Monday, November 07, 2011

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

I had a rather earthshaking weekend -- literally!

I'd spent all day Saturday in a massive proofreading session, the kind of thing where I read an entire book out loud in one day. It was more than seven hours of work, with breaks here and there. I finished a bit after 10:30, and there's always a kind of adrenaline-fueled exhaustion that comes after something like that, where I'm dead tired and can barely keep my eyes open, but I'm also too wired to actually rest. I curled up on the sofa to watch a DVD, and then I thought I was in really bad shape because my head started swimming. I lay back on the sofa, hoping that would make me feel better, but then it seemed like the sofa was shaking. I'd consumed copious quantities of sugar and caffeine throughout the day, so I was pretty much vibrating already and I assumed it was just me. But then I noticed that the safety cage on the nearby fan was quivering. That was when I realized that it was an earthquake. We just got the tremors coming off the earthquake in Oklahoma, so it was very subtle, but that made it rather unsettling. I thought for a moment that it might have been a really big truck sitting at the traffic light behind my house, since those often rattle my windows (and set off my security alarm), but this was a different kind of shaking. It wasn't so much a vibration like that is, but more like being on the water. I felt a little seasick. It seemed to go on for a long time, at least a full minute, but I remember where on the DVD I was watching it started and stopped, so I guess I could go back and figure out the timing.

I know that even the main earthquake was minor in California terms, but this was the first time I'd ever encountered anything like it. The local late news was on, since it had been delayed by a football game, so I switched over to that and eventually they reported that an earthquake had happened in Oklahoma at that time, and then later in the newscast they mentioned reports of tremors in our area, so I knew I wasn't crazy and that I really had felt something.

Now I know how to describe it if something similar happens to a character. I know how it feels when artillery fire lands nearby, and that's the way I'd imagined an earthquake would be, but this was very different.

Meanwhile, my major project is done and off my plate entirely. However, I may have scuttled my plans to take it easy the rest of the year. I ran into one of my favorite former clients at the party Friday night (I guess the fact that she's the only former client I'm really in touch with and we're still friends and interacting socially to the point that she's introduced me to her friends means she's my favorite former client), and she's got her own agency now. She mentioned that she was desperate for freelance writers and before I knew what I was saying (wine was involved), I said I was done with my big deadline for the year, so I could pick up a few projects. She was excited because she'd wanted to ask me but was afraid I'd be too busy. I'm already pretty far ahead on potential books and need to give my agent a chance to catch up, and even if one of these projects does eventually sell, it could be at least six months before I see any money, so it won't hurt to spend some time on paying work. Income is good. Besides, I seem to be more productive when I'm busier because I have to manage my time better. And since it's totally freelance and project-by-project, if I get too busy or need a break, I can just decline a project. She said these were things I could probably write in my sleep.

But for today, since I don't yet have projects or deadlines and since I just finished something, I'm planning a nice reading day. Though the reading counts as input for a brainstorming session I have planned for tomorrow, so it's still "work," but the nice thing about my job is that reading is part of my work.

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