First Cup of Coffee – July 11, 2022

Why I don’t think of storytelling as lying, conversations with writer friends about process, achieving Inbox Zero, fitting things in, efficiencies with To Do Lists, the story muscle as a visceral thing, and why I love Romance.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Um, delicious today is Monday July Eleventh we’re full of perkitude here at Chez Kennedy Hope you are too. Um, yeah I ah. Good weekend I had a restful weekend had some good conversations with people not with all the people I meant to I reached out to a couple of friends that I owed food and conversations to say we could talk on Sunday I’m getting my life back and one said okay that should get back to me with the time. And then she never did and the other one I’m going to talk to this afternoon. Um, so I’ll keep pursuing the former and hopefully talk to the latter and then I did get to talk to another friend yesterday. Um, we had a. Virtual well I was trying to explain how it was because I told my mom that I’d had a glass of wine with my friend and she said um I assume you mean a virtual glass of wine and I was like well the wine was real but the the interface was virtual. But it was funny because my friend is also a writer and a very busy person and she was showing me a new kind of scheduling system that she’s using ah sort of an online calendar. Um, because that was partly how I had scheduled to. Have like social time with her and I I want to set up my mind the same way. Um I was using callendly before and I should do that again. So that people can like schedule social time to chat as me because I did like doing that and she was glad that I did and so were like okay. Keep this going I think she was intent on reciprocating which is very nice. So but so she’s showing me this other scheduling system that she’s using which would probably be a little much for me. It’s really cool, but one thing I’ve discovered about myself is that if I am. Too heavily scheduled I I start to feel pressed and I don’t like it but you can pick the things that you put in there. It’s kind of a cool system and so one of the things she was showing me on the sidebar she was sharing her screen on the sidebar.

You know have like lunch exercise you know email you know, along with scheduled meetings and an attempt to like handle daily things like we all do and um and it showed for that day for Sunday and on exercise it said couldn’t fit in and I started laughing. I don’t think she thought it was as funny as I did because I was like isn’t that just the way it’s like exercise couldn’t fit in even our Ai driven scheduling systems can’t figure out a way to fit in some of those things I was very amused by. She not so much it could have been that she was more focused on like trying to explain to me why the calendar couldn’t fit in exercise on that given day but I was I was going for the um, the the universal irony of the thing could not fit in it’s like writing right it’s the thing that although I hear it much less now I don’t know if it’s because where I’m at or where aspiring authors are at but you know for so long. It seemed like I would hear from people you know oh I want a book. But I can’t find the time you know what? I wonder if pandemic changed that people were like well I definitely have the time but maybe so that’s an interesting thought isn’t it anyway. Yeah writing could not fit in um because. And and that’s how this calendar is is you could set things as being um, immovable appointments and then it would shift other things which it is a cool system. You know so like if you end up having if you usually schedule lunch for noon and you end up having a meeting that goes till twelve thirty it’ll shift lunch down. Um, so I mean I could see that I could see that I I kind of do that on my own scheduling. Some things are more flexible than others. So on the one hand I’m I’m tempted and interested and on the other I think ah. Is it really doing anything I can’t do for myself I was in a meeting the other day and somebody was referencing their to-do list and they said that they had read that you should never change the order of your to do list. That you shouldn’t spend any time rejiggering your to do list because then that you’re just using time that you could have been using to do the thing which I can see but all of us on the call kind of groaned.

And we’re all like I spend a lot of time rejiggering my to-do list and and the person said well that’s the point and it’s like yeah but it’s important to rejiggering. Um I’m not sure I want to I don’t know. You know it’s sort of like the other efficiency advice you know like you only pick up a piece of mail once which now translates to email that you only look at an email once and you respond to it then I’m happiest when I’m in that place I am not always in that place. It would be interesting to try to do that with the to do list. It would take quite a bit of rejiggering for me to get it to a place I could do that because I do always have more on my list on any given day than I can get to which I do know is a problem. Um, and so I I do think in terms of if I move things to particular days and really commit to on this day I’ll get this thing done and I can’t move it will that help I don’t know. But I did get um I got to inbox 0 over the weekend whoo which is great because ah, especially my SFWA inbox had gotten up to like 42 emails which I know is not a lot compared to other people run their lives. But mine was at that because they were all things I had to deal with and and it had slid back to um the beginning of June that there were things lurking in there in my defense we had had a little bit of an. Email server hook hiccup and a whole slew of emails that sort of came through like to the general president email had gotten stuck and so they were all liberated at once and they were all things that I had to consider in some way or another. So now that I’m back at inbox 0 hopefully I can keep keep going. Um, but my friend and I were just talking about one of the difficulties with inbox 0 is that there are days when you simply can’t face. Opening your email I was glad to hear her say the same thing. It’s like you know that after you get traumatized a few times. It’s like oh I don’t want to open my email but but yeah, so I actually have notes today I was thinking about.

Things this morning. My brain was clicking along which is a good thing. Ah I was talking to David because so we have this puzzle box for the cats that we got it off of Amazon you know and you put it together. It’s cardboard. It’s got like two levels. And got little boxes inside and you put their toys inside and you put treats in there and then the cats absorb their energies by digging the treats out of the box and at first only Jackson liked it. Um Isabel completely ignored it. But Jackson got tired of it. He I think it’s too much work for lazy boycat. Um, and then Isabel discovered it a few weeks ago I don’t know why it suddenly caught her attention. But. She loves this box she loves this box she like sleeps beside it she loves it so much. Sometimes she sits on it sometimes she lies next to it and gazes at it lovingly and she wants us to put treats in it all the time. And she is senior cat and she has started to decline and wait. So I’m not concerned about um, her eating too much sometimes I worry about her eating too many treats and not enough of her cat food. But I don’t know how much of a concern that is so. She yells at us to put more treats in the puzzle box and this morning I was making my coffee prepping to come out here and David walked through the living room and Isabel stared meowing at him rather strenuously and I said don’t listen to her stories I already gave her. I already refilled her box with treats and I thought it was funny that I say that and I recall that coming from my grandmother that she would say stories now don’t be telling stories as a way of saying telling lies. And it made me think about there are always some some writers out there who say things like I lie for a living I tell lies for a living. Um and I don’t like that and. And I could see probably where they come from culturally because it’s the same place. My grandmother came from right with that. Don’t tell stories. Don’t listen to her stories where stories are equivalent to untruths and I don’t really believe that.

Um I don’t believe that storytelling and lying are the same thing.

Incidentally and completely off topic Thursday and Friday I was not able to get Instagram to load this podcast I don’t know why I might have to go back to doing a clip. But if you missed the podcast at the end of last week this is why. If you watch on Instagram and I know a lot of you do so it just keeps saying can’t load or or can’t share I think can’t share probably Instagram changed their settings again. Alas so. Ah, just wanted to mention that if um, if it won’t load today I’ll try to do the snippet again and see if that works hello hummer.

Hammers coming in to feed off of the hanging lobilia very picturesque. So oh the other thing that my friend and I were talking about. I’ve got something fuzzy on my face. Sorry I don’t know what something floated down. Um, oh we were just talking about the storytelling muscle and what that feels like. And how for both of us. It feels like more of a visceral thing than ah, a floaty thing and I was saying that’s partly why I don’t really grok with people saying things like the muse or the spirit or the inspiration. Ah, you know the word inspiration comes from inspire to draw breath in it never feels like an airy breathy thing to me. It feels like a gut thing. It feels like a muscle and she was asking me about something I’d been sort of debating been waffling on in writing shadow wizard. And I said oh you know what? I I got to the point in the book I meant like um, a little more than 25K words now I’m closing in on act one climax and so I meant I mean we could see I lied to her probably and said I was at like 25K words and i. I don’t think it’s that many 21.4 give or take a few 3,500 words but it was good enough for the conversation and I said that I had gotten to that point where I started to do the thing I wanted to do. And it felt so good I was so happy that I could do that and she had kind of given me quasi permission waved the permission wand to try this new thing I wanted to do oh who am I kidding I’ve already told all of you ah that I want to write more than 2 povs in Shadow Wizard. So I’ve been alternating with Jadren and Seliah for the first part of the book and now I have switched to Gabriel’s pov and. And she asked what did I think about it I was like ah felt so good and she’s like that’s that visceral feeling is it like yeah yeah, and and we’re both talking about how it feels like a she said sometimes it almost feels like sculpting like you’ve got this big thing and you’re kind of wrestling it. So I find it interesting that we both.

See it the same way. Always fascinating to me how people see their process. Um, you know that I also wrote these notes on this and I’m tried to decide if this is like a whole nother topic and I’m probably not going to get to in the. Next 5 minutes but I can talk a little bit about about that first act. Um I’ve been reading several different books over the next last few days or the next few days um trying to. Trying to satisfy various obligations and settle in um, for something that’s going to feed me through writing shadow wizard and I haven’t quite found it yet. I was reading a book that ah. Kelly Robson recommended to me and she really really wanted me to read and it’s a fantasy, a new fantasy. It’s not romance though and and I do feel occasionally a little bit of chagrin about. When people will say well does a book have to be romance and it’s it doesn’t I read a lot of books that are not romance. But if I read a book that is I’m trying to explain what it is about this book without getting too specific um romance. Adds a level of of happiness and reassurance to a dark story for me so I can read a story that is nonfiction or that is um, even something that is like. I don’t know. Um, ah I’m not sure I can even say what it is but if there is a story like this one that was fantasy but where the protagonists are all really unhappy people and it’s. Macabre ah, in a way that is similar to and I’m going to mention this one um Gideon the Ninth I know a lot of people loved Gideon the Ninth I did not get through it and it’s I read it for quite. I don’t know I think I read like the none 25% and it’s nothing against Tamsyn Muir because I I do think that um Tamsyn is a wonderfully skilled writer and created a fascinating world and I loved that opening scene the opening scene was

Amazingly well done which kept me going but then it goes into this world where there is so much darkness and the people are miserable and they are all unkind to each other and I know that. Least people say that there is eventually a romance but I didn’t I didn’t believe that it was going to be a romance with a capital r because the people were already so unkind to each other and I thought it might end up being more of a um I don’t know. Kind of a gray romance if you know what I mean because it was really more of a fantasy or science fiction story and of course there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s perfectly fine perfectly. Fine I should tell you all the story about perfectly fine but I won’t write now. Have to get permission. Ah no, but it’s it’s been become our new favorite hashtag so I’m totally distracted by perfectly fine perfectly fine as a way of seeing saying. I understand why people enjoy this thing and it’s perfectly fine for them to enjoy this thing but but I don’t get it and I seriously but I don’t get it because I see it so differently. Um, the. The hate hate relationship thing is just not something that’s fun for me and in this book that Kelly wanted me to read. It was um, there was a lot of that and it was. A very interesting magic system and an interesting world and setup. But I knew that I was not going to get happy emotions from reading this book and I think that’s what it comes down to is. And maybe that’s something that romance readers and writers have a difficult time conveying. It’s it’s not just that we want the romance or the love affair. It’s that I want that emotional satisfaction and that was RWA’s definition for a long time. Probably still is. Um, I’m really not sure what’s going on with RWA these days but you know it’s that emotionally satisfying conclusion and and that’s what you want? Yeah I mean they probably didn’t want to say happy. But there’s something to that you know that we want to come out of it feeling.

Joyful and optimistic and believing in um, in a satisfying relationship. Whatever kind of relationship that may be and if I am in doubt about getting that and I’m not going to. Get happiness from the story in any other way than I’m unlikely to want to keep going with it and so I think Kelly was pretty disappointed in me that I wouldn’t keep reading this book and then she was talking about another book. She said well did I ever tell you to read this book and I said yes and I tried to read it and I didn’t like it. She’s so we’re we’re just um, doing perfectly fine to each other so ah on that note I think I will go on I know I didn’t finish talking about first 25% but I’m gonna talk about that more tomorrow because I’ve. Other things to say about that and yeah, but now I need to go get some work done. So I hope you all have a wonderful Monday and I will talk to you tomorrow I’ll take care bye bye.

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