Monday, December 19, 2011

Ummm yea.

So, I never post here anymore... feels silly to still have this blog. But at the same time, I'm not ready to get rid of it.

If you're interested, follow me here (my pen name) instead. At least there I have more up-to-date postings... and let's face it the MFA is over (hallelujah) and it's time to go back to the real me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I am NOT too old for this...

Lately (and I think it's because I'm going to hit the big 3-0 in four months) I've been wondering if it's past the time for me to hang up my dreams of becoming a published writer. I do feel like this is a profession where you can find great success at any age, and my pondering is absolutely ridiculous.....

but I don't want to wait until I'm 31 to find success. In the words of Veruca Salt (who celebrates the 40th anniversary of my beloved "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"): "I WANT IT NOW!"

[and I am working on it...]

Therefore, a little part of me wonders if I am the equivalent of the 30-something guy in his parents' basement trying to be a rocker. [Photo: Rainn Wilson in "The Rocker" which was actually a cute movie, IMO.] I mean, I've been dreaming this since I was like nine.

I refuse to let the negativity beast enter my universe of positive thinking. But he's got his big ugly toe wedged in my front door.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It Really Is Over

A copy of my thesis arrived today. It's now official: the MFA is over.
Let's see what happens next.....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cat, Lion, Inspiration

I spent my Easter on the couch watching movies. I don't know a lot of people in Maryland yet and all of my family is in Omaha (I was jealous of the big family dinner my mom was throwing), so I decided to veg out with my cat. All of the movies I watched were inspirational in some kind of way and I felt like maybe I should blog about them (in order to have a bit more frequent posting on my blog).

First: "The Secret"
It's a documentary about "The Secret" to success, happiness, love, wealth, etc. Basically the "Law of Attraction" or you could consider it the art of positive thinking. This documentary struck a chord with me because I can have incredibly negative thoughts about myself, and I've noticed lately that I'm going no where fast. So, I've decided to start projecting happiness. Meditating on what I want so that it will come to me (in some form) in the future. I suppose this is all very New Age-y, but I'm down.

Second: "The White Lion"
This was a movie that I came across on Netflix and was like "sure why not." I mean who doesn't like Lion King-esque movies that take place in Africa? The movie opens up with this old man telling children the story of the sacred white lion. How it was shot reminds me a lot of "Meerkat Manor." There's a lot of animals doing what they do (although part of me wondered if any of the animals were trained) and then the movie's scripted around it (which is just my guess). What I loved most about this movie was that my cat was watching it too. How cute is that? He was sprawled out on the floor in front of the couch staring up at the TV as the big cats romped around. I love it when he watches TV and actually seems interested in what's happening. And when there are other cats on the screen I feel a little sad that he doesn't have a friend. He has to watch his people on TV. Sad. But I don't want another cat so he'll have to settle with me being part of his little lion pride.

Third: "The Land Before Time"
Remember this movie?!? I decided to watch it for nostalgic reasons--my siblings and I loved this movie. And, I cried my eyes out when his mother died. I realized that this is a good movie to explain death to kids. Of course I don't really recommend popping in a DVD after the death of a parent and expect that to be enough. At any rate... the movie was as good as I remember and that always makes me happy. What blows is when you go back as an adult and watch some of the kid TV/movies that you were into (ie: Full House) and realize how utterly horrible it all is. Yep, yepyep, yep, yep!

Fourth: "God Grew Tired of Us"
Oh wow, I highly recommend this to ALL people. It's a documentary about the Lost Boys of the Sudan. It follows three young men who come to America as refugees and talks about the story of them fleeing persecution in southern Sudan (they walked to Ethiopia and then the walked to Kenya). The biggest thing for me with this movie is realizing how much I take for granted. It was fascinating watching them learn about electricity and running water, and their observations of Americans was kind of disturbing/sad. Anyway, this was a really excellent documentary. Everyone should watch it.

Fifth: "Eat, Pray, Love"
I haven't read the book and I didn't see what was so horrible about the movie. I do want to read the book, I think. There are some good messages in there about living and loving and existing. Knowing who you are. It did make me want to travel. What I would give for that kind of freedom. To say: "hey, I'm outta here for a year to find myself, peace out."

I think it's true what Chris Rock says about wealth: "Wealth is not about being rich, it's about having options."

I want some options.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sometimes I think I've been ruined by the MFA

So, a little tête-à-tête of rambling for today:

I feel like the MFA is still caught up in my brain. Like I have little professors and peers whispering and scolding: you should be reading this or that, not this or that. Today I went to Barnes and Noble to buy Aimee Bender's novel "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake" (I had a coupon), and since the purchase, I've been asking myself why I bought it. Don't get me wrong, Bender's a great writer (or so I'm told), but I probably wouldn't have known about her or felt any desire at all to purchase her novel had it not been for someone in my MFA program (a professor or student, doesn't really matter who) to sit up and say: "Hey, you should be reading her."

Why? Why should I be reading her? Because she's "literary"? Because she's got mad diction skillz?

And then, with Bender novel in hand, I found myself in fiction anthologies looking at the O'Henry and Pushcart collections for this year, thinking to myself "I really should start reading/writing short stories again."

WHY?!?! What should I be reading/writing short stories?

I don't really like short stories (I mean they're fine and yes I'm trying to get some published, but I don't really care about them). I like novels. I am a novelist, not a short story writer. And still, I'm thumbing through a few of the Pushcart stories, reading opening paragraphs, wondering if I should buy these too because I really should keep up to date with what's happening in the short story world.

Ugh, really?

And then I think about my current project (a supernatural YA novel) and how I'm constantly questioning my decision to use a pen name instead of my real name when/if I'm actually successful and get it published. (I'm about to make a strong attempt to reach out to agents soon.) Here's what I think to myself: "Well, you might want to get serious one day, so you'd better use a pen name." And THEN I think: "Who the hell said you're not 100% serious with this totally awesome (cause it is) supernatural YA novel? Use your real name on this and a fake name on anything 'serious' (aka: literary)." Then my conscience is like: "But Tanya, you really should use your name on serious novels."

I'm so messed up in my head. The MFA program made me ashamed of myself in a way. I don't like that. It frustrates me beyond measure that I'm not 100% comfortable talking about or showing my YA stuff to my MFA peers.

My friends.

I wonder when I'll feel comfortable enough to share my alter ego (aka: real self) with more people. I guess four months post graduation is not enough time to really heal from something as mind blowing as an Master of Fine Arts program.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Goal Accomplished!

So, I managed to send stories out to twelve different literary outlets today (well, by Monday for sure when I put the envelopes in the mail). Goals are good for me, I think. I could probably go for a lot more online journals, but maybe that will be the next round. At any rate, I feel like I had a productive day. Now it's time to make some cookies! (And not as a reward for submitting, but because my brother is coming to visit).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Still trying to decide...

...whether or not I should submit. I need to, there's no excuse not to... I mean, I might as well, right? Still, I've shoved it to the back burner lately. Maybe I need to make it this week's goal, as well as posting here more often. There's something about being out of school that's just got me less interested in blogging. Mostly, though, I'm out of ideas! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

To Submit or Not to Submit

I never did get a delicious cinnamon chip muffin but did make some low-fat oatmeal ones that were pretty tasty. Too bad I lost the recipe.

Anyway, I attended this year's AWP Conference in D.C. It was my first time going and I have to say that I was overall pleased with it. It's a pretty lonely conference though. There are so many panels to go to that obviously you're not going to want to go to the same ones as your friends. My goals for this conference was to get as much information on publishing/editing/agents/query letters as I could. I also attended a few "Writing for YA" themed panels (one was better than the other). So, I learned a great deal.

I also realized that I should probably still be sending my short stories out to journals. The rejection letters had piled up (around 50 or so) and I was like "eh, no more submitting for a little while" <-- just to get my barrings back. But the great thing about the conference was the bookfair and learning about so many journals that I could (and probably should) submit to. So, I guess I need to start up a new submission stack. Hopefully they'll all be free online submissions (since I'm still unemployed and short on cash). I guess the first step is to develop a list and then consider which stories to send out. Such a headache, but if I want to go anywhere with my writing it's exactly what I should do.

Other random tidbits:
  • I'm reading tons of YA fiction at the moment, but I'm about to read "Wench" by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. It's probably time for some adult reading.
  • I finished my YA novel and it ended up being 413 pages. Now, as I put my hand-edits into the computer it's 492 (and I'm only halfway through). I know that the ending will pack on several additional pages because I rushed through the ending (I was excited to be done with it). This process is incredibly rewarding and I feel like I'm going to have a strong novel in the end. Still there's a lot to do by March (that's my goal to have all editing done so I can send it to a few readers).
  • There's something about unemployment that's fueled me to get this project done quickly. I just hope that I'm not rushing to the point of detriment. All I've ever wanted was to write novels and be successful at it. It's scary that I'm getting to the point of actually pursuing this dream (and the humongous reality that it may not happen).
  • Today is Valentine's Day, but it feels just like a normal day to me. I remember a time in my life when it was super depressing not to be in a steady relationship on this day. I'm cool today (as long as I stay away from flower shops and the grocery store) although I may watch "He's Just Not That Into You" later. I've never seen that movie.
  • Speaking of movies... I watched "The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time" this weekend. My rating: C. It was entertaining, but... I don't know if I can get on board with Jake Gyllenhaal in an action role.
Anyway, that's my update for now.

Happy Valentine's day to all. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All I want....

... is this cinnamon chip muffin....

This is the worst kind of craving to have when you're trying to eat right. Still... me want!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Short Stories....

So, I'm about to start writing a new short story. I told so many people that once I finished my MFA it was highly unlikely that I would ever write a short story again. In the last five months I've made that prediction come true. However, a good MFA buddy and I have set up a short-story swap. One rough-draft of a story due every two months. I think this is a good thing because it will keep my literary-brain in practice. That's not to say that the novel I just finished isn't literary--well, it's not... yet--but I definitely write a little differently depending on audience. Maybe I shouldn't. Regardless, I'm scared and excited for this swap because he's an amazing writer who's gonna keep me on my toes. I hope to learn a few more things from him.

In other news... I still haven't found a job (meaning a "career"). I need to get my Maryland driver's license so I can maybe deliver some pizzas or something. 2011 is just beginning, but it better have some great things right around the corner.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year New Goals

Happy 2011 people!

Here's wishing everyone a great and prosperous New Year. I haven't made any resolutions yet and I'm not sure that I will (since I tend to drop the ball every year and then become very upset). Instead, I think I'll come up with several little goals. Two of which are to start a new writing project and begin editing the novel I just finished. Other goals I hope will come along nicely.

Happy New Year!


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