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Jun. 7th, 2011

(no subject)

It's so scary how the time flies.

"Just a little break."

"I've been working too hard. It's time to treat myself. I'm allowed to play this video game I've been looking forward to playing for a while."

And then fuck if it isn't two months later. TWO MONTHS. Really? I mean, seriously really? It feels like last week or  the week before that I put pen to paper and finger to keyboard. But it's been over two months. Absolutely mindblowingly nuts. Fuck you life, fuck you time.

So you know, I'm not going to bother talking about what I've been doing, other than I've had a cough/cold I haven't been able to shake and I've had some major self revelations, clarifying of certain perspectives and made more money than I've made in my life (which to be perfectly honest isn't that much, since I've always had an aversion to the whole 'typical dayjob' thing).

But I try to make it a point to update this journal when I'm writing and I'm writing again. It's actually kind of a big deal because I've been throwing this novel idea around in my head for well over a year now and it's finally come to fruition. It was three years ago I graduated high school and thought "Screw school, screw university, I am DONE making excuses as to why I don't have time to write and THIS YEAR I AM WRITING MY NOVEL".

It didn't quite work out that way. For an entire year I procrastinated. Yeah, I didn't write a single thing. Not a single nuttin. Well, maybe a piece of flash fiction or  two, a story that spontaneously combusted in my brain and splattered onto paper of its own accord. But I didn't write an epic novel. I didn't even really think about it. Fairly often the thought would cross my mind:  "I'm supposed to be writing" and I would feel guilty, but that was just an admittance of procrastination.

After a year, I slapped myself and told myself if I wasn't going to write, I'd have to go to university. I had to do SOMETHING useful with my time. University is a terrifying prospect for me, solely because I am a severe insomniac and I fail at schedules (this is the same reason I have an aversion to regular jobs). I can never predict whether  I'll be awake at 2am or 2pm or 9am or 6pm. It is literally completely random and based on if and when my body let me sleep. I will sometimes be awake for two and even three days straight, because I simply can't fall asleep. Other times I'll fall into a wonderful 7am-10pm schedule and experience what living a normal life is like. This usually lasts two weeks at the most, and almost always a lot less. So the prospect of having classes every day at 9am and 12pm and 4pm or any combination of days and times really terrifies me and fills me with a sense of hopelessness. I could do online classes, but few if any will let me do an entire degree online. Besides, there are only two degrees I'm interested in:  Paramedic Health Science and Creative Writing. PHS is a very intense 3  year degree that is entirely workshop based and hands-on. Impossible to do online and has you working all day every day, with lots of schoolwork to do in 'downtime'. It's pretty much my dream practical job but I know I'm not ready for that kind of routine and workload so it's not an option at the moment. The other degree I'm interested in is Creative Writing (oh, of  COURSE it  is!). I have a minor aversion to people and classes that 'teach' you how to write because I strongly believe writing (or any other solely creative process) is  something you should feel out for yourself, I think one can be too easily and very strongly influenced when they feel they have to conform to writing what they think would please other people for the sake of a good  grade (I would be one of these people). That being said, it seems  as if  it would be a wonderful experience and  great motivation for consistent writing - I would meet a lot of like-minded people (I only  am friends with one writer I'd consider an actual writer) and I would be forced to constantly churn out work on a regular basis. That sounds wonderful to me! But yeah, I worry about scheduled class times and about biased teachers liking things written only in certain ways and certain genres and as a result forcing me into a rut where I'm scribbling uninspired drivel solely to suit their preferences (it would be that or dropping out). I've heard horror  stories. So really, I'd just be in it for the people and the motivation, and the people are the motivators, and  to be with the people I would need to be at the classes, and to be at the classes I would need to be awake at a certain time and BLAH. Maybe I should go  back  to some sleep specialists and see if they can help me be a normal person. The last sleep specialist I went to I had  a loud argument with because he believed all women should be the sole caretakers of household duties and children. I gave up on them after that, since I'd seen more of them than I could count on a hand anyway.

So getting away from those incredibly detailed tangents within a tangent, I was saying that I told myself to either go to Uni or write that darn novel. Well, I sat down to write my novel and realized two things: 1. I didn't know what I was going to write about and 2. I didn't really know how to write.

I mean, I've always been a writer and a skilled one at that, at least that's what my teachers, friends and family have told me (wait a minute... :P). But writing a novel is a whole different beast to scratching down stream-of-consciousness words of prettiness and tragedy. Different to writing a 1000 word prompt-based story for a school assignment. Novels need meaty plots, frequent interesting events, characters so developed you blow them up to 6x8 and put em in a photo frame. They need lucid writing, tangible, fresh ideas, consistent prose. They need a whole bunch of shit I had never bothered to learn. All my 'stories' until that moment were 'This is a person. This is one sticky situation they are in. Here is how they get  out of sticky situation. The end.' I realized I couldn't just put words to paper and turn out a slick, original work that publishers would be crawling all over each other for. What I needed was PRACTICE.

I needed to learn how to be a writer. How to write an interesting character that people would  care about ten pages in and one-hundred pages in. How to construct a believable but entirely unique and unpredictable plot. And most important of all - to me - to have a writing style that was one-hundred percent consistent, one-hundred percent impressive and utterly me. Because I know myself damn well, and I know that if I wrote one thousand pages and then went back and read it  from the beginning and realized that the first six hundred pages were filled with prose that paled in comparison to the prose I wrote now, then I would scrap the whole thing. It would  all be almost for nothing. And I would severely dislike myself for it.

So I decided I would write short stories. Short story upon short story until every time I put a string of words together it was a ChantalSentence (my name is Chantal by the way). I would write until I was perfectly satisfied and even impressed with everything I wrote. ONLY THEN WOULD I BE READY TO BEGIN THE GREATEST ADVENTURE OF MY LIFE.

I realize now, that game plan guarantees complete failure. As not a writer  but an artist, I learned long ago that no matter how good you are and how much you improve, you will never be good enough for yourself and you are always getting better. The same holds true for writing, although to a slightly different extent. There are some pieces I have  written that I will always look at and think "that is genuinely good, I am pleased I wrote that", even though there will be small things I think I can change and improve upon. I can look at any art piece from any time in my past and I will think "That sucks. I am so much better now it's embarrassing to admit I drew that". And in that respect I think art is a lot easier than writing, generally - with most art you can see the structural errors, and others can too.  They are easily pointed at, defined, revised. You simply can't do that with a written piece. A written piece can be bad without containing any obvious flaws - a story can be grammatically perfect, each sentence spelled and punctuated and structured as if Jesus himself  had written it, but overall, it can just feel off. Boring. Flat. Maybe you like the characters and the plot is by itself interesting, but when you string it all together it elicits the reaction of 'meh'. Often, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly where a story went wrong and how you can make it better. I feel like once you've mastered the basics of the English language (spelling and grammar and all that fluff), writing only gets harder. More intimidating. All of a sudden you have the fancy tools of a professional but you realize you don't quite know what to do with them. You have that thousand dollar paint set and that other guy has that thousand dollar paint set but your painting looks like a preschooler's and the other guy has pounded out a Picasso. You have no excuse but your own obvious failure to be awesome. It's scary shit.

So yeah. I did write those stories. I didn't finish many of them, but damn if I didn't hurl words at my Microsoft Word Document like an Olympic disc-thrower whose just witnessed his woman swiveling tongues with the competition in the stands. I wrote copious  notes in numerous notebooks. I made  observations. Bubbled up countless story ideas. Penned a few of those ideas, or at least half penned, or just kind-of penned. I got better. I worked on different elements of my style, my technique. I read lots of books, made more observations. Experimented. Kept  getting better. Got worse sometimes. Then got better again.

Then realized. I am at the bottom of the pool right now. I have a LIFETIME to get better. Stephen King is well over 50 and HE'S still improving. The fuck am I waiting for? I'm passable. I can rewrite. Hell, I can even SCRAP. But I might get hit by a bus tomorrow. It's better to be one of those  washed-up old hacks  who has been 'working on the novel' for the last twenty years than to be washed-up old hack who was too scared to ever start the novel at all. I admit it. I'm terrified of not being amazing. Genius. I'm terrified people won't love what I write, what I do. I'm terrified I've gone my whole life thinking I'm gifted when really I'm just another of those irritating people who think they can write.

Good thing is, I'm a little better than those people. For one thing, spelling and grammar are my friends. That's more than I can say for most of those writing noobs. More importantly, not only am I open to constructive criticism but I actually take it into account. I IMPROVE. I strive to improve. I strive to admit my faults so that I can turn them into strengths.  Most importantly, I know I am not the best writer in the world. I am not the most intelligent person in the world. I am not the most special person in the world. There are people far more intelligent, people who possess far more empathy, more insight, more talent, etc etc. Lately,  I have truly made my peace with that. Because you know, there are ALWAYS going to be people better than you. Not only that, there will inevitably be people who think that NO ONE is better than you. And you are probably never going to think that you are the best at what you do, even if you are, because the grass is always greener on the other side. You can be the best but you'll see something that someone else has done that is DIFFERENT. That you would NEVER HAVE THOUGHT OF. That you REALLY DIG. That someone probably does that consistently. And poof. You think they're better than you, because they're doing something different, something that you can't do, and they're rockin it. But you know, it's pretty likely, if you're the best in the world, that that person is thinking the exact same thing about you.

So you never win that race. All you can do is try to be the best you can be. Do the best you can do. Never get complacent, always strive. Learn from the other guy, but don't envy him. You are yourself, and no one can be you, and that is incredibly special.

As for me, I've started to write my novel. It's not going to be the best book I've ever read, but it's going to be the best book I've ever written, and that is one hell of a start.

Mar. 28th, 2011

this fucked up beautiful world we live in

 

and threads of gold break weakly through the dusky clouds, weaving the farewell of sunlight.  (My World)

Sometimes I realize that the world is just fucking beautiful in its own broken, sad kind of way. I don't want to come across as one of those hyper-emo death-is-poetry writers, but it is what it is.
I realized earlier with a great sense of bittersweet irony that the words I write, the concepts of everything my stories and feelings revolve around, are interpreting fucked up acts into prettified versions of fucked up acts. I have this little phrase I use to describe me on some websites, three little words, words I didn't dwell upon but kind of just came and resulted in a satisfactory nod and strange sense of finality. Below my avatar on some forums sit the words: Monsters and roses and perfume. And that's me, when I write things down, that is my alter ego, the Hyde to my Jekyll, or perhaps the Jekyll to my Hyde. The world is Monsters and I present them as Roses and the whole thing just stinks of perfume. The irony of this comes in that in the last few years I've come to positively hate the world, and for the most part the people in it. Some pretty bad things happened to me during that time (though not half as bad as what happens to some, don't get me wrong) and I have had a really hard time getting over it. When I was younger I was a pretty optimistic person (though I've never been fond of the general populace, I am elitist when it comes to intelligence and self-awareness, and most are sadly lacking in those departments) and saw great beauty in the world around me. I guess they were my 'formative years' as a writer, the ages of 6-12, I had a fascination with the morbid as anything awful was pretty far removed from my existence, and I applied my interpretation of the world as beautiful to my interpretation of the morbid.


Cut to years later and I've seen and experienced some bad things, things people might refer to as morbid or awful. Turns out when push comes to shove I see no beauty or impressiveness in the darker side of life, the part filled with death and pain and hurt, I'm filled only with revulsion and a sense of hopelessness and this hard feeling in the pit of my stomach that might be terror. It's not pretty or attractive or fascinating. It's yuck. As a result of these in-your-face experiences, my perspective of the world changed dramatically. Everything beautiful was linked to some inevitably horrible use or fate. Everything dies and death is never nice. Few experience a pleasant or acceptable passing. It's usually filled with pain and struggling and tears and even when you die there is this whole path of heart destruction left behind you. There's a ripple effect. The grief is just as hideous as the ending.


As a result of these experiences, I lost my objectivity. Everything was tainted. Nothing was sacred. The sunset was beautiful, sure, but that just reminded me of the pollution evercontinuing to ruin the atmosphere and our perception of the sky. Kittens were adorable, but so many died during birth, and so many would grow up just to die horribly. Flowers were lovely but people hastened their death for pathetic reasons, thinking themselves more entitled to a few days view of their beauty than that the flower was entitled to live its short life in full. Love was supposed to be this ultimate thing, but it wasn't really, it more often ended in heartbreak and tears or worse, apathy. Everything was going to break, going  to die, going to rot. The world was going to hell, if it wasn't there already. I lost the ability to live in the present, everything was about the inevitable and horrifying future. THE WORLD WAS DOOMED.


And yeah, the world still is doomed. But I realized I'm only making it worse. Everything really is futile if things are not appreciated at their best moments. And the world's best moments - they can transport you to a whole other universe, when you're caught up in them. A world where everything becomes special and magical and full of joy and hope and promise and endless possibilities. Those times when you find yourself drenched in the golden light of a setting sun, doesn't everything just melt? All the constraints you feel everyday life applies, don't they seem to just fall away, doesn't the vastness of the sun and light and sky just swallow you up into a tranquil mess of emotion? Everything becomes real and false at the same time, the world is real, you are real, but all the simple worries that choke up every day life seem petty, unreal, a creation of imagination, a wisp of fear projected into tangible form. The world can be beautiful, it can make you feel good, if you just let it. Drink it up. Don't you deserve to? With all the other shit you have to deal with day to day, and the heartbreaks that await your future, if you have one - don't you deserve to catch your breath in the beauty of the day, experience a little happiness? Everything dies but everything lives. The world is fucked but it is beautiful, it is fucking beautiful.



Mar. 8th, 2011

my love/hate relationship with insomnia & all by your lonesome

I realized today that insomnia, something I have cursed bitterly all my life, is responsible for giving me one of the greatest gifts I could ever receive. The ability to be alone with myself. To self-examine.

It seems so many people these days are terrified of themselves. At least, that's how I interpret it. All these distractions we create and purchase for ourselves, why are they needed? What are people distracting themselves from?

Consider: television and video games. These are no longer experiences one indulges in. They have become pastimes. Lifestyles. "What do you do in your spare time?" "I watch TV. I play the Xbox." Subtext: I distract my mind completely.

Now introduce more recently popular technology. Mobile phones. Facebook. Nintendo DS's. The internet available at your fingertips, whenever, wherever. The quiet moments of people's lives are no longer quiet. The gaps where one might introspect are now filled. People taking a bus/train to work? They're tapping away at Facebook, posting statuses and reading gossip about trivial things. Got a spare moment at work? Out comes the phone to text someone about how boring their job is. Doctor running behind for your appointment? No big deal, just play on the DS to keep your brain occupied while the time whittles away. Every spare moment has a piece of technology to fill it, to distract. The only times that seem safe from this cacophony are when driving (though even this doesn't stopped those determined mobile phone users) and showering. Going to the bathroom, if you're not one who reads silly gossip magazines while on the loo. Perhaps while falling asleep, although most I know claim to fall asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow (something I've experienced only a few times in my life).

Why can't people be alone with their thoughts? What are they so scared of? Why isn't being alone with oneself considered good company anymore, why do we need people intruding on every second of our lives? What awful revelations dwell just below the surface of our minds, threatening to come up but never being allowed, fought back by an army of friends linked by social networks and satellites? Whatever it is, it must be truly horrible, for us to go to such great lengths to never have to face it.

I try to fight my demons by confronting them. I love to be alone with myself. I love to think, to ponder, to try to understand what makes me me and why I feel the way I do. How I got to feeling the way I do. I like to retrace the steps that led up to the making of Me, who I am right now. I like to envision the future Me, try to get a glimpse of what paths lay ahead and where they will take me. I like to analyze my shortcomings, try to understand how I can address them in future. I like to pat myself on the back for getting better at something, or just for being myself to the best of my ability. I try to understand my dreams for the future, why I have them, how I can achieve them. 

This might sound painfully obvious to you, this introspection. But introspection I am passionate about, and as you can see am increasingly becoming concerned with, and I go to lengths to discuss or observe introspection in others. Few seem to do it. Truly do it. People say they want to be something and when you ask why they say "It's just something I've always wanted to do" or "It seems like it would be cool" or "It's what everyone expected me to be". These reasons explain how you came about doing something, but not why. And the why is important, when you're getting to know yourself. Everyone should know themselves, know their motivations. It helps them to be better people. It helps them to make better judgments, make the world a better place. Helps them be passionate about something. Knowing the why gives you direction in life.

Anyway. I might sound like I'm on a high horse, and I probably am (although I might argue, aren't we all? We all only know what we think we know, if we knew better we would say better) but I can admit that maybe I only gained the ability of self-reflection because of my insomnia. I have always had it, ever since I can remember, and my mother tells me I almost never slept at night when I was a baby, so I've probably had it since the womb. So ever since I can remember, I would go to bed at night, and then lie there, alone, in the dark with nothing to do, for hours. Yep, hours. Not just one hour, or even two, but often three or four. When I was in high school, I would often lie there for seven or eight hours at a time. What did that mean? It meant I would go to bed at 10pm, lie awake until 6am, then get maybe an hour of sleep until it was time to wake up and go to school. Sometimes I simply wouldn't get to sleep at all. And this would happen for days at a time, I would be awake for days at a time, until suddenly my body just collapsed from exhaustion and I fell into unconsciousness for six or seven hours. When my body was feeling less kind, I would stay up for days, pass out for two hours, then wake up and start the process again. No more sleep for you! my body would say.

So yeah. I got to spend a lot of time alone with myself. It was nice, when I was younger, just to think about things in the dark, in the quiet. The world was new and bursting with possibility. Undiscovered territory. I was equally new and undiscovered, and I would examine myself. What do I like? I would ask. Why do I like it? This is a thought process I apply to everything I come across in my life -- What is it? Why is it the way it is? What do I think? Why? How can I improve? -- and it all started with those sleepless nights that forced me to lie alone with only my consciousness for company. As a result, I grew up confident and self-aware, no one could convince me to do things I wasn't inclined to do because I always had a good reason for why I wasn't inclined to do something. Few others could say the same. There was a convenient side effect of this. I became quite good at challenging the why in others, thus bringing them around to my point of view. So many lack conviction or understanding in this world, so it's easy to convince people to do what you want them to do, say what you want them to say, think what you want them to think. Because if you present them with a reason why and they have no prior views in place to disagree, they tend to just go along with it. "That's convincing." "I have no reason as to why I shouldn't listen to you." I will admit I used this little skill mostly for evil and rarely for good. But hey, it's yet another great reason why someone should know why they do the things they do and like the things they like - it makes you far less prone to peer pressure. It makes you confident in your views and opinions. People often tell me I'm the most stubborn people I know. It's because if you challenge me on something, I'll probably have a pretty well-considered reason I don't share your point of view. And I'm not going to do something I think is stupid just to make you happy. Unless I really like you. ;)

All that being said, I should add the disclaimer that I know I'm not infallible. I know I've got some things wrong. I know some of the things I think are right can't be proven either way so are pointless to argue for or against. I don't think I'm an all-knowing, all-seeing god just because I consider things more than others. I'm perhaps more prone to being wrong than most because I decide rights and wrongs on more things than others because I've thought about issues. I'm sure I'm incredibly frustrating to deal with often (my boyfriend reminds me of this on a daily basis). But one thing I do without a doubt think I'm right about is that people should get to know themselves more. Be alone with themselves. You're only ever truly yourself when you are by yourself, and it's good to let your true self out once in a while. Let the wolf ravage the livestock, let your mind run wild. Entertain your wildest dreams, the most remote of possibilities. Recognize goals you would like to achieve and work out, without distraction, how you can get there.

Being your own best friend is one of the greatest gifts one can have. It ensures you'll always be okay. You'll never be without a shoulder to cry on, a person to give you sage advice, a voice of reason to oppose your own confused views. Know yourself, be yourself, analyze yourself. To end with a cliche: Love yourself.

Feb. 26th, 2011

naughty girl

We're all using one another. (Inescapable)


I should probably try to keep up with this journal just so I have a record of my inactivity, something I can look back at and say, "Weren't you a bad girl, weren't you just positively naughty?" Because I am a bad girl, and I have been positively naughty, because I've barely written at all the past week and looking back on my posts, it's seems like I'm always not writing. Like I'm never writing. Like I'm writing about writing but not really writing

Ya know, it's like I'm talking the talk when I can't walk the walk.

Write1Sub1 weekly is a big fail for me. I suck. It sucks. I positively thought I could, I thought I had the self-discipline. I used to, 6 or 8 or 10 months again. Not so, anymore. Guess it needs to be redeveloped. I keep saying I'll start, but I don't. "Tomorrow I will discipline myself. Tomorrow and the day after and the day after. Today, I am too tired. I will rest. Store my strength for tomorrow." Naughty, bad girl.

But hey, I haven't been completely wasting my time, or more accurately, I haven't been wasting my time in completely unrelated ways. I joined a Writer's Workshop on chuck-palahniuk.com and have been very active on that. It's a really cool system, you pay $40 for an entire years access to the workshop, which means you get access to 30-something of writing essays written by Palahniuk himself specifically for the site, and you get to post your work for critique on the site and critique the work of others. It has a genius points system that I think other workshops should implement if they haven't already: to post a piece for peer critique, you need to 'pay' a certain number of points. The only way to get these points is by reviewing other people's pieces. You get a small set number of points just for posting a critique, but if the person who received your critique found it particularly helpful, they can click a 'Very Helpful' button, which gives you twice as many points. Through this system you're encouraged to both critique a lot of work, and to do it well. This ensures there are more critiques going around than works being posted, which means no one is ever left out, and you end up getting a significant amount of feedback on your work. It's very cool.

So I've been critting a lot and not writing and cursing myself for not writing and reading and whining and general not-being-productive-except-being-sort-of-productive activities.

Naughty girl.

Feb. 21st, 2011

The Mean Story That Tripped Me Up and Two Weeks In Absentia



If I could give her a name it would be Effortless, because that’s the way she moves and speaks and that’s just the way her heart is. (Quietly Bleeding)


Well I'm feeling awfully guilty. I haven't written since my last irritated post, and I'm too scared to look at the date of the entry to see just how long it's been since I wrote anything. Two weeks, I'm guessing. Mortiftying.


I blame the story. Usually I don't get too wrapped up in my short stories, I don't get too personal - if they get finished, they get finished, if they don't, I always have another interesting idea to write about. But I was enjoying writing this one, there was no stress, it flowed. I'm not sure if it's normal, but most of my stories are labors of love, with the word labor underlined three times. I have a bad case of OCD when it comes to my writing; I curse and I splutter and I delete far more words than I write. I overanalyze sentences and give myself headaches and I brood for endless minutes over whether terrible or awful is a better choice. So while I derive great pleasure from the conceiving of an idea and the finishing of it, often the actual process of writing the thing turns me into a screeching banshee of headpounding rage. Not so for this particular story. I was preternaturally calm and in an oddly surreal state; the story seemed to unfold before my eyes, the dream-like language of the prose transformed my own surroundings into something beyond the norm, as if I'd lifted the veil of ordinaryness to expose what was underneath. I write because I'm a writer, because something inside myself demands I do and will not take no for an answer (as awfully cliche as that sounds) -- but I'm beginning to understand the fire that ignites in the eyes of some writers when they begin to talk about their passion, their eyes betray a reflection of a memory, and I'm thinking that that sensation of otherwordlyness one gets when absorbed in the writing of a story is the fanner of those flames and the emotion they recall with such intensity and fondness. This wasn't the first story I've written that has placated me so, but not by a long shot, those lucid dream-like moments are what told me from a young age that writing is what I was built to do, but since I put myself on a strict writing regime it's been far more business than pleasure for me, and I'm sure it shows. So yes, writing this particular story was a pleasure, but then I went to sleep before finishing, and the next day when I went back to it, I just couldn't get back into that dream-state, and to finish the story without 'feeling it' would, I feel, be insulting and ruin it entirely. So I've been waiting for that 'feeling' again, the sense of being on the cusp of something great and hidden, before I could fall back into the writing, and it's been two weeks now and that hasn't happened.


In less words -- I've been sulking. I could have written another story, tried to finish one of the many I have half done. But I didn't want to. I wanted to write that story and that story only. Sulking. But starting tomorrow (since I'm tired right now) I will stop being a naughty, naughty girl and lift my chin up and be a good trooper and fuckingwritesomething. No more excuses or mindless Buffy The Vampire Slayer marathons (true story)! 


Okay, now that that's been established..


I've got way too many books on my currently-reading list, even more too many on my to-read list, and never enough on my already-read list. My Goodreads account serves as a constant reminder of how short life is (too many books in too few years), how much more money I could use (these things cost money you know) and how much bigger a place I need (nowhere to put the damn things as it is).


Just started/got two-thirds of the way through Orwell's 1984. I've heard so much buzz about it over the years that I finally couldn't bear the curiosity anymore and started it up (after purchasing it for a couple of dollars at a wonderful US used-book chain store 'Half Price Books', a place in which I bought literal dozens of books and managed to spend barely over $50). It's a well written book and I'm enjoying it, though it's a little dry for my taste (a reaction strongly remniscent of the one I had to Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, though I find 1984 is vastly more entertaining). The most impressive thing I've found about the book is just how widespread its reach has been - just reading through the first ten pages I recalled to mind more than a few stories I've read that clearly have been strongly influenced by the world and concept of the book, and some that were even apparently based in this universe without me having a clue. Despite me rating it about a five out of ten on the entertainment scale of things so far, this book has possibly moved me more than any other I've read to be grateful for the things I have. The quietly passionate writings about Party citizens being deprived of seemingly basic things like butter, chocolate and the ability to languish nakedly and lazily in bed with the object of your affection are extremely moving, and as I read I found myself experiencing strong cravings for the things they were deprived of, and as a result, appreciating them in an honest and genuine way I've never done before. I believe books can instill concepts on a far greater level than any other medium if done correctly, and Orwell certainly had a talent for doing it right. He has my respect.


I could go on and on about the other books I'm reading but that would probably bore you. And by you I mean no one, because I haven't had the guts to actually show anyone this blog yet, though I'm not sure why to do so seems so intimidating. Anyway, I'll probably remark on some of the other books I'm reading when I've finished them, but that's for another day.


I haven't been doing much since I last posted. I watched the last season of The Wire (great show) and seasons 3 and 4 of Buffy. Mostly the watching was a byproduct of sulking: "I can't finish my story so I'm going to lie here and stare numbly at a screen from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep until I can write again". It was working well until I ran out of shows to watch. That's a good thing. Kitties have been keeping my boyfriend and me busy as usual, they like to wake us up every half hour or so (currently my boyfriend and I are on deeply opposite sleep schedules due to him being a normal person and me living my days at night, so I don't know when the cats find time to sleep). They have made friends with a neighboring cat (we found out his name was Stewie after kitten Tidus came running in with Stewie's collar in mouth about a week ago - a pretty hilarious incident I must say) and he spends a tonnn of time hanging out in our backyard, waiting for the kitties to come out and play (and he's not shy with us either, I'm glad to say). He makes me want another cat! When Dan and I buy our house, it's going to be a zoo, no doubt about it.


I also did the shoot I was whining about earlier, and unless I get offered a great opportunity, it's probably going to be the last, at least for a long long while until I get the craving again, as I inevitably will. Here are some images for your viewing pleasure, I think they came out well:







(Photos by Jackie Tran | Hair and Makeup by Lee Monaghan | Dresses by Malachi Fashion House)


My boyfriend has been extra wonderful lately and treating me like a princess. He's more supportive of my writing than I could ask for (if we were in exchanged positions I'm sure I'd do a lot of sulking about the amount of alone time he asked for). So Danny if you ever read this, I love you and appreciate you very much, thank you for everything you do <3


Apart from sulking, vegging out, reading, being spoiled and babysitting cats (and I only mention this to prevent extreme horror at the misuse of my time that is sure to come from a future reading of this post), I've been researching nightmares to give me ideas for future stories (not that I need more, I have dozens and dozens waiting to be written down already). But I figure you can never have too much imagination fodder. As a side note I've been interested in the Myers-Briggs personality types lately, it's been fascinating to read about all the types and in particular what people have to say about my type (ENFP - known sometimes as an Inspirer, or Champion Idealist). I'm a little skeptical about personality defintions such as this, as so often we can look at a description and, as long as it has lots of positive things to say, nod emphatically and agree on how great and multi-faceted a person you are and 'they got you just right'. After reading a lot of definitions, I'd have to agree with the ENFP label, though I don't conform to it as much as some others seem to (although often the majority of the description is right on the money, particularly in regards to the description of an ENFP as a 'natural advocate' - someone who feels very strongly about everything and spends most of their time and energy trying to persuade people that their point of view is the right one). Amusingly, it seems commonly accepted that an INTJ makes the best partner to an ENFP, and this happens to be my partner's personality type, so perhaps that explains why we as a couple tend to get along so much better than most we know. I'm curious to know everyone elses types now, it really is very interesting.


Well I'd better wrap this up as it's getting awful long. Call it two weeks worth of blog entries, will you? 


Stay tuned for more dramatic stories of my mundane life! ;)

Feb. 9th, 2011

falling asleep during sex will net you nothing but misery in the morning


She was passion and legs and when she caught me watching her, she was lips as well.  (Quietly Bleeding)


fuckfuckfuck. I'm furious with myself right now, for wimping out last night (this morning, really) and going to sleep when my half-written story was trying to write itself. It was doing a wonderful job of it and I shut it down and now it's getting back at me by refusing to cooperate whatsoever. And it had so much potential. That's what I get for falling asleep on my muse.


I figure I might as well write here to at least slightly satisfy my daily goals.


So what did I do today? Woke up at 5pm. Naughty naughty girl. I went to sleep at 6am so I'm not sure how I managed to wake up at that time, but there you go. I ate. Showered. Played outside with Dan and the cats. Belle, their kitty friend from the house behind ours, made an appearance. It's very cute to see the four of them play together, though Whisper, my oldest cat, prefers to observe the proceedings rather than join them. 

Thinking back now, I really didn't do much today and I'm baffled as to where the time has gone. Didn't spend too much time with the cats or my boyfriend, barely saw my mother at all, barely left my bedroom, really. So what did I do? Read things online, things I fail to remember now. That's just not good at all. If I'm reading I should be absorbing information, but if I can't remember what I was reading five hours ago, I can hardly be said to have absorbed it now, can I?

 

For the last five hours or so I've been trying to finish the story I started last night (I am a bad girl and started a new one instead of finishing the three or so newish ones I've begun recently). I got 1400 words written down on that story last night (Quietly Bleeding is the working title) and was really loving where it was going. I haven't had a story write itself so easily in a very long time, the words were flowing and the voice was distinct and the images were beautiful and sad. I was extremely excited to see the conclusion but was really sleepy after getting those 1400 words down so I decided to finish it today. Big mistake. The voice I was writing in that I so loved is not around today. It was haunting and full of self-reflection, today all I can write is dull, crude, simple sentences, I can't even get the tenses right. I'm broken. It's making me very sad. I'm sure the voice will come back in coming days but I was really hoping to edit and submit this story in the next few days (and most of all I just wanted to see how it ended). So I'm pretty disappointed, not just in my inability to finish this story today but in the complete lack of wordage I managed to write. I mostly sat here and stared at the page in distress, I wrote and deleted about a thousand sentences, then I browsed stories to try and get back in the head of a writer, and then I ended up randomly reading websites that were taking submissions and planning for those. Grr, grr and more grr.


I blame the fact that I haven't been eating well the past few days. We all need a scapegoat. My nutrition levels can be mine. More fruits and vegetables for me, please and thank you. And maybe a spot of tea. And it would probably be highly beneficial to be taken out for sushi in the near future. Oh, I'm feeling better already :)


Anyway I really needed to RANT and VENT and no one who might care at least an iota was around for me to whine to, so I guess it's good I have this little bloggy thing now. PREPARE FOR AN ENDLESS ONSLAUGHT OF RAGE AND TEARS. Journal, I shall pray for your non-existent soul.


To sum up:

 

Dear Me,


Please be sure not to pussy out and go to sleep when your muse is cramming wonderfulness down your throat and into your fingertips. And don't forget to feed her balanced meals. If either of these conditions are voided, you are subject to a hideous form of writer's block and will be mentally beaten up.


Sincerely,

Me

 

Feb. 8th, 2011

Missing The Words and Love In Sickness



   “The world out there, it’s not made for good women like you or me. It’s made for men and whores. Everything is smut. They’ll have you believe that the only way to get ahead in life is to bend over. To kneel before a man and thank him for whatever filth he sees fit to spit at you.” (A Woman Must Always)

So here I am, writing a journal entry for a second day in a row. While I should be writing a story. For shame. But at least I'm doing some kind of writing, I guess (Dear Self, please try to avoid making excuses for why you aren't writing stories -- if you're going to procrastinate, at least man up and admit it).


This whole blog/journal thing confuses me. What's the point of it? Is it supposed to have a point? Am I supposed to have some kind of focus? Part of me wants to write about my daily goings-on, part of me tells me to keep it as a kind of writing-diary, to keep track of what I'm doing and where I'm at writing-wise and to remind myself of goals and motivations... a smaller part of me thinks I should just use it to self-reflect. Just rant a ton about whatever I'm feeling and then psychoanalyze my words and work through my thoughts and issues like that. But really, that's what I should be doing with my writing.

It always comes back to the writing, doesn't it?

 

Let's try something. With each journal entry, I will try to recap my day, as boring as that is likely bound to be. Then I will list my writing progress and hopes. Finally I will rant about a subject and leave that open for debate, if only in my head. Sound good? Great.


I feel like I should start from 'the beginning' before going any further with this. By 'the beginning' I mean what happened in the four month hiatus since creating this blog/journal/whatever you want to call it.


I was being a very good girl, writing almost all day every day for weeks at a time (occasionally wiping myself out and needing a few days recovery time every so often). I was good about keeping to my writing schedule. I was being productive. I was hopeful.


My boyfriend and I were at the time discussing taking a trip to the US, so that we could see family and friends (he is an American citizen, who moved to Australia to be with me almost two years ago now). An opportunity arose that we could not pass up (a free flight for him, a cheap ticket for me) and so we decided to head on over to the States for three months and spend quality time with his family and our friends, since we had not seen them in a while and very likely weren't going to be able to see them for a longer while in the near future (due to financial needs and time constraints - a flight from Australia to the US can run over $2000 a ticket, and even if we're willing to pay that, $4000 is a little much to be spending on a week or two visit somewhere on a semi-regular basis, and who can get that much more time off work?). So we packed our bags and headed off to the good ol' US of A. I am an extremely picky writer when it comes to my working habitat -- it needs to be dark, late, silent and free of people. So when I'm writing I'm on an awful sleep schedule, and become quite the hermit. I knew that wasn't going to fly in the US. There was no way I'd ever be left alone with my thoughts, and it would be incredibly selfish of me to go all the way to the US to see friends and family and then hole myself up in the bedroom and never have time to see anyone. So goodbye writing, for three whole months.


That's a big deal for someone working hard to make their career as a writer. Three months of lost time. Three months of closing submissions, opportunities passed. I had a big spreadsheet of open submissions I planned to submit stories to, all arranged by date, and they all closed while I was in the US. About twenty of them all up, I think - had I submitted to all of them like I honestly planned, I think I had a pretty good shot of getting at least one sub out of twenty. Missed opportunities indeed.


Anyway, so that's where I was. I still diligently wrote down story ideas and even tried to edit some drafts I had, but it wasn't at all the 'real deal'. I felt it, too. My head would simply explode with words sometimes. I felt empty and full at the same time. I hope I don't sound too much like I'm whining, because I don't intend to come across that way. I could have written, I know that. Many other writers would have taken the time. I've read the same stories you have, tales of Bradbury writing up a storm while vacationing in beautiful vistas and all that. I guess I just felt I owed it to the loved ones I rarely get to see to make the most of the time we had together, knowing we wouldn't have it again for a very long time. We did make the most of the time though, I feel better knowing that.


So I've been back for over a month and it's taken me all this time to start writing again, even though I've been thinking about it every day since I stopped four months ago. I think I made excuses for myself. My boyfriend was supposed to get a job when we got back to Australia, a night one so that I could have the place to myself and be able to write freely without having to kick him out or make him tiptoe around. He hasn't yet and so I decided not to write, since 'the plan' was that he get a job so I could start writing. When I make a plan and it falls through, I have a bad habit of being lost for a while, confused, doing nothing instead of something because I couldn't do the specific something I expected. I really have to work on that, my adaptability.


But yes. I finally got over it and now I'm writing. Not very well, as you can see, since I'm currently writing this stupid blog and not finishing a story I promised myself I would finish. But I do feel this needed to be said. It's incredibly cathartic to get my thoughts down in front of me in writing, it's far easier to see when I'm being silly or paranoid or thoughtless when the words are staring me in the face. 


To address my previous goal of writing down what I did today: I woke up at 1pm. I felt sick to my stomach, which is how I've been feeling for the past week due to some (I am assuming) subtle stomach bug. I was in pain because I'm on my period, which I swear haunts me far more than it should. I took a shower with my boy, then we cuddled and watched The Wire, a show that has been impressing me greatly. During that I became nauseous, so I went and hung out in front of the toilet for a while, then when I came back to bed to lie down I found one of my adorable furry housemates, Kairi, had taken my bedspot. She looked so comfortable that I didn't have the heart to move her, and Dan (zee boyfriend) was sleeping next to her. The final few inches of bedspace were taken by another adorable furry housemate, the youngest of the bunch, Tidus, and so I had no where left to go but to go cuddle up on the couch in the living room with my mother (who had graciously taken care of me and pinned up my hair while I was dry-heaving in the toilet -- there really is nothing that surpasses the beauty of a mother's love, at the end of the day). I felt a little better after that, and upon re-entering my bedroom found that Kairi had moved, so I slipped in next to Dan and fell asleep. I woke up briefly with Tidus to my left, adorable furry housemate #3, Whisper, in my arms, and Kairi to my right. There's nothing quite like waking up surrounded by creatures who love you enough to come cuddle with you while you sleep, entirely of their own accord. It certainly made me feel better. I fell asleep again and woke up at 10:30pm, perfect for my writing schedule but not perfect for my upcoming photo shoot on Saturday (see previous post for rant). Boyfriend and I watched a few more episodes of The Wire while cuddling each other and kitties (and he made me dinner, lovely man that he is). He passed out, and now I'm here. Not a great day, but one that made me realize the extent of the love in my life, and how fortunate I am to have it.


Well isn't this a long post?!


Writing. What spurred me to begin again happened a few days ago. We were in the backyard, hanging out with the cats (Dan and I try to take them out together at least once a day, since they seem to enjoy when we spend time with them outside). I called for Kairi, who is resident Master Mouse Hunter, and when she came, she brought a 'gift'. Unfortunately that gift was a dying mouse, which she dropped at my feet. I couldn't do anything to help it so I knelt down and watched it die. This affected me deeply, and directly after I went straight to my computer and wrote down all the thoughts that were spinning in my head. It's titled "I watched something die today." (Original, no?) and perhaps I'll post it some time. But yeah, that was a 2000+ word monster written in an hour or so, and it got the ball rolling.


The next day I started reading "Writers Workshop of Horror' edited by Michael Knost, which is a collection of essays by well known horror authors. I wasn't expecting to be helped much, but of what I've read (half), I've already gleaned some invaluable tidbits and so regardless of what the second half of the book has to offer I feel it was well worth the money (I do feel I should mention there were some largely disappointing, and in one case, entirely useless, pieces included within the book). I started writing a short story with the working title "Monsters are Real, You Know" but only got 300 or so words in before sleep took me.
The next day, after being inspired by some emotional prose-poems written by what I think of 'rogue writers' (typically young adults who don't write fiction in an acceptable publishing form but whose stuff is nevertheless beautifully written and touching) I wrote a piece called 'We call these truths our truths and yet". I can't remember the word count right now, but I think it's around 1000.
Last night I began writing 'A Woman Must Always" (working title) and have 800 words on that. I'm supposed to be working on that right now, but I'm still here, over an hour since I've begun.


So around 4000 words in the last four days or so, I don't think that's so bad, for a girl who hasn't written in four months. I plan on keeping it up (no more photo shoots for me unless I get an irrefusable offer). Speaking of keeping it up, I joined Write 1 Sub 1 last night, with a weekly submission target. Can I write a story and submit it every week? I'm sure gonna try. And that is why I feel like such a naughty girl for sitting here writing this journal entry when I should be writing real stuff. As if my life isn't real. Sometimes it feels that way.


I'm supposed to end this with a rant, but I'm in a good mood right now, so we'll cut it off right there. Nightynite.

 

Feb. 7th, 2011

Why I Don't Blog Often and A Pen Beats Up A Fashion Model



He loves to make her laugh; he’s beginning to think he lives for it. (It Only Takes A Week)


It's only been a few months and it's already painful to read my past entries. Tomorrow it will be painful to read this entry. That is why I hate these journal things, why no matter how many times I try I inevitably don't come back one day -- it's not because I've become too lazy to write about myself or what's going on, it's simply that I can't face the person I was yesterday or a year ago or three or five or ten. I was born to improve myself, my life is a quest in striving for perfection, I look at the me of yesterday and shudder to think of the shallow thoughts that girl often thought or the small accomplishments she glowed over that seem hardly worthy of attention today. And it's not that I don't appreciate that girl, and how she helped me get where I am today, and how she is going to help me get where I'm going to be tomorrow, but it's just that reminders of past ignorance remind me that I am still ignorant, and that reminds me that I will always be ignorant, until the day I die, no matter how much I may learn between then and now, and you know, I'm a little bit OCD, a lotta bit perfectionist, and that bothers me. Not on an intellectual level - I understand that we are growing ever wiser and that's what life is, just the accumulation of drops of wisdom from a pool that is infinite, but on a personal level - I will never achieve it all, yeah, that bothers me.

 

But hey, a lot of things bother me lately, a lot of things that shouldn't, and I'm working on that. Truly I am. So maybe one day, even one day soon, I'll be able to come back to this blog and read past entries and say, "Hey, I remember that girl -- she wasn't half bad. In fact, looking at her now, she's actually kind of cute". I hope that day comes, it will mark an achievement in my life, a letting go, a relaxing. And as my boyfriend constantly reminds me these days -- I do need to relax every once in a while.


Speaking of relaxing, or more accurately, not relaxing, I am beginning to realize that the activities of modelling and writing are directly at odds with each other. I model part time and photo shoots are a big part of my life, they allow me to work creatively on a team. Though writing has always been and will always be the most important creative pursuit in my life, it's something I can only do alone. Having been jobless and homeschooled for the last 6 years of my life, any kind of organized team environment that requires me to work and interact with others is extremely valuable to me. I'm a bit strange in that I'm a relatively reclusive person and yet inherently social -- I am very good with people and enjoy interacting with them and analyzing them, and yet I tend to choose not to be around them as much as possible. I can't work it out myself. This is another topic to explore another time I think. Anyway. Photo shoots. My creative outlet that lets me interact with others, it's really become a very important satisfier of the aforementioned needs - social interaction, teamwork, brainstorming creation with creative people. Thing is, 99% of the time, photoshoots go like this:


Get up bright and early the day before the shoot. Get out in the sun to get some vitamin D flowin through that skin so you look extra pretty the next day. Drink tons and tons of water to further compliment the skin. Make sure to go to bed nice and early so you can wake up for the early shoot tomorrow and have plenty of time to prepare.


Wake up bright and early the day of the shoot, having had plenty of sleep. Chug some water. Look extremely pretty. Don't have bags under your eyes. Have plenty of energy to last being able to look extremely pretty throughout the whole day, no matter how hot or cold it is or how tiring your poses are or how the makeup burns or how the hair pulls.


The issue here lies with the fact that I am a nocturnal writer. I am also a chronic insomniac. This means I write best at night, therefore I try to make as much time for 'night' as possible. So I try to wake up at 3 or 4 or 5pm so I can write through those dark hours when everyone else is asleep, my mind awake and active and productive. Thing is, I generally have a terrible time falling asleep, so if I wake up one day at 5pm, it's going to take me a while before I can get my body to start falling asleep at a regular time, like 10 or 11pm.


What does this mean for modelling and writing? It means that when I write I'm waking up daily around 4pm, and going to sleep around 8am. It means it's going to take me about a week (at least) so get myself to be able to fall asleep around 10pm again. It means that if I have a photoshoot schedule for 9am on Saturday morning, I better start getting my act together the Saturday before, trying to coax my body into going to sleep at such an 'early' time. What that means is I pretty much can't write for a week if I have a shoot scheduled for a particular day (allowing for the fact that I can't write until after everyone goes to bed, since I can only write when in silence and alone). So basically, I'm fucked. I'd love to be able to shoot once or twice a week, but my writing is supposed to be a full-time gig, and I can't foresake a week of it for a day of shooting.


I love you, Modelling, but one day soon, you're going to have to go.


I hate you, Writing, but we are forever attached at the fingertips.


Such is life, as they say.

Jul. 28th, 2010

Life goes on


To you, the shy uniting of flesh symbolised future and steadfastness. To me it remarked the valleys of emptiness between us, a never-getting-close-enough, kind of like the way one can never get close enough to a mirror reflecting a mirror -- at least not without destroying the whole illusion. (Maybe)


I'm not really sure how these blog things go. What do I say? Should I focus on a topic? Am I going to talk about my life or my writing? Both at the same time? I've tried a hundred times in my life to keep a journal - sometimes I set myself goals of writing entries every day, other times the more achievable goal of once a week or two weeks or even just anytime something interesting happened. I've always had dreams of waking up old one day, and being able to pull out one of many journals and begin to live my life over again, through my words. I've never succeeded in my autobiographical attempts though - after a week, or a month, I inevitably fall off, become distracted by the world around me, too caught up in it to write about it. And then after a while I simply forget that little journal exists, leaving it to become a lonely keepsake lost to the bottomless abyss of my cluttered closets or vast and infinite internet space.


To be honest, I don't hold much hope for this blog either, but hey, a girl can try.


I was planning on writing about the stories I've been drawing up lately and the endless self-discoveries I've been making in the last few months, but my little tirade has tired me out. Story of my life. Perhaps later I'll find the energy.

Jul. 23rd, 2010

Fresh Blood



You twinkled. I wished on you a thousand times.
(We Were Like A Thunderstorm)


After years of eying LiveJournals and contemplating a blog of my own, I've finally decided to take the plunge.


I can't say I'll update this every day, every week or even every month, but hey, small steps forward, right? I've been in my writer groove lately, cooking up some (hopefully) scary stories, keeping an eye on places open to submissions, reading the writings and musings of established authors in the field. Perhaps this will be a good place to document my little journey. Maybe it will be a big journey. Maybe one day people will actually be interested to read what this total stranger is writing here. Maybe. One day.


Anyway, I'm off to pursue my dreams. Catch you on the flip side. ;)