Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I survived!!! Now I will conquer the world...

So, my friend woke me up this morning with one simple message: "Slow and steady wins the race." I had been snoozing (oops) and had no idea what he was talking about. And then I looked outside and saw my world blanketed in glorious white snow. And then I saw the little slope to my driveway and felt a tad apprehensive. He offered to pick me up for work, and for a second I seriously contemplated that. And then I said no. I knew I couldn't put off driving in snow and other crappy weather forever. It's always the first step that's the hardest. So I drove, and I learned winter. Picture: My backyard--winter wonderland!

Here is what I learned:
  • What it feels like to have the tires skid (it happened a couple times and I was going about 5mph).
  • That I have a fancy indicator light on the console that tells me when my tires have lost traction.
  • That my car will beep loudly if I really start to skid.
  • That it's important to sweep snow off the back part of my roof before opening the door (or suffer a huge pile of snow in my trunk).
  • That I need to leave a half hour early when it's snowing (maybe even an hour).
  • That I should never leave my good gloves in the car.
  • That I should put on said gloves before sweeping snow and chipping ice (no matter how cold I think they are because they've been in the car all night, because snow is cold).
  • To sweep snow away from my body.
  • To zip my coat all the way so that I don't sweep snow down my chest again.
  • That slow and steady really does win the race.
  • That I hate not being able to see the road clearly.
  • That it is important to really de-snow, de-ice the windshield wipers.
I felt like a powerful bad ass driving. It's always an awesome feeling when you realize that you can do something, no matter how scary it is. Note to self.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cold Hearted Ice Storm

So, I've been without power for two days. Luckily I had a friend who had heat and let me bring my cat to her place. It is good to be back home though--I felt so displaced before. I didn't take any pictures because I was so nervous about driving in the aftermath (no sweat, just 20 minutes of ice scraping and slow driving)--these are some pictures that I found to give you an overall idea of what the place looked like Friday morning. It's really quite beautiful, if you look past the 300,000+ displaced and freezing people. If (and possibly when) I move up here permanently, I'm getting a home with a fire place, wood stove, or something that doesn't require electricity to keep me warm.

My landlord (I don't know what else to call them, because roommate definitely isn't it) said that this is the worst ice storm in history. Dover history? I'm not sure if she was talking about all of New England or just Dover. Who knows. It was insane. I remember waking up several times in the middle of the night hearing what sounded like gunshots and ice blocks sliding off the roof. The gunshots were actually tree branches snapping off under the weight of the ice. The next morning there was a 10 foot branch (about five inches thick maybe) laying across the top of my landlord's boat. Insane. My car was safe, but that would have really sucked.

Anyway--I have heat and am back in my own bed. Life rocks.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tag, Your It

What were you doing five years ago?
1. Graduating with a B.S. in Journalism (complete B.S. too)
2. Hiding -- from lots of things (still hiding).
3. Wishing I wasn't in Texas.
4. Preparing to start a M.S. in Science and Technology Journalism, because what else was there to do?
5. Writing inconsistently.

What are five things on your list for today?
1. Go to work.
2. Go to a party.
3. Read.
4. Sleep.
5. Eat.

What are five snacks that I enjoy?
1. Hummus (it's a new thing!)
2. York Peppermint Patties (my cocaine--I actually need to stop)
3. Cheese and crackers
4. Popcorn
5. Pretzels

What are five things that you'd do if you were a billionaire?
1. Pay off my debt
2. Pay off debt for a few family members (only once and only a few)
3. Travel the world
4. Buy love (haha, just teasin)
5. Go back to school--maybe psychology this time

What are five jobs that you've ever had?
1. Candle Maker
2. Book Shelver
3. Assistant Editor (aka, graduate assistant)
4. Communications Specialist (aka, look at Perez and bother E all the time)
5. Writing Assistant
Who are five people that you want to tag?
1. Angie
2. Esther (in comments!)
3. Becca
4. Eileen and/or Margosita
5. Whoever else reads and feels like doing it!

Icy Tidbits

I'm a wimp. I totally bowed out of driving in ice for the first time today, which was probably a smart decision. I'll get my chance tomorrow when I have to head to work at 8am.

Today was my final day of grammar class and I totally skipped it. My friend graciously dropped off my final paper to my professor. There was no way I was going into campus today with this crappy weather. My only regret is that I missed a fun holiday party for work. Sadness. My dad says that I'll have to learn to drive on the ice on my own, since it was my choice to move up here. I find this ironic for unspecified reasons--maybe I'll explain one day. Maybe in a memoir.

I've been struck by this ominous feeling that I'm going to get into trouble on the roads; a morose feeling that I'm going to kick the ice bucket this winter. I know. I know. It doesn't help that my mom decided to tell me at Thanksgiving that New Hampshire has the smallest crime rate, but the deadliest black ice problem. And it didn't help when the people I stay with mentioned that their driveway is a bitch to get out of (there's a slight slope--I'm positive that I'm going to come careening down it one day and hit their parked boat). Ice is worse that snow, they say. Oh well, Dad's right--I wanted this, I'm gonna deal with it.

[Side note: Ever seen the movie Shallow Hal... nice idea, but a complete fairy tale.]

Anyway, I thought that I should try to blog a summary of semester number one. Here's what I learned:
  • I mentally shut down at the word "psychology" when used in regard to characters in my stories. Never ask me "What's the psychology of your character Tanya?" If you do, I'll likely curl up into a small ball and whimper until the bad word goes away. I remember the first time it was uttered by my workshop professor; I recoiled to the inner me, all trembly and weak feeling. I didn't realize that we'd be talking stories on such a deep level. He probably said psychology about 20 times that first class--along with explaining his desire that we find the "you in you". Double whammy. That first workshop class (and most of the others) left me completely confused. What in the hell was happening here? These workshops weren't going to be about story structure and sentence critiques? It took a few classes before my friend looked at me and said "you really don't like that word do you?" I didn't realize that "psychology" was making me freak out in class. Anyway, overall the workshop experience was tiring. I'm looking forward to next semester so that I can compare my workshop experiences with a new professor.

  • I worked WAY too much this semester to really apply myself in the classroom. I worked three jobs for about 30-35 hours a week and took three classes. I completely stretched myself thin. I'll do better next semester when I become a "list" girl and get my crap together. Time management, that's what it's about.

  • We UNH MFAers like to socialize. Since school started I don't think there's been a single weekend (with the exception of holiday weekends when I went to see my sister) that I wasn't doing something with someone from the program. Tomorrow night is our end of the semester "dance" party. People really do dance. I watch by the outdoor fire. There may be no fire if it's icy tomorrow night.
  • Grammar is not fun. Well, it would be fun without the tedious assignments and projects that grad students really don't have the time for in the end. I half-assed that class--I hope to make a B (maybe he'll be nice and give me an A after that horrendous class on Black English Vernacular).
  • I need more space.

I registered for classes for next semester: Workshop, Memoir Workshop and Fiction Form & Technique. I suppose after next semester I could possibly quit the program and only be out $17K. That proably won't happen. I actually may only have to be here for two years instead of three--they're making some changes to the program (chopping off one workshop requirement). I'm looking forward to next semester, but I know it's going to be packed with reading and writing. I might try packing up my TV and movies to keep myself from being destracted (haha, that's not happening). Next semester is going to be about focusing and reclaiming my passion for writing--passion that is slipping, likely because I'm so damn tired all the time.

I'm determined to not allow workshop to suck my soul out for another semester.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I come from the water...

This is my favorite Muppet skit... memories. This makes me happy and warm. I love Muppets. Know this about me.

Harry Belafonte - Turn the World Around (ep314)


And the following is just great too:


First Snow

I know... I know.

Silly Tanya the Cat Lady... but how cute is he?!

Triton's First Snow

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reading Out Loud

I hate reading out loud and I have to do it tomorrow in class. My classmates will have to suffer through another long story. I'm liking it though--just posted it here under "My Writings".

I need to start working on my other writing--I feel so neglectful.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oh the horror of workshop...

Workshop strikes again. It's like an unsexy vampire, bleeding me of my life force (aka creativity), leaving just a sack of fat-laced bones. Oh the horror.

[Oh... happy belated Turkey Day. I hope yours was as full of family drama as mine.]

I think I've pinpointed what exactly I dislike about workshop: How I feel stupid immediately afterward. I feel like I give these off the wall, pointless reads for peoples stories, often times completely missing the mark. I hate that I feel so useless--they probably look at my comments and then toss them over their shoulder with grunt. It's exhausting being (or feeling) this stupid. Stupid Kanya (inside joke between me and a spoon)! I have one more week of workshop and then a long, much needed, winter break.

During break I hope to do a few things:
  • Think seriously about my novel and send letters to agents (or publishers). I cannot put this off any longer. My friend sent me this great quote this weekend: "Good novels are written by people who are not frightened." (George Orwell). I am frightened... but I won't be soon.
  • Write more short stories to prepare for the next round of workshop, and hopefully stop writing about creepy, dark things. As one guy in class wrote in his note to me: "You definitely have a bead on whacky mothers and taboo subject matter -- rape, incest, etc.". Geesh, how oddly creepy of me. I worry that I'll be typecast as the "girl who writes about molestation and rape" because a couple of my stories did have such undertones. I'm not as concerned with people perceiving me as an abused adult writing their life into their fiction as I am about the "dark and creepy" aspect of my writing. Why does it need to be dark to be "literary" (as my mind interprets it). Why, oh why, couldn't I write my circus love story instead? Shit, even that had dark themes about malformed fire breathers and self hatred. I'm starting to wonder if these reoccurring themes in my writing are a product of my subconscious screaming.
  • Work a lot because I'm super broke right now :(.
  • Work on driving in the snow (eep!)
I have to read "Jesus in a Confederate Flag" out loud on Wednesday. I'm working on it... I think it's OK, but we'll see. I'm trying to make it 10 pages, but honestly, that's not going to happen.

Thanks for listening to me blab.

Picture explanation: Sometimes you just gotta let go and read some steamy stuff.


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