Archive for November, 2008

Beware of tooth-rotting cuteness

Friday, November 21st, 2008

It’s not a pony or a wii, but I hope she still likes it…

katiecloud7.gif

I got a sugar high just making this. I can’t take credit for the poem, I found it online. And although a seven year old won’t appreciate the illustration all that much (at least not now), she’s also got a new friend to accompany it:

middlecloud.jpg

I mean, dang: that’s just adorable. Cloud by My Paper Crane, purchased from Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade. Seriously, go there and try not to buy something. Super cute!

Handmade Arcade

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

handmade_arcade.gif

I was fortunate to check out Handmade Arcade this weekend. If I had a disposable income, my purse would be filled with knitted tissue holders, my body would be adorned with awesome hats and witty T-shirts. Alas, I had to restrain myself, but walked away with some great stuff.

Of the vendors, AIR had a really great thing going on: they set up a giant silk-screen (think four feet by six feet), and were silk-screening an enormous blow-up of the Pittsburgh’s Post Gazette’s front page the day after Obama won the election. The print was free, and you got to help the dude make yours. They also made small cards with the design/color of your choice, but the Obama print was the big winner.

Franktuary was there serving some bodacious hot dogs. I don’t think I’ve had a better dog. I need to go there for lunch sometime, especially since they’re only a couple blocks from the day job downtown.

My goal was to find a groovy hat and some dangly (wooden?) earrings. I scored a couple pairs of earrings and a button ring from the Tiger Lilly Shop. The best hats were unfortunately too rich for my blood, even if they were a 12 on the 1-10 Scale of Awesome. I walked past the table several times lusting after them, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I’m a naughty blogger, because I totally don’t remember who made them.

Instead, I picked up a birthday present for my soon-to-be-seven-year-old niece from MyPaperCrane. I have A Plan where it is concerned, and will happily post it when it is finished. If all goes right, it’ll be so cute your teeth will just rot right out of your face.

It was a great, awesome, wonderful time. There was art. There were fabulous shirts and clothes. There were monsters. It is so inspiring to see people doing what they love to do. There was much gathering of business cards, so I’ve got a stack of resources for when I need that certain something that can’t be found anywhere else. Check out the list of vendors for yourself — you won’t be disappointed!

Rock on, Pittsburgh.

Shake-shake-shake

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Okay, I’m over it now. Now it’s time to get down to business. I’ve taken a day off of work next week to write query letters and I’ve decided, against my better judgment, to use my design mojo to make some very sexy query letters on the off-chance it will make them memorable and maybe keep them out of several dozen slushpiles. As long as the words are good, I think that should be fine.

I’d delete the previous post because it sounds so darn whiny, but I try not to delete entries — this is a creative blog, but it’s a personal journey kind of thing, too. So: the waffling stays. I’m sure it won’t be the last of its kind.

To be or not to be?

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

My muse has finally caught up with me. It’s time to refine some stuff and to make some new stuff. There’s a curious fork in the road, however.

See, I wrote this book about a boy named David. I edited the crap out of it, and then I needed to shop it around to see if I could get an agent so others could read my creation.  Instead of doing that, however, I wrote another book about David.

I’m now editing the stuffin’ out of the second book. All my instincts shrink from the agent stuff — I want to write, after all, not go around declaring how awesome my material is — but I am quickly realizing that I need a representative to help answer an increasingly important question:

How long am I going to do this?

I want to write for an audience. Not for fame, not for wealth (does that even really happen?). Just for people. The way I see it, the best way to do that is for it to be published. And since I’m not a good person for championing my own cause, or knowing where to champion it… I need someone else to do it for me. Ergo*, the agent.

I’ve known this for a while, but the issue is more tangible now. I have to decide what my next step is going to be after I ship the current manuscript to an editor that isn’t me. I planned three books for David, but as I’m looking toward the end of his story, there could be four. There could be five.

But again, how long am I going to do this?

I want to write for other people. I think that’s when I do my best work. Writing these things is a wonderful labor of love, and I don’t want it to be just for me. And since I can’t outline David 3 without knowing if there should be a David 4, now I have to try and find an agent that will have me. This is a much-needed kick in the gullet, and something that will hopefully put an end to my always-on-the-verge-of-sending-queries waffling.

But still… poopcockles.

*I have always wanted to use the word “ergo”. Score!

A Sad Day

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

crichton_dino.gif

Michael Crichton died unexpectedly on Wednesday after battling cancer. He was 66.

Crichton wrote a lot of books, but my faves are Jurassic Park and The Lost World.  I don’t like horror or slash movies, but I could read about dinos eating people all day long. I have dreams of being chased and eaten by dinos, and they are never nightmares (they are always awesome). I will always be indebted to him for finding a somewhat scientifically plausible means allowing dinos to exist in the modern day.

As a kid, I remember walking the family dog at night and running back to the house because, swear-to-god, I heard a T-Rex in the woods.

Ironically enough, I began re-reading Jurassic Park last week. It won’t be the last time.

Rest in Peace, Michael Crichton, and all my sympathy to his friends, family and fans.

Ooh… shiny!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Okay, can we just be honest here?

An acquaintance/friend is starting their own business and they need creative. They aren’t able/willing to pay for an full identity, but they have sent me examples of what they’re piecing together on their own. And it is… not good.

While they have asked for my opinion, I get the impression that it’s more of the “isn’t it grand?” variety instead of “what criticism can you offer?” So I’m struggling with my response. Should I be completely (and in this case, brutally) honest? Or do I simply nod and smile, and say it’s coming along nicely?

It’s hard for me to fib. And it’s straining every fiber of my being not to shout “OMG, just let me do it!” and redesign her logo, sign, collateral… everything. I want her to succeed, so I want to give her the benefit of my “expertise”. But I should be paid for that work, and I know that’s not going to happen, so I won’t grab the reins from her. But she has asked for my opinion… and why ask a professional if you don’t want a professional response?

Hoo boy.

And we’re back…

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

And we’re back!

Josh and I spent two wonderful weeks in France and London. Our tastebuds have been tantalized, our wallets emptied and our horizons expanded beyond their normal scope. The only real downside is our hearty adoption of the cafe lifestyle: “What do you mean I can’t have a 2 1/2 hour lazy lunch watching the world go by?”and “I want wine with my lunch!”

I was a very busy bee before we left, both with personal projects and journey preparation. It’s been a tough trick trying to get the motivation to get back to that level of productivity. I was thinking it might be a lost cause — because editing a manuscript (again) sounds like the third ring of hell at the moment — but I was washing dishes to the Batman Begins soundtrack and I got the itch of wanting to create again. Creation takes work, definitely, but if I can get back to a place where the need to make stuff outweighs the apprehension of all that work… well, then we’re getting somewhere.

Saturday was November 1st, and the start of NaNoWriMo, NaNoBloMo, and a whole assortment of other proactive acronyms. If you’re unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is an initiative/support system that gets people to dive into that novel they’ve been meaning to write by setting a goal of 50,000 words completed by midnight on November 30th. While I’d love to participate in NaNoWriMo, the program unapologetically focuses on quantity over quality. While that is perfect for some, I have to feel my way through the story in order to make something I’m happy with… and that, classically, takes three to six months for a novel-sized story. If I were to barrel through, I’d end up rewriting a large chunk. I did that for part of the first draft of The Sum of David and boy, did I want to kick myself. So I’ll plod along on what I’m already working on, and be inspired by others’ productivity. If you’re participating, know I’m cheering for you: 50,000 words in 30 days is a grand accomplishment. Heck, 10,000 words in that amount of time is an accomplishment. In a similar vein, NaNoBloMo’s goal of blogging every day is also impressive, so hang in there anybody that’s decided to tackle that. You can do it! You’re a champion!

My intentions to get back into my usual Tuesday work-marathon from before October has been foiled tonight. I had every intention of settling my bottom in a cafe chair until midnight to get organized, but now I’m watching election results with some friends. Part of me is rebelling, and wants to get started on my personal projects — which is comforting, since any motivation is good motivation — but come on now: we’re making history. And I missed Podcamp Pittsburgh, so there. Anyway, one way or the other, we set a precedent tonight. I can’t put every fiber of my being behind one candidate, but I know which one probably spells apocalypse. It’ll be worth watching things unfold.

Also: beer. And pizza. So we’ll win, even if America doesn’t.