Sunday, December 27, 2009

I love feeling inspired!

So, today my family and I saw Avatar (XD or 3D, whatever it's called). I love leaving the movie theatre inspired so much that I just want to sit down and write novels. I think it's the creativity that inspires me--the total creation of a new world and a new race of people, maybe? I was blown away by this movie. It was absolutely stunning visually, but struck lots of emotional chords too (humor, tears). I highly recommend seeing this movie. The XD experience was pretty damn awesome, but I'm sure seeing it the more traditional (and cheaper!) way is just as pleasing. I'll probably see it the normal way if I go again (which is likely). James Cameron did an amazing job. (My rating: A+)

Anyway, so it's Christmas break--or winter break for the more PC-minded folks out there. I have a lot to do. I need to write a few short stories, get a move on my thesis project, and send out three stories (which still needed editing and revision). I'm looking forward to writing something new but scared too--new semester, new workshop group, new stressors. I hope everything goes well as this is going to be my last semester of classes. I still can't believe it--I'll be done in one year. I have no idea what comes next. I suppose I need to be done with school for good and really join the working world? I'd rather be a life-time student.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Man... talk about out of site out of mind. Or maybe it should be "too busy to blog," which is a complete excuse. I've been lazy. Considering that it's been about 2.5 months since I last blogged, I suppose I've been super lazy. The semester's winding down and I only have one semester of classes left, followed by the writing of my thesis. It's crazy how fast this journey has gone.

So, a few updates:

1. The semester went really well. I was super busy working three jobs and doing homework/assignments for three writing-intensive classes. I feel like I've grown as a writer, which is important in a program like this.

2. Still unpublished, but looking to send out a few more stories in early January.

And... that's it. See, nothing worth blogging about, but I'll try to get back into the swing of things.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fourteen Novels

By the end of the semester (if I decide to take the challenge and not work with old material) I should have the plot outlines for fourteen different novels inspired by the following published works:The Great Gatsby, The Remains of the Day, Things Fall Apart, My Antonia, The English Patient, The Age of Innocence, Love in the Time of Cholera, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Tristram Shandy, Animal Dreams, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Annie John. All of this is for my novel class. We're reading sections of each book (first chapters, middle chapters, last chapters, tension moments, character introductions, etc.) It's difficult... to say the least, but I'm sorta looking forward to brainstorming ideas that I might use at a later time. I sorta wish that the class was more focused on writing a novel, but I'm sure this will help in the end. So, tonight I write my The Remains of the Day inspired novel outline and final chapter. We'll see how it goes.

The rest of the semester looks promising. I will be workshopped twice next week--first in fiction and then in memoir. Double whammie. I'm not sure what to expect. I'm incredibly nervous about fiction because of the content of my story. It's pretty out there and possibly could be frowned at since one of the main characters is a chimpanzee. I have this daydream where everyone just shrugs and says, "You want me to take this seriously? It's a monkey." Or rip it up behind my back as some folks tend to do from time to time when something doesn't interest them. Oh well, we'll see. I'm still scared. I'm not nervous about memoir--it is what it is. Damn, I should have the same attitude in regard to my fiction.

So far, the semester is going well. Hopefully I can keep up with all the work.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sigh... :)

Music + Kids + Great Song = perfection. Enjoy!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Year Two Begins

What a difference a year makes. I feel more confident (speaking in class or volunteering to read), but have the same lack of confidence in regard to having my writing critiqued. Anxiety pumps through my veins in stead of blood. I think it has a lot to do with the subject of my story and the characters and what I'm trying to do (and I'm not even certain what I'm trying to do). Oh well, I volunteered to go first in workshop and I will go forward and submit the story. If I get anything out of this program it's going to be the ability to submit my work and be proud of it. So far, I'm pretty proud with the first two scenes of my story. The ending is a bit trickier, but it'll all come together as it usually does.

So, I had workshop tonight with four new fiction writers. Our group has a nice mixture of old and new faces, which is a good thing I think. It's going to be nice having new faces around, not that I'm sick of the old or anything, it's just nice. Tomorrow I have one more class and then I'm done for the week. I need to set up a writing schedule.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I'm purging the old today.

Old clothes.
Old papers from last year.
Old attitudes (I hope).
Old habits (I really hope).

School starts in a few more days and I'm trying to start off on the right foot. Part of me wants a do-over of last year (academically speaking, not that I bombed anything, but it would be nice to start off with a more confident head and a better use of my time). Oh well. I'm taking three classes: memoir workshop, fiction workshop, and a special studies in the novel, which I'm on the fence about. I'm not sure that we'll be reading full novels, so how am I going to learn anything? The prof always amazes me, so I'm sure something will leak in through osmosis.

New items of little to no importance:
  • Movie updates: The Proposal (rating - B), District 9 (A-), Inglorious Basterds (A), Boy in the Striped Pajamas (not a new release, A), Bandslam (B), I Love You Man (A), Fly Me To the Moon (D-), Disfigured (B-), Julie and Julia (A), and a few others.
  • Writing update: I'm working on a new short story. My goal is to volunteer to be workshopped first in fiction this semester. I'm extremely anxious about my story being taken seriously. Who knows. I'm coming to accept that I'm not a traditional literary writer and I never have been. I think a lot of the trouble I had this last year was trying to be something that I'm really not. I do feel like I write in a literary way, I'm just not about the crafting of overly floral sentences that make your mind spin. Not my style. I'd rather go for a dark humor or bizarre characters and plot lines. If this story doesn't go as well as I'd like, my backup plan is to do a revision of something that I've never workshopped. Part of me feels like this is cheating, but then, maybe I should go a little easier on myself this semester.
  • Reading update: I've put "Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician" on hold for the time being to read George Saunders, TC Boyle and Kurt Vonnegut. I'm working on Vonnegut's short story collection "Welcome to the Monkey House" at present. I like some of the stories and others, not so much. I love Saunders though. He's probably the first short story writer that I've connected with, for whatever reason. I actually feel semi productive reading these things--like I'm getting back into the school vibe.
  • Submissions: I'll have three stories ready to send out next month. My goal was to do a little bit more editing of old things, but I'm happy to be where I am. Hopefully I'll have some success. Can't stop trying though.
  • I feel like taking a road trip. Maybe it's the fact that the heat is gone and it's like 72 degrees out right now. SO beautiful. I actually used my comforter last night and not just a sheet. It was cold in my room when I woke up. I should really be outside and not blogging, but I promised myself to work on my story today (I'm procrastinating obviously).
  • I want to buy a new desk chair--the one I have is not conducive to hours and hours of writing. Alas, I won't be able to get one for a few months, if that.
  • Is it weird that I'm already looking forward to Christmas?
  • My birthday is in 23 days--I'm feeling the effect of the years. I will likely be a spinster forever. No use in fighting it 'eh? Embrace the inevitable.
  • I have an odd fascination with apes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Preparing for the New Semester

School starts in like 12 days and I'm both excited and apprehensive about it. September is not supposed to be a great month for me, according to my horoscope, and yes, I do take the stars seriously. So... we'll see how it goes. It's odd that I likely only have a year of classes left. I could stretch it out through December 2010, if I want, to work on my thesis, but I could be completely done with an MFA by May, if I push it. I doubt that will happen. I've been thinking lately that this has been probably one of the most emotionally draining years of my life. My writing has slowed down to a trickle, compared to what I was producing before I applied for MFA programs. So I guess that's what caused this uncomfortable writing block--MFA application deadlines of December 2007 and January 2008. That's a really long time to not have fun.

Anyway... I'm reading an awesome book right now. I've never seen the movie "Big Fish" adapted from the novel by Daniel Wallace and I only picked up his book "Mr. Sebastian and The Negro Magician" because it had a pretty sweet cover (see right) and the back synopsis sounded cool. Taking such a chance, and literally buying a book for it's cover, I'm happy to say that I'm in love with Wallace's writing style. He has completely captivated me and I'm only about 70 pages in. I even picked up his other novel "Ray in Reverse" today at a used book store. There's something really magical about this book and his writing--puts me in the mood to write, which is a good thing, considering all I've said above.

It's like 90 degrees outside--or 10,000 degrees in my bedroom. I can't stand not having (or using, cause the house I live in has A/C they just don't turn it on until AFTER the house is like 1,000,000 degrees hot) air conditioner. Perhaps I'm spoiled by my Texas ways, where A/C is as important as heating oil. Honestly though... it gets HOT up here. I'm just glad the whole summer isn't like this. I think I can manage a few uncomfortable days, not a whole summer.

To do list before school:
  • Prepare "Jesus in a Confederate Flag" for round to submissions
  • Prepare "Simple Requests" and possible "Safe Haven" for round one submissions
  • Get my eyes checked.
  • Buy some good winter boots.
  • Write skeletons for two stories (for workshop)
  • Plan out 5-6 essays for memoir
  • Read, read, read
  • Watch as many summer movies as possible

Monday, August 3, 2009

Round Two?

So, I heard back from The Paris Review today--no go on my story. I'm preparing for round two though. So I'll probably start researching journals to send to and edit a few of my other stories as well.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Down and An Up

So... I applied for this part-time job on campus at the beginning of the month and found out today (after a month-long process where the app pool was narrowed from 60 to 10 to 5 to 2) that I didn't get the job. The other woman got it because she's done the work before and wants to continue it for the next five years. I wasn't smart enough to come up with a job-related 5-year-plan that sounded smart. No, I said some fru-fru about... well, I won't even repeat it here because it's in the past and in retrospect it was completely and utterly ridiculous. I have an interesting reaction time to things. I read the email and was like "eh, no biggie" and then after about fifteen minutes I started to feel numb. Not a great feeling. Its kinda... slushy and vibrate-y with a side dish of oh-my-god-I-can't-work-three-jobs-and-do-school-full-time panic.

I did a few things to get back into the swing of things:
  1. Applied for another on campus job (this one WITH benefits) who knows... in the words of Kermit the Frog himself: "I hope that something better comes along!"
  2. Spent 15 very serious minutes looking through my notes on agents and publishers for my stories, and then pulled out the first chapter of one of my novels to work on it;
  3. Considered self publication, comforted by the fact that I'm pretty sure I could sell at least a dozen copies with the prospect of 500 more;
  4. Went to see Ice Age III: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (I give it an "A");
  5. Grabbed a slice of pizza from the mall food court; and
  6. Came home to find a SASE waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.
I could just tell that it was a rejection waiting for me in that thin envelope--and it was. However, it was my first rejection with a little scribbled note telling me that the editor of the Missouri Review read my story "with interest." Good sign? Good sign. Waiting on three more journals: Tin House, McSweeny's and The Paris Review.

Update (as of 2 minutes after I posted this initially): Tin House rejected me by email. No nice little note. Sheesh. I should rename this post "two downs and an up."

As I move on to possible plan B's I've decided one thing: I've got to seriously get crackin on submitting my work. No more fear.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

First Five Lines

So, I have the book "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman (who also wrote an amazing book on punctuation called "A Dash of Style"--I recommend it to everyone) and while I have yet to read Five Pages, I can tell, through context clues, that the first five pages of your manuscript are important. [I will be reading this book soon.] I also think that, for me, the first five lines of a story, particularly a genre story, are equally as important. I'm not talking about the first five lines of a published book, I'm talking about unpublished, amateur writing--of people longing to be published. For example, my fellow writers on (a new site that I'm uploading stories too for feedback). I know whether or not I want to "watch" or "back" a story within the first few lines.

Anyway, this was my observation of the moment. Thought I'd share.

Favorite Summer Show

One of my favorite summer shows is So You Think You Can Dance. And my favorite corogoraphers are Mia Michaels and Wade Robson. I've been surfing YouTube videos and came across this one of Wade's and I need to share it with everyone. So beautiful.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


AGNI, a journal published at Boston University, sent me an email rejection today. Waiting to hear from five more journals.... Hopefully it'll be a right fit for someone, or I'll get something more than just a generic form letter. I plan to update a few more stories and send them out when the reading periods open up again. Gotta keep trying.

Update (7/24):
Rejected from The Southern Review as well, received the letter today. Ummm... rejections kinda suck a little. Four more left.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Realizations and Tid Bits

I'm starting to wonder if my constant doubts about this program are an intuitive sign that my heart has yet to get on board with. I should make a pros and cons list.

Updates on all that is me:
  • Saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It was a good movie (long overdue) and there were a lot of things that I absolutely loved about the whole thing and a few things that I disliked (perhaps I'm too much of a purist). I will likely see the movie again (and will totally buy it--extended version and all--when it comes out in about six months. I predict a X-mas release), and maybe I'll like it more the second time around. So... I give it an A. Because, come on... it's Harry POTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTER! Hell ya.
  • I will be making .25 cents more an hour. Minimum wage went up. Commence sobbing.
  • I'm almost done teaching my summer class. This is the final week. It's been going well and I'll be happy to have it over with.
  • I'm currently reading The Alchemyst by Michael Scott (not affiliated with Dunder Mifflin, sadly). It's a bit slow moving at the moment. I only have two more weeks of July to read as much fluff as possible, so perhaps I'll move on to the next great thing. What that is, I don't know.
  • I'm writing off and on--what most in this program would call fluff. Been toying around with some monkey- and carnival-themed (separate ideas) stories for workshop this fall (pending my ultimate decision). They're pretty "out there"--we'll see. People might think me crazy, but it's coo'.
  • It's either the sun, the humidity, or the general mundaneness of my life, but I am a tad depressed. I feel like floating on a river of melted vanilla ice cream, face down, mouth wide open. Whhooooa is me.
  • Is it bad that while at work today I seriously considered the following experiment: Starve yourself for one week, just to see what it feels like. I then proceeded to have a cinnamon scone with my lunch, so the seriousness of this consideration is now a moot point.
  • I have big dreams but lack the motivation to make them realities. What are possible solutions to such a conundrum? Xanax?
Crap... enough with the Debbie Downer mood, right? Let's see if I can't cheer us all up a bit. How about a quote from my Jim Henson's Doodle Dreams book (he did the illustrations, Jim Lewis wrote the text. [I'm pretty sure that the picture to the right is the statue at the University of Maryland where Henson went to school. I've been meaning to get a picture here. Next time I'm in D.C.]

After a random page opening, here is the quote of the day (pretty fitting):

"You are where you are because that's where you need to be. And if you need to move on, you'll move on."

oooh, this is a good one too:

"When you take changes, you're going to fail. That's inevitable. You can either let failure turn you away from your dream or inspire you to dream bigger."

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm a Survivor


Survived my haircut and I like it. It's probably closer in length to picture number two on the previous post. That's all I'll say about it for now--I may post a picture soon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The End of a Hair-a

Get it... a pun on "era"? Okay, enough of my quasi cleverness.

Friday morning, at 11am, I will be thrusting myself into the hands of a stranger. No romantic undertones here because that is not my life. No, I will be trusting a complete stranger with my scalp and the madness that emits from it daily. This is not the first time I've entrusted a stranger with the well-being of my hair, so I'm not nervous about that. I'm nervous about what I will be doing to my hair for the first time in twenty years: chopping it off to it's full, 100% natural state. Background information: I've chemically straightened my hair for at least 20 years now; sure those who know me in the physical (again, not a sexual undertone) sense know that my hair is curly, but with a little effort, thanks to the straightening process, I can straighten it out. Well... chemicals begone! I'm reaching back to my roots (pun intended) and I'm going natural. I'm scared out of my damn mind. Fear of the unknown and all that. Mostly fear because I'll likely have some in your face hair, which makes it hard to hide. So, it's very likely that I could look like any one of the feature photographs to the right. The thought makes me tingly with anxiety.

I don't know what to expect with all of this, I just know that I feel like I'm about to make a HUGE mistake. However, mistakes must be made to grow, right? Too bad it's such an in your face mistake. The hair might look cute if I was a bit more angular, as the women photographed here, but alas I'm round like the world. We'll see. No promises to post pictures here--unless I look fierce. :)

On to other news:
  • I'll be spending the holiday weekend in D.C. with my sister. It'll be pretty awesome spending the 4th of July in the nation's capital city! We'll see how close I can get to the White House.
  • Still haven't heard back from any journals regarding my story. My online status for two still reads "received," so that's a good sign (I hope).
  • I applied for jobs in Boston--full time jobs. Why? Because I can't live off what I make any more, I'm not receiving funding from school (I have some, but the debt out-weighs the free money) and it doesn't look like I'm getting anything additional. Probably shouldn't have stayed quiet about it, but honestly this school is f-d up and I'm fed up.
  • Current YA Novels: Ranger's Apprentice (currently reading, but slow going), Magyk, Jellicoe Road, and The Alchemyst. My goal is to read more "adult" things in August. It's nice thought to be able to recommend books to people when I work back in the kid's department at B&N--makes me feel worthy (in the eyes of YA anyway... not so much adults who probably think I should grow up).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Movie Madness Take Three

So... I'm about to see the new Transformers movie. I'm a little worried... it's been getting bad reviews. Will update afterward.

Update: I'm back from the movie and I gotta say--I really liked it! It's a great summer action movie. Period. Don't expect Oscar-worthy acting. Don't expect the best plot in the world. Expect good action and great visuals. I'd see this again in the theater, and that's the first summer movie I'd consider seeing again for $7.50. Anyway, the movie was pretty good. I feel like the director really improved on the CGI transforming of the robots. I didn't feel like hurling or closing my eyes because it was too much. Great special effects, and some pretty funny parts.

Things I didn't care for:
  1. Megan Fox's Character. What the critics are saying about her purpose in the movie is true (basically that she's there to make men and young boys horny). Her character is really flat and it's a shame that they use her that way. I cringed every time there was a "love" moment between her and Shia's character. Why? Because it's forced and overdone. Wow... that's very critique-y of me. I'll stop there. I gagged with the love stuff during the first movie too, but this time it seemed so much worse. To make matters worse, the director (Michael Bay) is quoted in a CNN article saying that ladies in the audience will be drawn in to the movie based on this love story between Megan and Shia. I take offense to that. I repeat: It was the WORST part of the entire movie!
  2. The stereotypical twins. Two "gangsta" autobots. One had a gold tooth....... can you see where I'm going with this? Very disappointing and not very funny. Read about them here.
Besides those two things (the largest and most off putting, there were minor elements that I could have done without, but they're not big enough to mention here), the movie was good.

My rating: B+

Next up: Harry Potter VI... check it OUT!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gray Skies and Rainy Weather...

...and I still wouldn't change anything.

So... let me just start by saying that I made a great decision coming to this part of the country. Yes, it's cold here in the winter and the state has the highest death rate for black ice (according to my mother), but where else in the country (Pacific Northwest likely) is it 64-degrees in June (almost July)? It's 100+ degrees in Texas right now. Sorry to all my melting friends, but I am very happy where I am. I'm staying (at least in the N/E... my next stop will likely be Boston cause jobs are not raging in this area) indefinitely--or at least for 13 years (that seems to be my cycle).

Anyway... I'll stop bragging about my New England the weather.

I haven't heard from any other journals yet. I think about writing every day (haven't written a single word, sadly). I 've read a lot of young adult lately, and I'm REALLY enjoying it. Picked up two more books from the library. I started one and I may put it down because it feels a little too "teen," if you know what I mean. It's called: Prom Dates from Hell. *sigh* I know, I know... that was hard to admit. Don't judge me too harshly. The other seems a little more "literary" and it's called Jellicoe Road. I'm particularly curious about this story for a lot of reasons. The most important reason is the title of my thesis (a novel) will likely be "Alabaster Road" and I'm not quite sure if I'm going to be writing a literary YA novel or adult novel. So... I consider this research (not just based off titles, btw, but subject matter too).

Teaching Question: What do you do with a student who is obviously bored? Teaching is going well beside this one kid--I don't know what to do with him. Alas.

I'll be checking out Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen tomorrow sometime. Will post my opinion soon.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rejected! :c)

I received a form letter from Harper's Magazine today--declined. Shot down by a red scribbled signature (completely unreadable) of an editorial assistant. Oh well... I'll wait to hear from six other places with my fingers crossed and my expectations moderate.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Days...

I spent 4.5 hours preparing for my class today... now I'm at home, full of junk food, and trying to decide what to do with the rest of my night. My options: 1) write the next chapter of my side project (a novella), 2) work on revising a short story, 3) try to write a new short story, or 4) read. The possibilities are endless and I'll likely start reading a new YA novel. I finished The Graveyard Book and really enjoyed it. I'm contemplating buying it for my collection--but perhaps I should wait until it comes out in paperback. Although there's something wonderful about a hardback book. I shouldn't buy anything considering I have about $10 to my name (honestly)... until tomorrow that is. Gotta love pay days. The economy sucks right now too... not that I needed to remind anyone of that.

I should write tonight. I'll do that and watch So You Think You Can Dance (guilty summer pleasure).

Update on the story that I have swimming in the abyss (aka. journal slush piles):

I checked my online status for Virginia Quarterly Review and it said: "Submitted 15 days ago, and declined 15 days ago." I'm taking this to mean that I didn't meet the May 31 deadline (although I did submit it on 5/26, but maybe that's cutting it too close?). Or maybe they just turned it down outright. I wonder if I'll receive any other notification--my guess is probably not.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Working Up the Kid Inside of Me

It's been a while since I've blogged (nothing new there). Since the last post, I've seen the new Pixar Movie "Up" and I've gotta say that the studio does it again!! While I'm not sure if kids would actually get the full impact of a story about a guy mourning the loss of his beloved (thus honoring her memory with one last adventure), there are plenty of amazing visuals and funny "kid" things (like the colorful bird and talking dogs) that will keep them entertained. The visuals for this movie--like its predecessors Wall-E and Nemo--were amazing. My favorite image was the colorful reflections/shadows of the balloons as they rose up into the air (especially a scene where a little girl is bathed in color as the balloons rise up past her living room window). I didn't see it in 3D (because I'm cheap and they make you pay for the glasses) so I can't attest for that version of the movie. Overall, beautiful movie.

My rating: A

Next up: 1) Angels and Demons, 2) Transformers, 3) Harry Potttttttttttttttttter!

Topic change....

So, I'll be teaching a 6-week writing workshop (for first-generation college students heading to PhD programs) starting next Tuesday and I'm in the middle of preparing for that, but I've made time to get in a lot of reading (mostly young adult). I think I'm reading young adult/teen books now because they're lighter than the literary fiction that I've been cramming my brain with the past 9 months. It's nice to take a break and enjoy something without psychoanalyzing it. The adventures are fun... reading these books is like watching a movie. I'm not saying that some adult fiction isn't this way, because it is. I'm just in a YA kick right now.

I'm currently reading the newest Neil Gaiman YA novel: The Graveyard Book.

I've got to tell ya, it's actually REALLY good. The best YA that I've read so far this summer (see below). There's something about the writing that's a bit spooky, a bit crafty, a bit literary, and there are PICTURES! Haha... I guess my mind really gets a break with illustrations, which is probably why I thumb through picture books when I should be shelving in the children's department at Barnes and Noble.

Here are the other YA books I've read:
  • The Percy Jackson and the Olympians (read the last three of the five book series)
  • Vampire Academy (three books so far) - These are the first books that I've read where there were major typos... very disappointing. The first book took about 200 pages for me to really get into (the first book is 332pgs). I think I like them better than Twilight though--not that they're better written or anything like that. I'm commenting on the story itself. The editors really need to get their act together with the typo thing... unacceptable.
  • The first book in the Pendragon series (there are nine total and I'm not sure that I'm going to be reading the rest after book one).
Next in line:
I suppose I'm on a bit of a supernatural/sci fi/fantasy YA kick! Anything to take my poor literary abused mind on a fun adventure.

I'm also reading a few non-fiction books by Geneen Roth and they are completely amazing--perhaps life/habit changing. We shall see... won't get into them to much here.

This is the summer of reading, I suppose. I really should be working on my thesis (outlining it at least) or writing two new short stories to get a jump on next semester or writing a few essays (for the same purpose). But all I want to do is read... so I guess that's what I'll do for a little while longer anyway. If anyone has any YA recommendations, send them my way!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Movie Madness Take Two and Three

So... I'm a bit behind in my posts about movies.

Since my XMen Origins report, I've seen Star Trek and Terminator Salvation. Both movies were good--nice entertainment (as all action movies should be). Action in Terminator is a bit more exciting than Star Trek, and story line--both are about equal I think. It's hard to tell whether or not I need to be a die hard fan for both movies. I could pick up subtle shout-outs to the old movies, but I still wonder HOW much of the old story line I need to make the films really connect. I had no problems with the plot lines however (some of my friends noticed a lot of holes, but I guess I fill them up or just didn't care). Or maybe I go into action movies like these with no plot/character expectations as one of my friends, I like to call him Captain Awesome, does. I just don't know--I like most movies (except one called Scourge, which was the WORST movie I've ever seen, and I only allowed my self to watch about 15 minutes of it).

Here are my reviews:

My Star Trek rating: B-

My Terminator Salvation Rating: B-

Next up:
  • Up
  • Angels & Demons

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Round One

Ding, ding, ding.

So, I bit the bullet (love those cliches!) and sent out a story from this year to a few journals (three so far, about to submit to two more). This is an expensive process, so while I was told to submit to 20 journals, I cringe and what that will do to my penny bank (literally, I'm working with pennies here). So, we'll see what happens, and of course I'll make updates on here. Maybe something awesome will happen.

Other news: none.

Still reading, doing some revising, thinking a lot about writing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Summer Movie Madness

And it begins!

So many good movies coming out this summer (or I'm assuming they'll be good). Tonight we started the rush with X-Men Origins. It's not as good as the first two movies (I don't remember much of the third movie, but I'll be watching them as soon as I can finish up this essay revision, which is due tomorrow). Do I recommend the movie? Yes, if you want to be entertained with lots of fun action and sexy actors (hellllllo Gambit!). No, if you don't like predictable plot lines (granted there were a few nice surprises), and semi-bad acting moments (lots of screaming/roaring anger shots).

My rating: C+

Next up:
  • Star Trek
  • Angels & Demons
  • Terminator Salvation
  • Pixar's "Up"
I will be going to matinees though... I can't afford $9.50 for each movie. Astronomical--I'm still cringing. I miss my College Station theater (and movie buddies).

Thursday, May 7, 2009


So today my department held an awards ceremony to honor academic smarties and good writing (poetry, fiction, and non-fiction). I submitted my Jesus in a Confederate Flag story, revised and edited, and I won the Dick Shea Memorial Award for fiction. I won an award. The first award ever for any of my writing. First time to get paid for a story too. :)

I was TOTALLY shocked when she said my name. I wasn't expecting it because of the company my story had. I'm surrounded by a lot of really excellent writers who I'm learning from every single day, I really didn't expect to win, which makes it so rewarding. I'm still a little shocked.

My name being called was a nice end to a crazy semester. :)

First book on the reading list: Richard Russo's "Nobody's Fool"

First Year Over!

Holy crap... today was my last day of the first year of graduate school. I'm about to go to bed, but I thought that I'd blog and share the happy news. I made it (barely, it seems). I have one more revision to finish up and turn in by next Wednesday, but that should be relatively easy (I hope).

Goals for the summer:

1. Read a lot!
2. Write
3. Work on my thesis (outlining, planning, character development)
4. Work to pay the bills (boooo)
5. Try to relax a bit
6. Post on my blog more.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another one bites the dust...

So, I had my final workshop of the semester tonight, and it went really well. I received a lot of positive and helpful feedback. I often think my titles are so clever, but this one ("Where Unwanted Children Go" a story about an 11-year-old kid abandoned in a hospital) was shot down by several people, but it's all good. I agree that it gives too much away. I've decided not to post it though, since I'm going to be trying to get these things published this summer. But if you want to read it, let me know and we'll make that happen.

I'm totally thrilled to be done with workshop though--I'm still so exhausted with school. One more week though (thank God, cause I really am going crazy). I'm so stressed out that I've made myself sick. I'm a firm believer that you can speak things into reality, because I think I talked my body into contracting a cold (or pig flu, but let's not joke about that and let's just knock on wood right now). I'm glad the semester is nearly over too--I'm feeling better than I was a few weeks ago (about the program, etc.), but there is still a level of discontent within me. Mostly because I'm flying through this thing and I wanted a bit more time. Currently I'm trying to decide whether or not I should finish in May or carry on for one more semester to work on my thesis. Who knows--it's all too much money. Way too much.

That's all for now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ten Doors Closed

I cannot catch a break. I really can't. Where are the opened doors for those slamming in my face? Why does being nice get you no where? I need summer--like now.


Monday, April 6, 2009

The Green Devil

= Money.

I can't stand it... this huge crushing pressure that is all consuming. I can't breathe. I need to get with the program--I need to figure things out. I keep saying that something's gotta give, but maybe that something is me. I just know I can't keep working myself to the bone--literally. My bones hurt--my knee, my foot, my ankles, my back. I have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday to talk about my knee pain (and more recent foot pain). I'm falling apart. A decrepit 27-year-old.

Too much weight--physical, metaphorical.

Not enough spirit--supernatural.

Lost hope--creativcal (not a word, but I was trying to make creative an "al" adjective. I want to keep my list parallel).

I'm looming on breakdown. Not in the mental facility sense, but in the--holy crap, I'm not going to class today or work tomorrow because I'm just going to lie right here, cuddled up within the glorious splendor that is my bed, and think about nothing. I will read nothing (worthwhile in the eyes of my peers anyway), I will watch nothing (substantial--maybe something with fast explosions and firecracker gun battles), and I will be nothing. But, I realize that sounds a bit fatalistic...... Bunnies! Chipmunks! Dwight Shrute! That last one got a bit of a chuckle out of me, so that's a good thing.

I have one more shot at slowing down--a possible GA position, that I likely won't get (boo pessimism... but I'm losing hope that I'll get any help from this school that I've uprooted my life for (a good thing)... money is just too scarce and I'm not favored for the position. I'll be shocked if I actually get it). After that--who knows.

I think it's a good thing that summer approaches. I'll be working my butt off still, but at least I won't have classes to worry about.


Sorry for the baah-humbug post, but I'm learning to vent in new ways.

Friday, April 3, 2009

And it starts again

Today is the Prospective Student day for my program--lots of things to do and I'm still sitting in bed wondering if I should participate or not. It's not that I'm bitter about something and just don't want to go--it's more that I called in "sick" to work today and I'm afraid of being found out. Well, to be fair, I really was not feeling all that great--definitely drained and should a drained person REALLY be forced into seven hours of customer service? No, I think not. So I'm semi-sick. It's more of a mental thing, really, and it's raining and gray, which makes me want to curl up in this fabulous bed of mine and catch a little nap. But alas... I have too much work.

So anyway--the prospective people are currently lunching, probably on catered sandwich rolls, potato salad, chips, etc., and here I am in bed blogging and working on a paper for work. The month of April is going to be chaotic for me--I need to get into things now, which means that I probably shouldn't be socializing as much this weekend. Sigh. So we'll probably have at least 5 new fiction people for next semester--AND I've taken six classes already. Six of the ten that I need to graduate. I feel cheated out of the 3 year program that I thought I would have. I'll likely be finished by next December (if not May) and I'm starting to feel rushed. I haven't even been writing! I write when I have to, not when I want to, because I work so damn much just to stay afloat. I can't blame anyone but myself for this, however, but it sure is nice to bitch about it.

Other news: nothing to report. How sad.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Break

I feel like I've slept most of my spring break away. I was hoping to get out of town, but that didn't happen because I lost my cushiony tax refund (long story about back taxes that I didn't realize I owed). I suppose sleep was much needed though--I've been running raw the past several months. Three jobs and full time classes AND socializing with amazing friends really sucks away the time. I didn't have one of my classes for a few weeks back in February and it was blissful! I would love to take only two classes and really devote time to writing (which is why I'm in the program, right?). I could go part-time, but that would mean me giving up what very little funding I received (decisions went out last week and I didn't get anything additional) and as we all know, every little bit counts. Too bad what funding I do have requires full-time status. A friend of mine and her husband have a financial advisor--I'm wondering if I should find one to counsel me (probably just one session). I think I need the reality of my future slapped into my head with a 2-by-4. It's scary having to take on this debt on top of my other education debt and poor money decisions. Part of me wonders if it's really all worth it. It's a stress that really makes me crazy sometimes. Crazy enough to bite a friend's head off, which is not very attractive or fair.

Anyway, I've slept a lot, watched movies, and ate probably too much. I need to read another book before the weekend ends. I've started Holly Black's Ironside: A Modern Day Faery's Tale--maybe I'll try to finish that tonight/tomorrow. It's a pretty quick read.

Today I went to a beach in Maine--York Harbor Beach. It was freezing near the water (wind) but such a beautiful spring day! I've been told that today was the first of spring anyway. A few friends went with me and we hiked up a cliff trail and ate a picnic lunch in the sun. It was completely relaxing, if not cold (about 35 degrees and all I wore was a sweatshirt!). Now I'm getting back into the school work thing to prepare for next week. Blah.

(York Harbor Beach)

(The view from our picnic location)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

So there was a boobed lady...

...and I can't get her out of my head for some reason. This old (70?) woman with triple F boobs, singing and dancing. I kept watching this woman, with huge clam-shell pasties over her nipples, wondering... what on earth is this rated. My rating: B. Totally creepy movie--and Neil Gaiman is insanely creative (or maybe it's Henry Selick who wrote the screenplay).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I've Got Monkeys

Yikes. It's almost been a month! I am not too surprised by this though--I've never been really good at journaling, why should blogging be different? I'll try to get back on a roll though. Anyway, to start off my new dedication to the blog-o-sphere, here are some random tidbits from the past month:
  • Tom Perrotta (author of Little Children, The Abstinence Teacher, and Election) came to UNH to do a reading. I remember seeing parts of Election and remember the Oscar (right?) buzz around Little Children, but I'd never read any of his work before. He read from The Abstinence Teacher and I decided to buy the book and have him sign it for me. What do I think of him? He's cute as hell. Oh, and a good writer too. I watched Little Children with friends this weekend and I enjoyed that. I'm sure I'll like his books too, whenever I get a chance to read them.
  • Today I opened my bedroom windows for the first time in a few months. Fresh air smells amazing--or my room was just funky as hell. I love nature.
  • One night I came home around 4:45pm to learn that the people I live with were showing their house at 5:0o or 5:30pm (the same night). I've always known that they expressed some interest in selling this place, but I didn't know they were actively searching. I had to clean my room (it was funky, as stated earlier) SUPER fast. Not sure what's going to happen there, but it's likely that I'll be living elsewhere come summer time.
  • Cambridge is not happening. Unless there is some miracle to be had yet. I got a nice chunk of change from my tax refund, which I now have to use to pay back taxes that I didn't even know I had (taxes from 2007). Since I don't want to be a Snipes and because I don't want to have another debt to pay off in chunks, my refund from this year is going bye bye. Therefore, so is my plane ticket to England and spending money. Good bye blissful summer plans, hello shitty-job-of-the-near-future. Being a starving (things are that desperate yet, but they will be soon) artist is not glamorous.
  • I haven't done a single thing to work at getting myself published.
  • School is going well--very busy, as usual. I'm writing about identity in my non-fiction class (or my perceived lack-thereof) and I'm considering a story about a nurse who keeps portions of aborted babies in baby food jars lined up in her closet. I can't decide if I need therapy or not--or maybe I'm just tapping into my Steven King mind. Maybe it's stress. Or maybe it's Seasonal Affect Disorder, which I'm not sure I have or not. I did have another story idea about a man who chops up the body of his dead, obese wife (for reasons I have yet to pinpoint). Maybe my mind is shifting. Don't worry--I have yet to write about any of these things. I'm definitely not crazy. I don't think. But... maybe....
  • As stated before--today was the first day I could open my windows without turning Tri into a block of ice. It was about 45 degrees. Hello spring time!
  • My first workshop of the year is on Tuesday. I haven't decided if I'm going to post the story here or not yet. A few people have told me they liked it, so that's always a good sign. I like it a lot--I'm in love with the little boy I created. I also love that I was able to write a story (a love story really) without too many "dark" themes clouding over it. In regard to writing, I think I might know what I want to focus my thesis on. I'm still toying around with several ideas--so we'll see. I need to start revising my work so I can send it out to journals. Fear is suffocating.
  • I don't really have monkeys. Sometimes, I feel like there's this odd pressure on my back that makes me walk all hunched over and crushes my lungs. It's probably just the 30 hours I work each week and the 3 classes that I'm enrolled in. Maybe it's the two essays I have due on Wednesday. Maybe the 20-page paper I need to comment on for work. Or losing my tax refund (a meager financial cushion) to income that I haven't seen in two damn years. Or maybe it's finding out that a friend up here (who gives me AMAZING hugs every time I see him) has been hospitalized with blood clots in his chest. Maybe it's the never ending family drama. Maybe it's the fact that control is becoming an issue again. Or that I'm surrounded by winter disease and my hands are becoming dry at the amount of antibacterial gel that I rub into them every two minutes at B&N. Or maybe it's the fact that my "home" really isn't a home and I can't get comfortable. Maybe I just need a break.
  • There are six days before Spring Break and I don't know what I want to do. I no longer have a lot of money to do something really fun. I don't know, I'm tempted to go to D.C., but my sister has to work all week. And I'm tempted to just rent a hotel room for a night or two and just be alone. Tanya time. Who knows which one I'll choose.
  • My sister got to meet Michelle Obama at work this past week. According to her, Michelle is gorgeous, has really white teeth, and soft hands. I'm jealous. She'll get to meet Obama eventually too--super jealous about that.
  • I'm addicted to Harry Potter (now on audio book #5), which I listen to in my car. I don't think I've heard the radio in 3 months. So it's nice to be watching The Goblet of Fire on TV right now.
  • I'm also addicted to York Peppermint Patties (part of the control issue that I have).
That is all for now. Must get back to the work that's slowly piling up with the monkeys. Hope to blog again soon!

[Amendment]: We're supposed to get 3-5 inches of snow tonight. So much for it being spring.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Wow... I've been droppin' the ball in regard to this blog. I need to step it up.

The semester is going ok--very busy. I'm taking a nonfiction memoir course that requires a new essay/memoir out of me every few weeks. I have fiction workshop (first story due in 3 weeks) and Fiction Form and Technique, which I'm currently on the fence about (I'm not big on psychoanalyzing characters). And I work at least 30 hours a week. Throw in weekly social activities/hang-outs and I hardly any time to myself, which is probably why I've spent the entire day in bed watching Jane Austen movies and why I'm slacking on agent query letters. I am the queen of procrastination--sadly. Tomorrow I'll be swamped with work to prepare for workshop. Something's gotta give.

Some of my friends are heading of to Chicago for AWP this week. I'm sure I'm going to be missing out, but I have no money at the moment. I'd better start saving up for next spring's meeting in Colorado.

Cambridge update: I think I have the money to go! My tax refund will help me get a plane ticket and I'll have a little spending money, but I'll likely be broke in London too. I need to fill out the application by March 15 (more procrastination as a result of unreasonable fear). I'm still trying to decide if it's work spending a huge chunk of cash (at least $9 thousand) on a 5-week trip to England this summer. The trip pays for room and board, 2 meals a day, and 2 courses, which I would receive credit for. It's the opportunity of a life time and I probably won't get the chance to go again for a very long time (if ever). My only fear--what to do about Triton (my cat).

No other news to report. I'm completely overwhelmed with work and school.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day!

Today is our first snow day at UNH--this storm is supposed to drop around 8 inches. I am THRILLED for this special snow day. I totally wasn't ready for either of my two classes that are supposed to meet today. I'm still working on my non-fiction memoir/essay (I'm really not sure what the hell it is or if it's even working) and I haven't read or written anything for my Fiction Form and Technique class. So--hooray for snow days!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Semester

Yay for inauguration day! I was very happy to be cuddled up in bed to watch President Obama take the oath of office.

So... my first class of the second semester starts in a few hours. I have yet to decide if I'm excited for this semester or not. I feel like I'm leaning toward the "not" for some reason. Probably because I didn't write very much during the break like I had planned. Another goal failed. Well... maybe not, I did write ten pages, so that's something. I think I need the pressure of the program to actually work on things. Anyway... one class today and two more classes tomorrow and then my school week is done.

We'll see if my excitement for this semester perks later. Maybe it will if I can sell my stupid grammar books back today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Summer Plans... hopefully.

So this summer I hope to be studying abroad in England. I'd take two courses, one in novels and one in travel writing (which I hear is pretty terrible, but with my journalism background, perhaps it'll be easy). The only way I can do this is if some money (about $10K) comes through--keep your fingers crossed! I really want to spend the summer away. I never did that as an undergrad and I sorta regret not having the experience. And it's England!! I have this odd feeling that I was from there in a previous life. Or maybe Jane Austen has just seeped herself right into my blood.

Who wouldn't want to study in a place like this: (Cambridge University)

Think good summer-in-England thoughts for me--I should know more by this weekend if this is going to be a possibility at all. It is very likely that if I go--I may never want to come back again (to visit of course, but to live....). Fair advanced warning, I'd say. Cheers!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Struggling Love Affair

Today I wrote. I have seven pages and a bit. I'm still climbing. I haven't written a single word since probably December 1. So, progress is being made.

The more I work on this new story, tentatively titled "The Awakening of Tyler Ross", the more I want to turn it into a novel instead of a short story. I know that I shouldn't tie a rope around the muse and strangle her, but... I don't know. Chapters in workshop don't really work out and my chapters won't stand alone (because are those really chapters or just short stories in themselves, tricking readers to believe that they're really chapters?). The more I sit around dreading writing, and the more I tell people that I need to write "for fun" and not "for school", I find myself wondering (as I have been the past four months): am I really where I should be? I think the overall answer to that question is yes. But it's difficult. Writing for fun and for school should be one in the same.

I think what it all comes down to is this: I do not like short stories!

I do not like them Sam I Am!

I don't know that I can get past this dilemma either. Maybe I need to read more of them to understand how they're done. But I do not like reading them either, Sam I Am!

I am a novel writer.

So, I'm in a bit of a funk at the moment--well, let's not kid ourselves, it's been a long-ass funk (approximately 10 months staring when I received my acceptance letter to UNH back in march). I'm writing tonight and I enjoy the story that is unfolding. And you know what... I'm not going to limit this one. I'm just going to let it flow and let it be. And maybe--just maybe--I'll fall back in love again.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy 2009!

Happy New Year everyone!!!!! My goal is to write more and do so consistently. Starting... TOMORROW!

I spent the New Year in NYC... had an excellent time.

Other goals:
  • To be happy.
  • To get daily exercise (intentional exercise).
  • To write more.
  • To read more.
  • To be more timely.
  • To make lists and cross shit off those lists.
  • To be proactive.
  • To be less scared.


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