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