Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Stick a fork in Chapter 1

15 June 2004

3447 words.

    3447 df-chap-01.txt
     389 df-chap-02.txt
    1139 df-chap-03.txt
     368 df-chap-05.txt
     523 df-chap-07.txt
    5866 total

Read More

Lunch Writer

15 June 2004

Finally got some uninterrupted time to work on Chapter 1. Yesterday was pretty fragmented.

New word count is 3310, which is coming along nicely. I keep twiddling with what was written before. I sitll think it’s a bit lean, and I’m having problems figuring out how to carry on some conversations without seeming too repetitive, but other than that, I’m happy with its progress.

Good novel, here’s a biscuit.

Read More

Sunday Wrapup

13 June 2004

Even though it’s 2 a.m. on Monday, I feel pretty much everything I did was on Sunday.

What I’ve accomplished:

Deep Fried Chapter 1 now stands at 3132 words. I fixed some logic errors in it, which was pretty cool. 🙂

The bigger win, though was in writing the first draft of my abstract for a technical paper, which required researching the required format, reading up on other papers I’d downloaded, and writing a grand total of 86 words. Given that I could have had a 100-word abstract, I’ll re-proof it in the morning and send it out.

I have a couple of packages to send off tomorrow, and I also have the day off. The day will be spent mostly on getting the abstract polished and a few stories in the mail. Right now, I’m not quite sure how many I’ve got out — it’s been that hectic lately. Only my database knows for sure. 🙂

Read More

Crossing Jordan

07 June 2004

Opening bit from the pilot. I loved it for its quick characterization of Jordan and her issues. 🙂

“So, Jordan, what brings you to our anger management workshop today?”

“Well, I was, uh, remanded here by my place of employment. I kicked my boss in the cojones. He kinda found that to be a problem. See, I had this guy’s brain in my hand when my boss asked me one of his patronizing questions — oh, and speaking of, I prefer Dr. Kavanagh — and, like I said, I had this guy’s brain in my hands so I couldn’t very well punch him, right?”

Blank stares from rest of workshop participants.

“I’m uh medical examiner for the county coroner’s office. I cut up dead people for a living. It’s a great way to manage your anger, man.”

“I see. And just what are you angry at, Dr. Kavanagh?”

“Besides inane questions?”

Read More

Stupid Dialogue

09 August 2002

Woke up early today. The beginning of Chapter 20 has some especially stupid dialogue, but I’m leaving it for now.
I’m really making some great novel progress and some headway into post-Clarion life. Today is a “sort stuff out” day, to deal with all the little pieces of paper that need to be filed and stuff like that. Not my favorite activity, but something that needs doing.

Read More

Chugging Along

06 August 2002

Well, I’ve been chugging along and happy with my progress. My secondary character has taken to complicating the plot unduly, which is always wonderful (tends to happen in my work about 2/3 of the way through, so he’s right on schedule). In my case, I learn about my characters by writing about them — eventually they come around and talk on their own accord. I think it’s a bit like people being camera-shy at first when they’re being filmed all the time. Eventually, they get over it.

Read More

No Jury Duty

05 August 2002

Up to 31 pages on the novel. Am going out to breakfast in a few minutes as a reward for progress. Yay.
It’s not me struggling either — I have genuinely built up more steam and enthusiasm now that I’m 75k into the work.
I woke up this morning, believing I had jury duty, but I’d checked the information for the wrong courthouse. So I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Read More

Life Changes

03 August 2002

Been busy writing. I’ve written 23 pages on my novel since Clarion and started another story. I haven’t yet started revising anything since it was my goal to complete the first draft of a new story first. I went to a seminar on life changes, one that was pretty “out there” as these things go, but it was a lot of fun, and clarified some things for me. Plus, most of all, it made me feel comfortable that I don’t have all the answers right now or know everything.

Read More

Mileposts Home

31 July 2002

My last postcard, sent from Kansas, arrived today, a week after it was sent. The post card for Missouri, sent from the same box, arrived two days earlier. I’d meant to post mileage markers, because I thought that was interesting. I didn’t start keeping them, but every 100 miles along the way, I’d note what town I was in. So, here’s the list: 22 July, leave East Lansing, dinner in Bloomington, drive to east of St. Louis, MO. 23 July, start east of St. Louis, MO 1000 Topeka, KS 1100 Selina, KS 1200 Hays, KS 1300 Mingo, KS 1400 Stratton, CO 1500 Strasburg, CO 24 July 1600 Georgetown, CO 1700 Glenwood Springs, CO 1800 Grand Junction, CO 1900 Green River UT (excellent little restaurant there) 2000 Salina, UT 2100 Provo, UT 2200 West end of Salt Lake 25 July 2300 Halfway between Wendover, UT and Wells, NV 2400 East Carlin, NV 2500 Winnemucca, NV 2600 US 95 Junction, NV 2700 Truckee, CA 2800 Sacramento, CA 2900 San Mateo, CA Total miles: 2920 from East Lansing.

Read More

Ode to a Jeep

19 February 2001

In 1997, during the darkest, bleakest period of my life (being recently widowed at the time), I did something especially sensible: I bought a brand-new Jeep Cherokee, allowing my late husband’s Toyota Camry, called Frankencar (because it was built from the carcasses of three dead Camrys) to go to its final resting place.
Now, despite all the anti-SUV mania around, the Jeep was an immensely practical car for me at the time: I lived in Vermont, where 4 wheel drive is more of a necessity than a luxury. I wanted to believe that I’d be getting back into woodworking, so I wanted something that I could lay plywood flat in. Believe it or not, most SUV openings are less than 48″ wide, even if only by a little bit. Weird, since a lot of people haul 4′ x 8′ sheets of drywall or plywood or something.
While I could have bought a truck, I also wanted something I could haul other people in. Since the Jeep spent a lot of time with three or more people in it, that was probably a very good choice.
At the time I bought the Jeep, I was underemployed and technically homeless, staying at a friend’s while in transition. I bought it with the spoils from a client who’d tried to cheat me (such a lovely thing to try to pull on the newly widowed, no?) and as a representation of something in my life that I could depend on. For I had lost everything I cared about. The other thing that came out of that was the money for Odyssey, a fiction writing workshop. This pair of expenditures (and their funding source) was a symbol of my toughness, my refusal to give up despite having lost everything.
Until I sold my Jeep the other day, I didn’t realize how much it meant to me. And, ironically, I wouldn’t have realized how much it meant to me if I hadn’t remarried.
Last week was Valentine’s Day and, though I’d been married before, it was the first one I celebrated while married. No fault of my husband’s, but it was a lousy day. First of all, I was on edge all day. I knew I was on edge, but I thought it was because I’d been ill, or because I was tired, or because my job was a source of stress. But I’d be wrong about all of those. In fact, it was simply a) that the first time I was married, my husband died before our first V-day as a married couple and b) we’d been married five months when he died. Getting remarried in September, well, guess what day that magic interval fell on? Right. The same time between the first marriage and my husband’s sudden death from a stroke was the same interval between the date of my second marriage and V-day.
Or, as I joked with a friend, the first husband hadn’t made it to Valentine’s day so I’d married later in the year this time.
So, after the end of Valentine’s Day, I started feeling a weight lift off of me. Part of me couldn’t really LIVE until after “the day” had passed when I’d been married longer than I had the first time. And, during the last six weeks, that “waiting for the other shoe to drop” really took its toll. I knew it was there, I just didn’t know what it was. I can only describe it in acoustic terms: it’s like some annoying noise, like someone clawing on a chalkboard, has started out so slowly and increased over time so much that you aren’t aware of the noise, only the irritation it brings. And then, suddenly, the noise stops and you look around and go, “I put up with that for HOW long?”
It had gotten worse since I got back from my grad school (MA in Writing Popular Fiction) residency. There’s a long story to that, but basically my late husband was jealous of my skills as a fiction writer and subtly sabotaged them. He’d make innocent remarks like, “Well, obviously YOU’RE the novelist in the family,” but the intonation was clear. Not long after we started living together in 1994, I stopped writing fiction. After he died, I thought I’d never write again. Then I went on anti-depressants and felt differently. I wrote a story and was admitted to Odyssey, a six-week science fiction writing workshop. I did it to prove to myself that I could still write. I wrote while there and proved it to myself, but there was something still missing. I found it really difficult to write fiction, difficult in a way I hadn’t before. In September 2000 I wrote a story that I knew was good. Not perfect, but better than others I’d done. I was admitted into grad school, but when I came back from the residency, I was honestly terrified: write a novel in two years?
This is ironic: I used to write trash novels for pay before meeting my late husband—they took me, on average, six to eight weeks. I’ve also written four technical books. I know how to do it, I know I can do it, but some part of me was afraid I couldn’t do it now. I literally sat there and shook over it for a while.
Last night, looking around me, my long-time obsession with knitting suddenly made sense to me: it was something safe to excel at, something that my late husband wouldn’t be jealous about. Woodworking was sort of taboo because it was a “guy thing.” Computers he hated, though I later found out that was a posture that he hadn’t expressed before. I was good at them, thus he had to dislike them. You see how these calculations go. Well, in order to live with them, I sabotaged myself. People do that, often without realizing. I just didn’t know how to end the sabotage.
And then I knew that I still had a tie to that bleak period: the car. I’d been planning on getting another car, not for a reason that made sense to me, but suddenly I understood the logic. Well, OK, not suddenly, but I understood it after I actually parted with the car. I needed to cut the tie between the old life and the new in order to really feel like I wasn’t just marking time but was actually living. So, Friday night, not actually planning to buy a new car, I came home with one. A nice one, with leather seats even. I’d been to three dealerships that day and finally one of them made me a deal I could live with, one I was actually enthused about.
Then the roof fell in, metaphorically speaking. Everything I’d been holding off came up and sandbagged me. I had a lousy weekend, despite having a nice new car and a wonderful drive with the family. Suddenly, I’m able to concentrate on work, fiction writing, and all sorts of other things. Weird, huh?
So I’m late on my first grad school submission. I was being really hard on myself for being a bit too frozen to write quickly. I’ve been working on it, just hadn’t gotten the word count on what I was supposed to be writing. I did, however, manage to write an out-of-genre short story during the six weeks. However, now that the noise has stopped, I think it’ll be a whole lot easier. Not just writing, but living.
The Jeep had a lot of interesting memories: driving with friends to go listen to open mic nights in Vermont in winter; driving around Odyssey, especially going food shopping with my Orthodox roommate Naomi; driving across Flagstaff in an El Nino whiteout with three screaming cats when the only thing I could find on the radio was a Fresh Air interview with Marilyn Manson (the cats having tired of Herb Alpert, the only tape I’d packed); visiting my stepmother in Albuquerque; driving up to San Francisco to visit my now-husband Rick only to find my car vandalized; driving through ice storms; overheating the brakes crossing over Yosemite to visit my dad.
The Jeep was a total champ. In four years and 86,000 miles, the only things I had to do (other than the routine maintenance) were change the tires and have one brake job. During that period of my life when I couldn’t even rely on myself, the Jeep was a source of stability in my life. May its next owner appreciate it the way I did.

Read More