Friday, May 30, 2008

How I Feel Today

I am extremely bored. I can't even find the motivation to write... need freedom now.

Snuffleupogi... sorta cute.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Randomness -- What I do best...

Moving and Weather News: So... I didn't calculate the days I have left in hell--I mean Texas--correctly. In an older post, I said I had 51 days. I should have said I had about 82 days left--now I only have 63. A little over two months. Too bad they're the hottest months in Texas--usually. It's been in the high 90s for the past couple weeks. It was 104 when I went down to my parents house about 20 miles from South Padre Island, located at the very tip of Texas .

Outside now (according to it's 88 degrees, feels like its 93, and there's 54% humidity. It's hot and damp and I've hated it since I moved here in 1996. I've always hated it. In Dover, New Hampshire, where I'll probably live, it's 76 degrees with 24% humidity today.

Which place would you rather roam around in?

I can't wait to move--just for the change in weather. The other moving aspects (or perhaps I should say consequences) are less appealing right now. But I'm making plans. Garage sale on June 21. Baby steps.

Writing News: I have six chapters left of the novel I'm working on. It's currently 118,522 words. I've been writing extremely long chapters lately--about 6,500 words--which will make this story MUCH longer than the typical 90,000-100,000 words published in contemporary romances/chic-lit novels. Oh well. I'm having fun with it and it's getting a good response on Fictionpress, about 560 reviews total. I enjoy entertaining people and I think my story does just that. If you're interested in reading, let me know and I'll send you the link.

Work News: Procrastination has been the key to happy work days for me for the past 2.5 years. Other than that, the job is blahh, colleagues are awesome, and I can't wait for 5pm most days. I guess you could say that I have about 45 work days left (unless my math is wrong). I'll be taking some "mental health" days too. So probably less than 45. It would be great if I could get it down to 10 actual "work" days and 35 "sick" days, but that's probably pushing it. Sadly.

Random Bits:
  • My line of the day: "Fear is debilitating."
  • The lunch convo about adultery was depressing. I would have much rather talked about drag queens and finding a show to go to.
  • I need to get that little rust patch on my car taken care of before I move.
  • I really want to go shopping, which is hard when you have no money.
  • Tennis this afternoon is going to suck (see above comments on weather), but will ultimately be a lot of fun.
  • Tennis makes me happy...
  • So does ice cream--maybe E will want to have a Ben and Jerry's run tonight.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I want my fiction to have an equal impact...

Please enjoy one of the best comic strips written:

Click to make bigger.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another Contest...

Thanks to Speak Coffee To Me's excellent blog, I heard about another little contest! Tonight I entered Nathan Bransford's The Preposterously Magnificent Dialogue Contest. The deadline is tomorrow, Wednesday, May 21, at 5pm (pacific time).

Good luck!

Visit Nathan's blog here.

Update: Wasn't a finalist. It's cool. I didn't really have much dialogue in what I sent anyway. It's the process of trying and submitting that matters most. Until the next one.

Singles, Booze, and Books

Me and a friend went to a singles mixer organized through work last night. Before I get into the gritty details of our adventure, let me explain something about CS, TX. It's good when you're an 18- to 22-year-old college student, or married with spawn, but after that it becomes a sad and lonely place for those without beaus.

I've called this town home for the past eight years. It seems like a black hole for a young, professional, single woman. You have to escape while you're still young, or you'll get sucked in and will find yourself sitting around a table of potential Sugar Daddies wondering if this too will be your demise in 10 years.

Back to the adventure:

Me and E are 26 and 23. We're no longer college students, but we are actively seeking potential suitors, although that's difficult when we're a bit shy and too settled in our comfy boxes. But we took a step out. We took a "splash" and went to a happy hour to meet other singles. I'm not sure what I was expecting out of the group, but let me tell you what we didn't get: young, available, professional men. I could say something like "enter the geezers" but that would be horrible cruel and not at all true for some of the guys there. However, they were definitely older than E and me. Like totally older (said in a valley-girl way). Haha.

Now, we all know that wine gets better with age, but.... do men? E had a connection over Johnny Cash biographies with a man who was at least 40 years older than her. There was a spark there! I said there was potential for her to find a lover other than Idol's Jason Castro.

Her response: "Nasty!"

She's sure that he had hearing aids. I'm sure I would have seen them as I was sitting right beside the man, but I saw nothing. Maybe they were the tiny little microchip ones? Maybe she was looking for fault because she was scared of the dynamic, lusty connection she felt. We'll never know.

I didn't feel any connections, but did have an interesting conversation with a nice-looking gentleman sitting across from me. I mentioned that I was going to spend my summer moving to New Hammie for the MFA program, which sparked a conversation on literary writing. I told him that I was hoping to work on my literary fiction style, to which he asked me to explain the difference between literary fiction and popular (genre) fiction.

My initial and internal response in regard to literary fiction was: "It's booooorrrrriiiinnnnggg!" (sang dramatically and drawn out).

I instantly corrected myself and tried to sound somewhat intelligent as I explained how literary style differed from what you find on the bookshelves at Wal-Mart. How literary novels are usually a more detailed, descriptive, and deeper form of writing. I'm glad to see that my definition was close to Wikipedia's Definition. The conversation made me think about how little I seem to know about a style of writing that I'll focus on for 3 years. It can be overwhelming at times--I hope my simple mind, which yearns for fast-pace entertainment most times, can slow down and develop a love for what I like to call Mom's Type of Book.

We ended our singles adventure with some chips and queso, a few dollar margaritas, and an uncertainty if the Johnny Cash lover was wearing flesh-colored hearing aids or just had really big, bumpy ears.

It was an interesting night.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shavin' Words is like Shavin' Legs -- Necessary and Bothersome

So, I entered the Writer's Digest's Annual Writing Competition (late deadline is June 2, fyi) last Friday. This is the first writing contest I've ever submitted a story too. Go me! I hope I win the $3,000 grand prize! Wishful thinking? Perhaps.

I sent in Black Barn a short story that I used for my MFA applications and helped me get accepted to the University of Pittsburgh and UNH, and waitlisted at Hollins and UMASS @ Boston. The word length needed to be 4,000 and my story was pushing 5,400 plus change. So I had to shave off 1400+ words to make it an acceptable submission.

That was hard. It was harder to shell out $15 for the reader fee, but that's another story.

I wouldn't say I'm wordy. In fact, I'm pretty silent most of the time. (Unless I know and like you.) I like to think that I speak when there's something important to say--or if I just feel like making someone laugh. I don't feel like I speak a lot, but I do write 350+ page novels. I've written about four in the past 1.5 years. It's hard to switch gears and write a 20-page short story. Twenty pages is like a chapter for me -- only a snippet of a larger picture. It's incredibly difficult to write a beginning, middle, and end in such limited space. So, when I try to write short fics they tend to be long, and if I'm given 20 pages, you'd better believe that I'm going to take them all. I'm not very good at flash fiction. Any flash fiction writers out there who'd like to share some wisdom? I'm sure my future classmates would be appreciative.

To be limited to 15-20 pages for the MFA applications was hard enough, now imagine having to shave about 4-5 pages from that for the WD competition! Very difficult.

I sat down with my pencil, all ready to slash unnecessary adverbs, and found myself ADDING to the story. Ever the perfectionist, I saw things that needed to be changed and enhanced. I managed to slash a few paragraphs and needless words on that first editing-go-round, but I probably added at least 30-50 words in the process. I didn't think it was possible to really find 1,400 useless words to remove from my "masterpiece." It felt torturous. I nearly quit. In my mind I thought about all of those contests I saw in the back of my recent Writer Magazine--one of those could be my first contest. However, quitting difficult things is the Tanya from the past, so I buckled down and spent three hours (up until 11:55pm, five minutes before I was to submit) chopping off the beautiful arms of my little baby.

I ended up with 3989 words and felt proud that I could edit myself so much. The story is better now. Maybe not $3,000-better, but good enough.

Until the next contest! (I need to write a new story first... unless this one doesn't win, then I'll submit it somewhere else. I wonder what the rules are in regard to double-dippin'.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Big Changes...

Are you good with change?

Some people are and some people aren't.

I like to think that I am, for the most part, adaptable. However, I was sort of slapped in the face by fear this weekend. Not fear of change really, but fear of the "unknown". That spooky place of possible successes and/or failures; a place you have no control over. A place that may be predestined, but probably isn't.

The place of unknown! (insert scary X-Files music here)

I guess it -- that I'm moving and heading off to a completely foreign place where my future is uncertain -- really hit me as I was typing a letter of resignation for work. You'd think the boxes of crap, overflowing with meaningless (yet once important) artifacts of my life, littering my apartment in preparation for a grand garage sale would remind me of my imminent move, but they haven't. Instead the boxes irritate me and make me feel somewhat dirty, as if I can't keep anything clean. Which is entirely possible--I'm not the best housekeeper in the world.

It wasn't the boxes. It was that letter--that date of termination--that did me in and made me freak out. It was a physiological response too--I gasped and my eyes bulged. Like a cartoon. And I said: "holy shit... I'm actually moving soon!" Thus commenced my freak out, which was accompanied by delicious strawberry cheesecake flavored frozen yogurt.

Moving is scary, but it's going to happen. I told my boss today that I was accepted to school and would be leaving at the end of July. I'll have to tell my "real" boss when he comes on July 1. Maybe I'll be nice and wait a few days so he doesn't get the sad news on his first day of work. I know it's going to happen, but I guess I have this "what if I don't leave" fear. I don't know, it's all confusing. I don't like it at all, but I will survive.

I'm leaving Texas in 82 days (51 work days). It'll be sad to leave my new friends.

I don't like that I'm constantly filled with worries right now. Blah.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pins and Needles...

I've been waiting anxiously for rumored news from UNH that could lessen my financial worries considerably should it actually come to fruition. I'm still trying not to get my hopes up, but it's difficult not to feel jolts of excitement that something I was guaranteed not to have, might actually happen.

In other news... still hunting for jobs in New Hammie. I just received an email for a technical writer position in Manchester--seven month contract work. I can't handle the uncertainty of what happens during month eight. Besides, once I move up there I'm not going to city/town hop one job after another. I hate moving as it is, no way in hell am I going to leap around with my gato, boxes of books, and my bed (if I'm lucky enough to move it up there). I would like to find a place to live and root myself for the next three--or more--years.

I'm still "in progress" for two of the three jobs that I applied for at the university. I'm "no longer under consideration" for the third, which was a job similar to what I do now. I consider this a blessing. I'm not thrilled about my current work. (I'm undecided if my lack of enthusiasm is due to not having leadership or lack of challenge and mentorship.) I'm still trolling the job sites and I still have about 2.5 months left to find employment. Scary! I need a steady job that brings in enough money to be able to pay my bills. It'll happen.

Remaining obnoxiously optimistic.

So... I'm sitting on uncomfortable pins and needles, nervously watching the days tick by before I flee my hot little hell to a welcoming cold and colorful icebox of possibilities.

Update: So, finally heard about that rumored news, but not through any official channels--saw it on my financial aid status. I'm happy to report that I have received a small scholarship! Yay me. It helps a little--just a little. But that's a little less loans I'll have to take out this year. For that alone, I am grateful.

Update 2: It's amazing how someone's disappointed "oh" after good news can make the good news (although it's a small victory) seem minuscule. I know that the scholarship was small, but geez, some excitement would be nice! New worries are afresh in me. :( blahh to all Debbie Downers.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Attack of the devils...

Another random blog from last year. This one sort of fits how I was feeling last night when I was overwhelmed by my financial situation. It fits with a lot of other things going on in my life right now too.

Devils on my pillow... (written in Feb or March 2006)
It's funny that the moment I've made up my mind, decided on a plan of action, that the devils appear and attack my pillow. This happened last night, after a day of revelation (church) and re re-commitment (weight watchers), I laid down contently, only to have little bitty red creatures with sharp teeth, climb over the walls of my pillow and attack me from all angles. No matter how many prayers or good thoughts I thought, nothing but sadness looms over me. Even a Brownie for my soul didn't work. So I had an unpeaceful night's sleep, but woke strangely rested--or maybe that was the cup of coffee I had once I got to work?

It's the same old, same old, when the devils come. They attack my willpower and my desire to finally take steps in the right direction. They sneer and laugh at my attempts to achieve what I desire most and rekindle the little fire inside that says: "You'll never make it." They make me doubt myself, and put thoughts like: "I'll never win this battle" in my head. Sadly, I believe them.

This hill that I climb daily is a mountain. And I'm falling. No, rolling down at a rate that knocks down all the trees like bowling pins. There's nothing to grip onto, nothing to hold, and I just fall, until I hit the ground with a force that jars me to my senses, dust my self off, and start climbing again. I don't think I've make it half way up the mountain before I tumble down.

So this happened last night, and not even Brownie helped ease the pain that my own brain was causing. [Note: Brownie is not food.] I don't even know how I managed to fall asleep--or if I did at all. I'm thankful that though these bouts of devil attacks are brief and never last with the sunrise. The sun kills them away, puts my mind and heart at rest. But there's still this feeling that I haven't quite survived the fall.

I'm still dusting myself off, staring up the hill, determined that this is the year that I reach the top. But I'm sure I'm going to fall a few more times along the way.


For those who know me well--mostly my sister, Jen, as I've mentioned this quite a few times to her--I have this strange fascination with my brain. I'm sometimes so perplexed at the depth of that big or sometimes small (see Homer below), powerful organ!

The following is a bit of randomness from another blog of mine--written sometime last year:

Who knows were this mind goes... (April 27, 2006)

My "Stagnant poem" seems a little moody and deep... yet I am fine. The word "stagnant" popped into my head for some a reason, which to this day is locked in the depth of my subconscious, and unleashed the power of my fingers.

The brain. Ever noticed how amazingly awesome it is?

Have you really thought about it? About the brain's vast resources of knowledge, memories and feelings.... The way it loses and retrieves information. The way it can either harm you, benefit you, or fail you. The way an image will pop into your head out of no where--reminding you where you last put something you set down months ago (I have faith in my brain that I will find my camera tonight). Song lyrics from back in the day get stored away in a place that you'll never see or understand. And it only takes the first few bars of a song to jar your memory and bring you back to a place of peace and happiness. A place where you once sat comfortably--long before your thoughts turned negative and your mind nontrusting. Well, for me anyway.

Don't you get scared when you have a headache or a migraine? I do. I fear that this is it--it's the end. I fear that this little ache will turn into a bigger one that will lead to my sudden and ultimate death from a brain aneurysm. (Yes, I'm a smidgen hypochondriac.) Every time I have a headache, I pop Tylonal like they're red Skittles and pray that I won't slump over never to wake again. I pray that the ache will ebb and my brain will sit happily in is hard candy shell and subconsciously twitch and move and breathe for me. I pray that my mind will continue to be overactive and dance with random images and daydreams of Latin Lovers and Geek Squad boys. I pray that I will never stop daydreaming wild love stories and unique characters.

I love my brain.

I will never harm my brain with drugs meant to confuse and kill it. I will never understand drug use in any form. I'm not going to judge you--bad druggies!--fear not. :) But drugs kill your brain. It's like that line in The Matrix: "The body cannot live without the mind." Or whatever it was.

Morpheus spoke truth.

Let this be my living will that states: Should I be completely vegetative with no hopes of recovery within the next year, and only if all statistical data shows the odds are not in my favor, yank that damn plug out and let my daydream in Heaven.

-End Post-

Honestly... I'm completely flabbergasted over the ability of my mind. Especially when it comes to writing. I'll never understand how I do it--it's just innate. It's just me.

I am braintastic!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Money Hungry

I've learned something very important about money management: I have none.

I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong over the years, but pinpointing why exactly I think it's okay to buy all of these pointless and unnecessary things is a difficult task. I just like to shop, which is biting me in the ass currently as my May 1 paycheck will be gone in a matter of hours.

I need that extra government rebate check to come in already. I also need to sell my furniture, have a garage sale, and get a weekend job. I have a lot of planning to do this weekend. I need to find areas to cut back and save so that I don't crack open my piggy bank yet again and see my dreams and wishes of traveling float right out the window.

I'm extremely money hungry at the moment.

In other news...

After 2 years of searching for someone to replace the man who hired me (2.5 years ago), we've hired a Baylor Bear to take the helm of our department and dig us out of financial ruin. I have been without what I like to call a "real" boss almost the entire time I've been working here. Can you imagine that? Two years without any type of leadership or mentorship. I've been left to my own devices for so long that sometimes I feel like I've been cheated out of real professional growth. At the same time this job has made me a self starter and independent in the work place. It's also given me a slight reason not to care about my 8 to 5 as much as I should. This new guy starts July 1 and I may or may not be around to work with him.

Oh well... better things await for me on the North East tip--I just need to stay positive and frugal.

Update: It's strange how you can lose money in one area of your life and gain it in another. I receieved a letter from UNH today telling me that I'd been awarded at $1,500 fellowship! How cool is that. Very excited and happy!


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