Just a break.

Talk about needing help with time management…

I’ve got half of my paper done, and just a little longer to write before I’ll have to turn something in, done or not. I did go to work today, but I won’t be going in, tomorrow, given time pressures. This is why I’m in a job that doesn’t pay so much: flexible scheduling. Well, that’s part of the reason. The other parts are idealism and a desire to help.

Right now…I’ve been working on this stuff since about 4:30 PM with the only break being dinner, and I need to think about something else. I also need to review my readings, and see if I can’t get the next four in, before submitting my paper.

I also need to gauge if I’m even awake enough to continue working on this, tonight…as well as perhaps comment on others’ posts, on the discussion forum.

EDIT: Yay! I responded to someone, which means I get extra credit! Now to get back to whatever I was doing…

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Changes are coming.

Well, the air is fresher, today; helped in good part by yesterday’s rain. Of course, though, as can be expected for mid-November, it’s cold! (It also looks like the termites are out, judging from the little fluttery things I’m seeing outside my window.)

I’ve been getting pretty sick of seeing four ads pop up on my blog every time I visit it when not logged in to WordPress, so I’ve started setting up a separate domain. Setup isn’t totally done yet, so I won’t give out the HTTPS address at this time…but it’s coming.

I’m not totally sure exactly how I want to set up the new domain, but I did it largely as a way to publish my fiction. As for the art stuff, I’m really not sure whether it will go up, there — granted that I’m not doing art right now, and haven’t had the time to, for several months. (Buying art supplies is different from using them.) As mentioned previously, though, it will be good to try and integrate text and image. It’s something I’ve wanted to do, for a long time.

I had been looking at downloading a new text-editor (Scrivener), but I was stopped by my anti-malware program. Thank you, anti-malware program.

So it looks like it’s back to MS Word…depending. I could use one of my really basic pieces of software to write, considering it will likely end up on WordPress; or I could compose in MS Word, paste the text into Notepad to clear out the formatting, then work with it, from there.

It could also be cool if I could create PDFs of the work, and let people print it out that way. I’d need to experiment to see if that will work with images, though; I suspect, not.

It’s also very apparent that I need to do a thorough cleaning and organization of everything. I’ll just leave that, there. I know what I mean.

I also need to get some new clothes, and wash what I do have. I’m not looking forward to clothes shopping, but it has to be done.

Aside from this…I suppose I’m lucky in that I don’t have too much going on. I should really start looking for another job, though…

Literary magazine perusal

Last night I was looking though Granta (144) and the Iowa Review (48)2. This issue of Granta is fairly heavy for me; I didn’t read the beginning of it before picking it up, but patriarchy is the theme of this issue (as stated in the Introduction). Apparently, Granta has a theme every issue, if I were to take UlrichsWeb as authoritative (which is a fairly safe bet).

UlrichsWeb is a database of information about serials, though I have mostly used it for academic work. I had thought it was free to access, but it looks at this point like it is a subscription database.

As I’ve found to happen often, sexuality goes along with gender concerns, in this issue of Granta. I’m not sure why the two are so often linked, unless sexuality is what gender is about, for some or most people. As I’m kind of unmotivated on the sex portion of that and also gender-nonbinary, I suppose that it wouldn’t be something I would necessarily know a lot about, except as an observer.

I think I’ve just spent so much time dealing with gender issues that I kind of miss the stuff outside of my own context. Sometimes all of this just gets overwhelming.

There’s something different about reading a printed paper copy of the literary magazine (litmag), though, as versus a digital surrogate. It’s something to keep in mind if I ever get to the point of publishing, offline. Depending on the publisher, though, the articles may be available anyway via digital access.

The most obvious point of the difference between digital and print, is the lack of a nearby dictionary. (I didn’t bring my phone with me for a period, today.) Just like the old days…

Over the course of investigating periodicals for my Collection Development class, I’m kind of getting more insight into…well, serials publishing. I probably don’t have the time or patience to go into all of it now, but digital surrogates of print journals (including peer-reviewed material, magazines, trade publications, etc.), so far as I can tell, are becoming almost the norm. Then again, I’m biased, not having easy in-person access to my own Library.

The thing is that the growth of the cost of licensing these resources (for libraries) — at least had been increasing at unsustainable rates in the recent past, leading to novel funding schemes from pop-up vendors, publishers, and the Open Access movement. I’m kind of holding back some information here, which I didn’t start this post intending to share. Maybe later I can come back to it, or maybe after I do more research, I can come back to it. Before I endorse anyone, I should be sure they’re actually legit, that is.

Publishing online is just a method which enables wide distribution at relatively little cost, as versus paying for printing and binding and shipping, in addition to editing, promotion, and design.

I almost started getting into this big thing about database licensing (when the databases carry journal articles or links to such), but I probably shouldn’t go there right now.

At the beginning of this post, I was intending to write about having connected some ideas last night. The good part is that I have a feasible story concept. The thing about it is that it’s basically literature/speculative fiction. I’m not certain I have it in me to make that story, in specific, and in full, into a graphic format; it’s just so rich in detail that I feel it may be beyond the level of my current art skills.

Of course, that provides me with reasoning to practice my art skills, but still. 🙂 I’m wondering whether concept art might be of more use right now than attempting a webcomic, or maybe I could sketch out some (not all) sequences into webcomic format (for its own sake), and let the literary narrative (likely to be much more extensive) stand on its own.

I had thought of making this an episodic, speculative-fiction slice-of-life, possibly paranormal-incorporating webcomic series…but to understand the whole of it would take knowledge granted in multiple installations.

But that would add interest, and an episodic series would mean I only directly work on one part at a time. Maybe I can do it?

Right now, I don’t have an idea of how long this story will run, largely because I have a premise, my own background to draw from, and one subplot. It’s also tough to develop this and keep it relatively offline: right now, it’s just on paper.

I also need to stop writing about it, and start writing it.

Prepping for creative work.

Surprisingly, I was able to get out of the house today. A lot of people are staying indoors because there’s still a lot of smoke here from the Butte County fire. Not to minimize the destruction of that fire, but the air has been unhealthful for days.

Depending on the air quality, I might be working later this week more than I had anticipated; my school work-load has recently sharply decreased. I decided to hit the art store, today, in celebration of having free time again.

This time, I actually had a medium and project in mind. As you may have seen, very early this morning I was playing around with WordPress’s new editor. It’s inspired me to try my hand at webcomics. Kind of interesting how something like the structure of a content editor can matter…

Anyhow — just to remind myself in the future; today I got a bottle of ink and some brushes which were approximately $35 for a set of 5, due to multiple discounts. They’re Princeton Neptune brand. I had originally set out to get one good-sized natural hair brush, but seriously, good natural-hair watercolor brushes in a decent size are fairly expensive, and I didn’t see any with the dimensions I wanted.

(It is easier to want a brush before you’ve actually seen and held it.)

The Neptunes are supposed to be good at holding paint. Maybe late Tuesday or Wednesday, I’ll be able to play with them, more than just washing them out, as I did tonight. Then I’ll be able to see if they dispense paint (or ink) as well as they hold it.

I still haven’t decided whether to go in to work more later this week…

And — right! I also got a copy of the Iowa Review 48(2) and one of Granta 144. They’re both literary magazines, and as such, aren’t available at my library. I may have to do this, more. Because I’m so new to litmags, I don’t yet have a feel for what type of stories and poetry each magazine tends to have.

However, if I’m going to be writing stuff, it would help to read again. Litmags have short stories and poetry from different authors, so there isn’t too much of an investment in any one. They’re also fairly contemporary, and a good way to keep one’s finger on the pulse of new talent.

I still haven’t decided whether I want to get seriously back into writing, and if so, what I want to do with it. There’s the possibility of contributing to magazines, publishing directly to the Web as a staff writer or blogger, or running my own website. In long-form, the choices are self-publishing in an eBook or Print-on-Demand format, or going through traditional Publishing houses.

Due to my experience in Collection Development this semester, I’ve found some interesting outlets for eBooks and online litmags — though still, nothing compares to going to a bookstore and being able to browse. It’s just easier.

And then…there’s the possibility of just dealing with this here. I could run a blog, and publish comics to it. Of course, given my background, they’re likely not to be…well, intentionally funny.

Unless I go there. I can go there. It’s just not my first goal.

Anyway — for now, I’ve decided to work with Microns plus ink wash, for any comics I make. Or — I could use dip pens plus the ink I just got, though that requires some preparation of the nibs; and that requires either flame or boiling in a chemical-safe, non-food container. I do need a new lighter, but that’s easy enough to replace. I also need to find the Third Hand — it’s basically a pair of tweezers on a base.

The problem with holding nibs in pliers and then burning off the anti-rust coating with open flame is that it also heats up the plier nibs. That can distort them and make them useless. I learned the hard way.

By the way, it’s not my responsibility if you try this. It only takes a touch of the lighter, but you can get burned or worse, especially if there’s any grease.

Aside from this, I should work on my project due tomorrow. Not that I think any of us in the class, actually want to. It’s tough to write to a standard format. Kind of sucks all the joy out of it.

But I can do it. Just for the sake of not washing my GPA down the drain as my last action in this program. 🙂

Conversations with myself #1

So yeah, I…tried to do homework tonight, until I was no longer able to function, with regard to studying. That is, I started researching why my tomato plant smells funny, and eventually came here.

I am thinking there must generally be some limit on the amount of writing to a format that can be done before one’s brain quits.

At the time I’m beginning this post, it’s near 1:25 AM. I’ve just taken medication, so I should have until about 3 AM before I become entirely useless.

Yes, I am playing with the color settings on the new editor. Why?

Anyhow…what I’m working on now, is a collaborative project. Since I got my ePortfolio turned in, I’m trying to stay motivated. I did need to use one of the projects for this class within the ePort (I actually used two), but I really should have taken this class…before. At a different time.

So right now I have what I’m working on, due early this week…and three more weeks to go of this class. I can make it. The issue is feeling “done” with the whole thing, when I’m not. I have three more weeks to go. But only three more weeks.

Right now, I’m just wondering about resuming my artwork.

newly washed rondelle beads
This is a test photo. I could use this editor for comics, couldn’t I? I mean, if I really wanted to.

I’m thinking about getting back into painting. I have two more weeks before I go back to my regular schedule at my job, unless I pick up more hours, in the meantime.

I should have the opportunity at the end of this week, but it means working through Black Friday — and I have things I want to do, on that day. Like get a paintbrush. But then again, if I go to work, I can afford to pay full price.

Right now, I’m looking at the different way the new Editor on WordPress encourages me to break up my text. It’s much more suited to Web-optimized writing; as versus longform nonfiction, as was my working default, before.

I could do something with this, hmm? I’m thinking two or more B&W side-by-side panels in each Block. Maybe with narrative in between? I might want to review my CSS to see if I can adjust the padding or margins here, though.

Even the background colors of the text could symbolize different characters talking (if the colors repeat), though it wouldn’t be entirely accessible. It could also be narrative.

Just have to pick a story to work on…see which pens to use…

(does longevity matter? If so, use the Microns. If not, Sharpies — or anything else — works.)

Yes, I have tried to use Photoshop to create drawings, before. I’m better off working by hand…

…but that was pretty sweet when I could illustrate with the Wacom. I just didn’t have a story.

(Shut up about the Wacom!)

–But I could use a Wacom!

I have a proposed solution. Do some comic art, scan it in, and see what you can do with your current image editor and a mouse, before you jump on the Wacom thing again.

…or just buy a Wacom. Whatever. If you’re willing to pay full price, it doesn’t matter when you get it.

I gotta try this…

Wow. I didn’t know *that* was in there…

Let’s see…tonight I was able to submit another segment of my Culminating Experience requirement. Last night, I submitted my paper for Collection Development, meaning I’m probably not going to have a problem with that class. I only have one more big assignment, there.

Time is ticking down for my remaining essays: I have 2.5 weeks to complete 5 essays, plus one which is mostly-done, and two more which are my Philosophy and Conclusion essays, which I’ve already put serious work into; those two shouldn’t be hard. Right now, I’m pushing myself to give myself a break. Although, maybe I shouldn’t be.

There is still some study to be done to keep up with Collection Development, though it should be fairly straightforward, as compared to the more free-form (but still scaffolded) Culminating Experience stuff.

Luckily, writing isn’t too difficult for me, and I work relatively well under pressure (unless the task is just straight-up too difficult and sheer, due to multiple hidden tasks; then I just freak out and freeze, as started to happen before I got an extension on my last assignment).

If I reach a time in the near future where I want to work but can’t think in words, I can assemble the skeletons and scaffolding of my last six essays — or, the five which need it, I guess. It does take time. That’s the hardest part: trying to estimate how long it will take, and hoping that I’ll have the capacity to do the type of work I’ll need to do at the time I’ll need to do it.

The only way I’ll get into trouble is if I have to do hidden research for one or more essays, but I think I’ll be OK.

Well, there’s that. It’s pretty well-settled. I…am wondering if it is a good idea to go out, soon; or stay in, listen to my lecture, and basically catch up on the Collection Development material (which isn’t really, “catching up,” if I’m not behind, yet). Not to mention that I can look over the voting guides.

I think it would be easier on me to stay home tomorrow, actually, rather than going out when I don’t have to.

What was interesting, was investigating my college, the other day, and realizing that they have a pretty sizable Art budget. That, in turn, gets me thinking about going back to Art classes, or Computer Science classes, and the possibility of an MFA…and if an MFA, whether to do that in Web Design, or Studio Arts…and if Studio Arts, what do I plan to do with that? If Web Design, is that broad enough to do what I want?

I think it is an okay thing, right now, to really…start looking beyond the next two months. I know that December should see a lot of tension being released. January should see me beginning to look for new jobs…and getting back in touch with who I actually am.

I’m looking to be employed for at least 20-30 hours a week in my next job, which may be a Library Assistant or Librarian position, a combination of my current job with an internship, or a non-Library job.

If I don’t get any of this, I may start doing things like pulling prints or otherwise working creatively, and selling the results of that in my spare time (though as I’ve said before, I’m not entirely all that hot on Etsy, at the moment — I might want to find an alternative vending platform).

There is a third route, but I’d rather not do it, at least immediately (take Intro to Computer Science, and a one-unit class). I also need to learn Javascript, especially if I want to work in Technical Services.

And then…there is a story idea that I’ve had, which I’m not sure is related to dystopia or utopia, which goes into what might happen if the state of culture changes so that, in the majority, we decided to avoid irrational thought. A lot of things would go, including much of culture and religion; and I’m not sure what would replace them. I’m…curious about that problem, and kind of want to work it out on my own, to see where it would go. The thing is, even rational thought, based on false premises, leads to statements that aren’t true.

It does seem to be a timely idea, and it’s one I had to turn the TV off to remember, which means it’s good I’m writing it down somewhere, because just telling people about it, barely helped me recollect it.

As for whether I’m good enough at drawing to make it into a graphic novel or series, I’m not sure…but maybe that’s not the point. It doesn’t make sense to make something into a visual form, when there is no need to do so. I’m better at the written word, anyway; and one of the reasons I got into Art was because I was getting to the point with literature, of being able to actually say things that mattered, and I was afraid to do so.

Yeah, and…I’m thinking about another dream I had, which challenged my previous conception of a couple of characters I’ve had, from way back. That dream was seriously adult-themed, though; I mean, it might even set people with trauma, off. (By, “adult,” I mean that you need a moral grounding to be able to comprehend it and not take the situation as acceptable.) I’m not sure if I should write it…but it might help. It might help me get beyond it, that is.

On top of that, we got a new book in at the Library about Critical Thinking, which I want to read, but am somewhat concerned that I’ll have to challenge the book to successfully get through it. I’m not sure if the author is intentionally doing mind-trips to make their readers think, that is, and I won’t have the extra time or energy to try and puzzle it out, before December.

What’s kind of crazy (in the colloquial sense [like “crazy” is ever non-colloquial]) is that if I get back into literature and decide that’s where I want to be, a Public Library setting would feed me, by surrounding me with literature. If I get into Art and want to be an Art Librarian (subject specialist) in a University setting, then I might well need an MA or MFA in an Art-related field.

(The thing is, do I like Art well enough to do that?)

But maybe what I need to get used to, is being okay with expression? Or unafraid to express things, maybe I should say. It’s that which got me into writing, in the first place…I could write things I couldn’t or wouldn’t talk about. (That’s also what got me onto the Web, which relatively freaks out some people.)

And I guess I do, now, have the life experience to kind of know what I’m talking about when I write, which I didn’t, fresh out of undergraduate training.

Yeah… maybe I’ll go back and give writing a shot! It doesn’t cost a lot in anything but time (and maybe, books). On top of that, I know a bit of coding, and can look up the schema used to encode Kindle books, which I could then, self-publish. Or…I could try and publish through a traditional venue, with a BA in Creative Writing and a Master’s in Library and Information Science under my belt…

Hmm. Gotta do the writing, first!

(And I can go back to school for an MFA in Fiction, if I want…it’s a terminal degree, though. But I would be able to teach, then [as well as work in Publishing], and I would be very well-prepared [formally, at least] to be a subject specialist in Fiction writing…)

It makes sense, though, that if I want to really publish, I need to be reading: yesterday, if not sooner. Maybe I could line some stuff up for January?

The anxiety’s easing, a little bit.

I think the only thing I’m really going to have to watch out for is devoting too much time to Collection Development, over my Culminating Experience requirement. That, and not getting sick. Today I spent a little time outside, picking up more food and, incidentally, highlighters. (I get tired of having to look for one that isn’t 15 years old.)

Yesterday, I was able to complete most of one new section (F) to my project. I’m still not halfway done, but it’s comforting to know that it doesn’t take me forever to get one of these, completed. The day before that, I completed and submitted Section E. I likely would have gotten more done last night if I hadn’t been tearing through my archives, looking for evidence (while I had the motivation and nerve to do so). I wanted to deal with finishing Section F more today, but I had to turn in an assignment for Collection Development. Two points. (And…I wanted more trail mix.)

I just would hate not to turn in anything, especially as I lost three points for not following standard format in my last paper. That narrows the gap as to what I can avoid turning in. But of course, it probably doesn’t matter, so long as I don’t get a D or F in this class (I’m uncertain whether that would cause graduation to fall into jeopardy, though I’m presently in good standing).

Good news: I’m now caught up for the weekly turnover, and the Marketing assignment is coming up shortly. I should be able to use this for my incomplete Section D, and then move on from there. Once Sections D and F are turned in, I’ll be over halfway done.

Section D is going to be kind of a pain, though. I was an editor for the major class I’ll be using for evidence in that section…which was needed, because we wrote about 80 pages in our final drafts for that class, combined.

Right now I’ve got approximately eight sections to work on and approximately two weeks before Halloween, which is my soft deadline to get rough drafts of all these sections turned in. After seeing what happened with my first few drafts, though (in which none were reviewed until I fixed the first one I submitted), I may want to take my time on them as versus turning in, “just anything.”

The final due date is in mid-November. I have five weeks. 35 days. But I want to do my best to get all this turned in, in two. 14 days. Hopefully, this will allow me a little bit of extra time, to edit anything that needs work, to fill any gaps which may exist, and to complete incidentals like my Introduction. I’m getting confident with the format, though.

Seriously, the sooner I get this turned in, the sooner I can relax.