How do you say Deus Ex Machina in Gaelic?


Boy howdy! Does Jamie get saved by the hair of that fine, fine chin an awful lot! Sure, he’s suffered terrible treatment over the years, treatment meant to torture the life out of him … but that God in the Machine just keeps on churning out the salvation. (Warning: there are spoilers for Outlander’s Season 3 ahead.)

Last week’s episode was emotional, but I’m not sure it evoked the intended emotions. Fairly certain I hate Claire with a much bigger hate now. But I keep checking that, questioning myself. Trying to (and this may seem a bit beyond the point) see her as a real person, trying to step into her shoes, rather than feeling around the screenwriter’s page for insight. Ok, so let’s think in terms of real life for a moment. It’s true people can over-complicate their situations out of sheer stubbornness, narrow mindedness, emotional pain, etc. True.

Is that what happened with Claire? Why she couldn’t articulate to Frank, hey, I’ve always loved you. When I was stuck in 18th century Scotland that first few months I was utterly miserable and desperate to get back to you, I swear! She’s so perfect in everything except dealing with what’s happening right in front of her face, am I wrong? So there’s poor old Frank dead from drunk driving AND NOW SHE APOLOGIZES? NOW SHE FEELS REMORSE FOR TREATING HIM LIKE SHIT AFTER MAKING AN IMPOSSIBLE BARGAIN?

At this point I can just imagine her going through the stones and reuniting with Jamie only to bitch at him for not coming to find her, or for getting some inlander strange once or twice over the past two decades. Yeah, she’s totally going to find a way to screw that up.

Meanwhile, Jamie’s getting into one near-fatal scrape after another and all the gay boys find him impossibly irresistible. At least the warden wasn’t a sadist. At least. Poor Jamie’s major flaw seems to be his charm. Will it be the death of him before Claire can get there to needlessly over-complicate his life some more?

It seems to me that these characters’ path is twisty enough without the author (or the screenwriters?) creating more perils for them to wrestle out of. Yes, I do prefer a bit of plausibility in my fiction.

Maybe tonight’s episode will convince be, once and for all, if I should succumb to the screenwriters or go ahead and get the books to find out, once and for all, if Claire stupidity and deus ex machina reigned so hard throughout the original pages.

I Have A Confession To Make


Yesterday when I said out loud in print that I was going to finish … I may have been just a wee bit high on caffeine.

Yes, I have been very productive over the last five days. Incredibly so. But I have to admit that trying to edit and revise so much is beginning to shut my brain off the possibility of creating new work, and this project is in need of some new work.

In hopes of opening the tap a little, I sat here for an hour listening to music and making notes last night. It’s been a long, long while since I’ve done that sort of thing. Music is very inspirational. The inspiration yielded a poem, a crappy poem. Crappy in the sense that it’s way too confessional, way too expository. Had a nice rhythm, though. So, I’ve created a new file entitled “The Scrap Pile” and tossed that sucker right in.

Which …. and this causes me to groan … made me want to begin organizing all my files and perusing old dusty ones page-by-page. Really? Really! Ugh. I had to force myself to turn off the light and go to bed.

I’ve got some pressing responsibilities today and tomorrow, so I’m well aware that I won’t be writing for hours on end again until Sunday night. What I wish I could do during this next couple of days of non-writing is hear from dozens of productive writers about how they get the work done.

Oh, sure, I’ve read all about the process that various celebrities swear by. I probably know way too much about celebrity writers. In a totally uncreepy way, of course. I want to hear from people like me. People who must leave their writing every day to put dinner on the table, do the shopping, pay bills, walk the dog, medicate their mother-in-law, go to the day job. I want to hear from people who, despite all that, get the work done. You get published. You’ve self-published, or have actually had lengthy conversations with your very own agent/publisher. Y’all exist, right?

The Best of Intentions


I am a day-planner junkie and failed perfectionist.

No one really notices, unless they read between the lines of all my bitching about my messy house, or my ridiculous schedule. Most people probably think I’m just a slob who has no real sense of time or direction, who only beleaguers lack of order and style because she envies all the other women in her life.

A friend of mine theorizes that society has put way too much pressure on people (women in particular) to do it all, and to do it all stylishly without breaking a sweat. The dangerous end result of giving in to this societal demand, one might imagine, is a population of haggard, exhausted, self-loathing women, of which I might be one.

I don’t exactly fit into that category of people who feel the need to meet societal demands, though I do recognize (at least from soccer mom talk shows and runway ads) that such strictures exist and have horrifying impact. Truth is, my society is rather small. I am, admittedly so, a very self-absorbed person that doesn’t really give a fig about the latest decade of trends concerning How To Have The Perfect Life.

After a very long time of personal examination, it’s apparent that the only one putting demands on my time is me. With at least two exceptions. One being the exception of modern day reality… you know, that difficult choice of whether to work outside the home for a paycheck or subsist on congealed ramen noodles and imaginary cable TV in a poorly insulated refrigerator box living room just behind a dumpster. I have to work. If the fact that I want an apartment with carpeting and a dishwasher and a wireless flatscreen TV makes me materialistic, so be it. That’s the least of my problems.

Another exception is the fact that I chose some years ago to marry. And, as some of you might also have realized, when one lives with a spouse that spouse occasionally makes demands on personal allotments of time. This can be enjoyable… or annoying. It depends. Even if that spouse is undeniably adorable and has been a great help in acquiring carpeting and a wireless flatscreen, one might feel on rare cloudy days the need to go buy a bus ticket to the edge of the planet for just a few freakin’ days of solitude. Maybe. It depends.

Yes, I married for love and not for money. See how unbound I am from societal demands?

There was a time when we lived on fast food and chose, mind you, chose, to hang black trash bags over our windows because we slept during the day and thought it ridiculous to waste perfectly good pizza money on unnecessary things like real matching curtains. Hubby came home one day, shortly before my thirtieth birthday to discover that I had gotten a day job and celebrated by buying fabric remnants that I made into matching curtains. I really don’t know what came over me. The next week I bought a vegetable steamer and a crock pot.

Ten years later, I woke up with stories in my head, a job I hated, a new hometown I hated, a perfectly lovely yard that I loved, and a severe craving to go to college. Here begins the ridiculous schedule. Since 2009 I have juggled work, school, housewifely duties, puppy care, amateur writing, occasional home care of a relative or two, and every year, my mind gets cluttered with more and more Things I Want To Do.

I want to host dinner parties, visit the siblings every other weekend, go back to college full-time on campus after I finish all those applications for scholarships and find a way to pay off a ton of student loans of which I am sure there is a way if I would just sit down for days and do the research, read every classic novel I haven’t yet read, publish all my stuff, babysit my little sister’s toddler weeknights because she is an absolute delight, go to the movies with hubby every weekend, help moderate a writing community, redecorate the apartment, keep my new car clean, take the puppy to the vet and on weekend jaunts to the dog park, actually spice up my tumblr and twitter and blog and make regular posts, dig up my old camera and start photographing landscapes, or maybe do weddings again, learn how to cook an amazing casserole and the perfect ribeye, find an affordable grill and patio furniture, get Grandma Carmen’s paintings properly hung, have my lip waxed and nails done once each month and find that terrific lotion I used to buy out west because these are all things that make feel delicious, find some decent walking shoes, go walking everyday after work, master spreadsheets, watch all the seasons of Californication, Orange is the New Black, Justified, and Game of Thrones, clean the oven because good lord, finally go visit the local museums, see a play, that play, plan a real summer vacation, set an appointment for a physical, and get up each morning at 4 am so I can write for 90 minutes before the MIL needs her meds.

What I really want to do is write.