Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#WriterRecharge week 2

Writer Recharge is once again hosted by Katy UppermanAlison MillerElodie NowodazkijSara Biren, and Liz Parker! This is your chance for a four-week jump start in the middle of a cold, dreary winter. Set goals for yourself, check in once a week, and connect with other recharging writers.

I've had a grumpy week.

Here are my goals for the month:
  • WRITE/REVISE –  I've been revising SAVANT.  Right now I'm letting it sit before giving it one last read.  My book set in Peter the Great's Russia is a little over 80,000 words now.  I still can't figure out how to get all my characters to their ending, so I took a break from that and am filling in the places where, as I drafted, I wrote BLAH and BORING and NEED SCENE ABOUT--.  I also need a better name for it.  I've been calling it White Nights, but between Dostoevsky and Baryshnikov, I may (do) need something less pretentious.  Ideas?
  • READ/REREAD - I still haven't read either of the two books I said I would this month.  I did read a memoir set in (Soviet) Russia a friend recommended--Out of the Ice by Victor Herman.  The writing itself was on the rambling side, but the story!  Like a Russian Unbroken.  The American Victor Herman moved to Russia as a teen, was called the 'Russian Lindbergh' for setting parachuting records, spent a couple of horrible/tortured years in prison during Stalin's purges and another ten of hard labor in the Siberian gulag, and then was exiled to Siberia (where he married a woman as dogged and determined as he.  I loved her).  It was one of those stories that makes me wonder about the human condition.  I can't decide whether it's harder to believe that any regime (or human beings) could be so cruel or that any man could endure the torture, starvation, deprivation, and impossible tasks and come out on top. 
  • I also read The Zookeeper's Wife for one of my book clubs.  During the German occupation, Warsaw's zookeeper and his wife used their empty buildings to shelter about 300 Jews en route out of Poland.  I'm not a huge animal lover--I'd take a baby over a puppy any day--so the descriptions of animals bored me a tad, but I was fascinated by the Polish Resistance.  It was the best organized and most effective of any resistance in German-occupied territories, and I didn't know a thing about it.  Again, the story ripped me between the extremes of complete self-sacrifice and ultimate evil. I think I maybe need a little break from war stories, even though both of these were uplifting and inspiring in the end.  I need to lighten February's mood!

  • STRETCH - This week has been a tough one, and I'm having a hard time being grateful (although every time I've eaten since reading Out of the Ice I think about what that man was thankful to eat--rats, slugs, salty water, pork fat--these were his TREATS--and I realize anew that I'd never cut it in a Soviet prison).
  • SELF - I missed a day of weight training last week with the sickness going around my house, but I was back at the gym this morning.
  • CONNECT - I have done terribly with this challenge.  I did call my grandma and had a wonderful talk with her.  That was a bright spot in my week.  
  • FUN - We've booked dinner at a fancy-pants restaurant with some of our favorite couples at the end of the month for Denver's Restaurant Week.


  1. Hey! So glad you're doing this with us :) At first I thought you were saying SAVANT was in Russia, but now I realize that's another story. When do I get to read it! Hoping to have this ghost story for you soon. I wanted this round of revisions to be me fleshing things out but it's turned into me rewriting character backstory. Whoops. :)

  2. It's okay to have a grumpy week. Here's something to cheer you up: we're going to hit -30 to -35 degree wind chills by morning. Just waiting for the school delay to come through. Yay! Don't you miss Minnesota winters?!

  3. Liz--I'm dying to read the ghost story! You can have the Russia one as soon as it's not one big hot mess--so it might be a while. I seriously cannot figure out how to get to the ending!

    Sara, that sounds SO COLD. We had snow Monday, but the last two weeks were in the 70s. I still can't believe how balmy winter is here!