Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Hang Of This

I've managed to figure out how to create new posts without randomly pushing buttons until something happens.  I may have figured out how to upload photos.  I have figured out a workaround (albeit an expensive one) and obtained the new Word upgrade.
I have spent many non-stop hours doing the rewrite of Book 5, Noriko's Journey, so I can get it to Beta Readers.
I'll be writing a Guest Post for Writing About Writing, explaining one of the virtues of Beta Readers for the driven.  Once things get going, I work 24/7 and can't be interrupted (oh, goodness, I get cranky) until I am DONE or can do no more.
One reason for this is that any interruption in my thought process means I have to go back quite a distance to catch up with my train of thought.  It takes me several days, sometimes more, to recover from a three-hour "break" that's forced upon me.
Just so not happening.
I did two run-throughs, and the draft is better than I thought it would be.  By that I mean not that the story itself is better or different, but the manuscript expression of it is fuller, more complete and better balanced than expected at this stage, even if surprising to me.  Book 6 is already starting to take shape, sort of, with characters setting themselves up for new challenges and new adventures, and things set up long ago are finally coming to fruition, many in ways I did not expect.
I never did find a radio I wanted to buy, but I did find my iPod and it's full of music, much of which is "best of" and live concert collections, including the live recording in which Jimi Hendrix does indeed say "kiss this guy."  I really enjoying having music.  I have no idea how to load more, but there's a lot of music in there and I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
My visa will actually appear soon in the form of a residency card, and then I can do all kinds of things, like rent a real apartment, get a real phone, get a bike, get a driving license, maybe, and so on and so on, and I'll be able to do them during the breaks in the publishing process.

I've never been fond of spring because in the PNW, it's all driving rain beating down all your lovingly planted tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, and pummeling the blossoms off the shrubs and trees.  It's too warm to ski (true in the California mountains where I lived, too) and too wet to do anything else. HERE, though, it is glorious.  It's warm but not hot.  It's sunny with just a little haze.  Birds are nesting.  Everyone's smiling.  Strawberry season is starting and you can get sakura-flavored everything.  I start to see why people LIKE spring.

The sakura are still going full bore and I have a hanami party I can go to on Saturday, if I want, and I have a friend who will be in town sometime this weekend.  Here are some pictures, if I actually have at last got the hang of this.

A magnolia, two houses down.  Yesterday.

The ultimate Meguro River with Sakura photo, yesterday.
A dark pink Sakura in full bloom, at Myokoji, yesterday.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

SAKURA -- poetry

By the Meguro River

The buds awaken, stirring, filling
Breaking through their shrouds of brown and green
With shards of pink exploding nearly overnight
to burst in sudden floral glory.

It seems too soon they pass their prime 
Withering to loose their grips in storms of 
Windswept floral snow gone in the driving rain.

How rapidly the flowers fall,
So briefly to they reign.
Vanquished for another year.
Yet, the tree remains.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring! It's a holiday!

It's the first day of spring, and I'm stoked.  I'm trying hard to get many things done, and some of that is easy because it's raining so I don't want to go out much.  This will continue through today, tapering off tomorrow, and stopping late Friday.  After that will be a week of beautiful weather.
The sakura (cherry blossoms) haven't quite opened, so it's possible they'll wait until the rain stops, and give us a wonderful week of hanami (flower viewing), a time to contemplate the brevity of each individual life and its incredible beauty and pathos.  Also, to party down.  This annual ritual is one of the big ones each year.  If it rains, just move the party.  The blossoms last, from the very first to the very last, about two weeks.  There are several varieties of flowering cherries, and while most of the trees are the usual sakura, the variants extend the season for a lovely month.
However, I'm having a couple of problems with what I believe is called "localization" as I try to work my way through my list.  I want to complete this list before I do a comprehensive rewrite on Book 5.  Deadlines, goals, things like that.
A big problem is a situation in which Microsoft won't let me buy the new version of Word for Mac in English because I am in Japan.  My Japanese really isn't up to using that program in that language.  I could manage French, but it won't let me get THAT one either.  Because I am in Japan.  I also write in English, so an English program would be great, TYVM.
I also can't sign up for Amazon Associates, a program that will supposedly help me expose my books to a wider audience.  It requires a phone number and while I have one, and while they list the country code for Japan, their sign up page refuses to accept my phone number.
World Wide Web -- so not.
I have e-mails out to try and rectify these situations.  My wonderful editor is going to buy the new Word for Mac (and I'm paying for it, because this is going to be a pain for her as well as me.  Anyway, the old Word for Mac is not only "unsupported" it is now not working.  And Word is simply required in the publishing industry.) and send me the download codes.  I do NOT hold out high hopes of it working, but we shall see.
But today is the equinox, and in Japan that is a holiday, so I have some plans.  In a little while, I'm going to put on my rain boots, take my umbrella and go to the Temple, and I'm going to stop on the way back to look for a radio.  I've tried all the Apps that supposedly get me local radio on-line.  They don't.  If they had, I'd just get a decent set of speakers for my computer(s) and do it like that.  But the apps aren't working, so I am going to Hard-Off/Book/Off, which is a used merchandize store and see what I can find.  Through the Off chain, one can get furniture, appliances, clothing, electronics, outdoor gear, games and, of course, BOOKS.  Good deal!
Furthermore, I'm going to enjoy it!  These pictures were taken along the banks of the Meguro River, which is lined with cherry trees, and often featured in calendars and other depictions of this festive season.  It's a tamed and tidal river, and the heron is just hanging out, hoping a fish might come by.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Reality Bites

I am back in Japan.  After a month in Korea.  I enjoyed it but it was not where I wanted to be and I couldn't do much of what I wanted and need to do.
Just because I don't put on a costume and go to an office for fixed hours five days a week does not mean I do not work.  It also doesn't mean that I can stop and take days, or even hours, off when I am furiously trying to get the skeleton of a story out and down in a computer file.  My brain must work at this task 24/7 to be able to keep this up and make that draft coherent.  Take any kind of break?  It'll take me three days to get back to where I can create new material, at the very least.
A book is a long and serious commitment.  Writing is like finals week that goes on for months at a stretch.
People seem to assume that writing just spools magically from one's brain in the middle of the night or something, and OF COURSE I never really work.
That is wrong.
Writing is hard work.  For every three to four hours I put in entering words of story, I spend another three to four hours thinking about the next words I will put into the story and another hour or two doing research.  Yes, that takes up all my time.  I do have periods when I am thinking and researching, not creating a story, and I can do other things.  That isn't now.
Like all writers, I am a person with a life even though I am giving it short shrift.
And like all real writers, I keep writing, cranky and relentless.

The photos I took yesterday on the way to the grocery store, walking along the Meguro River, famous spot for cherry blossoms, decided not to upload and it's taken me an hour to deal with that.  Life gets in the way.

But in a few days there will be cherry blossoms all over the place!