Update in blurbs and pictures

I’m writing a Choose Your Own Adventure (actually Choose Your Own Romance) story and it apparently taps into all the same addiction centers as my latest iPad game obsession, because I’ve been spending hours on it every day. It appeals to both my working dog and curious cat sides: working dog, because it’s a sizable and fulfilling project (currently at 16,101 words), and curious cat, because anytime I get bored with a particular storyline, I just switch to another (or another fork in the same path). An extra treat for the variety-loving cat: I can even embed variability within the story itself, such that, for example, I can give five options for a character’s lunch, and the story will choose one at random each time you load it.

It really surprises me how much fun I’m having with this story. I began writing it because (a) my favorite iPad game has more than a month until its final update, and I was in withdrawal*, and (b) I tried a couple of CYOA-type games and they were just stupid, and I thought, “I could do better.” At the beginning I had some trouble keeping track of all the branching story bits, but now that the storylines have a little more heft, it’s easier. And the format encourages action and dialogue rather than lengthy description or internal monologue, which is very good practice for me. It’s not serious literature by any means, but it’s the kind of frothy escapism that I enjoy reading, and that makes it a joy to write. I can’t wait until it’s far enough along to share with you.

I started the story in Inklewriter, which is easy to use, but web-based and buggy; after the site lost an entire afternoon’s worth of writing on Tuesday, I downloaded Twine, which saves to my hard drive and actually has a lot more functionality. It also displays the story as a map of linked installments. (This is what it looks like zoomed-out; when I write, I zoom in so I can read the text.)

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 5.35.11 PM

I mentioned last week that I started a Meetup group for non-9-to-5-ers who wanted to get out and see people during the weekday. That group is now up to 110 members, and we’ve had two successful gatherings so far (with about 7 attendees each time — not the full 100+!), with two more on the schedule next month. I don’t know if it’s the meetups, or whether I’m just at an “up” time in my creative cycle, but I’ve been both happy and productive since the group started getting together. Organizing the events encourages me to scope out new spots around the Bay Area, so I’ve been getting out more in general, which is definitely beneficial. I also notice the regular human contact keeps me outgoing and adventurous, as I was during our best travel moments, so yay, YAY for that, too.

On Sunday, my sister, brother-in-law, and dad came to visit, and we made a stop in Chinatown. My favorite noodle maker-slash-grocery was selling mochi filled with a mix of black sesame and peanut butter. Fab.


On Memorial Day, Erik and I went to Point Richmond for a walk, which turned into a longer outing as there was also a townwide sidewalk sale! We didn’t buy anything, but we enjoyed browsing people’s stuff and walking up and down the quaint old streets. Eventually we got burgers (well, I got fried fish on a burger bun) and took them to the waterfront.




This building was graffitied with this amazing line: “The weight of excess rests on fragile clouds.” I just looked it up and it turns out it’s part of a poem that adorns various locations around the East Bay.


I said last week that I was getting tired of my flower paintings, and that’s still true, though I’m feeling a bit more inspired by them now that I’ve mounted them all on the same wall, in chronological order:

May 29 - Floral gallery

The arrangement makes me want to fill the entire wall… but if I don’t want to lose interest, I’m going to have to come up with new approaches to the subject. This was my attempt, early this week: a sketch of my deck garden, painted at the cost of a light sunburn (I lost track of time).

May 26 - Deck garden

It’s been such a satisfying week… I know I said during my off-week that it would pass, and so will this, but I’m relishing it while it lasts. 


*It’s actually a game with a storyline, so for a few days I moped around going, “But what’s going to happen between my character and her boyfriend?!” Hence writing my own romantic adventure!



13 responses to “Update in blurbs and pictures

  1. Pingback: Self-portrait in new dress | satsumabug.com·

    • I’m sure it won’t last. ;b But it feels ridiculously good in the moment. As much as I’m convinced during off-weeks that I’m doomed as an artist, now I feel like I’m doing great. Too bad there’s so little mood transference between the ups and downs. ;b

  2. I LOVE that you’re creating a Choose Your Own Adventure book (I was obsessed with them as a kid), and it’s interesting to hear your take on how it appeals to both your dog and cat sides; I can definitely relate to that in my life.

    And WOW on the insane Meetup group response–I’m so excited that it’s working out so well! hehehh Also had a funny image of all 100+ people showing up to meet at a cafe or something and the group basically dominating the establishment and the surrounding sidewalk. 😉

    • Hee, I’m glad you’re excited about it! I’ve become hooked on writing this story (stories, really) in a way that I’ve never been hooked on a project — I really think it’s tapping into the same addiction centers as when I play certain computer games. Actually, I was going to write you something about this story… I’ll do that after I finish this comment and then take a computer break. 🙂

      It’s funny, I’ve only had a few Meetup events, but I already feel like this is a total part of my life. And it’s not always the same people each time (in fact, I have yet to see any repeat attendees, but that’s because I’ve been doing the events in different cities), either. I have kind of a terror of having that many people show up… I don’t know how on earth I would cope with that. ;b With a bullhorn, obviously, but I don’t have one! 😉

      • heheeehheh The imagine of you with a bullhorn trying to facilitate an intimate-feeling social gathering is too hilarious. 😉 You’ve actually got me thinking about starting a group of my own, since none of the ones available are quite what I’m looking for.

        And I love that you’re so into the writing project! It’s so fun when you find something that really hooks you, and you can’t wait to work on it. Can’t wait to sit down with some tea and read your email… 🙂

        • Heh. 🙂 I can just see me yelling into it: “INDOOR VOICES, PEOPLE! BE RESPECTFUL OF EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS CAFE!” (Although actually, the one meetup we had in a quiet cafe, everyone did use indoor voices. I was super impressed.)

          I also started my group since nothing else exactly suited my needs. I’ve been really amazed at how nicely it has come together (knock on wood!), so much so that I just bit the bullet and paid for the next six months of organizer dues. That’s the only little hurdle to starting a group — it’s $19/month if you pay per month, but $12/month if you pay for 6 months at a time — but a lot of organizers pass on the fee to their members by charging a small amount for their events.

          • hahahhaha Oh my, if that ever happens, and you’re bull herding an entire group of Meetuppers, pleeeeease tape it; I must see. 😉

            Ah, I didn’t even realize that there were monthly fees, so that’s good to know…

            • Haha surely in that giant group there will be someone I can ask to take camera-phone video. 😉 (Side note: Is it totally obsolete now to talk about camera phones? The goofy thing is, Erik doesn’t have one; he may make his living in programming for mobile, but he’s still using his ancient Cingular phone that doesn’t do anything but calls and texts!)

              I didn’t realize about the monthly fees either. It’s free to join, but if you want to organize a group, you have to pay. For me, it’s been so worth it, because having the group has massively boosted my productivity!

              • hee hee I love that Erik is so high tech in his career, but he’s still using the cell phone equivalent of the rotary phone. 😉 It’s silly, but people give me a hard time because I’m using the original iPhone (hey, it still works!). I have what amounts to a tiny computer in my pocket, but that’s already old and obsolete!

                • Isn’t it incredible to remember what a huge deal the iPhone was when it first came out, and now they’re ubiquitous and constantly updating?!

                  • I know, it’s craziness! It’s also interesting to see how quickly people’s expectations adjust: before it would have been unthinkable to do most of the things we can do on our phones, but now we’re complaining that they’re not happening fast enough. 😉

                    • Same with high-speed internet. 😉 When we moved into our apartment, Erik and I made the decision to go with a lower-bandwidth provider because they’re local and customer service actually reaches a real person. ;b It’s interesting to observe my own reactions when things don’t download instantly. ;b

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