Monthly Archives: September 2006

Lost


I have been lost in Writerland for some time, three hours a day, although not quite every day. Will post more about our wedding and my niece’s wedding soon.

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Microscopic Art


My brother Pat passed this along to me. This guy creates art so small you need a microscope to see it. Check it out here.

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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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Writing Anxiety

Although I haven’t given up on sending my book proposal out to agents, I’ve decided to table it temporarily while I finish up the book. (I was rejected by one agent, and now I’m afraid to send that proposal out to other agents without revising it first. The agent told me there are three other books out that are similar to mine and she “doesn’t have the vision to make this one stand apart.” Of course, that could be a bullshit way of saying, “It stinks. I’m not interested,” but assuming she is telling the truth, I feel like I need to find a way to make it stand apart myself – in my proposal. The other three books, by the way, are focused exclusively on modeling and all take place in New York, while mine is set in Paris and Tokyo. Two of the three are also novels, while mine is a memoir.) So now I’m forging ahead, laptop glued to my lap. (I know it’s bad for my back and a waste of my expensive ergonomic office chair, but I much prefer to write on a couch than at a desk.) I now have 280 manuscript pages, but the more I write, the sloppier my chapters are getting. I’m trying so hard to just GET IT ALL DOWN and not go back and revise, but the result is that my most recent chapter, 30 pages about working in Tokyo, is a mess. Some pages are in present tense; others are in past tense. I describe a woman’s outfit twice. I slip from first person into second person at one point. It’s killing me not to go back and fix it all, but I know it will take me a week to revise those 30 pages and in a week I could write 30 more. I just think at this point, aside from sending out my proposal to more agents, I should write, write, write because I won’t know until the book is done what chapters should be removed altogether, and there’s no point in revising chapters that may get the ax. This type of writing gives me anxiety becuase it feels wreckless. Somehow taking years to write a book, with many pauses for other life events–weddings and vacations and even trips to the gym, for example–feels more natural to me. But I need to get out of my comfort zone and finish the damn thing. If I can lead .10as, I can finish a book. Right? Right??

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A Day of Remembrance

It’s Sept. 11 again, and in addition to being the day the World Trade Center came down (and yes, I watched the towers fall, live, on CNN), it is also a day of mourning, and a day of remembrance, for me. Because Sept. 11, 2004, was the day my cat, Bustopher Jones (after whom this blog was named), ran away, never to return. Sept. 11 is also the day my memoir begins, Sept. 11, 1988, 18 years ago today. I was 18 then, which means I am double the age I was that day. Wow.

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United Nations of Mammoth


Those of you who know me know that I spend two to three days a week at the rock climbing gym, mostly toproping. But every now and then I make it outside (this year less than most due to the wedding) to climb some real rock. This year I’ve been on trips to Red Rocks, Owens River Gorge and Mammoth. Usually I make several weekend trips to Tahoe, but I haven’t been yet this year. I came back from the hot springs (after the wedding) so relaxed and focused that I had no desire to plan any climbing trips. All I wanted to do was read and write, so I set a three hours/day writing goal for myself (that’s another story). Anyway, some friends of mine planned a climbing trip this past weekend to Mammoth and, although I wasn’t at ALL in the mood to lead (and I told everyone that), I ended up doing a lot of leading anyway. It was all sport and nothing too difficult but I hadn’t led since our trip to Owens in June, so I was a bit scared. I led a 5.7, 5.8, 5.9 and two 5.10as the first day. The second I did just one 5.9 but it was tougher than the first day, and scary. The last day I did a 5.8 and a long, hard 5.9 before it was time to go home. That last 5.9 was long and pumpy and definitely scary. I define a “scary” climb, by the way, as a climb I have a good chance of taking a lead fall on. I’ve never taken a lead fall outside, and I know I’d be a better climber if I got used to them because then I’d take more risks, but until I do, I’m going to avoid them at all costs. (I’ve thought about taking practice falls, to get used to them the way I have in the gym, but practice falls are so much scarier than real falls.) Here’s an idea of what it’s like to lead a “scary” climb: On the last 5.9 I did the first bolt was so high that I knew I might not make it up before I chickened out and downclimbed. But I was up so high by the time I got scared that it would have been even scarier to downclimb. (You really CAN’T fall before the first clip because you’re not on rope yet and falling would mean likely breaking a bone or spraining an ankle or worse. One guy I know who fell before the first clip broke both wrists and cracked his head open. He’s okay now, but he was out of work for four months and went from climbing 5.11s to 5.7s.) Anyway, back to the 5.9: There was a closer clip, slightly lower than mine, that led up an .11a. So I went a little higher and clipped that one before climbing up to my clip. The top was a little scary, too. It was a long climb and I didn’t take any rests, so I got to this one point where I had my right hand on a hold and needed to clip left, and I didn’t have the strenth to switch hands. It was a long fall and I was in a corner, so there was a chance I’d hit a wall if I fell. So I panicked and downclimbed all the way back to the previous clip. I hung there for a good five minutes while my forarms throbbed. The choice was to finish the climb, lose all my gear (six quickdraws x $12= $72) or ask some strange to lead it for me (pretty embarrassing.) So after hanging there for a few minutes, I said a prayer (yes, this is when I believe in God, when I desperately need help with something) to get up to that damn clip without falling, and I did it much easier the second time. Then the top was a little scarier. Off to the right was a big flake that looked like it may not hold if I hung my body weight from it, so I decided to go up left. The holds were good off to the left but led me away from the anchor, so I had to stem back and stretch a bit to get it. I did it, though, then came down and toproped it to see how difficult it really was. Definitely a long, pumpy climb.

In other news, my friend Aditi led her first outdoor climbs, including a 5.7 on the first day and a 5.8 on the third. I have to say I was quite impressed because I knew Aditi back when she did her first climb in the gym and she was terrified to toprope a 5.6. And while she still doesn’t have her lead card in the gym, I had mine LONG before I led outside, so I’d had lots of practice falling indoors before leading anything on real rock. Kudos to her. I’m proud.

We had quite the international group on this trip- too bad we didn’t get a photo: two French men, a Spanish man, an Italian couple, a German man, a Romanian woman, a Chinese woman, an Indian woman and six Americans. And thanks to Michael (who’s French), I now know how to say “belay” and “lead” in French.

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That Time of Year

It’s the time of year to stave off colds. Two weeks ago, it was chilly and gray. Last week it was warm and sunny. This week it’s chilly and gray again, and I have no energy to do anything that requires getting up off the couch. I am happy to read, to write, to watch movies or surf the Internet, but my body feels like a lead weight. I don’t want to clean or cook or exercise or go outside. All I want to do is lie here and rest – and yet I’m not sick. Maybe I’m fighting off an impending cold?

In other news: I made it halfway through Murderball last night, a documentary about quadriplegic rugby. I highly recommend it, although I can’t say how it ends because I fell asleep before it was over. I’ll watch the rest tonight.

I am trying to add YouTube to my blog, but have been unsuccessful so far. Will keep trying.

I have joined SmugMug and am currently uploading all my photos. It’s a great site that allows you to share high resolution photos for just $40/year. Well worth it.

Attending a family BBQ today. I’m happy I won’t have to do any work. In one hour I’ll have to get dressed and get in the car. Otherwise, my only job today is to eat, drink and be merry. (I LOVE attending BBQs, dinners and parties because I love to eat and drink without having to do any work.)

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