Monthly Archives: March 2013

Not a morning person doesn’t begin to describe it

Recently, as in last Monday, I was offered a project management job in Long Island City. I start this coming Monday and I’m really excited.

Buddhism encourages the middle way. I did not do this in selecting this job. Instead I am going from one extreme (working at home in solitude) to commuting by train for at least an hour and a half and working in cubicles.

I’m used to getting up around 8:30/8:45 for a 9:00 a.m. start. Now, it’s probably going to be about six. Today is the second day I’ve made it out of bed early, sleptwalk through getting my coffee and vitamins and curled up on the couch.

It occurred to me today that I could try and make muffins. Then I laughed, quietly because my boyfriend’s alarm hadn’t gone off yet.

Zofia is not a morning person, but she functions as one, and is fine as long as she has her coffee. Me? Not hardly. I’ve met morning people. My friend Cheron comes to mind. She once came to visit me, got up early and cleaned my kitchen top to bottom. I then proceeded to make a total mess of it by cooking omelettes for five. Anyway, she’s warm, friendly and cheerful (without the dreaded perky) so she’s a good example.

I think Zo is a little more like Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman. Corinna gets up five days a week and bakes, but her first few interactions are companionable and blissful silence until she’s absorbed enough caffeine and breakfast to get going. Zo’s morning usually starts with Feliz (who probably at least fakes being a morning person so she can get the kids off to school). Feliz and Zo know each other well enough by now to gradually ease their way into the day before the rush of people come in demanding muffins. It’s a dynamic that works.

Me, I need to figure out a new dynamic. I have the getting out of bed and making coffee part down. Next, I need to incorporate getting dressed in business clothes (I have been buying suits like mad) and putting on makeup, then walking in dress shoes to the the bus that gets me to the train station. From there, it’s finding a seat on a busy train, and then I’m not sure.

I have a meditation podcast I will probably listen to, plus there’s WNYC on my iPod. I will, of course, have my Kindle. I am trying to rationalize a tablet so I can work on Bloody Murder books, but tablets at this time are not really conducive to writing. attach a keyboard and you might as well have a laptop, only lighter, slower and with a lot less formatting options.

I may end up having to haul a laptop back and forth every day. If I do, there will be ample time to make copious notes and revisions and corrections. I also want to spend more time studying for the PMP. I got my completion certificate this week, but I am not doing as well as I’d like on the practice tests, so more studying it is.

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Yes, and? Or what gaming has taught me about storytelling

I belong to a gaming group I dubbed the Overthinkers. We meet irregularly and play a wide assortment of games. Poker, Setback, various version of Fluxx, board games that can involve fighting Elder Gods (Hastur, Hastur, Hastur! See, nothing hap . . .) or traveling around the world retrieving relics and collecting Fortune and Glory.

D&D is probably our most popular role-playing game (aka RPG). Four out of six of us so far have put on the DM hat. Currently, it’s myself. Last night, however, because it took everyone a while to be in the same place at the same time, we started putting characters together for Fate (by the wonderful people at EvilHat), which recently completed a Kickstarter. 

We’re putting together an adventure in a future world where the galaxy is run by an Empire that is  trying to  quell a rebellion before it gets out of hand. We have an interesting assortment of characters. A suave dashing covert operator who is fantastic with guns, but horrible with hand-to-hand. A paranoid who was recently liberated as a cosmetic lab test subject. A space pirate. An arms smuggler who runs a casino. A ninja so unobtrusive, few people remember they saw her, unless she pulls out a weapon (this last would be me).

Part of the character building besides concepts, skills and aspects of our personalities was putting together some back story where our characters have met one another. We started with a few sentences about an adventure our character had. Then the game master, with unholy glee, shuffled our stories and handed them out to different players. From there, we would write ourselves in as a supporting character in a quick adventure.  My ninja ended up being rescued by the covert operative, aiding in the paranoid’s escape and convincing the space pirate that a certain area of space was off limits.

An exercise like this taught me, once again, the value of, ‘Yes, and?” Instead of rejecting a concept outright, take it and run. I was ready to discount one one of the stories because it wasn’t in my concept of my character (her name is Onyx). When I realized the error of my ways, I apologized. The Overthinkers are a good-natured group, thank goodness.

When I started writing Bloody Murder, I started with a character concept, then started playing, “What if?” What if someone who always thought she’d lived a startlingly normal life learned some things about her past she’d never suspected, and got involved in a murder. 

This weekend’s gaming session, and also running a game of D&D has given me a chance to feed off of other people’s ideas, and I think has opened up my mind a little bit. Hopefully, I”ll be able to bring it into current and future stories. 

Even the creative mind can have limits. It’s good to push them.

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