Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Slapping Strangers, and Making Boys Cry

I have a regular bar. Its actually something I recommend any adult over the age of 21 develop. A place where the bar tenders, and waiters all know your name, and favorite drink at least, a place where they'll keep an eye on you when the creepy guy starts making moves, where they'll give you the answers to the trivia questions, and where they'll occasionally grade you on a curve. If you ever come to DC and are visiting me, I'll take you to my regular bar, unless of course its a weekend. Because the only problem with my regular bar is the neighborhood it's in becomes overpopulated with douche-bags on the weekend. And no, I don't mean the feminine hygiene product.

In case you are not familiar with the phenomenon that is the douche bag let me enlighten you. A douche bag is a guy (although in rare circumstances it can be a girl) from somewhere in the north who think's he's god's gift to humanity (even though the only meaningful contribution to the world is giving us fashion to ridicule.) He played lacrosse in high school. It's likely his family has money. And he act's a bit like a character from the Jersey Shore, with a higher education, and less steroids (take this with a grain of salt as I've never seen an episode of the Jersey Shore) . They wear button down t-shits (typically printed in a pattern or flannel) with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, and the collar on occasion popped, and it's my personal belief the pay the dry cleaners to wrinkle their clothes just a bit.

That being said, even though that's not the regular clientele of my regular bar, when the majority of people in the neighborhood become those people, so on weekends, I avoid the bar like the plague. And I definitely try to avoid that neighborhood on the weekends.

So needless to say, that when a friend I already agreed to go out with (to play cock blocker (please don't make me define this one)) told me we were going to this neighborhood I was less than pleased. But, like I've already said I had committed. Now there are a few things you need to know before this story continues. I like to think that I'm witty, although the truth is, I'm sarcastic, and probably a bit mean. I don't like to be touched (especially by strangers, double especially when I can't see it coming) , and I have a low tolerance for bars that are full of douchebag's and loud, and a lower tolerance for people who deliberately seek out those kinds of bars.

Now Friend A wanted me to go out with her and her roommate, because a guy her roommate was friends with let's call him Tony, had a crush on her, and was getting more and more inappropriate as the night went on. Tony also brought a friend, we'll call Tony's friend Gary. Tony doesn't really have a roll in this story, mostly because he seemed like a fairly normal guy. Gary however, was a total douche. Gary learned, early on that I don't like to be touched in an example of this inappropriateness; he was climbing across the couch, behind me, and stopped with both hands on my shoulders...then I felt something hit the back of my head. Yes, Gary decided it was appropriate to hump the back of my head. So I jumped up and darted across the room, I also might have yelled. At which point Friend A came out of her bedroom and told him that don't like being touched (which he seemed offended by) and that he was lucky, Friend A has seen me dislocate someone's shoulder, an punch a different someone in the face for inappropriate (or surprise ) touching.

Shortly after this, we left for the bar. The first bar we went to was actually quite nice, they had a decent beer selection (although Gary insisted on drinking Bud Light another sign that he was going to be trouble as if the attempted humping of the back of my head wasn't enough), the bar was a little crowded, but mostly quiet. We had been there for about fifteen minutes before we ran into some people that Friend A and I knew, and it was about ten more minutes before Gary started to complain about the bar. His first, and main complaint was that there weren't enough people there, and he wanted to leave and go to the douchyst bar in the neighborhood. Luckily the other girls had enough sense to say absolutely not.

But after a few more complaints we decided to leave and try another bar. Gary practically ran outside where he waited for the rest of us to pay, and finish our drinks. The second bar we went to had a cover, so we decided to go somewhere else, at which point Gary suggested the douchey bar again, and was shot down again. Instead we decided on the Chinese restaurant that served beers the size of a hobbit holding a pint (no joke whenever I go to this bar, which is like never, I hear that exchange from Merry and Pippin, "What is that?" /"this my friend is a pint"/"It comes in pints? I'm getting one" .

Anyway, after everyone ordered their Pint to make you feel like a hobbit (aka a 40 ounce) , Gary decided he didnt like this bar either. Now let it be said, I'm sarcastic, I own the fact that I'm sarcastic, and perhaps a bit mean, but I expect people for giving it back to me. When Gary came up to me and said the bar was lame the conversation went something like this:

Gary "This bar sucks"

Me "Why?"

Gary "It's not crowded enough."

Me (pointing into the crowd of people four rows deep by the bar) "Why don't you go stand over there? That looks like a crowd."

Gary "those people are waiting to buy drinks."

Me "So, it's definitely a crowd. "

Gary "I just don't like this place"

Me "What don't you like about it?"

Gary "It's to quiet."

Me "Oh, so you don't like it cause we can hear each other speak, and don't have people bumping into us spilling drinks on us?"

Gary turns and walks away, presumably to stand in the crowd.

Later I see Gary sitting in the corner pouting, at which point I politely smile and wave and continue talking to the random's Friend A is talking too. Which brings us to another classic example of exaggerated douchyness. Upon meeting one of the randoms, I went to shake his hand, at which poit he decided the more appropriate action would be to kiss my hand, but t the last minute, instead of kissing my hand, he decided to lick my hand, and I decided to slap him in the face. Which he seemed offended by. But to be honest, in my opinion, if you're going to lick a stranger, you deserve whatever is coming to you.

At this point, I retreat to the bar, because it seems safer, roommate asks me where Gary is, I tell her he was pouting in the corner by himself, and she I assume goes off to find him. I'm quite happy sitting at the bar drinking by giant beer, making friends with the other people at the bar, who have not tried to hump my head or lick me so they seem perfectly normal in my book.

However, not too much later, Gary comes back, he runs his hand up my arm and should, and decides to rub the back of my neck. I shove him, yell no, an go back to drinking. Gary runs away. Friend A comes up about five minutes later and asks what I did to Gary. I showed her what he did, and then tell her I pushed him off. She then tells me he is crying. Which, I really don't know what to do about, aside from ignore as he is clearly a crazy person. My personal theory is that in his mind humping someone's head makes them your property, and he was upset that I didn't get that.

After a very awkward cab ride back to friend A's apartment, we all passed out, then in the morning woke up and fled (or at least I did).

And that, is a classic example of why I don't go out on the weekends, or at least I don't go to that neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yom Kippur. Atonement and Inspiration

I had another post that was scheduled to go up today. I was all ready to post it and everything. Actually, for the first time in a long time I have two solid ideas for posts. One about making boy's cry, and the other a quasi rant about dating and society. But today, I decided not to post either of them. See, today is the Jewish day of atonement. You might be wondering why in Judaism there is only one day of atonement. But you have to understand, in Judaism there is no heaven, there is no hell, and there is no absolution. The God of the Old Testament is not the one who sent his son back to forgive mankind for their sins, It's the God that smote cities, and sent plagues, it's the God who sent the flood to wipe out all mankind with exception of the decedents of Noah. Judaism is a hard religion.

Atonement is not about asking for forgiveness and knowing that you will receive it. Atonement is about asking for forgiveness knowing you wont, but hoping that maybe God, this entity that is so above you, so much bigger than you, so much more than you can ever comprehend will take pity on you and forgive you anyway. Yom Kippur is about groveling. It's about fasting, and not fasting thinking that I'm doing a good thing by praying and fasting, that I'm setting a good example, it's about fasting and thinking I'm not doing enough, I could be doing so much more.

It occurred to me today, as I was in temple, that perhaps Leni is Jewish. See, I've struggled for a long time with Leni's character. She has never been very easy for me to write. The biggest issue with Leni is that she actually believes she is not worth saving. Leni believes she has done so much wrong that she is unredeemable, even if the wrong she has done is not her fault, even if the wrong she has done doesn't actually exist.

It's something I've struggled with for a while. How do you portray that. How do you show someone as being afraid of themselves to the extent that they don't believe they deserve forgiveness, or even life, without making them suicidal. Because Leni is not suicidal. She doesn't believe she deserves to live, but she doesn't want to die either.

But perhaps the answer is in Yom Kippur. Perhaps the answer is Leni is Jewish, and she doesn't believe she can be forgiven, but she hopes she can anyway.

I had almost entirely given up on the Sacrifice story. I don't have a firm outline, I don't know how the story will end, although recently I'm remembering why I want to write it. I'm remembering stories about children sentenced to life in prison, which was one of the driving motivators to tell this story, and I'm finding myself motivated again, perhaps its because its getting cold out and Sacrifice has always been a winter story, for when things are hard ...and I'm contemplating a complete rewrite, from the beginning. But in the essence of beginning at the beginning, I'm gonna start this time with an outline.

Maybe the key to writing Sacrifice has always been fasting and cold and religion. It's weird what sometimes inspires you--although this could be like one of those pledges you make under duress and hunger pains that you regret once you take off the rose colored glasses. I guess you'll just have to be like me and wait and see.

Gemar Tov

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I've had a hard time focusing lately. And when I say I've been having a hard time focusing I mean SQUIRREL. No but seriously, I mean I cant seem to think about something for more than fifteen minutes at a Penguin, no wait, that's a squirrel in a penguin costume. And I think this is due, in large part to trying to sort out a new routine.

I've started a new job, and a new part time job. I went on vacation. There was a national holiday. Etc. Typically I would look at this as the perfect opportunity to really set a schedule for myself, when am I going to write, when am I going to sleep when will I work out. When will I knit. But the truth is, since the new schedule started, I've been scheduled up.

This past week for example. I got back from Atlanta Tuesday morning at around 3am, and woke up at 7am for work so Monday night was gone, it passed somewhere along interstate 85, I was probably sleeping through a torchwood cd. Tuesday after work I was too tired to really function (apparently I'm not as young as I used to be and actually need sleep), so I went home and straight to bed, well I checked facebook for the first time in a few days first. Wednesday night I had my tattoo appointment, which went really well, and didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. Thursday I had a haircut appointment, which I forgot about till the salon called me, and even though I probably didn't really need a haircut, I didn't want to pay a cancelation fee so I went anyway. Friday I had a friend come into town, and took advantage of the fact every other person in my age range would be at a party so I did the five loads of neglected laundry I had sitting in the corner. Saturday I had a meeting and a training with the par t time job, then knitting, which brings me to today.

Today opening my laptop and realizing I've not anything that I normally would be doing. I need to redevelop a routine. It's weird. I used to think of myself as being very anti routine. And in alot of ways I still am. I don't like them, I think they can lead you to get stagnated, stuck in a rut, because your never changing what you do week to week. Yet, apparently I need one. Without one it's to easy to be distracted by say the laundry I've been putting off forever because well, it's not very much fun and cause there is nothing telling me I should have done it just doesn't get done (that is until the only clothes I have left to wear to work are Blue skinny jeans and a football jersey and I don't believe any office is quite that casual.

So here it is, the goal (and I'm not a huge fan of goals either)of this week and next week is going to be, develop a new routine and stick to it. Hopefully this will get me back blogging again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I interrupt your regularly scheduled brodcast to bring you ANOUNCEMENTS

I have a few very important announcements to share, so pardon me as I interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast with a un-scheduled post.


I'm being hosted by Jeff Harget of Strands of a Pattern today, in his August is Awesome tour. I was amazed when he asked me as it was my first ever request to be a guest blogger somewhere, and I was a bit like, wait, you want me? Are you sure your not confusing me with someone else? I mean Abis is a really common last name, right?

The second bit of news is:

Assuming nothing has gone wrong between when I am writing this and when I wake up tomorrow morning. I am now employed!!!

I am working for an international development non profit (FHI360) doing grant and funding research and data base management type stuff. I'm really excited for this job. Alot of it comes from the fact that it's a job, and the rest comes from the fact that I really liked everyone I interviewed with, which makes me think this is going to be a fun and interesting place to work. (PLUS there kitchen was stocked with multiple kinds of tea).

The third bit of news is:

I'm becoming a semi regular contributor to Never To Fond of Books with Mandi Kaye, who I met at BEA at the Bloggers Conference. We clicked pretty instantly and when she mentioned she needed help on her blog I offered to help out. I'm aiming for a post a weekend but I've not been all that awesome about it.

Fourth (and something I went back and forth on sharing with you guys)

I have an appointment to get a tattoo on Tuesday. I've wanted the same thing, in the same place since I was fourteen years old, so I figure now, when so many things are going right, would be a perfect time to get it.

But because not everything can be good news, I have had some things go wrong the past couple of days. One, my severance check from my old job bounced, so I am broker than broke, especially cause I'm heading down to Dragon Con in a few days and was kinda counting on that money for the trip. And my car battery died (not died as in I left a light on, but died died, DEA dead died). so I'm gonna have to replace that. But really, those are just minor things in the world of things getting lots better.

So go check out my post over at Strands of a Pattern. And go check out Never To Fond of Books! And wish me luck on my first day of work.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Revisiting Classics: The changing (or not) face of epic fantasy.

Because I'm feeling lazy, I'm re-posting my guest post from Never Too Fond of Books. Which if you havent checked out you should. I'm gonna be a regular contributer there.

Like many people, J.R.R. Tolkin was my introduction to adult fiction. I had been reading for a really long time, but up until the point when my father gave me his old copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, my favorite books were the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C Wrede (still some of my favorite books to this day). The thing is, way back fourteen years ago, when I first read Tolkin I loved it. I was totally engrossed in the story, and I think I finished all three books plus some of the appendices in two weeks.

Then I went on to some other fantasy novels. Like Raymond E Feist Rift War Saga/Serpent War Saga, which became my favorite books through high school and the beginning of college. In college I found myself more surrounded by literary novels. Margret Atwood, the Secret History by Donna Taft, Catch 22, found their way onto my bookshelf and into my heart. Of course I can't forget Harry Potter, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norwell, Neil Gaiman and the wide variety of Historical Fiction I found myself reading. Yet I always called myself a fan of Fantasy.

After college my literary interests continued to span a broad range of topics. I picked up Christopher Moore for the first time (and there is a great picture of us somewhere). Continued to read anything by some of my favorite writers I could find, and what was suggested to me by others; how I first heard of Hunger Games, among others. And I discovered a lot of writers that I'd quite happily avoid forever (George RR Martin, C.S Freeman)

It wasn't until I read Brian Sandersons  Mistborn series, which started out really entertaining and took a turn to the why am I reading this. And  Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind, which reminded me why I love Fantasy novels (and the English language) in the first place. That I decided to go back to my roots (and I'm not talking about a road trip to Georgia). Earlier this year I re-read the Rift War and the Serpent War Saga. I re-read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. And I just started re-reading the Lord of the Rings.
What I can say (and at this point your probably wondering what's the point) is that I'm surprised. See, between the last time that I read the Lord of the Rings, probably sometime before the Fellowship Movie came out, and now, I've read a lot of other Fiction, and a lot of time has passed. And a great deal of the Lord of the Rings books feel like info dumps, and eons of text  which is full of interesting descriptions but lacks anything resembling pace, and very little dialogue, while the dialogue that's there feels like it's from another time. Which frankly it is.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to a summer time tradition in the DC area, called Jazz in the Garden (it's exactly what it sounds like) with Michael and Robin Sullivan. Now if you're wondering why those names sound familiar it's probably because Michael is the author of the Riyria Revelations Trilogy recently published by Orbit, and Robin, his wife, runs Ridan a small independent publishing company. If you ever want to have an idea what or where the publishing world is going, I wouldn't over estimate a pitcher of Sangria this couple, and sitting back and shutting up. At this particular occasion Robin and Michael were arguing over a fantasy book Robin liked and wanted to pick up. Michael didn't.

Michaels complaints had nothing to do with the plot, but everything to do with the writing. (And I really wish I remembered the title of the book in question). His theory (or at least my drunken understanding of his theory) is that as readers we deserve more than a good story, with a good plot. We need to enjoy the reading of the story, the writing of the story, the journey, as much as the story itself. That in a way, epic fantasy novels have become stagnated in the 1950's.

To be honest I'm not sure what I think about this. When I read books like The Black Sun Rising, or When True Night Falls by C.S. Friedman, where the world is more important than the characters, and I have to slog through hundreds of pages of world building and info dumps. Or Brian Sandersons Mistborn (which I will say Michael liked, although he didn't read the entire series) which starts out by working the world building into the story, but doesn't stop when the reader gets it (he is a classic example of beating us over the head with a magic system), I feel like agreeing with Michael. Other notorious culprits are R.A. Salvatore, Tad Williams, and George RR Martin (no offence intended to any of those authors), and books which I will not name which read basically like glorified Tolkin fan fic.

Now I'm not intending to imply that authors of epic fantasy are too lazy to write well, I'm merely attempting to point out a trend in the genre (or wondering out loud if one exists like love triangles in YA fiction). And wondering if the reason epic fantasy hasn't changed is because the writers fall into such a niche market that the readers practically demand pages upon pages of archaic prose that their mind warps to reading. Or it could be that epic fantasy remains a niche market because writers write this way, and are fans of their own genre in which other writers write this way, and change has become practically impossible because we are so stuck on what has been done before us.  But then I come back to authors like Rothfuss who I've filed his books on my bookshelf under literary fiction vs epic fantasy because the writing is just too good. Or to some degree Sanderson, who if you read just one book on its own doesn't appear to have the classic epic fantasy flaws. And I wonder, are we breaking the cycle?

I also wonder if the reason YA novels, and thriller novels (or fast paced urban fantasy novels like Kevin Hearne or Jaye Wells) are so popular because they are easier to read, and perhaps if epic fantasy will change some of the way it tells a story will it no longer become a niche market, and if that happens, will it still be epic fantasy? And if that does happen, is it a good thing?

As you can tell, I wonder a lot. I hope you enjoyed my first guest post. Sorry it was so long. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I've never understood the phrase "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" cause presumably your bootstraps should be on your feet, and really, even if your laying down, it would do you little to no good to try to stand up by pulling on your feet. Maybe if you took your boots off and used them like grappling hooks it might make sense, although that would involve several more steps than pulling.

It's always kind of unnerved me that the saying implies you can get out a bad situation by hard work through comparing it to an impossible task. It's almost as obnoxious as water cups the size of shot glasses. But really, what's that saying. Hard work is a lot but it might not ever get you anywhere without help? Maybe that's why Henry Hoovers policies were so unpopular after the beginning of the great depression.

Wish I could say I was getting anywhere by pulling on my own bootstraps, although I get the distinct feeling I'm pulling myself around in circles. Lately I've had some sever difficulty focusing, and I'm beginning to think I need a proper technology break.  Like me, my backpack, woods and my cell phone turned off and stashed somewhere. Either that or go back to my doctor an get a prescription for Aderol. Although that's not necessarily true.  I was able to finish an entire (short) book this weekend.

It might be more accurate to say that I'm getting frustrated with my job search. You see, thus far the only people who have asked me in for an interview have been pyramid schemes and door to door sales jobs. No offence to anyone that goes door to door, it's just well, I'd rather move home and live in my parents basemet before I take a job like that. The issue with job searching is that there is often little or no return on effort. I call and email and apply, and hear nothing. Which leaves me feeling like I'm spinning in circles and getting no where (which you don't when you spin in circles).

I have to some degree kept myself busy though. I am now going to be guest contributing to Never to Fond of Books. Hopefully my first post will be up this weekend, and it's about the evolution (or lack thereof) of Epic Fantasy...aka why I don't like Game of Thrones (poorly written and predictable).

Here's to hoping that pulling on my bootstraps don't end up with my foot in my mouth. And that I find a job soon before I go insane, or run out of money.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Forgive me I'm Drunk. An Insecure Writers Group Post.

It's Wednesday. And more specifically its the first Wednesday of the month. Which makes it time for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Group Post.

Some of you that are regulars might have noticed I've not been posting all that regularly lately. And I haven't. Lately it would be a stretch to say I've been insecure, I've just been down right depressed. Normally I would   try to give myself a pep talk and say push threw these negitive emotions and get your self back on your feet. But right now, laying down and giving up seems rather easy (and this is not a suicide referance) that might be cause I'm currently a little bit drunk, or it might be cause I'm a little bit tired.

Let me outline the last two weeks for you.

I got laid off from my job. A job I loved at a company that I'd work with for approximately five years. Why? Restructuring. What does that mean? I don't know.

They had to put my horse down. He wasn't really my horse but he was the last horse I trained before I moved to DC for the above mentioned job.

I've been on a couple interviews, three to be exact, with three pyramid schemes.

Today my car's been towed. Which if you combine with the concerns about money really make it a shitty month.

So yeah. I'm not insecure. I just have no confidence in myself right now. And too much stress to focus on getting some. So if it's okay with you, I'm going to take a day or a week, or maybe two and wallow in self pitty from the flat of my back. And although I'm not interested in that kinda thing, its a great view to upskirt girls.

Forgive me. I'm drunk.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Leaving you hanging...bloghop part two.

Those of you who tuned in Monday for part one of the Hookers or Hangers Bloghop already know the deal, but those of you who missed it (and seriously how did that happen) here it is: Falling for Fiction AKA FFF is hosting a bloghop where you post the first line, and last line of three or more chapters from a current WIP. You post your hookers (opening line) on Monday, and your hangers (closing line) today. The first three will be judged, and the ten best will receive a ten page critique from the lovely ladies over at Falling for Fiction.

I decided to post from my new WIP which is about demon hunters, and the working title is called Demon Hunters, cause well, I've been too lazy to come up with a title for it. The basic premise is this:

Demons exist, and the Organization exists to stop them. But when a team is sent to destroy and close access to this world forever, will the secrets they uncover destroy everything?

Today we have the hangers from the same chapters as we had on monday:

Chapter 1:

"Fuck". (what can I say, my MC likes to swear, although trust me the situation warrants it)

Chapter 2:

I let the door close behind me, and tried to force a smile at the man who liked to call himself my father although it probably was more like bearing my teeth.

"Colle, you've been busy." he replied, handing me a file. (I know, more than one sentence but it's dialogue and you need context)

Chapter 3:

"Sure " I replied taking the sword, I'm sleep deprived and jet lagged, so now's as good of a time as any to prove my place.

Chapter 4:

Liam smilled "Let's go hunting."

Chapter 5:

"Stop." I shouted, surprised at myself. "It's actually telling the truth."

Random just for fun line (actually did two this time)

"Colle, I am your father."
I thought about screaming NOOOOO, but I decided it might ruin the moment, after all, there was no guarantee he'd get the reference. It's safe to say I was in shock, which is why my mind went to so many inappropriate places.

I think I'll try Scientology next, Hasidic Judaism requires too much prep work. 

(context here is that most members of the Organization are religious, and it's actually recommended that you choose and practice a religion, Colle likes to alternate)

So what do you think? Any favorites?

And don't forget, go check out the others. Here is the link again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm a Hooker--a blog hop. (or not)

So, I'm participating in the Hooker vs Hanger blog hop this week. Hosted by Falling for Fiction. The basic premise of the blog hop is to post the opening lines of each chapter, your hooker, today (as many as you want but only three will be judged) from your current WIP and then on Wednesday post your hanger, or the last line of the chapter.

I went back and forth on which WIP to use, but I finally decided on the current Demon Hunter one (which will be renamed sometime in the future)  So here we go.

1) It’s commonly accepted that conversations which begin discussing secret societies always lead to trouble.

2) I quickly attempted to run through my options, I had no cash, I was in a city I didn't know, and Mor ordered a pizza before stranding me here; I glanced at the waiter, retired Luigi, and decided my best option was to cry.

3) I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this was not it.

4) Hollywood has ruined many things, but nothing compares to what they've done to sword fights, trying to find similarities between real life sword fights and Hollywood sword fights is practically impossible, so much so that I'd go as far as to say the only thing they have in common is the fact that both use a sword.

5) Most people think demons are slimy gross things, or fiery goat shaped things, that’s statistically untrue, I blame the bible for the misconception.

And just for fun, I decided to add a random line:
Sure, I thought, find and close the gate to hell; should be as easy.

I'd like it to be noted, these are very very rough, in fact I've not actually done much editing on this at all, so be nice? Please go here and check out the other Hookers and Hangers this week!

In other news: like majorly and completely unrelated (except in what it's called) I've learned hooking. You see, I've always been a knitter, and crocheting (also called hooking cause you know, crochet needles are shaped like hooks) crocheting has always confused me, but I really wanted to learn, so I set my mind to it, and got a friend to help and I managed to start crocheting. Here is my first ever project.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Help, my vocal cords are frozen.

online dating profile pic?
“I think his three foot double ended dildo is at his moms house”

I’ve not done a writing post in a long time, and originally I was planning on posting book reviews today (since I’m five books down from BEA, and about seven books down from the start of June), but I forgot to look at the books last night to find quotes. I got distracted by the gym, and knitting, and the marathon of Criminal Minds on Ion. Then my roommate came home with a PS3 and the night was over as far as productivity is concerned. Although I did stay up till 3am watching tv on my laptop.

I can’t help wonder if my procrastination is coming from a lingering sense of doubt. You see, I have been working on my new story, which is about hunting demons and other such nonsense, but the thing is, this piece is not only written in first person, but it’s an exercise in practicing “my voice”.

The main character is alot like me, in that she thinks the way I write (especially my blog), and since its first person, what I’ve written so far is a bit like a blog post, with lots more dialogue. Thus making it very very different from Sacrifice, and really, everything else that’s not a blog post that I’ve ever written. And different from most things I’ve read. Certainly different from the hopefully super popular novels that I was handed at BEA. And this reminds me a bit of the conversation I had with Bobby back when I was applying for jobs and working on cover letters. When Bobby told me “In order to get a job you need to sound the least like yourself as possible”, mostly as a joke.

And in a lot of ways I think he’s right, not just about jobs and cover letters, but other things too. I mean, how many people say they want someone/something innovative or creative or outside the box, when they really don’t. Probably one of the clearest examples is my online dating profile on (shut it, there was a groupon (true story)).

Where I answer questions like:

What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?


Saturday is very offended by this question. Why do you want to know what my perfect Sunday is but don't ask about the other six days a week?

To answer the question, my perfect Sunday is probably something similar to what I do every day, and thats try to take over the world.

Or: An Awesome Place I’ve visited.


The internet. Oh, you mean in real life?

Or: What do you want to come home to?

four walls. No one wants to come home and find their home is now missing a wall, unless you live in a lean two, then having a three walled home would be about normal.

Interestingly enough, I don’t get that many hits to the profile, although THAT could be because I’m wearing an orange tutu in the profile pic, or it could be due to the fact that I live in DC which is, in my opinion, the most ridiculous superficial conservative city in the universe (and I’ve not even been to all the cities in the universe). 

The thing is, people never seem to want different, even if they say they do. Cause different is uncomfortable, and pushes limits and makes you think, even if its funny or good. Or maybe I'm completely wrong, its been known to happen.

Yet I can’t shake the feeling that I’m making a huge mistake with voice in this story. Is there such a thing as too much of it? In addition to the complex grammar problems of writing in first person (which are really the same as in third person, but there’s something about first person which makes me want to break/bend/ignore the rules). In short, it’s slow going.

But the thing is, once I get out of my head I really do have a fun time writing the way I write (I know. It makes a ton of sense). Do you guys have any tricks for getting out of your head?

p.s. Cause it’s not fair to talk about something like this and not at least post a little bit. Here is the first paragraph of the VERY rough first chapter.

It’s commonly accepted that conversations which begin discussing secret societies always lead to trouble. Okay, well maybe commonly accepted is a stretch; but I certainly believe it, and that’s exactly how this story starts. Kinda, it actually started a long time ago, but I’ll get to that long time ago business later. Right now, all you need to know is that this story started on a train, with a conversation about secret societies.

p.p.s. I'm probably back to one post a week, cause I'm lazy, or cause I need to ease back into blogging. Or something. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Change, the only constant. An ISWG Post

I’m a fiercely independent person. And I mean that in the wild, ferocious, vicious manner, not the Project Runway or America’s Next Top model, or whatever reality tv show tells people to be fierce or make it fierce or something. I don’t like asking for help. I don’t rely on people. In fact, the me of two years ago would say, I don’t need people at all.

A lot of this comes from the fact that I’m a secret introvert, which will come as a shock to a lot of people who either casually know me, or think they know me (and probably to some people who know me pretty well). You see, I fake being extroverted to hide how painfully shy I am.

Although I wouldn’t say my independence comes entirely from my introverted nature. A good deal has to do with how I was raised. Not needing people. My parents believe in self reliance. When we would come to them with a problem, it would be have you tried fixing it yourself, to the point where, I’d stop going for help.
I was the kid who didn’t get letters at summer camp, while other kids got letters every day. I worked out my own carpool arrangements with other parents when I needed to get somewhere. I was dropped at doors, never walked inside.  

Then there’s also my fathers stoic nature. To this day, I can only count a handful of times when I’ve seen my father emotional, maybe less than a handful, but I’m not sure what less than a handful is. One of my clearest memories of my Grandfathers funeral (my fathers father) was my dad walking up to me and saying “you have to be strong for your’ sisters, your aunts and your grandmother, don’t get emotional”

Most of these things have lead to patterns of behavior. I don’t do public outward displays of emotion. I am horrible at keeping in touch with people (once went a year only talking to my parents on the phone once). I don’t connect easily with others. I very rarely ask for help. I certainly don’t nest, if a house never feels like a home then it won’t hurt when you have to leave.

I’m not a great friend (probably because I’m so bad at keeping in touch). Historically, when I’ve left an area I cut all ties. Friends from high school are replaced by friends in college, and friends in college are replaced by friends at work or in whatever city I’m in. Not that the people were replaceable, it’s more because I’ve never seen the point in keeping in touch. Change is the only constant in life.

The thing is, over the last year, or so, this has gradually changed. Maybe it’s cause I’ve stayed in one city for four (five in February) years, the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place since I was eighteen (although I’ve moved three times within the same city). It might also be because of the friends I’ve made here. Good people, good writers. People I don’t want to disappear into the history of my life.

I also blame this change on my last roommate. Someone who had me paint the walls (something I’ve not done in well over a decade) someone who had me hang art, and curtains, and buying throw pillows that matched rugs and pictures.  For the first time I lived with someone that I would do things with, rather than someone I could do things with if I wanted to.  For perhaps one of the first times in my life I felt like I lived somewhere that was a home.

Now I’m moving. And over time, I’ve forgotten where some of my, I don’t need people, strength came from. I don’t know how to get it back. But perhaps more importantly, I don’t know if I should.  After all, change is the only constant in life, and I can’t go back to yesterday, cause I was a different person then.  

So instead I have to keep moving forward, and figure out how to make my new apartment feel like a home, without a roommate to make me do those things.  How to keep in touch with my old roommate as he moves to Nicaragua (please go follow him at his blog WildlyUrban, if enough people follow him maybe he will actually blog so that I can keep in touch with him that way), and how to learn to be independent again. The one thing I have no doubt on, however, is that I will be fine, cause I always am.

Now you might be wondering what this has to do with writing, and the simple answer is that it doesn’t. However, maybe it has everything to do with me as a writer. And no distractions/people/whatever; means more time to write.  I would try to bend this to somehow fit the theme of the Insecure Writers Group Post which I was supposed to do yesterday, and I could, maybe, by talking about how all of this not knowing how to be who I am and not knowing what I am, is truly insecure. And since writers are human, and therefore I can be insecure and a writer and it all be related (this makes sense, just don’t think about it) So we’ll just go with that.

But the truth is, I don’t feel insecure. I probably feel more depressed than insecure, and I know from past experiences with who I used to be when I had them, that I just typically have to ride things out, and keep doing what I’ve been doing till it gets better. 

p.s. I'm back from the craziness that was June, and maybe on Sunday, if your good and do my bidding, I'll come back with another post about what I've learned. Or well. I'll probably do it anyway. 

Monday, June 18, 2012 updated date

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

I'm not sure how old I was when I first saw the movie Dune. I've actually never read the books, although it's one of my fathers favorites. I can safely guess I was about ten years old (although I was born the same year the movie came out), and really the only scene I remember is when reverend mother or whatever her name was presents the box to Paul, and he asks what's in it and she says "pain" then he thinks the above quote. 

I've always loved this quote, mostly because its true, but because it reminds me I'm not the only one who gets a little petrified with fear. And I think that's been the biggest problem with June thus far, I've been forcing myself out of my comfort zone...and moving (and moving always ALWAYS freaks me out). 

As most of you guys know I went to Book Expo America (BEA) at the beginning of this month. And it was awesome. First of all I met so many amazing book bloggers there. Like Mandi Kaye at Never Too Fond of Books, who was nice enough to show me around the first day, and like a zillion others. BEA was a surreal experience. I mean it really was. Literally I would walk around the aisles of this strange land of booths and people would either put books/Galleys/Proofs on the floor that you could take, or there would be people walking around handing out copies of books, and I'm really excited about pretty much all of the books that I got, although I was a bit disappointed by the lack of adult genre books. For the most part all of the books were YA. 

The thing is, I kept waiting for someone to realize that I wasn't supposed to be there. I mean, there is a reason publishers are giving books to the people there. To get them to read them, write about them/talk about them, and generate excitement about them. And while I'm a blogger, am I a book blogger...probably not. I'm not even sure what a book blogger is. So the entire time I was there, I was looking around, waiting for someone to realize I wasn't supposed to be there and call security. But it never happened, and even though men in suits and sun glasses (yes I imagine BEA security to look something like characters from Men in Black...I blame it on living in DC) didn't show up, I never was able to shake that feeling of being an impostor, which is probably why I'll either start blogging about books more often (in July), or I might start a second blog to blog about books...maybe. 

Although those thoughts need to wait to be addressed until July, which is when I hope to resume a normal schedule again. This week the focus is on moving, and surviving, and probably on reading, and writing. Then next week I'll be teaching Middle School Boot Camp again, then there is the wedding and July. 

Wish me luck. How's your June going? 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Keep it Simple...

Recently, one of my writer friends gave me some of the best advice, I think, I've ever received about writing. Now, I've received this particular bit of advice before. It's not new advice. In fact its probably something people have been telling other people for centuries. It's also something people have been ignoring for centuries.

Paraphrased the advice is; keep it simple, stupid. Of course the real advice was something more akin to, "don't let your plot become overly complex as it gets confusing, and keeps you from putting all the fun unique things into your writing" or some other wordy nonsense. Needless to say, I like my version better.

I also went ahead and took this advice one step further, you see, this weekend I was up in Philadelphia with another writer friend, and I was helping her brainstorm a plot. I told her my new plot rule, and she asked for an example. Which of course, stumped me. So I thought about it for a second, and after a second I decided, all plot, in the history of books, can pretty much be (or should be) summed up into one sentence, no more than five words.


Destroy the Ring (LOTR)
Kill the Emperor (Mistborn...or Star Wars)
End the war (the plot I gave my friend)
Save the planet (Captain Planet...what can I say, I'm sleep deprived. Or Well of Ascension)
Don't get killed (Cold Fire/Cold Magic)
Survive the Games (Hunger Games)

Now, I'm not saying that's all the plot should be. Once you have your core plot you can add things to it, and make things interesting.  LOTR's is a three book series in which the Main Character is simply trying to walk into Mordor and destroy the Ring...that being said, there is alot of interesting things, namely characters that get thrown in there to make things interesting. Think about how much more boring the books would have been (and notice I'm saying more boring) had Golum not been corrupted by the Ring, and Strider not turned out to be the Heir of men, and Saurman not going of and doing Sauronish stuff.

Of course, there are other schools of thought, like the only two plots exist thought, "a stranger comes to town" or "someone goes on an adventure" which I don't agree with. Then there is the make your plot super complex school of thought...which I've never actually heard someone advocate for, but I'm just gonna believe it exists anyway.

So, what has been the best writing advice you've ever recieved.

I'm off to BEA, very sleep deprived  (something like 8 hours in two days sleep deprived). But hopefully I will be able to get caffeine between here and there.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Preview to Previews.

So, I have stripes on my shoulders. This is an unfortunate consequence of dating. Or perhaps, its an unfortunate consequence of wearing a lacy stripped shirt on a date when you will be outside, and not wearing sunscreen. I prefer to blame the act of dating.

Although,  the date didn't go badly. I mean, I didn't want to kill him, which is one step higher than most people I meet and date. (I really don't like people, that is until I get to know them). In fact, we are going out again tonight. I'm going to attempt to practice my social skills, and embarrass myself to the fullest extent I can imagine, I might even wear a dress.

In other news. June is going to be insane. I might have mentioned this before, but seriously, today I am saying goodbye to free-time, and sanity giving things over to a to do list, and perhaps tranquilizers (okay fine, I only wish about the tranquilizers).

In June, I'm going on a vacation/networking event, moving, two weeks of teaching civics boot camp to middle school students (back to back) then I'm in a wedding.

Lets break that down:

June 2nd: Go to Philly for a Birthday Party
June 3rd: Go to DC to run my writers group
June 3rd-7th: Go to New York for Book Expo America (why am I going to this? I really really have no idea, I was tricked, but there is also a Book Bloggers Conference which looks like fun)
June 8th: Normal work day + Set up for Belly Dance Show
June 9th: Assistant Stage Direct a Belly Dance show (again dont ask why I'm doing this...apparently I amaze people with my organizational ability)
June 10th: Move...yes, I'm moving about 2 miles from where I live now, and no I'm not packed.
June 11th-16th: Finish Moving
June 17th: Start Civics Boot Camp part 1 (move into the hotel, 14 hour days)
June 17-22nd: Civics Boot Camp part 1
June 23rd: Normal work day, lots of sleep potential unpacking
June 24th: Civics Boot Camp part 2
June 24th-28th: Civics Boot Camp part 2
June 28th: Bachlorette Party
June 29th: Half day work/Rehearsal / Rehearsal Dinner
June 30th: Wedding.

I'm really excited about BEA even if I was tricked into going, it looks like a cool networking event, and even if it isn't, the Blogger Expo should be fun, cause bloggers are my favorite people ever. However, I'm really not looking forward to the New York aspect of this, its my least favorite city ever (with exception of London), but I'll make do the best I can, even if I go to times square.

And hopefully BEA will give me a few good things to be insecure about. But perhaps this is important so that when and if I miss a post you wont worry about me...I'll be blogging from the road!

In other news, two of my favorite books are being made into movies, and the previews have been recently released, and I wanted to share them with you.

Great Gatsby: 

Okay well this trailer has gotten some flack for music choices, but I loved Mulon Rouge and I loved Romeo and Juliet, and Jack I'm super excited for this movie, and I'm a non traditionalist to the core so I guess its not surprising that I'm excited.

Les Miserable:

Now, I first read Les Mis when I was in college, studying french, and I read it in french, which probably was a mistake and I desperately need to re read it in a language I actually understand (despite four years of college french and two years in high school I'm very bad at it). But this trailer gives me chill.s

So what about you guys. Any exciting plans for June. Are you excited for Great Gatsby or Les Mis or am I alone.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I aint dropping no eaves sir, I promise.

If you are going to have deeply personal conversations in inappropriate places, I reserve the right to eavesdrop on you.

The other night I was out at a bar with a few friends of mine, and there were these two people having a not so quiet conversation in the hallway, right outside the woman's bathroom. Naturally I ignored them to the best of my ability as I walked past, but every now and again you hear a bit of conversation that no matter how polite you intend to be you cant ignore...something along the lines of "I don't just want to be one of those girls your just friends with" followed by, "Well, I don't see a choice, I mean, its either that, or not be in my life."

Naturally a statement like that piqued my interest. I mean, I'm a writer afterall, at least that's the excuse I give when I completely over exaggerate the truth, or am caught eavesdropping.

I've often found other people's conversations great starting points for dialogue. What can sound more real than a real conversation. Except, people never read the way they hear, or maybe people never sound the way they write? I think what I'm trying to say, badly, is that theirs an art in transposing conversation into dialogue, and vise versa. Its why I dont write plays. I have however started a new project, it's more in the tone of my blog voice than my fiction voice, and its first person,and its urban fantasy, kinda.

Right now I'm just keeping it light and fun, and seeing where it takes me. I've needed a break from Sacrifice for a while, and I've realized that a break from Sacrifice doesn't mean I shouldn't be writing at all, which is what my previous break from Sacrifice has looked like.

And in other news, the month of June is impossible. I've decided I dont want to do it. But more on that Wednesday, which isn't June yet, so I'll not be hibernating. Oh, and I'm probably going on a date today, so that will be fun/interesting/terrifying, but don't worry,  I'll make sure to post my public humiliation for entertainment.

Do you easedrop in the name of art?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Language and Plot, and maybe a book review or something

Sorry I've missed my last two scheduled blog posts, I've been feeling very uninspired latley. I decided it was due to a lack of pasta in my diet. So last night I ate some elbow pasta in cheese, and an idea came to me. Well, I'm not sure if its a new idea, or just something that's been festering in my brain.

I've long thought that modern books and movies and tv shows (especially tv shows) have alot more going on in them then they used too. I also think language is getting dumber. And as I was trying to go to sleep last night, digesting my inspirational dinner I couldn't help but wonder if these two things were related. Like, our minds are getting so full of plot that were forgetting how to talk, or just not caring what we say, or sound like (although this might have more to do with texting and emailing than anything else).

I recently finished "Hounded" by Kevin Hearne (who's last name has to many vowels for my taste), and I think I liked it against my better judgment. 

Hounded is about a 2100 year old druid, who is the last druid alive. Yet for being 2100 years old, he looks like he is 21, he attributes this fact to a special tea, and being a druid. So, as he looks like any other college kid, with a lot of Celtic/Druadic tattoos, he has to blend in. Which means picking up on the local idioms. Instead of saying something like "Storm clouds are thrice cursed", "Shit happens" tends to be much more appropriate.

The book is written in first person, with an entertaining narrator (see above if you've forgotten), and probably my favorite character was his dog, Oberon, the Irish Wolfhound, who's thoughts Atticus O'Sullivan (druid) could read. Oberon does some great things, like chewing up a citrus air freshener in a werewolf's (yes, there are vampires, werewolf's and witches in this story...oh and gods) car because it was "un-befitting", or constantly bringing things back to steak/sausages/and french poodles.

The plot was simplistic, the good guys faced the bad guys. The bad guys were identified at the beginning of the story, and the few "twists" were predictable. Yet despite the story lacking the twists and turns and darkness (by that I mean the MC has something to gain, or changes from what he learned) I typically enjoy in novels, I did like this book. It avoided the common pitfall's that typically throw me off when reading paranormal fiction, when the author feels like because they are writing about say, angles they have to throw in witches and vampires and werewolfs, you know, just because their popular right now.

Hearne had witches and vampires and werewolfs, but they all played an integral part of the plot, and since Atticus was the last druid alive, he couldn't very well have other druids helping him out. He also managed to not annoy the crap out of me with teaching about Celtic lore. Alot of the god's involved in the story were ones I never heard of before, and he taught us bits about them, and the ages Atticus lived through without bludgeoning the reader to death with information.

I can recommend Hounded to anyone looking for a simple story to entertain yourself, maybe while sitting on the beach drinking a beer. It's not taxing reading. Its fun. Its light. It's simple. Its' a bit like an I Love Lucy episode, or really any tv show from another time. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shear force of personality

A while back, I co started a writers group. Which is a horrible idea, because it makes people think I know what I'm doing. Also because its putting me in charge of things (namely people) and stuff. Surprisingly, its going well so far (I judge this by the fact people are still showing up and not dying in my company, which is also, ironically the same standard I use when teaching). At the start of this past meeting, or somewhere near the start, or the end, we aren't very official about these things, someone congratulated me on reaching 100 followers (which I'm still doing a happy dance about).

This prompted one of our junior members(he's junior cause he's seven years younger than me, not because he is less important or something) to ask me how I get people to read/follow my blog. My normal answer to that is trickery and deceit, but since he was asking for legitimate reasons (he is thinking about starting a blog), I decided I'd give him a more thoughtful answer, or at least an explanation of how I use trickery and deceit to get people to follow my blog. Of course at the same time as this was all happening, I was leaving a comment on another blog. Specifically Michael J Sullivan's blog, on a post Query letters, Parrots and the Wisdom of Chipmunks.

My comment was of course "An entertaining way of explaining query letters. Stop drinking before you blog. That's all. "

My first bit of advice was to be active in the blogosphere, and by this I mean leave comments, and then I told him about the comment I just left, and the fact that if someone else thought my thoughts were funny, or good, they could click on my name/link within the comment or whatever, and be redirected to my blog. Awesome right?

Another friend, and fellow blogger, Jess Stork at Ink Spot Plot then said, "Sara gets followers from shear force of personality" So, I had to wonder if this is true. I mean, I've always considered myself to be a bit of an introvert. I was a pretty ridiculously shy child, I once went two days without eating because I wouldn't talk to strangers (my parents were trying to force me to not be so shy). All through college I believed myself to be an introvert. I certainly don't like being the center of attention, or at least, I don't think I do. I get a little nervous speaking in front of large groups of middle schoolers

I of course also told my writers group friend, that he should read other blogs, and follow other blogs, and join blog rolls and stuff...but I couldn't help but wonder, what is it that makes you follow a blog? 

Monday, May 7, 2012

A-Z Mirrors

Some people say spirits can be trapped in mirrors, or pictures. I’m not sure if I really believe that, or if its’ even true, I saw it on TV once. But here I am writing a post on reflecting. Specifically about reflecting on the marathon adventure that was A-Z. I think, as I reflect, I’m supposed to tell you things that I learned about myself, I’m not really sure what I’ve learned, although I know I’ve definitely learned some things.

But here is the thing about reflecting, and learning, and life (that’s a lot of things). I never learn things, until I’ve realized that I’ve learned them. Meaning, I think, that it takes me a while to actually realize I’ve learned something about myself. I’ll discover things, but I wont process them as learned, not for a while anyway. So, if you’re looking for some insight into my sprit that I learned this month, you won’t find it here. I don’t have it, and if I did, I doubt I’d give it to you anyway, I’m just like that.

So here are a few things I learned during A-Z

1) The blog community rocks. I mean it, I can’t even begin to imagine (well I did begin, but I realized how hard it would be to fully imagine so I quit imagining) how hard organizing something like this is.

a. Then, in addition to all the awesome epic organizers, we have the awesome and epic participants, who actually went through and read all of these blogs, (and I did read a few, but I didn’t make it to all of them)

2) I shouldn’t blog every day. I won’t say I can’t, cause I did, so clearly I can, but I’ll admit that my content from time to time was just not very good. Now, I’m not a perfectionist, in fact I’m very far from it. But I also really don’t like posting things and not feeling good about them, and I did this a few times throughout this blog hop/fest etc, just cause I needed something to post. I like writing my posts a few days ahead of time, I like not feeling rushed (and not having to plan to not feel rushed)

3) My job conspires to keep me incredibly busy (I already knew that)

4) I don’t do well with rules, and directions, I prefer a theme of themelessness (or word association), it’s just the way I write(I already knew this too but I don’t know if you did or not)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

IWSG--not about writing

I guess I'm continuing my theme of not blogging about what I'm supposed to when I'm supposed to (just take a look at A-Z) but my most recent insecurity has very little to do with writing.

You see, I'm twenty seven years old, I'll be twenty eight in November (the end of November) and don't worry this isn't a post about getting old, cause I'm not, in fact I'll never get old. So what does my age have to do with anything, I really don't know. It just seems like an appropriate place to start.

The problem is that in two month's I've got to move out of probably the first place I've lived in a good long while that's felt like a home. I knew this would happen, I mean, I've always moved every few years, its my solution to not becoming a hoarder. Plus, its not like the lease is ending suddenly. It just feels sudden.

Part of it is the fact that I don't want to leave my current apartment. Part of it is, looking for an apartment forces me to look at my life, and I'm twenty seven years old, still working in basically an entry level position, barely making enough money to do anything.  I haven't published anything since I was in college, all of some five years ago. Part of it is when I ask friends what they're thinking about doing as far as apartments, a significant number of them are talking about buying their own place, something I can't even begin to contemplate because I'm broke.

So right now, I'm feeling very insecure. Because you see, even though I don't like personal goals, I couldn't stop myself from making a few, and five years ago, if you asked me where I would be, I would have told you I don't know, but I never pictured myself here, the exact same place (although employed with a degree and living in a different city).

And as I am sitting here, attempting to write a post about insecurity and writing, all I can think about is that I'm a failure, which I know is not true, cause I'm not, I can't fail at life, I can only do, and I'm doing...I just don't know what I'm doing. Yoda would be proud (probably not).

I know it's a feeling, like most of my other insecurities, and it will go away, eventually, I hope. It's just, now I have to grow up, and make grown up choices, and my body, and mind are resisting. They are saying, you're so good at being immature, stick with that, it's gotten you this far.

What are you feeling insecure about today? Anyone want to let me move in with them, I promise I wont cook for rent.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for...Hindenburg.

I want to say Whoo! But for some reason I don't feel like its appropriate. In fact I feel like I'm limping slowly across the finish line. Like my right leg went to sleep a couple miles back and I've had to crawl along caring a bunch of dead weight.

A-Z brought me one very important, and much celebrated first (well will be celebrated), of breaking 100 followers!

I'll probably feel like celebrating once I'm not exhausted, and I really cant blame the blog hop for that. Cause lets be honest. I have a cold. But I'll save my reflections, and perhaps energy for the May 7th day of reflections, and rejoice in my return to twice a week posts (Sat and Wed).

I hope most of you caught on to my semi theme-less theme of word association. And while I was raking my brain for a word to associate Z with, a song came traipsing through my memory.

You see, back when I was in college, studying history, I had an anthem. It wasn't one of those great rock anthems, it certainly wasn't memorable, it probably wasn't anything you would ever even hear on regular radio. In fact, I'd go out on a limb and say it's pretty bad music. However it is ironic, and funny.

The song was called, History is made by stupid people, by the Arrogant Worms.

And one of my best friends from college will occasionally say to me, in passing, or on facebook, or in a text message, a simple line, that will have me laughing for a while, or quoting the song.

The line is simple "The Hindenburg was a giant zeplin." Cause one of the parts of the song is:

The Hindenburg was a giant zeplin/ It's makers made a minor over-site/before they filled it up with explosive gas/they should've fixed the no smoking light. 

Look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday!

X is for Broken

I vaguely remember the first time I saw a social worker. I might have been ten or twelve (I seem to always associate memories with even numbered years) so I'll go ahead and split the difference and say I was eleven.

She was a smiley woman, with to much hair spray and a sympathetic smile, and I didn't trust her. At all. Maybe it was the way she seemed to ask impertinent questions. Or perhaps it might simply have been the way everyone else was on edge. After all, it was unusual for me to be in a hospital, where I wasn't in a patient room, getting wheeled around, asked what my favorite caste color was.  If I was eleven, I'd already broken three bones, three separate times, I think I had a blue caste on my wrist that time)  

I remember the way my father told me to answer her questions, "honestly" like I was the type of child who often told lies to adults. I remember being taken over to the corner of the waiting room, and thinking it was because I did something wrong. I remember that she offered me candy and I told her I learned in school never to take candy from strangers. I remember that she asked me what happened to my sister, and I told her I didn't know cause I was in the house. I remember the way she seemed disappointed, with a purse of her lips and a crinkle of her eyes, and a scratch of a pen on a clip board.

I remember that she asked how I hurt my wrist, and how I, for the first time, thought that maybe breaking bones wasn't a fun trip (aside from the original pain) and that it meant more than an excuse not to do your homework well for a couple of months, because you couldn't hold a pen.

I remember that was the last time I ever saw a social worker, which was a good thing to eleven year old me.
I remember that perhaps we shouldn't have been such an open/shut case. Cause my mom didn't start drinking for another two years. And just because I stopped going to the Emergency room, it didn't mean I stopped breaking bones. But really skinny kids weren't as big of a concern as two year old's with compound fractures to their femur. So the social worker left, with a stern lecture about letting kids ride on the handle bars of bicycles, and that was a victory for eleven year old me. I had done good. Cause nothing would have been a bigger failure, for me,  than letting the social worker take my sisters away. 

W is for Elements

I feel a kinship to the wind. I'm not sure why, I've always considered myself to be more of a earth elemental. Steady, Stubborn, not easily changeable. But I'm drawn to the wind.

My favorite weather is right before a storm, not a drizzle but a proper run for shelter the earth might end storm. When the wind is whipping about you, caring an electric feeling. When the leaves on the trees turn upside down, welcoming the new weather, or the water the wind brings.

I used to love watching lighting from a roof top, or a car, driving about on the empty near apocalyptic roads that tornado warnings would bring in the south. When the wind rocks the car as you grab the steering wheel fighting to stay in control.

I think it might be the pure destructive force. Or the force, regardless of whether its destructive or not. Wind doesn't stop. Even when it hits something it can't push down, or pull up, or tare away. It keeps blowing ahead, and when it hits an unmovable object, it just changes course. It's a lot like water that way.

But wind can be still too. Like that deep breath after a long sudden push, when everything stops, and holds still. Just for a second. Right before everything changes again. The breath of a moment, when everything is so clear, you can almost see the future...

Am I a freak, or do you feel anything like that, regarding any element?

Do you use weather in your writing (for you writers)?

V is for Truth.

Vrai is the French word for truth. French is actually my second language. It’s my mother’s second language and she wanted me to learn it when I was little, so when I was small I would find myself often speaking it. I loved to watch Muzzy which was a animated cartoon in French about a green metal eating alien, a kid and a princess (that’s about all I remember). Yet like all things, if you don’t use them, they atrophy.

I don’t speak French anymore. Not passably. I can read it, kinda, but I certainly don’t speak it. Yet, even then, I find myself sneaking bits of French into my writing. 

One of my more interesting characters in my current WIP (at least to me) are the Vraeden. The Vraeden aren’t really one character, they are more a race that the people in the world know very little about. Because of that they become a bit like the boogy men of the night. That being said, the more you find out about them the more they go from boogy men to outright living breathing monsters.

The Vraeden are humanoid. Meaning, unless you get close to one you’d think they were human, and even if you got close, you’d probably keep thinking they were human until they wanted you to know the truth. They have two legs, two arms, two eyes, a nose, hair, two ears, faces that are like ours. They typically wear human clothing.

Yet if you were to get close you would notice their skin was made of scales, not like scales of a snake, think scales of a lizard, so its hard to notice. Their scales also have a blueish ting to them, and they turn darker blue when they are shedding, which can leave them with the look of blue tattoos all over their skin.
They have sharp teeth, but the sharp teeth are hidden behind a layer of white gum that makes their mouths look human, they have forked tongues but they can be fused together temporarily to resemble a sharp human tongue. And perhaps the creepiest thing of all, they pray on humans. They can eat our food, but it can make them sick. They eat people for nourishment. 
Yet even odder, is that they come in threes. Always three’s, and this is essential to their survival, because the way they get nourishment is that each of the three has to eat a specific part of a human, the heart and eyes, the liver and thigh, the brain and lung…and only if that is done, will the human nourish them. More importantly however, if that is done then they will know all that the human they ate knew.

They are known as contract workers, accumulating knowledge and skill, doing whatever job they can, requesting only people as payment.

So what do you think? Can I make the Vraden more creepy? Should I?

Y is for Opps

SO...I was on program all last week, teaching and doing awesome (and appropriate things) with middle school students. We went to Philadelphia, DC, Williamsburg, Jamestown and New York.

In all of that time I learned a very good lesson. Which is, I don't understand how auto post works. Which means, a few of my posts didn't make it up.

V is for Vraden--about some crazy evil monsters living in the world Sacrifice (current WIP) is taking place in.

W is for Elements--about wind and perhaps destruction

X is for Broken--about breaking bones and Xrays

Y is for Opps--which I actually never wrote.

I'll get these up today, hopefully...that way if your interested you can read through them before you get to Z which is for The end.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Corsets

I think there is a popular misconception about historical undergarments. In particular, corsets. I've read so many (okay this is a lie, cause I've never actually read a romance novel) where people rip corsets off, or you can get your hand under it etc.

I have a friend who is big into the SCE (I think I might be making this up too) who laced me into a corset once. It took SIX inches off my waist. (this isn't normal, apparently I have a supper squishy waist), but anything that can take six inches (or 3-4) is closer to your body than like your skin. Can you imagine getting your hand into something that tight.

Furthermore, it takes a good like 10 minutes to lace someone into a corset, there are knots and other fancy odd things that go on...those don't come out easy.

It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine when I'm reading something, and there is a strong female character, in a corset for the first time and it doesn't seem to affect her at all. Or one of the above mentioned things aren't breathing normally, you certainly cant slouch (although its a great relaxation for your back cause it doesnt really have to do anything to support you).

Any popular misconceptions you come across in your writing?

p.s. I know these have been short the last few days, I've been doing 12 hour days, which means I dont have much energy to write.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Music

In case you missed my post on P--which is P is for Dancing, I dance. One of the most important elements of dancing is time, and by time I mean rhythm and beat. But it's called keeping time for a reason. Beat would mean nothing without time. It's what keeps everything from happening at once.

To be totally truthful I am horrible at keeping time, although I'm pretty good at tricking people to thinking I'm good at it.

One good way to trick people is to count the music, not the movements. Some music is much easier to count than other. And its truly fascinating to see the way different cultures use time and rhythm in their music.

Most music is broken down into meters of eight, especially western music. Although you have your variations, like the Waltz which is a three, or the March which is a four.

Arabic music is typically 6's and 4's and it changes from one to another, which is something you rarely hear in western pop music (or Arabic pop music either for that matter)

Yet all music has something in common and that's rhythm and good writing should have rhythm too. I'm not saying it should keep the same tempo the entire time, the pace can speed up, time can seem to speed up, but it should have a beat. A pace, a pulse. If it doesn't have time (and not just a timeline) then everything happens at once, and that's no good at all.

I figured I'd leave you with some of my favorite music to listen too while I'm writing:

Right now I've been obsessed by Beat Antique--they are a fusion band, mixing in Arabic rhythms with western pop music (particularly dubstep)

Friday, April 20, 2012

S is for ME!

So, I’m hoping that you guys know my name...maybe, I think its somewhere on this blog. In case you didn’t know my name, it’s Sara, which I know is hebrew for princess (betcha didn’t know I was royalty).

So because I’m feeling wholly uncreative, I blame dehydration and middle school students, I decided S would be for Sara. And I’m going to tell you a few silly perhaps and uninteresting facts about myself. You know, for fun. 

  • I believe my family is evil, (I know earlier I said I don’t believe in evil, but whatever). Were not the bad kind of evil though, were the good kind of evil, were like cockroach evil. Nothing can destroy us, or at least, not the things that destroy other people. Here is the evidence:
    • My dad has been smoking cigarettes since he was 14, and I’m not talking casual smoking, I’m talking chain smoking (although he’s gotten better about that) and he has no sign’s of lung or other cancer. In fact, he runs about three miles a day.
    • My mom drinks, like blackout drinks, every single night. Her liver and kidneys are perfect.
    • Both me and my mom are on high sodium diets. We have ridiculously low blood pressure. Like go into shock for no reason blood pressure. Apparently a high sodium diet helps this.
  • I’ve been hit by five cars.
  • I’ve broken 13 bones (none from getting hit by cars) not counting hands, feet or ribs (don’t count hands feet or ribs in broken bone competitions its cheating)
  • I used to teach horseback riding/ train horses/etc.
  • I actually kind of like teaching Middle School, which is weird cause Middle School students are pure concentrated balls of hormonal evil. Middle schoolers don’t even like middle schoolers, if you dont believe me, think back to when you were one.
  • I knit.
  • I believe I’d go completely insane, like batshit crazy (although whey they don’t call it Guano crazy is
  • I am a horrible speller
  • I’m horrible with grammar--although I have a friend who teaches English to high school students in a low income neighborhood, and she was really happy to teach me English and Grammer cause she likes it and actually appreciated the lesson (I highly recommend taking grammar lessons as an adult they are totally wasted on the young)
  • I think everyone needs a bit of random in their life.
  • I don’t sleep with a computer in my bedroom. I used to, (this is back when I tried to give up writing, and also why I wont do that again) but I woke up one morning and found this on my computer and decided it was a bad idea and I’d never do it again:
    • I feel like I am trapped somewhere in between sane and ity. And since my lip was bitten off some three miles ago, Im gonna go ahead and guess that I am closer to the latter. My bed is made out of kitten claws and lipstick, bu I have to open my eyes to get a blanket, or else risk perpetual blinding by things I would never like to see. Darkness is an absence of light rather than an absence of knowledge of whats in it.
Anything random you want to share with me? 

R is for Youth

Right now, I’m blogging to you from the past. I’m not in fact sitting in front of my computer, instead I’m off teaching the youth of america. Specifically a group of impoverished young people from Maryland, about DC and Government and Civic Engagement. I’m hoping to inspire, empower and inform them about stuff. Yes, I said stuff.

The important thing is that, I’m not here. I’m somewhere else. How is that possible might you ask? Well, technology is smarter than I am.

But then, there are other right now’s I mean, as you read this, I might not be teaching, your right now could have me on the train to work, or it could have me sleeping, or it could have me in some other future place. Right now, could be any point in time that this exists in, cause even though I move through time, it moves through time with me, or maybe it stays where it is.

Okay now I’m officially confused, and you should be too, cause if you followed that, you're either way smarter than me and a mind reader (which I believe people smarter than me automatically are), or that made sense, and I really dont think it made sense. So where are we? I don’t know. I do know for my right now I’m writing this in a coffee shop, but you definitely won’t read it until I’m somewhere teaching someone something.

Lets move past that. I have a problem with timelines in my writing, and perhaps tense. It might be because I think too hard about both things. But I don’t think that’s right. I think it’s just cause I dont get how things can happen at the same time in different realities because the thing that happened, has already happened, but is happening for the first time for the reader because it in fact never happened. (see why I like Alice in Wonderland?)

Do any of you have trouble with timelines?

What are you doing right now?