From the Blog

November 2011: Shaping Up To Explode My Head

I wrote about waking up the other day. Besides the days getting shorter and me being a nutjob, I have other reasons to try to get my ass out of bed a bit earlier, and a bit more regularly than usual.

For one, we are working on paid projects. This is fantastic. We are trying to transition from a “no-income life style,” to a “low-income lifestyle.” That’s what we call it. We don’t need much. Sure, we’d love to ramp up to a “high-income lifestyle.” But if high income was our primary objective, we could have kept our well-paying jobs instead of living like shiftless, post consumerist hippies.

So we are making efforts to promote our web design company and we are getting ourselves “out there.” The response has been really great. As soon as we set our minds to it, I got a big project from a long time client, and had various other projects all crop up at once. So now we are juggling billable hours, and filling our pipeline for the future. FRICKEN AWESOME.

So, busy on the work front. We are also trying to get better acquainted with other businesses and resources in Astoria. We are not naturally “salesy” people, and even the networking that some people seem to do so effortlessly is a little difficult for us. There are some Chamber of Commerce events in November that we will probably want to participate in. We have some planning, preparation and printing to do for those.

I’m also super excited that my sister is visiting for a few days in November. Super fricken excited! We’ll be able to spend some time in Astoria and some time in Portland and I’m super fricken excited! Dave and I haven’t been able to make any significant travel plans this year, including our usual September road trip. And I haven’t seen my family in a long time. Did I mention I’m super excited? Also my sister is going to have a baby in the spring. (Excited!)

So on top of all that, work, networking, events, visiting, I decided I’m going to do NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. BECAUSE I AM INSANE. As we have been living in Astoria, I had been mentally formulating a larger work of fiction. It’s been a long time since I wrote any fiction, and I sort of began to think it wasn’t possible.

I usually feel pretty good about other creative projects, like painting or crafting or building or fixing things, even if I haven’t engaged those sorts of projects in a long time. I feel like I have inherent abilities to do those things. Every time I have such a project, I get a jolt of energy and happiness. And I while I may agonize or fuss through the process, I still really enjoy myself. In the end, I’m usually pleased with the results. It’s a nice to remember, “Oh yeah, I’m good at this!”

But writing is a different story. A completely different story. While I enjoy writing, probably more than any of my other creative aspirations, the Agony/Ecstasy ratio weights much higher on the pain, pain, pain side. Visual arts are relaxing and rewarding. Writing is exhausting and punishing. Nothing makes my crazy bells ring like trying to sit down and write. At the same time, nothing makes me happier.

This blog format has been good for me because the writing is so casual, and so low investment. I have heard people say they want to start a blog, but don’t know what to write about. Or worse, they don’t even know what to name it. Given a public forum, there this urgency to come up with something EPIC or MEANINGFUL or DEEP or ARTICULATE.

So people get stuck just on a name. I’ve had people ask me what “mile73” means. In all honesty, it was a six digit url that probably wasn’t taken. I thought of it as I was driving to the southern most point of the Big Island of Hawaii. The Big Island isn’t “big,” it’s the size of Connecticut. But there are such vast, open swarths of lava fields and undeveloped land, this little rock in the middle of the Pacific feels much larger.

I passed the mile markers, knowing I was driving this road for the last time, perhaps for the last time in my life. I was moving back to the mainland and probably relocating to Portland, Oregon. I drove and contemplated the new blog I would start to document this next transition of my life. In a flash, I passed by Mile 73. I pulled the car over, jumped out and took a photo. I was born in 1973.

I didn’t realize it at the beginning, but I came to really like this spontaneous domain name I had selected. Besides that I like to drive and go places, I like the larger statement of miles traveled, and journeys yet to go. I’ve bounced around to a few different parts of the country, but I spent enough time in each place that they all eventually felt like I’d never leave. None have felt as much like home as Oregon. My hamster brain wonders where each mile marker 73 may be in the state. Or in the country.

Once you choose a name, and you get over the stage fright of writing to the faceless void of the internet, then you get to say whatever you want. In my opinion, it’s essential to avoid any designs of being “DEEP” or “MEANINGFUL.” Some writers are great at being inspired. But it’s very easy to fall into the trap of sounding “INSIPID” or “DOUCHEBAGGY.”

Blogging is a good medium for me because it forces me to publish even when I think I’ve written something crappy. My perfectionist tendency is to fuss and polish and agonize, and re-write a zillion times. Once I’ve exhausted myself over a piece of writing, I might let the world take a peek and sniff, “Oh, it’s my first draft.”

So I don’t do that on this blog. I write, I write a lot of crap, I write voluminous blatherings from my brain, I sometimes check for spelling or grammatical errors, and I hit publish.

But writing fiction. It’s been a long time. I’m a little nervous. Actually, I’m scared shitless. But I’m just hoping that trying to write 50,000 words in a month trips up my perfectionist malfunctions. I’ll have no time to fret and agonize and polish.

In the very least, I do have a tentative working title. My novel’s name (for now) is Vinny’s Hardware.



  1. Just FYI, this blog post is 1,100 words long. I will need to write 1,700 to 2,000 words a day to make 50,000 by the end of the month. #holyshit #terrified

  2. Write or Die
    Write or Die
    Write or Die

    That’s all I have to say about that.

    Try out the kamikaze mode BEFORE that, though.

    • Holy crap. I certainly do procrastinate. When sitting down to write, EVERYTHING becomes urgently important before I can concentrate. I haven’t had enough coffee. My keyboard is dirty, I better clean it. I should water my plants. I have a hang nail, I better lance it before I eat my hold hand, etc.

      And I pause a lot as I’m actually writing, to fuss over a word or phrase, or to just organize my thoughts. I should write another whole post about this.

      Mary Sue, do you use notecards or have another strategy to keep your thoughts together?

  3. Speaking of Hardware, have you been to Utzingers Hardware?

    • We haven’t been over there yet. I think we’ve gone over that bridge a total of *two* times on recreational drives. Once, I think I was lost. That whole area on the other side of Youngs Bay is an unexplored wildland for us.

      But I like smaller hardware stores. We’ll have to go check it out. How is the restaurant across the street?

  4. 2000 from 1100???? Piece of cake for you. xoxo

  5. Utzingers is great. Wander around, open cabinets. They have everything, though it may be in the back room, which you can go in. I did a blog post on it a while back. As for the place across the street, I found the food dry and un-interesting, but a friend who went there recently said it has improved. Don’t assume you will get a big plate of stuff, everything is a side order, like beans and rice. If you want them, you’ll have to order them as a side dish.

Speak Your Mind