A New Year

Well, I think husband and I are cursed for New Years Eves. Our first one as a married couple he had to work at 4 am the next day so we went to bed at like, 10. And then this year I was sick with a cold. BUT, we have many more to look forward to and it gave me time to think.

I was going to discuss my New Year’s Resolutions… but now I’m not. You may ask, why? Well, come back tuesday and you’ll find out ūüôā I wanted to do goals rather than¬†resolutions. I think they’re pretty much the same thing, but the word “goal” just seems less daunting.

I do want to talk about why I’m really excited about this year. Kind of like what I expect out of 2013.

Before I go into what I’m looking forward to this year, I think you might need some background. I have been in school, like my whole life. The summer I graduated from college – about a month and a half later I began my graduate program. Then I think I’ve only taken one real semester off while in the program. So, think about it: That’s grad school pretty much year round. I love my program, but here’s one of the things I’m looking forward to….

Not being in school. This idea just blows my mind. 

Other things… I’ll have a completed manuscript done that I can start sending out to literary agencies. Woah. Like, this isn’t just a “some day dream” anymore. It’s like, ahh – yeah, mid-May. Again. Mind blown.

Also, no required reading. So that’s new. Um, time that would be spent on thesis and school can now be devoted to other things. Like cooking and running. Hanging out with husband more and doing lots of fun things. And writing other things that aren’t my thesis.

I say all of this, but I know, come September… I’ll start to get antsy again. I’ll begin thinking of research papers to write. I’ll look into teaching programs or other degrees and everyone will call me crazy, but I can’t go that long without school. I love to learn (yes, nerd and proud of it! What’s wrong with that? Nothing.) and I love to hone my skills. I love to improve my mind. I think it’s a genetic thing. My grandfather was a doctor and studied psychology and like, *fingerwiggle* other medical stuff. General doctor stuff *ends fingerwiggle* and he kept attending classes until he was like 75. Sure, he could pay for it (and that’s my biggest restraint but I”ll just work harder).¬†

But no, getting off that tangent – I’m just really excited to be that person I’ve been working so long to be. I will have a Master’s degree. I’ll be a Master of something. How kick-ass is that? Very.¬†

So, I’m super excited about where I’ll be at the end of 2013. What about you? Any big finish lines for you this year? Any goals? ¬†

Advertisements

The Dangers of Being True to Yourself

There’s all this emphasis on being true to yourself. Google “being true to yourself quotes” and you get like a million hits of a million pages all full of inspirational quotes.

Well, words will only get you so far.

I’m not sure how many of you watch The Big Bang Theory¬†but at our home if one of the few channels we get has it on, we’re watching it.

If you’re not familiar, I have a clip.


So, a lot of days I feel like the guy in the blue shirt. “It’s not that I think you are worthless. Just what you do (or let’s substitute in the word “like”) is.”

Yep. That’s how I feel most days.

I am someone who…

  • loves Star Wars – so much so my¬†license¬†plate reflects this love. Also, there is an R2-D2 action figured super glued to my dashboard
  • is falling in love with Star Trek. I didn’t want to really, but it happened.¬†
  • watches Dr. Who
  • reads like a meth-head smokes
  • loves children’s and young adult literature
  • enjoys discussions on how the Disney princesses reflect various views of women/ why Sleeping Beauty sucks/ how Disney himself sticks to the tradition of fairy tales much like the Grimm brothers
  • enjoys debates on the psychological undertones of Harry Potter
  • loves animated movies – I can’t wait to see Hotel Transylvania¬†
  • is getting a Masters degree in not only creative writing, but in Children’s Literature

¬†None of these are horrible traits. However, when they’re all combined …well, let’s just say I tend to feel like a¬†minority. I know that there are other people like me out there. That’s why I love my program. I can totally walk around in this shirt …

… and people get it. I can have serious discussions about Disney princesses and not get¬†ogled like I’ve just grown a second and third head.¬†

I would like to pause and mention that none of this comes from anyone in my family. They tend to share a lot (but not really all) of the things listed above, and support me none-the-less. Granted, on more than one occasion a few of my loved ones have exclaimed upon meeting my grad school friends, “Oh look! There are more people like you!” I know that’s supposed to be encouraging but what I’m hearing is “Oh honey, you aren’t as big of a freak as I thought.” Is that what my loved one means? Hell no! They just are excited that I have people I can relate with.

*sigh*

Okay, here I am getting to the real meat of my post. I am who I am and that’s not going to change. I’m damn stubborn enough to like what I like and march on. But the thing is, I just get so freaking tired some days.

Here’s how I want some days to go at work:
(PS – I work at a catering/ cafe/ bakery place)

Me: Hello there, can I help you with anything today? 
Customer: I think I’d like a few frozen casseroles.
Me: Well, I can help you with that [INSERT CASSEROLE SPEIL HERE]
Customer: (while I’m ringing them up) So, are you a student?
Me: Yes I am.
Customer: Oh, that’s nice. What are you studying?
Me: Well, I’m getting a Masters in Creative Writing with a focus on Children’s Literature.
Customer: THAT’S AMAZING! HOW IS IT THAT YOU ARE SO COOL?

Reality:

Customer: (while I’m ringing them up) So, are you a student?
Me: Yes I am.
Customer: Oh, that’s nice. What are you studying?
Me: Well, I’m getting a Masters in Creative Writing with a focus on Children’s Literature.
Customer: Oh, well, so what …uh… what do you want to do with that?
Me: Well, write. And maybe teach. 
Customer: That’s sweet.
Awkward silence
Me: *sigh* well, my husband is going to be a nurse. He’s finishing up his degree.
Customer: Oh thank God! Well, at least you’ll have him and won’t have to starve.¬†


Yes, I am so thankful for my husband. 

But come on. I mean, upon reading those two different scenes to him out loud just now he laughed and said, “Oh dear, that’s horrible.”

I know. I live it.

So like I was saying, sometimes I just get so tired of being unique. I mean, I know that there are more people like me. I see them when I go to other places in the US. But if there are any near me (and no, the creepy comicbook store guys don’t count – why? ¬†Because the main adjetive there is “creepy.”) I sure can’t find them.

What do I do? I mean really, how do you just keep on going all the time when people ask you what you like/ what you want to do and you get that same damn blank stare over and over again? 

Really, I see two choices:
  1. Suck it up and just keep going. You will find people who understand you and when you do, you should really develop those relationships and get fulfillment there and from yourself.
  2. Give up

I don’t like choice number two. I don’t want to force myself to like TV shows I hate just so I can relate to the general public.


I guess what I’m saying here is yes, it’s exhausting staying true to oneself when you seem to be in the nerd¬†minority. But what other choice do you have?

If you are reading this and are like, “Holy shit that’s me!” Awesome. You are not alone. Keep it up. Keep doing what you do and loving what you love.¬†

On those days when I feel the weight of the world on me. Like I’ll never fit in. Like I’ll always get those blank stares and that no one will understand me again, my amazing husband comes through. He reminds me of this quote…¬†
  
Ending thought: Stay true to yourself. Sure, we may be some fish among birds, but at least we can breath underwater! Kapow!

I Think I Can! I Think I Can!

Well, I’m getting ready to head off to my MFA program for the last time. I have super mixed feelings about it. On the one hand…

  1. I am beyond excited to get up to school and spend time with my Nerd Herd (I don’t think they know I refer to them as that, but they probably will now. And I think they’ll like it.)
  2. I love the classes and can’t wait to be in a physical classroom again learning.
  3. I love the location of my program and just feel so at home there. I mean, where I live now it awesome, but there is soooo much more up there. 
  4. And I’m really excited to be nearing the end of my degree and all that means.

But on the other hand…

  1. I’m going to be done with my degree before I know it. No more fun classes. No more going to Nerd Camp.
  2. I have to leave my new husband for 6 weeks.
  3. I will miss my husband’s birthday…¬†
  4. Did I mention that I’ll miss my husband?
  5. I won’t have any income for 6 weeks.

So there’s a lot swirling around in my mind. The lists above only scratch the surface. But don’t take away the wrong idea. I’m not unhappy, just conflicted.¬†


But my ramblings are not the full focus of this post. This post is about writing, believe it or not. And my own writing to boot. 


I’ll go more into this in a future post, but I’ve been tracking my word count, day by day, for almost a month now. I have been forcing myself to sit down at the computer and just write damn it. Some days I’ll only get a few hundred words. Other days, I’ll get a couple thousand down on the page. Are they all the final words? Hell no! They are my road map. I know that there are blanks that I need to go and fill in, but that’s for another draft.¬†


This draft will be my first, complete draft of my novel. I have been working on it for around five years now. Why has it taken me that long to write one full draft? 


Here’s why:

  • I didn’t force myself to write as much as I have in the last few weeks
  • I’ve been working on this for several different workshop style classes and in those classes people want to read your stuff, critique it, and then see the changes. I’ll tell you I’ve had countless drafts of Chapter One, but only one draft of chapters 10, 11, and 12.¬†
  • I’m lazy
  • I’m not pushing myself to be a writer. <—— THIS IS BAD

So, the whole point of this is to pass along some more advice to you. Don’t be like me. Or, well, the old me. Don’t over edit a few chapter while never writing any of the others. Be like the new me. Write as often as you can and take notes on what you know you need to add in later.¬†


However, this way might not work for everyone. What’s your writing style?

Vampires

Do you all remember the song I posted about back in July? The song about vampires? Okay, if not here’s a bit of background: The song is called Die Vampire, Die! From a broadway show. The whole point of the song is that being an artist of any kind (singer, songwriter, creative writer, painter…) is hard. It’s hard to create and even harder when people doubt you. They tell you how unimportant your work is – and while that can fuel you, too much of it can really take it’s toll. BUT, the worse vampires (and vampires in this case are people who beat down on you and your creativity) are these vampires…

Susan: 
The last vampire is the mother of all vampires and that is the vampire of despair.
It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like:
Backup: 
Who do you think you’re kidding?
You look like a fool.
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough
Susan: 
Why is it that if some dude walked up to me on the subway platform 
and said these things, I’d think he was a mentally ill asshole, 
but if the vampire inside my head says it, 
It’s the voice of reason.


And those damn vampires are the ones who have been flying around in my head the last few days. It’s been brutal. Work has been super busy and then I come home and bust it working on my Harry Potter paper. But then Husband comes home (and I want to make clear that he is NEVER EVER a vampire to me) and he tells me about the babies he helped save in the hospital that day or the person who he gave some ice too and it made a world of difference to them. And I compare myself to him. I see my Husband as a superhero (and to me he is one) but I don’t see myself like that. And in swoop the vampires…

So – I finally broke down (crying) to Husband about this this morning. I told him that he doesn’t make me feel unimportant but I¬†compare¬†myself to him and I see him learning to save lives in nursing school and me making salads. I see him going to get a degree that promises to help us out finically in the future and I see my degree as fluff.

And this is what husband did: He let me cry and then told me that I am important and amazing. That sure I make salads, but that’s not bad. I’m getting through school and that he couldn’t do what I do. That when people ask him what I do and he tells them they are all impressed. He told me that he saw a quote the other say that I need to remember – it goes along the lines of everything has genius in it, if you ask a fish to climb a tree sure, it’ll fail – but it can breath underwater! And that’s it’s own kind of genius.

I know I married the right man when he can help me slay my vampires of despair. All I have to do is just keep swimming…

I Feel Like a Zombie…

So I think I know what a zombie feels like. Apart from the wanting to eat human brains and what not… But yeah, the half-awake half-asleep thing.

I’ve been spending most of my waking hours working, doing house work, or studying. Yes, school is back in session people and I’m doing an¬†independent¬†study. My goal is to write a 15 (conference length) – 22 (article length) paper this semester focusing on a Jungian archetype in the Harry Potter¬†series. Sounds like fun right? I mean I love the Harry Potter books. I was part of that generation that grew up with Harry. When he was 12 I was 12… with each new book we became adults together. So, one would think it would be awesome¬†to spend an entire semester focusing on something I love.

And to a degree it is.

But I have to read a book a week. For me, that would normally be easy. But not when I’ve been working closer to full time these last two weeks. It’s been hard.

I think I finally understand this song by Sister Hazel (my sometimes¬†favorite¬†band) the hook (or part of the refrain or whatever) in the song is “life got in the way.” I come home from work (tired but not exhausted) and see all the things that need to be done at home. I mean, it’s not fair to ask Husband to do all the chores, not when he’s in school too. And by the time I feel like I’ve done my share (or part of it) I’m too tired to read essays on Harry Potter or even the books themselves.

BUT! I will say this. My New Year’s resolution was to be better to myself by writing more and cooking more. While I haven’t written a word in my novel, I have been cooking. The other night I made my own ranch dressing and some challah bread…all from scratch. Boo-freakin’-ya. That my friends is the bright side to my little freakout/ tirade.

Reflections and Resolutions

Growing up my family had dinner together at the table every week night. We’d gather around and then have a POW-WOW. A POW-WOW is where everyone tells their low points (pows) and high points (wows) of the day. It was pretty fun. I mean it was different than just the usual way of talking about your day.¬†

So I thought I might have a POW-WOW for 2011. We’ll start with the pows…
  1. A year ago yesterday Uncle Perrin had his first massive stroke and then died in early November 
  2. The end of April this year mad 100+¬†straight¬†line winds tore past our apartment and through my parent’s neighborhood. Later that day three tornadoes ran through the state.
  3. Our little parakeet Buddy “Boo Boo” died in October¬†

And some wows…

  1. I got married!
  2. My husband and I were lucky to get to honeymoon in Maui
  3. I am much further along on my degree
  4. I have a job that pays well and that I love
  5. We got baby Beaker 

Is this POW-WOW list comprehensive? Not at all. But those are the ones that come to mind.

So now some¬†resolutions. I am not going to resolve to loose weight or get in shape because I never stick to those¬†resolutions. Instead I resolve three things that I hope will be easy…
  1. Finish at least 2 rough drafts of my novel by 2013
  2. Cook more
  3. And treat myself better (ie, doing more things I like to do but am always “too tired”, eating better or¬†at least¬†making¬†healthy¬†choices, and making an effort to keep the apartment more organized)¬†

Also, incase you are wondering I do have some (hopefully) helpful posts planned out for soon. One that you can look forward to is how to map your novel. I even drew a picture ūüôā It’s going to be awesome. So, loyal readers, keep coming back this year! Your comments make me happy!

Here’s wishing you a fantastic 2012!
Picture by Arden Photography 
  

Just Checking In

Nothing new is really going on here. Husband is napping and I just had a nice bath with a glass of wine. It was awesome, I listened to all my favorite Christmas songs (not the ones that Pandora thinks I like) and just relaxed. Now I am waiting for the PS3 to update so I can watch more of the last season of Battlestar Galatica.


I did want to check in though. Regular posting and all.


So, I have come the the conclusion that I love my current job as much as anyone can really love their job. This is not because I got “holiday pay” or that the day before Thanksgiving my boss bought us all breakfast and lunch, but it is largely due to the fact that I like the people. For example, this guy I went to high school with works there now and today we had a debate over who in literature throws the best parties. We both decided on Gatsby, but it was fun debating that in the middle of a kitchen.

Let’s see, I also thought I would share the awesomeness that is the upcoming Harry Potter Academic Conference that is this July. I’m working on a paper that could totally be submitted (in the hopes of getting accepted) but I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to the conference so why bother? It sounds like they are hoping to make it a yearly thing so maybe next year. Anyway, if you are¬†interested¬†in this let me know and I’ll pass long the info.

Lastly, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite videos.
I always knew Neil Gaiman was awesome…