Early Bird Efforts

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Mr. Grackle in snow –  Picture by: Lausanne Davis Carpenter

The best remedy for surviving a twelve-hour day in cubicle-land is to spend my early mornings on my own goals. I have posted on LDavisCarpenter about the challenges of writing historical fiction and am starting a Flash Memoir side-project while chipping away at my novel.
 

I am reasonably confident in my non-fiction abilities but creative writing is – whew. I know how long it takes to develop any new skill so I want to use my life experiences as material for word-crafting practice – before I am faced with final edits of my long fiction. Flash Memoir seems like a good choice for distilling memories into words that transport a reader to another’s time, place, thoughts and senses. I also think it will be fun to capture snippets of my own crazy life in this form.

 

Meanwhile, you can see last summer’s mural on the Marsh Hawk Studio blog. I still plan to do a process post showing the steps to creating it but those pictures are on my other laptop which an Office update recently corrupted and can no longer access the internet. (Yes, thank you very much.) I will soon update the Long Ago & Far Away blog with notes on Conn Iggulden’s Genghis Khan series.

 

If I can ever get my blogs up to date AND have a day off – I’ll be back to writing my novel.



***About Mr. Grackle – just a fellow at my feeder on a snowy morning back in VA. Those eyes look like I feel most mornings before tea.

Writing and Responsibility

desk and candle

There’s a certain martyr’s pride we risk when forcing ourselves out of bed in the wee hours to get our writing done.

I’m back to the Day Job – the traffic, the hours (the paycheck! old friends! new friends!) Thankfully, this time I have a shorter commute which is allowing me to find a few minutes in the morning to think about writing. So far I’ve managed to read some research material and scribble a couple of posts on my writing blog.

I could get up even earlier but, working six or seven long days every week, less sleep would reduce my ability to help the people who depend on me at the office. They depend on me for training in order to stay in their assignments as long as possible. But, my sense of responsibility goes beyond their urgent questions. My employer depends on me to keep our people in their roles because that’s the core of our business. Our client depends on our people to serve their customers well, in support of their brand. Those customers depend on our people to be professional and accurate during their time of need and sometimes great stress. And, my people have others in their lives depending on them to bring home a paycheck.

I owe them all seven hours of sleep every night.

Dickens-at-the-Blacking-Warehouse

In the Meantime –

studio 2

 

My studio has returned to chaos.

You can see the results of the Studio 3.0 Mural Commission posted on my Marsh Hawk Studio site.

As I mentioned there, once I completed that project, I was immediately out of town to work as a trainer/manager of independent insurance adjusters in Atlanta, GA. After six months, I returned home to move my parents from their rental to the finally ready “new” home. We’ve been working long days, every day to get them moved in. We’ve also changed every one of their doctors and dentists in this last 3 months. I hope to never see another “New Patient” form.

But, how about a few detail shots of our hard work?

back porch1a (3)

This shot was taken the day James and I first saw the house. You can see the monster tree and the rotting deck that wrapped around it. I remember thinking as I took this picture, “One day, that tree is going to cost us a whole lot of money.”

Two weeks after closing, we received a notice from the city that our neighbor had complained about it dropping limbs into her yard.

$6500.00 later, the tree and the liability hazard deck were gone.

The house had no laundry room. So we added that plus a mud room in the area of the old deck, then added the stoop. Pardon the ladders. Work yet to do.

back entry

Along the way, the house was gutted and essentially rebuilt from the inside out. New wiring, plumbing, everything. When they started to tear out the  interior plaster on the exterior walls, they discovered there was no lath, just plaster on terra cotta block walls. So, they left the plaster and stick built from the inside in order add insulation.

terra cotta block

Add new roof, new windows and attic insulation and the folks are now snug.

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The ceilings throughout had been dropped. The new ones have been returned to their original 9’6″.

 

living room 1 (3)

Living room with dropped ceilings.

picture wall

Same wall with ceilings restored to original height.

entry and wall of writers

Showing the exposed upper glass block and the display of Mom’s favorite writers around the door to her writing room.

 

Raising the ceiling in the living room exposed the top row of glass block at the entry. Their exterior had been painted gray. Now they sparkle inside and out.

The exterior still needs some wood rot replaced and paint. But my parents are now ensconced, mostly unpacked and starting to get on with living.

Now for me: I’ve made myself available for work adjusting again but I may have to wait for tropical storm season to spool up before I can return. That makes me financially broke but anxious to use these slivers of free time to update my blogs and drag out my historical fiction project.

Studio 3.0 – Mural Commission

Messy Studio

Messy Studio/Warehouse

In the midst of my personal madness, I got an email requesting a small-ish mural. As it happens, I think I can actually squeeze one in between the time I get the parents physically deposited here in Florida and when I will make myself available for adjusting work again. There is going to be a phase of getting the folks settled – finding doctors, learning the roads, etc. when I don’t want to be in a 12hrs x 7days work gig.

A mural could be just the right diversion.

However, in the last 18 months, my studio has turned into a warehouse. So, the first task was to clear it out and sweep up the leaves that blow under the door.

All Better

All better – the black splodge on the floor is a permanent spill of some mystery substance from before my time.

Client meeting went well. Proposal completed and passed. Next step is a detailed drawing.

Meanwhile, I drive to Virginia tomorrow to start the final phase of loading the folks’ furniture in containers, deep cleaning the house in preparation for the market and getting them and Sally-dog into the car.

Of course, it’s going to be in the 100s in Florida and the 90s in Virginia this week. All good fun.

I think that’s enough for now.

Time Management and the Disordered Life – Update #1

Reposting this here to keep my general blog up to date. Have other bits of news to add shortly. Stay tuned!

L Davis Carpenter - Writer

Must Keep Writing!

10,000 new words in six days! Whew. Mostly rubbish but something to work with. I’m trying to set short-term goals based on what looks possible within the next chunk of time. Those six days were spent away from home, helping my parents with their move. While I am with them, we have a standing agreement that I spend my mornings working on my writing. I am often able to squeeze additional time (mostly reading, research and social media) into the evenings.

I’d set myself a minimum of 1500 words/day while there – see here – enough pressure to keep me focused but not so much to make failure inevitable. I’m not sure of the exact final count because I often delete chunks of in-line notes along the way. But I definitely averaged above my 1500 word/day goal.

Now I am home again – for about a week…

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Time Management and the Disordered Life

L Davis Carpenter - Writer

Down the Rabbit Hole Down the Rabbit Hole

Day job, family, (laundry, errands, bills, stray cats and trying to move aging parents to new home), news headlines, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, real life relationships – everything conspires against our creative arts. This past week, with 20x more discretionary hours available than usual, I lost focus. I meandered down every possible rabbit hole. A lot of it was good – I’ve learned about marketing, how to use Twitter, found new resources and finished some research – but I didn’t add one word to my manuscript. I floundered.

Today I’m packing to head north again and wishing I’d used this week at home more effectively.

My life goes from 95% externally structured (when on an adjusting gig) to negligible external structure (between gigs). I have been self-employed most of my life so I am adept at self-structure and motivation. But from time to time even I fizzle out.

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What I Did on My Summer Vacay

Front Range Viewed from Greeley, CO

Front Range Viewed from Greeley, CO

Summer is officially over if you consider Memorial Day and Labor Day the boundaries – rather than looking to celestial events. Neither work here in Florida – it feels very much like summer from April through October.

As for what I did: two months of Day Job in hot, dry Colorado. Then one month in hot, humid Tidewater, Virginia troubleshooting various challenges for my parents. I have now been back in my own home for three weeks.YAY! The laundry and housework are caught up, the new storage barn’s rafter tails are primed (note the evidence of oil primer in my hair) and tomorrow morning I start another round of Day Job.

This next assignment is a new role for which I am very thankful. The hours will be brutal, as always. However, I was able to complete a lot of research this summer so I hope to scrounge some minutes before work to convert story ideas in my head to scenes on digital paper.

I missed cross-posting a prior blog entry from Long Ago & Far Away to here so that will follow.