Tuesday, January 31, 2006
I spent the majority of the evening last night preparing for my chapter meeting tonight. It's amazing how much stuff one little group of writers can have on their agenda. Still, I'm quite excited about it all.
Since I'm president and therefore "presiding" (that's a scary word) over the meeting, I have worries that my stage fright will kick in, but then I just remind myself to put on my "extrovert" hat. I have two, y'know - and the introvert gets worn quite often. I'm a writer, remember? ;-)
Alas, no writing done last night, unless you count writing the agenda and making notes to myself on what NOT to forget to discuss.
Thankfully, I have a wonderful group of women in my group and we all have a great time together.
And I just met the deadline to renew my RWA membership - faxed it in today and they received it (yes, even though the fax machine SAID it went through, I had to know for sure so I emailed the national office - yup, they got it - I'm not neurotic at all!).
Still, I sometimes wish that my chapter didn't have to belong to RWA. The reason I say this is mainly because of the cost. Lots of people would love to be in our group, but they can't justify paying the $100 initial fee for RWA and the $75 annual membership fee. For example, my mother is a writer and she would love the support of other writers - but she can't afford to join National and she's not a romance writer. While I do like the fact that those in my chapter are all dedicated to writing romance, I wish I could open it up more to those who crave the accountability and support of other writers.
I'm hoping to get some great feedback at the meeting about my little plot problem. Nope, a solution has not yet manifested, but maybe it will tonight. After all, writers are the best brainstormers in the world!
Monday, January 30, 2006
The weekend was good. I visited relatives with my mom that I'd never met before...amazing how much family we have on this end of the state. It's too bad we're not closer to them.
Didn't get any writing done, but I did try and brainstorm my whole plot problem. Even asked my husband for his opinion. He's usually pretty good at helping me sort things out - even talking to him about it will usually spark something in my brain. Unfortunately, that didn't happen this time.
I have to prepare for my chapter meeting tomorrow - my first one as president. I'm excited for the stuff we'll be doing this year.
I also chopped about four inches off my hair - and it's a lot shorter than I'm used to. Just right above my shoulders. But I can't believe how much better I feel with all that hair gone!
Saturday, January 28, 2006
I woke up to a wet, dreary, rainy day. And I smiled.
I love these kinds of days. For some reason, I feel much more inspired to write. Maybe it's the fact that I don't have to feel guilty for staying inside. Whatever the reason, I wish I had more of these types of days. Especially since it's Saturday and I don't have to work!
Despite the fact that a solution came to me for my plot problem, there is still one other, niggling detail that I need to solve. And I've wracked my brain over and over, trying to think of what it could be. I feel like I'm hitting a brick wall in my subconscious. I really want to be able to just brainstorm a ton of ideas and then see which ones have merit. I'm thinking this is the perfect time for my chapter's "30-Second Brainstorm" section of our meeting on Tuesday. But I'd really like to figure it out this weekend so I could get to work.
What do you do when you can't figure out a plot problem? Do you brainstorm with a critique group or your best friend or...?
Maybe just reading through my manuscript will jumpstart my creativity. It's worth a try. :-)
Friday, January 27, 2006
I ran scenarios through my mind, rejecting each one out of turn. I closed my eyes and just lay there. And then...BAM. There it was. The solution.
Part of me said, "Don't worry about writing it down. You'll remember it in the morning. How could you forget such a brilliant idea?"
Luckily, I didn't listen. Instead, I pulled out my journal and pen that I keep on my nightstand for such purposes and scribbled down my notes. Whether or not they are legible is another question altogether.
I didn't get any other writing done last night. The old stomach was acting up again and I didn't have the stamina to do anything other than lay down and groan. I'm hoping not to have a repeat tonight.
But it's Friday! And that is cause enough for rejoice!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
I couldn't stop yawning as I typed, and I thought I'd only get a few paragraphs done. Luckily, my characters started talking and I was able to write a full page. Hey, it's not much, but I'll take it. With the little bit of time I have in the evenings, anything is good.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
One detail in particular...I had my hero standing at his window, looking out at the guard tower spotlights searching the POW camp. But when I read the guard regulations manual, I found that the only time they had the spotlights searching the camp was when they saw something suspicious. Otherwise, the fence lights kept the place well-lit.
While it was a minor detail and no one probably would have cared if I kept it the way it was, it still unnerved me a bit. I want to be as accurate as possible, but I know there are certain things I'm going to have to work around. Finding out the minute details of a prisoner's life are incredibly difficult. Although I am working with a diary, he didn't record certain details, like what the barracks looked like inside or what the camp looked like in general. Although I have pictures, I don't have very detailed ones.
But on the other hand, his diary has been of great use to me in both my thesis and this novel. I have found out so much about him that I've been able to use in my main character. It's exciting to write.
I had a moment of doubt last night when I thought, will this find a market? But then I shoved the thought away. It's a good story. And even if it doesn't find a market, I don't care. I want to write it. So I will. :-)
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I have been writing, though. A page last night and about three pages on Sunday. I felt like I was getting into murky waters Sunday night, though. Thankfully, Rene helped me out with a quick brainstorm sesson yesterday. Thank you, Rene!!! :-)
I wasn't a happy camper last night. I kept thinking, ugh. Have to get up and go to work in the morning. I don't wanna!!!
It's not that I don't like my job. I do. But I'm very tired of the daily grind. I hate the running around in the morning and having little time at night to do much of anything. I know I've groused about this before, but the fact that it keeps coming up is a warning sign for me. I can't fall into the trap of dreading the next day. I don't want to live my life like that. So it's either buckle down and deal with things as they are right now or find a solution.
At this point in time, I need the job. It's a good job. Afterall, I write all day long! But I hate that my daughter has to be in daycare before and after school and that my stepson has to sometimes stay in the office with me because we live in a different district than the school he goes to and he can't ride the bus home. I'd like to get off at 3 p.m., pick up the kids, and go home. Every day. And then work two hours at home. At least I'd be able to throw in a load of laundry or do the dishes, and my children would be able to have more time to relax. That still wouldn't take care of the morning drive, but it might lessen the stress a little.
I doubt this will happen, but you never know. I might just make the request. It's like the lottery - you can't win until you play. :-)
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I had my board meeting today with the other officers of my local RWA chapter. Since I'm the president, I had to lead the discussion. And I wanted to focus on one thing in particular.
Getting our chapter members excited to write.
I think we came up with some good solutions. When we were finished, I felt energized about our group again. I knew we needed to inject some sort of enthusiasm to help counteract the January blahs and get us focused on our writing again.
What about you? What gets your excited to sit down and write?
Even though I didn't look at my novels today, I did post a new article over at http://villaintuscany.blogspot.com
Check it out if you get the chance.
Friday, January 20, 2006
I'm excited to write this weekend. Unfortunately, my house looks like a pack of wild hyenas has run through it. Maybe I can ignore it and just write. (insert hysterical laughter here).
I'm planning to submit one of my history articles to another magazine, so should get that done this weekend, too. I sometimes wish that's how I made my living - freelance writing with my history articles and then my novels, as well. Maybe someday.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
I'd type on one for awhile, then switch to the other. It was interesting to see how I adapted to the different 'voices' for each one - one is set in 1945 in America, the other in 1811 in England.
While I feel more comfortable with my inspirational at this point, simply because I've been working on it for a few months now, I've felt a longing to return to the other manuscript because I know the characters so well. I really want to tell their story and I think it's a good one.
It was rather comical last night to switch back and forth between the two - I'd write a sentence on one, then click on the other file and write another sentence.
I'm still struggling with my focus on time periods. After I've been in the World War II period for awhile, I really start to miss the Regency. Still not sure what to do about it, but perhaps this new "method" is a start.
At least I was writing last night, even if it was just a sentence here and a sentence there. I'm finding my inspirational is incredibly difficult to write for two reasons: 1) the spiritual journey is a vital aspect of the plot and must be handled correctly (which is hard) and 2) because the main characters must get to know each other (for the first half of the book, anyway) behind barbed wire. My hero is a German POW and my heroine is an American woman who works as a secretary at the POW camp.
It creates definite challenges. But it's one I'm eager (most of the time!) to take on.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Thanks so much to all of you for offering your get well wishes. It means a lot. :-)
I am back at work, although I wasn't sure I'd make it when I woke up this morning. But here I am, inundated with stuff to do, and feeling relatively...well, blah. The stomach hasn't bothered me too much today, but we'll see how it goes.
Have a wonderful day!
P.S. - I thought we could all use a bit of eye candy today. And what better eye candy than the sexiest man of the year, Matthew McConaughey?
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
I'm still home. Still sick. I can't sit at the computer for any long length of time because of my stomach. I can eat, but it just feels hollow. And lots of knots and cramps and pain.
My oldest brother told me to go out and take a walk. "Fresh air will do you good," he said. Unfortunately, my stomach won't allow me to do that as I can't stay upright for long.
But Doobie (remember that cute little puppy? ) made sure I got up and got my exercise.
He disappeared last night and sure enough, he was at the pound when I called this morning. Not only did I have to pay bail to get him out, but I also had to pay his registration fees since he is supposed to be registered this month. My bill came to a whopping $88. GRRRRRRRR.
Doobie has grown up since this picture was taken - he's six months old now. Yeah, yeah, he's still cute, but I don't know if he's that cute after running off and costing money. Well, okay. He is.
This afternoon, I watched Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember and bawled my eyes out. Wonderful love story. But right now I'm thinking of taking a nap. Or maybe brainstorming my next book. Anything to keep my mind off of this stupid stomach. And the worst thing is that I'm hungry, but I can't eat anything that isn't blah - y'know, toast, chicken noodle soup, etc. - otherwise my stomach will really act up.
The only good thing I can see coming from these two days off of work is that I'll have a short work week when I go back tomorrow. And I am determined to go back. As determined as I can be with a twisted, knotty stomach. *grin*
I wish my day had been like this picture. Idyllic. Peaceful. Strolling through the English woods on a spring day kind of peaceful.
Hmm...not so much.
It's 10:53 p.m. My stomach is still doing it's seasick routine, one I've dealt with all day. I didn't go to work, slept in until noon, and laid on the couch all day long.
I really want to go to bed and sleep, but I have this feeling it's not going to be peaceful at all.
I finished the book I was reading - Ken Follet's The Eye of the Needle and also started another. But it wasn't easy with the headache and the stomachache combined. But you can only just lay there so long before you have to do something to keep your mind occupied. And watching t.v. just wasn't an option for me today. Had no interest in staring at the screen.
I hope I can go to work tomorrow. Not that I'm excited to go to work, but I hate being sick.
On the plus side, the kids got to stay home today since they didn't have school. My daughter didn't have to go to daycare all day long and my stepson didn't have to go to work with his dad. I'm sure they appreciated the break from the routine. :-)
Saturday, January 14, 2006
No, not the movie. My office space.
When we moved into this house three years ago, I knew my office would have to be in the basement, next to the hot water heater and the furnace. You'd think that would make it warm. Not so much.
We have an unfinished basement, although there is one room where the walls are done and that's my stepson's room. We've put a remnant of carpet down in the family room and that's where the kids play video games.
Then there's my office.
Cement walls, cement floors. I did get some carpet for under my desk, but it gets terribly dirty with all the stuff that falls down from the ceiling. Our house was built in 1908 and the previous owners put in a new basement. But you can still see all the old floorboards and pipes when you look at the ceiling. We had plans to finish the basement, but those plans have changed since we are looking to sell the house within a year (hopefully). I have plans for my new office - plans that include a door, carpet, finished walls, a ceiling, and lots of light.
In the meantime, I make do with my office. I'm surrounded by bookshelves, filing cabinets, and that big freezer in front of me. But hey, the freezer makes a great place to put my pictures. :-) My dog Charlie loves to lay underneath my desk and he is wonderful company.
During the winter, it's not the best place to write. I've sat at my desk, covered in a blanket, with the space heater running behind me, typing away. But our winter hasn't been cold at all, so I've only had to do that a few times.
My ideal office? A room as big as my living room...with a comfy couch on which to sit and edit my drafts...beautiful pictures depicting Regency and Georgian England on the walls...a soft, rose color on the walls...or maybe dark emerald or dark blue...a big bay window overlooking a lake or my beautiful garden (um, which I have someone else take care of because my green thumb is more a pale, chalky white)...a bookshelves line two walls, the other is taken up by my desk and a big table in which to spread everything out and write. And a fireplace. Must have a fireplace.
An office is an integral part of being a writer. It's your space to create, to immerse yourself in your story, and to sit and dream.
Friday, January 13, 2006
I don't have many plans, which is fine with me. I don't want a lot of plans because this is my time off from work. Time to relax, spend time with my family, be lazy, and write.
I only have one thing to do over the weekend - my company's holiday party. It's going to be a low-key affair - free drinks, free food, and good company at a local sports bar.
Other than that, the weekend is mine to do with as I will. I'll probably try and get caught up on laundry, get some writing done, finish getting my living room in order (which I really didn't do after Christmas), and maybe do a bit of shopping since my daughter needs new jeans.
Do you like weekends? What are your plans for this weekend?
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Now I have eater's remorse. Is that a word? Eater? Well, you know what I mean.
I did go work out last night and I will go tonight...so I guess it's not TOO awful that I caved and got something from Micky D's.
I also managed to write another page last night, do laundry, and spend time with hubby.
I tell ya, though, I get really tired of having limited time in the evenings. My perfect world would be to get off work at 3 p.m. and be home when the kids get home. I'd have a few more hours to get stuff done without cramming it into 6-10 p.m., which often spills over past 11 p.m.
See? I told you I'm getting antsy! I sense a change looming on the horizon...
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Moments like these make you think, "Okay. Do it. Do whatever it takes to get the book published, to get the career started."
Of course, it's not like I'm not actively pursuing this dream. But sometimes, you have little moments of clarity where it becomes re-emphasized in your mind. It's a bit of a push, I suppose, and I think we all need those every now and then.
I even thought about mapping out some goals last night. I've hestitated to do it because I usually fail so miserably at reaching those goals.
But I'm going to make a few right now. They're not lofty or far-reaching. They're reasonable. And simple. I like simple.
1) Finish the inspirational manuscript.
2) Exercise at least three times a week, if at all possible
3) Eat better.
4) Focus on your career.
Without my health, numbers one and four don't really matter, do they? I've come to think about my weight loss journey as less of an "outside" issue and more of an "inside" one.
Instead of worrying about whether or not my butt looks fat in a pair of jeans, I'm going to worry more about being around for my daughter, about staving off diabetes and heart disease, about feeling less tired and more motivated.
I haven't been to Curves since last week, but tonight, I'll be going. And tomorrow.
If I can just keep reminding myself of this goal - to be healthy - then the rest will fall into place, with prayer, persistence, and dedication!
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I've done none of it yet this year.
Our winter is surprisingly mild, especially for Nebraska standards. Yesterday was chilly, but we haven't had snow yet this year. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 50's.
This doesn't make me happy at all. Why? Because I like snow and cold! I know, I know, driving in snow is a major pain and I've already done that in November and December, but I miss seeing it. I miss cuddling under a blanket on a cloudy, cold day.
That's why I think my mood has taken a shift. The weather.
Well, that's part of it.
I'm getting a little antsy with life. My husband was offered a job in a town 88 miles away. We're thinking about moving. But that would mean I wouldn't be at the job that I love anymore. But we'd have the opportunity to buy a nicer house. The cost of living is cheaper in this town, but it doesn't have the energy and vitality of where I live. It's smaller. No university. No Barnes and Noble. But we'd be making more money and wouldn't have to live paycheck to paycheck. That would seal the deal for a lot of people, but we have more to think about than just money. Our jobs. Liking the town where we live. How good the schools are. Family. If I can find a job in this town. My friends.
We haven't made any decisions yet. But part of me is excited at the prospect. The other part is reluctant. Change is always a difficult process, no matter what kind it is.
I've started to notice that I'm getting really tired with the morning routine, too. I stop and ask myself, "Do I want to do this the rest of my life?" Of course, I get a resounding "NO" for an answer. But a person has to pay bills.
Maybe this is just a phase. I've felt content for months now. But ever since we found out about this new job opportunity, I've been thinking a lot about where I want to go in life. Is the solution to move to a different town and start over with making friends, meeting people, finding a church?
Some people have moved all over the country and have started over. I know we could do it. The question is, do we want to?
Thankfully, we don't have to make a decision just yet. The job is actually a promotion at hubby's current job. But he is wondering if he wants to stay with this company much longer.
Lots and lots to think about. And all I really want to do is write and immerse myself in my fictional world.
Two Short Movie Reviews...
Cinderella Man—I knew I wanted to see Cinderella Man when I watched the previews. I wasn't disappointed at all. I loved it. Wonderful movie. And so touching. It's based on a true story, about boxer Jim Braddock during the Great Depression. Russell Crowe and Renee Zellwegger star and they do an excellent job. Highly recommended! And my husband, bless his heart, bought me my own copy the day after I watched it. What a guy!
Napoleon Dynamite—As different from Cinderella Man as you can get! Still, I laughed so hard. It's an incredibly stupid movie, but that's what makes it so darn funny. You have to be in the right mood to watch it and I apparently was since I was so darn tired from lack of sleep the night before. If you want to know what all the "Vote for Pedro" t-shirts are about that you see people wearing every once in awhile, watch the movie. :-)
Thanks for the suggestions...
Thanks, all of you, for the suggestions on what your chapter does for motivation. I appreciate your input!
Okay...on to the meme!
What were you doing ten years ago?
Still in undergrad college. I had a steady boyfriend and was in the last semester of my junior year. That was one of the best years of college - I really thought I was going to marry this guy. But turns out I was wrong, which is probably for the best.
What were you doing one year ago?
Looking for a job! I'd just received my MA in History the month before and I was in desperate need of employment.
Five Snacks You Enjoy
2. Chips and French onion dip
4. Ben and Jerry's Lowfat Frozen Yogurt, Chocolate Fudge Brownie (summer only!)
5. Crackers and cheese
Five songs to which you know all the lyrics
1. Crazy by Patsy Cline
2. Who Wouldn't Want to Be Me by Keith Urban
3. Tons of Nickelback songs
4. Tons of Frank Sinatra songs
5. Birmingham by a gal whose name I can't remember
Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
1. Buy or build a new house
2. Set up an investment plan
3. Donate money to my college's history dept or a scholarship fund
4. If I really had a lot of money left over, start a museum!
5. Buy a bookstore or start a bookstore
Five Bad Habits
1. Eating too much chocolate
2. Diet Pepsi every single day
3. Procrastinating when I should be writing
4. Overly protective of joint checking account
5. Not saving enough money
Five Things You Like Doing
2. Attending the symphony (when I have a chance)
4. Browsing used bookstores
5. Spending time with my family
Five Things You Would Never Wear or Buy Again
1. Legwarmers. What were we THINKING?
2. Jeans with zippers on the ends.
3. A crimper for my hair
4. T-shirts with those funky iron-ons
5. White tennis shoes with no laces
Five Favorite Toys
1. My laptop
2. My digital camera
3. My DVD player
4. My cell phone
5. My desktop computer
I think everyone I know has been tagged already, but if you're so inclined to do this meme, go for it!
Sunday, January 08, 2006
I actually got some writing done Friday night. And yesterday afternoon and evening. And maybe I'll even get some done in awhile if I don't decide to take a nap. If I could only take an hour nap...well, that would be something. But I have a feeling I would decide to sleep and sleep and not wake up until 7 p.m.
Mom and I went to church this morning and I enjoyed the sermon - about St. Peter. Then we went out for lunch afterwards and had a nice time just visiting. I'm so glad she lives closer to me now - just right across town - and we now have the opportunity to do a lot more things together.
I'm really enjoying my novel right now - it's an inspirational historical, set in World War II. I love the research involved - I'm using actual letters written by a soldier and he turned up as a major character in my book - and I can feel myself becoming immersed in this world.
I've also decided that as my RWA chapter's president, I need to implement some kind of motivational program for my members to get them to write. I'm toying around with a few ideas.
While I am happy with my position as president, I don't think I'll take on the duty again. It has a way of sucking the joy out of the meetings for me since I am the one in charge of everything. But on the other hand, it also affords me the opportunity to introduce new ideas and new concepts for my group.
Tomorrow is work already. Yuck. I'm not ready for that at all. Where did my weekend go? If I had a four-day work week like I did last week, I could deal with it. A three day weekend every single week? Wow. That would be terrific!
Friday, January 06, 2006
I just had to finish Ken Follet's Hornet Flight last night. I think I read over 100 pages, but it was worth it. Wow. What a read.
It takes place during occupied Denmark in World War II. What I loved so much about the book, despite the fact that it was a wonderful story, was the details about life in Denmark. I confess to not knowing hardly anything about this country, but Ken Follet managed to pry my eyes open a bit.
Anyway, I stayed up until after midnight reading. I'm tired this morning, but I knew what I was getting myself into last night. And it was worth it.
In Writing News...
I powered up the laptop last night and had to re-read what I'd written a few days ago. I managed to get a paragraph done, but then hubby came home and it was time to get the kids to bed and well, I had to read that book...
Tomorrow is my RWA chapter's holiday get-together. Nothing fancy, just a time to sit back, chat, and eat more food. I did manage to go work-out last night and felt good that I did, but tonight after work, I'm picking up the kids and going home to relax. And maybe get some writing done.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
I slept until 9:30 p.m. Two hour nap.
That's why I'm up right now.
I did a load of laundry and surfed the 'Net for awhile.
But now I think I'm sufficiently tired enough to go back to bed. After I brush my teeth, I'll climb between those blankets and drift off. Thankfully, hubby is sleeping on the couch and he's already snoring away.
No writing done tonight, even though I desperately wanted to. I'll try for tomorrow. :-)
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Daughter crawls into my bed at 2 a.m.
Stepson sets alarm for 5 a.m. and doesn't shut it off.
I was exhausted last night. But do you think I could go to sleep? I was in bed by 9 p.m. Hubby and I watched Wedding Crashers (just out on DVD) and then I went to bed. But I don't think I fell asleep until 11:30. Why, why, why???
I think I need my own bed. In a dark corner in the basement. With a door. That locks.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
I am NOT ready to be back at work. I haven't been back since the 22nd. And it was very difficult to get up this morning.
But I had a nice vacation.
But you know what? I'm ready. I'm ready to work part-time and spend the other time working on my novels, the novels that I will have contracts for, the novels that will go out on the shelves and people can buy them.
The question is, how much longer must I wait?
At this point, there's no clear answer in sight. So I must persevere and keep writing!
Monday, January 02, 2006
I was the same way at her age. The exact same way. My parents used to have to hold me down to get my teeth out. I would beg, cry, plead for them not to do it. My childhood brain thought the pain would simply be too much for me to handle. Little did I realize that there were far worse pains in the world than having your tooth pulled. Childbirth, to name one!
I used to let my baby teeth dangle by a miniscule thread, so much so that nothing was anchoring the tooth to my gums except my sheer will power. I really don't know why I was so scared of the entire ordeal.
So when my daughter was terrified of having her tooth pulled, I calmly told her that we would wait as long as she wanted to. I wouldn't rush her into anything. After all, I knew exactly what she was going through.
But last night, I heard her crying hysterically. I rushed upstairs and she had wiggled her tooth just a little too hard, resulting in a bit of blood. The last thread had been cut and the tooth was still there, holding on by her sheer will power. We went into the bathroom and she continued to sob, great huge tears spilling from her eyes. She kept clamping her hand over her mouth, telling me not to touch her tooth, while I walked down memory lane, remembering that I did the exact same thing to my mom.
I prayed, I reminded myself to be very patient, and my little daughter eventually wiped a hand across her eyes, took a deep breath, and opened her mouth.
Wallah! It came out as easily as an egg does from an egg carton. No pain. She said, "That didn't hurt at all!"
And of course, she was quite proud of herself for the whole ordeal.
Being the sensitive gal that I am, I nearly wept when I held that tooth in my hand. My baby's first tooth. And it was soon to be replaced with her permanent tooth. These milestones are so small, yet so very, very important to me. I want to savor each one and remember them fondly in the days to come. After all, it's not every day that your baby loses her first tooth.
As for my daughter, she has instructed us to tell the tooth fairy not to come for a few days. She wants to show her prize off to her daycare friends and, I'm sure, tell them all the gory details of her first heroic trek into the world of adult teeth.
I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance! www.melissamarsh.net
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