Saturday, February 09, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2012: Finished This Draft - 76,666 Words

That's about 307 pages and it's the second longest thing I've written so far.

As always, it was a tough slog and this time it took even longer to finish.  My last NaNo novel tops out at 76,761 words but I managed to finish it by the middle of January.  This one took almost another month of work.

There are huge plot holes.  I'm not satisfied with the end.  There are a couple of plot points which might not work and by the end I was just laying down words and leaving out some details so there's a stilted quality to the writing but this is a first draft and first drafts are shitty.

On the plus side, my characters really seemed to grow in this story.  They seem authentic and their character arcs fit them.  The story is exciting and takes place in New York City, Europe, and Asia.  And I cried at the end of the Epilogue.

I'm taking a week off from writing (this blog post excepted) then I'll finish another project that's waiting in the wings.  I'll start working on revising this draft in another month, maybe six weeks.  We'll see how I feel.

It feels good to finish.  The great thing about writing, about many endeavors for that matter but especially creative ones, is each time you finish and complete another milestone you add to your skills, increase your endurance, and learn a little more about how you work.  Writing is building slowly, completing work, working hard.  There's no getting around that fact.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

My New Gallery Wall

As I mentioned in the previous post, I've been working on a Gallery Wall for my living room.  This is a big deal for me because there wasn't anything on this wall for the past seven years.  Why?  Could be any number of reasons but I'll be honest and say it was a combination of thinking I wouldn't be living here for very long and not feeling like I deserved to live in a place that was lovingly decorated.  Thankfully, I've finally gotten past those dumb ideas.  Below is the result:

The wall.

As you can see my Gallery has a combination of my own photographs, photographs by others, original art and prints.  Yes, that's my lipstick red couch.  As I continue to declutter and slowly decorate, I may decide to get a new set of slipcovers for it but for now the red works.

I noticed several things while creating this Gallery.  First, there are a large number of photographs of me.  They are either self-portraits or photos taken of me by very significant people.  I kept thinking that I should put up pictures of important people in my life but decided that I would put up what I felt was best instead.  Second, there are a large number of bird pictures on this wall, and all over my apartment for that matter.   Birds figure prominently for some reason and they're not all penguins either.  Third, there are skeletons there and there.  I used to have a collection of calaveras, skeleton figures from Day of the Dead, but all I have now are images.

I spent a lot time (over two weeks) deciding on the pictures, which frames to use if they weren't framed already, and deciding on placement.  I put the pictures up slowly, two or three at a time, and lived with them for a couple of days before making adjustments and planning for the next group.  I took into account size, frame, and, most important, color of the picture.

I read many articles about creating Gallery Walls but ended up doing it my way which I think is the hard way.  I could have laid everything out on the floor or created paper versions of the pictures but I wanted everything on the wall so I could see it.

The area above the couch.

I created a canvas print of the typewriter from one of my own photographs which I turned black and white then overexposed.  It wasn't cheap but turned out great.  I really wanted a typewriter image on this wall.  The penguin print was discovered while purging and is a print sketch of Pilgrim, a bird I used to work with.  The print is a limited edition and was a gift.  The black and white photo above the penguin is an old picture of me wearing a man's jacket and looking into a bakery on Valencia in the Mission.  The baker's assistant is walking towards me and has his hand raised in a little wave.  This photo was taken by an ex and while not one of my best pictures, it's still one of my favorites.

The woodpeckers on the top is an original watercolor.  The two photos below the typewriter sort of echo the green of the woodpecker picture mat and are pictures taken at Kew Gardens (the one of me was taken by my brother).  The picture next to the typewriter is an original print of goblins drinking tea.  Below that is a sketch I did of a skeleton wearing a jester's hat.  The trio of photos are all of my brother.  I took those pictures during our trip to London.  What I love of those photos is that you can't see his face in any of them.  The picture below the trio is one of my favorite self-portraits which I've posted here a few times.

Second half of the wall.

The blue heron print was a gift from my brother.  The picture below that is an original block print of red skeletons wearing suits.  The picture above and below the canvas of me are photographs I took.  The other large picture on this wall is of the Terracotta Army in Xian, China.  There was an art exhibit of them probably something like two decades ago where I bought the print and eventually had it framed.  I used to keep it at work when I had an office and it never failed to astound everyone who walked in.

I have two of these black shelves from Pottery Barn.  I hesitated hanging them because they make huge holes in the wall so I decided to prop them up on my credenza and bookcase.  The shelves have a narrow lip and are specifically for holding pictures and books.  I change the books and pages occasionally.  The book on the left is Animal by DK and The Smithsonian and has magnificent photographs.  The book on the right is from my favorite photographs In The American West by Richard Avedon.

The photograph of me was taken by a friend during Pride Weekend.  I'm standing in the crowd on Castro Street.  I smeared out the background to give it that watercolor look, upped the saturation so the colors would pop, then had it made into a canvas.  I love it.  The small print next to the picture of me was a gift from the person who took the photograph.  The Bird of Paradise was taken by me.  The picture below is of a good friend taken while we were hiking The Narrows at Zion National Park.  The picture of the crow is just a print.  The last picture is actually two small watercolors given to me by an attorney I used to work with.  I haven't talked to her in years but I love them.  I should get in touch with her again.

The opposite wall.

As I mentioned in the previous post I also set up a blank wall to hang white paper so I can put up pictures, documents, etc. of my current writing project.  You can see another one of those Pottery Barn black shelves on the bookcase there.  On the left is a book of Joseph Cornell Boxes.  The book on the right is a book of cathedrals and churches.

So happy this little project is now completed!  And I have some leftover frames I can use elsewhere.