peartreealley: (tea)
2017-07-20 09:02 am


The other night, around 11PM, G and I were settling into bed when we began hearing an intermittent disturbance outside. The property next to us is a derelict, abandoned warehouse that tends to attract misbehavior from the local youths and seasonal squatters, so G bellowed out the window "who's out there?!" as we believed someone might be trying to use the dual-gated side passage between our house and the warehouse to gain entry to one or other properties, possibly were trying to break into our car (parked in front of the passage), or perhaps that someone had fallen off the roof--where we've seen squatters try to access the building before. It went silent for a while, and then the noise of attempts to climb in the side passage began again.

Eventually, we called 999 about a potential intruder and the police arrived to investigate.

We explained to the police officers what we'd been hearing and about the side passage. As we were explaining, the thrashing and noise started again. The police officer with us motioned us away, readied his taser and threw the gate open.

And then started laughing. And closed the gate again quickly.

In addition to the squatters, we also have at least three neighborhood foxes. That's a picture of a fox climbing the wall in between our house and the warehouse (taken level with the second storey balcony), and disappearing over the top of the side passage. We think they also go to the warehouse roof because the only other option is our enclosed patio and we know they're not going there. (We're not sure why they go to the roof, but hey.) We suspect the trapped fox had fallen off the wall into the side passage. Anyway, everyone relaxed and we wedged the forecourt gate open for a while so the fox could get free.

We apologized for wasting the police officers' time, and they pointed out that there's no visibility into the side passage and we had couldn't have known what manner of desperate, living creature was inside. But I think we were all glad in the end that it wasn't a person, and we were able to free the fox.
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-07-09 12:32 pm


Basically, this was where I spent my week. Pure heaven.
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-07-03 09:21 am


Today's work station: a room with a view in Devon.
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-28 03:24 pm


It's not all tea shop glamour... Journaling at a kitchen sideboard while making chicken soup for my sick household. (Me included.)
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-26 09:12 am


Monday morning at the office. #amwriting #writersofinstagram #thepoweroftea #matcha #tea #fountainpen #travelersnotebook #handwriting
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-24 08:43 pm


Just a flaming tuba. Nothing to see here. #thamespath #southbank #london
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-23 07:06 pm
Entry tags:

instagram cross-post

In Beynac, we camped for a few days... with toilets, showers, and a bar with Wi-Fi underneath the shadow of Chateau du Beynac, I can't exactly call it the "roughing it" of my American youth. #camping #france #beynac #travel #writersofinstagram
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-21 03:43 pm
Entry tags:

instagram cross-post

Writing alfresco with a friend on this hot London day. #howiwork #fantasy #fountainpen #writersofinstagram #moleskine #amwriting #notebook
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-20 08:33 am
Entry tags:

instagram cross-post

This story is starting to span across many notebooks.... #notebooks #travelersnotebook #moleskine #leuchtturm1917 #writersofinstagram #amwriting #fountainpen #fantasy #howiwork
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-19 03:20 pm
Entry tags:

instagram cross-post

Up, up, up a steep alleyway on a cliffside village. Believe me, it's worth it.⠀ ⠀ (View from Beynac, the Dordogne River)⠀ ⠀ #travel #france #dordogne #beynac
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-16 05:17 pm
Entry tags:

instagram cross-post

It feels like a strange magic when you step into a place that looks a lot like the one you had been imagining in your stories...⠀ ⠀ (Tower Hamlets Cemetery)⠀ ⠀ #amwriting #taphophile #cemeteries #magnificentseven #graves #tombs #travel #london #writersofinstagram⠀
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-14 04:21 pm
Entry tags:

instagram cross-post

This week, I'm excited to finally be returning to my necropolis moon story that has been haunting my mind for years...⠀ ⠀ #amwriting #taphophile #cemeteries #magnificentseven #graves #tombs #travel #london⠀#writersofinstagram
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-12 04:55 pm
Entry tags:

instagram cross-post

Life finds a way.⠀ ⠀ (from Tower Hamlets Cemetery)⠀ ⠀ #taphophile #cemeteries #magnificentseven #graves #tombs #travel #london
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-09 08:41 am
Entry tags:

instagram cross-post

Book, journal, tea. Daily essentials. #bookworm #bookstagram #amwriting #tea #journaling #journal #bujo
peartreealley: (tea)
2017-06-05 09:03 am
Entry tags:

There and Back Again

For the last two weeks, I've been in the Dordodgne region of France. I'll have more about to say about that over time.

At the moment, though, my thoughts are on another place. The day after I moved to the UK, still jet-lagged and in shock at my life change, the Gryffindor took me to one of his favorite places. A place that even after five years away, people remembered him. A place he goes to almost every Saturday morning. A place I can go to in his stead, and say "Hi, I'm G's wife and he couldn't make it today--can you help me find what he usually buys?" and they'll laugh and know who I'm talking about.

It's the lane where G, [personal profile] sigelphoenix, and [personal profile] ratzeo went to get delicious food for our wedding. Where our wedding cake was made last year.

I get upset whenever there is an attack, of course, but I have to admit this last one hit "close to home" in a way I've never quite experienced before. G is a stoic Londoner ("I was here through the IRA bombings"), but I guess I'm just a bit more excitable and I'm still learning how to live in a city that is no stranger to being attacked and carrying on.

peartreealley: (travel)
2017-05-19 06:00 pm
Entry tags:

Friday Five

From [community profile] thefridayfive

1. How did you name your pets?
I got Sheba from a cat rescue, and she already had the name. By the time I finished the adoption process, I'd gotten used to the name and kept it.

2. Poirot or Miss Marpel?
I grew up with Jessica Fletcher and Nancy Drew as my meddlesome detectives.

3. Do you have a FB account too?
Yes, although I hardly touch it these days.

4. Books - hardcover or paperback
I read almost exclusively in ebook on Kindle these days--it's convenient and easier on my eyes. But when not, I prefer paperbacks.

5. Mobile: Windows, Android or Apple?
I was a (late) first gen iPhone user, and they've owned my soul since. (Seriously, though, I like iOS and I own a lot of Apple apps and I just haven't seen any good reason to change. I'm not really into this vs. that wars.)
peartreealley: (writing)
2017-05-10 08:56 am

Thoughts on writing from watching the Lord of the Rings Appendices

I adore getting a peek behind the curtain on how creative projects are made, so after a bout of illness a few weeks ago that resulted in re-watching the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, I’ve been re-watching the Appendices in bits and pieces, too.

Here are some bits that resonated with me today as a writer/creator:

  • I’m fascinated with the amount of storyboarding they did—from synopsises to story beats to sketched story boards, to animated versions of the story, to digital models of what the scenes would look like. I love it. It reminds me of a painter starting with loose sketches and eventually building toward the actual painting. It’s a process I’ve been trying to build into my own storytelling—one that works very well, at least, until I get caught in deadline panic.

  • At the moment, I “build up” with free-writing, sample outlines, and story beats. I want to keep expanding on that process, trying out different versions of the story before I piece together what I think might be the actual story. Speaking of….

  • And despite all of that planning ahead they did, the actors were getting revised scripts on a daily basis. And the changes by no means stopped once the shooting was done--there was recutting in edits, and eventually doing pick-up shots.

  • They were moving around scenes, cutting sections, and adding new scenes, all into post-production. This is so much harder and more expensive to do for a film! I must remember this when I am in the angsty throes of revising a novel. No, revising isn’t easy, but compared to revising a film in post-production? What on earth do I have to moan about?

  • The sections in which they talk about gathering at Peter Jackson’s house to talk about characters, over scripts; where the artists would bunch together, on site or in the office and just draw and sketch… it increased an existing yearning and longing for a local creative community. (Although, at this stage of things, I’d be happy with an online one, too. I’ve been feeling very lonely lately, in my writing.)

  • I also liked the commentary about Tolkien and how he was not training as a 20th novel-writer, and because of that, he broke all sorts of rules. That makes the ~artiste~ in me squee—but pragmatic me also remembers that he was a professor by trade. This stories were an expression of his obsession with creating languages and world-building. They were not to pay the bills.

    Although I’m enjoying (and grateful to be) writing as a full-time endeavor, I have to admit sometimes I wonder if getting an appropriate job to support my writing would take pressure off. It would decrease my time freedom, but might increase my creative freedom. That’s a long term thought, though, and not one I plan to seriously investigate in the near future. But it’s something I may be keeping in mind more than I did before.

peartreealley: (Default)
2017-05-09 07:47 am

The State of a Peartree

Well. I wrote down a list of projects to work on, and promptly fell off the face of the Internet to work on them.

What's been happening since?

  • The Gryffindor and I went to a LARP-writing weekend at an isolated farmhouse in the Midlands. The 30 or so of us assembled tossed around ideas on Friday night, broke into groups of 5-ish, and then spent Saturday writing the LARPs. On Sunday, all six LARPs were playtested. We wrote one that smashed Torchwood/Warehouse 13/Laundry Files together (with the serials numbers rubbed off, of course), with office politics and disastrous team-building exercises. It was good times--we hope to run an improved version at the LARP con we're going to in November.

  • Over the May Day bank holiday weekend there was D&D, a geeky picnic, and a wander to Kew Gardens to observe the bluebells before they faded away.

  • G ran his first table top session since we moved to London, in a sort of shared 'verse with the LARP that he and I have been developing.

  • This last weekend, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We decided to spend it, as we often spend time together, with a mix of hiking, good food, and games--with upgrades. On Saturday morning, we drove deep into the Chilterns, and parked our car at a lovely inn that we had booked for a night. Shortly after, a taxi arrived and took us about 10 miles away from the inn, via the Ridgeway National Trail, which we've been working on in bits and pieces, usually on 5 mile there-and-back walks. We walked only forward, and we talked. We stopped at a pub on the trail for lunch. We walked, and we talked more. Upon our return to the inn, we changed into evening clothing, and returned downstairs where a bespoke tasting menu of food and wine waited to delight us. And it did.

    We're now halfway done with the 87 mile trail.

  • The next morning, we were off to a village north of Oxford, in which we played an epic time-travel RPG session that ties into the Oxford LARP we've been playing. My character was sufficiently traumatized by the event that I get to look at some interesting new costuming options for the LARP component....

  • Oh, and I've been writing and revising and editing and all of that in between. Progress is coming along on my Four Week Plan. I think I'll end up getting about 2.5 of the 3 items done on it by the time we leave for holiday, and given how much I stacked on, I'd still call that a success.

  • I've also been reading--books on nature, on spirituality, on fairy tales and folklore... thoughts about those are still forming. Another time.

  • And all the while, I've been slightly drunk and stunned by and grateful for this amazing life I'm living.


peartreealley: (time motion manager)
2017-04-24 08:52 am

[Progress Reports] [Systems] And Onwards

Good morning,

I've been pondering and noting down changes to the 12 Year Week, and (on [personal profile] ironymaiden's helpful suggestion) talking to the Gryffindor about Agile and the single user.

The end result is a plan that goes into motion today, and runs the next four weeks. Working out the plan also revealed that I need a change of focus. I realize these are probably not exciting for most of my readers, but since I don't have a team to Stand Up and Retrospective with... well, I'll give this a shot for now.

So my high level four week plan looks a this:

Sprint 1: FN5 revision (up to 3 weeks/15 working days)
Sprint 2: FN4 ships. (3 working days, needs to overlap with Sprint 1, unfortunately.)
Sprint 3: Finish PS1 draft. (1-2 weeks/5-10 working days)

The math isn't perfect there because I have 4 weeks to do this all in, but it's an experiment... and I always did aspire to become a Time-Motion Manager.

(I'd better getting working, then....)


FN 5 Revision/Rewrite
0 / 30000
peartreealley: (Default)
2017-04-20 02:53 pm

On Systems (Hacking)

Following on my comments about the 12 Week Year yesterday, my brain has been humming:

One of the things that I realized is that even though a 12 week window is indeed shorter and more urgent than 12 months, it’s still too long of a window for me. I run best on intense intervals, and 12 weeks is plenty of time for me to drift off course.

With that in mind, I started playing with ideas on how to scale down the goal/tactics window to create more urgency and better fit into my processes. I also took another look at my vision statements.

Long term plans are not my forte, so 3 year, 5 year and 15 year (!) visions just don’t work for me. I can totally write them, but they’re too vague and too far out there. I know enough of my life patterns to know that something (probably me) is going to explode and my life is going to spin out in some mad way that invalidates every plan I had in the wings. Knowing that reality undermines the clarity and motivation the long term vision is meant to give me.

So I’m scaling that down, too. 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years is as far as I’m taking my visions. (Even 3 years feels dangerous.) I’m also adding a present vision--how are these goals I'm striving for right now going to give me the life I want right now?

Of course, the test is in the execution.

As it turns out, I have two projects I need to finish in the next 4 weeks, plus one that I'd really like to finish--and at the end of those 4 weeks I have a 2 week holiday planned which makes for a fairly immutable deadline. I don’t really want to leave anything hanging so here is my window and my urgency. It's not a perfect test because I can't replicate "4 weeks and then a 2 week holiday" every 6 weeks (if only!), but it should let me get through a scaled down cycle from beginning to end and evaluate it.

So, I guess I'd better get on with that....


PS 1 First Draft
35064 / 60000