Monday, May 13, 2013

A Page From Winslow's Playbook

Okay, I'm going to be completely upfront about this: my brain's been on total information overload.  Not exactly fried, but being the workaholic I am, I haven't taken a weekend to do pretty much NOTHING for . . . well, forever.

Doing nothing wasn't the plan.  Remember: ten days ago, I finished the first pass-through revision for WHITE SPACE.  Since then, I've been cramming in information and beginning to outline the second book in the series.  So I had every intention of hitting the stacks of books I've amassed and get on with it already.

But Saturday conspired to do me in.  I don't know exactly what it was.  Could be that I was still pooped from dress rehearsal for the last symphony chorus performance of the season the night before.  When I woke up Saturday, I was cranky, worried about a couple pages, anxious that Brahms really would have the last laugh.  (Man, this guy was cruel when it came to count and syncopation.)  So I allowed myself to get sidetracked.  Listened to the whole piece again that morning.  Played around on an online site, making sure I had all the notes and the count down.

Then, I opened my email.  Big mistake.  Got into this very long discussion with a friend about the publishing world nowadays, and THAT led me to seek out a couple blogs I've recently neglected, and what THEY had to say made me even antsier because it was so CLEAR that I hadn't thought about some of the stuff they were talking about.  So I read that instead of doing the other reading I should've been doing. (Really, if you could see the mountain of books I'm digesting before I leave for that research trip to the UK in a couple weeks--and I could've sworn I'd taken a picture at some point--maybe you'd understand the fast boil going on inside my skull.  I have got to write a blog post about researching a historical; I just gotta.)

Anyway, when I looked up, it was already afternoon, and I thought, hell, get something done.  I did--there was a whole bunch of stuff, information and whatnot about characters, stewing in my head--but not nearly enough, and I found myself breaking off to go give Brahms another run-through. O.o  And then it was time to exercise and then there was the concert and, yes, we DESTROYED that Boito and gave the Brahms Requiem a real what-for.

Came home.  Drank half a martini.  Ate some cheese and bread.  Had a good cry over a silly chick-flick.  Got midway into Hoosiers, saw it was closing in on half past midnight and thought, Jeez, Ilsa, go to bed.

And then it was today, Sunday.  I'm a good daughter.  Of course, I called my mom, and then my kids called and we all yakked--and when I looked up, it was almost 1:00 p.m.

And I thought, hell.  (Actually, I thought something much stronger than that.)  Because, see, I really wanted to hammer on that outline, but I also wanted to make a cake because doing so always makes me feel like I've actually accomplished something.  There was exercise still to do as well, and then the husband was scheduled to come home from his week-long business/family trip.  We were supposed to go out to dinner.

I had an attack of the guilts like you can not believe.  Honestly, Catholics have nothing on Jews when it comes to guilt.  I was going to slink over to my desk and work.  Just forgo the cake and all that.

But then I saw this: 

And I thought: Ilsa, for God's sake, take a page from Winslow's playbook and cut yourself a break.  Let it go.  Kick back, make your cake, let the day and the weekend go . . . just this once.

So I did.  I made my Sunday cake, Strawberry Bundt with White Chocolate Ganache:

My husband came home just as I was turning it out, and we went to the gym.  He took me out to dinner.  We just got back, and he gave me a fab assortment of fancy vinegars.  [Two of my endearing qualities, he claims: I am a) a cheap date and b) very easy to please.]

So that's that.  I've officially blown off the day and the weekend, something I almost never do.  I've nothing profound to say, although I honestly do believe you guys ought to take a gander at the following blog posts from Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch because I think they raise interesting questions about where we, as writers, might be headed, and in the very near future.  Don't wait for my next post to comment either; if you've got feelings about what they're talking about, let's hear 'em and we can go from there.  I know they certainly got me thinking.

But, for now--this very rare weekend--I've let my overheated brain take a rest.  Pretty much.

I think it's time for a cat nap.


Jordan Dane said...

Ha! Even your idea of kicking back would wear most people out. Go talk to Winston.

Sechin Tower said...

It's said that the secret to successs is doing great things whether procrastinating even greater things.
And also that cats have the right priorities.

Jordan Dane said...

Cats have 9 lives for a reason. They know how to use 'em.

Jordan Dane said...

I want blogger to add a scratch & sniff function on that cake. Yummers!

Ilsa said...

Sechin, I never have learned how to procrastinate. I still remember the one time I did. I was, maybe, thirteen? Put off a report on something or other until the last second and then panicked the night before. My parents--and the Encyclopedia Britannica--pulled me through that one, but I never did that again. Ever. I was just too traumatized by the idea of just how bad my grade was going to be. (It wasn't; I remember that, too, but only because I busted my ass.)

Ilsa said...

Jordan, I *know*. But remember: cats, like dogs, also lick their asses.

Jordan Dane said...

I see your point, Ilsa. Wish I didn't.