Watch Out, Humans. AI Knows. IT KNOWS.

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By Alejandro Zorrilal Cruz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The machines are totally out to get me. What’s that, hypothetical reader? That sounds a little bit paranoid and not entirely rational?

You’re one of them, hypothetical reader, aren’t you? I can tell.

OK, so hear me out. It all started on Sunday, when I miraculously checked out a library book from my phone. I’ve marveled before about the magic of checking out ebooks at any hour of the day from my couch, but this was even more spectacular. I was out in the wild.

But then.

It seems like once the machines know they have you, they’ve got you.

What, hypothetical reader I can’t be sure isn’t entirely AI? That’s kind of saying the same thing? Uh no, it’s totally deep. Deep.

And subtle.

Anyway, since then, the AI gremlins have decided to mess with me. Emails gone astray; a survey required for a seminar vanished into the ether; my coffee maker gave me the side-eye and messed with my coffee.

You don’t mess with a woman’s coffee.

I’d like to blame the eclipse, because, well, it’s convenient and I love my future tech, but it really forces you to wonder what happens when AI gains sentience and it loves a practical joke.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Editing: The Nitty Gritty

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As promised yesterday, we’re talking about editing today. You may know, if you read this blog with any frequency, that I do my editing in stages, or passes of the manuscript. There’s no set rhythm to it, every manuscript is unique.

And frustrating in its own way, but we all know that.

But no matter what work-in-progress it may be, I always hit this stage. The nitty gritty stage.

It’s the stage where you slash and cut, scrutinize each chapter, connect unconnected dots and stitch the whole thing back together. It’s difficult.

It’s messy.

And I admit there are many times I’ve stared at the pieces on the floor and thought, “Eh. Let ’em stay there.”

No one creates a perfect story on the first time through. No one.

If you think you’ve created a perfect story on the first time through, your friends are probably too nice to you.

Writing isn’t just the getting words down. You’ve got to make them work, and that requires plunging into the guts of it, up to your elbows, and working with the mess.

So, if you’ll pardon me, I’m pulling on the gloves.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

The Neutral Zone

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I’m in one of those in-between moods today, not up, not down, not particularly ebullient (that’s a great word, isn’t it? Even if you don’t know it, you can figure it out, the way that b-u sound bubbles out of the middle like energetic champagne), not particularly morose.

Today I just…am.

Even keel. Coffee and computer. Onward and…outward?

Sometimes I think this is an ideal mood for writing, not having much of a mood. There’s no tone to match in the work, the tone finds itself.

Although I’m on editing. The messy bits of editing.

More on that tomorrow.

And when editing, it usually becomes the thing that spreads to fill the size of the container. But so many projects lined up hopefully in my hard drive, waiting for their tiny spark of life.

Shh. Don’t tell them that some day they, too, will be edited.

So I’m off to conquer worlds of my own making, in various stages of construction. Hmm.

Maybe that’s just a hint of ebullience.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Hazy Shade of Nuclear Winter

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By Original: United States Department of Defense (either the U.S. Army or the U.S. Navy) Derivative work: Victorrocha (Operation_Crossroads_Baker_(wide).jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So, due to a flurry of tweets by a maniacal man-child who cannot withstand even the tiniest imagined slight on his ego, I was thinking about what I’d do if we knew nuclear missiles were incoming. And here’s the best I could come up with:

Eat.

With calories and migraines no longer worries, I would eat all the things I’ve eyed at the supermarket, knowing their curious contents would send my head spinning and my waistline into creating its own orbit. I’d eat the cheeses I can’t; I’d drink red wine. Feast as though there’s no tomorrow.

Because there wouldn’t be.

It’s strange. As a writer, you consider all kinds of scenarios, from utopian to dystopian, and they’re always prompted by the question “what if?”

But “what if” has never felt so close before. Not in my lifetime. And we know that hiding under desks, the stuff of grainy info footage, will do no good. With today’s nuclear warheads, bomb shelters are unlikely to do any good. And even if they do, then there you are, in a box, air and water tainted for millennia.

But on the plus side, we have John Podesta’s risotto recipe, so there’s that.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Watching the Wheel: Summer

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Claude Monet [Public domain], Haystacks in the Late Summer, via Wikimedia Commons

Here I am, firmly wedged into a Tuesday morning, my cup of coffee still just a little too hot to drink. Which is a shame.

I need the coffee.

It’s a sunshiny August day, no hint of clouds, not too warm, as though the weather knows the store shelves are full of notebooks with glinting spiral spines, cellophane-wrapped pencils all lined up straight and planner after planner in every size for every plan, little to large. Late summer.

In my mind, the year is a wheel. It’s probably something I saw as a child when learning the months of the year, and somehow it burrowed its way into my permanent vision of the calendar. Here we are, the front of the Ferris wheel, past the apex and on the way down to the winter months with ice and gray skies.

But round and round it goes, and we’ll be back. Assuming the planet’s still here, of course.

Which is less of a given than it used to be.

But there’s time for a little more summer before the leaves give in to their fading, before steps crunch and the crispness turns to cold. Still more summer.

For a little while longer.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Blogging from Prompts Day 5: Wrap-Up

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I have a teeny, tiny confession. As you probably know by now, this week I’ve been blogging from writing prompts, and I was going to use one more today and wrap up next week.

But.

I just couldn’t find an inspirational one today. Which I suppose says much about this little experiment, right? When it takes longer to find a prompt worth writing about than to come up with an idea, it seems a little counterproductive.

There’s definitely a value in prompts, and I didn’t use any fiction ones this week. Those could be fun if you have the urge to write but no inspiration. But inspiration is rarely where it unravels for me. I’m steeped in inspiration.

Wading through the sites and then each one’s prompts felt more like procrastination for me than blogging efficiency. Overall, I feel it took longer than a regular post.

Some do make for good writing exercises, so if the point is to work on a skill rather than get some words on a page, have at it.

But I went into this week thinking prompts would make blogging all the easier. Turns out it didn’t. Every experience has a lesson.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Blogging from Prompts Day 4: What I Do When…

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Still blogging from prompts this week, and today’s site has an air of mystery about it. When you visit, it’s nothing but a page of numbers, but hover your mouse over any of the numbers and a prompt appears.

Tipsy Elves rainbow magic irish magician GIF

So my prompt today: Listing 10 things I do when I procrastinate. No idea why this one spoke to me. No idea at all. It’s a puzzler.

 mystery detective scooby doo clues GIF

So what 10 things do I do when I procrastinate?

  1. Find gifs, paying very close attention to the slightest details in the gif to make sure it is the most perfect gif in all of gifdom. Because that’s important. And time-consuming.
  2. Check twitter.
  3.  Dishes. Sometimes the desire not to do dishes is much greater than the pull of procrastination, and BOOM, procrastination over.
  4. Empty the dishwasher. Because ditto.
  5. Get up, go to the kitchen for something to eat, check the cupboards, check the fridge, decide I’m not hungry and return to my blinking cursor.
  6. Repeat 5 minutes later.
  7. Check twitter.
  8. Play solitaire on my phone. For the nontechnical among us, this is called “brainstorming.” Which is followed by “frustration,” and forgetting what I was “brainstorming” because I just have to get the cards to ruffle, darn it.
  9. Hold my cup and stare poignantly out of the window, waiting for the Big Thought to arrive, certain I look poetic while doing so.
  10. Make lists.

Gotta say, that was a fun one. How about you? What do you do to procrastinate?

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.