I realize I sort of disappeared for the month of April. Signing up for Camp Nanowrimo was probably not the brightest or most doable ideas—but that’s what happened. This year, I’ve been madly trying to get both “Much Ado About Villains” finished and “Dragon Boy edited in time for the writing conferences I’ve signed up for, and my reasoning when poked by a friend to join her at trying Camp Nano again this April was that I needed to finish my draft anyway. I might as well count the word count, right?
I was going to put a realistic goal for the month, but when filling out the novel information sheet, I did need 50k of all the scenes in order still… even if that would be counting revision material (Camp rules are more flexible than the main Nov event, allowing for personalized word count, revision, editing, or screen plays). I probably should have set the more reasonable 30k goal I was originally planning, rather than leaving it at 50k, because I ended up with 28k or rewritten and revised beginning, although I think it’s coming along quite nicely at least.
Camp ate up a lot of mental energy and time, meaning things like this blog got shelved, but not “winning” wasn’t a big deal to me. What mattered more was that I found the missing plot and tension issues that were slowing up the novel. And at least I had a lot of fun sitting in front of my computer with a lot of hot tea. April is an excellent month for drinking tea in Oregon.
Over the last six months, I’ve actually been drinking a huge amount of tea. It’s soothing, it lets me keep the heat bill down (since it warms me up) and it makes for a pleasant time while writing. My husband has always been fond of tea pots, and so I started collecting nice second hand ones as I came across them, which has lead to my being in the habit of using a small teapot regularly for my tea. Most of the teapots are a Japanese style that strains loose leaf tea, although sometimes I’ll use a bag as well. I just put the bag in the teapot instead of a cup and it stays warmer longer in the pot.
Up in Beaverton last weekend, my husband and I got a bit daring with a brief stop to Uwajimaya, the largest Asian store in the Portland area, that I know about anyway. They have a wonderful pottery section we enjoy browsing, but we were strong and did not buy yet more teapots. Instead, the allure of the tea isle roped us in. So many varieties, so many brands, none of which we could read the packaging, or at least not well, but all of which looked fabulous! We went on a 30 dollars spending spree on random Asian teas: two kinds of gen-mai cha (roasted rice), two different green teas, hoji-cha (roasted tea), and an interesting herbal mix with various roasted grains. Not something we ought to do often, but I’ve been having altogether too much fun sampling it all.
Since I shouldn’t drink caffeine (a cup of caffeinated coffee seems to not wear off for 24 hours instead of the supposed 6 that caffeine stays in the body), I usually stick to herbal and decaffeinated teas. However, this can get disappointing to miss some of the more interesting flavors. Certainly, imported Asian teas never come in decaf.
However, I’ve read somewhere that most of the caffeine in tea is released in the first 30 seconds of brewing, so to reduce how much caffeine I get, I will decaf regular teas by brewing for 30 seconds, dumping the water out, and re-brewing. It’s not as low in caffeine as a professionally decaffeinated tea, but at least takes the edge off so I don’t get jittery, and yet can enjoy all the new flavors.