Packing Up!

Oh hey!  We’ve moved!

Who: Um, still me!  *waves* HI!

When: Last night… until forever.

Where: Here!

How: Magic spells.

Why?: I want to break out of a blog that I started just to talk about writing, and into one that talks about EVERYTHING.  Lots of Nerdfighteria.  *smile*

What: What will I be doing over there?  Well, why don’t you come see?  Basically, I’m merging this blog with it.  I want to talk about my experiences are a senior in college, as an aspiring novelist, as a fledgling vlogger on YouTube, and as a community-theatre-based actress.

Join me?

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Inspiration.

I just finished Mockingjay a couple of nights ago, even though rightfully I should have been doing homework instead of plowing my way through one of the most impressive series I’ve ever read.  I could fill this post with spoilers, but I’m not going to; I’d rather have people actually go read the trilogy.  I’ve actually been pushing it in the general direction of a lot of people.  Most of these people – to their own loss – have been ignoring me.

The writing style really struck me as I read the trilogy.  At first, I didn’t like it.  It was first person.  It wasn’t first person present, though, so I didn’t hate it.  I got over my frustration with that pretty quickly, though.  I began to notice the setting and the characters.  The descriptions weren’t too much, though.  They were enough.  Enough to spark my imagination.  Collins said “electric fence” and from there I created the interior of the coal-mining town that was District 12.  She described the clothes that Katniss was wearing, but only when it was important and related to Cinna.  It wasn’t over-detailed, like some aspiring authors do, and it’s wasn’t brand specific (it couldn’t be, of course).  Nobody could feel out-of-the-loop about her descriptions.  I think that’s really important.

Her plot was mind blowing.  I keep saying “it’s just a distopia book” and it is… but at the same time, it isn’t.  I really want to go back and re-evaluate ‘Tweens now.  I want to look at my characters and make sure they’re flawed.  I want to describe more.  I want to pinpoint specific references to popular culture and eliminate them.

I want to make my stories very real.  Fantasy enough that the reader can step out of them, but real enough so they cannot forget.

Libras Live on Balance.

Whenever I wake up and am working on things before 8am, and I decide to blog, my brain introduces itself by telling me I should start with the line “good morning teenage Baltimore!”  Yes, world, that is a Hairspray reference.  Since I don’t live in Maryland and most people my age don’t seem to bother themselves with musicals (*sniff sniff*), this would be a silly intro.  Therefore, I will simply say:  “Good morning!”

I have not been writing any fiction at all.  My brain will not allow it.  Besides, even though I’m only two days into school, I have loads of homework, so yeah… I don’t have time for a lot and still manage to sleep.  In fact, I got up early to do homework and I’m just procrastinating on it.  Yikes.  Right now, what I need to do is:

  • Read 60pgs. of Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World; 1400-1800.
  • Read 37pgs. of Early Medieval Spain.
  • Read 13pgs. of a handout we were given whose title eludes me.
  • Read 5pgs. of Sustenance and Desire.
  • Write 1-2 pages in a “Dream Journal”.
  • Write 1-2 pages in a “Cooking and Eating Journal”.
  • Write up all notes from Africa and Africans….

That’s my per day allotment of homework for today and yesterday.  That’s 115pgs. of reading, and about, eh, we’ll say 5pgs. of writing.  Plus classes.  And work.  And my internship that won’t freaking go away.  … I feel a little overwhelmed already.  I’m accidentally taking two seminar classes this term, although to be fair, one of them wasn’t supposed to be a seminar, but the professor decided that the class was so small, she’d run it like one.

On the bright side, it’s going to be less rough between Thursdays and Tuesdays, when I have 5 days to complete the assignments, not just two.

When I think about all that… it’s… just a lot.  You know?  I did get my 60pgs. of reading done no-sweat yesterday before classes, but when I picked up the Early Medieval Spain book, I wanted to run repeatedly into a brick wall.  I think it’s going to depend on the book and on the location of work.  And the weather.  When it’s humid like this, I just wanna flop.  I woke up at 6am drenched in sweat.  Seriously.  Six o’clock in the freaking morning.  Do you even understand how miserably hot it’s going to be in town?  At noon?  Gahhhhhhh.

Sorry.  Sometimes blogging is my way of dispelling stress.  I was feeling like this last night, too.  Just… unbalanced.  So I had to leave my house, and ended up working for an hour and a half, of all things, which should have stressed me about more, but it didn’t.  In fact, I felt really in control there last night.  So it was a good thing, I guess, but I didn’t read a full chapter of Early Medieval Spain because of it, and none of the handout thing.  Plus no dreams that I could remember last night, so no dream journal entry.  And the Cooking and Eating journal needs to be started, but at least those things I can remember.  Om nom, food.

Wish me luck today.

Maybe Hermione’s wand will come in the mail and dispel stress?  At any rate, it is definitely a Time Turner day.  Iamageek.

Black Ribbon

.: black ribbon:::ruban noir:.I noticed Google posted the Black Ribbon on its homepage today.  I didn’t know what it meant, and when they have ribbons they also usually have links, so I Google’d it.

Turns out, Google generally only posts the Black Ribbon after a devastating event.  Seems this time it was to commemorate 5 years since Katrina.  So, in the the last minute of the day, a moment of silence to respect the tragedy, to show homage to those who died, and to honour those who have rebuilt their lives.

A toast, mes amis, to New Orleans.

Yesterday = fail.

Yes.  I do realise that yesterday was Tuesday and I didn’t update with the weekly “Thank You (Now Get Out)”.  I thought about it a few different times; thought about what I was going to write, if I was going to draw something, but in the end, it all came down to two words:

“I’m exhausted.”

My co-workers and I all agree that the clientele this season have been more unruly than previous seasons, and that we’re all just tired.  I was talking to a customer last night and more and more I found myself stumbling over words.  I had to repeatedly stop, take a deep breath, apologize, and continue more slowly.  I should be grateful because I do not work manual labor, but words just were not coming well.  My brain is mush.  And, when sharing my sentiments with select customers, I found that they generally agree.  It has been an exhausting summer.

And, that said, there are a million little stories about people who cause problems in my life.  In our lives.  Like the woman who was working at a desk in the back of the store at 9pm and wouldn’t leave until twenty minutes after closing (this is a secondhand story, of course).  Like the people who don’t understand I can’t give them cash for their coupons.  Like the people who complain that free stuff isn’t good enough.  All those people.  But for some reason, this summer, they don’t stand out.  Not enough contrast, I suppose, and therefore no reason to exclude them.

And thus, I looked at my computer when I dragged my feet inside last night at 10:30pm.  And then I went to bed instead.

The Importance of an Interesting Character

Picture by Ben Gagnon Photography

I consider myself an artistic person.  If something has words or pictures, I can create it.  I’m not blessed with the gift of agility and balance, or with a lovely voice, so dancing and singing is pretty much out of the question.  Everything else, however, is free game.  Writing anything, sketching, painting, scrapbooking and other various crafty things… love ’em.  Writing (obviously) is very close to my heart, but so is one other thing – the theatre.

I made my first stage appearance as Clara in a production of the Nutcracker Suite.  Granted, it was fourth grade, and I hit some guy in the audience with my slipper instead of the Rat King… but we don’t need to go there.  Ever since, I have been theatrically inclined.  When I learned that I fail at projection (and singing.  and dancing) I moved to the world of improv theatre, and it came to me naturally.

In theatre, the creation of character is essential.  In larger productions, someone has already created the character for you and all you need to do is apply it and expand it within certain limitations.  Improv is much different.  You step on to that stage a blank slate, and you have about thirty seconds (if you’re lucky) to create a fully rounded character.  You can’t go on stage and say “hi!  I’m like, Mary Sue, and I like,  like, stuff!”  No.  That is fail!improv.  You have to create insta-backstory, motive, fears, likes and dislikes, consistent personality traits, allegiances… everything.  And if you don’t do it well, you lose your chance to charm the audience.

Writing isn’t a whole lot different.

I’m not going to under-appreciate essential points like plot, theme, setting, style, spelling and grammar… but characters are incredibly important in the creation of a good story.  I have kept reading books that I disliked because I liked the characters in them.  I know there are other readers out there like that, too.  I want to feel, breathe, and embrace every major character (and some minor characters) I come across.  I want to feel like, as I read the story, I can step into that character’s shoes and actually be in her world.  Don’t you?

Obviously, we shouldn’t make them too complicated, because then the audience won’t relate at all, and we’ll get those metaphorical tomatoes thrown at us.  But it’s the little things that arouse sympathy and empathy that are important.  I have an acquaintance who loathes the Potter books, but loves Harry because they share a birthday.  We don’t call Marion a traitor in Scarlet because we know that she loves Bran (even though she hasn’t said) and what she’s doing, she is doing for him.  All the bits and pieces.  I can say honestly that I am upset with J.K. Rowling because I feel like Draco Malfoy showed definite signs of redemption, and she denied him that opportunity.  Who knows?  Even a well-placed character may turn your audience against you (but they’ll keep gobbling up your books).  But Kristin Nelson reminds us that appealing a character to the reader is important.

So.  My questions for you are:

1.)  Who are your favorite characters in fiction of all time, and why?
2.)  Have you ever put down a book because you didn’t like the characters?
2b.)  Have you ever kept reading an uninteresting book because you loved the characters?

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire!

Pink Fireworks, Jaffrey 2010

For the first time ever yesterday, I went to the Jaffrey Festival of fireworks.  Let me give you some stats on them:

Length: 30 minutes.
Spectators: estimated 40,000.
Emergency vehicles spotted at the scene: 10-ish.
Children waving glow-lightsabers: Upwards of 200.

Basically, it’s a fireworks show put to music.  And since I live in The Sticks, I think that’s pretty awesome.  I was told that this year was incredibly less exciting than previous years, which amazes me further, because as a n00b, I was amazed this year.  Entry fee was $8, and we had to sit on a hill, but I wouldn’t do it any other way.  Perfect view, and the walk was less than a mile to his grandmother’s house, so we didn’t have to fight all the riddikulus traffic.

In fact, if it weren’t for Bryan’s sister’s obnoxious boyfriend (ahhh, relationship tongue-twister!) the walk back would have been utterly peaceful and perfect.  He was just captain obnoxious.  Oh yeah.  And we saw the tech that got fired from our workplace for downloading porn onto work machines.  He didn’t recognise me (hallelujah!) but he did recognise Bryan (sucks to be him) so I booked it and we ended up a bit ahead of everyone else.

But the fireworks were wicked.  I’d like to make a day of it next year, if I can.  But it’s hard to plan that far ahead.  I mean… who knows where my life will be then?  Louise (big boss lady) already took Bryan in for a chat and suggested the management track for him.  She hasn’t had such a chat for me, and I don’t know if I’m offended or relieved.  The company won’t be losing much if they lose me:  I’m a good team worker n’all but I don’t bring in the dough like my boyfriend does.

That was a digression.  My bad.

L’anyhoodle.  I had a long last 36 hours, and my 2pm to 10pm shift tomorrow promises to be a doozy, so I’m going to check my blogroll, then it’s off to sleep for me!

Bonne soir, mes amies!


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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