Monday, November 17, 2008

Brain Sucker

Why does workshop leave me with this dissatisfied, souls-just-been-sucked-out-and-stomped-on feeling? And I wasn't even workshopped today--that comes next week (story posted). I think part of my problem is that I read my story for next week again, after I'd already passed it out, and found LOTS of places that could have been cut or tightened up. I hate turning in sub-par things. And I'll hate hearing the same-ol' same-ol' next Monday. I feel like I'm one of the weaker writers in the program, which may or may not be true. I just feel like no one's giving me their true and honest to god responses, and then whisper behind my back.

Okay--paranoia passing. Passing..... passing. Past.

But still, I feel like my creative juices have been sucked clean out of my body. At this point--writing is not fun. And that makes me feel all sick inside.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment" on Prop 8

A friend of mine here at school sent me a link to this video. It's pretty powerful and I agree 100% with the words--the message. Many of my friends and most of my family probably won't agree or feel the same way I do, and that's fine. All I ask is that they listen. We're human first--before anything, before religion, before race, before sex. It's time we start treating one another that way.

Special Comment

I got chills... and they're multiplyin'

If I still lived in Texas on November 4th, Austin would have been the place to be. That's the only city I'd live in if I were to go back. If you want to watch some more inspiring Obama watch-party videos click here. [Georgetown University and American University are pretty awesome.]

Austin, Texas

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's Dark at 4:30... Do You Know Where Your Sanity Is?

Tidbits from Tanya Land... the scariest place on earth:
  • I go to Subway a lot.
  • The semester's winding down and it's really weird. I have five more assignments that I need to turn in and then I'm done. We're already pre-registering for the spring--I'm looking to take a memoir class. Keep your fingers crossed for me. It'll be difficult to write about myself, but I'm really looking forward to it.
  • I need to buy some boots. I probably shouldn't have bought a CD of Christmas music by Josh Groban (ooo la la, he's got a great voice) or the movie "E.T." Impulse buys in a moment of pure emotional weakness. So worth it.
  • I'm being hard on myself because I wanted to write only new stories to submit for workshop and I made a decision last night (fueled by my horoscope that said I should choose to partake in happy activities to remain in a blissful emotional state) that I would submit one of my application pieces instead. It's definitely a load off my creative mind, but I still feel like a slacker.
  • I suck at time management. I probably need to give up my Wednesday shift at Barnes and Nobel, BUT we are in a time of economic crisis and the money is somewhat decent (not really, but I like working there because I don't have to think about anything).
  • My friend and I are going to write a vampire novel together. He wants "to make millions" and considers writing popular fiction selling out (in a way). I don't consider it selling out--I consider it my calling. I think writing it will be a lot of fun and we have a kick ass idea that will definitely sell (I'm always overly optimistic), but part of me doesn't want to do it to keep him from "selling out". It's a dilemma. And yet... it was his idea. He'd had a few beers though. I'm still testing him, which probably isn't too fair. When we start writing chapters I'll believe. At this point, I'm stealing from Mulder: "I want to believe."
  • Reading Flannery O'Connor is definitely interesting. I had to have my professor sign my pre-registration form and she asked me what it was like reading O'Connor (who drops the N-bomb every paragraph). My response: In the context (she was writing to her time) I'm tolerant of it, but I don't like it at all. It's such an ugly word--spoken or unspoken. I told her that I have friends who would pitch a royal fit. And although I hate the word passionately--I find myself shrugging. I don't have time for ignorance, and I'm not going to waste my time on other people's ignorance. I don't know. She wanted my opinion as the "token". I'm an altered token though. Oh well, we should all hate that word.
  • Speaking of... is anyone else alarmed at the increased reporting of KKK activity (I'm an avid reader). This scares me. I'm scared for the Obamas--and my sister too. Cause ya'll know those nut jobs will take posts outside the White House to protest and my sister works like a block away. She talks to secret service outside her building and they said they're concerned for Obamas daughters (kidnappings). Obama better put those kids in private school--safety first, damn the "politics".
  • I may be displaced come Christmas. I don't know what I want to do yet or where I should go. My housemates' son is coming home with his girlfriend. Where the hell are they going to sleep? And if I did go somewhere else for the holiday, do I want them crashed out in MY room? Hell to the no.
  • I really should be doing homework now.
  • It gets dark at 4:30pm here. What the hell. I feel like I should be passed out by 7pm. It's VERY strange... and I'm not sure if the perpetual darkness has messed up my emotions. I did buy ET.... hmmmm.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Story

Wow, Wednesday night rocks again! I think it's something about my Chekhov/O'Connor class that gets the juices flowing, because I always come home and write for several hours (about six) and come up with a draft. My working title for this story: "Jesus in a Confederate Flag" (It's a Flannery O'Connor inspired story.) I know, it's a pretty quirky title--I'll post the story in a few weeks, I'm sure.

One draft down, one more to go--unless I use this story for workshop. Yay for Writers Writing Wednesdays.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

History In So Many Ways

I just watched history tonight.

This is not history just because the man is the first black president of the United States of America; although, that ranks up at the top. [Sadly many won't be able to see the importance of this fact alone.] This is history because of Obama's ability to inspire, motivate, and lead hundreds of thousands (millions) of people. And he will lead with grace and power.

I just hope half of this country can look at things with an open mind and really see the potential in his (and our) youth. We--as young people--rocked this vote. We made this happen. The next four (eight) years are going to be an interesting ride. Yes, he will have bumps along the way--this will undoubtedly happen. However, this is a man who held his composure through countless character attacks, false accusations, and death threats. This is a man who will have his life (and the lives of his daughters and wife) threatened by racists every day of his presidency. This is a man who might die for us--for our country, as several great change makers of our history (American history) have died. This is a man who will pull us out of this trashy place we have somehow created. I'm happy to put my faith and trust in a younger senator from Chicago.

Never underestimate youth.

Congratulations to President Barack Obama!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why Can't I Write?

I met with my workshop prof after class today and confessed that I wasn't writing much. That I'd gone away from just sitting down and writing about things to planning it out before hand; thinking themes and symbols and plot points. I am not having fun. He said he wants me to stop editing first and just write--just sit down and type out 50 pages of whatever and then trim it down. That would be nice--if possible. I'm sure it is possible--I'm just stuck on themes and other "literary" ideas, and find other things to do. Like watch CNN in preparation for tomorrow night (so exciting!! Go Obama!) or try to find illegal downloads of HBO's True Blood online (very doable, but crappy quality), or read trashy books that make me dumb. This weekend I calmed my jittering need-for-normal-reading cravings, unearthed my fun book from amidst the smarties on my nightstand, and read the entire thing in about 6 hours.

Want to know something sad?

This program has made me smarter. The book did nothing to root me in--whatever I was seraching for in even reading it.

I know, I know... learning from a MFA program isn't a bad thing. I was just bothered by it because I was reading the book (by one of my favorite authors) and finding myself commenting on the writing as being "below par". God, what a snob I've become! Now, it's completely plausible that said author just had crappy luck with this novel (which happened to be a retelling of a previous story from another person's POV), but I wonder if I am not in some way polluted by this program. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing... I don't want to become a snob. One of those people who look down on the average reader and the average book as if they're trash (some people here are like that and it makes me cringe each and every time they say something about the avearge reader or make remarks about best selling authors). Why is wanting to write books for the general public considered selling out? Why do you feel most of the books out there now are poorly written? What makes them poorly written? God, it's exhausting. I just want to write like I did back when I was working (or not working). But... I'm positive that almost every person I've met up here so far would look down at the last 1.5-2 years of my writing. Maybe I'm making too many assumptions--I don't know, it's just this general feeling I get (not from everyone, but a vast majority for sure).

I still wrestle with whether or not I'm in the right place. Whether or not I should be shelling out so much money on such a program. It's still a gamble. It's paying off in that I am learning (possibly at a subconscious level) and I do enjoy my classes and all the people I've met. But... is it right for me? My prof told me I'm writing at a Jedi Level 6. Please do not ask me what it means because I have no idea. (Perhaps Jedi Level 6 is what Yoda's reading to the right?!?!) Maybe it's better than that.... It seems like a nice level to be at and he was complimentary of parts of my work. But I just sat there staring at him while wondering just how many Jedi levels there are in writing fiction. Am I at six of 1,000,000? Six of 10? I should have asked him to specify. I also got the sense that he was telling me to be more proud of my work? That I should have a bigger ego about it? I got that sense. He picked up that I can be (am) too hard on myself. Shit--my poker face is slipping. Or he's just a fellow Empath and watches me a bit too keenly.

**Must... hide... true identity...** <--said in a struggling manly superhero voice.

So anyway, I can't write tonight.

I think it might have something to do with the atmosphere of this place, this bedroom and my unbelievable way of letting shit pile up all around me. I'm staring at a load of clean clothes right here occupying the empty side of my bed with a loathing hate (for many varying reasons, I suspect). Why can't they just put themselves away? I guess it doesn't matter, I'll just drop them onto the clean pile in the basket by the bed (where they'll remain until the weekend when it's time to wash again). Gosh, I'm rambling tonight. It sorta feels nice--therapeutic in a way. Sorta like how York Peppermint Patties have become my drug of choice the last few weeks. And you know what else? I can't find my copy of Sydney White--yes, I know it's a cheesy movie, but it's cute and I've been craving it since I moved up here. I know that the moment I buy a new copy the old one will jump out and yell "har har, got you to spend more money that you didn't have!" That happened with a vampire novel that was hiding one of my many purses--I found several months after buying a new copy (right as I was about to move up here actually).

What does all this mean? Besides my need to ramble about--I'm not sure. Avoidance mainly--to keep me from writing my circus love story that will likely be dark and moody. I am dark and moody--literally and emotionally.

Snow is coming soon. I guess I can look forward to buying more winter gear and some needed boots. I can also look forward to February 2009's AWP Conference in Chicago--a few of us are road tripping out there. Other MFAers, check it out!


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