Howdy, there. It has been a while since I’ve done any blogging, but in my defense, things have been and continue to be ultra busy. I thought it was about time that I hopped on and gave an update, although I really can’t update on some things that are potentially in the works, so there may be more updates to come on that front.
As for life, it’s been hectic and great. I finally finished my craft paper, which was the last hold up in getting my MFA done. I started the paper in 2016 (yikes, I know!), but I ended up with bronchitis related to office construction, and I didn’t get it done before my graduation ceremony in 2017. Then, I had an outstanding balance at FDU from the last semester so needed to pay that off before I could get that last credit done. So, payoff done! Paper done! Thesis already approved! And now for formal graduation!
Part of the hold up with Ocularum was a certain guilt related to not getting my craft paper done. Now that my very last open item with my MFA is finished, I feel considerably better about getting back to work on my second novel, which is about 75,000 words done.
In other areas of my life, I have started designing knitwear patterns, and I have two patterns written, with one sample done and the other almost finished. I am in the process of finding a technical editor and getting professional photographs lined up for the patterns, and then they will be released on a separate site (aliaknits.com). I also have two other design ideas bouncing around in my head as well.
I feel incredibly lucky to have made some of the best female friends and inspirations of my life over the last 5 years, both in my business and legal sphere and in my personal creativity sphere. Each pattern I have written or envisioned so far has reminded me of a woman in my life and her quirks and qualities. So, for now, at least, all of my designs will be named after amazing and inspiring women I personally know! The first one is named after my mother, Egilda, who taught me to knit and who loves large shawls with strong geometry. The second after my friend Heather, who is a true multipotentialite and the perfect namesake for a convertible design.
Maybe if I can think of a garment truly beautiful and poetic while being built on a dystopican horror show, I will name it after Margaret Atwood, but I definitely am not there yet in my design process. Ha!
Apart from lawyering and businessing (yeah, not a word) and writing knitting patterns and finishing my craft paper, I am preparing to travel to Ireland next month, and I am very, very excited. I will be bringing a great camera with a 28mm wide lens with me and hope to capture the amazing landscapes and scenes in Killarney, Galway, Inis Oirr, and Dromoland. After that, I likely will have additional travel this year in one way or another for which I plan to really enjoy photography.
I will also be headed to New Jersey in August for the FDU alumni residency and am slated to speak to my fellow writers about some of the legal issues in writing… both craft and rights management, as of the writing of this post. I’m looking forward to seeing almost everyone!
It would be really nice if I could get my initial draft of Ocularum done by then, but we will see. It’s one of my major goals for this year, apart from designing my first patten (check – goal complete) and finishing my MFA (check – goal complete).
As far as reading, I haven’t been getting as much reading done as I would like. I was crushed to hear of the death of Ursula K. Le Guin earlier this year. She will always be one of the titans of science fiction for me. I recently finished her non-fiction book Words Are My Matter, and it was fantastic and poignant (as I really felt like I was getting to have a conversation with her but as I read it, I knew that would never be a possibility). I am also reading the book Pachinko, a novel recommended by a dear friend, and that has been fantastic, although I need to pick it up and finish it. It’s about a Korean family in the time between WWI and WWII during the Japanese occupation of Korea. As someone who’s studied a lot of Japanese history, it’s interesting to see it from another perspective. I have gotten some of the Chinese perspective from Haruki Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicle, which delves into the Japanese army in Manchuria and some of the atrocities committed there, but the Korean perspective is so interesting.
Still, I am way behind if my goal this year is to read 50 books. I’m hoping that I will get some books finished during my Ireland trip! I have also been watching some photography lessons on Amazon Prime. I have taken a number of classes in the past, starting back in college when we still shot film and developed everything in the lab, but it’s been a long time since I’ve bothered to shoot manual, and I’m looking forward to a camera with advanced manual controls, so I wanted brush up on the interworking of the exposure triangle. And now, I’m super excited for my new camera to get here.
So, as a final update, I’ve been trying to expand my writing to creative non-fiction as well as get more pro-active about submitting my critical pieces and other writings. I’ve long wanted to write personal essays, but David Sedaris just makes it so hard for me to feel like I could even do what he does. I wrote my first CNF piece last year after a personal incident that affected me greatly. I submitted it to a few magazines and sites, and it was declined by all, but I recently learned that it was a finalist for the Malahat Review’s Creative Non-Fiction Prize, so that spurred me to submit it to other places. Hopefully, I will hear some good news in the coming months. I’ve also submitted my craft paper around, and I have already started to garner some interest there. So, fingers crossed on some additional publications in the coming months!
Anyway, that is all for now. Stay tuned for some hopefully great photos of Ireland to come!