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what’s going on?

September 27, 2012

I didn’t mean to stay away from this blog for so long but I’ve been kind of busy.

I’m midway through a 5-week webinar about copyediting.

Spouse and I were supposed to drive to North Carolina for a vacation 9 days ago, but the night before, we decided we weren’t up for the 9-hour drive. Instead, we did fun things closer to home: photographed plants at Ladew Topiary Gardens (Monkton, Maryland); visited George Washington’s old place (Mount Vernon, Virginia); and took another day trip to New York City. Instead of Megabus, this time we drove to Metropark station, in New Jersey, then took the train into Manhattan.

Two weekends ago, I participated in a forum on biodiversity in Washington DC. I plan to write about that experience in some detail on my new blog, once it’s up and running.

My new business website, though, IS up and running. I’ve decided to concentrate on editing non-fiction, of three types: artist statements; family histories; and science, including the following areas: biodiversity/ecology, water, geography/GIS, and environmental/regulatory.

I’ve begun working on a family history project with my father-in-law and one of his cousins.

On the subject of my new blog, I’m kind of stuck. I’ve been reminding myself for months that I need to write posts for it, but I haven’t been able to get started. Probably because my ideas for the blog have been evolving. I had come up with a name, but it now seems too twee, or trying too hard, or something. Also, I don’t know what I want it to look like. Many editors and writers have banners that include books, or writing instruments, etc., but I want something more imaginative, that evokes some of my other main interests (science, art, design). Except that I’m not sure how to do that without being too cluttered or too scattered.

And visually the new blog will need to coordinate somehow with the business website, which is currently very spare in design, and I want to change it as well, but I don’t know what I want to do yet. So, an impasse.

I’m feeling like “Pqw” has served its purpose, and now I need a new actual online name. Before, I always looked to mythology or foreign words. Think this time I need something that connects to my actual identity, but doesn’t box me in. I need something a little fluid, because no one identity will ever be enough. I need to play around with some ideas.

One particular set of body parts is (metaphorically) jumping up and down, insisting that I mention that I have a new health difficulty. One that is likely to keep me close to home. And my doctor is booked solid for the next four weeks. One of these days I hope I will discover what it’s like to feel (a healthy) 46, instead of 86. Ugh.

In better news, I’m on track for surpassing the number of books I read in 2011. That was 357; I’m currently at 309.

I’m planning to do Nanowrimo again this year. Haven’t yet decided if I will also set word-count goals for October. Setting word-count goals helped me achieve 11,244 words in blog posts in October 2011, which was my first month over 10,000 (blog) words, and 14% higher than my next-closest month. But this year, I’ve already had three months over 10,000 (blog) words, two of which were over 20,000 (blog) words. In fact, I’ve already written half again as many blog words as I wrote in all of 2011, and I’m closing in on 100,000 blog words in 2012, and 200,000 blog words since I began, in October 2009.

Even though the weather is getting much colder at night, most of my potager flowers are hanging on, and I’ve been getting some great pictures of them. This morning, before I got out there, it had rained, and I discovered tiny snails on two blossoms. Photos are on Flickr.

That reminds me. Very early this morning, I was doing one of my so-called “midnight walks” (often more like 1 or 2 a.m.), and espied a slug on the sidewalk. Usually I cheerily say Namaste and walk on by, but this time I crouched down and watched it cross the sidewalk, until it entered the grass. (I also took a photo, but it’s not very good.) I closely observed its antennae moving about. I could actually see what they were doing better by watching their shadows on the sidewalk rather than looking at them directly. I first noticed that the movements of the antennae seemed analogous to ears that swivel (like those of deer), and then I noticed that part of my head was trying to copy the movements of the antennae. Obviously I don’t have antennae, but something in my … brain, I guess … was yearning toward copying the movements I was seeing. I suddenly wondered if it was my mirror neurons at work.

I’ve long known that I can sometimes easily pick out what animals around me are feeling, and under certain circumstances, I feel right along with them. (Back when I watched TV, seeing animals mating made me horny. Not because I wanted to mate with them. I just felt a rush of love and sexyfuntimes–probably endorphins. I figured that was due to empathy.) I know mirror neurons are part of how empathy works, but I’d never before noticed myself reflecting the other person’s actions in real time. That part of my brain that I used last night … when I think about the slug, I can feel that same part of my head figuring out the spatial maneuvering necessary to make antennae move in four dimensions like I saw. I can feel the calculations or whatever the mechanisms are … for body parts I don’t even have! Kind of awesome.

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