Challenge Day Nine

It’s nice to feel like part of something.

Before I went to bed last night, I shared my postcard poem in the Facebook group for my dance studio. When I woke up, I had a string of wonderful compliments waiting for me from my fellow dancers, who had read my poem and felt moved by it. Two women asked me if they could share it! I woke up feeling like a celebrity: a HUGE emotional boost for my day! I was so jazzed by the outpouring of love that I did my stretching and my abs before taking a shower.

Daily Challenges

Intimate Time
CookingToday’s Menu: I fueled up with a breakfast shake today; for a late lunch and again for a later dinner (we kind of grazed throughout the evening), we had leftover meat pie and gravy with leftover veggies from our latest roasted chicken.
Reading (Poetry)Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky to know the people that I do. My pal Abby (I don’t think I’ve mentioned her every day, have I?) sent me a poem today that she wrote on Monday, the 18th anniversary (what an oddly festive word) of the war in Afghanistan. It’s unpublished, and she may submit it for publication, so I can’t share it in full here, but it’s called “The War Turns Eighteen,” and in it she captures the surreal Big Brother feeling of being gaslighted by the government and society. At once the war is real and unimportant, both forgotten and celebrated; she pitches loss and grief against a backdrop of mindless consumption. Who is responsible, she asks, for carrying the memories? Abby writes a lot of things, of course, but much of her poetry dances around the subject of war. As such, her poems haunt me, and they form an ache inside of me that I can’t soothe. My experience of her poetry is heightened by my personal experience of her experiences as a poet and pacifist married to an active duty Army Ranger; it’s very easy for me to put myself into her poems, and to imagine what she might have been thinking and feeling when she wrote them. I have a lot more thoughts on this, which I’ll get into this Sunday in my Humans of Interest feature….
Reading (Fiction)I am still reading The Poisonwood Bible and loving it. I wish I could just read that all day and never have to do anything else.
Reading (Nonfiction)Are you familiar with the Stroop effect? It’s a cognitive delay that occurs when two parts of your brain disagree about something (I am not a scientist, y’all.) The most common way it’s tested is by asking a subject to read color words that are printed in a different color than they represent. You’ve probably seen it before. Anyway, I learned about this almost entirely for and because of my postcard poem….
MusicI am struggling with a strumming/plucking pattern for “Little Plastic Castle.” I tried a number of different things today, and listened to the recording (which she apparently played banjo on) trying to decipher her technique. It’s very tricky.
Postcard PoemI bought ten more postcards today at the grocery store. They were 20¢ each and highly kitschy, but there are always a few gems. Like this little guy, my absolute favorite atrocity:

While I was at the store, I also bought some Sharpie precision-tip pens. These have become my favorite for postcards, because I can write small but still [mostly] legibly, the ink doesn’t smear, and it won’t run if the postcard gets wet (which, hello, it’s Washington in the fall, I don’t see how they won’t get wet.) But I only had red and black, and so I splurged on the rainbow set:

I was reminded of the Stroop effect test (and read about it) and tried to incorporate that idea into my poem by intentionally using color words, or color-invoking words, written in the “wrong” colors. It was an opportunity to use color as an element, while testing all my new pens; I messed up one time (wrote the wrong word) so there’s a correction, which the perfectionist in me detests. The order of colors I selected worked as intended for all the key words except the very last one, and I love the serendipity and also the closure of bringing the word and the color together:
Trash Pickup Because apparently it’s winter now (the low tonight is supposed to be 35°F) our nighttime trash walk was ass cold. I picked up trash on the way to the corner store, and chucked my haul in a trash can there:

Today’s Challenges

As previously mentioned, I did Day 5 (Day 4?) of my abs challenge right out of the gates. It was nice to check it off my list early, so I wouldn’t have to dread it all day. I decided to tack yesterday’s day (and any future days I might have to skip for whatever reason) on to the end of the 14-day window. This way I can succeed while still giving myself a break. Like the hot water crust pie that was “supposed to” happen on Sunday, I need to recognize when my expectations are not reasonable, and adjust accordingly.

After abs and stretching and breakfast, I zipped over to the Ballard Food Bank to help pack the weekend bags for area school kids. I felt much more at ease today, having done it last week, and I was able to chat with the other volunteers more than worry about what I was doing (putting together the bags pretty much just involves grabbing one or two of each item on the table and putting them into a bag; the trickiest part is making sure the bag goes on the correct shelf for the school it’s headed to.) It’s a lively group, and I really enjoyed the camaraderie.

9-Step Plot Dot

To finish off the day, I spent some time thinking about and plotting my piece for NaNoWriMo. I loosely went through the section “Construct a Detailed Plot or Outline” of the NaNo Prep 101 guide, which starts out with a quiz on what style of plotter you are. Apparently, I am best-suited for the 9-Step Plot Dot.

The first of the nine steps is to decide what your character’s regular life looks like, and what they want most in the world. Since I have not really done comprehensive character outlining yet, this is where I spent all of my time writing today. Who is my main character? What are their aspirations? Where is the current trajectory of their life taking them? This very naturally led me to start thinking about my inciting incident—what will change for that character that alters the course they’re on? I have a lot of questions that need answers, and I think I’ll keep writing for a while….

Featured image by © Nevit Dilmen, CC BY-SA 3.0,