Monthly Archives: February 2006

About Owls’ Court

Why does Owls’ Court exist? Why do I keep a journal? Why is it online?

Owls’ Court is all about musing — inspiration, exploring what makes people do what they do, how I see life and the people around me; how I make sense of life through creativity; and some good old-fashioned working out stuff that I’m trying to get a handle on through writing. It’s also about having fun, and staying in touch – with myself, and with others.

Here’s some of my thoughts on the subject, taken from various posts over the years.

February 12, 2006:

Yes, we at the Court have now been journaling online for four years. It’s the longest I’ve ever kept any sort of steady diary-type thing. (I’m not counting my spiritual journals; those are an ongoing record of spiritual work, and they’re more like workbooks to me.)

I began it as a simple method of making myself write regularly. If there were people out there who were reading it, I reasoned, then I’d feel more apt to update. In addition, it provided me with a place to think aloud. Contrary to the reason why some people blog, I don’t journal publicly for comments or to create dialogue. I journal publicly to keep myself honest. Yes, there have been times where I’ve gone over old entries and wondered what on earth I could have been thinking at the time, but more often than not I’ve been amused at a turn of phrase, reminded of a deeply emotional moment, or been able to shore up my memory as to what was happening in my life at any given time. It’s a place to celebrate, to explore, to vent, and to create. It’s casual, not formal; it’s me, not a marketing tool. I’m fond of it.

It’s been invaluable in helping pinpoint my obstacles during the writing process, and more importantly, the process of rewriting and how I handle edits of my work. I can log accomplishments, complain through the hard bits, and at the end post triumph. I can’t deny weakness or failure if I’ve journaled it either. Acknowledging even the less desirable parts of me as seen through past entries has taught me a lot, too.

I’ve met some really fabulous people, deepened friendships with acquaintances, and learned a lot about myself. Here’s to our fourth anniversary, little owlies; may we have many, many more.

February 2005:

I blog for a variety of reasons:

It keeps me honest. As a writer, I have to remind myself that a book appearing once a year means that readers only see what I think once a year. A daily web log makes me write every day, and makes me write things that are important to me every day, and write things which other people will read every day. Even if I just comment on my mood, I make sure it’s professional to some degree. I want to keep contact with my readers, and a web journal is an extended method of doing this.

It keeps me focused on who I am. I blog about what’s important to me, what amuses me, or what’s occupying my mind. Sometimes I get conversation in return, sometimes not. I don’t blog for the comments, I blog to work my ideas out. (Not necessarily ideas for writing, but most often ideas about writing.) My journal allows me to explore issues in a structured fashion. And, also related to the previous reason, I write them in such a way that it’s “publishable” without going through without going through the process of finding a market for a 300-word piece on the subject of whatever’s on my mind that day.

I blog as a method of staying in touch with friends and family. I’ve also met dozens of wonderful new friends via my weblog and/or theirs.

I blog to keep a record of my progress through various situations. I find it extremely useful to be able to look back and see what I was working on at any given time, how I felt about it, and what sort of challenges I faced. I find it fascinating to read the online journals of other authors and artists as they work through a project, and I imagine that I have readers like this, too. Again, it has to with documenting the process of creation. (Can you tell I find the creative process fascinating?)

I find personal journals more interesting than the weblogs of companies which detail news and upcoming releases. I think the format of weblogs allows individuals the opportunity to re-examine the concept of personal expression. And while it’s true that the format of a weblog means that anyone and everyone with varying degrees of skill at self-expression can post stuff (and yes, there’s a lot of dreck and wasted space out there), it also means that people who may otherwise not have had the opportunity to express themselves in a semi-public fashion can share their ideas.

February 12, 2002 (the launch day):

Who am I? Goodness, you’re all just so thirsty for knowledge, aren’t you. Ten points to you all.

“Who” is just so subjective, don’t you think? Who I am changes daily, what with cells replacing themselves, ideas evolving, new skills acquired, old skills falling by the wayside´┐Ż

So instead, I’ll toss out a semi-random spray of info; little packets that you can assemble into whatever order you like and construct your own mental version of the Author.

I love owls, and foxes. My home is decorated with blades and Pre-Raphaelite prints. I’ve played the cello since 1994, and I currently play with the Lakeshore Chamber Orchestra. I work in a bookshop. I possess a Magisteriate in English Literature. I love fountain pens, and dip pens are my newest experiment. I dislike being rushed, and being told I should or shouldn’t do something is the most direct route to making sure I will not/will do it (or at least consider not doing it). I like being outside, but bugs diminish the enjoyment. Rowan trees are nifty. So is mythology, and spirituality, and metaphysics. Rain is fun. Floods are not. Good friends are invaluable, and I have a bunch of them, some who are new, some who have been around for over a decade. Ravenclaw, not Gryffindor. Sometimes I can be in a crowded room and be quite alone. Then again, sometimes I can be in an empty room and be overcome by companionship. Star Wars, not Star Trek (but Trek’s okay too). Not enough people are taught Shakespeare properly. Jane Austen rules. The Bard is the most under-appreciated character in any AD&D campaign.

Oh, and be ye warned — books will show up a lot as a topic. We’ll focus on why some other time, or else my work of the day will lie untouched and management will gently ask why the heck they’re paying me.

One Story: Check

[reposted from the Great mySQL Disaster of 2006)

HRH went out gaming tonight. I sat down at the computer once he was gone and I’d tidied up a bit: handled email, checked news, did a bit of research, and wished I could be working on Swan Sister, but I wasn’t in the mood to slog through the warmup only to be ready for bed when I reached the point where things flowed. Nor was I particularly keen on opening one of the other novels to work on one of those, because I wanted to do something finite.

So I pulled out the story postcards I had. Alas, I’d used all of them: they all have big orange checkmarks on them.

But I remembered one that I hadn’t used, one that’s somewhere in a manila envelope or a file of stuff that was on my bulletin board by my desk in the last apartment. Longtime readers will remember the story postcard Neil Gaiman sent me with a phrase about a never-ending line of people written on it with a fountain pen filled with green ink. I made rather a fuss about it at the time.

So I opened a new Word file and wrote a 1,143 word short story beginning with that image of a long line of people snaking off into the distance.

It doesn’t have a title yet. At the moment the file is called “Gaiman postcard”.

Whether I like it or not tomorrow is immaterial. I like it now, both for what I did with it (plain, simple) and how I wrote it (I just did it, in a single hour).

And HRH has just come home with ice cream, since I’d indicated a desire to have some earlier only to discover that he’d finished it last night.

No, wait, I think I have a title: Next. Oh, yes; that’s perfect. That makes it 1,144 words, thank you very much.

Now: ice cream, and bed.

~ Originally posted by Autumn at February 9, 2006 11:27 PM

Comments:

Way to go!
Posted by: Kino Kid at February 9, 2006 11:46 PM

Hey, I’m just reading your post on NaNoEdMo! How’s that for synchronicity?
Posted by: Owldaughter at February 9, 2006 11:47 PM

Er. What I ought to have said first is, Thank you!
Posted by: Owldaughter at February 9, 2006 11:50 PM

Woohoo! Go Arin!
Posted by: Ceri at February 10, 2006 09:09 AM

Full of awesome!
Posted by: Maia AP at February 11, 2006 02:35 AM