Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Afternoon

(Couldn't resist continuing my theme with that title... it so rarely is Tuesday afternoon when I hear that song. Let's play a game, for those who already know what I'm talking about: tell me your favorite line from the song. No fair playing if you have to look up what song I mean first!)

Now, on with the real post...

You know how in the Tri-State area, nearly every bridge/state line you cross charges you a toll? That is not the case here, very fortunately for me. I cross the Columbia so frequently, they'd be making a fortune. That's what happens when you're kind of hovering between Portland and Vancouver, though. It would be nice to come down firmly on one side or the other, and only have to worry about visiting the place where I don't end up. Instead I'm job-hunting across the state line, and switching between staying with my family in Vancouver and staying with my grandparents' old neighbor in Portland. I haven't been able to access the internet quite as frequently in Portland, so this blog post is long overdue. Right now I'm taking advantage of the wireless at Costello's Travel Caffe. I can't believe I didn't used to come here when my grandparents actually lived just a few blocks away. Now I know what my dad was raving about all those years. I finally just got the best spot, too. There's this tiny little desklike table tucked into the front corner facing the window, right next to a lamp and an outlet. :) It's perfect for writing.

And speaking of writing, I have only just slightly over 14k words left to write for NaNoWriMo! This may seem like a lot - in fact, it is a lot - but compared to the 50k I had at the beginning of the month... I'm so excited! Those of you who have done the math may be ready to point out to me that I am still behind. I am aware of this - but I shall prevail! You see, I now have a System.

The other day, I froze in the middle of my writing. I had no idea where to go next. I knew some stuff I wanted to happen, but I didn't know how to get there. I had too many possibilities and not enough detail. I made a list of Things That Still Need to Happen. There were 26, off the top of my head. I then stared at the List. It wasn't really helping.

I called Becca. I complained in despair about how I didn't know what to do next, and that the month was coming to an end far too quickly. After giving several unhelpful suggestions, she made one that stuck: "Why don't you pick something from your List randomly?"

Why didn't I think of that before?

Just to make it even more fun, I decided to start rolling dice to decide what to write next. More specifically, I pulled out the dice program Leah wrote years ago and sent to me (yes, I do still have it - it's not like it takes up much space, after all) since with that I could specify dice with improbable numbers of sides: like 26. Thus, my NaNoWriMo writing became a dice game.

Now, I'm letting the program pick my agenda for me. Whatever number comes up, that's the part I start writing, whether I know tons about it or next to nothing. When I get stuck, I roll another number. Sometimes I get a number I've already rolled. Then I go back to that section and try to unstick myself, even if it's only for a couple sentences. With 26 of these possibilities, there's plenty of material for the next 14k. :) NaNoWriMo has been saved! Thanks, Becca and Leah!

Also, I believe I've found a church... in Vancouver, right before I started staying in Portland. Oh well; they are pretty close together. It's called Compass, and I like the people there very much. They have good music, an articulate pastor speaking on interesting topics, and a heart for serving the community. So far, a winner! (Um... those points above probably shouldn't be taken in the specific order I wrote them.)

I've begun trying to focus my job search in/near Vancouver, as I believe housing will be more affordable there, and Washington has no state income tax. (The things I've learned since coming here...) I'm still looking in the entire Portland area, since I can't really afford not to at this point, but I've decided that's where I would prefer to end up. I'm also starting to mass-apply to coffeeshops and bookstores. I think I would be happier in either of those places than behind a desk deciding which people do or don't qualify for food stamps.

Oh - one Important Announcement! This is directed to those of you in New Brunswick: I will be at the Point on Sunday evening, December 21. That's the day my flight arrives in Newark, and the only Sunday I'll be in town. Please, please, if you will also be in town, be there that night! I need to see all of you! A week is seriously not long enough to do the whole visit home thing, especially a week during which everyone will be busy with holiday stuff.

Ok. I think that just about covers things for now. I need to go make a dent in that 14k. This dice game is really helping me figure out where and how pieces fit together. I think after NaNoWriMo I might be able to make a Real Outline! That's quite fortunate for you alpha readers. It means when I start sending you chapters again, I'll actually know where they're heading. :)


Crystal said...

i can't wait to see you!!!!! im so excited! i miss my ruthann!

Leah said...

Haha, I can't believe you still have that dice program! I'm so glad it's being of use to you :) I'm rooting for you in NaNiWriMo!

Amanda said...

The trees are drawing me near, I've got to find out why/Those gentle voices I hear explain it all with a sigh

Yes, you are right - the best thing to do is live in Vancouver where there is no state income tax and do all your shopping in Portland where there is no sales tax! I knew a few people who did that. Best of all possible worlds. :)