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Monthly Archives: June 2011

How to ruin a personal challenge

Travel, to answer that question, specifically with family. The past week has been filled with backseats crowded by pillows, fast food and time with family. It was good to be out of the house and out of town for a little and to see one of my sisters whom I haven’t seen since April.

Bad news — my personal writing challenge fell apart. I admit defeat on this one, but it makes me even more determined to succeed with Camp Nano, which is starting July 1st.

It’s difficult to write when half the time a 7 year old niece is vying for your attention or simply jumping on top of you while you’re trying to concentrate on something else. What’s even more distracting? A TV in my hotel room. It’s the first time I’ve had a bed to myself and an actual room to myself on a family trip. I was taking full advantage of it.

I did watch a new TLC series, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, for the very first time as a result. I remember reading a little about Irish Travelers while in a Folklore class, but I had never quite pictured what I saw on the one episode I watched. I’m aware that I’m not getting the full picture of the situation, but I was extremely intrigued by it. It made me want to see just how severe the prejudice is both in the UK and in the US. To put it simply, my inner anthropologist is rising to the surface.

On one hand, I know that people aren’t always nice to minorities and/or groups that stick out from the general norm. On the other hand, what I saw on this episode only told me of the prejudice against Travelers and didn’t in fact show me. In the episode I viewed the Travelers were gathering for the Appleby Horse Fair — now on my list of things to see in person — and the man the camera crew was following pointed out ‘no parking’ signs as well as the number of police officers there. I’m not convinced that had so much to do with the fact that they were Travelers or Gypsies, and rather more to do with the fact that when large crowds gather in a location annually, authority figures usually want to control the situation to limit mishaps. And, let’s face it, with the presence of alcohol there is always an impending “situation”, and few events are without alcohol.

I’m not saying that there weren’t some unjustified arrests by prejudice police officers, but I did get the impression that I was not seeing everything.

And, there I go babbling again. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2011 in Life, Travel, Writing

 

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What to do when you’re not writing…

Today I sort of, kind of wrote. I swear that I will be writing more before this night is over, but for most of the evening I was working on something else. It’s Father’s Day this Sunday (which is only half an hour away as I type.) and was having trouble deciding what to get my dad. We were watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets just the other day and he mentioned that I should try making a Skele-Gro bottle like they have in the movie.

Now, you’re probably thinking that was exactly what I did but, alas, no. After looking up pictures and seeing what would need to be done, I decided that was one thing that I would have to have more time to work on, as well as more materials. It’ll be a birthday present instead. Meanwhile, I made something else…

 

mandrake

Ta Da!

 
My dad loves Halloween. It’s the one time of year that he gets to decorate the house like crazy. He makes his own tombstones, an iron (actually plastic) fence, a kicking witch, and all sorts of Halloween knick knacks. Last year he made a whole collection of potion and spell books. This year he’s working on new light fixtures for indoors.
 
Anyway, the picture isn’t the greatest and I’m not entirely done with it but it was well worth the work. I took tin foil, polymer clay, a little paint and fake leaves to pull it off.  
 
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Posted by on June 18, 2011 in Arts, Life

 

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Ant Invasion!

Ant Invasion!

I’ve been driven out of my own bedroom by ants. First they invaded my bathroom and now they’re making their way down the line. I managed to keep them out of my bathroom, which is probably why they seem more than eager to start their invasion once more in the corner of my bedroom, crawling all over my bed.

It’s been very distracting since I constantly have the sensation of a hundred bugs crawling over my skin and all I want to do is scratch and scratch. Despite that, writing is going well. I wrote 385 words this morning — woke up around 8, believe it or not, after that 2 am post — and plan to write even more before the night is over. I’m certainly not going to feel all that tired tonight, what with the danger of being eaten alive by ants. I’m not sure when they stop collecting food, but ants in the desert tend to like the evening.

Now, I’ve got a question for those that may be reading this. It has nothing to do with ants. Actually, it has more to do with what I posted last time. I was thinking some more about writing rituals and habits and was wondering about writing inspirations. What do you get inspired by the most? When I was in school, I usually got ideas from my anthropology classes. A lot of people asked me what I was doing taking so many anthropology and archaeology classes when I was and English-Creative Writing major. It was perfectly clear to me, but I would often have to explain myself as if I were a dog trying to meow.

Since I’ve graduated, I’ve been upping my intake of facts and stories. In school, I didn’t really have to go searching as much since I’d hear stories from my professors as well as interesting facts, some of them found in the textbooks or straight from their mouths. I had one professor that told us about how he’d been shot in the shoulder by an arrow and nearly shot again. Both times were by accident, of course. I think the guys that had shot or nearly shot him were more freaked out about almost killing the anthropologist than he was.

So, that was a long explanation to a short question. I should get back to my story.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Education, Life, Writing

 

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The Unhealthy Life of the Writer

I was once asked what conditions I wrote under. What time? What place? What mood? My answer then was that I was usually writing when I should be sleeping. That answer is still true. I’m sure many of you have your own rituals as well. I once knew a guy who had to have junk food and candy on hand in order to write, all easily accessible in a mini-fridge nearby. He was a thin fellow. When I heard of his writing habit, I was jealous that he could apparently consume hundreds of calories in a day of writing and still keep a slimmer figure than myself.

It is most definitely not a healthy life style. Thinking of all the things that writers do, it would be reasonable to say that writing is hazardous to your health. We sit for far too long, we bend over notebooks or keyboards for hours, our sleeping habits are poor, we consume food and caffeinated beverages almost unconsciously, and that’s only naming a few.

One of my grandfathers is an artist, and though I’m sure genetics and other things I don’t understand have much to do with it, I’m sure his long hours sitting and painting or working on other pieces of art contributed to his hunched figure today. 

In other news, Camp Nano is inching closer and closer. The word count for my own personal writing challenge is going up as well. I managed to write a little over 1,000 words today…. er, yesterdayt? Nah, today, technically. Also, I’m still hoping to get some steampunk suggestions. Meanwhile, I’m going to consume the books I have on hand. So many unread books, so many more words to write.

Makes me giddy thinking about it — then again, the lack of sleep might be gettin’ to me.

Now, for your enjoyment, a little video that I was shown recently.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Life, Writing

 

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Steampunk and Starting Over

A few days ago I found myself stuck. Very stuck. As in, this story isn’t going anywhere and I really need to start over kind of stuck. So, I did. I had some interesting characters developing in the beginning, but I decided that I need more time with them than the 30 day challenge was going to allow. Another story kept popping up in my head with a character that has been on my mind for some time now, and with an actual plot in mind as well.

Up until now, that story had been nothing but day dreams. I guess it took this writing challenge to bring it closer to the surface. Plus, I’ve been reading like a mad woman for the past week. Finished a book, started a book, read some short stories. Actually read Steampunk for the first time in my life. It certainly wasn’t what might be seen as hardcore Steampunk, but it was an interesting introduction to a culture that’s been around for years and only recently started popping up nearly everywhere I looked. The story I read, you probably could have removed all the Steampunk elements and it would have still been a story. They weren’t vital to moving the plot along since the main character’s development didn’t rely on those details.

And, here I am babbling. I think I’d like a better introduction to Steampunk literature, but I don’t really know where to start. Any suggestions?

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Books, Writing

 

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Wait, I’m writing a story, right?

There is little sense in what I am writing at this moment in the challenge. Very little.

I’m sure something will eventually click, but right now I’m just writing, writing, writing. A new scene pops into my head, it goes in. I have a strange dream the night before, it’s going in there somewhere. The characters are changing and it’s beginning to look as if I may have more than one story on my hands by the end of this.

Meanwhile, I baked a pot pie… thought you should know.

Pot Pie

The not so beautiful, but pretty tasty pot pie I made

What can I say, I was kind of bored and there was leftover turkey in the fridge.
 
pot pie slice

I wish there had been more filling, but it was still good 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Cooking, Writing

 

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Holy Distractions, Batman!

There are so many distractions when you want to write 50,000 words. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, staring off into space…

I’m also very distracted by the view. My backyard is pleasently sunny, and full of rabbits nibbling away at the grass. I’m getting better, I swear. Part of the issue is that I am still overcoming the bad habit of wanting everything to be perfect and in order the first time around. Writing is messy, and while I do like messy things I still have that fear that if I don’t get it right the first try around I’m not that good of a writer after all.  

I’m an idiot to think that.

So now I’m working towards writing whatever pops into my head. It might get me a lot of worthless paragraphs, but that does the job of getting my story out as well as getting me closer to 50,000 words. That just leaves me with distractions. I always find that when I sit down to write I start thinking about food instead. I try to keep gum stocked up just so I have something to chew on to keep me from getting up every few minutes for a snack. It also keep me from expanding my waistline instead of my plotline.

One final thing. I’m amazed that this blog has actually been read by someone other than me. I stared at the comment I received on my last post with disbelief for a moment before I giggled quite innappropriately.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Life, Writing

 

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