Categotry Archives: General


Maybe my stories have too much cat in them


Categories: General, Tags: ,

I’m reading and sort of editing/writing more of my YA novel right now. I was hoping it would be going better. It’s only about 100 pages right now (1.5 spacing, 11 pt font), which is short. It’s not even quite 50,000 words (this part I’m editing) and I was hoping to double it while going over it. Not happening. At all. And it’s not that what I have written is bad. It’s pretty good! But short. And I have trouble lengthening the story.

Let me give you an example. Say, I’m telling you a story of part of my day. I would choose the shortest route to get from point A to point B.

Example 1:

I was thirsty. I went and got some water. And then I sat back on the couch with cat.

Boring, but informative. Point A = thirst, Point B = water. Try to extrapolate this in terms of my zombie YA novel. Main character needs food, she goes ashore, she gets food, she returns to ship. I need to make that like 20 pages long instead of 2 but it’s VERY HARD. And I get waaaay too bored trying to make something longer when it’s so much easier to make it simple and to the point. My point here is that I’m pretty sure that makes me a bad writer. Or at least a really lazy one.

Example 2:

My throat felt like I had swallowed sand. Dry, dusty Saharan sand not even the sand I was used to from California beaches. Scorched, hot sand. Dried and dessicated like a lizard who’d been lying under a flaming ball of gas for a few days.

“Fish, I’m thirsty.”

He continued lying on my stomach with no change in demeanor.

Yeah, I talk to my cat. He’s around all the time and I get lonely. Sometimes he talks back. {read} I talk back for him. {/read}


“Are you the fuzziest Fish-face in the whole world?”

“That is the wrong question.”

“Do you love me?”


“Sigh. Do you want a smackeral of a snackeral?”

“Yes. I would like a smackeral. I like treats. They are yummy. Smackeral, snackeral, do doh do. Maybe two?”

“Because you are so fuzzy and cute.”

Crunch, crunch. Crunch, crunch.

“Maybe three?”


This time, I ignored his fuzzy cuteness and plucked him off my lap so I could roll off the couch. He immediately curled up into the warm spot my body heat left behind. Sometimes when I walk down the hallway in my house, I like to slide in my socks. And in the kitchen I often do dances to songs I make up and sing to myself. Today was no exception.

“Water cup, water cup

I choose you

Because you are the best

And oh so blue.”

I have 4 water cups. They’re tall and plastic so I can’t break them (I break glass easy). They’re each a different color and I play favorites. Yellow, green, red, and blue, I love the last two best. Much like I love red and blue pixie styx best (but black Fish Styx best of all). I dislike grape pixie styx, but I would love a purple cup so that does not correlate.

Dancing to my new song involves some booty shaking and a lot of twirling. I like to pirouette a lot so it’s good I took so many years of ballet and know precisely how to angle my wrists for the proper graceful arm movements. A pirouette without proper arm positions is worthless.

When I get back to the couch with my water, Fish slits open one eye to look up at me from his couch-hogging sprawl.

“Is it time for second breakfasts?”

“You threw up first breakfast.”

“Yes, and I tried to eat it again for second breakfasts, but you took it away. So now it is time for second second breakfast, yes?”


See, that was way too hard. Today is a day I don’t feel like being a writer. Like most days. Except that it’s kind of all I am right now. Which is ridiculous since I never even wanted to BE a writer. Ugh, back to zombies. I need to finish this before April so I can do the Script Frenzy (like NaNo, but you write a script of 100 pages instead of a novel of 50,000 words). Though I will write a graphic novel, not a script–the idea is the same.


‘Prammed’ is a good made up word

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Categories: General, Tags: , ,

Besides cousin hijinks with bus-boys in Portland, I also baby-sat my pseudo nieces one day. I call them my nieces but it’s not really accurate. I guess actually they are like second cousins or something? But that is lame. They are tiny adorable girls and I want nieces, (even though I keep typing ‘nieves’), so nieces they shall be.

While baby-sitting we took out the stroller and prammed our way into town to the ice cream parlour. Possibly one could call it a ‘shoppe’. Bella immediately chose strawberry ice cream as her favorite. I pondered the menu for a while but eventually chose chocolate chip cookie dough. Aunt Mary had something with a ridiculous name. Hugs Mugs? That wasn’t it. And obviously Ali ordered nothing as she is too young for ice cream (also, recognizable speech). When our desserts came, Bella asked to try mine and my jealous guarding nature hunched me up over the bowl and growled at her like an animal. Not really. But…sort of.

I did give her a taste. Maybe not graciously, but I did it. I could see her little eyes light up at this introduction to actual delicious flavor. Not that strawberry isn’t yummy, but come on: Strawberry? It doesn’t have chunks of cookie dough in it, does it now?

She asked for another taste. It’s hard to resist her face.

(picture from Christmas. More pictures here.)

I let her have another small bite. But then I quickly devoured the rest so she couldn’t have any more.

Yeah. I did that. I barely had time to enjoy it myself! All because I am ridiculously unwilling to share my scrumptious treats with cutie patootie three year old second cousins. Mine mine mine!

Later I considered how some day some one will fall in love with me because they find this trait of ice cream possessiveness endearing. And I wrote a scene in my head of how that might go. Since the possibility of this actually happening seems remote I might have to use it in a romance novel someday. Maybe I can substitute Gunter’s Ices (yes, I’m contemplating a historical) for actual ice cream. Ices. Heh. Probably I would share that.





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In Oregon this weekend, my family and I kidnapped my teenage cousin, Lacey, for a day in Portland at Powell’s. While there we hit up the Deschutes Brewery for some snacks and drinks (it’s like 3 blocks from the Land ‘O Books). Lacey spied a cute busser and proceeded to tell me how adorable he was ad nauseum. I stared at him politely for her sake. He did have a nice body. James (other cousin) took a different tack.

James: You think he’s cute?

Lacey: Yeah.

James: Maybe you should tell him so.

Me: What?

James: And take your picture with him.


Lacey: Maybe I will.

Me: (whimper)

2 minutes later of James being a goading terror.

Lacey: Michele, can I borrow your phone?

Me: Seriously!?!

lacey and brew boy.jpg

I can admit that my 16 year old cousin is much braver than me. And cunning with the artful lies to convince a stranger to take his picture with her.




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Have received great compliment today in thumbs up form.

Driving on freeway, heavy traffic, stupid accident, basically at stop-and-go crawl, car next to me honk-honks. I look over, confused. Elderly woman gestures at me to roll down my window, hers is already down.

I’m like, Really? It’s raining.

But I roll it down anyway.

“‘I Drive Like A Cullen?’,” she quotes at me from my bumper sticker, “Like Edward Cullen?”

I giggle and nod, she flashes me the thumbs up, waves and drives away.

Have added new sticker to collection of reading stickers on back of car (thanks to Christmas present from Erin):


It’s right above my ‘Reading is Sexy’ sticker.

Super Sweet.



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Yesterday I went to the Legion of Honor to see the Japanesque exhibit. As everyone reading this should be aware, I am a big fan of Japan so I was excited to see the exhibit. For those not up on their Japanese art history, when Japan was opened to the west by the Black Ships of Commodore Perry in 1854, art made a rapid incursion into the sophisticated circles of Europe. France, in particular, got wicked excited by ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) and artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige (two of the most famous and influential artists in Japan during the ukiyo (“floating world”) period. In case you caught the whole repetition of ukiyo there, the “-e” on the end indicates “picture” or “print” so the literal translation is actually “print of the floating world”, but they were all made with woodblocks back then so that’s why it’s translated like that generally.

Back to the point. France got all revved up by Japanese art so they decided as a homage to copy it for like the next 50 years. Lots of the text at the museum made it sound nicer in the curated displays. Like, “This picture alludes to the print by Hokusai (also in this exhibit) by repeating the motif of the roof top of a religious institution in the foreground with a truncated view of the blah blah blah..” Sometimes it would also be all “Art connoisseurs would have immediately recognized the reference to blankity-blank…” This kind of talk got boring fast. It’s not that it wasn’t interesting and comparing some of the works was intriguing but it got repetitive quickly. The entry point for the exhibit also had several pieces hung next to one another. For example, one Japanese print next to a painting by Mary Cassat comparing the subjects and viewpoints. I was worried the entire exhibit would be like that and I wouldn’t be able to appreciate anything just on its own as I would be continuously having to compare art based on the curator’s placement decisions. Luckily that was only like 8 pieces at the beginning.

Side-note story! My knowledge of French Impressionism drawing extensively on Japanese prints came sort of from Asian Studies classes but mostly from anime. Yup. Anime teaches me many, many things. In an episode of Samurai Champloo, a woodblock printer makes a picture of sunflowers and the lead female character (naked because porn was also very popular back then) and it’s shipped to Europe where Van Gogh eventually gets his hands on it and makes his famous sunflower painting.


Image taken from Spookhouse


Image taken from Van Gogh Paintings

As it was a Sunday when I went it was super crowded in the special exhibit area. I’ve never been to the Legion of Honor when it’s actually crowded, I don’t think. But generally I go in the middle of the week. I’ve always loved the LoH best out of the museums in SF because it’s not crowded, neither in the rooms or on the walls. So feeling the mass of humanity on all sides while trying to appreciate relatively small Japanese woodblock prints on the walls was slightly unpleasant.

One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was the comparisons between Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji and the Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower by Henri Riviere. Two of my favorites from these series were Mt Fuji from Hongen Temple and the Eiffel Tower from Notre Dame.


Image taken from Wikipedia

11. de notre dame.jpg

Image taken from Anti-musee

I also really liked the collaborations between Hiroshige and Kunisada. Kunisada was famous for people and Hiroshige for landscapes/backgrounds so together combined they were gorgeous. They did two I really liked based on Murasaki and her Tale of Genji. Also one from a series called Two Artists Tour the Seven Hot Springs.


Image taken from

Note: This one not at LoH but I couldn’t find any of the ones that were. This is from the Elegant Prince Genji series though.

My other two favorite Japanese prints on display were Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s Taira Ghosts Preparing to Attack Yoshitsune:


Image taken from Kuniyoshi Project

And Hiroshige’s Night View of Matsume Hill. The cool thing about this one is that the artist left in the wood grain. The natural grain was transferred to the print during the baren rubbing process and was highlighted in the sky. So pretty. I can’t find this specific picture online but if you want to see another one and read about woodgrain patterns, go here.

Want to know how I know the word for the rubbing tool? My second favorite part of the exhibit was a video describing how woodblock printers do their work. I watched them create tools, cut and carve wood and print onto special rice paper. It was completely engrossing. There’s going to be a live demonstration on December 11 by a master and I want to go back to see it. Anyone up for joining?

Finally, part of the exhibit also included contemporary wood-print designs made by Americans. The vast majority of these (surprisingly) were female. Certainly, I liked the female artists more than the modern male ones. These included: Bertha Lum, Helen Hyde, and Lillian May Miller.


Image taken from Treadway Gallery–that’s a Miller and is in the exhibit at LoH

One of the male contemporary woodblock artists was incredibly impressive though and that was John Edgar Platt who did The Giant Stride:


Image taken from Woodblock

As I’ve already told Jacob (who’s also been to the exhibit already), I now have my own dream of trying out woodblock printing. I am relatively confident that I can accomplish this without losing a finger. I am not confident I can make my own baren. I’m still looking into this dream.


NaNo Complete (and naked sushi)

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On Monday, three weeks after I started writing my NaNo novel, I reached 50,000 words. I was with Christine at the time in downtown Pleasant Hill having just eaten Coppa Mista gelato which is DELICIOUS even if I did once refer to it as Camel Mist to Long-Hai and Jason to make them laugh and like me (it worked).

So: 50K! Undertaking complete. I feel kind of let down now and resistant to reading it over because I’m worried about how bad it will be.

A lot of people over the last 3 weeks have asked me why I’m doing this and what I will do with the novel when I’m done. My answers have been flighty and disjointed, I think. Really, I did it because I could and because it was something inexpensive to free (only had to buy things at coffee shops sometimes) and it gave me something to do this month so I could feel productive and less bored. Also it was competitive, and I am not above that. I especially like it when I win.

Now people have started to ask: What will you do next? and When can I read it? As to the first: maybe write something else. I have more plot ideas for mainstream fiction as well as my graphic YA fantasy novel which Long-Hai has promised to illustrate. Though…I feel it will be difficult to get him to work on it as he’s always busy with so many other projects. And I never really told him how long it will be.

When you can read it–sometime soon, I hope. I need it to sit for a while and then I need to read it all and revise some things. After that maybe I can start sending it out to people. It was a project just for myself and for fun, but I’m not averse to people reading it. I don’t expect to ever edit it again or try to publish it or anything like that. So as long as people read it just for enjoyment and not critically, I have no problem with sharing it (though I’ll have to see when I read it if it IS actually enjoyable.)

And speaking of enjoyable things. Gene sent me a link to pictures of naked girls covered in sushi (nyataimori) this morning. My hero. I share one of my favorites with you. Note the sushi in hands.


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