Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ten Down, Two To Go

Chapter ten is finished. I have a good feeling about the next two chapters. I think the book is coming to a strong finale--plenty of energy, things still make sense, not boring.

The editing process is going to be amusing, though. I'm writing this fast and loose, so there's some really brain-dead moments in it, character names that change from paragraph to paragraph, monologues which are nothing more than placeholders. Bits of setting and design that aren't what most people would traditionally call "consistent." When I'm in the thick of laying down words, I don't always have the inclination to take time out to look things up.

So, yeah, I'm definitely going to have to go back and nitpick the hell out of all of this. But the bones of the story feel right and that's more important to a rough draft, I think.

I'm also mulling over what to do next. I might concentrate on short stories for a few weeks to recharge my batteries. I might also do a completely new book, something that's not in any of my notes and is unrelated to any of the stories I've written. Or I might go with one of the novels I have in the skunk works right now. Who knows.

In other news, I am using the ceramic burr hand grinder now for my coffee grinding.

It's very satisfying. The coffee grind is consistent and the feel of the process is great--when you crank it, you get a sort of visceral purr. You can feel the beans crunching under the burrs and as you roll you can feel the vibration in your hands, a sort of rough crunching tickle as the crank turns.

I've mentioned it before here, but as I get older I'm leaning away from gadgets and electronics wherever possible. There's just something I like about doing mindless chores. There's a bit of zen to the process if you do them the hard, slow way. You tune out and lose yourself a little, your mind drifts as you do something that's not quite important, but not quite frivolous.

You can load the dish-washing machine and your dishes will get washed, yes. Sometimes work is just work, after all. You have better things to do with that time. But you miss out on all the sensations of washing dishes--the warm water, the soap, the feel of the dishes. Washing, rinsing and drying each plate, one after another. It's work, yes, but it's also a good time to slow down and reflect. There's a certain ritual element to manually washing dishes which feels nice to indulge in.

My coffee-making is already a small ritual. It's a nice way to kick off a morning, because there's a level of skill required when you use the Chemex and grinding your beans the hard way. It's just fiddly enough you can't space out while doing it, but not enough that you can go on autopilot. Like any good chore, it's an island of stability in the day, a moment of flow which sets the tone for the morning.

I think of it as round two after my morning meditation, except it culminates in really f'ing great coffee.

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