Before I get to my update, I want to thank everyone who commented on Wednesday’s post. I didn’t quite realize how my story of finding community among this wonderful group of writers would resonate with so many people. Thank you for sharing your stories!
On the housekeeping front, wordpress.org users have finally been upgraded to the snazzy wordpress-run subscription widget. Since Feedburner’s been acting wonky, I’ve disabled it in favor of the WP one. You’ll see it on the right sidebar on the home page, and on the footer of each page. If email subscription is your thing, feel free to sign up. 🙂
Writing: This week has been a lot better than last week. I’m actively editing my thesis, so progress is being made on that end. Even better, I’ve broken out of my NaNo slump; at the time of writing this post, I’ve reached 33,687 words, which places me slightly ahead. I am writing, as my title suggests, like a fiend, embracing imperfection as fully as I can. By the end of the month, I’ll have the first layer of a novel that will need lots of TLC, and quite a bit of work, especially where world-building is concerned, but something is better than nothing!
I’d like to write another 1400 words or so before bed tonight, because I doubt that I’ll be able to write at all Monday or Tuesday. I’m on campus from 9 till 6 on Monday, and Tuesday I’m driving to San Francisco so I can spend Thanksgiving with my family. I am so unbelievably excited; all I want to do is load up my truck, hit the highway, and head north. No stopping, no looking back, no collecting $200 till I make it back to the Bay. 🙂
Exercise: This, friends, is where I have failed. I worked out 5 days this week, but I’m trying to undo some bad behavior from a couple weeks ago, when I was sick. During that time, I didn’t exercise because I was worried about my asthma flaring further. That would have been okay… if I hadn’t decided to buy a bag of ginger cookies from the store and devour them in a single weekend.
Yeah, that’s me, face stuffed full of cookies. Needless to say, my pants are definitely tighter than they should be, and it’s sort of discouraging, because those same pants were starting to get loose just a few weeks ago.
I’ve had to make some difficult decisions regarding health and nutrition. I’ve been buying at least one bag of cookies, and/or bar of dark chocolate, and/or pint of ice cream each week since October, all with the promise that I would only eat a little bit at a time. Clearly, my self-control is non-existent. Until I can get to the point where having 1 cookie doesn’t turn into the entire damn bag, I’m banning myself from sugary things.
I keep trying to remember that I have succeeded at breaking these bad habits for longer than a week. It’s a hard transition, replacing candy with fruit, cookies with veggies, empty foods with healthy, filling ones. If anyone has any good suggestions for healthy snacks (I’ve got the 3 main meals covered, but snacks are my downfall), I would love to hear them.
Anyway, that’s it for me today! Be sure to swing by and check out how everyone else is doing this week. Also, stop by the Fun Not Fear! blog, where Em and I are hosting the weekly check-in thread. And, hey, while we’re at it, have a wee snippet from my NaNo tale, PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE.
I hate writing synopses, but here’s the basic gist: Liandre, the main character, was stolen from her birthplace 20 years before. Raised as the daughter of a king in a distant land, she learns of her true identity at the start of the novel. Her homecoming has been less than auspicious: her claim to the throne is challenged by one of the major political factions, isolationists who don’t take kindly to a “foreign” woman becoming queen. This scene is a snippet of Liandre’s first meeting with her mother since she was taken.
Simone slipped out of the room on silent feet, and shut the door behind her just as quietly. I was alone with my mother at last.
Mother. The word was foreign on my tongue. Once, when I was a little girl, I had tried to imagine what it would have been like to have a mother in addition to my beloved father. I dreamed of how she would love me and cosset me, tuck me in at bedtime, sing me precious lullabies. I had eventually grown out of those fantasies; what else could I do, believing my mother to be dead? But now here I was, sitting before her, and I had no idea where to start.
Here in the privacy of her chamber, there was little trace of her famed ferocity. She looked tired and gaunt, her shoulders hunched, face turned from mine. I could only imagine what she had endured during my absence, a queen beset by invaders and internal conflict, heartbroken over the abduction of her only child and heir.
Moved by a sudden surge of emotion, I reached out for her hand. An unexpected jolt went through me as our fingers brushed, and I swallowed back a sob. She must have felt it as well, for she started in surprise. We sat in silence for a long moment, hands linked, heads bowed.
When she spoke, her words were halting, abrupt. “Your journey. Was it agreeable?”
“It was… an adventure, to say the least.”
“Good.” There was another awkward pause as she pulled her hand from mine and turned away. “I knew you for my own the moment I saw you.” Her voice was harsh, fierce with barely-suppressed emotion. “How any could challenge your claim is beyond my ken.”
I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. It had been my deepest fear that she would reject me, the same way the hecklers had challenged my identity during my formal reception, but she knew me. She was willing to claim me as her own, to love me, and in that moment it didn’t matter that the rest of the country seemed resolved to hate me. So long as I had her love, I could endure any challenge that came my way.
She brushed the tears from my cheek with gentle fingers. “The mark of our line is stamped upon your face, in the arch of your brow, the curve of cheek, the point of your chin. All will acknowledge it before long, I promise you.”
“Mother?” There, I had said it, and the warmth of her smile soothed the anxiety that thrummed through me.
“Aya, you once called me. It is a name that only children use, but…” Her hand trembled in mine. “Would you humor me, gosling? When you come of age, I promise I will treat you like the woman you are.”
I tried the word once, twice, and then nodded, for this word fit better than any other. “Very well, Aya. I would be honored.”