An evening out with the stars

Aurora Borealis

With some of the mon­ey I inher­it­ed from my dad, last year, I bought an 1116mm f/2.8 lens for my cam­era. In plain Eng­lish, it’s a nice fast lens with a nice wide field of view, which means that it’s great for astropho­tog­ra­phy.

Tonight, the stars aligned for me, as it were. There was almost a 5050 chance of some auro­ra sight­ings, per SpaceWeath­er. The tem­per­a­ture was a balmy -1°C, which was a pleas­ant change from the -25°C and -35°C nights we’ve had for the last cou­ple weeks.

Long sto­ry short, there was a faint haze to the north. Edit­ing with Gimp brings out quite a bit more than the naked eye could see.

As my cam­era clicked away, I leaned back against the car. At one point I thought of Kurt Vonnegut’s quote: If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

Writing Retreat 2017

The Office -- writing at my friends' cabin

As is rapid­ly becom­ing tra­di­tion, I spent most of the last week of July in a friend’s cab­in up at Minnedosa. (Thanks, Karen & Ed!) My goals for the week are post­ed here, and here’s how it went:

Beat sheets for the major characters in Translations

I have a com­plete out­line for the POV’s arc, which is the most crit­i­cal as it’s nar­rat­ed in the first per­son.

Also, I had a major epiphany about the POV char­ac­ter, one that will shake up the last ⅔ of the book.

10,000 words in Translations

I wrote 12,500 words in Trans­la­tions, the bulk of it writ­ten as I sat on the deck, pret­ty much all alone in the cot­tage area.

At least a few shots of the Milky Way

Yeah, that turned out okay.

The Galaxy

Hav­ing access to a car this year real­ly helped me get to the dark places (lit­er­al­ly) so that I could get some great pho­tos of the night sky.

Also, I sold a print of one of my pho­tos to a friend. (Thanks, Bri­anne!) Does that mean I’m a pro now?

Lots of bike riding

Well. My bike’s left ped­al arm has been com­ing loose more and more fre­quent­ly. It’s got to go into the shop. On my first ride in Minnedosa, I had to stop twice to tight­en the ped­al arm, both times on my way up a hill. So after that, feh to bike rid­ing. (At least, my bike in its cur­rent con­di­tion.)

For­tu­nate­ly, I had access to a kayak (thanks, Car­la!), so I put in about 15 km of pad­dling time, going up and down the lake.

Stretch goals

I read James S. A. Corey’s amaz­ing Leviathan Wakes, cour­tesy of my pub­lic library’s e-book pro­gram. I’m now hooked, and need to read the rest of the Expanse saga.

I also re-read the first ⅔ of Gene Wolfe’s sub­tle and mys­te­ri­ous The Fifth Head of Cer­berus, which, I’m not gonna lie, prob­a­bly had at least a lit­tle bit to do with my afore­men­tioned epiphany. (It’s also the first Wolfe nov­el I’ve re-read, and it’s amaz­ing how much less con­fu­sion I feel, how much more I’m pick­ing up.)

And we bought a sec­ond car, which is why I could have a vehi­cle to go gal­li­van­tin’ around the coun­try­side, look­ing for dark loca­tions to get pho­tos like this:

The Galaxy

I think that went well.

Save

The Office

The Office -- writing at my friends' cabin

For the next week, at least. It’s time for Writ­ing Retreat, 2017 Edi­tion.

So far I’ve got 3,500 words of a 10,000+ word goal. (1,000 words of that is in an outline/beat sheet, so I’m not real­ly count­ing them. I’m also not count­ing blog posts. That seems like it’d be cheat­ing.)