Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Monthly Showcase - February 2017

Well, it looks like it's the last day of the month. Thank goodness I remembered before March 1st came around, or else it would annoy me forever to see this post on the wrong date.

So, let's get this thing started:

Monday, February 27, 2017

Beware the Gilded Light

My creativity seems to be centered around lights lately. Oh well. Work with what you got is what I always say. (And for those really bored or like hidden messages, there's definitely one embedded into this post.)

[hover here for spoiler]

beware the gilded light that shines
on shadows in the day

its glow is seen as priceless
but has nothing in its rays
You know
You know

its dreams and hopes at first will sound
like music to your ears

whispers bathed in auric brightness,
they may calm all your fears
it hurts
it helps

when life gets hard, and it gets rough,
and you left it to chance

the light will shine on nothing
if nothing's beneath your stance
to be naïve
to be optimistic

so take care where it will take you
along your dreamlike way

that gilded light may not be right—
it may lead you astray

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 22 February 2017

Things I worked on this week:

A short little thing that couldn't get out of my head when I was driving on my way home from campus last week.

Other than that, nothing else.

What am I working on?

I still have ideas and projects... I'm just not getting anything done on them right now. I'm currently a bit burnt-out with anything writing-related, unfortunately, and at the worst possible time, too. Curse you clinical depression! *shakes fist at ceiling*

How do I feel about the process?

I still love writing, don't get me wrong. It's just that at the inopportune times that my depression likes to poke it's little head in to see how I'm doing, it makes sure to turn everything very un-fun and a chore. It's definitely nothing like how it used to be when I was in high school (thank goodness), so I know it's just going to pass within a few weeks like every other time. It hurts a bit inside when I'm unable to write anything creatively of any sort, however. Thankfully that second narrative project isn't due around the corner for me. Ah, the perks of already having presented.

For the time being, I'm just jotting down really-really short snippets and scenes (typically one sentence of dialogue a character says) just so I don't forget them for when I'm feeling up to sitting at a keyboard and writing for any length of time. Even quickly typing this down is a bit of a strain right now, but I know that if I don't do it when I have at least a glimmer of productivity while I'm in this state, it just won't get done.

What am I reading now?

Same things as last week: The Dream Giver, On Writing, but not my first NaNoWriMo project because I finished that thing in one sitting.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

That Red Light

How easy it is to ignore that red light at the intersection. How easy it is to just drive off the edge of the overpass. How easy it is to just pound the gas pedal into the floor and crash into the face of the mountain. How easy it is to ignore any sense of self-preservation and public safety.

Easy. Too easy. Oh so painfully, tauntingly easy.

But she doesn't think like that anymore. She's better now.

She's changed.

Depression was what the psychiatrist called it. A monster that wanted to take their daughter away was what her parents called it. Her siblings called it just wanting attention.

She once called it a friend.

She doesn't anymore.

A friend wouldn't have caused her to get her sent to the hospital. A friend wouldn't have whispered lies and false promises of a bleak future. A friend wouldn't have taken and twisted her mind to think that all that was good was bad, and that all that seemed good was an illusion.

How blind she was, she thinks of this in hindsight. Hindsight is 20/20, after all.

She remembers its soft, soothing voice: so facile and pleasant to listen to. But it was dangerous.

That voice almost destroyed her. That voice lied and told her that she had nothing to lose. That hopelessness and despair was at the end of the long tunnel of life. That there was no need to wait for oblivion – it was right at her doorstep. That death would be easy if she just tried again and wanted it with everything within her being.

How terribly she wanted it.

She doesn't anymore.

She's better now. She's found purpose. She believes wholeheartedly that it gets better, that life gets better if she just hangs on. She's finally found the beauty and love in living. She can make it. She can do it. She now sees that there are people that care, and that she finally finds compassion residing in her heart instead of the constant hate for herself and mankind. She's better now.

She's changed.

But at that red light of warning as she sits behind the steering wheel, an echo of the past taunts her.

How easy it is to ignore that red light...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 15 February 2017

Things I worked on this week:

Chapter 1 for my narrative project

Chapter 2 in continuation. I'm considering having that as my assignment for when we need to have another narrative to turn in. Though I'm still hesitant about it. See below for further details.

Finally found my muse to continue that sequel thing.

I also have this one post that I made to express where my inspiration came from last week. Wordy. As always.

Word counts? Eh, who needs 'em? Hahaha. (I promise I was working. Seriously.)

What am I working on?

Right now, I'm splitting my "inspired time" (as I like to call it) between the creative projects I've mentioned above. Though I'm mainly working on Chapter 2 and incorporating the suggestions House Wishword mentioned for the story. I'm also trying to work on deciding how to write in my "language" in the story where it's not gimmicky and confusing for the reader. Or if I should even put it in there in the first place.

I don't quite remember where I heard this from, though it's likely from my video production teacher in high school: "Writing is all about decisions."

He was also the same person who said "Get all the bad work out of you so you know what not to do next time."

Whether he knew it or not, I pretty much live by those standards when it comes to writing. Or I try.

Because of this, I don't really consider my terrible writing as wasted time. I've learned to see them as a lesson for the future.

How do I feel about the process?

I'm having fun, which is always a plus when it comes to working on a project. Feelings of inadequacy pervaded throughout my time spent at the keyboard, as usual. But as long as I'm having fun, I can ignore those thoughts pretty easily. Or at least I try.

Ugh, I feel so strange sharing to everyone this imaginary world that I created. It's the first time a large number of people have been exposed to the weird interest I have with languages and codes and fantasy all at once, though in a direct form. In the past, people I knew would just "happen" upon me writing in my weird language for notes during lectures. I've been mocked for it in the past, so sharing it in class brought those unpleasant memories up again.

Fortunately, no one called me weird at the very least. So... yay?

What am I reading now?

On Writing by Stephen King

My very first attempt at a novel for NaNoWriMo 2015. Confusing world I set that thing in, and a bit boring with the plot. Characters' personalities were all over the place. Definitely not going to touch that project again in the future. I "won" NaNoWriMo that year, at least?

Oh, who am I kidding, that thing sucked like that broken aquarium filter for my sister's angelfish. And like the filter, it needs to be tossed out into the trash heap. I got a few laughs in, that thing was so terrible.

If you probably couldn't tell by now, I've been having a "down" week. At least today I could drown myself in all the 50% off chocolates that I could've indulged in for Valentine's Day.

If I ever had a Valentine.

Don't worry, Noel. You could still be my Valentine!

(Noel is the family dog, FYI)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Chapter 1 of the book I don't have a title for yet

The chill in the room bit into my lungs and escaped in puffs of valuable heat, dissipating to greet the winter air into oblivion. While the candles in their sconces along the wall drove away the darkness of the evening, they did very little to quell the frigid temperature. The collar of my coat rose higher against the nape of my neck as I tugged it to prevent myself from shivering in front of the town’s equivalent to a king. Not from intimidation, of course. It was just too cold.

Okay, maybe intimidation was a bit of a factor.

I thought it was a simple request: gather some samples of the blight from the other side of the mountain, send it off to be analyzed back in the city, possibly start on a solution to fix the land.

But as I continued to explain my intentions for making my proposal, it grew harder to keep my voice from cracking and wavering as Duke Dynn Azunas of Gavallande's visage contorted into one of frustration. My words were barely above a whisper by the time I was finished.

"Get out!" the gaunt-faced man ordered, slamming his palms against the desk in front of him as he shot up from his chair. "All of you!"

"If I may, Your Excellency–" I managed to squeak before being interrupted by the man.

"No, I've heard enough of your request. To think the king would approve of such nonsense coming from the academies. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

He gestured to a uniformed guard that stood at attention at a wall before the nobleman disappeared behind a set of curtains behind his desk.

The guard approached me, a slight frown pulling his hardened features and an eyebrow quirked upward, silently urging me to comply with the leader's command. I sighed and shuffled out of the room, following behind the other exiting occupants, shivering as freely as I wanted. There was no need to keep up appearances anymore.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Inspiration and My Love of Classical Music

In trying to get some inspiration and ideas for the narrative I'm trying to write for the Monday deadline, I've reached out to many different sources. House Wishword, for one, helped me a lot with my doubts and ability to tell a story; but their stories also helped inspire that one little piece of the "motive" puzzle for a short little scene my main character would have for doing something.

"Because it's rare in the winter," one of them said. Annie, I believe. (Sorry, I'm terrible with remembering names.)

Then that lovely little power-wasting incandescent lightbulb just flickered on, and I was like, "Yes! Definitely!"

Another source for inspiration was my little sister, since she knew I was having a huge struggle with this assignment. While she's not too particularly keen on reading anything I write unless it's finished finished, I went to her knowing she would spout out the most random things that would get strange ideas in my head. While not as direct in inspiring ideas, it did help me to type a short snippet (about 300 words) of what it would be like if the family dog, Noel, were to suddenly become human.

And lastly, I've had to draw a huge amount of inspiration from classical music, which is the main purpose of this post. Namely Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" symphony.

Rimsky-Korsakov, while at first glance for most people not into classical music like me, would probably say, "Never head of him." Chances are you have. Ever heard of that "incredibly-difficult-song-that-any-master-musician-could-play" called "Flight of the Bumblebee?" (Google search, you'll likely recognize the tune anywhere.)

Yup, he's the one who composed it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 8 February 2017

Things I worked on this week:

Narrative project: 2,278 words and counting sitting at 1k+ words (will get an exact count when I get back home)

What am I working on?

Right now I am trying to work on my narrative project that's due on Monday. Nothing else writing-wise that I want to take note of this week.

How do I feel about the process?

During class time today, I've had the privilege to experience something I've rarely — if ever — had in my whole experience with writing: a peer support group, of sorts, with writing.

Before this class, I've had to rely on only myself when it comes to editing, and that comes with a lot of setbacks. Because I'm the only one who ever really sees the work before it is introduced into the world, I lack the ability to know if I'm not being clear, or if the pace is dragging, or if the reader is going to grow bored. Because of this, I've had to artificially attain "fresh eyes" by giving myself some space to the point where I almost forget what I've written before I do any real editing. It's still not as good as the real, genuine thing of having people completely new to the plot getting a read on my rough draft.

Plus, I love it when it's the other way around. Seeing a project that's still in the works before it is set off into the world is amazing!

As you can already probably tell, there aren't many people in my life that are too keen on writing or reading creative works.

What am I reading?

The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson

Great Minds by Shantea Gauthier

On Writing by Stephen King

That Grim Reaper story I keep alluding to that I've written and completed in the past (because of that "fresh eyes" thing I mentioned earlier). Wow, that thing, while interesting, is filled with plot holes. Definitely going to rewrite the whole thing once I'm done with other projects. Don't want to bog myself down by adding even more to all the things I'm already trying to work on.

All these wonderful blogs of my classmates. Some even have posts that helped inspire me and helped me with my own projects.

And my physics textbook, but that's not for my own enjoyment and enrichment, haha.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 2 February 2017

Things I worked on this week:
  • Grim Reaper myth-retelling sequel: 15,000+ words (about 200 words written since last week, pretty sad about that number)
  • The "Sülkoras" project: 1,162 words unknown, to be updated after I get back home (I'm using the library computers as I make this post)
  • Submission to the Moorpark Review: 694 words

I have no word-count goal, since I might get obsessive over it and that's not a good place to be when I've got physics tests and homework to worry about.

What am I working on?

I am currently working on my actual "manuscript" of my first draft of the first chapter of the novel that is set in the Island of Sülkoras. While my little experiment helped me to get a bit of a start on how I want the story told, and which character I'd like to follow, it's definitely not in the form that I want to turn in for the following week when it's "drafting day" in the Creative Writing class, hence why I dubbed it a "prototype" of a chapter instead of being an actual chapter.

Currently having a bit of writer's block when it comes to the sequel of my "retelling of the Grim Reaper" myth thing that I've mentioned in my last Word Count Wednesday. Which is fine, since I've encountered writer's block before when it comes to that... thing. It was never well thought out to begin with and was mainly meant to amuse me when I'm bored.

Because of that writer's block, I typed a little scene for something completely unrelated for the time being (a little over 1000 words) and it sparked a little device idea for my plot for that Sülkoras story that's been eluding me for a while. Gotta love when that happens, because it rarely ever works for me that way.

I'm also super excited to say that I've made my submission to the Moorpark Review! Here's to hoping I get some kind of response, even if it's a "no." Preferrably with some kind of constructive criticism that I could work with. Wow, is it getting a bit warm in here, or is it just me?

Also constantly trying to jot out poems and hoping one of them is decent enough for me to post later. I love poetry, don't get me wrong. I just hate every single one that I make.

How do I feel about the process?

Writer's block is frustrating, and I'm fortunate that it's only affecting one of my projects instead of all of them. It took me a bit to acknowledge that it was happening, but I'm admitting defeat and letting myself have some breathing room for my myth-retelling. Sometimes I let myself get burnt out on a project because I would obsess over the plot and scenes throughout every waking moment (and sometimes in my sleep). It gives the illusion that I'm a productive and prolific writer; but if you factor in the amount of time that I spend just trying to recuperate, then it just averages out. A bit of a bad habit of mine, actually.

In a forty-eight hour period one time last summer, I spent a little over thirty of them just writing. Nonstop. The other eighteen hours was also filled with trying to write, since I did it when I was eating and using the restroom. (I know. Eww. But I'm trying to convey how bad it was, okay?) I think sleep was also added in there somewhere, somehow.

Over ten-thousand words in a forty-eight hour period. Afterward, about two weeks of nothing. I have this small fear that if I don't take advantage of every little drop of inspiration and drive to create, then when it comes time for me to take a step back and breathe, I might lose all of it or not get a chance to have inspiration like that again.

I've gotten better over the winter, and I've since kept a separate notebook that I keep with me every single moment filled with writing ideas and scenes in shorthand that I jot in to overcome that strange phobia of mine. (Thanks for the lovely Christmas present, little sister.) I don't get burnt out as often now, and in good time too, since having myself dried up from inspiration and drive to write while in a Creative Writing class? Big no-no.

Still, I love the whole process of writing, writer's block and all. My mother always did say that I like a bit of a challenge. While I hate the challenge itself, how it feels coming through to the other side is a feeling that I pretty much live for. As long as I finish something, I'm content. (Though being happy with the quality of it is a different story entirely.)

As for the attempts at writing poetry, I feel like a stumbling toddler when it comes to trying to write something worthwhile to share. For every "finished" one that I make, there are about seven scrapped ones that barely make it past the first few lines or stanzas. Or if they get past that, I end up deleting them because what I end up making made no sense to me.

Though I should probably stop trying to write poetry at three in the morning. Just a thought.

What am I reading now?

The assigned reading from Stephen King's On Writing, which I'm thoroughly enjoying. I can't help but compare his memoir with my own experiences that molded me and my own writing.

I haven't made much progress into Les Misérables this week, but I did make some headway into a novel a former classmate of mine had published not too long ago. It's called Great Minds by Shantea Gauthier, and it's a self-published sci-fi dystopian novel that's set in a world where water is extremely scarce. Like super scarce that it's illegal to drink it, so you have to have it injected directly into your system. I believe you can find a copy of your own on Amazon. (And Shantea, wherever you are, you're welcome for the free advertising, hahaha.)

Rhoda's Ice Cream Parlor

Quick background on this post. Given the prompt "ice cream parlor" and "a talking car wants to be a psychologist," I was instructed to create a fable or a magical realism story out of it. To be honest, I couldn't stop giggling like a four-year old as I was writing this. Now, given the weirdness of my prompt, here's my (very brief) attempt:

"Rhoda's Ice Cream Parlor," the flashy billboard sign along the side of the road said. "The best ice cream and advice you can get within a fifty mile radius!"

It was the perfect place for people to cast their woes away, for Rhoda was the best ice-cream maker in town and always had the knowledge, wisdom, and heart to treat anyone and everyone who came through her ice cream parlor doors.

Men who lost their jobs, women who grieved a lost lover, automobiles that broke down from all the wear and tear; the world-weary folk found a simple solace in this ice-cream shop. Anyone who's upset needs a little ice cream once in a while, right? And the art of making ice-cream from scratch was almost lost to the world if it wasn't for places like Rhoda's.

However, Rhoda herself wasn't without any sadness of her own. With her heart the size of a six-cylinder engine, it was perhaps even more difficult for her to keep from feeling such an emotion when she thought of the state of the world and of her own aspirations.

"A car like me can't be a psychologist," Rhoda would say while churning cream to silk-smooth, sweet perfection. "It never happens. I mean, have you ever heard of a dairy-churner going to college like humans? Humans can pick up any kind of functions they want, whereas automobiles are often good at one thing. It doesn't mean that don't I dream of the day where my knowledge in psychology doesn't come second to my ice cream."

While it saddened her that she didn't feel like she wasn't fulfilling her own desires, she always perked up whenever she helped out a customer with a problem, or simply treated them to the special flavor of the day.

Regardless of whether or not she's qualified, this writer thinks that she's a bona fide expert at giving advice while serving a swirl with a smile. She might not be a counselor, but you can rest assured that she'll help you in one way or another!