Looking back on 2012, my personal journey

1 01 2013

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Yes, I’m back.

2012 was a year of extremes for me.

January: In the middle of an incredibly busy month, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I started Row80, but was unable to keep up with it due to my health problems.

February: A young friend who was working with us from time to time stayed with me, and I loved her company. I learned a lot from her! She continued to stay with me off and on through the beginning of June.

March: I continued to deal with shattering exhaustion from years of sleep problems, calling in sick frequently. However, better sleep finally began to turn my health around, and by the end of the month I was feeling almost normal.

April: So normal that I attempted Row80 again. Call me a glutton for punishment! I hit my stride in April.

May: Work was overwhelmingly busy, but I soldiered on.

June: I was still on-point with my blogging, writing about my novel and the science behind it. I also took an audition with two weeks of preparation. I don’t recommend that to anyone! It was an exhausting experience, and I will not fly American Airlines again, until they are out of bankruptcy.

July: The Black Dog of depression came home again.

August: There was nothing memorable about the first three weeks of August. I wasn’t dealing well with the Black Dog. At the very end of the month I went on a last-minute driving trip to New Mexico and Colorado.

mountain-55499_640

The Red Rocks of New Mexico, from the pixabay folder of user Brigitte Werner

During that trip I ended up in Boulder, CO for the first time ever. That’s significant because my protag spends 6 years there at CU, and although those years aren’t a significant part of the book as currently visualized, it does shape the man he becomes.

September: I was barely home when my former BFF bludgeoned me in a meeting about work. Within two days I spiraled into anxiety, which danced with the Black Dog as I worked out how to deal with both. I went back to Al-Anon, finding a home group that’s full of recovery, and considered going back to church. The 27th of the month another good friend had a ‘cardiac event’. Did I ever mention that my number one fear is a heart attack?

October: Much of my friend’s hospital time happened in October: a double bypass, four Code Blues, pulmonary emboli, and an internal defibrillator. I continued to deal with waves of anxiety and depression. There was no question of doing anything creative… it was one day at a time at this point. I went to a church which had been recommended to me a couple of times, but didn’t connect. (My friend is currently on the mend, thank heavens!)

November: Our symphony season was in full swing, and my other BFF was back in the US from overseas. She was with me part of the time here at home, and I went with her to Boulder for Thanksgiving with her cousins. It wasn’t terribly cold there yet, but I loved spending more time there with her… and I also got my desire to live there out of my system. My anxiety finally began to wane this month.

December: I finally got the Black Dog under control, and we had some time off from work. To my delight, I found that my creative juices were starting to surface again! Playing the Nutcracker got me in the holiday spirit, and the 25th Anniversary of the publication of Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities spurred me to read it for the first time. I intended to study it (and still will) – though I haven’t finished it yet, because I joined a book club at work, and devoured Yann Martel’s Life of Pi in two days for a book club meet. Christmas was spent with my parents, on some of the coldest days thus far this winter. Back home on the 26th, then on December 30th I found my church! I’ve never considered a downtown church, but the moment I stepped into the sanctuary at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church I knew I was home.

Losing my BFF has spurred a spiritual transformation in my life. I turned 55 in September, and made the decision in August to stop coloring my hair. The transformation of the growing-out process mirrors what’s going on inside of me… I’m coming to terms with my age and station in life, now enthusiastic and full of possibilities for personal growth in this second half of life.

I doubt that I will return to Row80 until later this year, but that doesn’t mean that 2013 is goal-less. More about that later on! It’s enough to say that I will be blogging once a week, starting now.

What was 2012 like for you? How did it change you? Let me know in the comments!





Row80, Round 3

2 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Round Three starts today, woohoo! What is the end date? Because I have a hellacious amount of stuff that I need to do!

My goals fall into four categories:

Business:

Completely redo my business website, including adding a wordpress blog. Oy. This is a big one!

 

Creative:

Finish HIS ORIGINAL SIN, and get it to beta readers by the end of August.

Restart work on my second WIP, last year’s Nanowrimo novel.

Get started on my Halloween costume.

 

Daily life:

Finish losing that twenty pounds.

Practice every day.

Continue my Better Life Habits™ from last round (exercising, house cleaning, dog grooming).

 

 

(Yep, that’s my girl!)

Platform building:

Continue blogging three times a week: Row80 update on Sunday, Tuesday Quotes on Tuesday (Duh!), third blogpost later in the week.

Be on twitter, and comment on at least one blog every day.

 

This includes platform building for my business. Oh. My. I think I needed to get started five years ago!





“Next!”

24 06 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Yesterday I caught an 8:30 am flight, beginning my trek to another City for The Piccolo Audition™, which happened today. (Yeah, I’d said in a previous post that it was on the 25th, but I was confused. It was today.) Before I boarded my first flight I learned that the rewards program had booked my lodgings through Priceline, which had shoved me off to a remote property – yet another 30-40 minutes from the symphony hall, making the trek there over an hour each way. That wasn’t resolved until much later in the day, after much stressing and obsessing. In the end, it didn’t matter.

I arrived at DFW for my connecting flight, and found out that that it was cancelled. It seems that AA had forgotten to schedule a crew for the flight. No pilot, co-pilot, or cabin crew!

There were 4 subsequent flights to The City, but all of them were overbooked, the second by eleven people! I hung out for the first two as standby before giving up. My checked bag made it, all by itself, ending up in a crowded room with other people’s checked bags. I hope they didn’t have a baggage orgy! Oh, the humanity! Think of the BSTDs!

 

After booking me on the first flight out the next morning, the airline put me up in a marginal hotel for the night. I didn’t sleep. Well, I probably did sleep, but it was of the ‘wake up, look at the clock, OMG it’s only been 2 hours, PANIC: lather, rinse, repeat’ kind. Up at 4:40 to catch the 5:30 shuttle back to DFW, 7 am flight arrives in The City at marginally before 9am.

I took the shuttle to the hall and had 1 hour to put myself in order, warm up, and review the excerpts before I played. The hall was AMAZING… but I knew I wouldn’t pass to the next round before I finished playing. Sure enough… I didn’t. I played for about 5 – 7 minutes. That may not seem to you like much time to judge someone’s ability, but trust me, it doesn’t take nearly that long when you’re on the other side of the screen (as I was just last month). In some cases just 10 seconds tells you all you need to know to dismiss the person from consideration. This orchestra demonstrated common courtesy by allowing every candidate to play all six excerpts. That is appreciated, especially when people come from all over the country on their own dime to audition.

Afterward, a colleague who lives here picked me up. We went to lunch and had a great time reminiscing about people we’d worked with. Tonight I’m in the hotel where the front desk guy moved heaven and earth for me to be able to stay here. Tomorrow will be sightseeing with my friend, and then Tues morning back home, HOPEFULLY AA will remember to schedule crews for both my flights. My plan is to take the car in for servicing that night, then drive a couple hours to spend some quality time with the Parental Units™ the next day. You might remember that they had cancer and heart procedures just a month ago. I wanted to go see them sooner, but the audition intervened.

I’m very glad that I took this audition. The reverb in the hall revealed some deficiencies in my playing, and I’m enthusiastic about correcting them. I haven’t been interested in practicing in literally years, so this is definitely a welcome development. I also learned that I can perform quite well in spite of harrowing circumstances.

However, I would not be telling the whole story if I didn’t admit that I’m unhappy with the outcome. You never go to this kind of effort for the hell of it. I wish that I was still in the running for the position. I like this place, and it would have been a step up for me, both musically and financially. I’d also like to leave Texas – too bloody hot, not to mention redneck. If I didn’t have other fish to fry I’d probably be quite upset, but as it is I still have a gig, a business, and two books in the oven… and the next round of Row80 starting in one week, even if it may be in the low 100s F by then.





The End is in Sight

21 06 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

The end is in sight, and no, not the end of my first draft! The end of the Sharp Left Turn that I mentioned the other day. I leave for the audition on Saturday, whether or not I’m ready. The tickets are bought, the friends who live there are contacted, the place I’m staying is booked, and my audition time is set.

Did you see that, above? The phrase ‘whether or not I’m ready’?

It remains to be seen whether or not one is ever ready for a symphony orchestra audition. My preparation is continuing, and will up until I walk out on stage, just me and my piccolo, thankfully behind a screen. Yes, symphony orchestra auditions are blind, usually until the final round.

Today I’m afraid to hope. I’d love the gig, I’d love the change of scenery, I’d love to leave Texas, even if the other place is equally Right Wing. I’ll survive. After all, I’ve survived here all this time!

The interesting thing is that when I try to think about the future after not winning, of returning here to stay, I come up blank. It’s as though my subconscious simply can’t fathom that. I find that curious. Hopeful, and curious.





Row80 update 6/3/12: I’ve been bad!

3 06 2012

Sort of, that is. Last Sunday I simply couldn’t bring myself to write an update for row80. I had company, so I gave myself permission to skip a week.

To recap the last two weeks: two weekends of amazing concerts, one with our usual guy, the other with the amazing Cristian Maselaru, who stepped in at the last minute for Alondra de la Parra. I would make a comment on the orchestra’s reaction to the substitution, but let’s just say that we can’t wait to see Cristian again.

As far as creative goals, they are blossoming. Here’s my word count.

TOTAL FOR THE WEEK: 5/13-5/19: 6611 

TOTAL FOR THE WEEK: 5/20-5/26: 933

TOTAL FOR THE WEEK: 5/27-6/2: 3416 

Again, it’s obvious when I had company. Late last week I started working on my synopsis, so much of the 34k words was on that. In writing the synopsis I’ve inadvertently done a large amount of plotting and macro editing – I don’t know how many words/scenes I’ve ditched in the meantime, but I’m sure that the WIP’s 116k has been trimmed significantly. I’m aiming for 85k total (and yes, I pulled that total out of my behind), and I’m 90% settled on a title: HIS ORIGINAL SIN. The macro editing has resulted in more shaping of the complete manuscript, with inserted ‘Soliloquies’ in the voice of a couple of important characters. It’s turning into an opera, with the Intermezzi and Entr’actes. Oh! Maybe I should stick with the opera meme and call them ‘Arias’. Hmmm…

My other creative work is at a standstill: no knitting, no mask-making, no practicing. That last bit will change this week. More on that another time.

In the Better Life Habits category, I’ve averaged 112-115 minutes of walking per week. That’s not enough, but given that it’s already summer in South Texas (and bloody HOT), I’m more-or-less satisfied with this. I’m looking into other exercise programs for the summer, after encountering a retired female neighbor who has abs of steel. Me?

Abs of flab. Ahem.

As far as generic household habits, they are coming along much better. Sort of. Actually, it varies from day to day.

Social Media = FAIL.

I missed last week’s check in, I didn’t write a third blogpost (though I have a backlog of Tuesday quotes posts, so I’m keeping up with that.) Between the end of the symphony season, my guest, and the dog being sick (she’s better), I let blogging slide. I did have a last-minute meetup with Ali Dent last week, so my 1x/month get together with writer friends happened, even though we thought it wouldn’t. Yes! And there are plans for more meetups in June, stay tuned for that. My plan is to finish the synopsis and get it to my writing partners for their critique, then finish the first draft – I have a few more scenes to write. Then comes printing out the WIP, and doing a major edit/re-write. My goal? Have it ready for beta readers in August.





In Which I Become Productive: Row80 update

13 05 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

This has been a week. Well, yes, that’s true. More than that, it’s been a week that went from OMG to YESS!

Last Sunday I finally got on board with the whole Row80/blogging thing, and it solidified my Social Media preferences. That is, I’m a Blogger. Not a Tweeter, or a Facebooker. I went to the Row80 homepage, and took the time to actually read and comment on a good number of blogs, and while that could have deep-sixed my email (I subbed to all the comment threads!), I kept that window open and was diligent with scanning and deleting comment emails. I discovered that the blogging community means the most to me, and is more to my taste than Twitter. As far as Facebook, I’m keeping my personal FB for friends (including my writer friends, yay!), and eventually, when I get to the point of publishing something, I’ll go with an author fan page. Yes, I found Row80 and other writing friends on Twitter, and will still be there from time to time, but for now, I think that blogging is where it’s at for me.

So, on Sunday I was on the computer for hours – FUN hours. Then work started to intervene. Let’s just say that rehearsals this past week were pretty hellish, and though I played well (mostly), it was damned stressful. Beer helped, specifically the new Shiner brew: Wild Hare. I’ve been alcohol-free for months, but this brew made the week go better. Now that the 6-pack is gone, I’ll get back to my teetotaling days. My stomach acid is relieved (but wishes I’d also deep-six the coffee. Oy.)

Then came Friday, and my muse put her feet back on the ground and started running. 1,100 words, in a scene that I may use. Not sure yet. Because yesterday I fired up Scrivener (which I love with a mad, passionate, and completely inappropriate love) and printed out all my chapters and scene headings. While I’m still not convinced that my WIP is one novel (as opposed to, say, THREE), I went to Starbucks with the file, and organized it into three acts (including three intermezzos and two entr’actes). That took over two hours. When I got home I fired up Scrivener on the iMac once again, and re-arranged the file per my earlier work.

With that, I’ve taken my writing to another level. You see, it’s been driving me absolutely crazy that I hadn’t settled on the shape of the story. I’d written scenes from my protag’s entire life, and there was no way that anyone would buy a chronological book of that magnitude. I hadn’t determined where to begin, and how to incorporate some earlier scenes (if at all), and it had me in knots. I knew that I’d eventually figure it out – though I may not have it completely figured out just yet – and you cannot imagine the relief I feel.

Until last night.

I woke up several times, reminded of scenes that I’d intended to write, that seemed to be quite important to the novel, but wouldn’t fit into this structure. Ahem. But I’m not back to square one. Maybe square three. The important thing is that I have a huge smile on my face. This is such FUN!

Onward to my goals.

This week has been a bust in the Better Life Habits department. Too much stress, too little concentration. In addition to my work stress, my Mom had a lumpectomy on Thursday (she’s fine, just waiting on the final pathology report. Looks like Stage 1 and five days of radiation therapy), my Dad is having an angiogram on Monday (he had three stents in ’03, I’m hoping they’ll just put in a couple more, versus bypass surgery). They are 81 and 82, respectively, and in excellent health, except for the above. All this has affected my sleep – I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep. That’s very unusual for me. I’ve walked some, but I live in Texas, and the recent rain and storms put a dent in that (though we really need the rain!). The house is not spotless, and won’t be for a while. Oh. Well.

My Creativity is flourishing, as above. Too much music-making to do any knitting – it’s too hard on my hands. I’ll get back to that soon enough.

Social Media goals are working out well, as above, though I’m not going to meet with my writer friends this month. We are all too busy – or rather, when one of us is free, the other two are busy. June, for sure!

I’m adding a second blogpost series, Tuesdays will be for quotes that spark something in me. I inadvertently started that last week, with my post on the Cambrian Shoreline. I’ve got to get cracking on Tuesdays’ entry in the series, because I’ll be with my parents all day Monday… and Tuesday is full of (stressful) work.

Oh, and here’s a fabulous link for writers. Raelyn Barclay’s current Row80 update has a great link to Jami Gold’s post on Scenes and Sequels that you must read. Oh, and cute pics of Raelyn’s family’s three new members, Sonic, Neptune, and Poseidon. Squee! So cute!





Row80 update May 6, 2012

6 05 2012

Cinco de Mayo is behind us, and a great and fun week at the symphony has been put to bed. More on that this next week.

Concerning my Row80 goals – once again, it’s a mixed bag. I had my frequent house guest, and between that fun and work, the beds didn’t get made! The one thing that I’m bitchin’ with is the walking – I walked every day, mostly 30+ minutes, even though the heat is ramping up here in South Texas. The bathroom is still a science experiment. I’m grateful that my guest didn’t mind!

Last Sunday I wrote over 1800 words… then didn’t write another the rest of the week. This is not okay with me… and will change this week! I spent a lot of time on Social Media on Sunday, and continue to read blogposts and comment. I feel good about that.

I was supposed to write a non-row80 blogpost last week. As you can see, I didn’t. However, I have 2 posts in mind for this week, and they will  be accomplished!

I have been practicing, mostly due to necessity. I have some big parts to play in the next two weeks, and would like my stress level to be as low as possible. Right now it’s off the charts. By the time we get to the concerts, all will be well.

I started a new knitting project – a mohair cardigan – and am almost finished with a very generously-sized gauge swatch. I have no idea if I’ve “gotten gauge”, but the fabric is so wonderfully light and airy that I don’t care if I end up knitting another gauge swatch, or two before actually getting to the sweater. The wool scarf that I started a while back is on the back burner for now. As I’ve mentioned before, I have creative ADHD. I have a gorgeous AVL weaving loom that I’ve been trying to sell for some time to no avail. However, the weaving bug may be biting again, so I guess it’s a good thing that I haven’t sold it yet!

I haven’t done anything toward learning mask-making, even with inspiration like this.

I still haven’t managed to schedule a meet up with any local writer tweeps for May – we’re all so busy!








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