Thursday, May 18, 2017

unfinished business.

A year ago today, I posted a picture of myself posing with my assembled quilt top, ready for the next stage of actual quilting. How far have I gotten with that project in a year? Well, I finally bought the backing fabric two weeks ago. And...that's it.


I have a pathological problem with starting projects and then never finishing them. I buy fabric and patterns that sit in a pile in my craft room. I have a dozen blog posts with the expository paragraphs typed out and nothing else. A journal of story ideas from my 100 days of working towards writing a children's book but very little else. A craft room and a basement halfway organized, halfway covered in boxes and junk. A million plans and good intentions and so little to show for them. I guess that's where the saying comes from - I know I'm not alone, but that offers little solace.

I remember reading that the creator of the show New Girl was really great at writing about starting relationships but terrible about figuring out how to keep characters in them once the newness wears off, so he writes sudden breakups into his shows to end things before it gets to the tricky part. I think that's pretty true in the realm of pop culture generally: the beginning of something is always sexy and exciting, and we have little interest in what happens once the newness wears off.

There's something so gratifying, though, about bringing something fully to fruition, which is why I can't figure out getting past my stumbling block when it comes to all this unfinished business. I need a way out and through the plateau of the sticky, yucky middle part in between that sexy beginning and the glory of the finish line. I need to find a way to embrace the Tuesday and Wednesday of my project and stop falling victim to the siren song of Monday fresh starts or I'm never going to get to the weekend.

To those of you working on 100 day projects right now - you're at the halfway point. If you've made it this far, bravo! I'm still hammering away at my "15 minutes of creativity" a day. So far, so good. Next time, though, I'm going to make myself pick one small, specific project and see it through to the end in the hopes it gives me some momentum for the other 17 things I have yet to finish.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

what I read: January, February 2017


In the spirit of sharing what I read re: yesterday's post, here's a list of what I read over the first two months of 2017, with a quick note about each one. Have you read any of these? Tell me what you thought in a comment here or an email (larkingshop at gmail)!

Middle-Grade or YA Novels
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein [literature-based caper]
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan [historical fiction, magical realism, racial injustice, the power of art/music]
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper [historical fiction, racial injustice, coming of age]
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar [magical realism, family drama, coming of age]
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo [coming of age, family drama]
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken [suspense/thriller/adventure]
The Westing Game by Ellen Rankin [mystery]
Carney's House Party by Maud Hart Lovelace [friendship, romance]
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo [fantasy, adventure]
Wildwood by Colin Meloy [fantasy, adventure]
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz [coming of age, family drama, bigotry/racism]
The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea by Eileen Beha [adventure, family drama]

Mysteries
The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime edited by Michael Sims [collected short stories and chapters from Victorian women writers or published works about women detectives]
Bellwether Rhapsody by Kate Racculia [The Shining meets Special Topics In Calamity Physics with a dash of Alice in Wonderland]

Nonfiction Books about Writing
What It Is by Lynda Barry [graphic novel about overcoming writing fears and Barry's own creative path]
The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman [e-book only]

Adult Fiction
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple [in the same vein as Where'd You Go, Bernadette]
Austenland by Shannon Hale [three weeks at a fantasy camp for Jane Austen connisseurs]