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Assaulted on all sides

Tuesday, January 31, 2006
I am recovering from a nasty episode of self-doubt. It was all very poetic, really. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the search for greatness, ever out of reach, and whether the search itself is no more than puffery of the soul.

Since then, I'm bombarded in various places with questions and statements from people who, I'm certain, are posting completely random thoughts that have nothing whatsoever to do with me. However, since my mental status concerns mostly me (see above "puffery of the soul"), I'm taking it somewhat personally.

Which brings me to one of my rambling points today. The answer to the age-old question of "Why Do I Write?" To which the currently fashionable answer is, "Because I must," complete with the requisite hand to brow drama. Or "Because quitting is not an option." (By the by, if a certain Diva sees this, she's going to think I'm mocking her or ridiculing her. I'm not. This has bothered me for years. I'm only just getting to blogging about it.)

Well, excuse me. Quitting is always an option. People quit things all the time. Every day. You can quit writing and still be a decent human being. You just won't be a writer.


Don't kvetch. I'm not quitting writing. Not currently, at least. I'm too mule-headed and annoying to quit now.

Rambling point #2. "Because I must." Every time I hear that, I get this image of some grande dame of cinema noir -- some pale blonde with a fur muff who says it right before she faints onto a conveniently placed divan. Puh-leez. I must eat, I must sleep, I must take care of my family. Writing? Pleasant -- or sometimes unpleasant -- way to pass the time. Yeah, I pull my hair about it sometimes. I do that about a lot of things. I get involved in projects and sometimes they go well and sometimes they don't. Big flittering hairy deal. But do I engage myself in projects like writing "Because I must"? Geez. And I thought I was a drama queen.

No. I write because it's kinda fun. It's more or less enjoyable. It's something I can do at home and work it around the family's schedule. The fact that I'm half-decent at it helps. I do hate to bang my head against a wall doing things I'm bad at.

Which brings me to another point in this diatribe. I'm really only a half-decent writer. And wicked slow, to boot. Hence the whole self-doubt incident. And when I'm wailing about something, I prefer to have time to wallow and I'll pull myself out in my own sweet time. Nothing like beating me over the head with "atta-girls" to yank me out of my comfortable pit. So I'm a little cranky. Sudden yanks do that to me. Which sounds ungrateful to the friends who lent me a hand up. I am grateful, truly. I'm merely settling back into my crotchety skin, which is much tighter through the crotch than my woe-is-me skin, which is excessively loose in the tongue.

Anyway, I just want to say thanks to those who helped me out. Ignore my fussiness. And I'll try to control my melodramatic tendencies if only people will stop saying "I write because I must" in Garbo-esque tones around me. Not unless you see a divan conveniently placed.
1/31/2006 08:58:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments

Haskett's Ancestral Home

Sunday, January 22, 2006

This is a photo of Selly House in Birmingham, which is in the West Midlands area of the UK. Apparently, it's one of the oldest houses in Birmingham. Just right for a baron's manse, don't you think?

I found this gorgeous old pile in Suffolk, but the architecture is too modern. It's a Victorian impression of a Jacobean manor. Too fussy for what I need, but still a beautiful home. It's called Somerleyton Hall. So I'm still looking for a place for my heroine to call home. BTW, that's not me in the photo. I just found this online at a great site called Pictures of England.
1/22/2006 05:19:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 9 Comments

What Do You Think?

Healing Haskett's Heart
Healing the Baron's Heart

The hero is a baron, the Right Honorable Lord Haskett, hence the name. Or is it too flowery Regency?

I'm about a quarter of the way into Chapter Two after some judicious tweaking. Jaye must be rubbing off on me.
1/22/2006 12:50:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments


Friday, January 20, 2006
I know. I haven't updated in a few days, but I've had a good reason. I've been really boring.

Still writing on TRTWD, which still needs a new title, despite Raine and Bernita's valiant efforts.

I haven't got anything inspiring to say and no one has ticked me off enough that I feel the need to rant.

Although I did find a really neat word yesterday. I was reading a 1998 Regency anthology and found this sentence: "His refulgent Hussar boots shone scarcely less than the gold fobs at his waist and the gold brocade waistcoat that a stickler might have considered more suited to the ballroom."

My mind's eye was temporarily blinded.

But I like that word, refulgent. I don't even know what it means and I like it. It's like buttah. Great mouth-feel. Wait. I looked it up. The dictionary says it means "a radiant or resplendent quality. Brilliant." Pretty much what I thought it was, but I'm going to have to use that word in this ms. I'll just toss it in somewhere for fun.

Anyway, one of my neighbors made me a deal. She takes ds for the afternoon today (she's even picking him up from pre-school!) and I take her youngest for the afternoon tomorrow. Works for me! I've got a lot to do, so I'd best get to it.

Huzzah for my refulgence! (I'm going to use that word til it don't shine no more.)
1/20/2006 10:05:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments

Busy Bunny

Saturday, January 14, 2006
Today I spent half my time perusing this site on Correct Forms of Address so I wouldn't screw up people's names and titles in this story. Yikes. I'm sure I've still gotten it wrong in several places, but after a while my brain just stopped processing the information. I swear, everyone seems to have had at least four different names back then. It's complicated.

I finished Chapter One. Naturally, I didn't realize it until I'd sat and stared at it (and played innumerable games of Spider Solitaire) for half an hour. I knew the scene was over, I just didn't know what to do next. Duh! New chapter!

So now I'm on Chapter Two and finally in my hero's POV. Thank goodness. I've been dying to figure out what's going on in his head because he's acting like a real jack-ass.

Page 17 and I haven't given up on these people yet. That's a good sign, folks. A very good sign.

The tummy bug is gone again. This time for good, I hope. I sacked out on the couch after the kids got home. Thank goodness the children didn't take a wild hair to go running down the street naked while I was asleep!

But I think I'm done for the night. 4 new pages isn't bad. I still have the feeling I'm rushing it a bit, but because of the way I write, I'm always better off to add more later than slash things. I write very sparely and have a tendency to push my reader to conclusions without giving her enough support or background. We'll see.

Interesting fact before I go. The phrase "What fresh hell is this?" is actually a very modern saying. The story goes that Dorothy Parker coined the phrase one day when she was interrupted by the telephone and that's how she answered the phone from then on. Just FYI!
1/14/2006 10:47:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments


Friday, January 13, 2006
I'm sick. And what's the point of having a blog if you can't hi-jack it occasionally to do nothing but whine and moan?

My tummy hurts and I want my mommy, dammit. I'm the carpool mom this week and I just had to do a quick trade-off with another mom so I wouldn't have to roam so far from a bathroom. I've got someone else lined up in case I can't take ds to preschool in an hour. And I'm supposed to have my hair cut today. At least ds is staying for lunch, which means I've got a nice long morning to myself. Even if all I do is whine.

I just had this stupid 24-hour bug last week. I washed everything afterwards, too, but some nasty little germ must have slipped through and bitten me again.

1/13/2006 07:55:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 6 Comments

Deep Thoughts by Sela Carsen

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Y'all have no idea how this story is messing with my mind. I'm obsessed with it. Which I'm trying to view as a positive thing.

Anyway, fiddle fiddle, tweak tweak, and I'm at 11 pages. Wow. These people have serious problems. And I'm still setting them up for a major beating.

It struck me this morning on the school run that for all my whining about whether my writing is funny or not, it's almost refreshing to say, "Screw funny. Write deep." The wonderful thing is that I have that head-long feeling back.

Alright. Break's over. Back to writing.
1/12/2006 09:23:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 1 Comments


Monday, January 09, 2006
Amazing. I am the turtlest of writers, struggling for scenes, sentences, words that work. And yet, yesterday I wrote 7 pages of TRTWD. Today I've written 2 more. That's a total of 10 pages that are, to paraphrase Wayne and Garth, "flying out of my butt." Ew. Ok, they're better than that sounds.

It's dark, too. No Regency romp, no drawing room comedy here. This is tough stuff and surprisingly timely, considering the effect of war on soldiers who've come home damaged in body and soul. In the original version, Simon (my brooding Alpha male) returned home but suffered flashbacks, although they were skimmed over more in the story. In this version, it's much closer to home. He is a broken man, badly scarred within and without. And Tessa (my intrepid heroine who I must be careful not to make so nurturing that she becomes a doormat) has a brother who left his soul and a portion of his mind on the battlefield and seems to be waiting for his body to join them.

I've done some preliminary research on what was called "shellshock" in WW1, and is now termed CSR in the Gulf Wars. Both of which are different from PTSD, as I discovered.

But you know me. It's new and different now so I'm all excited. I'm crossing my fingers that this one comes through. So far, so good.

BTW, it needs a new title. As I mentioned at eHq, The Regency That Wouldn't Die has kind of a negative vibe to it. Any thoughts?
1/09/2006 03:06:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments


Sunday, January 08, 2006
The Regency That Wouldn't Die rears its ugly head. Again. When am I going to learn? What am I thinking? Good grief. Maybe if I just write the damn thing I'll be able to get it out of my head for good. It's not the same as when I started. And I have no single title, 100,000 word plans. I'll just write until it's done. Right? Just until it's done. And then it'll be out of my head for good.

Dammit. I love this story and I hate it. I just want it out of my way so I can write something else.
1/08/2006 10:02:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments

Oh, It Hurts to Breathe

Thursday, January 05, 2006
Oh my God, you guys! I actually have a stitch in my side from laughing so hard at this. Miss Snark posted a list of ... well, here's the quote: All true excerpts from stories submitted to Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. (Spelling, punctuation, and syntax are all as in the originals.)

Weston was known for the firm but genital hold he had on his men. It was one of the reasons he was chosen for this mission over six other equally qualified men.

The afternoon was very calm but consolidated. The birds were singing but were not blithesome.

He groped in his trousers and came up with a dirty piece of trash which I thought he'd just throw away.

"Be good," he called after her as he bit back the tears in his eyes.

Instinctively, without thinking about it, he grabbed the woman and hugged her and then gave her breasts a couple of playful pinches. "Commander please," she said as she blushed and began yodeling.

Honestly, this is just a sampling. You're going to have to follow the link to see the rest of these howlers!
1/05/2006 09:27:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments


Monday, January 02, 2006
Yeah, right.

Anyway, in contrast to my usual trend in resolutionizing, i.e. my home will be white-glove perfect 365 days of the year and I will write 3000 words/day, 7 days/wk -- all deathless prose that doesn't need no steenkin' editor, I've set more reachable goals. I hope.

I resolve to be on time for appointments and events.

I resolve to reduce my weight to 135 lbs. As of today, that'll be a 16 lb loss.

I resolve to exercise 5 days/wk for at least 20 min/day, no matter what. Whether it's the bike, pilates or walking. (psst -- I was on the bike for 1/2 hour this morning!)

I resolve to write 5 days/wk, no matter what.

I resolve to be online less. (Note that there is nothing specific here, just "less.")

I resolve to make a housecleaning schedule and stick to it.

I resolve to clip coupons more diligently and shop as much as possible at the commissary.

I resolve to yell at my children less and play with them more.

I resolve to drink more coffee -- just because I like to drink coffee.

I resolve to listen to more music.
1/02/2006 09:15:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 7 Comments


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