Friday, November 10, 2017

Fixation Friday

Oh hey wow a week has gone by! Let's talk about this week in the life of a writer.

Writing Like A Girl

This week I wrote one of the longest articles I've ever written, "Nancy Wheeler’s Unpopular Feminism In ‘Stranger Things 2’". By the time it was done is about the length of a 10 page paper using college formatting. I wrote the article originally as a response to another post on the website "Vice".
I remember very distinctly during my interview with Kotaku explaining that I was not a feminist writer.  I didn’t want to consistently answer the question ‘what does it feel like to be a girl in the gaming industry?’ Of course, part of the reason for that reluctance is that it feels horrible.  At the time, I was nervous that I would be pigeonholed into writing from a specific perspective—and not even a perspective that I found particularly important at the time.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fixation Friday

 Hey look it's Friday here's a list of things I can't stop thinking about.

Postcrossing

I love getting mail, especially when that mail is personal and not just a letter telling me I need to update the warranty on the car I don’t own. I found Postcrossing when I was looking for a pen pal/letter writing community, and fell in love immediately. The community sends and receives postcards all around the world. The only thing you pay for is your postcards and postage! You can even put what type of postcards you would like to receive in your profile—for instance I have requested Harry Potter and cat themed postcards, along with some other silly things I would like to see. I love hearing about how other people live their lives, and seeing just how similar we all are regardless of our circumstances.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NaNoWriMo (where the No means NO)



Welcome to November! This year I'm spending November committing a blasphemous crime...at least one that offends my own personal sensibilities. Normally I embark upon National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, but for the first time in almost a decade I'm not doing the thing. Instead I’m spending the month getting ready for Pitch Week, a competition that will take place in June when I go to Vermont and share the manuscript for The Last Stand along with elements of a developed marketing package with a panel of judges from the Green Writers Press publishing house. Confused? Good. All will be explained in time.
 
Here's a beginner's FAQ, and then we'll return to the regularly scheduled blog post.

What the heck is The Last Stand
Oh that? It's a novel I've been working on in one form or another since I was about 13.  It's a Western but with magic and...you know what? Spoilers. More on this later.

What the heck is Pitch Week??
Alright, slowball question. Pitch Week is a competition where writers come together in Rochester, VT to share their manuscripts and marketing plans with a panel of judges from a publishing house. This year that publishing house is Green Writers Press, and I have been invited to take part in the competiton based on samples I shared from The Last Stand

So what's your marketing plan?
All in good time, my friend. But in case you want a sneak peek, good news. This is part of it. ;)

Here's an unrelated photo of one of my cats.

Regularly Scheduled Blog Post

Oh hey look at that we've returned to the blog post I originally planned before you started asking all those pesky questions.



Deciding not to take part in NaNoWriMo was actually pretty tough. I have known about this self-led initiative for almost 20 years. In fact, without NaNoWriMo, The Last Stand would probably never have existed at all. I’ve been writing in my free time since I was in middle school and The Last Stand started as a story about my friends and I in the old west. Exactly two things exist from the original draft: the main character's red hair, and her love affair with the piano player at the saloon where she works. The original draft trafficked in played out tropes, stereotypical conversations, and two main characters with the same name. I don’t know what you expected, I wrote it when I was 13.

It wasn’t until college, however, that I started taking the National Novel Writing Month challenge: to write 50,000 words in the span of 30 days. After a couple of failed attempts with novels that went absolutely nowhere, I won for the first time in 2008 while I was studying abroad in Canterbury, England. At that point I had written plenty of other things since what was then called "The Western", including several other exercises in genre.  But I couldn’t get the western out of my head. Every October while I toiled over what project to tackle, "finish the western" inevitably found its way on to my list of ideas. 

Finally, in 2016, I took the plunge to either finish the book or abandon it forever. After several years of completing 50,000 words with ease, I also challenge myself to complete 100,000 instead. I fell shy of the goal, but ended with a draft that felt like a complete story. And so Draft Zero of The Last Stand was born.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? You may be asking. WHAT'S THE BOOK ABOUT? You're screaming to yourself and your fellow commuters as you read this on a train or something. AND WHAT IN THE FAT HELL IS DRAFT ZERO?

Guess you'll have to wait until the next post to find out more.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Top Five: Living That Freelance Lifestyle

In an effort to write more on my own blog, I'm going to start a "five things I discovered and/or finally got around to writing about" article once every other week. Here's List Number One!

  1. Bonjour Jolie This is a subscription service for people with periods. I think I discovered the site via Tumblr (because that's where I get all my good news from, I guess.) and I was very intrigued by a few different things. Bonjour Jolie is careful with gender-charged terms, using neutral words wherever possible. They also offer specialized boxes for Trans men, people getting their first period, and for gender-neutral folks, as well. This consciousness is what really attracted me to the site in the first place. You can dive right in with a subscription, but I'm going to try out one box first and see how it goes. And you can be sure that I'll write about it here.
  2. ASMR Videos Okay full disclosure I've been watching ASMR videos for almost four years now. If you've ever gotten a tingle on the back of your head and/or down your spine while someone whispers in your ear, or while a newspaper is rustling, or while someone plays with your hair (I think you get the picture), then you're sensitive to ASMR, or the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. While this response is well documented among those of us who experience it, it is not yet well explained or supported by scientific research, which means it's difficult to explain why it works for some people and not for others. I watch these videos to fall asleep or to help center myself while I work. I also use them as white noise in the background when I want to stay focused for a long time. I really favor Gentlewhispering as an ASMR-tist, but if you're getting into this phenomenon then I recommend poking around online and finding an artist that works for you. I find most of my favorite videos and playlists on youtube and Spotify.
  3. Riverdale Extended Trailer I am obsessed with Archie comics. I've discussed that here before, and even teased Riverdale while it was just in the casting phase. But now the show is weeks away from its premiere and I'm so hyped I can't stand it. Keep your eyes out for my Riverdale menu and what I'm sure will be regular shouting about this gritty take on the classic all-American kids in the suburban town of Riverdale.
  4. And by extension, the search for a Jughead hat pattern One of the specific updates that Riverdale is giving to Archie and his gang is a modern twist on Jughead's crown hat. Portrayed by Cole Sprouse, Jughead wears a cool knitted cap that looks similar enough to Jughead's original headwear without feeling dated. I don't have a link here yet as I haven't succeeded in finding the link, but I'm sure I won't be the only one searching for this once the show premieres.
  5. This T-Shirt 
    Honestly I don't know what to say about this t-shirt except that I need it. Seriously need it. I found it on a girl on tumblr and then just...googled it. Thrilling, I know. But I'm obsessed and I feel that it pretty well sums up what my brain is doing at any given time.

    So, what do you all think? I really like this practice even if no one reads it, considering it will be a good way to collect my thoughts and explain some of the ways I stay organized as a freelancer. It'll also serve as an online scrapbook of what's keeping me occupied at any given time. Coming up in the next installment: Bullet Journals, Reading Lists, and the return of network TV from the winter hiatus! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Unemployment Diaries: Catching Up is Hard to Do (Part Two) (When Will I stop Rhyming??)

Here's the second part of me catching up on my diaries. YOU BEHIND? Find part one here, or go back to the beginning by clicking HERE.
Thursday
10:30AM Wake my ass up because I have an eye doctor appt at Costco at 11:15. Forget to eat before leaving. Cranky.
11:30AM (ish) Find out my eyes are mostly the same, but my right eye is getting worse faster than my left. Embark on the adventure of picking out new glasses. I've had the same style glasses more or less for about eight years. I resist the urge to pick a mild variation on my current style. Send photos to Jeremy, Sam and Leia to get help with choosing a style. Jeremy says my second faves make me look like Trelawney. He's wrong but it starts to bug me. I pick a roundish red pair.
12:30PM I find a "my first computer programming" book for small children at Costco. Laugh.

Unemployment Diaries: Catching Up is Hard to Do.

I am now officially more than a week behind on my diaries. I don't know how that happened. (Don't let me lie to you, I know exactly how it happened and it rhymes with Schamgents of Schmield)
P.S. I am typing this with a cat stretched across my whole lap, kneading into my oversized Stitch Tsum-Tsum. That cat is Sif and she's tickled pink that I'm still home with her.

Last weekend was spent decidedly not in my house.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Unemployment Diaries: Going off Book Edition

While I'm working on new Unemployment Diaries (sorry for another delay!) here's a thing that tumbled out of me the other night on facebook to hold you over.

Guys I've been typing and retyping a comment here because I'm tired of bigotry and closed-minded hatred (I mean I'm tired of all kinds of hatred but whatever) and what it boils down to is this: Your existence is not threatened by the existence of those different from you. I promise. Whether that difference is racial, gendered, based on a sexuality or otherwise. We've had this debate before, we're going to probably have it again because we hate learning from our mistakes. Nobody wants to ruin your marriage, or corrupt your children, or change the way you lead your life. In fact, your life looks pretty nice with all the unquestioned choices you get to make on the daily. Everyone wants to be more like you, and live the life you do. It's nice, isn't it, knowing you're admired? And what would you lose by allowing such a thing? (spoiler alert: nothing).

Just... be nicer. To all the weird kids, all the weird adults, all the weird adolescents who might, in fact, be going through a phase but need your support regardless. We’re all a little weird, depending on who’s looking at us. So just let the weirdness commence. Who honestly cares? Pride should not only be afforded to those in power. Are you nervous that your kids will be exposed to the weirdness and possibly find out that they have weirdness in them, too? Cool news: that’s probably going to happen sooner or later anyhow, because some of us are just BORN WEIRD (scratch that--most of us are born weird). It worked for Lady Gaga.

You know what makes weirdness hard? Other people. I don’t hate that I’m weird. I hate the way other people look at me when they find out I’m weird. Or that they’ll decide I’m weird before getting to know me. Or that I’m weirder than I originally thought, and now I’ve gotta keep it hidden to avoid things getting worse. As the weird one, it’s somehow my responsibility to change my behavior/looks/words to make the other person (the person who doesn’t have to do all this fidgeting and adjusting in the first place) more comfortable. They’re only uncomfortable in the first place because they’ve decided to fixate on my weirdness. MINE. possessive. The weirdness belongs to me, it’s part of me, I can’t just erase it or ignore it at the risk of being less than 100% myself. Everyone loved BeyoncĂ© until she reminded them she was born weird. How dare she embrace her own skin, her heritage and her history and the very DNA with which she was born. Isn’t being rich and famous enough, Bey? Can’t you just get back in line and pipe down?

This other person, the one who is so uncomfortable, approaches with a huge roll of white out tape. I can keep the weirdness, they finally agree, but I can never speak of it again. I can never tell anyone I have it inside of me. I have to be blank, so that they can sleep better at night. In the meantime, I can’t sleep at all. Everything itches. The weirdness bounces around in a cage and makes me shake from head to toe. I’m sick and I’m dying and I’m told it’s a punishment, or that I’ve made it up, or that somehow it’s something I’ve actually caused myself. If only I’d ignored every fiber of my being and scrubbed and scrubbed until I had no features of my own left. All my edges are rounded out.
From The Fairly Oddparents, when Timmy wishes everyone were the same
and there's STILL arbitrary bullshit prejudice
I am trying to disappear. I am trying to stay quiet and blend in and make sure you’re as comfy as possible. I’m trying to make sure you forget I exist, for your sake and for mine. I only appear when you need me, to do a parlor trick and show others how you’ve flattened me out and fit my square peg into a round hole. I’m still not round enough--I’m just quieter about my square edges. You brag about your perfectly spherical existence. I’m tired of thinking about this.

I’m physically tired, and mentally drained and I don’t even get the worst of it. I barely blip on a map of misfortune, to be honest. And I CAN pretend I’m spherical, but not all of us can. Some of us are so square that we’ve tried to shove ourselves into a round hole, and torn the edges to pieces and now we’re a jagged, irregular square, even worse than when we started. There is no end to this rant, the same way there’s no end to the things we find to hate each other for. I’m too tired to continue the metaphor. Just let people be people--especially if that means they’re celebrating WHO. THEY. ARE. 

Anyway, if you see a weird kid, tell them you like their shoes. Or don’t. But I promise you they’ll notice either way.