Sunday, September 7, 2014

Creativity Redux

So for like the 8th time in recent history I've started The Artist's Way again.  Clearly there's something in this creativity program for me if I keep doing it.  I think one of the signs for me is that, since I now sort of work on the fringes of publishing, I see all these mom&pop publishers putting out 3-5 eBooks a month on random topics, and somehow they're making it.  They're not millionaires, but I'm buying books from them, and I know others are too because they have employees, and book designers, etc.  They seem to be making enough to be comfortable, and I think to myself, "well I could do that."  

So why don't I?

I mean, I know eBook publishing as well as anybody else out there doing it (probably a lot better than anyone else out there doing it).  I already have a market in place with libraries.  I know good writing.  I've even done some good writing.

So what the hell is my problem???

I have a gazillion excuses - time, energy, job, yada fucking yada.  But I still have 24 hours in the day, just like Gandhi did.  He managed to win independence for an entire subcontinent.  And I can't put out a few eBooks?  Seriously?

I hit a fork in the road recently with my bipolar diagnosis, and then the summer was spent rehoming the cats and tearing down the home office J built me, but I'm starting to get into a groove now that Hannah is settling into a schedule that gives me at least 2 hours in the evening, and an hour in the morning (if I'm lucky) in which to do some creative work and still get a decent night's sleep.  I'm adjusting to my meds so that I don't feel like I got hit by a truck upon waking up every day.  

And the best part is that next year I'm not going to be working as much.  We have decided to move back to Pennsylvania and I'm going to take on contract jobs, hopefully staying with my current organization, and then maybe picking up some other projects along the way.  So I will have time in which to pursue some of these other goals I have around writing and creativity.

Every morning these days I get up around 5:30 or so to write.  I do my Morning Pages, and I'm working on actually finishing a damn NaNoWriMo book.  Which is good, because every day I get more book ideas.  But I actually have to finish one first.  So that's a goal for me, before the next NaNoWriMo in October.  Lots of editing and rewriting.

I have several friends who have had books published this year, and I'm hella jealous.  One has become quite a big deal - I see her books in Barnes & Noble, and I'm so proud of her - and she's an amazing writer.  But I'm tired of being on the fringes of that world.  I want to get in there and create and publish my own stuff, and stuff I've chosen.  I want to have a say over what gets created and published, too.  Life is too short, and I don't want to have some kind of crazy midlife crisis in 10 years because I never followed my dreams when I had the chance.

So here we go using the tools of The Artist's Way again.  Stay tuned to see what comes of it :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Roger Mortimer: England's Greatest Traitor

I've recently started reading The Greatest Traitor, The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England 1327-1330, by Ian Mortimer.  I'm a big fan of Ian Mortimer, having read his Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the 14th Century several years ago.  He writes about some obscure history in a really accessible and conversational way, which I love.

In short, the story of Roger Mortimer is a little interlude in the history of the monarchy that doesn't often get the attention it deserves.  Basically, he was a nobleman based out of Wales, born in 1287.  His life was pretty normal and uneventful until around 1322 when he revolted against Edward II.

So Edward II.  Poor Edward II.  What can we say about Edward II?

He was sandwiched in between two great warrior kings, Edward I and Edward III.  He was the father of Edward III?  He was well educated, and intelligent, and also had very bad judgment.  He may or may not have had sexual relations with his dear friend Piers Gaveston.  Whatever their relationship (ie sexual or not) he loved Piers to the exclusion of others, and he risked much of his kingdom to keep Piers happy, rewarding him with land and titles that the nobles didn't think he deserved.

(Actually, I've just found a really great blog that started from a person wanting to salvage Edward II's reputation, so I'm going to have to do some reading on that, to see if my mind is changed.)

So the court was political and there were lots of factions.  To say the least.

And Mortimer comes along, and he's all, "yeah, this king sucks, I'm going to join the movement to rebel, and we're gonna kick some ass."

Except he got caught and was imprisoned in the Tower of London.  From which very few people ever escape.  In fact, Roger Mortimer was one of the very few people who have escaped.  At the time of his escape, he was the first.  He escaped by drugging his guards thanks to the help of a sympathetic guard, escaped through the kitchens and across the river, and eventually to Dover and then France.

Where he wound up taking as his mistress... wait for it... the Queen of England, Isabella, who was also sick of her husband and laying low in France.  Her young son, Edward III would eventually join the couple, and they would plot to invade England.

Poor Edward II (that's really all I can say about him now - Poor Edward II) is captured and imprisoned.  There are rumors that he was never killed, but somehow managed to live out his life in obscurity in Italy.  But he was most likely killed.  There are other rumors that he was sodomized by a hot poker, a token to his supposed relationship with Gaveston.  No one really knows for sure.

What we do know is that for several years, until Edward III came of age and got sick of being a puppet for Isabella and Mortimer, Roger Mortimer essentially ruled England.  He wasn't a king, he had no royal blood, but he was the ruler.

Eventually Edward III plotted his death, with a bunch of his equally-fed-up friends, and in the middle of the night they went through a tunnel in Nottingham Castle that went straight to Isabella's rooms, the door of which was conveniently left open by a sympathetic guard (sympathetic guards were very useful to have around) and Edward III came in with his buddies, swords drawn, and caused a bit of a scene.

Mortimer was subsequently taken to Tyburn, despite Isabella's pleas, and hanged like a traitor.  They didn't take him down for several days so everyone could get a good look.

Other than when Oliver Cromwell ruled as Protectorate, I can't think of any other times since 1066 (other than Regency's) when someone without royal blood has so clearly ruled England as a king himself.  That in itself makes him an interesting guy to study.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Project Fitness Update

So it's Monday, which means I do a Project Fitness Update, and.... it ain't too shabby.  I'm within 6 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight!  I'm hoping to get that off in a month.

I actually can't say that I know how I managed to lose 5 pounds in the last 2 weeks.  I wish I did know.  I know the following:

- Hannah now weighs 20lbs and 5 ounces.  I lift her up probably about 50 times a day.

- Hannah is now waking up at around 6:15 each morning (though of course we pray that doesn't continue for long.  Mama needs her Alone Time in the morning to drink coffee, meditate, write, etc).  But it is what it is for now.  Who knows, maybe tomorrow she'll sleep in till 7:30.  Knock on wood.  But anyway, what it means is that we have very long mornings together before I start work.  We go for a walk around our lake - all three miles, pushing the stroller on a hilly path - the majority of days.

- We go to bed really early.  It's almost 9:30.  That's my bedtime.  We start bath time at 7, and then put her to sleep at around 8.  Then a little quiet time, and then bed.  What that means is that I don't do a lot of late night snacking.

I guess those three things are combining to speed up my metabolism or something.  I don't know what it means.  But I'll take it.