Friday, December 31, 2010
2008 was...let's just say it was a lot of words I'd rather not say here to protect the integrity of my blog. (I know, I know -- integrity? My blog? Psh. But I like to pretend I'm a respectable blogger.)
2010 was...not nearly as horrific (no one died. Whew.) but was in its own way a lot of words I'd rather not say here.
In contrast, 2007 was decent. I graduated high school. Started college. Met a lot of amazing friends I still keep in contact with. Got my first "serious" boyfriend. Was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and full of hope for my future and all that jazz that college beats out of you.
2009 was pretty darn good. It was my first ISPAW. I got interviewed by a FABULOUS young writer. I got the world's most superest super agent. Other AMAZING friends of mine got AMAZING deals with AMAZING agents/editors. All in all, 2009 was thoroughly anti-suck.
(Wow, I forgot how good 2009 was. I've been infused with a burst of hope allofasudden.)
So call me superstitious. Call me crazy. Call me a blasphemer and douse me in holy water. But I believe good things are in store in 2011. Not just for me, but for everyone.
I'm not going to make any resolutions. I'm not going to create a list of goals to be done by 2012. All I'm going to do is sit back and let 2011 bring me the best it has to offer in hope that it breaks the suck of 2010 with an infinite amount of awesome. And as I sit here typing this blog while Ghost Adventures jammers in the background (spikes! EMF readings! Oh my!), I can't help but feel a bit of hope. Because no matter how ridiculous New Year's makes people with their sudden promises for things they will never follow through or their determination to accomplish XYZ in the next 12 months, it's nice to have a definitive marker every so often to remind us that fresh starts are possible. We can start over, and move on, and close the chapter on our pasts while opening a fresh, shiny new page.
Happy New Year, blogites.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
You remember my Tudor obsession, right? And how way back when I had Showtime and all was right with the world, I'd indulge you all with round-ups every Tuesday?
(Good god, that was a year and a half ago. *suddenly feels very old*)
Well, thanks to the miracle of Christmas, I am now the proud owner of the season 4 DVD, which I just finished watching about ten minutes ago. And while I shan't spoil it for all ya'll sad folks who have not yet discovered the television bliss that is The Tudors, I will say a few things.
Firstly, it took Henry four seasons and six wives to realize "Hey, maybe I shouldn't trust every man in my court." Good job, dude. I bet Anne Boleyn wishes you'd figured that out a bit sooner, but still.
Secondly, SO thrilled with their shout-out to Anne Boleyn. I have an unhealthy obsession with her, and if I could so choose, I would so choose to be her reincarnated. Kick-ass, snarky females FTW.
Thirdly, the final episode of the final season was very -- appropriate. Very everything-has-ended-and-we-will-all-move-on-now. Closure, I think most people call it. And as I was watching it, I couldn't help but think how life is so, so not like that (this is where I get deep. Be warned). Movies and television like to give us this false sense of security in convincing us that when something in our life comes to an end, everything leading up to that moment and everything proceeding it will pass through our mind in a content, I'm-ready-to-move-on montage. Usually set to a really pretty orchestral arrangement.
(Oh, I'm the only one who thought that's how life was? I'm going to continue my deep thought anyway.)
It definitely helps to reflect from time to time. Analyze why you've lived the way you've lived. But life does not pass by as neatly as a television series, and all the loose ends don't get tied up as perfectly as they do in novels and movies. Unlike Henry VIII we don't get to confront all of our past demons in depressing dream sequences or say goodbye to everyone we love in a tidy little ceremony. We have to forge our own endings, decide how our own loose ends get tied up, and create our own closure. Not always, of course, but standing around waiting for our orchestal arrangement to sweep us into an ending is -- cowardly. And that makes for a really boring story.
So here's to The Tudors and to the brave, brave people who undertook one of history's most involved, complicated, and insane stories. Showtime, you rock.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Jump on over to Sam's blog for a contest of MASSIVE PROPORTIONS. Seriously, she's giving away so much stuff I can't even list it all here. Suffice to say, one of the prizes is a critique. By ME. Yeah, you know want that.
What are you still doing here?? Go, go, GO!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Yay, Stephanie! Yay, Anna!
For those of you who already bought it, more news:
Renee Collins over at Midnight Scribe is now repped by FOLIO. Let that sink in. Huge, huge, HUGE congrats to her -- she's nice and pretty and talented and one of those all around awesome, calm-cool-collected types that make the rest of us look madly inferior. When I met her a few months ago (ha, look at me. Talking like I'm all important and stuff.), it was in Carrabba's (mmm) and she had an a-freakin'-dorable newborn with her during the entire meal. And while I would've been on mega panic-mode with a baby (mainly because, you know, I would've been going "How the heck did I get a newborn??"), she was totally cool and whitty to boot. So congrats, Renee -- take the publishing world by storm!
Hmm who else who else....
Oh, so the Roecker sisters have this book coming out. Not like it's going to be FREAKING AMAZING or anything. And they finally got a COVER for it. But not only that, you can vote on which cover you want to see sitting in the bookstore. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, guys.
I'm missing something. Not surprising.
So as not to overload on postage after such a long hiatus, I shall leave it at that while I go stare at my unfinished revisions of STREAM PIRATE before surrendering to the inevitable exhaustion and ending up on WoW for the rest of the night. Yes, I got a WoW account. I'm undecided as of now. Let me get back to you once I figure out how to stop DYING. That glowing orb-angel thing is my new BFF.
Monday, November 15, 2010
2) Reading assignments are never, ever a part of that 10%. Ever.
3) Unless you learn by hearing (which I don't -- I learn through experiencing and/or teaching myself), lectures are pointless.
4) Don't be fooled by the cleverly placed "20% of your grade will be based on attendance." It is code for "Bring your laptop to class so you can get other work done during the hour and a half I waste babbling to you about stuff I also give to you on PowerPoint slides and detailed handouts."
5) New editions of textbooks are lies. Vicious, vicious lies. Save yourself about $500 a semester by buying last year's editions of textbooks. Same content, slightly less-shiny cover. Yeah, it is TOTALLY worth the $250 price tag to buy a book with a holographic cover when I could spend $50 on a not-quite-as-impressive version. LIES.
6) I will probably get pelted by angry blog trolls for saying this (*puts on helmet*), but unless you have a career goal that requires specialized knowledge and/or skills (medical doctor, teacher, engineer, scientist), college really...isn't...necessary. The job I have now I got because of my writing credentials. And if you look at most job descriptions, they ask for "3-5 years of experience." Translation: "We magically want you to accumulate 4 years of full-time experience while taking 20 credit hours a semester, but since all you have is a degree, well, we'll consider you, but this guy over here who doesn't have a degree but has 4 years of high-stress managerial experience got hired before he even said his name." In other words: experience trumps degree. Sorry, college-lovers.
7) For freshmen: every single freshman on campus is just as scared as you. Promise. Even that really big drunk guy.
8) Another reason procrastinating is so, so vital to college: in all my time at all my various colleges, I don't remember any specific studying time that sticks out to me as the BEST DAY EVER OMG. I do, however, have plenty of friend-hanging-out-times that stick out to me as some of the BEST DAYS EVER OMG. I wish I'd realized the value of procrastination and made more fun memories.
9) Lots of people will try to freak you out about a lot of things. Facebook privacy OMG. Drinking OMG. Not letting anyone use your swipey card to get into buildings OMG. Just don't do anything stupid (ie: common sense FTW) and you'll be fine.
10) Professors don't know everything. No matter how much they SWEAR they do.
11) The professors who think they know everything are REALLY fun to piss off. Trust me.
12) Taco Bell is only delicious past 3AM.
13) Don't take it too seriously. Remember: it's only one paper, or one test, or one quiz. The end of the world it is not. And no matter what happens, you will graduate with the same degree as everyone else. They don't put a gold sticker on your diploma for getting an A on every single quiz.
Thus begins my last finals' week EVER.
*raises glass of champagne* Cheers, all.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Today is the final ISPAW celebration. Seeing as yesterday was STREAM PIRATE's "actual" birthday (hey, moms have birthday parties for their kids on the wrong days ALL THE TIME.), I have in store for you some simple delicacies to whet any lingering pirate desires.
Lu: That sounded dirty.
Please, Lu. There are guests present.
Lu: They were thinking it. I just said it.
Since I revealed to all ya'll the official stream pirate flag a few days ago, I figured the only way to top such a revelation of visual excellence would be to offer up a newly revised product of my Massively Insane STREAM PIRATE Revisions of 2010 (working title). It does, I must say, kick butt.
Arachne: It'd kick more butt if I was in it. But no. You just HAVE to show a scene without me.
Yazoo: Go make me a net, Arachne.
Arachne: I'll make you something...
Lu: Was that supposed to be a threat? Are you THREATENING my MAN? Oh, it is SO on.
Arachne: On like the River Long.
Lu: Cleverness will not save you!
Arachne: But running will.
*Arachne dives out a side window*
Lu: You were saying, Sara?
You're not going after her?
Good point. Now. The excerpt! This introduces you to a character previously unmentioned -- the incomparable Lord Milo Vesic, court playboy and all-around bad boy of Radial Stream. It's an excerpt from chapter one, so you shouldn't be too lost.
Alluvium and I lingered by the staircase until Dad had led our guests out of the reception hall. Once they had been fully swallowed by the violins, my brother groaned.
“Sweet sediment, did that boy eat the suitor who was supposed to come?”
I smiled. “He isn’t that large.”
Alluvium puckered his lips as if in deep thought. “They’re getting fatter. You should stop seeing them. Now. Before one sinks a steamboat.”
“That’d be a lovely story for the grandbabies,” I said. “Grandpap and I were married on a warm fall day shortly after he recovered from his tragic steamboat-destruction incident–”
A shadow slid down the staircase, a mesh of black from head to toe with no regard or desire to be anything but dark. I flicked my attention away from Alluvium and fought a shiver. The shadow, seeing my attention on him, shot upright, smiling like my presence was the most refreshing thing in the world. Believing that smile had been the downfall of many.
“Princess,” Lord Milo Vesic purred, coming the rest of the way down the staircase.
Alluvium spun on him, voice squeaking like he’d been caught in some naughty act. “Lord Vesic.”
My eyebrows shot up, but neither of them seemed to think Alluvium’s embarrassed reaction to Milo was weird. Milo took my hand and pressed a kiss into it, lingering a bit too long. I jerked away.
“Lord Vesic.” I nodded. “I was under the impression you wouldn’t be attending this year’s ball.”
Milo straightened and swept the hair off his copper forehead, adding the wink and genteel smile that had seduced at least thirty known courtier women and two known courtier men. “And miss seeing you? I couldn’t resist.”
I tightened my lips into a scowl. “Flattering. Save it for someone with bigger endowments.”
Milo’s face flashed with amusement. At least he fought dropping his eyes to my chest. “Noted, milady. I heard the ball has begun?”
Thanks for celebrating ISPAW again this year! On behalf of my unruly cast of characters, I salute you. *salutes*
Friday, November 5, 2010
Lu: Show it! Show it!
Why do you like pissing off Arachne so much?
Lu: Don't even pretend you don't. I have a list of scenes that would be much, much less funny if Arachne wasn't pissed off.
Lu found this video on YouTube. Behold:
Arachne: That is NO LAUGHING MATTER, Alluvial. I'd expect you of all people to know just how unfunny that is.
Arachne: It's dangerous! The threat is real! Aside from the CTD, the only thing more dangerous is--
Arachne: What was that?
Lu: If the voices in your head start telling you to hurt people--
Arachne: Dam it up, Lulu. I will stab you with my weaving needles!
Lu: Bring it, weaver-girl!
*Arachne lunges at Lu*
*window creaks again*
Arachne: Seriously...I don't feel right...
Ninja: At last. We meet.
Arachne: HOLY EROSION! Run, Lu! Run!
Lu: But...he's short. And he's wearing a-- bathrobe?
Ninja: It's a gi. Get it right.
Lu: Looks like a bathrobe to me. And slippers?
Ninja: I will kill you slowly.
Lu: Don't overexert yourself. Hate for you to rip your nighties.
Arachne: You're not making this any better, Lu. Ninjas and pirates have been enemies since--
Lu: Since the pirates interrupted the ninjas' beauty sleep?
Ninja: Ninjas don't get beauty sleep.
Lu: You gonna fight him or what?
Arachne: It'd be my pleasure. I have looked forward to the day when I could cross blades with a ninja.
Ninja: Blades? Um. I only brought throwing stars.
Ninja: Hard to sneak in through window with a sword. Um. Give me ten minutes.
*Ninja runs out the door*
Lu: One more time!
Arachne: I'll let him kill you.
Lu: He's probably taking a nap.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I mean, really -- what kind of book-mom forgets her own book's BIRTHDAY? In my defense, I forgot it was November. I've been BUSY. I graduate in TWO WEEKS. Get OFF ME.
But I still have 2 days to redeem myself. 2 days. Gotta make them ROCK. Why, you may ask?
Because I have to fit an entire ISPAW into those 2 days.
That's right, folks -- it's that time of year again. The time when tiny children's heads fill with sparkling dreams of river-rerouting. The time when parents max out their credit cards on steamboats, dynamite, and nets. The time when the CTD cries themselves to sleep on nightmares of global stream pirate takeover. That's right -- International Stream Pirate Appreciation Week.
Thus, I will be squishing Days 1 & 2 into today's post, Days 3 & 4 into tomorrow's post, and the grand finale on STREAM PIRATE's actual birthday, November 6th.
(I've lost most of you. Wait! Come back! I made brownies! *wafts brownie smell toward readers*
Now here -- eat a brownie and read this post. Seriously. I'll wait.
Did you read it? Are you all caught up? Awesome. Let the festivities BEGIN!)
Day 1: What is Stream Piracy?
I'm glad you asked.
Seeing as last year I introduced my characters (well, the ones who would cooperate. I'm looking at you, Peat), I figured it'd be a good start to this year's ISPAW to tell you what the heck I'm talking about when I say "stream piracy." Because while I'm sure my little pirate-antics are side-splittingly entertaining--
--most of you probably just laugh out of the kindness of your hearts.
Lu: Hey, she's not as dumb as she looks.
Lu: You wrote me this way. You have no one to blame for my snarky remarks but yourself.
Yazoo: Yeah, thanks for that.
You didn't have to fall in love with her, Yaz.
Yazoo: Have you seen her when she gets angry? Yeah, I kind of did.
Lu: Careful. I'll sick Arachne on you.
Arachne: I resent that. It's like I'm just a piece of violent meat to you guys.
Yazoo: Wait -- you're not a piece of meat?
Arachne: Lu, sick me on Yazoo.
Okay then. Back to what I was saying. Stream piracy--
Arachne: Is a really quick way to simultaneously see the world and drive a dynamite-sized wedge between you and "respected society."
Lu: Hey! I'm still respected society.
Arachne: Guess my wedge isn't big enough.
Lu: I know where you sleep.
Arachne: And I know what you mumble about Yazoo in your sleep. 'Oh Yazzie, my love, my--'
Lu: You were saying, Sara?
Right. Ahem. Stream piracy is a--
Yazoo: Wait -- why are you telling them? Are we sure they can be trusted?
Lu: Yaz! Don't be rude!
Yazoo: I'm not. I just think some of them look like CTD sailors. Especially that one in the back. With the uniform that says 'CTD.'
Lu: Oh, dam.
Wait! No! Come back! ISPAW only just started!
Arachne: Sorry, author -- we'll be back when the CTD isn't chasing us.
Lu: Oh, the life we lead.
So. Um. Well, those are my main characters. Awesome, don't you think? Eh, you can stop being polite. They're gone now.
What was I saying? Oh, right. Stream piracy--
*CTD sailor runs through crowd*
Sailor: I saw them! Yazoo Oxbow was here, wasn't he?
Sailor: Do you have any idea of the consequences for harboring a known stream pirate? I should haul you off to jail this instant!
*picks up plate* Brownie?
Sailor: Oh. Why thank you; don't mind if I do.
*sneaks toward door*
And that concludes Days 1 & 2 of ISPAW. Tune in tomorrow for Days 3 & 4.
Sailor: Wait. That was only Day 1!
Sailor: You took the brownies! Halt! IN THE NAME OF THE KING!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Click on the "Stream Pirate" link.
That, my friends, is the official (as declared by me) Stream Pirate Flag. Thus, if you would like to be a stream pirate, simply fly this flag over your steamboat and do your best to avoid getting caught by the CTD. Be sure to plant a stick of dynamite or two to make it official.
Most of you have no idea what I'm talking about. But trust me. You want to be a stream pirate.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
(Am I the only one who gets confetti-thrower's remorse? I always throw it and go, "Aw, crap. Now I have to clean it up. Stupid tiny pieces of glittery paper.")
Exciting. Exciting. I need to talk about something EXCITING.
I'm at page 68 on "The Massively Insane STREAM PIRATE Revisions of 2010 (working title)." It pretty much kicks ass. Not gonna lie.
I'm one presentation, one paper, and three exams away from GRADUATING. I KNOW, right?
I have a new addiction. Starts with "Vampires" and ends with "Diaries." And aside from the fact that Elena and Stefan's relationship makes me gag a little, Damon is SO FREAKING SEXY they can do whatever googly-eyed lovey-dovey things they want as long as he's in the background. Shirtless. Staring at the camera all smoldery-eyed. Or working out. *fans self* Ahem. Not the kind of exciting topic I was looking for.
I really have nothing exciting to talk about. This is why I haven't posted in a week and a half. I'm BORING. And unless you want me to rant about something you've heard me rant about a dozen times before (Twilight, stupid people, boys. All three), I'm just gonna leave you with an air of mystery. Because after 300 blog posts, I'm out of stuff to blabber about, and the only thing that will keep you coming back for more is my mysterious aura of unpredictability.
*disappears in a fog*
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
I'm three chapters into "The Massively Insane STREAM PIRATE Revisions of 2010 (working title)" and already have a revelation about revisions. It's been awhile since I did any massive revisions on anything. I finished WHITE LIKE ASHES this year, started my ghost story, but haven't spent much time revising, getting into the nitty-gritty issues of a story and really working on ways to make it shinier, brighter, and all around kick-buttier. Working on STREAM PIRATE has been both a joy and-- actually, it's been just a joy. No negative adjectives. Yet.
I really thought STREAM PIRATE was in good shape. I mean, it landed me a rock star agent; it had to be good enough, right? And though I did a lot of revisions after the agenting process and during subs, I never did any REAL revisions. You know, the kind that make you sit back and scratch your head and really analyze every part of your story with an unbiased eye. The kind of revisions that make you cut character traits that you were just absolutely adamant HAD TO STAY because OMG, that character is just NOTHING without THAT trait. You know. Those kind.
So I'm doing those revisions and I'm plowing through STREAM PIRATE and it made me start thinking about life. About how we (okay, can't speak for everyone -- I) get complacent. I get tired. Very tired. And I look at my life and think "It's gotten me this far. Can't be that bad, eh? I have to be doing something right." Even though I'm not where I want to be or who I want to be. It's easier to just pretend it really IS good enough and where I'm at ISN'T that bad. Because really looking at my life in an unbiased way and dissecting the toxic parts is hard, painful, emotionally draining work that I already DID, like, fifteen times before, and can't it just BE good enough already, I mean, really, you'd think SOMEONE would like it...
My wonderful and beautiful friend Natalie posted on this today too. That's actually what reminded me of this revelation. That sometimes, even when you think you've revised enough and you can't possibly change anything else and that nagging feeling in your head HAS to be wrong, you should still give it one more go. Because it's your life; you've come this far. Why stop at merely good enough?
And here's a video for you:
Sunday, October 10, 2010
2) Finish reading one more book for senior capstone project. CHECK
3) Freelance my little heart out. CHECK(ish. I still have most of my heart.)
4) Be a better CP. CHECK (Yes, Sam! I finally started! I swear!)
5) Have another weird dream about destroying the Nazis and ending WWII by plotting to launch a massive nuclear warhead to obliterate Atlanta. CHECK (Watching Inglorious Basterds messed. me. up. Sorry, Atlanta.)
6) Defeat the common cold with a never-ending barrage of Hall's Vitamin C Drops and apple juice. CHECK (Is it possible to get a Vitamin C addiction? Yes? No? *twitch*)
7) Pass BOTH of my absolutely-thought-I-failed-because-I-barely-studied-and-really-dislike-one-of-my-professors exams. CHECK
8) Hit the 10,000 word mark on my WIP. CHECK (Okay, I'm ASSUMING I hit 10k. There's a huge chunk of handwritten stuff I haven't yet transferred over, and it's gotta be at LEAST 2k. And considering I only need about 1200, well...I'm giving myself the benefit of the doubt.)
My god, I've been productive this week.
And look at that -- it's already HALFWAY through my LAST QUARTER OF COLLEGE. I'm going to keep CAPITALIZING THINGS to draw attention away from the fact that I have NO PLANS WHATSOEVER other than to MOVE TO A HAMLET IN ENGLAND and live out my days as a DIRECTIONLESS HERMIT.
Yeah, that sounds nice.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Remember when I said I wanted steampunk goggles?
I NOW HAVE STEAMPUNK GOGGLES.
And I plan on wearing them as a headband no matter how many people call me Ramona Flowers. Or maybe just so people will call me Ramona Flowers.
God, I love renaissance festivals.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Anyway, this is what I've been doing:
But I HAVE been writing! I swear! I have about five pages of indecipherable content for my WIP in my school notebook. My professors can testify to the fact that I spend every class period being a diligent, resourceful student by harnessing all that free time to write. It'd make it much easier though if they'd stop talking during writing time. I mean, really, what are they trying to do with all that information about HR and sociology? That doesn't help my WIP at all.
Memo to self: Find out what their incessant babblings are all about.
(Don't worry. I accepted the fact two quarters ago that my professors probably don't like me. It makes school so much more fun. Trust me.
Professor: "I see some of you are taking really good notes, but this won't be on the test."
Me: "Oh, don't worry, I'm not taking notes. I'm writing about a dead Civil War soldier and ghosts and Jews."
Professor: "*stunned silence* This is a business law class."
Me: "Is it? Huh. How much do you know about cars from the 1930s?")
Monday, September 27, 2010
So, I have a problem. A problem I'm a wee bit embarrassed to admit. Bear with me.
Sometimes, when I'm reading other people's blogs and/or press releases and/or emails and/or news stories, I come across writing terms that make me go "WTFTDTM (What The French Toast Does That Mean)??"
Especially those various deal terms. You know: "significant deal," "good deal," "makes-you-want-to-slam-your-head-into-your-computer-and-give-up-writing-because-they-are-so-much-more-awesome-than-you deal." I come across those terms, and they make me go, "Gee, I wish there was an online dictionary of random and various YA writing terms to which I could refer in these embarrassing situations."
Which in turn made me go, "Gee, that would be kind of fun to put together."
So now I'm going, "Hey, YA writing community, wanna help?"
(If there is already a dictionary like this out there, I am very sorry and did not intentionally swipe your idea. Let me know and I'll more than happily hit you up with some linky-love.)
I've started a list of all the terms I have trouble with/can think of off the top of my head, but I know I'm missing some. I'm only one part of the YA publishing world, and a very small part of the publishing world at that. So to all of you multifaceted members of the YA world, I beseech you:
What writing terms do you know/would like definitions too/think would be useful in a YA Writing Term Dictionary?
The link for said (in progress) dictionary will pop up in my navigation bar in 5...4...3...2...
Friday, September 24, 2010
Hi. How are you? I'm good. How are your plot twists? Still shocking? I hope so.
That's not really why I'm writing this letter. I mean, I care how you are, but I'm really writing this letter because, well, I just wanted to let you know I like you. A lot. You're the first story in a long, long time that I've really connected with, ya know? And I thought I should let you know. Take risks, right? Gotta jump sometimes. So this is me jumping.
I think you felt it too. I mean tonight, when I wrote that really funny scene. It just felt right. Didn't it? I can't tell you the last time I felt this-- this-- in tune with something. Your characters get me. They're so witty and understanding, and I have to admit, I think about them all the time. They're constantly gibbering in my head, making me count the minutes until I can see you again. And all those epic fight scenes coming up? Those tense revelation scenes? And, of course, those steamy kissing scenes? I'm EXCITED. Excited. I haven't been EXCITED in, well, years.
So I just wanted to let you know. I like you. And I think this you-and-me thing could go somewhere. I'm not trying to go too fast or anything, but I really hope we stick together long enough to create a finished manuscript. Hopefully you feel the same way.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
According to my good friends Merriam and Webster:
Earnest -- A serious and intent mental state
So...I guess everyone. Everyone being all writer-folks. Unless you're those bubbly, giddy writer-types who jot down magical things as easy as they sneeze. Then you probably spend less time being earnest, more time being pelted with things BY earnest writer-folks.
What was my post about? Oh yeah:
It's taken a few years, a lot of personal revelations, a dash of terror, a smidgen of heartache (woa, smidgen is recognized as a word! Another personal revelation...), and a healthy dose of confounded-ness for me to get to a place where I can begin piecing together some semblance of a personal philosophy. You know, an outlook on life. My hakuna matata. Me manifesto. A compendium of all my beliefs.
I know. Heavy stuff.
But, like most aspects of life, I've found that it only takes looking at writing to really see what I believe. Because everything I need to believe, I have come to believe through the writing world. And one of the most important things I've come to learn (and am still in the process of perfecting, mind you) is the ability and dire importance to let myself feel.
Earnestness, anger, jealousy, rage, sorrow, depression, guilt -- you name it. It happens. It happens a LOT. It happens when people get kick-ass deals and I'm still floating in submission land (Pirates are notorious for having SHORT FUSES. Someone buy them SOON or they will attack the publishing industry with their steamboats and water nymphs and crocpeople and I won't be able to do a THING about it). It happens when one of my awesome friends sends me a KILLER manuscript and I grovel in my perpetual inability to commit to any story long enough to even DEVELOP a manuscript, yet alone a killer one. It happens when I end another week without having done any of the research I'd intended to do, and see an entire 7 days I could've used to get that much farther ahead with any of my could-be-awesome ideas.
I used to fight it. I used to feel those feelings coming on and fight them tooth and nail, violently opposed to letting myself admit I felt those things. No, I wasn't jealous. No, I wasn't angry. No, I wasn't *insert adjective here*. I wasn't I wasn't Iwasn't. I was strong and talented and capable and totally and completely in control of my future and career and feelings and I would NOT succumb to petty little emotions and see, I feel better already?
But smushing those feelings down doesn't do anyone a damn bit of good. In fact, it just makes them stronger the next time they come. And the next time. And the next. And before you know it, you're hyperventilating in the car on the way home from your "real" job because there were 5 more hours you COULD'VE spent writing, dammit, but you DIDN'T, and now you're going to go home and just make dinner and veg in front of the TV all night because you're too tired to write, and there'll go ANOTHER 5 hours...
So I tried something once. I felt a wave of jealousy rise up in me. And I -- let it. I saw it and waved to it. "Hey, I know you. You're that green thing that's been here before. How's it going?"
And you know what? It nodded at me. Brushed some dust off its coat. And took a seat in the back corner, foregoing any of its usual quiet bickering.
It's something I learned from Eat Pray Love. To embrace you, all of you, every flawed bit. We've been trained to resist bad things, to fight the good fight. But it's so much easier, so much less stressful, to just let it be. To recognize the bad stuff welling up inside of you but say "I see it. It's okay. I still love you."
So, next time you feel yourself needing to be earnest, ride it out. Unless that earnestness compels you to pelt bubbly, giddy writer-type people with blocks of Post Its. Then by all means, harness that earnestness and pelt away.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
This is how I spent the better part of my Monday night. *waves at new blog layout* Pretty? Even if you don't think so, lie to me, because I spent a long many hours reworking the title picture so it'd be mostly centered and playing with the apps so they were arranged just so and generally getting so frustrated with my impatience with technology that I went to bed shaking.
Patience is SO not my virtue. I'm in the wrong profession.
Anyway, hopefully it isn't too appalling, what with my obvious skill with graphic design. Now I'm off to get some sleep before I embark on a fun-filled day of homeworking. Turns out I have to actually DO work before they give me my diploma. No one told me this at orientation.
AND I just realized I missed International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Blast my forgetful tendencies. Even though French Sam (my nicknaming abilities are as amazing as my graphic design abilities) reminded me a few days before. They'll kick me out of the pirate club for this infraction. Good thing Yazoo's on my side. No one can say no to him. You know, without getting a crocperson dropped into their bathtub. While they're in it.
And that's my cue to go to bed. Cheers.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
You can read the actual attack on SPEAK here. Many, many other fabulous bloggers have explanations of it too, so you can shoot on over to this post, this post, or Laurie's post. These women are amazing for speaking out and being so brave as to voice their opinions against the heinous accusations about SPEAK. People like this make me inordinately proud to be part of the writing blogosphere.
Now, on to my stance.
Unlike many of the other bloggers who have been speaking up, I am not a Christian. I used to be. I used to be the strongest, most devoted, most intense Christian possible. I used to be, as I call it now, a "psycho-Christian." The in-your-face, life-or-death, every-day-is-a-battlefield Christian. The kind of Christian that gives other Christians a bad name. At the time, though, it was EVERYTHING to me. They taught me how to eat, how to pray, how to talk, how to function. They told me what to believe about sex, relationships, the law, the world. There wasn't a single thing I did that didn't have a solid foundation in my Christian leaders' teachings, and every time they opened their mouths they sounded exactly like Scroggins.
One of the biggest issues they had was when Harry Potter exploded onto the scene in the early 2000's. An entire book about witchcraft. An entire SERIES that promoted Wiccan. This book was evil, pure evil, a handbook for people who wanted to unleash sinful things onto the world. Every pulpit, classroom, and lecture hall resounded with the voices of my Christian leaders condemning Harry Potter.
But when asked if they ever read it: "Of course not!"
This response, and their many subsequent and equally infuriating responses to other questions, eventually led me to escape their downright terrifying cult. But that's another thing about it -- it isn't a cult to them. THEY are the good guys and people like the KKK and extremist Muslims are the bad guys. "Obvious" bad guys. But not MY church. Not us. They just sit around, telling people what to believe without ever actually letting them figure out whether or not it's right for them. They just destroy people's minds with barriers of "Don't question God!" instead of destroying people's bodies with bombs or fire or guns. They just tell you exactly how to live, then when you fail to live up to their laws because humans have never-accounted-for-flaws, they ostracize you and berate you for not being "in line with God" no matter how hard you break yourself for their cause.
Yeah, THEY'RE the good guys.
(I'll probably tick some people off with this (lord knows I have already in the years since I denounced my Christianity), but that's not my intent at all. I'm not saying ALL Christians are like this. Absolutely, 100% NOT. Hell, scroll back up to the top of my post; I linked to 4 different women who profess to being Christians. I am a huge supporter of faith. I'm just telling you my story, MY STORY, so you will know why Scroggins' accusation was personally disgusting to ME. The sect of Christianity that I was a part of is a very, very extremist sect, and should not be seen as a general view on all Christianity.)
Scroggins' opinion was not at all surprising to me. I've heard such an opinion so many times before on a myriad of different areas of life. Books, movies, music, magazines, websites, social networking sites, even "too liberal" Bibles and Bible studies. If anything strayed at all into the realm of uncomfortable, real, or painful, my Christian leaders would deem it unholy and sinful. All we needed to fill our little heads with were stories of God's power and might and how we can all grow up to be holy, shining beacons of Heaven. And those stories are great -- but not when they're the only thing you read. Not when you grow up for 18 years in a bubble of "OUR world is perfect. That world is scary. We're not going to tell you why it's scary, because you'll never need to leave our world to go there, but it's scary. Trust us."
So when I left "their world" and discovered that the "real world" wasn't scary -- it was just unknown -- I was more than a little shocked. I'm still shocked. The shock of going from a world where everything is controllable and perfect and shining and purposeful to a world of chaos and disorder and madness and beautiful, glittering uncertainty is something that has taken 3 years to sink in. I still find myself gawking at how little I knew the world around me for the first 18 years of my life. All because my Christian leaders saw books like SPEAK, books that showed the reality of the world without any mention of God or heaven or redemption through Jesus Christ, and banned them. People saving THEMSELVES? People overcoming obstacles WITHOUT God's grace? Blasphemous. Wicked, corrupt blasphemy.
And it's disgusting. It's absolutely disgusting that when something shows a different side of this wondrous, multifaceted world we live in, Christian leaders such as Scroggins block it from the view of those children under their tutelage. Like if they keep barring enough things, their children will continue to grow up in the perfect bubble they shaped for them and nothing bad will ever penetrate their thick layer of God-skin.
But even while I was in the throws of "psycho-Christianity", imperfection worked its way in. People got hurt, attacked, destroyed. Usually, mostly, by other "Christians." My boyfriend during the last years of my Christianity was a horrific, abusive person, but he was God's chosen one for me. So no one stepped in. I didn't step in. When bad things penetrated the God-bubble, no one did anything to stop them. God's will. It was always God's will.
This was the biggest reason I left Christianity. I couldn't stand everyone doing NOTHING. Throwing up barriers against books like SPEAK yet doing nothing at all to prevent a young mother from being beaten by her husband, or refusing to step in to stop a dysfunctional family, or neglecting to get real medical treatment for a disease, all because it was "God's will." It was God's will that people died young. It was God's will that families fell apart. It was God's will that perfect, innocent young girls were attacked.
I couldn't take it anymore. When I left, all I could think, all I can STILL think about them is "FUCK YOUR GOD'S WILL."
MY will is that girls, boys, anyone who needs fantastic, soul-nourishing books like SPEAK have access to them without being berated by supposed leaders. MY will is that beautiful little girls who are told God has a reason for their pain will realize one day that there is NO reason good enough for that to have happened, and NO God would purposefully cause any of it to happen. It's not their fault, and God did NOT put that situation in their life for some almighty plan. It's THEIR life. Theirs. Not God's. THEIRS. And whatever good comes from it came because those little girls were strong enough, brave enough, and amazing enough to make a rose blossom in a pile of garbage.
That is the lesson I live my life by now. A lesson that SPEAK helped instill in me. No matter what bad comes, it isn't because some psycho-Christian's God dropped it into my life for a "higher purpose" that I'm not worthy enough to know. It's because shit happens. SHIT HAPPENS. And if I become a stronger, bolder, braver woman because of a bad situation, it isn't because a psycho-Christian's God instilled the strength in me. It's because I was strong all along. It's because I CHOSE to be strong, and to rise above it, and to not let a bad situation have victory over me.
"A small, clean part of me waits to warm and burst through the surface. Some quiet Melinda-girl I haven't seen in months. That is the seed I will care for." -- SPEAK
That line is my single favorite line from a book. It captures the essence of this life I'm trying to now lead. Throughout our lives, when bad things arise, there is always a tiny seed of ourselves behind it all, whispering quietly in the dark. It's there, even when we're broken beyond repair and can't possibly move beyond the horrible, ominous dark. It's there. The quiet seed of ourselves that's waiting, just waiting for us to turn to it and say "I will be okay." And when we finally find the small sliver of strength to say that, the small part of ourselves that's been waiting all this time to hear it will smile. "I know," it'll say. "Now let's go back toward the light."
And if that displeases Scroggins' God, he isn't much of a god then, is he?
Friday, September 17, 2010
1) The banter in this movie was UNBELIEVABLE. And this is coming from the girl who owns the last 4 seasons of Gilmore Girls and finds ways to work Lorelai-sayings into daily life. I can't choose just one Easy A line as my favorite, so I'll just jot down those that stuck in my head:
Mary Anne: "If God wanted him to pass high school, He would've given him the right answers to the tests."
Olive: "You've gotta be shitting me, woman."
Olive's Mom (to her black son): "Don't worry, honey; everyone in our family's been a late bloomer."
Son: "But I was ADOPTED!"
Dad: *bangs on cupboard* "Who told you?!"
Dad: *plops next to adopted son on couch* "So, where ya from?"
There were so many lines that made me start to applaud, realize I was in a packed movie theater, and settle for quietly bouncing in my seat. This still elicited strange glances from the people around me, but when directors make an entire subsection of characters for the sole purpose of exhibiting the zealous characteristics of most mega-religions, I can't not squeal with joy. Bravo, Hollywood, for having the guts to make fun of what I usually get harped on for making fun of. Bravo.
2) The main character, Olive, is played by Emma Stone (who also played in Zombieland. I have such a girl-crush on her, right up there with Allison Scagliotti from Warehouse 13). Despite a few minor plot holes that I won't go into nitpicking, Olive is a fantastic embodiment of the stay-true-to-yourself coming-of-age storyline. Even when she gets herself stuck in the slut role, she OWNS it. This, of course, got me thinking.
How often do we OWN what we do, especially our mistakes? So much of our lives (or, at least, MY life, as I certainly can't speak for everyone) are spent trying to cover up what we've done or trying fix who we are so we can become someone better and THEN own THAT person, but lord knows THIS person is a horrible mistake of a person and good god, do you see THAT flaw, no, we can't possibly own being THIS person.
But Olive totally and completely embraces every mistake of hers. She tries to help out a gay friend and now people think she's a slut? No problem: she embroiders red A's on her wardrobe and dresses like a 50's burlesque dancer. She sees the problem, the rumor, but takes the idea and runs with it. The ultimate "untouchable" stance.
(Of course it ends up being *slightly* more than untouchable, but you'll just have to watch the movie.)
That kind of confidence is brilliant. To look at your mistakes and, instead of dissolving in a weeping heap of "But I'm NOT a slut! Why do they think that? Why are they so MEAN?", rise above them in a totally certain, I-am-ME-hear-me-roar way. I'm not saying to never admit to your mistakes; I'm saying to not let them defeat you. To not let them keep you awake at night, running through your head like they downed a carton of Mountain Dew and two packs of energy bars. To say to them, "Yes, I screwed up. But you know what? It's MY screw up now. And right or wrong, good or bad, I made it. So there. :P"
Thursday, September 16, 2010
OMG! It's Carrie Harris' book cover! In a frozen yogurt shop! Can we say "best advertising ever"?
In-ground trampoline! I'm easily entertained.
Between Carrabba's, Natalie's curry, and sushi, I think I gained somewhere around 30 lbs this trip. But it was so, SO worth it.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The actual signing was on the patio, where we waited with bated breath for:
Much to my chagrin, neither the quilt, the zebra-print book purse, or that a-freakin'-dorable little girl in the background were for sale. Blast Kiersten and her luckiness.
Kiersten explained a bit about PARANORMALCY, did a reading...
But one of the many upsides of this predicament was the opportunity to converse with all of the people in line, who turned out to be mainly Bloggers of Epic Epicness. I felt like such a groupie, meeting all these people I'd admired from afar for so many years.
And, after much chatting and giggling and maneuvering around that teeny bookstore (shout-out to the poor bookstore girl who had the daunting task of keeping us crazy writer/blogger/book fans in check!), I finally made it to THE table, where I met THE Kiersten (again), who signed THE book. Or, you know, ONE of THE books.
AND I snagged a couple of AWESOME kt literary client swag from the table:
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Are you prepared? Seat belts fastened, trays locked, seat backs in the upright position? Note the exits at the front and back of the blog as well as the complimentary neon-pink barf bag in the seat pocket. If at any time you feel motion sick, nauseous, irritable, cranky, congested, sneezy, dopey, happy or grumpy, please alert one of your stewardesses and they will provide you with a box of furry little Corgi puppies to ease any troubles you may have. Corgi puppies solve everything. Trust me; I'm not a pilot.
Firstly, the single biggest reason you all should be jealous of my Utah Saga of Pure Awesome is because I got to spend 5 whole days with one of the most amazing people in the blogosophere and real-o-sphere, Natalie. Not only did she put me up in her home and chauffeur me back and forth to Starbucks to satisfy my morning cravings, she made me curry and took me to get sushi and made sure all of my first impressions of Utah were fabulous. I may gush, so I'll stop. But if it wasn't for her sheer awesomeness (and, of course, the awesomeness of her hubby and two a-freakin'-dorable kids), none of this Utah Saga would be possible.
One of the first things I heard about Utah was that there were some mountains, or something. I think it's a rumor.
Seriously, Utah. You can do better. Psh. It's like you're TRYING to make easy photo-ops. You don't have to flaunt it.
But even more impressive and beautiful and majestic were the FABULOUS writers I got to have lunch with on Friday. (Side note: When I die, I want it to be because I ate too much creme brulee at Carrabbas's Italian Grill.)
That's me, Natalie, Kiersten, and Renee. I kept thinking the universe would implode from the absolute amazingness of so many wonderful people in one place. These ladies are all as brilliant and funny and whitty and beautiful in real life as they are on their blogs.
So as not to overload you with Utah Awesomeness, I shall break this trip into 3 parts. Stay tuned tomorrow for Utah Saga: Part the Second!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I get to go to UTAH.
And visit some FREAKISHLY AWESOME PEOPLE.
Namely this freakishly awesome Ninja Woman, whom I have adored distantly for 2-ish years. And tomorrow, nay, in mere HOURS, I get to MEET HER. Face to FACE. Pirate to NINJA. Cutlass to THROWING STAR.
Can you feel the IMPORTANCE? I can. I can feel it.
I promise promise (cross my heart, hope to die, stick a peg-leg in my eye) that I will fill you all in with massive amounts of pictures and stories of Utah excitement when I get back next week. But until I return, I will be AWOL from the general social networking community. (Facebook and I have been at odds lately anyway. Twitter I'm okay with, Blogger too, but Facebook. Grr, Facebook. We need a break. It's not you, it's me. No, actually, it's you. You kind of make my life suck a little.)
To sum up: I get to meet someone I never would've known if it weren't for the sheer awesomeness of the writing community. The fact that writing brought me to know Natalie and a whole plethora of fantastic people is more mind-blowingly amazing than a book deal ever could be.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go re-color my rather faded purple hair streak. Can't have the Utahns thinking us Ohioans are unkempt.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Well, that is if your definition of "done" is "really, really thought about," then yes, they are done.
In my defense, I ran into a snag. I know nothing about the Civil War, Judaism, Haunted stuff, Photography or any of the other random and various things that will make this book multifaceted and awesome. So when I got to the question about Elias's birthday I put "Before the Civil War. Which was...um...18...50? 1860? 18-something. November 13, 18-something." Or for the question about Sophie's favorite sayings/expressions, I put "Jewish stuff. Dreidel. Matza balls. Oh, that's good! As a curse word: 'Oh, matza balls!'"
Needless to say, I made a LOT of headway. Again, if your definition of "headway" is "really, really thought about."
Which brings me to the next by-the-book step in novel writing: research. As much as I just want to start writing (that empty Word doc is calling my name. Screaming it. Sometimes it sings my name with John Rzeznik's voice and it takes everything in me to just...say...no.) I know it will only lead to a wall of frustration and not-as-good-as-it-could-have-been. So, in order to properly complete my character sheets and move forward, I Amazoned a few book purchases:
Judaism for Dummies and Encyclopedia of Haunted Places
The order police at Amazon are now going "What the matza balls?"
One of the good things about being a writer is you get to become a semi-expert in a bunch of areas. Which has always been a problem for me -- I like a LOT of different things and have a really hard time sticking to any one area for extended periods of time. Just ask my college counselors. Eight different majors. 3.5 years. That's gotta be some kind of record.
But now I get to research Judaism, Haunted places, and a whole other slew of stuff that has no logical connection or link. Randomness FTW.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go convince my friends to insert "matza balls" into daily their profanities.