Saturday, April 23, 2016

My Brain on Books XVI

I am reading for The Office of Letters and Lights the folks who bring us NaNoWriMo today as I love what they are doing for literacy with their Young Writer's Programs and because I've participated in NaNo every year since 2004 and will again next month.  I have been blessed to have it in my life and would like to give something back if only kudos and link love.  I'm putting this plug at the top in hopes some who stop by will check out their site and see all the great things they do to foster love of reading and writing and story in kids. 

This post will be organized like a blog inside a blog with recent updates stacked atop previous ones. I may be posting some updates on Twitter @Joystory and the Joystory fb fanpage. But this is where I do anything more than a line or two.  Including mini-challenges unless required to have a separate post..   

Be sure to scroll to bottom of this post for advice on how to ward off those scary nap attacks. You won't be sorry.

Ode to Dewey
by Joy Renee
We Miss You Dewey

10:00 PM - This day did not go as I planned.  And no matter how flexible I tried to be about it, adjusting my plans and expectations, events would NOT cooperate. Don't want to waste anymore reading time giving the play by play so suffice it to say it involved malfunctions.  Many, many malfunctions--of the connection, of the clumsy fingers, of the eyes, of the tent door, of the sky, of the memory, of the wardrobe...

Well, I guess the sky was functioning within normal April parameters and it wasn't its fault the tent door had lost its defenses.

The story I started to tell here promised to be a bit of a hoot but I could tell it would take me the rest of the thon to do it right so I cut it out and pasted it into a new post.  Watch for it sometime this week.  I can't promise it for Sunday or Monday--tho I may surprise myself--as I'll be in the throes of a Thon hangover.  No I'm not drinking alcoholic beverages.  It's the fact that I did not sleep the night before the thon started so I passed my 24 hour awake mark at about 10 AM.  Which could explain a whole lot of the malfunctions related to memory, clumsiness, staying on task, OCD and ADD moments and such.

Well, I'm going to post this update and then settle in with a book until my eyes or my consciousness gives out.  My husband's asleep, the kids in the treehouse next door are asleep and their parents have banked the campfire and taken their murmurs and chuckles inside.  The sky is behaving itself and I've got a good hour before I'm forced by nature to fuss with the malfunctioning tent zippers and make the trek up to the house.

I'll probably make only one more update--the wrapup and I can't promise it will be before I sleep.  I want to devote as much as possible of the remaining time to reading.

5:00 AM - Good morning fellow thoners.

I'm going to be reading on a theme today: Reading about reading.  Like Jane Smiley's 13 Ways of Looking At a Novel, Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer, and Mortimer J. Adler's How to Read a Book to name just a few of such titles I have at hand.

I'm not limiting myself to that tho.  I'll also be spending time with a stack of library books recently checked out--browsing in them for the most part unless one of them reels me in for longer.  That is my way with a new stack of library books.

I will also be reading the third book in the second Thomas Covenant trilogy by Stephen R. Donaldson, White-Gold Wielder.  I began the re-read of these high-fantasy novels over a year ago as a project related to a story I'm writing in which reading the trilogies together played a big role in a young couple's courtship and throughout their marriage creating shorthand references in their communication.  I need to re-read them especially as a way to get inside the head of the husband who so strongly identifies with Covenant he re-reads the whole series nearly once a year and communicates even with himself in the story's language and symbol in an attempt to make sense out of his life and the world.

If I finish White-Gold Wielder I may move on to the final four book series The Final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.  Those will not be re-reads for me.  But because of my purpose in reading the Covenant series I am reading at less than half my normal fiction speed, taking notes and highlighting so I'll be allowing myself to break one of my 'rules' and start another novel I can just loose myself in and maybe read a few short stories.  I generally dislike having more than one novel going at a time.  That's why much of my reading today will be in NF and my way with it is just the opposite.  I flit among them like butterflies in flower carpeted meadow.

Some of my reading will be with audio so I can crochet or exercise or eat while I read.

Now I'm going to read for bit and then go check in at thon home and do the intro meme questions.

Fighting pose


Saturday, January 02, 2016

On the Move

Crocheted Headband and Hairbow Set
 This headband and hairbow set is two of the thirteen fiber art WIP I've finished in the last two weeks.  See my albums on fb (WWF and Crafty WIP)  I'll probably bring most of those photos into upcoming posts but by then the fb albums will have new stuff as I've taken to posting my current craft endeavors to share with my crafty cousins.

Today we had a family gathering at my brother's house in Portland OR to celebrate our Mom's 84th birthday.  Tomorrow is her actual birthday so I'll save pics of her and the gifts for tomorrow's Sunday Serenity post.

Tonight I'll share the three fiber art WIP I worked on today.

Crocheted Belt to  Go with Headband and Hairbow

This is the belt made with the same yarn and same stitch pattern as the headband and hairbow I finished the other day.  it is now 30 inches long.  it will need at least another ten for a buckle belt and another twenty for a tie belt.  Which one it becomes may depend on how the yarn holds out.  The ball is shrinking fast..

I worked on this for the hour or so we waited for dinner to be served.  I worked on it a bit turning the game of Telephone Pictionary we played but put it away when I realized I would need to start measuring it frequently from that point on.
A Crocheted Granny Octogon Slouch Hat (maybe)
I ws working on this one in the car on the way to Portland. About an hour's ride door to door.  I'd put half a row of white in before realizing that I'd left off last week at the spot wher I change color.  So I took out the white and started working with the pink.  I didn't wind the white back onto it cake, thinking that since I was sitting in one place in the car I should be able to put in the row of pink and then switch back to the white and use up all the loose white well before we arrived.  But I was having issues with sun glare.  I kept making mistakes and having to take out an average of half of all the stitches I put in.

Then less than a third of a row around I discovered that the pink thread had been dragging up globs of the loose white loops and there was a snarl forming.  I spent the rest of the drive and about twenty more minutes sitting in the car in their driveway before I was able to get the yarn gathered up in such a way it wouldn't get worse if handled carefully.  Needless to say I left that project in the car.

I'm not sure what it is.  I started out with the concept of making a granny square slouch hat.  But when I put in the second row I put the six stitch set in all of the chain spaces of row one.  Instead of taking it out I decided to see what a granny octagon would look like.

Well after row five it already had a significant ripple so I started decreacing by skipping the chain space in the middle of each side.  After three rows of this it was starting to lay flatter again but it was also pulling the middles into Vs making the octagon into an eight-pointed star.  I kinda liked that look

On the pink row I'm now working I have stopped decreasing and in fact increasing by the granny square rules.  I'm sure it will start rippling again in two or three rows.  I'm thinking the ripples will look fine on a sluch hat tho so I'm strongly leaning that way.

It took me an hour to get the snarl out after I got home last night.

Crocheted Infinity Scarf
This was the one I worked on the longest from the lateafternoon through the late evening when we left my brother's home in Portland where we'd been celebrating Mom's 84th birthday.

This is an infinity scarf I'm crocheting for myself from a lace weight merrino wool and silk blend with a metalic thread.  Handpainted in shades of teal.  The pattern is puff stitches joined with chain loops.  I started out following a stitch pattern called ZigZag Puffs but I tweaked it and ended up with something that looks like eyes with the puffs as pupils inside a chain frame.  I call it Puffy Eyes. :)

This was one of the yarns I bought on my birthday excursion to a boutique yarnshop in November 2014.  See my November 13th post for pics of the haul of unique yarns I made that day.  Most of them lace or fingerling weight.

This was the skein I tangled the day I first tried to start this scarf late last sinter.  The entire skein.  All 400 odd yards was one big snarl.  It took me months to untangle.  I blogged about it at the time it happened last winter and again when I finished winding the ball.  I suppose this is where I should go find those links.  But I'm too wiped.  Just put 'snarl' in the search box if you want to see pics.

The ball looks to be a little more than half gone and I intend to put the whole thing into the scarf.  I had been thinkinh a hat also but I don't think that tinsil thread would wear well in a hat that would need to be washed more often and encounter more friction and rough handling.

I'm determined to have this finished in time to wear it before it's too warm.

One Word:

All in all it was a good start to my 2016 One Word.  (see yesterday's post) I was on the move all day from getting ready to go to traveling and socializing.  All removed from my comfort zone.  I caught myself in several acts of spontaneity. Even surprising myself by interjecting comments into the conversation multiple times.  The work I did on the three WIP gives me a nice feeling of accomplishment and sense of having moved forward toward my goals.

Today was my second day on Zoloft and I'm wondering how much of a role that played.  They say you aren't supposed to notice anything for several weeks but the last time I was on it in the late 90s I swore I could tell immediately.  At least for the anxiety.  Maybe it took much longer for it to affect my depression that time but it was like an off switch for the anxiety.  And my behavior in a crowd of a dozen noisy people and a dog today is hard to explain otherwise.

One of the reasons I settled on 'Move' as my One Word is that my last time on Zoloft turned me into a couch potato.  I need to fight that this time by consciously putting myself in motion.  I mean exercise but I mean much more.  My med nurse thinks that the Adderall  will counteract that lethargy and feels it is important to address the anxiety and OCD which is not being touched much by the Welbutrin.

The anxiety and OCD are both rooted in the autism spectrum sensory processing issues.  They are both exacerbated by sleep deprivation and yet also cause sleeplessness.  It's an infinity loop.


Friday, January 01, 2016

Putting the 'MOVE' in 2016

Peacock--the symbol of 'joy' in India.

This is my third year participating in One Word, an alternative to New Year's resolutions.  I kept 2014's word thru 2015 mostly because 2013 was more than half gone when I signed up but also because I felt I still needed so much work on that issue.  The same is true now so I was tempted to stick with 'joy' for another year.  But I decided instead to find a word to focus on that contributes to or is a component of 'joy' for me.  As of late last this week I'd narrowed it down to a handful of possibilities: accomplish, spontaneity, passion, breathe, belong and home.

While talking via vid chat with my husand the other day he asked if he could make a suggestion.  There was a word, he said that fit the criteria of being a component/contributer to 'joy' in his opinion and it was something he wants to encourage me to include in my life plus it could be said to subsume all six of my possible words:


accomplish = move toward my goals
spontaneity = move on a whim
breathe = moving air in and out of my lungs via exercise or meditation
passion = the energizing emotion that 'moves' one to act on desires
belong = to acquire my longed for sense of 'belonging' requires me to move out of my comfort zone
home = to move back 'home' which is not a building but wherever my husband is and to live with him and be homemakers together again that is my top priority for the year as it has been for two years running.

I will be doing a followup post or posts to explain the meaninfulness of each of those six words.  But one more thing I can say that is true of each of them (besides contribuing to 'joy' and involving some kind of movement) is that they each represent a particular challenge related to how the autism spectrum manifests in me.

My diagnosis in September has been both disconcerting and a relief.  Why it was disconcerting is probably obvious--it would throw any fifty-something for a loop.  But a relief?  well after several months of reading, research and processing of information and emotions I realized that so many of my shortcomings are not character flaws, were never about will power.  Many otheres were imaginary based on unrealistic images of unattainable perfection.  And yet others were never shortcomings in the first place.

Now that I've had time to process the diagnosis I'm starting to sense a direction in which to move in order to accommodate this reality.  I'm hoping that means I will be ready to blog more regulary again.  And not just about autism/Aspberger's but about all the things I used to blog about: reading, writing, research, videos, music, fiber art, crafts, LOLs, ideas, spiritual path and Joy's story.  And let's not forget words!

Best Boy
by Eli Gottlieb
My first book of the year i Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb.  it was one of the titles that came up when I put autism in a search box.  It was one of the few novels I found that way and I'm very interested in seeing how autism is represented in fiction.

I've not finished it yet so this is not a review and I'm adding this commentary as a post script to this post because of the 'First Book of the Year' meme at Sheila's Book Journey.  A bit of a last minute thing as it isn't even still January 1st where Shelia lives.

I also added it to this post instead of in a separate post because images from the story kept intruding as I was writing about 'move' above.  I realized that the narrator/protagonist in Best Boy, a man in his fifties who'd been committed to an institution at age 11 after his autism diagnosis, had been on the move from page one.  He was moving both physically and emotionally, including in both cases outside his comfort zones.  He was moving into new social circles and he even moved off the compound property (ran away) and walked the highways toward 'home' his single minded goal.  The courage he exhibits through all this is amazing and something I aspire to.


Monday, November 30, 2015

All Out of Words

NaNoWriMo Win 2015

I'm all out of words.

Plus I was supposed ot be packing for trip home.  And spend last evening with Ed.

Questionable priorities.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Yeah. I Know. I Know. Finish Something Already!

Scarf Crocheted with Diversity Yarn
 This Diversity brand yarn has an elastisity to it and they call it memory yarn.  I ti lace weight and soft enough for baby  blankets.  This is another of the yarns I got on my 2014 birthday shopping spree.  I began this scarf for myself in January.  Had hoped to have it done before it was too warm to wear it last spring.  Ha.

I decided i wanted a hat to go with the scarf but wasn't sure one skein could do both so I tried to find more online.  Could not find the Zebra but I did find this:

And these are the colors of somebody on my list so I got it.  I'm winding it into a cake on my winder tonight and hpe to start a scarf tomorrow.

Yeah.  I know.  I know.  Finish something already.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Serenity -- Crocheted Infinity Scarf

Croheted Infinity Scarf
Lace weight wool, silk blend with silver thread.  Handpainted
Last month when I finally got the 400 yard snarl out of this yarn I targeted my birthday for finishing this scarf.  This picture was taken a month ago and I've added another couple inches to the width but I'm still at least a quarter out from done.  I would have finished it if I'd not spent the last ten days working on snarls in three other projects.

This was one of my finds on my birthday excursion to La Favorites in Kelso WA last year.

Well maybe I can be wearing this by Thanksgiving.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Drama! Drama! Everywhere But On My Novel's Page

WhizFolder Delux NaNoWriMo 2015 File
The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life

ROW80 Check-In

It seems like every year around the time NaNo starts some kind of drama in my personal life or someone who's part of my daily life heats up to a boil and there doesn't seem to be room on the stovetop in my brain for my novel as well.  This time the drama is mine and had my thoughts in a froth.  My fingers were flying to keep up with them--in journaling, email and texting. After two or three days of this I decided to do a wordcount on the words generated around this personal dram and found I was having no problem at all making daily quota...and more.

If only it were in my NaNoWriMo file.  And that's when I decided to abandon my planned novel and transfer all these words already generated into the file and continue to transcribe the events as they unfold, muse on them, add backstory, try to access other POV and give myself free reign to novelize an see where it might go.  I'm sure it will be too autobiographical to publish but it will still be a good exercise.  It will give me the space to tell myself a story that might help me make sense of what feels like chaos at the moment.

Meanwhile I didn't move the other story out of the file.  If the personal drama returns to a simmer and allows the Funny Bunny story to share the stovetop again I'll return to it.  Who knows I might be able to weave the two toegether in some way.  That's one of the things I'm so good at--bringing characters from one story on stage in another in ways in which their stories enhance each other.  That's how I ended up with one storyworld that's generated over 100 major characters and at least 16 novel lenth WIP and that many twice over in shorter WIP.

Having made that decision and then watched the words swarm like African ants over screen after screen I'm even starting to feel a true pleasure in the writing again.  Something major broke loose.

I'm still a bit hit and miss on my ROW80 goals:

  • Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15min Daily -- hmm. Depends on whether I can count the time spent obsession on the personal drama...
  • Read/Study Craft 15min Daily Average -Again sadly under par.  A couple days each week.  My reading has become consumed by the autism spectrum theme since my diagnosis in September.
  • 7.5 hours of sleep daily --  the last two years have taught me the importance of this for keeping my anxiety low and energy high, weight down and creativity sustainable -- Fail!  This devolved from adequate before November 4.  I slept little in the first and second week of November.  Was awake from 9am Tuesday Nov 3 until at least midnight Wednesday.  Slept about 9 hours and was awake until the wee hours of Saturday.  Got back on schedule through Monday morning and then was awake until Tuesday night.  Slept about twelve hours, waking around 9am on the 11th and then did not sleep again until 4:30 this morning Saturday, the 14th and am still awkae in the wee hours of Sunday morning as I write this.
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15min Daily  -- I know it is crucial to health.  Both physical and mental.  And most especially creativity.  Yet I struggle to make it happen.  It is one of my Asperger traits to hate change and that includes switching from one activity to another.  I spend way too many of my waking hours sitting in my desk chair either at the computer or the craft table.  Switching between those is a matter of scooting a foot and swiveling about 80 degrees.  Swiveling another 45, standing up and taking two steps puts me on the mini-tramp.  Yet I've been on it since the crisis began on the 3rd.  It probably would have been as much help as the all the words generated around it.  It could have helped me think about things.
  • Personal Journaling 15min Daily  -- 2nd Biggest goal success so far this round.  Way more than minimum.
  • Read Fiction 30min Daily Average -- none since NaNo began.  this waa a solid habit before my Asperger dianosis but the autism spectrum has taken over my reading list.  There is one novel in the mix with several memoirs and a few other NF featuring info, advice, and speculation.
  • Social network activities 30min Daily (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) -- another thing I've a strong resistance to.  The autism diagnosis helps explain this but doesn't let me off the hook.  If anything it makes it more important -- Biggest success this round!  Possibly even overdone it.  Since like everything else, once I get started it is hard to stop.
  • Engage with the Blow Me a Candy Kiss structural rewrite file 30 min Daily*  --  except for November when I'll be working on the companion story from husband Greg's POV called To Embrace a Funny Bunny.  These two likely belong to the same novel but I'll be pretending they don't for the duration of NaNo. -- On hold as of the middle of the first week of November.  See above. 

  • All of this in service to the overarching goal for 2015: Regain the joy in writing that I lost sometime last year.  The Joy/joy meter hovers around 6 out of 10 this week.  Joy in the writing maybe an 8 which is a sharp increase.  Not only am I feeling more joy I'm feeling calmer and more sorted out.  Maybe that's the same thing.

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