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Friday, June 09, 2006

Does Zappos.com count as procrastinating?

While the answer to this question may seem obvious, I encourage you to look beneath the surface and consider the vast array of off-topic experiences writers call research. Like getting my first Mystic Tan over the weekend (tips: don't try breathing DHA, and make sure you give yourself a good rubbing to avoid streaks). Or trolling for podcasts. Or, of course, shoe shopping. This is research, people, I swear! Well, maybe not the shoe shopping part. But wearing the shoes definitely counts.

Reading is certainly one of the most enjoyable forms of research. I am lucky enough to belong to not one but two book clubs: one that reads the latest and greatest in YA with a view to making our own writing better (right now we're reading Deb Caletti's Wild Roses), and the other a diverse group of women who read an equally diverse collection of books. Even as I type, I am surrounded by SPL's impressive collection of reading material. I am humbled under the shadow of Dickens, Donne, Eco, Emerson. Would Eco get a Mystic Tan? If one of his characters required it, I'm willing to bet he would.

I didn't get much writing done last week, but what I did write tapped into something. I think. I read it to my writing gurus, and they had some fabulous suggestions. An endowed object...a secret boy whose description does not match reality...all of this serving to uncover the truth of the story beneath my scrabblings, like Michelangelo chipping away at the rock to release the figure it was always meant to be. A palimpsest (what a great word). Wax on, wax off. Just keep going.

Ok, so I do procrastinate. Often. But it's for a good cause. I've been chipping away at the old website, trying to uncover what it was meant to be. The poor thing was necrotized from neglect, in line for carbon dating, its new kidney number almost up. It still has a long way to go (content?), but at least the structure and graphics are almost in place. I still can't figure out how to code a hover button, but I'm determined and am willing (well, not exactly willing) to lose sleep over it. Stay tuned. In the meantime, excuse me while I procrastinate from web design and go write more Brimstone Soup.


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