Novel Writing

So, I’m working on trying to get a novel down. And I realized I have a process (just like with everything else). I’m a bit of a free spirit but even I need structure. I’ve written poetry, short stories and about three chapters to two novel ideas that I’ve had. But novel writing is overwhelming. To stay with a story that long can be make one feel bogged down. I remember from college a professor telling me that some people write a sequence of short stories about he same person, idea, or subject, etc. and then it links together as a novel. I thought about that. Then I thought more about my process. I write notes. Then put them together later. You know, a good characterizing sentence, plot point, or description of a place or thing. I fill it out later. Revise, revise, revise. I was telling my man the other day that I’m going to have to make sure I recycle my paper because I cannot revise from one window to the next. I have to print it out and rekey the entire thing. Just works out better that way for me. Always has. I have a hard time sitting in one spot generally as well. I’d rather write it out on paper standing in the kitchen waiting for dinner than sit at the computer staring at this screen that makes my eyes get dry. I find it stifling. While paper is patient with me, computers give me the feeling of go-go-go. Probably a conditioned thing. I’ve considered getting one of those “netbooks”, those small laptops because I wanted to save paper. Now I’m not sure about that idea…eh, we’ll see.

Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This is a fable, a short tale that has a lesson the reader can gleen by following a young boy named Santiago on his quest to find his hidden treasure. Along the way he encounters strangers that teach him things to help him on his way like how to understand the “Language of the World” or how to become the wind. He follows omens a plenty because this is a story about destiny. I really enjoyed this book. It is about 177 pages long.

Sometimes the narration was choppy because you jumped from one characters thoughts to another but overall it was a great adventure with fables within the fable. My favorite is the tale about the boy who seeks the wisest king and learns how to experience the world yet keep the oil from spilling from his spoon or keep focused on the task or goal at hand.

Acclimation: My break before graduate school

I am still acclimating to not having classes to attend anymore. This is not unusual. I go through this every summer (except last summer when I took classes) but, of course, this is different because I’ve accomplished a bachelors. I’m planning to go back in the fall if a university will have me. I know they will. I’m wavering a little about what to go back for. Creative writing is an obvious choice, then I can teach but is there anything else I’d like to do? I’ve always thought that I can change my career later on if I want to. I also have becoming a librarian in the back of my head (been there for a while). I’m not sure about all that computer stuff they do. I’m not  a computer dunse. I just learn it by necessity.

I realized the other day that I’ve always wanted to be writer ever since I thought about “what do I want to do when I grow up”. That doesn’t mean that it is all I can or have to do. Previous to becoming a mother I was undecided about my major in college. I tried psychology first because I like listening to people and it was a form of healing that I felt I would do well with. Then photography because I thought I couldn’t draw worth a damn but I really enjoyed art and creating it, oh but wait, drawing courses are part of the curriculum, no worries turned out one can become pretty decent with practice! Considered music because I play violin, successful when constantly practicing but steadily rusty as time went on during my busy early twenties, plus I was quite sick of it by then. Then I graduated with an Associates in Liberal Studies because by the end of my time at Owens I had given birth to Lily and that my friends compelled me to decide on English, concentration Creative Writing as a major because if there was one thing I felt I could excel in, it was writing. I was so focused that when my last semester rolled around and I found out I still needed three “related” courses that were not supposed to be in my major, I froze, I had no idea what I wanted to take. Whatever I was going to take had to have writing involved because that is what I do.

One of the courses was astronomy which I thought would keep my interest but there was no writing, no research, no nothing like that. I drowned in boredom even though I think the subject is really extraordinary and I wanted to have something more to talk with my husband about because he is enjoys it also.  It was like talking with a friend or mentor or someone you find completely interesting and after a while your yawning. Your brain says this is awesome, exactly what I want but your body starts to shut down because you are not holistically invigorated. On cutting the course some slack it was a freshman course but still I wanted to be enthusiastic about astronomy. Instead Ifell asleep during the powerpoint presentation.

My other courses made up for the fact that there was no writing in this one, though. The writing course at the Toledo Art Museum kicked my butt. My progress showed the meaning of Truman Capote’s quote “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” Though the beginning was sour the ending was sweet. I swam against a strong current and succeeded in reaching a beautiful beach where I am currently holding up, trying to get my senses back in order.

Anyway, I’m focusing on my writing right now. Trying to get the need for deadlines, prompts, and camaraderie of classmates out of my habits. I have plenty of poetry to revise and send out to publishers. Working on some short story collections and a few novel ideas.

Talking to Strangers,Truth, Small Towns

I work retail. People find me and talk to me. Tell me their stories or problems, good things or bad. I just listen. Makes me feel part of humanity as a whole. A moment of unity. But also I know that the person I’m talking to could be making it all up. Which is fine by me. I write stories and poems, so it is good fodder for my imagination regardless of whether or not it is true.

I’ve heard of there being three truths in a conversation between two people or groups. There is the truth of one person, the truth of the other person and then there is the truth that only the universe (or God, Goddess or some sort of divinity, if you prefer) knows and doesn’t really care about because it is trivial most of the time anyway, to the universe. I’m obviously of the opinion that I am insignificant to the universe. That does not mean I am insignificant to myself though, nor do I believe that I am insignificant to my loved ones. It’s complicated, of course, all beliefs of each individual should be because they are theirs and no one else’s. That whole deal of “I’m unique like everyone else” applies here.

So, I started this with people talking to me while I’m at work or really anywhere as I’ve gotten older and apparently look it.*sigh*

Irony. I was talking with an associate and she was agreeing with me that it seems people like to talk to strangers because it is cathartic. They know at some level of consciousness that they will never have to see this stranger again and they will never come across anyone that was included in the story, so what would it hurt to unload on a totally unbiased stranger?

She told me  an anecdote on how she was compelled to tell a stranger, that happened to stop by the steps to her house (there was no mention of how the conversation got started.) all about her horrible divorce. She cried, they laughed together, the stranger related to her story. And she said she remembered thinking how she will never see this person again and how good it felt to get it off her chest, all the emotional crap associated with her divorce. Then the most devastating thing happened. The stranger introduced herself as my co-worker’s new neighbor, right next door, and if she needed anything that is where she could find her. My co-worker said she was mortified. Why do you think this is? Because we can’t handle some stranger being so emotionally and physically close to us? Almost like living in a small town, you know what I mean? In a city we thrive on anonymity.

I think it is fascinating the difference between the closeness of a small town and the need for anonymity in a city. I suppose it is because cities are melting pots of race, creed, beliefs, etc. While small towns, generally, cling to one of those things. I used to live in a smaller city. I was at a grocery store and I helped some stranger and they said “God bless you.” I wasn’t used to this, especially when a person means it as an actual blessing rather than a statement of conviction (with an ingredient of you-better-be-christian intonation). Now that I think about it, living in that small town might of had an impact on my niceness factor, hmm. Don’t get any ideas hubbie-o-mine.

Book Series Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Lightning Thief was Rick Riordan’s first children’s book. Very well paced, keeps you interested. If you read Greek and Roman mythology you would probably like it. There is the Greek Pantheon: Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, etc.  Monsters like Medusa and the Minotaur. The plot is moved forward by the protagonist, Percy Jackson’s discovery of this mythological world underneath our present reality and his place in it. A quest ensues that is just a small part of the larger save-the-world-quest throughout the five books of the series.

I was tipped off about this series when I went to the movie theater and saw an advertisement for the movie coming out this February. I’ve been mulling over a story about a woman who finds out she is capable of using goddess-like powers, so I thought it would be a good idea to read this series.

Riordan uses his mystery writing skills well. Each book has little prophecies that unravel as you read on, as well as, little tidbits about how monsters and other beings have incorporated themselves into modern civilization. Some characters motivations are called into question but you really do not know if they are a villain until the author really wants you to know. The overall story touches on the human compulsion to judge and have preconceived notions based on what a character has experienced in the past or read in mythology. Also it covers the main course of a teenager’s rollercoaster years with adventures that are like rite of passages. I really enjoyed his interweaving of the old world and the new world. The characters use mythology as a guide throughout the novels bringing up myths associated with the menagerie of characters involved.

Just finished book five, The Last Olympian, yesturday. It was left open for another possible installment.

Rockband Night

My friends and I get together and most of the time we play Rockband, for lack of any other constructive planned activity. It hasn’t grown old since my hubbie and I started playing (got addicted, thank you Holly and Jeremi) a few years ago. Right now, Tony, a deep-voiced burly man is singing Alanis Morissette. As you can imagine, this is how I decided to get away : ) Love you Gwyd-man, but it’s weird hearing you get all breathy female then do a healthy grunt of “yeah!” when overdrive kicks in. Makes me think that you’d look crude-pretty in a dress. Oh wait, I know where the image is coming from…Halloween–you costumed as a hooker. *mental shake*

I prefer drums and/or vocals, yet I’m not very good at the whole Phil Collins singing-while-I-drum attempt, actually, so scratch that “and”. But I do fairly well all considering. We are so familiar with the game that when any of us start up there are specific songs for each individual, favorites if you will. Favs my friends like me to sing usually revolve around those angry-femmy-songs or as another friend puts it angry-about-having-tits or periods or something like that. Yeah I get a kick outta that description. Reminds me of those ladies who are stuck in that “I-have-every-reason-and-right-to-hate-men” place. Sad place to be, I think. My mamma told me when I was young to acquire my own house, car and way in life before getting with a man. Of course, I also remember her telling me that then it can’t be in his name, therefore, he can’t take it away. Maybe it planted some resentment seeds. Fostered a streak of independence, I suppose, but I really don’t want to hate something that I want. Eh, I think most woman having gone past the hard pit of feminism are enjoying the temporal part where they know who they are, what they want and hopefully have a partner who supports them and vice-versa. 

Okay time for Rage Against the Machine chipmunk style. wOOt!

Music: Florence and The Machine

New favorite album Lungs by Florence and The Machine. I’ve been listening to this for about a week. Then I realized I became very tired while driving, figured I needed a break. It’s “trancey” as my husband calls this kind of music. Good percussion, playful melodies. Florence Welch’s voice is smooth and soulful, a cross between Mazzy Star and Tori Amos. The lyrics have a pagan feel in my opinion. The vid here (embedding is disabled, sorry!) further confirms it for me. I love the allusions to myths and stories known for their deeper psychological meaning (i.e. through the looking glass, Midas, etc.) in the lyrics, rich with meaning. Apparently this album was inspired by a break up between the lead and her boyfriend. The vid looks like a Renaissance wedding or Beltane celebration up until they float her in white coffin. Commentary on innocence? Anyway, www.florenceandthemachine.net has four more music videos you can check out. The style of this band is unique. I can’t wait for their next album.

Another Dream I Will Not Interpret 1: The Future And Snuggies

The vid above is not what my dream was exactly but it relates. I often will have moments of lucidity in my dreams where I run commentary on the events. In this particular dream I was in third person pov viewing a futuristic society where everyone was wearing Snuggies. My mind recognized them as Snuggies but then I realized that they looked like monk robes without hoods. Granted most cannot link monk and cult but lets not forget that by definition a cult, in an adverse sense, is a small group participating in unorthodox or false (as viewed by outsiders) rites and ceremonies that generally do not jive with the whole of society. Every religion has been there, is there, or will be there. It’s a phase of the lifespan of any religion really.

I woke up when my left brain started butting into the dream and left the Snuggie world with a weird feeling. I’ve told this to a lot of people just because it is so bizarre, only natural that I post it!