Thursday, January 30, 2014

Done with Packet 1 of Semester 3!

I sent it off at 8:00 am.  I had it all done last night and would have sent it off but, wouldn't you know it, the internet went out.  Of course.  The first time in my life I have a packet ready to go before the actual due date and I can't even prove it!  Well, it wasn't too much of a problem.  I got everything sent out in the morning and have already been emailed by my mentor - the fabulous Laura Williams McCaffrey - that she received it and will get me a response either Sunday or Monday.  That means I have until about Monday before I have to get all nervous about critical writing again.  And in the mean time I can read and I can also write on Death Man.

The beginning - as I learned in Robert Lopez's class at residency and as I learned from reading Crawford Killian's Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy - gives one all the necessary clues to figure out the ending.  This isn't a spoiler per se - it sets up the thematic logic that will drive the story toward an ending.  It gives a certain amount of foreshadow and also sets the tone of the piece.  This is difficult for me concerning the Death Man - obviously it's a dystopian work and has no choice but to end with hope or hopelessness.  I want there to be a message of hope.  Even a small one.  And so there has to be some kind of 'innocence' and 'determination' in the beginning that carries through to the end.  The 'hope' character might not even be the main character but the impression left by him will drive that innocence and determination forward.  This sounds kind of complicated.  I guess what I'm saying is that I'm having a hard time deciding on an opening scene.  I am thinking of starting it the day the Death Man really starts to be formed; the day the Luminary's wife sends him to the Arena.

I'm thinking that we might do some library time tomorrow.  I'll get my Pan's Labyrinth soundtrack going and just let my characters do as they will.  By the next time I have a packet due, I want to really be able to give Laura something polished and decent - something that will interest and impress her.  She's a dystopian writer and I am very much looking forward to her ideas concerning my story's world.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

We are reaching Critical Mass!

I still have quite a bit to do before next Thursday but I am confident I can accomplish a fair amount in the next two days.  I have to keep going on the introduction for the critical thesis and I have to finish the outline.  I also have to work on the artist's statement and cover letter.  BUT!  I have finished two books: Feed by M.T. Anderson and Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy by Crawford Killian.  I have started a few others and will probably finish off Asunder by Robert Lopez and More Daring Escapes by Steve Huff while at work on Tuesday.  We've had ridiculously slow days at work which sucks for the store but is great for me getting some reading done.  What I really, really want to do tomorrow or even late tonight is work on Death Man a little.  I've gotten such amazing feedback on it and I'm proud that the few snippets my workshop group has read has sparked such furious and animated debate!

Goals for tonight: keep on reading The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and also The Book of Execution by Geoffrey Abbott.  At least a little bit on each before bed.  And try and get out a little on Death Man - either editing/revising the first scene (which may or may not even be the first scene anymore), or trucking ahead on the violent initiating incident of the novel.

Things yet to come: I am eager for my W2 to finally show up so I can get my taxes done.  I think that I have quite a handsome return coming which is nice because all of my student loans went to the vehicles.  It was a necessary expense but kind of depressing, too.  Still there is an upside!  We have my Kia back which gets better gas mileage than the Jeep and it will make trips down to Moscow a great deal cheaper, but it will also allow us to go to Seattle and visit some friends from the residency.  This is something we've been wanting to do since shortly after my first residency but just never had time or money for.  Well, right now we are tight on money but I have some spare time (the time I'm not actively using for homework) because work is so unbearably slow.  We are planning to head over the second weekend of February for just the weekend.  I figure the five hour drive over ought to give us a little reading time.

The other thing going on is that Vignette, my cute little Vizio computer, is acting up again.  She's shut off (completely randomly and under different circumstances each time) three times now.  I'm very aggravated.  I just got her back from the Vizio people who said they repaired her.  My warranty only lasts until April.  I really think they might just need to give me a new one because I can't do a damn thing on this computer without harboring panic that it will go up in a puff of smoke the next time Vignette decides to just shut down for no reason at all.  We'll deal with that tomorrow when I call them up again.  In the mean time, onto some reading, some playing, and some writing.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Post Residency Rambling

I've felt like writing poetry lately.  I've hurt very much this past month, I've ached, I've sobbed, I've been self destructive in ways that I haven't been in a very long time.  I want to stop all of this and find joy again.  It will take time and I know that.  I didn't really do an update about the residency in Boston - couldn't get past the fog of ache, couldn't stop having panic attacks and clutching in vain at the knot in my tummy - but the residency was a fruitful one as far as education and friend-networking went.  Now I have to put my focus into the critical thesis, meditation, and continuing on in my creative writing.  The first packet is due in a week and I need to have a thesis statement, an outline, and an introduction all written out.  Also I need my artist's statement, cover letter, and about ten pages of creative work.  This may not seem like a lot of stuff to do, but it's hard to tell myself to care sometimes.  It's hard to push past the swirling emotions in my head to concentrate on doing anything that involves the future.
Things I learned at the residency: I like spinach.  I actually love spinach!  This was quite surprising as I have never voluntarily consumed it before.  I learned that at the Logan Airport, Terminal E trumps Terminal A.  I learned how to navigate the T by myself and that was an awesome feeling.  Also dialed a taxi cab for the first time in my life!  Got laughed at by the dispatcher (which was sad) because it was in the middle of a blizzard and they 'no way, no how' were going to be able to come pick me up.  I learned that a quarter of a mile in knee-deep snow is beyond my abilities to travel. 
I did start Feed by M.T. Anderson.  I really like it and it's going to be a fast read, something for which I am very thankful for.  Some of the other books are going to take much longer.  I have some ideas though, for the critical thesis, and that's something.  There is still a maelstrom inside me, a constant flux of hope and darkness and fear, oh so much fear, but reading and writing has helped.  And my friends have helped.  And Hannah has helped.  People have been so good to me through this and it kills me because all the stress, is stress I brought on myself.  On Facebook there is a meme that goes something like this: smash a plate on the ground, now say sorry, and realize that just saying sorry didn't put it back together again.  I feel like I've broken so many plates.  Too many plates.  But I guess breaking plates is better than just using cheap plastic dinnerware and never really feeling anything more than passing affection.  That probably doesn't make sense.  I do enjoy a good mixed metaphor from time to time.  *sigh*
There are a few things that I know for sure about me: I am incredibly lucky to have friends and family who stay by my side, who love me through my worst and cherish me through my best.  I know that life takes people on different paths but we are all on the journey together and that it is a great honor and privilege to be there for each other in good times and bad.  I know that I need time to heal, and that I'm fragile.
Moving on.  I have to move on.  I have to try and embrace the future.  It's hard.  In fact it's impossibly hard. So for now, I'm going to try and focus on each day and remember that I am loved.  My name means deserving of great love and, honestly, I've never felt that I deserved anyone's like, never mind their love.  But deserving or not, I am so very thankful for the people I have in my life.  I'm literally brought to tears over it.  I am a ridiculously needy creature and without the comfort of my friends and loved ones, I really am nothing.