Down the rabbit hole

I had plans for a sane and sensible work routine this week: work out first thing, then come home to feed myself and the cats, get to work from 9-1, put in roughly an hour each on Revisions, Translation, and Work-Related Administrivia, then spend the afternoon on House and Life Admin.

Cue hollow laughter. I’m not good at transitions. When I’m in the Zone, I want to stay there.

The present Revision material is the MMP-1 (for its history, see here, here, here, and, well, just search this blog for “MMP”). I love this project. For (mumble) years now, I have been living with its protagonist. When I’m working on this project, I stare at Google Images of his tomb and his lands (as they are now: so far, I have not convinced Google to cough up overhead shots from earlier centuries, though there are some nineteenth-century images of his parish church and nearby bridge). I am obsessed with this manuscript owner. I don’t know why the MMP-1 has not yet found a home, when the MMP-2 and MMP-3 have done so. Probably because it’s a large and unwieldy project. This version is going to be much better than the previous two submissions. I know where I will send it this time, and I know where it will go after that, if that’s what it takes. I believe in this project. Sooner or later, some editor(s) will love it as much as I do.

Ah, so, anyway, this morning I skipped the gym and sat down at my desk at 7:30 and put in two solid hours on the MMP-1. That was after about an hour of tracking down an obscure reference last night. When I could no longer ignore the cats, I took a break for about an hour, trying to get my head away from the MMP-1 and around translation. Or Administrivia. I thought I’d done it. But when I went back to my desk, from 11:00 to 1:00, I was immersed in the MMP-1. I cannot quit it.

I’m re-writing the whole thing, this time, because it has gone all patchworky and awkward from having too many bits imported from earlier drafts, a real Frankenstein of a piece. I’m very happy about writing 1769 words this morning. I want to write this piece in big chunks, because that will make the style much smoother. But I’m sure not sticking to the plan. There’s a translation deadline, and at least one Administrivia deadline (two days off, plenty of time), and I really prefer to go to the gym early in the day because it’s better for sleep and organizing meals and such. And a lot of Life Stuff to deal with, including travel plans for this summer.

Tomorrow is another day. Either the plan will work, or I will stay immersed in this project till it’s done. Again. Either is an acceptable outcome.

Inspiration from Ira Glass

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”-Ira Glass

I found it in the comments here:

From the Desk of Basement Cat [with editorial comment]

Now that we have all had a couple of weeks to get used to Me in My new role as Senior Cat, there are a few points I would like to clarify.

First, I hate change. While being Senior Cat is, on the whole, a pleasant change, it is still change, and I hate change. Many of the following points have to do with avoiding change in future.

Regarding feline personnel: there shall be no further changes in the feline residents of this household, either adding or subtracting. I believe I made my feelings on this matter known upon the departure of the Tiny Cat and the arrivals of Glendower and Reina, with further vigorous protests at the addition of Sabra. Although I disliked Sabra, her disappearance alongside that of the old grey guy in the same week was too damned much. I wanted her to submit to me, not to vanish. I can’t be sure that she isn’t going to pop out of a closet and chase me around the house again. At any rate, now that we have achieved an equilibrium of three members of the ninja persuasion, let us remain a triumvirate.

The humans agree whole-heartedly on this matter. Basement Cat’s preferences are indeed well-known, which is why Sabra is now awaiting adoption (at a no-kill shelter) into a home where she can be an only cat. Her desire to be an only or Top Cat created considerable friction in the household, and is indirectly responsible for more than one injury among the other residents, mostly at the paws of Basement Cat making his dissatisfaction known. The humans, who are responsible for the veterinary bills, found this situation unacceptable, though they were reluctant to part with the beautiful and affectionate (to people) Sabra. The humans nonetheless reserve the right to offer temporary shelter to ferals awaiting or recovering from spay/neuter operations, and to foster and socialize kittens in cases of great need.

Regarding hoo-man personnel: there shall be no further changes among the hoo-man residents and associates. He and She shall remain in their current positions as cat servants, and shall not take time off (an occasional afternoon out may be countenanced under certain restricted circumstances). The only visitors shall be those who have already received approval from the entire ninja committee. Under no circumstances shall tradesmen, construction workers, or other creators of loud noises be granted entry to the premises.

The humans agree that a lack of construction workers and other creators of loud noises is a consummation devoutly to be wished. Unfortunately, in the interest of keeping the house from falling down around feline (and other) ears, it may on occasion be necessary to allow such persons to enter it. Further, the humans cannot control the city or the neighbors, such that loud noises may occur outside the house, disturbing the occupants. Rest assured that the humans sympathize deeply with the felines on this matter. Regarding travel, the humans undertake to provide qualified, competent cat servants, most likely recruited from the technicians at the regular vet practice, so that they will be known to the feline residents.

There shall be no travel by the hoo-mans, and most assuredly no use of the barbaric practice known as “boarding.”

See above on the topic of substitute servants. Humans, rather like Glendower, crave novelty from time to time, and like to go exploring outside the house.

Further with regard to feline personnel: Reina shall immediately disabuse herself of any notions regarding “Girl Power” that she may have acquired from that Sabra. This household shall observe strict seniority rights: I am Senior Cat, then Glendower, then Reina is Most Junior Cat. Should I inexplicably fail to live forever (in which case I hope Sabra, Evil Neighbor Catboy, and my other enemies will be rigorously prosecuted), then she may eventually have her chance to be Senior Cat. No female cat shall have any rights save those conferred by (lack of) seniority, while I am Senior Cat.

So long as violence is avoided, the humans will allow the feline residents to work this out for themselves, while reserving the right and obligation to break up fights, with the squirt bottle if necessary. It is felt that sufficient cat-on-cat violence has already occurred in this household.

Effective immediately, Glendower and Reina need to show their submission to Me by becoming messier eaters. One thing that pleased Me about the old grey guy was that he threw a lot of food out of his bowl, which was then available to Me. I am not getting enough to eat since he stopped eating.

That’s up to Glendower and Reina, but the humans would like to take this opportunity to observe that they are aware of this change in Basement Cat’s environment and have increased his rations accordingly. Moreover, not only are they responsible for the vet bills, they would also have to administer tests of blood glucose and shots of insulin should Basement Cat become diabetic, and it is felt that Basement Cat would not cooperate for such treatment. Hence it is desirable, from the human point of view, that Basement Cat should retain his present svelte and elegant figure.

Glendower and Reina shall immediately cede to Me any cushion, patch of sunlight, windowsill, or other desirable resting place should I indicate the slightest interest in it.

The bedroom remains Mine and only on My sufferance are other cats, including the rest of the ninja committee, allowed to rest or engage in other activities there.

So long as violence is avoided . . . .

The hoo-mans shall have no other cat before Me. Glendower and Reina may be tolerated as substitutions for Me when I do not feel like interacting with hoo-mans.

Oh, obviously the humans worship Basement Cat. May you live forever. =^..^=