I blinked and already it’s the middle of the year. I don’t know what I did for the past six months but I’m sure it was nothing worthwhile.
Anyway. It’s been about a month since I wrote an Epistolary post and although my life is still the same mind-numbing bore that it was in the 4th post, I suppose I can dredge up a couple of things to talk about here. Naturally, this post is going to talk about three things that I love: books, writing, and dogs.
So let’s just jump into it.
Good bye Book Ban
At some point in the beginning of the year I made myself swear to keep it chill with the new book purchases. At least until I can make some progress on my TBR shelf. Well, since I’ve been reading a lot this year, I’ve inevitably started to run out of unread books, something that I very nearly forgot what was like. Oh, my TBR shelves are still quite stuffed but where before I had to double stack every space available, now I have enough room to display most of my anticipated reads in an orderly manner.
All of that, I admit, is just a flimsy excuse because I sort of kind of lost my will to uphold my book ban this summer. I don’t know how it happened but every time I go to the mall, I wander over to the nearest bookstore, several minutes pass and before I know it – through no fault of my own – I’m carrying a bundle of books over to the checkout area. It’s like I was possessed.
In my very weak defense, local bookstores weren’t exactly making it any easier for me either. In April, almost all major bookstores had these insane sales that really had no business being so enticing. I’m torn between thankful not to live in the capital where the sales were even more rampant and ridiculous or regretful for all the books that could have been mine if only proximity wasn’t an issue. Honestly, I’m leaning more to the former as my love for books isn’t equal to the amount reflected in my bank account.
The first time I truly slipped in my book ban was sometime in April. I was at the mall after finishing up a previous unrelated engagement when, for old time’s sake, I decided to check out the claustrophobic little Book Sale. I got myself three books and thought to myself that that was all the books I’d get that day. I still had my senses about me when I thought that. I promptly lost them when I stumbled into National Bookstore and realized – with glee and dread – that the sale was still ongoing and some books were marked down as low as 70% off. What happened next was a blur. I left the place with a hole in my wallet and a paper bag that was bursting with books.
The next time I slipped wasn’t on one fateful day but over the course of May. No matter how many times I told myself that there were no books for me in a given bookstore, the Universe scoffs in my general direction and plops down a book (or two… or three) that I had even forgotten I was looking for. I’m being taunted after so many months of staying strong. I’d be mad if I didn’t get so many books out of it.
A prime example was my very latest book purchase. I went into Fully Booked not expecting much yet I walked out of there clutching an armload of books. Two books in particular were ones I hadn’t really thought I’d find in local stores. I’d ordered a copy of Descendant of the Crane but hadn’t gotten word from the bookstore so I assumed it wasn’t available yet but there it stood by the other hardbacks. And Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle has been on my want-to-read books for close to a decade. The fact that I got the exact version I wanted was unreal.
After so many slip-ups, my book ban just refuses to hold. The best that I can do is to loosen it ever so slightly. I won’t go on a mad book buying binge but I’ll try to exercise self-control. For the sake of my bank account, at the very least.
Hello New WIP
I’ve talked about this over a dozen times here in this blog but I dropped my first ever serious attempt at writing a novel sometime at the end of last year. That little novel of mine was the most I’ve ever worked on a story. It had like 60k words and 16 chapters – I had never had a WIP that made it that far before. Unfortunately, the story had a lot of fundamental problems that I, in my blissful ignorance and rush to get to writing, neglected to address at the very beginning so when I was nearing the midpoint of the story, I was essentially writing in circles. Fixing the gaping holes meant that I had to upend the whole story entirely so I decided on dropping the story and taking a break from writing fiction to get my act together.
So here I am now, not necessarily with my act together but more or less much better equipped than I was last year. Not only have I been reading a lot of writing books (and taking extra careful notes because if I learned nothing from pre-med it’s how to take neat notes), I’ve also been collecting possible story ideas. After nearly eight months of storywriting hiatus, I think I have a pretty sizable cache of possibilities that I’m quite excited to explore soon.
It was tempting to just redo my original first draft but I didn’t want to be confined to just that one idea. Sure, that story idea has a soft spot in my heart (and several notebooks dedicated for the worldbuilding and magic system) but I wanted to expand my horizon. I will revisit that first draft of mine though. I haven’t even thought about it for months so when I’ll reread it, it’ll most likely feel like the first time I set my eyes on it. I’m pretty sure I’ll hate every waking moment of it but I’m open to getting a good laugh out of it.
Basically, this month I’m going to start seriously working on my next WIP. Am I ready? Nope, not especially. But then again, I never will be until I start writing.
A little Pupdate
Last March, one of our dogs was ran over the night she had just finished giving birth. It was a tragic event for many reasons and, despite our best efforts at keeping the surviving pups warm and fed, we were only able to save one in the end. Lany was the pup that was the most determined to live and now, nearly four months later, she’s doing exceptionally well.
Here’s what Lany looks like now. She’s still on the scrawny side and her ears are growing faster than the rest of her but she’s thriving no less.
One thing we found out like a month or so ago was that Lany’s left eye has this cloudy circle covering her pupil. We don’t think she can see all that well (or at all) with that eye. She’s not very bothered by it although she does bump into things when she gets excited and careless. The vet told us to wait on it for a bit, in case the cloudiness will just go away over time, but it hasn’t. We’re gonna have the vet look at it again on Lany’s next appointment. I just hope that her eye doesn’t cause her any pain.
My parents are still kind of adamant at not having a dog inside but my sisters and I are conspiring to convince them that having Lany indoors is better for everyone. We haven’t had an indoor dog since Bubbles passed four years ago, you see. Lany may not be the prettiest dog – or the most photogenic – but she does seem to be quite clever. House training her probably won’t be too hard once she’s old enough to really understand what’s what. If Lany turns out to be a bigger pup than we expect – and her mother was tall-ish – it’s gonna be a bit trickier to get my parents to keep her indoors. But I guess only time will tell.