April 17, 2020

It’s only been two weeks since my last post, then? If we’d never had the sense of time being different before the pandemic, surely we’re face to face with it now. Short bursts of forward motion and a great deal of treading water, with the accompanied exhaustion, have been my norm. I expect that’s not unique to me.

About the only new thing that has surfaced is that I’ve received more compliments from family members who didn’t understand what I do online for work. Now that they’re forced to do most of their work in the internet as well, they’re understanding that it isn’t easy, and that working from home doesn’t mean five minutes on a video call, a handful of emails, and the rest of the day eating snacks in your pajamas.

Spring continues to come. The weather has been steadily warming, the dogwood outside my window has begun to show its flowers - and my allergies, alas - and time and life continue. May we all get to the place where we feel like we can enjoy it again soon, and may as many of us as possible get to do that.

April 2, 2020

The Big Project has a tentative name. We’re calling it 100 Gods of Egypt for now, and it is an encyclopedia of, well, gods of Egypt. I’ll be posting about my process in my Patreon (www.patreon.com/tsiuda) if you’re interested in that.

For some reason, a green notebook spoke to me on this one, and so this book begins its life in a five-subject wirebound notebook with a lime green cover. Maybe I’m old school, but when I start a big writing project I still plot/outline it on paper, even if the majority of my writing work ends up being digital. Over the years I’ve amassed a collection of notebooks for every book I’ve done, and often multiple books. For example, The Ancient Egyptian Daybook was written and plotted using two 5-subject notebooks.

This is the first or main book for 100 Gods, where I’m gathering snippets of data I want to make sure end up as references or footnotes for the text. This is where I’ll be scribbling in the pieces of good detail I pick up from reading source material, so it’s all in one place and I can find it once I’m working on a particular deity’s entry. I don’t intend to write in order necessarily, but we will see how that really goes as I get further into the work. Currently I have a handful of skeletal entries that need lots of work, two mostly completed ones (Anubis and Nephthys, if you want to know), and a couple dozen others in various stages of staging.

At this point in the work I’m also browsing through other encyclopedias of gods, trying to get a sense of my layout. Even though I won’t be the one to do the layout of this book, because I have done both editing and publishing in addition to writing, I find that it helps me to shape the work if I have some idea of how the writing is going to flow in the final version. I’m trying to get a sense of how data is broken up in various dictionaries, what’s considered important, and the differences between strictly academic lexicon type works and those that are more for general audiences. I’m trying to position 100 Gods into a place somewhere between something that’s only going to make sense to a specialized audience or something that is so broadly written as to be useless.

This process started last year, but now that the project is something I can talk about, I can talk about it. If you’re interested in reading more material like this, or actual drafts of the work, please consider joining us at the Patreon.

March 27, 2020

I agreed to be interviewed for a podcast in a few hours. Suddenly very nervous and not quite sure why. I have the questions ahead of time and none are too difficult. Hopefully I’ll be able to calm the stage fright before it’s time to go on the record. I do wish that we weren’t meeting at such an early hour, though. Despite all my intentions I am still not at all a morning person, and I prefer to do my thinking after I’ve been awake a bit.

In other news, several projects are moving forward despite the general slowdown/stop of the world in general due to our new and not very nice friend, the novel coronavirus. Just as I thought chemotherapy solitude was ending…now everybody else is joining me in self-isolation. Get some rest, regroup around what’s really important to you, and please stay healthy.

March 15, 2020

I had a clever idea for a post and by the time I got a chance to type it, it’s gone. Brain is moving faster than the rest of my self, so I’m exercising an attempt to bring them to parity. Slow the brain, keep the body moving, continue to live despite the uncertainty we’re forced to sit with.

It is very quiet here, despite my location a few blocks shy of the geographical center of my city. The church across the street has a new sign - REOPENING MARCH 28 - and not a single vehicle in the lot or taking up our street space. While I welcome not having to be concerned about where to put my car for a couple weeks, I can’t say the reason brings any happiness.

I expect Portland should’ve closed for business last week or the week before, given our proximity to Seattle. Will people choose to understand this as snow days without snow - time to relax, regroup, spend time doing things we say we never have time for? Or will we opt for the plaguescape apocalypse? That it’s hard to know right now is also unsettling.

The only way out is through.

Heard back on Big Project - contract is happening and I’ve had preliminary contact with other people who are involved, so far quite positive. At least writing is something I can do from home. I have to venture out tomorrow for prescriptions and groceries, as I’ve put it off as long as I can, but I am hopeful to make that a short trip with little interaction. Thursday’s doctor appointment was serious: she doesn’t want me interacting with strangers if I can help it until at least May.” All trips are canceled and re-isolation, just as I was hoping to exit that after chemo, now begins.

February 29, 2020

A new project has appeared, involving a television script. I’ve never worked on a TV script before, so this is both daunting (hello new format!) and exciting (hello, new format!). Deadlines are tight, even tighter than print media can be, so that’s also high on the daunting scale. But on the exciting scale, I’ll get to see the final results in a short period of time. Still waiting to hear from the publisher on Big Project. Not sure what the holdup is, but traditional publishing has always moved at the speed of never. Otherwise debating if I can afford to go to a conference I’m really looking forward to in April. Someday, I hope that I can at least offset these costs with income created by writing. Sadly that day isn’t yet.

In other news the crows who visit my yard daily have started leaving me gifts. This week it was an iridescent piece of glass, laid reverently in front of a stone frog sitting in the middle of the garden box. It now rests on the frog’s head, as it didn’t seem right to take it from where they put it for some reason. Perhaps the crows know something I don’t.

February 16, 2020

The sun appears occasionally, in the midst of rain we should’ve been getting all of December but didn’t. People are starting to complain about the gloom, but I don’t mind it much. Waiting for spring, and waiting is the default mode of this February. Waiting on a book contract so I can announce the project. Waiting on postdoc funding applications, so I can afford to allot time to get the dissertation published. Waiting on PayPal to release $300 it’s holding due to duplicate transactions, which is aggravating because that was already allocated to bills and groceries - and now I have to wait on those. Too much waiting and not enough movement.