Stephanie Burgis
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changing plans, plots, and music
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It's a beautiful day outside - bright sunshine, crisp, cold air - and Maya got so depressed when we turned around in our usual down-the-block-and-back morning walk that instead of going straight home, we hopped the fence into a friend's neighboring field and I let Maya off the leash. Zoom! She raced around the field from one delicious smell to the next, tail wagging at light speed. And I loved it. We were both in a great mood by the time we finally left.

The weekend was nice & relaxing up until yesterday afternoon, when we sat down to work out exact financial details for the next year or so...and realized we'd forgotten about some really hefty items on the list. :( Looks like our fantasy of taking a year off to live in America while Patrick starts the MFA may not be as possible as we'd thought... The good news is that we've done a lot of research into the immigration details, so even if this turns out not to be the year to spend in America, at least it should be more do-able in the future because of all our preparations. We haven't quite given up on the idea yet, but we'll have to spend this week really nailing down exactly what we can afford and what we can't.

I did a lot of sketching out ideas for Kat by Moonlight this weekend (including some really far-future plot ideas that I'm a little too nervous about to discuss publicly yet!), but no more actual writing so far. As usual with a new novel, I zoomed through the first four chapters thinking, "Ooh, this is my easy novel! So easy, so fast, so fun...." And then right around Chapter Four (as always) the novel slammed to a halt, hit me on the head, and informed me that I was going to have to work out a whole buncha plot before it was willing to go any further forward. Every single time I write a novel, this happens, and yet somehow it always takes me by surprise.

But this weekend I did get some great CDs to listen to as I obsess over Kat's plot. On the operatic-goth-metal side, I got Within Temptation's The Silent Force (mmm - you have to love a band that thanks George R R Martin and a whole bunch of other fantasy writers for inspiration!) and then with great trepidation I got a 3-CD compilation set called Acoustic Woman, just because it had songs by a whole bunch of the singers I'd been looking for in the first place, like Patty Griffin and Beth Gibbons. It turned out to be a great purchase. I don't like all of the songs in the compilation, of course, but it's introduced me to some new-to-me singers I really love now, like Eva Cassidy and Beth Orton. It also had a couple of old favorites I hadn't heard for a long time, like Mary Chapin Carpenter's "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" and, best of all, Peggy Seeger's "I'm Gonna Be An Engineer", which I'd heard live in concert when I was a teenager and then forgotten about. Listening to it again as an adult, I found it even funnier, smarter, and zingier than before, and it's become one of my new favorite songs. It's so great to find a song that's not only empowering and feminist but wonderfully, hilariously snarky, too. Really worth savoring.

Now I'm sitting on the couch while Maya snoozes with all four paws and her nose tucked up against my back and Thea Gilmore's "Movie Kisses" plays through the iBook's speakers.

Very, very nice.

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