Challenge Day Three

Is this how we do it?

I finally got postcard stamps today! I also went to the dollar store and stocked up on socks, snacks, water, and a few toiletries to replenish my supply of giveaway bags for the car. (Giveaway bags aren’t part of the 21 x 31 challenge, just an ongoing act of service to help people short-term.) It was satisfying to accomplish those small but nagging tasks.

Daily Challenges

Intimate Time
CookingToday’s Menu: for breakfast, Guy made toast with egg cooked into a hole in the middle, which we call toad in a hole, though I learned today that it goes by a number of different names; I had a light lunch of cottage cheese and fruit, while Guy ate leftover sweet potato-black bean tacos; for dinner we roasted a chicken with carrots and potatoes and topped it off with delicious gravy.
Reading (Poetry)My friend Abby whom I keep mentioning shared a poem yesterday that she wrote called “About My Tumor, Before I Meet Her.” This woman knows how to manipulate language to make me feel things. I know I can’t shut up about her, but that’s because she wows me pretty much daily. I promise to feature Abby on a “Humans of Interest” post this month so I can gush further.
Reading (Fiction)I continued Uncommon Type with “A Junket in the City of Light,” which paints a picture of the unglamorous reality of being on an international publicity tour, as told through the lens of an unknown supporting actor. It was cute, but the story wasn’t surprising (or relatable), and I didn’t really care about the narrator’s experiences. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.
Reading (Nonfiction)Today a completely serendipitous conversation led me to a Wikipedia article about the Pomodoro technique of time management. I was lamenting at how terribly I am at corralling my impulses, and my friend gave me a name for the kind of time allocation I viscerally dislike. She has found a lot of success with this method, and now I am seeing how it might work for me, too. I did not read any pages from Maid because time is a real resource that runs out!
MusicI worked on finding a picking or strumming pattern that I like for “Little Plastic Castle” on the baritone ukulele (I didn’t specify which voicing yesterday.) I was planning to play a little bass as well, but I was feeling tired and lazy, so I didn’t.
Postcard PoemFor some reason this postcard made me think of my mom, who will be its recipient as soon as I figure out her mailing address (she lives on a boat and receives mail at a PO box in a different city, and I know where she lives but not where the PO box lives):

It also made me think of my cello and piano recitals growing up, and how many she had to sit through, and I thought of going to our niece’s dance recital, and I tried to capture some feelings:

BTW we neither arrived late to nor snuck out of her recital; we arrived at the beginning (though too late to sit near our family) and stayed until the end like normal audience-goers.
Trash PickupAfter only three days of picking up trash, our bin is full. I’m going to have to start dumping what I collect in nearby apartment and business dumpsters.

Today’s Challenges

My only daily challenge for today was what I put on my calendar checklist as “Thursday Thing.” The idea is to revisit exercises from my undergraduate fiction class, as a way to limber up my writing skills before I try to come up with 50,000+ words next month. Because I am headed toward that goal, and because I have been thinking all day about what I wrote for yesterday’s NaNoWriMo prep, I decided to make today’s flash fiction relate to the world I’ll be writing about in November.

Today’s exercise was actually four mini exercises in character development and point of view: first, list basic facts about a character in an impartial, dossier style; second, describe an event or moment that is emotionally charged for that character, but again, in an impartial, third-person manner; third, show the character performing a task that is meaningful to them, and expound on why it is meaningful, without going into their head; and fourth, write a description of the character as seen from the perspective of another character (who should have some reason to be describing them) in their world, in order to present a snapshot of the character.

I ended up only actually writing for about 20 minutes, because I spent my first 40 minutes reading through all the exercises and choosing which ones to do. (I’m trying to keep this “flash” challenge to one hour.) In retrospect, I should have done this back in September, or at least yesterday. On the upside, included in the exercise packets were pieces written by my classmates that we discussed in class, and tons of notes that I diligently took in the margins, and reading through them helped me remember what it was like to be a student, and practicing the craft of writing. I don’t regret how I spent that time.

I feel more tired tonight than I have the last couple of nights. I suppose the stress of poor time management, the added physical exertion of more dance class and more sex, plus never, ever enough sleep, does sort of explain my exhaustion. I hope I can sleep restfully tonight and be ready for another day of stretching my boundaries! Goodnight.