Games, Writing, and Christmas Photos

It’s two days after Christmas, and here in Maine we’re having a snowstorm. My father took another day off work so he wouldn’t have to drive through the snow to the coast (he commutes over an hour when the roads are clear). Brother can work from home, and he’s here through Sunday. A board game called Middle Earth Quest is taking up our entire kitchen table. Brother got it for Christmas and it’s epic, with like 20 decks of cards that do different things and 10 plastic figures and some more cardboard standups and a gazillion punched-out, printed-on-both-sides, heavy cardboard tokens. Oh, and a rulebook that is 40 pages long. We only got a few rounds into the game last night, but we think it will be fun once we figure out how to play. Here’s the cool video review that turned Brother onto the game in the first place (if you’re into boardgames (or even if you’re not), you should watch these reviews. They’re hilarious): http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/middle-earth-quest

It's HUGE!

It’s HUGE!

When my mother came home from work yesterday, she found me sitting on the couch, appearing entirely at ease. “What have you been doing all day?” she joked. And, with a wonderful and rare sense of accomplishment and self-justification, I answered simply: “Writing.” That’s right, sports fans: the Wanderlust train is back on the track. Cruising through Chapter Nine (To the Wolves), to be precise. I’m still overwhelmed by the amount of work to do, and in fact the “Plot and Narrative Issues I Need to Resolve” list seems to grow LONGER instead of shorter each time I check an item off the top, but I just have to finish this draft, and soon. So I’m going to go work on that now. In lieu of any illustrations, philosophical advice, or particularly eloquent bloggery, please enjoy this photograph of our Christmas tree (it’s a much smaller tree than our usual white-pine monstrosities that take up half the living room and are wider than they are tall, but I think it pulled together quite nicely):

MakleyTree

 

*BONUS*

Have a photo of me on Christmas morning modeling some oven mitts.

OvenMitts

 

Merry Christmas. I hope yours was magical. 🙂

Hobbit, Book Two, and Harp

I found out last week that it’s really hard to do multiple blog posts in a week, especially if that week is one of the few leading up to Christmas.

I owe you a review of The Hobbit movie. Perhaps later? Or maybe I will just say this: the things in this movie that were good were really good. In several ways it exceeded my expectations. The things that were not good about this movie, though, were really not good, and for me these things rendered the movie less than a success overall. If you were not bothered by the things that bothered me or were able to set them aside more readily, I am happy for you, and since I’d really hate to ruin the experience for someone else I’m not going to get into any specifics here.

I’ve been stressed out about getting everything ready for the holidays and saving up for my first student loan payment (due three days after Christmas). It’s getting in the way of the writing; I haven’t moved forward on Wanderlust in a number of days. I did write 700 words of the first chapter of Wanderlust Book Two last night, though, so I’ve been thinking about the characters. I haven’t told anyone about that Book Two opening scene yet. I’m worried it’s too dark, but I’ve been playing with it for months and it feels really true to the characters and true to the tone I’m trying to set for a second book. Not that I’m even working on Book Two yet—just letting it bump around in my subconscience and dashing down ideas as they come. Eventually we’ll see how it all plays out.

Harp lessons are still going really well; I’ve had three now. I’m working on a lot of stuff and getting better every day. I’ve even played at a few open mics, which was fun and nerve-wracking. How do all these guys with guitars regularly play stuff and sing at the same time? Oh, I bet they’ve been playing their instrument for more than a month. That must have something to do with it. I’m impatient to learn more things and get my own harp and play better and faster, but at the same time I love every minute of playing exercises and chords and even just holding the thing as I tune it (and it’s even holding a tune better than it did when I first got it). About a week ago practicing the harp did begin to feel like work, because I was frustrated on a couple of my pieces and also my hand hurt from doing something else and I was worried that harping would make it worse. This thing, where little things get in the way and make it hard to keep going, is something I recognize from every other instrument I’ve ever tried to play. And yes, I didn’t practice for two days in a row this weekend. But then I did practice and I worked through it and I still love the harp and the sound of it and everything about it. I really think I’ve finally found my instrument, and that I won’t be putting it aside anytime soon.

Hopefully I’ll update again before the 25th, but in case I don’t, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and I hope you and your family have a delightful holiday season.

-Grace