Writing, Revising and Rehab: Another Week in Expat World!

The end of another week!

It always feels like a bit of a shock to reach Friday again. Of course, since I’m on uni break, the time seems to be flying past… And, of course, I’m not getting anywhere near as much done as I wanted to. Every day seems to be jam-packed (though I’ll confess that I’ve managed to find some time for a few naps here and there, in the interests of somehow continuing to be a nice person), and then I reach the end of it and realise that there are things I wanted to get to that I didn’t. The best thing to do is to focus on what I have been achieving (because I definitely haven’t started the ‘James & Ana Scrapbook’ that I’ve been meaning to get onto for the last 12 months).

Monday was a doozy: I’ve booked every single bit of accommodation associated with our next trip. Hurray! We’ve got a lot of driving coming up in that trip, but we’re going to hit North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana before we reach Idaho for rafting, and we’re catching up with Nicole from Thoughts Stained with Ink on our way through Kansas! Tick tick. Most of all, I’m excited to spend some time with my extended family and my elder brother as we battle our way down the white water of the Salmon River. Both of my cousins are guides with ARTA and have oodles of experience and really easy to get along with, so the 6 days on the river promise to be absolutely brilliant (if you’re in North America and interested in doing some white water rafting, check them out!). So sorting out our travel there and back pretty much consumed my whole Monday, BUT, productive, right? I was (probably unduly) proud of myself.

I stole the car off James on Tuesday and set off for the always-thrilling experience of visiting the dentist and doctor. Urgh. Turns out that I have to have a root canal on one of my teeth because some useless Army dentist I saw in 2014 did a poor job of giving me a filling, and another useless Army dentist last year pretty much paid me off when I said it was still hurting… Even better, our insurance over here doesn’t cover dental work, and having just googled the average cost of a root canal in the US, I’ve discovered it’s about $900-1100. On average: which is just ridiculous. However, this particular dental practice had TURTLES (or tortoises. To be honest, I’m never quite sure, and I’m pretty sure no one else is either, with the sole exception of herpetologists) and they were the world’s most active turtles. To justify these claims, I’ve included a ‘Turtle Party’ video for your viewing pleasure.

Yes, this is a subpar iPhone photo: but that is definitely a turtle party.

We’d already trained that morning and James only had one session on Tuesday, so we went and saw Wonder Woman on Tuesday night. Oh. My. God. It was, for me, a visual feast. I’m aware of (and trying to be more aware of, and more vigilant in detecting) some of the key issues with the film—such as the poor representation of WOC for one—but I can recognise those issues and still adore it. (Or that’s my take anyway). I LOVED IT. And I’ve sent my Dad and step-mum to see it this weekend and strongly recommend anyone else who loves action films, loves a bit of superhero magic and a brilliant film about a kind, brave, and fearless woman kicking ass to go along and check it out.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week drafting up (and then typing up said crummy first draft) of my entry for the US International Short Story Competition. One of the worst things about writing is being really excited when you first generate an idea, then being a little less excited as you start writing it out, then realising you didn’t really put together a complete idea and you don’t know how to finish it… And then re-reading it and realising it’s pretty crap. So now I’m a bit stuck, and still trying to figure out how I’ll repair my story into something vaguely readable before the due date. The joys of a writer’s life! To compound my pains, I’ve finally forced myself to sit down and start thinking about how to edit my novel. The biggest issues I’m facing are that: 1. I didn’t plot my novel at all, so I’m not 100% sure that what I’ve done makes any sense or goes together at all, and 2. it’s currently 130 000 words, which means I need to take out at least about 30 000 words. Which is a lot of words. If you’re a pantser like I appear to be—though I never would have thought that about myself previously—then you might be able to understand my pain. My current approach is little more than working through allll those words to figure out what actually happens in my novel so I can try and rearrange it/cut it as necessary. A daunting task, if anyone was wondering how I’m feeling about it! I can definitely understand how being a writer can be a full-time job: there is so much I want to do, and so many ideas rattling around in my skull or lost in the pages of my notebooks, that I could work 9-5 on all of it for the rest of my life and maybe still not get it all done! And also probably suffer from some rather extreme burn-out. But it’s a nice thought, nonetheless!

In my physical news, I drove for two and a half hours yesterday for my first rehab appointment at Airrosti, and then a little over the same amount back (I took a wrong turn, for which I mostly blame the roadworks): five hours of driving to try and find someone who might be able to work towards  fixing my back pain. I’m encouraged by their approach—which is the reason I drove so far just to see them in the first place!—and I’m hoping that diligent application of my rehab exercises and some targeted myofascial release will give me the end result I’m looking for… Now I just have to put it all into practice and wait and see how it goes. I’m trying not to get too hopeful, because hope is invariably only a few steps away from disappointment, but I desperately want to be free of chronic pain: fingers crossed that this is the answer I’m looking for.

Now, off to some reading, some writing and some revising… A writer’s work is never done! Have a great weekend everyone.

— Ana.

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