February has brought its fair share of changes. The biggest one being that I am temporarily living in a basement apartment while I tackle a short term tutoring job. I’ve been settled in for a few days now and I think I’m finally getting the swing of it. Granted, the whole “I only have one hot plate burner and a fridge the size of a suitcase” has taken some getting used to, but so far I have not starved.

And I seem to be able to remember and teach first-grade math. Seriously, when confronted with a textbook I question everything.

Photo on 2-15-16 at 2.10 PM

(My view at the “dinner table” these days. Note the dry erase artwork in the background. Anybody else remember when you were six and discovered you could click dry erase markers together to make really long writing wands? Talk about a blast from the past. At least they haven’t figured out that you can tie a dry erase marker onto a string and swing it around hard enough to make the ink spray out. Long story. Don’t you dare tell them.) 

On an different note, my afternoons have been (for the most part) free. This means I can take advantage of the nice stack of books I brought with me, as well as really digging in to my favorite hobby: writing.

Photo on 2-15-16 at 2.17 PM

(Above, an exclusive photo of the author in her new—and sometimes chilly—habitat.)

I’ve made great progress on Surfaeillance 3’s first draft. Saturday night I reached the halfway point. Or at least what I think will be the half point. Now that I’ve got that plate spinning, I want to see if I can also start working on some editing projects, and get brainstorming on my latest novel idea. So much potential, and now I finally have time!

Overall, I’m rather happy here. And I discovered that I associate feelings of “home” with certain pieces of music. No, really. If I feel like I’m losing my grip on my new territory (a.k.a start feeling a little lost and unsettled) I whip out some favorite, familiar music on my headphones and BAM. It’s my space again. And yes, I called it my territory. That’s legitimately how I think of whatever space is allotted to me, and it’s important that it stay mine. Maybe not “to the point of drawing blood” important, but I’ve discovered that I need a clearly defined home base area. I will have to keep this in mind next time I’m writing a character in a new environment. What do you like to do when you’re in an unfamiliar area? How does it make you feel, and what do you need to feel settled?