Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Last Entry?!

Journal 14-2

Ah, last entry of the semester eh? How sad. Looks like I'll be on my own from now on. Maybe I'll stick to the idea of writing...maybe I'll sneak into your folder next semester if you're doing this class again and have different topics to write on, haha. But anyway, me, as a little plant? Have my tiny leaves unfolded and soaked up more sunlight than they were before?

How have I grown... Well, I will say that this class has given me more fuel for my writing flame, which was more like a pile of glowing embers at the time. Over Christmas I plan to go through Book #1 and do some red-penning. I went back into Book #2 and came up with some alternate ideas. I've been reading more books and picking up more vocabulary, and though I often try to do the same thing every class, I purposely challenged myself with certain projects for the very purpose of improving my writing. To be honest, Project 3 is going to be a pain in the ass, but I'm fine with that. After all, it was my idea.

My reading has led me to new ideas and words, and though much of that isn't present in my projects, it is in my notebook. Mostly for description, but a bit in style too. Starting sentences in a few ways I haven't done before - which is more or less just breaking me out of habits I've grown into. But before I ramble, I'll move on to the actual projects.

The first project has yet to be fully culminated. I submitted it to my online workshop and have responses so the final draft will be up soon (I'm going to go through them today). I think the best way I've improved is by learning from mistakes - taking on writing projects that are challenging me and if I do something that doesn't work I have to find out a way to do it better. In Project 2 I've finally had the chance to find ways of making older poems better and worked with punctuation more. I'm still not the best when it comes to puncutation, but having been nudged to use it more, I've looked into its use. For project 3, well, to be honest I have yet to find out how that will be, but I'd like to think that the experimentation will challenge me to open up to a different style of writing entirely. Emulation of something rather old will be hard. I'll soon see how well I handle it.

It's been the little things that have given me growth. I'm still a little seedling, and for the most part, the same. No blooms yet - just a little green shoot drinking in all I can, hoping that one day I'll have enough nourishment to show just how beautiful I am.

Currently: Hiding Inside Someone's Beautiful Dream

Monday, November 28, 2005

Project 2

Journal 14-1

My second writing project was slow. Probably - no - definitely because of me. I couldn't really get into the swing of things, no matter how much I tried (so it seemed). I knew what I wanted to say, what I wanted to convey, but it just never came out right and no amount of editing seems to help.

Poetry is hard. Of course, I knew that. I haven't written poetry in a long while. After my poetry creative writing class, my view on poetry has been off...or skewed...or something. Poetry has sort of turned into art (I mean the visual type). There are canvasses people simply splat paint onto and call it art and get paid hundreds, even thousands for them. Then there are people like me who don't believe it is art and wish for the days when people actually put time and effort into their work and had skill to do it. My point is this: when I was in my poetry class, we read some things that made absolutely no sense to me. I still have the book because of the reason that it boggles me. Dr. Lamonica mentioned to me that poems should make sense to the reader in some form, but the poems I read? Nothing. I simply read them and think, "....Ok." Maybe I'm just not into the "new" stuff - I'll admit that I miss the days of Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe and William Blake.

Anyway, poetry isn't anything new to me. But because of all the differences and influences within poetry I find myself unable to stick to one style I feel I can get behind. Maybe I should just say "screw you" to all those modern poets out there who insist upon whitespace in various locations, weird topics, the absence of punctuation, and things like that. Either way, when getting reviews on my poems, I didn't get much at all, so then I was really left in the dust. I don't know, audience-wise, what is "good" or what I could work on. All I have are instructor responses, and though highly valued, most mention things I was going to do anyway (i.e. add punctuation). So I just toyed with things until I figured they were good enough (for me anyway) and let them go. I think so far in all cases that's been my biggest issue - only having one to three responses. I understand the why, but there was no Critters for me to go to with poetry. Ah well.

At least I got to bring some of my really old poems out of the basement and into the light and got to know that, from those that responded, they weren't that bad.

Currently: Tired

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Human Soul?

Journal 13-1

“The writer is the engineer of the human soul.” -Joseph Stalin

...I don't like that word; "engineer." Not with "human soul" right next to it. I always think of industry, black smoke, metal, and ugly things with engineer. Just mechanical non-feeling things.

But in a way, I suppose. People always tend to look to artists and those in "artistic" fields to be the tellers of soul. We search for the words and emotions, artists (such as painters and sculptors) search for visual or 3D styles and emotions. Not that emotion is the essential part of soul.

In Writing Down the Bones there's a part where Goldberg mentions that writers are a bit dumb - but only for the reason that people around us think so. For example, I'll be outside and stare at a crimson, autumn leaf and admire all its darker veins, the fact that it's not green anymore, what makes it different from the others, and as a whole, the sheer beauty of it all. My friend Sandra, well, she would just think I'm weird, give me a "You're weird" look, and move on. I'm not saying that writers are the only ones to appreciate certain things, but there are times when we just look at the world around us with different eyes, keener eyes, eyes that look for the little things, details others might miss. Once on a writer's crawl on the quad I noticed a praying mantis, the poor thing was flattened on the sidewalk. Dozens of people never noticed - I wonder if anyone else ever did. The world is our stage - we use it and write about it even if we're not writing about it directly. All things, human and not, are utilized. I write fantasy, but I take things from my reality and change them into something else for people to fall into.

But really, we can only do so much. We can see and hear the Light and Sound, but we can't always touch it. Heheh. We can only make somewhat educated guesses and go from there. We do our best and others look to us for that best. I can only give you so much of my soul, and maybe some of yours, but in the end you've got to do your own looking. Besides, that little sparkle is so far beyond a page with tiny symbols - words can only go so far. The rest is something else.

Currently: Ugh, It's Just One of Those Days.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Couple of Bones

Journal 12-1

Some of the important things she has to say about writing eh? Well, it's not much different from other things I've heard, but here we go:

~Try writing in a place different now and then in order to see things with new perspective.
~Just write, just write, just write.
~Pay attention to detail, but don't get psychotic about it.
~Read, read, read.
~Listen, listen, listen.
~Look for things other people might not notice; be aware of everything, sight, smell, taste, touch, sound and soak it all up the way dogs and cats do.
~Go beyond; when you feel like you're running out of things to say and the piece can come to an end, keep it going - take the 11th minute.
~Find a good writing medium (even though she demands pens and I will never give in to them)
~Even if you don't think you have support, just remember that you have air in your lungs and earth to stand on. You're alive - that's support enough.
~Even if your mind is blank, write, even if it is garbage.
~Don't try too hard to make a fancy writing place for yourself, otherwise you might be more into the place than your writing or feel inclined to write well when that's not always possible.
~Be able to take compliments; "As human beings, we suffer enough as it is."
~Beware of the editor inside you and don't always let that side take over while you write.
~Go back and reread what you've written.
~Writers do like money; artists do like to eat.
~Don't be afraid to experiment.
~Don't force yourself to write something you don't want to (i.e. if you're into poetry, don't make yourself write a novel).
~Make sure the notebook you have you'll be able to write in (if it's super fancy - kinda like the room - you might feel inclined to write good things in it, which isn't always possible)
~Verbs rock out.

Ok, time to sign off!

Currently: Happy

Friday, November 04, 2005


Journal 11-3

Three haiku - can you tell me what they're about? ^_~

Thousands of pages
Billions of little letters
One splendid story

So many people
All are a part of my mind
What chapter is next?

Keyboard and a screen?
Does not compute in my mind
Pencils are my keys

Arigatoo gozaimasu.

Currenly: Bright-eyed and Bushy-tailed

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Damn I Love being a Writer

Journal 11-2

“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” -Thomas Mann

Yes. In a way. Granted, when we get on a roll things are all sugar and spice and singing birds and you want to laugh and dance around. Like for me for most of book #1. It was going splendidly. Then for some reason I took a break or just allowed a lapse of time to sneak in. When I went back to it I didn't have the same stride and went from daisies and lollipops to the other side of writing. The one where we sit and stare at a blank page and think, "This fucking sucks."

Sure, there are people out there who claim, "I can't write," and so they don't. That's pretty simple if you ask me. I think the difference lies in caring. Those people who say they can't write and don't both just don't care. To be honest I'm confusing myself a little. Let me think.

A writer gives a damn about their work, their characters, their setting, time, why this character does this, and that character does that. They care about all the little things in between. They have to play God for a little while and it can be exhausting sometimes, or just get them to the point where they don't want to do it anymore. There are people out there who might write, and think it's hard because they agonize over correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and technical details. That's what a lot of people think writing is - the technical aspect. The rest of us know it's more than that. They're looking at the tools - the silverware. We're looking at the meat and potatoes. We just use the silverware to get to something delicious. Writers consider everything when they work, how people will view it, how the author would like them to view it, why the antagonist is the bastard he/she/it is, what drives the protagonist, and so many other things. What words to use that would be most effective. To tag dialogue or not. Italicize or no? How deep to go into a mind, setting, etc. And this is just for fiction. Poetry is a whole other ballgame, but it's just as rough.

I remember during high school, everyone knew I was working on a book. For some reason I think it inspired other people to do the same. I don't know why. But my best guy friend Coby and my older sister Stacey decided to write books too. Now? Well, Coby gave up. That's another point I think works. I don't know if Mann meant writing as a process or everything it entails, but I know that a lot of writers can't give up writing. God knows I can't. I never will. As sucky as it can be sometimes, it's so important to me I can't abandon it. It's easy to give up. It's a lot harder to keep on going. I don't meant to imply that writing is always hard, but in the history of man, it's usually been a lot easier to just give up instead of forging ahead.

As for Stacey, well, initially she couldn't even write school papers well. I'm a self-taught writer (which a part of me still doesn't understand how that happened), and she would send her papers to our dad and me to look over and edit. But when she started working on her little book, which, much to my humble joy, uses my work as a base, she gradually grew much better. I'm sure college helped a lot, but I don't know for sure. I'd have to ask. But I do think she got a taste of what it's like to be me while she worked on her bit. She didn't want to work on parts that were boring, had to work around plots and dialogue and figure out who was going to be what, and all the other goodies that come with writing fiction. Sometimes when she was bored I would suggest she should work on her book. Heheh. She didn't really want to. It wasn't a negative, "Ugh, no," but more of that writer, "Yeah I should...but man...that means I have to sit down and write," type of feeling. I thought it was funny and always grinned when she declined because I knew why. Often she wrote when the feeling struck her. Writing is hard for writers because we have to write even without the muse, and that can be a real struggle.

And it's time for me to do just that.

Currently: Happy

Friday, October 28, 2005

Cemetary Crawling

Journal 11-1

Haha. I knew this entry was going to be about the crawl in the cemetary.

It was a lovely day. Gorgeous in fact. It was so nice and pleasant it kind of took away the somber mood I was expecting to encounter there. Instead of being presented with the thought of sheer death and decay (which I think would have happened to a certain degree had the weather been cloudy and gray), I thought of rested souls sleeping peacefully, no one truly alone because they are surrounded by so many others. Flowers left by love, and the squirrels, those crazy squirrels.

Aside from the sunshine and happy fall leaves drifting around me in gold and orange and red, it was the squirrels that distracted me the most. They're not normal squirrels. I wrote about them instead of what I had expected to write about (which was nothing in particular, just a few vague ideas, but with the same feeling of quietness and somberness). They kept fussing at me and I could hear them chewing on nuts and whatever other snacks squirrels chew on. Several would just stare at me from their perch on a branch or from their upside-down position on the side of a tree. A lot of times I got squeaked at. At one point I thought I saw one asleep on his little broken branch and was making noises due to a dream. I was wrong. He was just still and huffing at me even though I was still far off at the time and had only come closer to see if he was indeed talking in his sleep.

But anyway, I think if the weather had been grayer and the squirrels more normal and subdued (maybe they're just not used to humans), I would have had something more interesting because I was (and always have been) intrigued by vaults and above ground tombs people decide to lay in as opposed to going into the ground. That's how I want to be when I die - placed on a bier in a tomb like a hero. I decided this long ago.

Either way, I enjoyed it. To be honest, that's the first time I've ever stepped foot in a cemetary. I liked it.

Currently: Comfy

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

How Many Times Will I Repeat Myself?

Journal 10-2

Haha. I think I've said the same things already about these books in relation to my writing. But, considering how I think usually I've just mentioned them in passing (or as I ramble), I'll go into full on detail this time around due to the question.

Breathing In, Breathing Out hasn't had much influence on me. Granted, I was excited to see that I do pretty much everything he does in his notebook and encourages others to do, but once I realized that I was already on the right path (which I was sure I was on anyway), there wasn't much else for me to soak up. It was a good book, but I've been there, still doing that, so there wasn't much influence.

Writing Down the Bones hasn't done too much either. She just presents ideas, some of which I take offense at - okay, maybe I don't exactly take offense, but I get defensive. Like the comment she made about pencils being slow and how one should find a good pen (even though she claims hers is fast, but it leaks). I hate pens. I've always used a pencil. I always will use a pencil. It's not up for debate. And it's not slow at all. Maybe she was living in the time when mechanical pencils weren't the thing to have. Then it would make more sense. Anyway, there are a few good ideas in there, but nothing has hit me.

However, I think if you put the two together, not what they say, but what they represent gave me a definitive push. That and the fact that I've been doing a lot of reading this semester, both in class and outside of class. Finally near the end of the week at one point all I wanted to do was write. So I pushed my homework out of my way as much as possible and poured over my notebooks (yes, plural). I wrote and wrote until finally I had though I lost my muse. When I found myself surrounded by notebooks and books and books about writing and pencils and pens that I actually like, I cracked and just had to write more. It was a burst of, well, something. A veritable writing spree. And when I'm finished with all this grad school stuff, I'm going to jump back on it again.

I've simply had everything I believe in reinforced is all. Knowing that I do similiar things to other writers make me proud because it means I'm not just some goof who writes in a notebook all the time, I am making progress whether or not I know it, and lapses happen. The books couldn't have done it alone though. With the help of music and various forms of entertainment (which lead to the sudden appearance of muses), I've been pushed along the edges. Not much mention of muses have been made in these books. I think they're being underestimated. I'm not saying that a writer should wait for a muse before getting to work, but when you do find yourself inthe presence of one, well then use it for goodness sakes! Use it until it can't be used anymore and has to go back to muse haven to replenish itself. I've had that happen twice (or almost twice) already. The Phantom just about passed out (haha) and Kakashi's lookin' pretty weak. Poor guy. It's easy to tell who and when each muse appeared by what I've written in my notebook.

Hehe. Delicious.

Currently: Happy

Monday, October 24, 2005

Project 1 => Project 2

Journal 10-1

Project 2 is working a little differently from Project 1. Because it's poetry, it's going to take a little more time and thought than just pumping out a draft of something. I know that sounds bad, like I don't consider my prose when I'm working on it, though I actually do (sometimes more than I should I think), but prose flows a little easier; it can be planned and all you need are the details. Things like that. Poetry, well, poetry takes more time for me, especially if I sit down with the purpose of writing poetry as opposed to letting it be spontaneous. But spontaneous isn't always the way to go. Besides, I haven't been spontaneous for a while now soo...

Project 2 is going to be harder to edit too. Editing poetry always seems funny. There are times when the reader has good points and suggestions, and there are other times when I just don't want to change what I have because I feel it loses something I wanted to say. I'm wondering how to go about questioning my group. Maybe I'll ask for some of their interpretations just to see if the poem is going in the right direction.

I guess maybe I'll go work on it now...

Currently: Somewhere Between Comfy and Dreamy

Friday, October 21, 2005

Oh The Irony...

Journal 9-3

The one day you finally decide to grant us a free write and I'm not feeling much of anything. There have been days in the past where I would have willingly spilled my guts due to frustration or sheer bright-eyed-bushy-tailedness, but today I'm pretty "meh."

But, because it is me, I'm sure I'll be able to ramble enough to get onto one specific topic and then go all out. After all, it's what I do.

Let's start with last night, shall we? Good times.

Actually, that's a lie. Last night was not good times. In fact, last night I was freaking out because of all this graduate school stuff. I felt like I was stuck. There were things I needed to do, but essentially I was stuck because I didn't know how to do them or just what to do with them. It was weird. Like one of those days where you have a list of things to do, and in all reality it's not that hard to get started, but there are just so many of them, little and big, that you don't know where to begin or how you'll finish. What made things really stupid is that at one point I flopped down on my bed at around 7 (or was it 9?) and laid there muttering to myself.

"It feels like I don't have enough time. But that's stupid because I totally have plenty of time. I could do stuff right now..."

But did I do anything? No. I was too wound up, too stressed to get anything accomplished efficiently, and if I can't do something efficiently, then I don't want to do it at all. I don't like half-assing stuff if I can help it. So finally I opted for something more relaxing.

I painted my nails. They're quite lovely too, all decked out in their French manicure glory. It was nice. And while I did that, I reread some of my book (#2) and thought about things I needed to change in it. I did have an inspiration at one point and sat there typing, nails wet with little white strips over them to keep the tip-paint at bay. I had to change the manner in which Akira had her memory blocked. Instead of giving Kaiton the ability to play with minds (which in truth, makes no sense), I busted out an old idea used ealier (which will be ironic because later on I'm going to remove it), in which Kaiton uses a chemical to get her into more of a berserker rage. Anyway, I had him pump her full of the stuff instead. It makes more sense and is a lot more fun.

I read some more. Used the Track Changes to keep tabs on what I did and eventually saved it as a revised version. It's not all revised, I'll have to go through that baby several times before it's the way it should be, but hey, .01% is a start right? I did look at it in that book view though. that was fun. Near 500 pages of goodness (single-spaced mind you!). That gets me excited.


What else?

I'm still concerned about graduate school. I don't know what my sister had to send in, but I have to send in writing samples. My problem? I don't know what to send. I mean, I understand what I need to send (poems, fiction, etc.), but out of my material, what do I send? The age old question of what they want is plaguing me. The issue of what these people consider "real" writing and what they don't eats at me. I suppose I'll just have to sift through and find a variety. A novel chapter here, a short story there, a bit of creative they want is single-spaced or double spaced? Probably double-spaced. Which kind of sucks in a way because then that means I actually get to send less material than if it were single-spaced. Hmph. I still need to get my statement of purpose ready. Ugh.

I guess I should go back to work on my portfolio now. Time to get crackin'!

Currently: Determined

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Diamante Poem = Randomness

Journal 9-2

Not something I was expecting, but here I go:

Color Orb
green, blue
revealing, sparkling, searching
worth so much and yet taken for granted-
shining, hiding, forming
red, golden

And good times were had by all. =P

Currently: Comfy

Monday, October 17, 2005


Journal 9-1

As the title implies, I've done little. I'll admit it. True, I have my discovery draft, and I do have lists of poems to work on and polish up (only using a couple out of 15), and have things planned out, but I have yet to write anything new.

Poetry-wise that is.

However I have been meeting with a new muse who has, to be blunt, been rocking my world. No, don't be disgusting, I don't have a new boyfriend or anything like that. I get different muses here and there, sometimes I can identify them, other times I can't. But this one I know and he's been very good to me. My notebook has since abandoned the numbered entries (considering I'm way past the grade-A mark anyway) and gone back to 3-asterisk divisions as is my normal routine. At the end of the semester I'll count up the different sections into a total for you, but that is by no means the correct number based upon your "entry" definition. In fact it's probably going to be less.

But no, I haven't been working on any new poetry. I haven't been in the mood, and even though I know it's not necessary to be in a mood to work on poetry, I've just been way into other aspects of my writings world. But don't worry, I'll get to them. It's not like I dispise them or anything, they're just not my top priority right now...which is kind of ironic. You'd think that my project would be the top priority when in fact my notebook and book are. Yes, my book is making it's comeback finally, which is very good. I spent all weekend, starting after my book group meeting, writing on and off, this and that, music on and off and feeling around in the dark for ideas I can use and mold into something beautiful.

I'm rambling. I always ramble. I'm in a violent mood today actually. More violent than on the sharingan day. Anyway, I don't have any questions for my group. Maybe just what they think of my theme. But actually even if they think it sucks, I don't give a shit. Because it's what I want to write, and if they dont' like it, it doesn't matter because they're not my real audience anyway. But I doubt that will be the case.

...I think I'll sit outside with my muse today.

Kakashi....watashi wa anata to ikitai desu....

Currently: Violent

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Writing Project 1

Journal 8-2

Well, it's hard to say. I'm still not used to having that many drafts because the one we're supposed to focus entirely on grammar and spelling is the last one, except my group members and I already focused on those things in each paper out of habit, which pretty much rendered the draft for editing obsolete. I don't know if we'll be docked points or anything for not having it but oh well...maybe I'll be better able to work with it this time, only since I'll be using poetry I'll turn it into a focus on presentation (punctuation use, whitespace, font size, etc.).

Anyway, I think one of the biggest problems for me was only having the input of two people most of the time. In past classes I've gotten the input from either a much larger group or the whole class. Online I'll get responses from at least five people. Considering the audience I'm shooting for, those unaquainted with the genre don't know what to look for as well, and only two people make me feel as though I'm not getting as big of a scope for help as I'd like. I even sent a draft to my sister who wasn't much help either, but that was because she told me, "I'm not into sci-fi," which I knew, but thought if she had any random ideas...

I'll have to submit this story to my online workshop. I still don't like it. I'll have to try and get their input before I polish this story more because it just doesn't feel right to me, but I need help in finding the flaws. I just feel that if I sent this off right now it would get rejected, hands down. I'm pretty confident that the idea is good enough to work. I just have to get the prose to agree.

...Never have been the best at short stories.

Currently: Tired.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bones and Writing *cue evil laughter*

Journal 8-1

I've read a few bits and pieces from it, but I forget where I left off. I've been reading a bunch of other books so I've been slacking on this one. In all honesty, I don't expect too much from it. Maybe a few ideas on how to brainstorm or get over writer's block or something, but other than that, it's pretty much just another writing book. There's only so much one can get from books about writing because in the end they all essentially say the same thing. What I really need are not books that put out ideas of what to put in a notebook or how to do this or that, but more along the lines of inspiration and query/cover letters. But you know what? I've already got those too! Hehe. Writer's Market and Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul. Especially the chicken soup one - it gets me going. I should take it off the top shelf and put it somewhere more accessible.

Since that's all I have to say on that subject, I figure I might add in a bit about my slackage and whatnot. I ran out of ink the other day printing out story #1 for a thorough examination. ...I need a red pen. However, much to my complete and utter dismay, I got the majority done when the ink just ran sucked because I had some other important things I was going to print out. And Wal-Mart and Best Buy don't carry the cartridges either. I think my printer is so old and out of sync with the world (the rest of the printers elsewhere being freaking huge) that they don't sell t hem anymore. So now I have to order them online. Crap. Well, se la vi, or whatever the hell it is the French say. I'm feeling particularly volitile today actually...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Can See The Bumps

Journal 7-2

For the longest time I wasn't the best judge of my work. Granted, I had a general idea of what sucked and what was decent. I was never stupid enough to think anything I wrote was cloud-in-heaven perfect, but when it came to looking at my writing and being able to find out what was wrong, I had a hard time.

Once I joined an online workshop things got much better. Not only was I able to read good information about things to look for when critiquing (I was a natural at critiquing diplomatically), but I got back loads of helpful critiques of my own work pointing out things I had never thought of or ever seen before. At times someone would point out something I still didn't think was a big deal and didn't bother with it (especially if only one person out of say, the twelve, thought so), but I appreciated the comment all the same. But if the majority of those looking at the piece thought something had to be done with such-and-such part, there's a good reason I should look into it more. And usually I would sit there nodding, thinking, "Yeah, I never thought of that, but yeah." So now I have a much better idea of what I'm doing and I think I make much better judgements than before.

When I do critiques I like to keep things light. Even if there is something seriously wrong or that I feel is icky concerning whatever it is I'm reading, I'll let the writer know. That's my job. That's why they've been confident enough to let some stranger read it. But I'm not rude. As I've said, I critique diplomaticlly. I make a few goofy wise-cracks here and there and put in the occasional smiley face and always leave with a positive "Keep at it!" comment. Even if they might be competition for me in the future. But hey, if they get published before me well then that just means they might have better skill and deserve it or I just need to work harder (or both). We're all writers. We should all be pals with our shared passion. I don't mind proofing or editing at all because it helps both the writer and myself. I may come out of the reading with even more ideas on what to look for in my own reading and other things to avoid doing. Remind myself to check for spelling and grammar errors I might overlook normally. Things like that.

Besides, how else am I going to get better if I don't see any of the bumps in the road?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Erm...heheh...heh... ^_^'

Journal 7-1

I'm a loser. I haven't been doing anything. I've been slacking off completely. What is it with me and slacking? I really am a hard worker, I am. I dunno. Maybe a part of it is because I know how tough it will be to get this piece just right and so I'm putting it off because I don't like work (yes, I know, how lame is that?). Or maybe I'm just waiting for crunch time to give me a good burst of work energy and I can pump out something decent. ...Maybe I should have my parents take away my tv...

So it's still in the first stages. I have enough to make changes, no problem, and should brainstorm a few other things to add onto it so I can move on to the next draft. I seem to do this a lot lately though. I start on one thing and sort of lose interest and then start another thing. I'm going to have to force myself to get to work like I did several summers ago with #1E - I went to a Barnes & Noble for 8 hours and made myself write. ...I should find the bus schedules to go to Barnes & Noble...

So yeah. That's that. I think this is the shortest entry I've done so far, but there's really not much to talk about considering I haven't done squat and I know exactly why.

Ho hum.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Alter Ego x 5 (now at least)

Journal 6-3

If you've looked at my profile on here, you might have noticed my AOL Instant Message screen name is AlterEgoxIV. Initially I wanted it to be AlterEgox4, but that was taken, so I had to imporvise using Roman numerals (how many of you knew that?!). Anyway, I used to be SSJAkira1 (and as you can see, the address for this blog still contains the name Akira), but I'd had that name for as long as I can remember (ever since I first got on AIM I believe), and I figured now was the time for change.

So what does this have to do with today's journal prompt? Well, first let me say this is the most awesome question ever (whoo!). Moving on, AlterEgoxIV refers to all the characters that reflect me best. When it comes to my favorite of all time, it's going to be Akira, heroine of Book #2 and created entirely from scratch in my brain. The other 3 are Tathalia, Alora, and Visseri, only now I think Annatisse (aka Anna, my most recent creation) should be added to the list. I have a thing for A names. But let's move on.

It's really hard for me to say which character reflects me best because each of these is a representation of a part of my personality, only magnified about 3-fold:

Akira is super aggressive, a fighter to the end (I mean, she could be dying of blood loss and still be going at it). She has tons of skill and can best a lot of men, including her father (who is the ultimate hardcore warrior). She does have a softer side; a little more mellow when she is laid back, with friends, etc. Her ultimate weak spot is near the end of the series when she falls in love, but even she makes the statement, "It's like someone like me isn't supposed to fall in love." Because of the life she's lead. But don't worry - it's a happy ending. She's the martyr, messiah, mother, protector, everything all in one. I love her.

Tathalia was my first creation. She is somewhat timid, proper - an actual princess. She is my more vulnerable side and it takes a lot of pushing to see her stronger side, but she is not a fighter. She resists love for certain reasons, but finds it in the end and ultimately finds her place as ruler of, well, everything, and becomes stronger willed - going from girl to woman in a short time. As I used to be Akira on AIM, for a long time I was Tathalia during my chatroom days when I first started writing.

Alora was accidental. She was actually a typo resulting from Akira's name (check the keyboard - o,l; i,k?)She's my mysitical side - the side of me that shows itself when I am moody or angry and I don't let anyone know what is going on inside my head because I prefer them to guess or just keep wondering without any satisfaction. She is nearly emotionless, deals in magic and resolves matters quickly in a fight. She is her own woman and the ultimate mysterious being, no one gets close, and I'm still having issues resolving her love life (which is virutually nonexistant until the very, very end of the story). But love is not really involved at all in any of her exploits unlike Akira or Tathalia.

Visseri isn't very strong at all - she happens to be a fairy actually. I created her a few years ago and she is based on my weakest part of my personality, hence her weakness. She does not handle conflict well, but will sacrifice herself to save those she loves (as would any of my characters, except maybe Alora). She has no physical power, little magic, and does not understand the world around her. She's not necessarily weak in a bad way, but because of her innocence and being thrown into the world around her, she is just not able to cope well and needs to get back to where she is safe.

Annatisse, nicknamed Anna by the characters around her. She was the result of my 60 page frenzy over the summer. She is like Akira in her ability to fight, actually uses a weapon, but when she is not fighting she is just a normal being in her society, governs justly, and is honest in all respects. She finds herself in a situation where she must choose between two men (took me a while to decide, but one finally won against the others - for once I have a character not hooking up with a warrior-like figure), and is genuinely distressed like most of us would be in such a situation. She is rather down to earth, and a lot like me when it comes to making rational decisions, and has a pleasant personality, conversing with friends, making jokes, just natural.

So because all of these characters put together make up my personality as a whole (some needing to be diluted more than others in order to fit), I can't really pick one. I'm so flat compared to them, but only because I've never been in a strained situation dealing with either fighting physically or deeply (if at all) in love. A lot of my books have female characters that are tiny pieces of my personality, but some don't have any of me at all, like Books #1C, #1E, #1, #3, etc. But yeah...otherwise, that's me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Screw the Universe - I Just Want My Words

Journal 6-2

(the current inspiration sucking up my time and notebook pages)

I was just thinking that all I want to do is write. I don't want to bother with taking the GRE or to get into graduate school. I just want my house in Colorado and one or two huskies by my side and a notebook and computer to write with. I just want to write whatever I want to write. I've already written what I want to write - now I just have to keep it going.

Yes, there's nothing stopping me. When I told my parents what I wanted to do with my life, they've supported me ever since. Never once have they stepped on my dreams - all they want is for me to be happy and for me to succeed. In this way, I think I'm luckier than a lot of other writers out there who have stories about how their parents and even teachers have discouraged them.

So I've said that I've written what I want already. It's true - I have. I currently have 4 books finished. I just need to go through, tweak them, and then start sending them off. Have I? No, but the thought of printing out Book #1 and going through it has run through my mind so many times as of late I think I should probably just do it. Book #2 is my favorite. Book #4 was what started it all, and Book #1F, meh. Haha. It needs some tweaking too.

What? Yes, they have titles, but it's just easier to refer to them by numbers. Here's the story since I've sort of started already, haha. It all started at Book #4 (it goes farther back than that but I'll just stick to the books - if you ever want to know the rest I'll tell you). It was just going to be one thing. But then with the way it was going, I thought, "You know, I could probably have something in front of this..." So then it was sort of Book #2. But then I thought, "Well, I really should have a story that explains where all this started. So then it was Book #3. It was Book #3 for the longest time, with another book after it. So I had a total of 4 hanging around, one of which was actively being written. However, as all writers tend to have, a lull in my writing occured. It was one of those filler parts - it had to be there but it just wasn't exciting to write. It was about that time I started writing a fanfic for an anime series (anime = one of my most inspirating muses; thank God for the Japanese), and it was a hell of a lot more fun. I just kept on going, it wouldn't stop. I held off Book #3 and went all out on the fanfic. It ended up (once typed) as about 100 pages of material, and it could have kept going. But I had exhausted myself on something I considered wasteful at the time (I mean, I didn't think it was totally stupid because it was so fun to write, but I didn't think I was going to use it anywhere), even though some people encouraged me to find ways of using it. I declined. I didn't want to copy anyone, even though it was more like an artist using the "borrow and modify" technique. But I kept thinking about it and let the idea simmer on the backburner of my mind for a while.

So I finished Book #3 on a Greyhound bus to D.C. - it was a glorious finish. And then I began work on what I decided was going to be Book #2 - the fanfic - pushing back the other to the place of Book #4. Book #2 was fabulous. I rewrote everything; characters' personalities changed, looks changed, I gave one a family, merged 4 others into 1, deleted several others, changed the entire story, kept components that would be the most beneficial, etc. It was done in record time, if I recall. It was glorious - it's my favorite to date. This was the book that inspired me to be like Tolkien and create my own language; the dictionary now has over 400 words with several rules.

Ideas kept cropping up. For Christmas one year I gave each friend of mine a character profile - I turned them into a specific character. Then I had an inspiration after seeing the first Lord of the Rings in the theater and set to writing a story involving them. It was done after quite a lot of work. I had done the same my freshman year for some friends and came up with my most unique idea (inspired by nothing in particular, hence the most unique), and it's been hanging around ever since. I haven't worked on it. I think because it's mostly a chase and catch/journey sort of thing instead of a world in great peril or characters in mortal peril like I tend to do since I enjoy it so much. And I don't like the idea of starting something else while I'm in the middle of somthing, even though I've been a total slacker on it. It's sad, and sort of driving me bonkers, but it's true. I have ideas waiting...would you like to see the branch?

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 - now at the end of #2 the heroine dies, thus spawning another set off of it (another 5 I believe for another set of 6)
Then there is #1A, #1B, #1C, #1D, #1E, and #1F (my current work that I'm slacking on). And with the random 60 pages I thought up over the summer, #1G and possible #2G are in the oven. Some ideas are a lot stronger than others. For example, #1C is very weak with just an outline whereas #6 I might as well write. Others just have pieces with summaries etc. etc.

So I need to get on the ball. I need to stop slacking off. Must stop slacking....must stop slacking...


Monday, September 26, 2005


Journal 6-1

No, not really. I don't have any problems whatsoever with this class. In fact, this is the most freedom I've ever felt in a writing class and I truly enjoy it. Especially with my notebook. In past classes if a notebook has been involved, I've been a little self-conscious about it because I know the teacher is eventually going to read it. Usually I relax, but in my poetry class it was a little harder to keep a notebook just for poetry. It's difficult for me to force out poetry but near the end of the notebook I thought, "Forget this" and needed to write down an idea I had in my head even though it took up about 5 or more pages of sheer prose. Lucky for me he didn't mind.

Anyway, I was a little unsure with this class too, not sure if I wanted to put something down or not becuase I knew it was going to be read. A person's prose and style and such changes when they know people are going to be flipping through the pages. Especially a professor. They don't want to swear or be politically incorrect or anything else that might creep the professor out. Not that I do that (there is occasional swearing, but meh, oh well), but there are certain things that, at the time, I felt a little uncomfortable mentioning. But after a while I thought, "What the heck...besides, this is my notebook," and haven't had a problem since.

Anyway, back to the class itself. Hehe. The only thing I really would like is a date (even just a tentative one) for each project's final form to be due. I'm a slacker. I'm not going to lie. I should be more productive, but I'm not. I need to be. I know I do. But in the end, I am a lazy slob, but at the same time, when I know for a fact I need to get such-and-such done now I work my ass off. When I do work, I don't half-ass it. Or at least do my best not to. Sometimes when a piece hasn't come out the way I want it I feel annoyed because it's as though I haven't worked my hardest because it's not the best it could be. Besides, with a final date I can schedule everything else around it so I have time when I want to do what I want.

Other than that, it's good times. I'm content in this class and it helps that our professor (^_~) is so happy and perky and willing to read whatever we have to offer instead of coming across as biased towards one particular type of writing. Sure, you might be, but you don't put it out there like other teachers tend to. I've mentioned how I feel awkward in other classes due to what the teacher likes best and what I write.

Anyway, I'm rambling hardcore, so I'm going to stop now and go back to my notebook and write about I-don't-know-what-but-it-sounds-cool. Hehe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Journal 5-2

I think the best advice is just "Don't give up." But then I think that if a person is going to be a writer, that's pretty standard. I mean, you can't do anything if you give up, right? Doy. But that's not what I always think about.

What has always and forever stuck in my mind is not a piece of advice I've gleaned from a book, but a little factoid snatched from the pages of Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul. Just the fact that Stephen King was rejected over 100 times before self publishing, and J.K. Rowling was turned down almost just as much (if not the same amount). I don't remember the exact numbers. That's not what's important. What is important to me is that authors that famous with work that good had an editor somewhere saying, "Sorry, but this isn't going to sell," or "Sorry, it's not what we're looking for," and that same editor a million copies later thinking to himself, "Wow, am I the biggest idiot ever." Now an editor may stand by his decision, and by all means, he or she is allowed to do so. They made that decision based on what information they had at the time and it just happened to turn out the opposite way. The book selling world is kind of like a storm at sea - it could change at any minute from just a cloud to a huge, whirling hurricane. What might not sell on Monday might be the biggest thing since sliced bread on Tuesday. Editors are just like weather forcasters - they can only predict, they don't know for sure.

What I'm getting at is if big name authors used to get those goofy form letters the same way I do, then in some ways, I'm not much different from them. I tuck them away in a little folder and hope for better things next time. The knowledge that rejection is a part of writing is ingrained in me - I accept it. It still sucks, but hey, you gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, right? There are people out there who are going to think their story is the next big thing; their baby all grown up. But then they get rejected from one place and shut down forever. No thanks. I know I'm not perfect, and I know my writing isn't perfect, so I'm going to keep on moving until I see something in print. I don't care how long it takes. It's a very specific "don't give up."

And you know, when I do get published, I can just look at all my rejection letters and smile, and say, "Thanks guys, for helping me to get where I am now."

Monday, September 19, 2005


Journal 5-1 Ah, the book. The $29 book. Haha. I smile as if to say, "Go figure" every time I read a part out of that book. In truth, I dont' have any problem with it - it's a good book. But so far, I've found that I already do every single one of the things Fletcher suggests a person should try.

Like I've said before, toting around a notebook isn't new to me. I had one with about 4 pages left in it and decided just to start a new one for this class. Before that notebook there was a magenta one, and before that I think it was a blue one. Either way, while I might have another notebook devoted entirely to a certain story I'm writing, I always have another notebook full of random bits and pieces of stuff I might or might not use, poetry, quotes, random phrases, words, names, rambles, and so on.

In this notebook I'd already done certain things that Fletcher suggests a writer tries. I've already mentioned that as a writer who hasn't lost her way (not entirely anyway, just can't seem to focus on one major project for myself sounds more like it) and who isn't new to the world of writing, this book actually isn't meant for me. I recall reading about random things a person might copy down since you never know when they'll be used later. Well, several days before reading that, I'd written down a quote (from my own head - it was just something I knew a character somewhere could say) right around bedtime (which was around 2am). Maybe ten minutes later I realized I knew where it was supposed to go and got out of bed and wrote the piece, eventually going to bed at 4am. I mention this in my notebook.

I never have trouble with notebooks. Naturally there are going to be times when I have a lull in, well, creativity or desire to put something down, or whatever else you want to call it (such as currently), but I'm up to entry #42 I think. I know I'm past 40 anyway. Some are as small as a single name, others as large as a few pages. Oh, and while I'm talking about the entries, I feel I should explain a little something. Normally in any other notebook there are no numbered entries. Instead I separate entries by 3 asterisks (* * *) the way they occasionally do in books (hence the usage). Sometimes I'll transition from one thought to another while working. So in this notebook I've decided that whenever I open the notebook for a new thought I'll number it and if within a reasonable amount of time I change thoughts, I'll use the asterisks to switch. However, if I close the notebook or a substantial amount of time has passed (say maybe an hour?) I'll begin a new numbered entry. There - now you know.

As for influences and inspiriation, nothing in the Fletcher book has struck me, seeing as I do all of them already (maybe not in this notebook of the now, but I know I've done it in the past). The Writer's Crawls have been fun, but as of yet nothing to influence me to something bigger. Actually I seem to be using those more as means of practicing my description than anything else...which is a good thing. I'm sure you will, when you decide to snag it, notice in my notebook the presence of a woman named Anna. I created her over the summer when I was lying in bed one morning - you know, that story. And I worked 3-4 days and got about 60 pages out of it? Yeah. I should be stuck in the middle of another book, but because it's just not exciting me like it should, I've been focusing on Anna - she's a lot more fun. I've been constantly trying to think of situations for her to get into - and actually trying now to avoid dealing with situations where it's just her and Ballard, even though those are hella fun and I don't think I'll be able to stop for a while, especially with some of the music I've been finding (music is a huge mover for me).

All in all, there is nothing slow about my notebook. I think we're supposed to, what?, try and write at least two a week or something? Haha...yeah. That's a good one. >=D

Friday, September 16, 2005

Web Hoo-Hah

Journal 4-3

Web portfolios huh?

When it comes to my experience with web goodies, I've dealt with my fair share, at least, that's what I'd like to think. I'm quick to pick up on a lot of programs, careful when pressing buttons if I don't completely understand what they do and knowing how to undo things when necessary. I made my first website when I was still in junior high (and it still exists today - I don't know what people do with it, but I think it still gets visitors), and then moved on to an InifiniteProfile when my AOL Instant Messenger profile was too small to hold all my thoughts. However, ever since the InfiniteProfile site's program became slow and annoying, I went back to my old website address and moved all my content to new pages.

The Profile

Currently the profile houses things such as pictures, random thoughts, daily goofy stories, longer, more involved stories, random things to do, and a sort of blog which will move to this site once this class is over. It doesn't have any kind of fancy format, but as much as I enjoy a good format, I don't really think one is necessary. The important part is the content, and considering how it is all just for my friends to enjoy, I'm not trying to impress anyone. Then I do reviews at and after seeking a bit of help I've found out how to customize my profile there.

When it comes to the web portfolio we're going to make, I'm not sure what to expect. I don't know what program we're going to use and all that jazz, but I'm pretty much convinced that for me, it will be cake. I know a limited amount of HTML code, though I doubt we'll be using that here since it's more advanced. And even if we do, I'm sure it will still be cake.

I don't fear computers - I only get angry when they don't do what I tell them to do. Hehe.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Criticize is Gone - Critique is the In-Thing

Journal 4-2

No one says "criticize" anymore. It sounds to negative. The new thing these days is a "critique." Sounds much nicer doesn't it? And it encompasses both the negative and positive aspects of a critical review. Jolly good.

I used to be (and sort of still am) in an online workshop group for short story writers. There I honed my style of critiquing and always hoped that when people worked with my writings I got the same courtesty back from them. Critters is the name of the place because that's what we are. Short name for a critique? A crit. hehe.

Ok, so what do I want to see? Well I'm not the type that believes an initial piece of work is perfect. Granted, like most people it's hard to take tidbits that tell you what bites about your story, even when it is put in a nice, diplomatic way. But I want to know. Be nice, but tell me what does indeed suck about my story. I mean, after all, if you can't find the kink in the software, how the hell else are you going to fix it so that it works? Besides, knowing what people don't like can help me adapt to things that work for everyone. That way, when people tell me things that they thought were magically delicious in my manuscript, I can either keep them or find ways to work around them. It all boils down to finding that happy medium between what you want and what your audience wants. Granted, I don't use everyone's suggestions - if only one person out of ten doesn't like something, there's a good chance I won't bother with it. But I've had work come back with the same mentionings of certain spots in my story, so when 99% of those who look at my work think something needs to change, usually they have a point. Many times I've looked at what they've said, looked back at my story and thought "Oh yeah...duh."

I like things to be written though. I don't always need to hear people explain this and that because things are much easier when they're written down. That way I can go back and look at what they've had to say instead of trying to remember what so-and-so had to say. It makes things much easier to compare as well - easier to see how many people said "this part isn't very good" so I can then decide what exactly I should do with said part, if anything.

It's good to know that I'm not perfect. Makes it much easier to accept that my writing isn't either.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Pencils Rule the Universe

Journal 4-1

Pencils, hands down. I guess I should get more specific because I really do actually hate those mass produced #2 pencils with the hard lead. You don't get a good line out of them - they drive me nuts. So soft lead pencils were my heroes - even more so when I found a really awesome pencil sharpener and then they would be nice and pointy and last for a while.

Then sometime during my high school career I discovered the joy of mechanical pencils. Not those little flimsy ones that have lead that breaks all the time and you have to buy a new pencil every month or so. No, these are Techniclick pencils. Though they're a little thicker than a normal pencil, I got used to them fast and now they're my best friends. Good erasing capability, soft lead (either .5 or .7 works), and they're hard to break. Heck, even the lead is hard to break - even when dropped. I've dropped these pencils several times but can only remember maybe 5 instances of the lead breaking. They rock my socks.

So why pencils? Easy. Well, for me anyway. Until rather recently (which will be explained in a moment), I found that if I sat down at a computer to write a serious piece (things like this don't count) my mind goes blank. I can't think of anything. I don't think my muse likes electronics. And pens? Good gravy - you can't erase with one of those things unless you get an erasable pen and those are just icky. There are one or two pens I like, but still, I won't write with them unless I have to (i.e. I can't find a pencil...dammit). Besides, my favorite pen is reserved for drawing maps. Pencil first, of course. But lovely black ink later. Besides, I love the texture of pencils; the
smooth feeling of the pencil sliding over the paper. I'm the one making the symbols that ultimately make up my story. If people say that typewriters make them feel more connected to their writing, then the pencil is the ultimate way to do so. Besides, I always get excited when I hear things like how J.K. Rowling wrote longhand.

The exception I mentioned earlier was this summer when I woke up one morning at somewhere before 10am and laid in bed until 11, my mind just running through the longest thought ever and I realized I had to put it down somewhere - I couldn't let it get away, as ridiculous as it was. So I got up and for 3-4 days straight (with breaks of course) I wrote everything possible on the computer. I think my muse had hit me so hard she allowed me to work on the computer without any real difficulty. Naturally I plan to rewrite it, longhand of course, and fill in details (which is what it needs the most). But either way, it all comes back to a piece of lead...or rather graphite .

Additional Note: Am I the only one not afraid of blogging? After looking around at the others I see everyone writing in Word. Do they fear the outside world looking in? Hahaha. Well, to each his own. When it comes to my thoughts, I will admit I like a computer over pencil and paper - there's no need for my muse here because things are more train of thought and the computer allows me to put them down much quicker.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Journal 3-1

My ideal writing space eh? Well that's actually a lot tougher than most people might think. I used to be able to write anywhere - even in cafeterias full of shouting students in high school. As of late I find that it's been more difficult for me to find a snug place for me to settle down and work hard on something. I've gotten really lazy about serious projects and though for the most part I know why, there's a small part of me that thinks, "Damn, this sucks."

I can go to Barnes & Noble and sit down and force myself to get going, which has worked on several occasions, once being that 8 hour spree that got a lot done. At my house I managed to get things moving once my mother, father, and little sister went on vacation, as I had to stay home and watch the dog (which was cool). I think I couldn't ever get comfortable writing during the summer was because I didn't want to get on a roll and then hear, "NIKKI!" from my dad, totally derailing my train of thought because he needs help with some random thing or another. I hate when people interrupt me when I'm on a roll...I get like Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets.

But I'm not getting to where I should be. My ideal writing place is somewhere that I don't get distracted and start daydreaming. Even being alone in my dining room with not-quite-right music playing will detour me. But then again if I'm in the library with no music I still start zoning out. Ironically, I think my most productive areas are in the classroom, before and occasionally during a class, both in high school and college. It's like my secret way of not paying attention. No...I know what it is. I read once (pretty sure it was in my Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul book) that writers love to write and hate to write (because it's fun and yet it's still work). So true. When it's as a distraction to things I don't mind avoiding (not like I want to avoid my classes, but it makes for something to do when one gets bored...or something like that), then it's a lot more fun. But when I have to actually sit down and force myself to think of things (time to go lasso a muse), it's work and some of the fun gets sucked out of it. Kind of like when you're working at Dairy Queen and you get free ice cream but you still have to deal with stupid customers.

So yes. At a desk with chattering people around me is my ideal place to write, where there are things I want to ignore so that I focus entirely on my work. Weird huh? =D

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Blogging World Shudders At My Appearance

Journal 2-3

Here it blog. I might have to come back and edit because first I want to putz around...

Ok, good enough. I guess I technically already have a's hanging out on Yahoo!Geocities, without any fancy layouts, in simple brown font color, etc. etc. I'm going to have to go back and add in my past journals...or maybe not. I'll have to see. I'm also going to have to add some images and make this all sorts of fun.

This isn't going to be anything super personal though, if all I journal are the things from the Daily Notes. Which might actually be a good idea considering I can talk about some pretty crazy things sometimes. Or just things that don't make sense to anyone but me, which is fine, because then it looks like prose-poetry anyway. Too bad they don't have a lot of fun fonts to choose from...

After this class, however, I might enhance this bad boy into much more, but then it depends on what exactly I can do. There's still a lot I'm going to have to look at and examine before I make any definite decisions. But at home is where all the real fun is...on my computer...just wait until I get into that and mesh the two......

My blog is going to rock. *muwahahahaha!*

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Oh the Irony

Journal 2-2

I actually thought it was ironic the subject of the day was drawing for inspiration when I’d already done that in my notebook (a tiny sketch of a symbol), have done it many times before, and have already drawn 6 maps of future worlds for current books (either finished or in the making), and plan to draw more. So naturally I was sitting there grinning like an idiot thinking in a little singsong voice, “I’ve already done this!”

Not like that makes me special, but I think it at least shows I’m on the right path in a sense that I do a variety of things. Anyway, the neighborhood I chose has a lot of memories attached to it. My list on the back included 14 things. It made me remember a lot of good times I had with friends and family during my whole 2 years of living there. It’s been my favorite house since – almost as good as my home in Colorado. It made me remember the series of vignettes I wrote in 8th grade. We had a student teacher and I remember every single person in the room bitching about the amount of work she wanted us to do (I think it was a total of 5-7 vignettes), whereas I simply dove in and gave her the maximum amount. I really wish now that I had saved them because they were great stories, slice-of-life sort of things. Crazy stories that happen when you’re with your friends and heartwarming ones, such as getting a new dog after falling into the belief that you’ll probably never have one again (as long as you’re living with your parents that is).

I was smiling half the time, remembering simple things, fun things, strange things, and even a few things that brought up a little anger from the past. I wonder who lives in that little house now. That house is the reason I miss having carpet so much. Though I don’t really know what exactly my older sister thinks of things then, I know my parents and younger sister had a hard time of it, but I loved it. We all had different experiences there, and I think mine might have been the best.

Those times made me think that maybe my first piece would have something to do with that house – another vignette type, or longer. But I don’t remember enough of any one story to have a clear cut one. I know I could forgo being totally truthful (or as much as possible) and go ahead and mesh experiences if necessary, but I really do prefer them as they could be – pure memory (or as much as possible) of one experience. I don’t know…I’m still iffy on the whole idea.

But I did start wondering…about the house…I wonder who lives there now?

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Writer's Crawl Does Not Involve Alcohol

Journal 2-1

I rather enjoyed the Writer’s Crawl (I like the name too). Getting out and about once and a while really appeals to me and if I have a notebook in my hand, it’s just as good. I remember once I just couldn’t get anything done in my house one summer, so I asked my sister to drop me off at Barnes & Noble the morning she went to work and to just pick up me when she got off. That’s 8 hours at Barnes & Noble and I don’t think I brought any money to eat anything either. This was back when they still had the tables. Anyway, I sat there for the longest time ever and just wrote because the atmosphere was just what I needed. After about 5 hours I started to run down, but I was glad I had finally gotten so much accomplished. So yes, I do think the Writer’s Crawl concept is a good one. Besides, it gave me an excuse to finally check out the place that replaced Rocky’s. Initially my friends and I had banned ever going there because of that (seeing as Rocky’s was the only place for us underagers to go and party Freshman and Sophomore year), but I really was pretty curious as to what was inside. Now my curiosity is satisfied and I can still pretend I condemn the place to my friends. ^_~

As for ideas…hmm…. I don’t know. It depends on where they are and how we would be expected to go there because I don’t have a car and I don’t know what some of the other places are. I mean there’s always the bus…. Haha, Barnes & Noble. But that’s far away and even so, I don’t know if the one here still has its tables or not. The one in Champaign got rid of all but one (to my dismay). I’ve always had a thing for bookstores though…or libraries. All those books just appeal to me. If I’m going to do serious writing, I want a place to be quiet these days. It’s actually kind of disappointing because I remember when I was in high school and I could ignore all the background noise without any problems whatsoever and write to my heart’s content. Now I like to be in places where I’m positive I wont’ get interrupted, yet still with an atmosphere I find interesting. It’s getting hard to find a balance – or at least to find a place where I won’t get distracted or find ways to distract myself. I guess I just need to buckle down more than I have been. I really should work on book #1…but I digress (as usual). Art!

Yes, I’ve had an epiphany. What about the art area we have – ooh, or maybe even the CPA building, or even the COB. I’ve only been in there once. Interesting architecture or buildings with artsy surroundings may be able to provide some kind of inspiration in some. I don’t know what’s in the art displays as of right now though…but I am always looking for some kind of excuse to go down there and poke around.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My Hopes, Fears, Dreams - man does that sound cliché

Journal 1-2

My hope for this class is that I won’t feel like I have in previous classes if I get to write within my niche, even if just once. You see, my niche is the hardest genre to break into (so I’m told) – fantasy and sci-fi. My escape from reality and my hope that in being published, others may be able to escape from reality through my work. However, many teachers I’ve encountered are into their own style and some other styles and don’t seem to take fantasy/sci-fi seriously. In fact, some of them even seem to look down on it, as though those types of writings are stupid, or take no strong intellect to do. This might not be true for any of my past teachers for all I know, it’s just a feeling I get from them. I just wish for once is that if I decide to write something along those lines I don’t feel like some outcast, fantasy-geek for doing so. I’m really not. I really do have goals for writing this way, as mentioned above. That is it is just so fun to write.

I think that about does it for hopes. I’m pretty open to everything else because I’m aware that I can’t write within my niche all the time. Besides, moving outside the box will give me more ideas and hopefully some thoughts that I can include elsewhere to make my writing just that much better. I have noticed recently (on a writing spree not too long ago) that I did certain things, syntax-wise that I would like to cut down on by finding alternate ways of conveying what I want. Oh, and showing and telling. I’m always trying to polish on that, and I probably always will be.

Fears…ugh. Group work. Ok, I guess that’s not entirely true. After all, I am into the concept of workshops. It makes sense and it is very beneficial. What better way to improve than to have potential readers, well, read your work, right? So that I’m not bothered about. I was reading about the Writer’s Crawl thing and though I am pretty excited about skipping around outside the classroom, notebook in hand (I do so love notebooks – I got two free from the Alamo and they’re college-ruled, totally blank in that perfect whiteness I’m so fond of – one of them is already my notebook for this class), I don’t know about this whole reading aloud to the group thing. To a certain degree I’m pretty private about the intricacies of my writing, whether it’s just some random words on a page or one of my books. I don’t know. I think I’ll just have to wait it out and see. It’s not really a fear. It’s just not one of my favorite things to do. I’m a lone wolf. Always have been, but that’s a long story in itself...

Expectations, hmm…. Just a lot of writing really. I have about 20 books to read for other classes, so the amount of drafts has me just a little concerned, but I’m sure I’ll be able to work through it. In fact, I think this will be the first time in any class or anything on my own where I will have written over 3 drafts for one piece of material. I know it’s a bad thing, but I’ve never really been into drafts, just like I was never into dark shading in art class. But oh well. I’m a hard worker. In the end, three pieces = cake. Whoo! =)

Monday, August 22, 2005

When Writing Sucks?

Journal 1-1

This is hard already. I can’t really think of a writing experience that was bad enough to scar me for life so that I could never forget it. So I guess I’ll go with my first rejection letter. The truth is I sort of expected it. I wasn’t devastated when I got it because all writers are bound to be rejected at some point or another and I was completely aware of this. Rejection is a part of a writer’s life, end of story. Usually when being rejected, form letters are sent; sorry, thanks but no thanks, regards, so and so. Not much to go on. I, however, had sent my story to a Canadian magazine and received a paper in the mail with a whole checklist of things that were wrong with my story – their reasons for stashing it in the slush pile. They were good reasons. An editor had even written some notes at the bottom. A part of me read them and understood where he was coming from. It made perfect sense in regards to what I had sent. The guy wasn’t an editor for nothing.

So there I was, rejected and being told very clearly why my story sucked (which I now look back and think, yeah, it did), but at the same time I was quite impressed with what he had sent back. It wasn’t my last rejection letter. I was essentially told all my stories sucked (yes, they did), but I do give that Canadian magazine credit for sending back such a detailed form. I should try writing a short story that doesn’t suck (oh the agony of my short story intellect) and send it to them again.

True, that little story doesn’t exactly scream, “Oh my God! Such a horrible experience!” and in a way negates itself; starting off sounding as though it will be and then ending up with a “moral of the story.” Rejection isn’t always so bad. It never was, really. I’m pretty mild about it. But to get back on topic, I’ve always enjoyed my writing and even when being critiqued by my peers online (yes, I am with an online workshop) and in the classroom, though it can be tough to hear things that are wrong with your story or that just don’t make sense, I really do my best to keep an open mind. Much of the time I read or listen to what they have to say and think, “Aah, that makes sense…” I think I’m rambling now. I tend to do that if I don’t have a topic I can stick to like glue.