Life has been very hectic lately. I haven’t done any new writing in awhile aside from journaling, but I am working on my novel revisions. What has surprised me about the revision process is that I’m getting excited about the story again. I was a little burnt out with it by the end of the first draft. That wasn’t something I expected to happen. I follow a lot of authors on various social media platforms, and I read a lot of books, and listen to a lot of podcasts about writing. I expected revisions to make me more frustrated with the story, not more excited.

Perhaps the time lag helped in that regard. There is common advice to set a story aside for a time before trying to revise. How much time seems to be a personal choice – a day, a week, a month are all suggestions I’ve read. I probably didn’t look at my first draft for several months before starting on revisions. I didn’t intend to wait so long, but I’m just not good at time management, so that’s where I landed. While I’m reading through marking things that need to change, I’m feeling it isn’t the train wreck I thought it was.

Certainly, revising something the size of a novel (or maybe a novella, I’m not sure where the final word count will land) is much more intimidating than revising short stories. I will probably have lists involved very soon. And I can see that by the end of the process I may start to feel again that annoyance with the story that I did before, but by then hopefully it will be ready for my beta readers and I will get another break until they have time to read and give their feedback.

Anyway, It’s good to be moving forward again.


What’s Up with Kara’s Guts?

I know this is the question that’s on everyone’s minds. That’s keeping everyone up at night.


I guess it’s just me then.

Still, I’ll fill you in anyway because I have already said so much here, and it’s going to affect the blog and my making of the things. I’m going to need more surgery. My innards have not been behaving themselves. I’ve herniated through both my colectomy incision site and my iliostomy site. The hernia at the iliostomy site is rather large. Because there are two hernias and one is a biggie, they can’t just repair them like a normal hernia repair. I need an abdominal wall reconstruction.

I’m not going to get into what that all entails in this post, but I may later on. Right now I’m working hard to emotionally come to grips with this new reality. My previous experience with surgery was pretty terrible, and frankly, this sounds like it will be worse.

Right now, I’m in major weight loss mode – much more so than the casual weight loss I was working at before this. Apparently excess weight makes abdominal wall reconstruction much less successful. Over a certain BMI, they won’t do surgery at all. I’ve just crossed down into the acceptable range, but to try to make things go as well as possible, and for this to be as strong a long term success as we can make it, my surgical team (yes, there is a team this time, not just one surgeon) wants me to drop another 20 to 30 pounds in the next 3 months. So that’s my focus right now.

Strangely, the drastic weight loss expectations are not what’s upsetting me. If the weight loss will make things go better, then I will lose the weight. I want things to go better. I want things to go great. I want things to go as well as any abdominal wall reconstruction has ever gone before in the history of abdominal wall reconstructions. Then I want to never need surgery again for anything.

Is that too much to ask?


Ashoka Headpiece Progress

Ashoka headpiece photo by Kara Hartz

Mistakes were made.

I was nervous about the complexity of this project, but I guess things are going. . . okay? I usually let the kiddos help out with their costumes, but now that they’re bigger, I’m really trying to get them much more involved. So she didn’t want to do any sewing, but she cut out the pattern and fabric for the headpiece, made the clay decorations that will go on the front. (I don’t know what those are called), painted them, and painted the headpiece. So tidying up of the painting will have to happen, but she will do that on her own as well.

All I did was sew and put in the wire in the top. We had a problem of it being much too small when we first did a trial fitting and I was frustrated that we might have to start completely over. Luckily, my fix of just tearing out and making bigger the top section worked well enough that the kiddo declared it good. I might have been inclined to tear out and enlarge other pieces (ok, that would be starting over basically) but I’m trying to keep this her project that I’m helping with and not the other way round. She says it’s good. So it’s good.

I didn’t supervise her directly while she worked so I don’t know if the problem was the pattern, or the cutting out. We also had some printer difficulty so the odds are, the problem was on our end. Still, we made it work. We picked this tutorial to follow┬ábecause it seemed a lot more manageable than many of the others we watched. At least it was made from fabric, and not latex or other materials I haven’t heard of and wouldn’t know how to get. Although if she keeps getting more into cosplay, I just might learn.