Today was IEP day for my youngest kidlet. It went well, as it usually does, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a twist of nerves and flooded with research in the days leading up to it. There’s a lot going on with him and, even though he is getting better at speaking neurotypical, he’s not there just yet. There are still things he needs a little bit of help with. I’m fortunate to be in a district willing to work with me, even when my ideas maybe aren’t the most orthodox ones. I know a lot of other parents have had problems working within the system, even specifically this system, and I am so grateful that I have had such a comparatively easy road for both kids.
I’ve also been helping my stepmom go through my dad’s things. Some things hit me harder than others. I was doing pretty well with the whole thing until I started looking through his slides. He was a phenomenal photographer who had such an amazing artistic eye for framing and focus. I may be looking into what it will take to do something interesting with some of those – maybe pairing his art with mine. I wish I’d seen some of these images before – I’d have suggested this project directly to him. But it’s a long way off and there’s a lot I’ve got to do before I can do a project like what I’m thinking about.
There’s one image in particular that I’m just struck by. We were in Spokane, WA then, I think I might be four in the picture. I’m wearing a bright red winter coat and it is the only real color in the image. I’m feeding the ducks and swans in Riverfront Park with the pavilion and the clocktower in the background. There is no one else in the picture. Not the old lady with the bag of breadcrumbs. Not a single soul on the grass on the other side of the river. No one on the bridge. I cannot remember a time when there weren’t people milling about everywhere there. It was always one of our favorite places to go on his weekends, puttering around with those birds. Oh, how I loved those swans. It’s a striking image and I really want to do something interesting with it. But I suppose I need to get a print first as it is only a slide.
I’m not getting a lot of usable writing done – it’s all a little too maudlin right now – so I’m doing more editing. I’m polishing up a few things to get ready to send out. I think being in this weird zone is actually making the editing easier because I’m not being drawn to five or six other projects I want to write also.
Dad’s Nikon is a lot different than my Pentax but I think I’m going to dust them off, load them up, and teach the kids how to take proper pictures this summer. If I knew how to do developing, I might just do the whole shebang but I’ll settle for lighting, color, and composition matched with shutter speed, exposure lengths, and that sort of thing. I think it’ll be a nice thing to be able to pass that along. Plus, we’ll maybe figure out if the cameras have any appreciable difference in quality.
I picked up a little snippet of an idea I jotted down a couple of years ago and am running with it. I see it growing up to be a short story, just this side of novelette most likely. It’s a rough length but once it’s done I can muck around with it until it’s a more saleable length. The problems I’m running into are all in the names. I do not like my placeholder names at all. It does not fit this woman at all. It does not fit her boss or her friend. I did get two names right but the rest will not work.
Sometimes names are easy. Sometimes I use a baby naming website. And then there are those other times when a regular name just isn’t going to cut it. I like to use ingredient lists for my fantasy characters. Take a syllable of this chemical and a syllable of that chemical and bang, you’ve got Tenorack (from Eldercynne Rising) and Ketryl (from a story that may never see daylight).
I suppose for this one, I’ll go back to a baby naming website since, even though it’s fantasy-ish, it is earthbound and contemporary. Have to find a name for a bad-ass government agent that doesn’t sound too happy. The name she has right now is much too happy to keep calling her.
I’m finding it very difficult to get back into my routine, into the swing of things. For the last several years, it was not unusual to get a text or three during the week to see how many words I’ve written, what projects I was working on. As much as it might have been a little frustrating because when I’m rolling, I’m rolling pretty quick. I appreciated the fact that he was interested.
He was pretty much my only cheerleader. I have other supportive people but most of them don’t read and especially don’t read the genres I write. He didn’t read fiction much until he started being my first reader. He is, was, the only person who has read all of my books, all of my stories.
I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to do now. He was my sounding board and my fact checker. I have all of these suddenly open positions and no applicants to fill them. Nor would I really want to right now, they wouldn’t stick a random “d” in the word genre or lecture me on the proper naming genders in Russian families or ramble about whatever crazy random bit of information that is absolutely integral to whatever story I’m editing.
I’m not very good at this grieving thing. I get all the steps mixed up and somehow there seem to be more of them in my stairway. Funnily enough, acceptance seems pretty low on the climb, just after blank and before irrational what-ifs. I know everyone is different but I’m a wallower. Not really in my grief, because the actual grief part is mostly done-ish, but in my memories. Certain things become so intrinsically tied to a person that you can’t do them, go there, see that without thinking of them.
I’m trying to get myself put back together and there will be brighter, shinier, happier things here soon and eventually there will be new words. I don’t quite know what to do with them now but I’ll figure it out. I was writing before he took an active interest (before I started taking it seriously) and I’ll write again soon – other than poetry which is just coming to me faster, muddier, and sloppier than usual. I’m just going to have to restructure my rituals now.