Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Self-Inflicted NaNoWriMo

Who wants to join me in June?   I have a few things I have to finish up this month and then I'm going to embark on a journey of fifty thousand words.  Or at least fifty pages.  I'm going to get a jump start on my creative thesis so that after the residency I can actually finish this damn book!  I'm going to work on The Summer of August Hunt instead of Death Man.  I adore the latter but I just have no direction for it.  The former, on the other hand, I have completely mapped out.  Part of me wonders if I should ask for Randall Kenan as a mentor since this type of story is right up his alley (the whole magical realism thing) but my first choice, I think, is going to be Steve.  Honestly, it depends what I am able to get done of it before going as well as who is most receptive to the story idea.  Sterling Watson really enjoyed the writing for this story but he did mention the genre is not his cup of tea.  He would give wonderful feedback in technique and composition but I wonder if I need someone who will also enjoy going through the pages (there will be a lot of them and I don't want this to be a painful process for me or my mentor).  I will present my idea to several people and just see what sort of happens.  I'm taking David Yoo's class and am actually going to use the very beginning of this novel as the example for it so we'll see if he leaps at the ideas contained within or if he raises an eyebrow at me.

It's strange.  I always thought it would be Death Man.  A friend suggested that I write a few novellas for Death Man and I may try that later.  For now though, I think what I have on my hands with The Summer of August Hunt is a fairy tale of sorts and the structure is just so clean.  I know that the writing is what generates the story (in fact I pretty much can't write unless I have my hands happily arched under QWERTY row) but to have a sort of grand-master plan is going to be a tremendous help in getting the story out quickly and cleanly.  I love the characters in the story and while it's geared toward a Young Adult audience it doesn't pussy-foot around the big issues of the time including who or what you can trust.

In the meantime, I have a few things left!  I have to read Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, read the article for Eileen's class, prepare three reading segments (one of those can be written at the residency), prepare for David's class which entails bringing in selections from YA novels as well as a selection from my own, and do one last read through of my critical thesis and ship it off to Tanya and Meg!  Most of this will be done either tonight of early tomorrow.  Adding to my list of to-dos however is a job interview at 11:30 tomorrow for Professional Transportation Inc.  I forgot that I had even applied for them!  All the other jobs have said no.  So we'll see how the interview goes tomorrow with PTI.  There's one more job I'm going to apply for and it's for the Liberty Lake Library heading up the Young Adult and Children's section.  I want this job so bad that my gut hurts just thinking about it.  It's in Liberty Lake which is more of a drive than I had wanted to worry about for a job, but it's everything I've ever dreamed of.  It is one part book stuff, one part education, and one part kids.  It's perfect.  I have until June 13th to get the application for that done, but again, I'm hoping to get all of this stuff done before the first.  Oh and I have my end of term evaluation to do!  That will also be tonight, I hope.

During June the only things I want to worry about are: writing SoAH, reading and critiquing workshop pieces, work, a few camping dates, and getting my ass in gear exercising at the Kroc.  What I have to work on most, I think, is time management.  I want to make sure I give my girlfriend and family a good portion of my time, as well as spend time playing with my friends.  I can do all of this if I just figure out which hours of which day need to go to which activity.  I know that at work I can get a good deal of work-shopping done (we still have slow moments here and there), and on the days I don't work I can work my buns off at the library or at home or even at my friend's house writing on SoAH.  This will come together.  I know it will.  It freaking has to!  There's one more thing I have to worry about and I want to work on that tonight as well if there's time: getting all the graduation plans in order.  I actually have a pretty good idea of what I want to do.  If I can, I'm going to do a quick digital design of how I envision the decorations going.  But that may have to wait a day or two (perhaps it could be a fun project to do with my more digitally savvy friends).

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Inspired by Skeleton Dude

I talked with my boss.  My lack of hours are not a reflection of my job performance or anything like that.  It's just scheduling issues.  So I'm both relieved and annoyed.  I love having the time off, but desperately need to the money.  But that's okay.  I'll be back at the plasma place this next week, which works out just fine since I will have a crap ton of reading to do.

On another note: I wanted to share some art.  Hannah and I were looking at an Erotica Fantasy Art book at Hastings the other day (honestly the majority of it was crappy 3-D renderings that were less fantasy and more gratuitous nudity).  But as we pawed through a few really sexy digital pieces stood out.  The artist listed was Aleksandra Marchocka.  I'm all about spreading the word for budding artists and I really enjoyed this person's work.  Below is probably my favorite of her work pieces.  It wasn't featured in the erotic fantasy book.  This is something I found on my own doing image searches.

The reason I'm so incredibly drawn to this picture is because it is pretty much a perfect representation of the relationship in my Death Man novel between the title character and the Blood Squaw, Scarlet.  The characters don't look like the ones in the picture - not even close - but the emotion and the overall impression is a perfect match.  I love that in this picture, this big strong, wicked looking skeleton dude is so freaking innocent and tender.  His hand is behind his back but I don't suspect him of holding a knife, or an ax, or of even crossing his fingers.  I imagine speech bubbles for this picture would go something like this:  Skeleton Dude - "I picked this flower for you.  I left the roots though.  Figured you'd appreciate that."

I think at least for one workshop I'm going to revamp the scene in the novel where Death Man and Scarlet first meet.  I'm fond of dysfunctional characters and they are about as dysfunctional as they come.  It's not a particularly happy scene (he's just killed a pregnant woman as part of his training and he's having a bit of a crisis) but let's just say, Scarlet brings out the best in him.

Friday, May 23, 2014

MFA Success & Job Malfunction

I really adore my mentor this semester.  Honestly, I've loved all my mentors so far and I've learned so much from all of them that it would be hard to say who has influenced me the most.  But this semester was a hard semester.  I had to write a critical thesis, which sucked.  However, my topic was on world building in Dystopian Fiction, which didn't suck.  Steve (my mentor from first semester) is the one who suggested this topic and Laura (my current, wonderful mentor) helped me develop and complete it.  Today she emailed me back that my paper is a go.  I have a few tiny things to correct because printing it, binding it, and sending it.  That is going to be the task this weekend as well as working more on my workshop pieces.  

So, as far as the MFA pursuit goes, I'm on track.  As far as career/job/money making goes, I'm rather confused.  I typically work three days a week at my job (sometimes more and sometimes less depending on who is taking vacations, etc.).  But for two weeks now I am only working two days each week.  This will not give me any sort of a living wage.  I realize I have BioLife as a back-up money maker, but not only is that invasive and upsetting, it's not guaranteed.  If I'm sick, if my iron is too low, if I'm not hydrated enough, or if I get hurt on my arms near the donation sight then I'm fucked.  So I'm starting to freak out a little and wonder if I did something to upset my bosses.  They know I'm taking two weeks off in July for the residency and that I could use a few extra days leading into that.  If I knew what I did - if I was sitting here going 'oh, crap, that's totally the reason they want me there as little as possible' - that would be one thing.  But I work my ass off at this job and I get a great deal of positive feedback from customers.  No one has said anything to me, but I'm scared.  The only thing I can think of is that maybe my Boss is angry because other employers have called her?  I did apply at four places.  But so far those look less than promising and my Boss straight up knows I'm not making it on the hours I've got.  I've told her I'm looking for a second job so... what gives?  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On the Eve of the Last Packet of my Critical Thesis

Tomorrow I send in what is most likely my final draft of my critical thesis. There is always the chance that I'll have a few more little edits after, but I'm very excited to be done with this. I've enjoyed the learning process and I reckon I have a quite a bit more awareness toward world building and world creativity than I ever did before. That being said, life has been one long procrastination after another. Once this paper is done I'm going to have to work my ass off on a few things: firstly I need to finalize what I'm sending in for workshop, secondly I need to go to town working on the creative thesis. At this point I'm not even sure I'm going to use Death Man (I will be finishing it someday, I swear! I just don't know that it's what I want to use as my thesis for school). I might use 'The Summer of August Hunt' for my thesis as it is more magical realism and would require all the delicacy in world building as any fantasy or Dystopian I could conceive of. But then there's all of these semi-YA novels that I really and truly want to write. If I had money and time I would go back for another MFA this time with an emphasis in YA literature. But then I'd have to write another critical thesis... and no. Just no. One is more than enough.

Aside from working on homework (working on and avoiding homework, I should say), I've been keeping busy with a variety of things. In lieu of bogging up this blog post with ginormous paragraphs, I've elected to put it all into list form! Enjoy.
  • My best friend moved to Coeur d'Alene. This of course means there has been much watching of Jeremy Wade (River Monsters) and horror films, fun adventures in gluten free cooking, and lots of silliness all around. I helped her get a bed (via my awesome boss who had a spare she gave away for free). Pretty soon, we're hoping to start doing some good old Dungeons and Dragons. No, we still haven't pierced our nips but that may have to wait as Hannah and I both donate to BioLife and my best friend wants to start going as well - so eventually we'll use some of the money we get from donating to get them babies pierced, hehe.
  • We had a yard sale! Got rid of a bunch of stuff and pretty much organized the garage. Want to know what Hannah and I have in the garage? Probably two storage tubs of collectible and sentimental goodies and then tons of boxes of books and records. Yep. Aside from the few things in our room, our life is vinyl and literature. We are a simple folk with very bulky needs.  

  • I applied at four places (Post Office, Target, North Idaho College, and Emeritus Senior Living) as a way to perhaps get a second job or trade up for a better paying one. The first two on the list have already turned me down. Here's hoping for NIC.  I really, really want to work at the college and get my foot in the door to post secondary education.
  • My little computer, Vignette the Vizio, went off, yet again, to be repaired and has been gone for over a month in a clusterfuck beyond words. First they wouldn't fix it (they said it had ants, but later told me there were no ants, said it was past warranty, then later said they'd fix it or get me a new one because of phantom ants, the list goes on), and now they are on my side to some degree and trying to fix it but first they have to replicate the problem. The problem is that it randomly turns off while I'm using it. Which means they are going to have a hell of a time trying to replicate the problem. I have... some hope that I'll get a new computer, but mostly I'm worried this is just going to be an ongoing issue and I should just throw in the towel. A five-hundred dollar towel.
  • I'm getting all set for my fourth residency at Pine Manor College and I still need to finalize all the plans for graduation. I can't write about it too much yet as it's supposed to be a surprise but, in the end, I may tell my friend E all about it and see what she thinks. She's going to be one of the graduates and I gotta tell you, I don't like this whole graduating and moving on business not one bit! But the good news there is that she is still in the area and when I go back for my fifth residency we are going to hang out and bring mischief to the table like a couple of cute Lokis!
  • A group of us (Hannah, C, J, and I) attended a fantastic May Day/Beltane celebration at the start of May and not only did we get to dance around the maypole, we got to take part in a wonderful ritual. Part of the ritual was sort of couples oriented (they did a special thing for singles, too!) and so Hannah and I went up and lit candles together and these candles are meant to keep our relationship ignited and all that good stuff. It was really quite nice. Oh, and we bought a crap ton of books! And I bought tarot cards for like seven dollars (a brand new set) that go for over eighty bucks on Amazon.  
  • Next month we're going on a camping trip with our group from Beltane. We'll be going to Riverside State Park and if we really like it we may be going back a few more times this summer with other friends who can't make it this time around. I love camping. I seriously freaking love camping and this is going to be a real treat for me. 
  • Game of Thrones marathon. Three seasons. Nuff said.  
For the rest of tonight I've got a good amount of homework to get done. I was out of my medicine for a while and yesterday was a truly awful day full of weeping and feeling sorry for myself and feeling so incredibly unfocused I could hardly function. But today has been much, much better. After I get this packet sent off and after I get all my workshop materials ready and sent off I will be in good shape for the residency and I will be in good shape emotionally. I hope. Already I think this residency will be a much happier one. I'm excited to spend time with my Residency Wife and all our friends and to make new friends. I can't wait to see my mentors again and get them to sign some books for me and I'm super excited to look for someone to be my final mentor. That's all I've got for now. Mainly I wanted to prove I'm still alive.