Endurance Activity

Toad closeup by E.A. Schneider

Toad closeup by E.A. Schneider

Let no one tell you, dear pond readers, that writing is not an endurance activity. In the past 48 hours I have emptied three fountain pens worth of ink writing 36 pages of text, filling my favorite journal in the process. I have an angry red callus and a persistent dent in my index finger, which I incidentally cannot feel, from writing as fast as I could. I have had ideas for two new projects rocketing around in my head for the last few weeks and I have finally been able to put pen to paper on them. One idea is well sketched while the other has 26 pages of bona fide hand written text to transcribe to computer. Phew!  I feel shockingly productive. I credit finding out that one of my stories is under final consideration for publication as a major motivating factor in getting some inspiration energy activated. My mom always said that an artist is only as good as their next success so I feel that if my next success is in fact potentially imminent, I had better get my rear in gear on the one after that as soon as possible. We’ll see if my life cooperates in this attempt and whether I can keep laying out ink on these projects. How are you doing on your WIPs, dear pond readers? Are you struggling to keep up? Are you digging deep to get started? Feel free to leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond!

Ancient cedars clinging to older stone by E.A. Schneider

Ancient cedars clinging to older stone by E.A. Schneider

Books from my Summer Days


Rocks and water by E.A. Schneider

Rocks and water by E.A. Schneider

Hello, dear pond readers! I’ve been blazing through my reading list this year and I’ve managed to make a surprising amount of progress. I have already filled the pages of one reader’s journal and have begun a second journal to see me through to 2016.

In rough chronological order, here is my list of 2015 books so far:

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
  3. Ubik by Phillip K. Dick
  4. A Knot in the Grain by Robin McKinley
  5. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  7. The Story of the Treasure-Seekers by Edith Nesbit
  8. The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick
  9. Moon Over the Back Fence  by Esther Carlson
  10. The Stepsister Scheme  by Jim C. Hines
  11. Nova by Samuel R. Delaney
  12. Star Trek Vanguard #1: Harbinger by David Mack
  13. Around the World in 72 Days and Other Writings by Nellie Bly

    Ferns by E.A. Schneider

    Fiddleheads by E.A. Schneider

  14. Ready Player One  by Ernest Cline
  15. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  16. Thirteen at Dinner by Agatha Christie
  17. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
  18. Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
  19. Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie
  20. Tuesday Club Murders  by Agatha Christie
  21. The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah and “Agatha Christie”
  22. Cradle in the Grave by Sophie Hannah
  23. Fatal Enquiry by Will Thomas
  24. Codex Born by Jim C. Hines
  25. The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde
  26. Postcards from No Man’s Land by Aidan Chambers
  27. More Valley Cats: Fun games and new friends by Gretchen Preston
  28. Mangaboom by Charlotte Pomerantz
  29. Something Rich and Strange by Patricia McKillip
  30. Growing Up Lutheran: What does this mean? by Janet Letniss Martin
  31. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  32. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  33. Macbeth by Shakespeare

Hopefully sooner rather than later I will start posting capsule reviews of each of the above. Overall, I’ve been very pleased with all of them. My goal on Goodreads was 40 books this year and I’m hopeful that I’m going to make it. How about you, dear readers? Where are you at in your reading ambitions for the year? Leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond!

Feather left behind by E.A. Schneider

Feather left behind by E.A. Schneider

Huzzaaaah!

Seagull over Lake Michigan by E.A. Schneider

Seagull over Lake Michigan by E.A. Schneider

A big, super important thing happened yesterday, dear pond readers. I knew this big, super-important thing was going to happen since April and I have been bouncing about in anticipation of being able to tell you. Yesterday afternoon, a short story I wrote entitled “Valentine,”  was published under my pseudonym, E.A. Lawrence, in “Breath and Shadow” magazine in their Summer 2015 issue. I am rather proud of this story and have been looking for a home for it in fits and starts for many years. This is very exciting and I’m optimistic that it is only the start of things for my fiction. Thanks for sharing in my joy, dear pond readers, I hope you enjoy reading “Valentine” as well as the other splendid pieces featured in “Breath and Shadow.” Please, feel free to comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond.

Sturgeon Bay in Summer by E.A. Schneider

Sturgeon Bay in Summer by E.A. Schneider

 

SPACEBALLS the baby bibs!

Hullo, dear pond readers, I hope you’ve had a lovely spring and summer so far. Here in the Northern Midwest things have been busy. I’m happy to say that my word count on my WIP has been steadily increasing as well as my progress on my 2014-2015 reading list. My big accomplishment craft-wise from the last six months are the following baby bibs. I have never made baby bibs, or indeed baby anything before, and I spent an extraordinary amount of time figuring out what pattern to use, what materials, what design, and what techniques. The recipients are friends of ours and my hubby and I worked hard coming up with the perfect nerdy designs. It was a really fun joint effort. One of the friends in question is a big fan of the Mel Brooks movie, Spaceballs, while the other is a big fan of French bulldogs. I endeavored to speak to both interests.

I used the Scrap Lab baby bib pattern from American Patchwork and Quilting’s Summer 2011 edition of Quilts and More magazine for the bibs. The closures are made from velcro. I tried so hard to add snaps to the bibs but it proved such an injury prone disaster that I switched to velcro. The bibs are all backed with flannel. The front of the bulldog and alien bibs are quilting cottons but the Winnebago bib is all flannel. I made up the embroidery stitches in the sense that I didn’t follow any kind of pattern. Not being especially dexterous anymore, these took me a long time to do but I had fun all the same. Enjoy the pictures below!

 

Baby bibs! by E..A. Schneider

Baby bibs! by E..A. Schneider

Cute, non-nerdy French bulldog baby bib by E.A. Schneider

Cute French bulldog baby bib by E.A. Schneider

The dancing alien baby bib by E.A. Schneider

The dancing alien baby bib by E.A. Schneider

For those unfamiliar with the movie Spaceballs,  I urge you to pop some corn and watch it as soon as you can because it is amazing and hilarious. But until you can do that, check here for a clip of the scene I was inspired by.

Stitchery close-up

Stitchery close-up by E.A. Schneider

Winnebago "gone to plaid" baby bib by E.A. Schneider

Winnebago “gone to plaid” baby bib by E.A. Schneider

This bib is inspired by the protagonist’s flying Winnebago that goes at extraordinary, some would say plaid-like speeds, during the course of the movie. I think this Winnebago turned out pretty darn cute.

Thanks for looking, dear readers! If you have any questions or comments or just want to nerd out over Spaceballs, please leave a comment below. What kind of summer projects are you working on? Leave an answer below and thanks again for stopping by the pond.

Please, Walk with me

Leaves and river by E.A. Schneider

Leaves and river by E.A. Schneider

Hello, dear readers. I’m writing to appeal to you for help with something that is really important to me: multiple sclerosis. In 2013 I was diagnosed with this disease. In oblique terms I wrote about my experience in four previous posts: Spring Crafting, Flash Fiction: Flight, Creations, and 2013: Reflections. Most of my heaviest emotions were in “2013: Reflections” wherein I used words and capsule reviews of stories to grapple with my new reality. I didn’t want to make a big deal about my disease here at the pond, and I still don’t, because I want to be defined by how I live my life rather than a disease I happen to have. However, someone really smart told me once that you can make more of a difference with one good interview or article than you can with years of quiet work, and I really want to make a difference.

I realized just before Lent this year that the reason I didn’t want to tell people, in person or online,  about my disease wasn’t because I dreaded their remarks (though I do in part) or because I am a little shy (though I am) or because I’m afraid of discrimination (though I most certainly am) but rather because I didn’t want it to be true. I don’t want to be facing this. I don’t want this shadow in my life, and if I had a magic wand and a time machine I would seriously ponder making this just go away. But that’s not how life works.  Due to whatever mysterious combo of genes and environment that occurred in my body, I am stuck with this for the rest of my life. However, I have a choice. The choice I have isn’t any different from the choice that everyone has every day, mind you, but, it is perhaps a smidge extra poignant: I can turn inward and hide or I can be brave and live my life. I am choosing to live and I am choosing to fight for my life by being a team captain in Walk MS for team Nerds for a Cure.

This is the second year I’ve been a team captain. 2014 was the inaugural walk for team Nerds for a Cure and it was a wonderful experience. I am hoping to make the 2015 walk an even better experience by training harder, raising more money, and raising more awareness about multiple sclerosis. Research is the way forward, research is the only mortal hope I have, and I know that together we can find both better treatments and a cure for multiple sclerosis if we feed the researchers the money they need to do the work they are passionate about doing: science. I am excited to be doing this and it would mean an awful lot to me, dear pond readers, if you could help. Please, check out my pages and, if you can, please walk with me in spirit by donating and sharing the links. Every single person, every connection, counts more than you can know.  Thanks for hearing me out, dear readers, and thanks for stopping by the pond today. If my posts, my words, my crafts, and my pictures brighten your day at all that makes me happy.

Macro bird by E.A. Schneider

Macro bird by E.A. Schneider

One Word At A Time

Blueberry flowers by E.A. Schneider

Blueberry flowers by E.A. Schneider

I am making steady progress on my WIP based on this piece of flash fiction.  As of tonight, I am up to page 60 and 16,670 words. My momentum on this novella, which I’ve written about before, has been fantastic. I am so excited to be making progress, and I feel like I’m learning a lot as I go. Working on this project it has struck me anew how much work is involved with writing. I realize this might sound facile, but, I think the work of writing is something that gets overlooked all too often. For me, I am locked in daily combat with my schedule to get in a minimum of 10 minutes of power writing a day on this project. Then, if I manage to achieve the time, I find myself plugging away, word after word, to get through a scene so that I can eventually get to the big moments. Those ten minutes of laying down words like so much track for a train are an effort that leaves me pleasantly tired in that way you feel tired after climbing that last steep bit of hill. Part of me is bored by the basics of someone going across a hallway or opening a door and I’m tempted to skip ahead, but, then I remember, if I do that, I risk missing nifty moments and losing logical continuity that will make revising an unholy headache. So I have to force myself to be disciplined, stick with the story, follow the logic, and see what happens next. This is tough stuff, but when I look at where I am on my page count and my outline, I find myself grinning like mad, just itching to write more. I’m getting there, dear pond readers, one word at a time.

How are you doing on your WIPs? Please, leave a comment below and thanks for joining me here at the pond, dear readers.

Spring Iris by E.A. Schneider

Spring Iris by E.A. Schneider