Daily Thoughts 88: A New Week

Author's selfieI ran out of time this morning and didn’t get my sketching done. Then, on the way to work, I didn’t feel like starting a new story (I finished the last one on Saturday), so I listened to a talking book instead. I ended up writing on the drive home and really enjoyed the new story I started.

Daily Sketch

Sketch of a mountain lionThis even I took a few minutes for my sketch challenge. And the problem I had with the press-and-hold right-click? I fixed that thanks to this post from VolnaPC. I also hadn’t taken the time to remap anything on the Wacom with the new computer. I didn’t do much after the sketch, but I did remap one of the buttons to the alt key so I can quickly sample colors.

Despite the late start, I still managed to get my challenges done.

Daily Thoughts 87: Fun and Games

Author's Selfie I spent the majority of my time today studying. Much of that was focused on my gamifying information class. The focus is on bringing game elements to information science topics. I’m mostly focused on public libraries, administration, data, and assessment. I came into the day with bigger ambitions than time. I did manage to complete quite a bit today. I just would have liked to do more.

Oxygen Not Included

On my break today I tried out the alpha build of Klei Entertainment’s Oxygen Not Included. It’s a fun colony building game along the lines of Craft the World or similar games. As it is an alpha build it is still not finished and will change before it is done. Even so, it was very engaging to play. I could see similar gameplay elements going into some sort of library simulation!

 

Commuter

Commuter cover art

Ken loved commuting on his fast three-wheeled recumbent trike. Low-slung, with below seat steering and a bright yellow paint-job.

The drawback?

Drivers! Some drivers just couldn’t stand seeing anyone eschewing a gas-guzzling monstrosity.

💀

Monday.

Ken sat back on the recumbent mesh seat, his legs out front between the two front wheels and pedaled. The trike sped across the lane as if eager to go fast. His right hand slipped down to the twist shifter and shifted up to higher gears. The cycling computer showed his speed move rapidly up to 14 MPH. He glanced to his right, towards on-coming traffic, and saw he had plenty of time. He’d be across all the lanes long before any of the cars reached him. He smiled. Good thing too!

He pushed forward on the right hand-grip and pulled back on the left to turn smoothly into the bike lane. With the turn completed Ken increased his RPM rate and shifted up again. The trike shot down the bike lane with its bright flags waving merrily in the wind. On either side of the rear tire hung his panniers holding his clothes, lunch and other work stuff. This is the way to go, he thought. No passive sitting behind the wheel of a car adding to your carbon footprint. Just the exhilaration of exercise and a sense that he was connected to everything around him. In that sense, he found the trike far more enjoyable — not to mention more comfortable — than any bicycle. He heard the roar of a car engine behind him and checked his left-hand mirror.

A black muscle car with tinted windows roared down the road like the driver thought he was in a drag race. The noise was tremendous. Ken stuck to the center of the bike lane. Drivers like that made him nervous. He couldn’t go over to the right without hitting the cars parked along the street. The lane was bad enough, given that people pulled out without looking or opened their doors in his path.

With a bone-shaking roar, the muscle car came right up alongside the trike. Ken’s heart kicked up the pace. He was sure the car was going to hit him! The gleaming back side of the car was only inches away. It hung there for a moment and then took off with squealing tires. Smoke from the tires and exhaust blew into Ken’s face. He coughed and kept pedaling while glaring after the retreating taillights of the muscle car. The license plate read PAIN.

Who had a license plate like that? PAIN?

💀

Tuesday.

Ken rolled up to the stop sign and came to a stop. Headlights shone in his mirror behind him. The car stayed a good distance back, giving him plenty of space. He appreciated it. After his encounter with the PAIN-mobile yesterday he had stayed a bit shaken but determined that he wouldn’t let the experience sour his enjoyment of riding. He had every right to be on the road. He was saving money, lowering his carbon footprint and getting in shape all at the same time. He wasn’t going to give that all up because some jerk thought it was funny to swerve close.

There was a wide gap in traffic. Ken pulled out and swiftly pedaled across the lanes. He reached the bike lane and settled back to enjoy the ride. The trike cruised along the lane at a steady 20 MPH. He didn’t feel like pushing it too much. Back when the trike had only a three-speed hub doing twenty had been pushing the limit. It just hadn’t been geared high enough but the continuously variable hub had given him a much greater range. It also gave him a shorter commute time. He liked that but lately had taken to riding out longer loops to increase his mileage and extend the enjoyment of riding.

Four miles later he heard the deep growl of an engine coming up behind. He tensed immediately and checked his mirror. It was the PAIN muscle car coming up behind him. Fast. On his right, this time was nothing but a grassy slope down to the barbed wire fence below. He didn’t want to tumble down that slope but the car was coming fast up behind. Its front tire touched the white stripe along the shoulder. Ken eased the trike over until his right front tire was nearly in the gravel. Checking the mirror showed the muscle car riding right up the shoulder with its front tire solidly on the white line – but drifting into the shoulder.

A blast of noise nearly made Ken swerve off down the slope. A horn! The driver blasted his horn again. And again. Ken was both terrified and pissed off.

“Come on!” he yelled but he couldn’t even hear himself over the sound of the muscle car’s engine and horn.

Just as he spied an area ahead with less of a drop and considered bailing off the road the muscle car took off ahead of him. It missed him by inches. The wind grabbed the trike and shook it. One more blast of the horn made Ken’s nerves jump. He braked hard and came to a stop on the shoulder. His heart hammered against his chest. Up ahead the PAIN muscle car turned the corner and vanished from sight. Ken pulled open the Velcro top on his pants pocket and fished out his cell phone. He called 9-1-1.

“9-1-1 operator. What’s the nature of your emergency?”

“A car nearly ran me down.”

“Nearly? Are you injured?”

“No. But they could have killed me! The fucking driver came up behind me blasting his horn and drove onto the shoulder!”

“Sir, I need you to calm down and watch the language.”

“Sorry.” Ken mopped his forehead. “I’m shaken up. This is the second time this driver has done something like this.”

“Why were you on the shoulder?”

“I was commuting to work.”

“By driving on the shoulder?”

“No, I was riding on my trike.”

“Trike? Like one of those ATVs? Those aren’t street legal, sir.”

“No! A trike. Think bicycle but with three wheels.”

“Did you swerve into the path of this vehicle?”

“Excuse me? No! I told you, the driver came onto the shoulder. Look, can’t you just send a police officer?”

“Of course, sir. I’ll notify dispatch as soon as I have your information.”

Ken gave him the information and waited. At least he had a comfortable seat to wait on. He jumped each time a car went past. After a half-hour, he called work to tell them he’d nearly been in an accident and would be late. Finally, forty-five minutes later, a siren whoop behind him made him jump. He looked in the mirror and saw the police officer’s car pulling up behind his trike. Ken twisted his feet free from the clipless pedals and stood up.

A voice came out of a loud speaker. “Sir, remain where you are.”

Ken froze. In the car, he saw two police officers talking. The lights on top of the car were flashing. The doors opened and the officers got out. One still held a radio handset and was talking to someone. The other hook her thumbs in her belt and walked towards him.

“Ken Henley?”

“That’s me.”

She nodded and walked forward looking at the trike. Ken waited. She stopped a few feet away and glanced over at him.

“You ride that?”

A ridiculous question seeing as he was the one wearing a bright yellow bicycle helmet, gloves, and clipless shoes. He didn’t want to antagonize the officer so just nodded.

She laughed and shook her head. She turned back to look at her partner who put down the radio. “Did you see this?”

The guy showed a big buck-toothed grin. “Oh yeah.”

She looked back at him. “Don’t know if you’re brave or just crazy. Taking your life into your own hands, aren’t you? Riding that in traffic? Ever think people might have a hard time seeing you?”

“Not if they’re looking at the road,” Ken said. He immediately regretted the tone. He tried to continue in a better voice. “It’s bright yellow, has flags sticking up in the air and is seven feet long. Most people will see a squirrel in the road or a pothole if they’re looking. I think I’m a bit more noticeable.”

She shrugged and pulled out a notebook. “So what’s this about a car trying to drive you off the road?”

At last. “It’s a black muscle car with tinted windows. The license plate is P A I N.”

“Pain?”

“Right.”

“So yesterday I was riding to work and it swerved close to me while I was in the bike lane. I had no place to go. To my right were the cars parked along Pacific. Sometimes people do stupid things like that to cyclists. I think some of the time they’re just looking and inadvertently swerve. But sometimes it’s on purpose. They think it’s funny to scare a cyclist but it could end up getting someone killed.”

“I thought it was today that you called about?”

“It was.” He told her how the muscle car had come at him today much more aggressively and honked their horn. “That’s why I called.”

She put away the notebook. “Okay. We’ll look into it. But a reckless driving charge is going to be hard under these circumstances.”

“What do you mean?”

She shrugged. “The driver may tell a different story. Unless you have a witness that can corroborate your story it’ll be hard to even file charges.”

On one hand, Ken understood what she was saying but it made him even angrier. “So he just gets away with it? What happens the next time? What if he swerves too close and hits me?”

“Maybe you should think about finding an alternate way to work.”

He couldn’t believe her. “I have every right to ride on the roads!”

She lifted a hand. “I need you to calm down right now.”

Ken bit his tongue before he told her what she could do. He was aware that her partner was keeping a close eye on them both. He nodded. “Okay. Fine. Thanks for the help.”

He didn’t wait for a response. He went back to his trike and sat down. He felt like hitting something or kicking but he didn’t. He got his feet clipped into the peddles and checked his mirror. The police officer was walking back to her car. Both officers were laughing. It might not be about me, he thought. Except he didn’t believe that for a second. He started pedaling in a low gear, just taking his time to get going down the road. Every now and then he checked his mirror. He was nearly to the corner before the squad car pulled out. They quickly got up to or above the speed limit and barreled past him down the road. The partner gave Ken a cheery wave as they passed. Ken felt worn out by then and didn’t wave back. He felt so sick that he wanted to turn around and go home but he had to get into work.

💀

Wednesday.

Ken almost called in sick. He felt twisted up and angry inside. He looked at his trike and remembered how it felt to glide along the road with a clear view of the scenery and the wind in his face. Out on the multi-use trails there weren’t cars. People walking waved cheerfully. Other cyclists nodded or smiled when he passed. It was a much more peaceful ride.

Trouble is the trails didn’t go to work. To get to work he had to go out on the roads. And even with the bike lanes, there were still those drivers that delighted in giving cyclists a hard time. Or just oblivious drivers who acted like they couldn’t see what was right in front of their faces while they made right-hand turns without ever checking for a cyclist. And then there was PAIN. He’d had nightmares about the muscle car. Behavior like that two days in a row. Did he dare go out again on the trike? Maybe he should just walk down to the bus stop and ride the bus.

The thought just made him mad again. He remembered the officer suggesting the same thing. He had every right to ride! Was he really going to let a jerk like that stop him? What would stop them from doing this to another cyclist? He owed it to himself not to back down. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. When the driver saw that he wouldn’t be intimidated he would back off. That’s what bullies do. If you’re not afraid then it isn’t fun for them anymore.

Ken picked up his helmet and put it on. He’d ride to work today.

Out on the road, he felt good about his decision. It was a foggy day but not too much. He had on his lights so he was certainly visible even with the fog. His legs felt strong. Soon he fell into the rhythm of the ride and started to enjoy himself. Yet, even so, he kept looking in his mirror more often than usual. He listened carefully for the sounds of the muscle car coming up behind him. When he realized what he was doing he pushed harder against the pedals. He was angry. Angry with himself for letting the driver get to him. Mostly angry at the driver for making what had been a nice ride so tense.

On the same stretch of road as yesterday, he heard the sound of the muscle car behind him. It was unmistakable. His heart nearly skipped a beat at the sound of it rumbling behind him. He checked the mirror.

It was PAIN.

The muscle car grumbled and growled as it surged down the road toward him. No messing about. It swerved over until it was driving down the bike lane. The engine screamed. He means to kill me, Ken thought. He only had seconds to react. Stay in the lane. Play chicken and trust that the muscle car wouldn’t hit him. Or bail out down the slope. No time to think. It filled the mirror.

Ken wrenched the handlebars and shot down the slope, off the road toward the barbed wire fence below. He bounced and jolted out of control. The muscle car’s engine roared. He heard tires spinning on gravel and then felt gravel slamming into him like a machine gun. He hit the bottom of the slope and bounced towards the fence. He hung on. His fairing hit the barbed wire and screeched as the metal slid along the plastic. He stopped.

Every muscle in his body hurt. He twisted about and saw the fog-shrouded road above was empty. PAIN had gone. Ken yanked his feet free and got off the trike. He felt like he would burst apart. He yelled, wordlessly expressing his rage. It tore out of his throat in an eruption of noise.

💀

Thursday.

Ken gritted his teeth and pushed the pedals. The bruises from the rocks kicked up by the muscle car hurt. He still felt like yelling. At PAIN. At himself for chickening out. The driver wouldn’t have hit him. They’d have to be crazy to do that. And if they wanted to run him over they could have done it any of the times instead of driving past. Probably just some stupid kid that needed his license pulled. No more. Not again. He was staying the course. No way he’d let some idiot like PAIN force him off the road.

He rode down the bike lane alongside the parked cars. As he approached a green Ford Explorer parked on the side of the street he saw the lights come on. He coasted. Would the driver see him? Or even look this way? All he saw was the back of the woman’s head as she stared intently at traffic coming the other way.

Look this way, he thought angrily.

She didn’t turn. He had on his headlamp. He pointed it right at her window. She still didn’t look to the left and he was getting closer. She pulled part way out across the bike lane! Now she was blocking his path and hadn’t once looked in his direction despite the bright light shining in her window. Wiggling the light around didn’t seem to attract her attention. What did he have to do? He coasted right up next to the vehicle. Nothing. She still didn’t pay attention. Ken twisted his feet out of the clipless pedals. He stood up, took a step and rapped hard on her window.

She screamed and jerked in her seat as if he’d electrocuted her. She looked at him with the wide-eyed gaze of a fish.

“You’re blocking the bike lane!”

“I was just pulling out!”

“Yeah,” Ken shouted back. “And not looking in both directions at all! You could kill someone acting like that.”

“You could just wait a second!’

Idiot. No understanding of anything. Ken shook his head and went back to his trike. He sat down and she pulled out. He clipped in his shoes and started moving again. His heart was beating fast in his chest. He felt embarrassed that he had gotten so angry. Whatever else was going on that wasn’t something he liked doing. It was just so infuriating and scary how little thought people gave to cyclists.

He felt better after he got away from that street and the cars parked along the bike lane. Less danger from both sides but then he was getting near the area where he’d twice encountered PAIN. He pushed harder against the pedals and watched his speed increase. He got it up to 24 MPH and held it there. It felt like he was flying along the shoulder. On the one side the drop and the fence he’d hit yesterday. The thought made him burn more. He pushed and pushed. The trike bounced and rumbled over gravel and sped along the shoulder. Then he was past that section and back in a proper bike lane again with a sidewalk on one side and the road on the other. There hadn’t been any sign of the muscle car. He relaxed, slowed his pace and down shifted. His speed dropped.

Up ahead was a driveway into the Safeway parking lot. He didn’t see anyone coming. As he rolled in front of the driveway he heard a roar of an engine behind him to his left. He turned and had just a moment to read the word at eye-level.

PAIN.

💀

The young woman accepted the tissue Mike offered her. She sniffled and blew her nose again.

“I never saw him,” she said.

Mike looked at his pad. “Ma’am, your name please?”

“Emily Pain. I teach second grade over at Pleasant Elementary.”

“I see. I just need to get your statement, Ms. Pain. Can you tell me what happened?”

“I just was going to the store to get some juice before school. I didn’t see him at all, he was so low. I just heard that horrible noise and knew I’d hit something. I stopped right away.”

Mike glanced towards the front of the muscle car. Emergency crews were still trying to extract the cyclist pinned between the muscle car and his recumbent bike. The guy was already dead. Such a shame. He looked back at Ms. Pain.

“That’s all? You don’t have anything else to add?”

She sniffled. “No, that’s it. I’m so sorry. I can’t believe this happened.”

💀

3,300 WORDS

Author’s Note

This story is the 89th short story release, written in May 2009.

If you’re interested in longer works, feel free to check out my novels through the links in the sidebar or on the Books page. Next up is my story, Space Monkeys.

Daily Thoughts 86: Day (Not) Off

Author's selfieI’m off today. Off what? I’m not working at the library. I’m not writing. Or drawing. I took the day off from the challenges (I can take two days off each week). I missed drawing earlier this morning. I may go ahead and draw and write tomorrow.

Despite that, it hasn’t been a day off from everything. I woke late (after staying up late working on my studies). We had errands to run earlier. I’ve spent a good part of the day studying again. That’s one thing that I don’t generally get to take off. I don’t have time enough anyway, between school and work.

Legion

I did take time tonight to watch episode 3 of Legion.

I’m enjoying the show! Very interesting.

Daily Thoughts 85: When Things Don’t Go As Planned

Author's selfieI had a plan today. I wanted to fine-tune the sequencing of my morning routines. I pictured a priority-based approach that started with getting up and going for a walk, followed by meditation, drawing, breakfast, and then getting ready for work. I’m not sure what happened, but I ran out of time along the way and didn’t eat breakfast or get anything together for lunch.

Never mind. I adapted. I stopped at the QFC on my way to work and grabbed some fruit, veggie wraps, and a snack. I stopped at the office to pick up a few things and then went on to the library in Lacey where I planned to spend the day working. After about an hour or so I got a phone call. We had folks out sick and our library in Belfair needed help. Lacking other options, I headed up there, about an hour away. The library wouldn’t close until 5:00 PM, though, so that meant adding an extra hour onto my day.

Things don’t go as planned. Make new plans. Since I had taken care of several key important things this morning (including finishing a short story during my initial morning commute), I felt better about my progress today. I still have studying and assignments to complete tonight, so I won’t be getting in bed early!

I’ll adapt.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Daily Sketch Challenge image This morning I worked on shapes again. I played around with brushes from Matt Dixon. I haven’t loaded the patterns yet. I need to go back and watch the video that accompanied the brushes again. It’s fun trying out the different brushes. In addition to simply practicing my drawing/painting techniques, I’m also working on continuing to development my understanding of, and use of, Photoshop and the other digital painting applications that I have available.

Daily Thoughts 84: Dare to (Allow Others to) Be Bad

Author's SelfieI’ve posted and/or commented on the catchphrase used by Dean Wesley Smith and Nina Kiriki Hoffman “Dare to Be Bad.” I recommend you go and read Dean’s post about it, I pull it out every so often. I think it’s a terrific lesson for any creative person to learn to have the courage to share their work. Get up off your ass and sing. Paint in public. Share your stories. Give it your best even if you fall on your face. Then do it again. Dean’s post is actually very encouraging. I want to touch on another aspect, one that I see in libraries.

Allowing Others to Be Bad

Apparently, writers should condense perfectly formed from a cloud of cigarette and alcohol vapors in front of a typewriter and pound out a soul-wrenching masterpiece. And if you can’t write that masterpiece why do you even try? Dean talks about having the courage to write and then put your work in the mail and he’s right that there are no real consequences.

Except the judgment exists. Someone tells you that they read a book, saw a movie, listened to an album, and you ask, “Was it good?”

We all do this. “You saw the Lego Batman Movie? Did you like it?”

(No, I haven’t seen it yet).

Librarians do this too, selecting materials based on the evidence available. That may be a review (by a professional reviewer). Awards. The author’s past track record and reputation. The design of the item. Community interest in the item.

That doesn’t mean that there is a universe ruler against which all things may be measured. I may love a book that the author thinks is one of their least successful books. Someone else may agree with the author. I loved the new Ghostbusters movie and would love to see the cast do another. Do you agree?

Unfortunately, this personal judgment of whether something is good or bad interferes with our creative processes. If you’re overly judgmental about other people’s creative work, it is going to be that much harder to risk judgment of your own work unless you have an unassailable ego. Or can just let it go.

I frankly don’t understand people writing savage reviews of another person’s work. It didn’t work for you? Fine. Forget about it and move on. Even if the person writing it didn’t have any skill whatsoever, consider what it took to create that work. The act of creation instructs and teaches. It “promotes social, emotional, and cognitive development.” (Love, Burns, Bruell, 2007). It starts as children, but at any age the act of writing is positive.

The library can play a role in this process by creating opportunities for people to create, connect, and engage with local content. One way we do this now is through BiblioBoard and SELF-e. BiblioBoard provides stories written by people in your community in instantly available, no waiting, no late fees, e-books. Through SELF-e, local creators submit e-books which are added to the local BiblioBoard collection and considered for the national curated collection.

Image of Timberland Author titles

BiblioBoard provides that balance between encouraging and supporting local content creation, while also highlighting notable titles. Regardless of whether or not a title works for a particular reader, it may work for someone else. And the effort is successful simply because writers share their work. The fact that someone wrote something is meaningful, it matters. You have the choice to pick up a book and start reading, and you have the choice to put it down. Encouraging others (giving them courage) is a positive attitude to take. We do it often (hopefully) with children as they learn. No one expects the kid telling a story to be as masterful as Stephen King.

Encouraging others (giving them courage) is a positive attitude to take. We do it often (hopefully) with children as they learn. No one expects the kid telling a story to be as masterful as Stephen King. I’d love to reach that skill level with my craft. I’m still learning. Encourage others to be daring. Maybe by doing so you’ll be encouraged as well, with whatever you want to try.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Sketch for daily challengeAgain, talking about daring to be bad, this morning I decided to practice some fundamentals, simple shapes, and shading.

I like this ‘page-a-day’ sort of format for the sketch. The default template I created is 800×800 pixels. The small space gives me a focus that I like. I’m less tempted to try and do more with it than I can in the time available. I think keeping the sessions short also helps, though I do plan to gradually increase the time when possible, but I want to keep these fairly short. I probably won’t go over 10 minutes with the sketch challenge. If I want to work on something longer it will be independent of the challenge.

I could do all of this and not share any of it. I certainly don’t have to record it and put it up on YouTube. But I also see the creative process as something that should be shared.

Create. Share. Repeat.

Harder than it looks!

Daily Thoughts 83: Operation 451, Superheroes, and Librarians

Author's selfieWho is the hero—Clark Kent or Superman?  I think a show about Kent could be interesting, one in which the whole business of stopping crooks, fighting monsters, and catching missiles is a distraction from his true calling as an investigative journalist.

Consider Smallville, which was about Kent growing up and getting to the point where he becomes Superman. It had that potential, except everything in his ‘real’ life ended up being a mask for all of the superhero activity. Imagine instead that the story is about an investigative journalist who is driven by ideals of truth and justice, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press. Okay, so the journalist has some special powers (super hearing, x-ray vision, speed, and that whole bullet-proof thing), but is really a driven professional who sees the whole superhero side as a frustrating distraction. One who cares about relationships, friends, and family. One that struggles with the ethical dilemmas of having these abilities. I think that could be an interesting story!

It also gets to some basic questions. Investigating and reporting on the truth potentially impacts and shapes the human conversation. It is something that librarians share with journalism, this adherence to facts and truth.

#LibrariansResist

There are real-life heroes. Librarians have mobilized, as Lisa Peet reports for Library Journal on a whole bunch of librarian/heroes including Rebecca McCorkindale, who created a viral storm with her inclusive artwork. Sarah Houghton and Andy Woodworth created Operation 451, which just launched Mission4—focused on the 4th article of the Library Bill of Rights.

“Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.” – Library Bill of Rights, Article IV

One of the things that I love about all of these efforts is that they didn’t wait for approval. They care about these topics and went with the ideas. A lot has been written about the impact of the recent U.S. election, and it has had a mobilizing effect on many people. These issues aren’t limited to this election, the 45th President of the United States, or this country. I appreciate that the same point appeared on the Operation 451 blog. I’ve had that discussion before with librarians. Do you think something should be done differently? Is it something that requires your administration’s approval, or is it something that you can do on your own?

It might be easier to do some things on work time. It also might not be legal or appropriate. Sometimes it’s much easier to tackle things outside of your job, on your own.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Morning sketchThis morning was one of those days when it seemed like I didn’t have time to get in any drawing. As it turned out, I just needed to allow myself that 5 minutes. Surely, I could afford 5 minutes? I’d like to spend more time, but I could at least do that much. It doesn’t take too long. I managed to do my quick sketch and then headed out to work.

Writing Challenge

I also continued the writing challenge today, adding another 637 words to the story. I’ve been coming in a bit higher than the 400 words planned. My main point, though, is the consistent habit 5 days out of the week. Each day is a new day, with a 400-word goal.

Daily Thoughts 82: Talking to People, Drawing, and Writing

Author's selfieTonight I attended the regular Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees meeting. It’s an opportunity for the public to have input with their trustees. That doesn’t often happen. Tonight we did hear from Cheryl Fambles of the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development council. They heard about ways that TRL can work with PacMtn, including an initial partnership on providing Chromebooks for job seekers in the libraries in Pacific County.

Talking to People

While on my morning walk this morning I listened to an audiobook about talking to people. It’s a challenge faced by writers as well as librarians. So many of us are introverted by nature, which is interesting when considering that both are focused on other people. Writers explore the inner life of their characters. Librarians reach out to help everyone. Yet many of us find it difficult to simply talk to people. It reminds me that I need to make an effort in both arenas to talk to new people. Something else to work on going forward.

400-Word Challenge

2017 Writing Pledge BannerThis morning I continued working on the story I started yesterday, Lost Book. I ended up writing 633 words, more than yesterday because I was resuming a story already started. That makes it easier. I’m having fun with the story. It feels good to get something written. I’m still not done with this story, so I’ll continue to chip away at it. I’m having fun.

Daily Sketch Challenge
Today's daily sketch of a frog

This morning, before heading off to the library, I took another five minutes to do my daily sketch. I went a little bit over my time. I was thinking this morning about how it doesn’t have to be perfect. The point is to have fun and practice, building the habit of drawing each day. This could be a warm-up exercise on days when I have more time, or on days like today it may be all that I end up drawing.

Daily Thoughts 81: Challenges Day One

Author's selfie I got to spend time in Olympia today. This was my library to go to as a college student. I’ve had opportunities to work here over the years including acting as the Circulation Supervisor during one transition and as the Library Manager during another. I enjoy having the chance to spend time in this library!

Sketch Challenge

Daily sketch for 2/21/2017I started my daily sketch challenge this morning and recorded it as I worked. It’s funny what thoughts immediately boil up to the surface of my mind about what disclaimers to put on this video. All the ways that we tell ourselves you’re not very good. Maybe that’s true (see, there’s one). My point in doing the challenge is simply to do it. To put in the time. To practice.

Can I seriously not make five minutes for drawing each day? Has my life gotten that busy? I hope not.

Writing Challenge

2017 Writing Pledge BannerI also started the 400-word challenge this morning and ended up with 457 words after redrafting my dictation. Dictating is just like sitting down to a blank page. I basically talked to myself, brainstorming until I came up with an idea that I liked. I based the idea on the Wizardly Librarians game concept. I thought it might be fun to set a story in that universe. I picked one of the characters from the game and started a short, simple story. It isn’t done. I’m curious to see where it goes. Tomorrow!

Daily Thoughts 80: Game Videos Posted and Other Challenges

Author's Selfie I’ve had a busy weekend! This morning I enjoyed an opportunity to play test my game Wizardly Librarians with my victims (family). The play testing showed clear areas for improvement in the game. I filmed the test. The result (speeded up) is posted on the website at Shush Games. I also posted an introduction to the gameplay and some more images of card text. In the next iteration, I need to spend time working on the cards. It’s too difficult to add titles right now. That won’t be soon. I’ve got too much to do—including developing more games for upcoming assignments!

400-Word Challenge

2017 Writing Pledge Banner The 400-word writing challenge starts tomorrow. I plan to dictate on the drive to work. At this point I’m tracking manually with the spreadsheet template I’ve used in the past. I’ll post updates in my daily thoughts post, and track progress in the sidebar. I want to track the streak in terms of weeks, the number of weeks in a row in which I write 400 words for 5 days out of the week. I can take two days off each week, they don’t have to be sequential. Since I plan to dictate I should be able to meet the goal. I may not always have time to redraft what I dictate. We’ll see.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Artwork for 2017 sketching pledgeDo I need another challenge? No. Am I going to try another challenge? Yes. Crazy? Maybe. I know I have more than enough to do. The thing is—

It doesn’t have to be perfect.

I’m not doing this to produce finished drawings. I may not spend more than a couple minutes on a sketch. It could be a sketch of anything. A pencil. A rock. Shapes. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to sketch something and stop. I’m keeping the sketches small. No bigger than that challenge image. Template for sketch challengeIn fact, I’m going to use it as the template (minus my drawing of our dog). I’ll put the date at the bottom of each and share them here. It’ll give me a consistent frame in which to work on the challenge. Same rules as the writing challenge: draw 5 days each week, for 50 weeks. It’ll be a good practice to get out of my way and stop worrying about whether or not a sketch looks good. I’ll start it tomorrow as well.