like New, Unfinished and Rather Crowded House. I am glad to be here and not woken up by workmen every morning anymore. (Don't get me wrong, they were very nice workmen, but I was in my pajamas, see, and they were not, which put me at something of a disadvantage. And once they turned the water off while I was washing my hair. This was decidedly sub par.)
And through it all, I am writing. Really. Or trying to, at the very least. Am working on a new short story that was actually inspired by one of my classes, and still twiddling away on project in progress, and hoping (rather desperately) that no matter what happens, no matter how much I have to read, no matter how disorganized things get, that I'll keep finding time to write. Must write. Must ... keep ... writing ...
I am typing this in my lovely new apartment. The place is in near-total disarray, and I'm still living mostly out of boxes and bags, and I have class tomorrow and little to no idea of how I'm going to get there (beyond in a bus), and I'm not sure what I can eat for dinner, but I am here! If I look down, I see my very lovely hardwood floors; my bedroom has a large window (which will, I am told, be replaced by a brand new large window in about a week) and a huge closet and tons of floor space, and the kitchen is bright and airy. And yes, there are no first-year boys here! Ha! Lovely, lovely.
Carly and I bought some plants, too. We put them out on our patio. We have a patio! And a two-bedroom apartment! In a classy, trendy, SAFE area of the city! For the same amout that we paid for crappy-ass residence rooms! I can't stop using exclamation points!
I don't really have an internet connection, of course, but I can sure pretend and hope I don't get the bill for this. Can't update Torcon stuff yet because I'm actually typing this on a Mac and that just won't work at all. Still, soon. Have my pictures back and most of them suck but such is life. Will scan when I have a scanner.
In the mean time I'm going to go get my laundry (I can do laundry!) and maybe something to eat (I have a stove, and a toaster that works!) and clean some, and then I think I shall write some more. A plan indeed.
Am home, am alive, am without internet access. I'm actually at the library right now, which is why this is going to be short. Had a fantastic time at worldcon--report and (hopefully) pictures forthcoming. It was wonderful to get away from everything, all the stress and hassle that has been this summer, even for only five days.
New, Unfit for Human Habitation House is now where I'm living, sans doors or sinks or any way to heat up food. There are workmen there from early in the morning to late in the evening. It is ... interesting. I am surviving, and looking forward to a time when this will all be over.
In the meantime, I've found my laptop and will be writing (both story and Torcon report) and have some lovely books that I bought at Torcon that I'll be reading (just started Elizabeth Hand's Waking the Moon and am loving it so far) and am telling myself, yes, everything will be okay.