Summer

I think summers are wonderful, but this one just isn’t really working out for me. Really, last year’s didn’t either. I’ve always seen the summer as a great time to just branch out and do stuff that I can’t do during school, but I actually spent more time both writing and drawing for pleasure during the school year. Go figure (although that may be explained by the fact that a) I’m in a writing program, and writing kinda comes with the territory, and b) I was required to keep a sketchbook for art class, and since I do like drawing well…). I’ve wanted to write more code, like maybe write a video game or something. I KNOW I can write a crappy video game in a month, because I’ve done it before. And I do want to try it again.  But the thing with leaving all the these fantastic plans to the summer is that you really can’t get everything done. I think the summer is really better for either starting or finishing big projects, rather than starting and completing big projects.

I guess some people might disagree with me. But to me, that was a HUGE realization, and it sort of makes sense. I really only have time to start and finish one big project during the summer. And most of the time, I want to do many, many things, like writing a book, or writing and mixing a song, or composing electronic music, or even writing code for a video game. And I’m a multitasker. I suck at getting things finished. It’s a fact in my life. So instead or trying to finish all these things, I just go to summer school and try to finish an entire high school course in like, three weeks. It might seem a bit counter intuitive, but it makes the most sense for me. First of all, that is the only way I am guaranteed not to waste copious amounts of time on the internet for two months. Also, I like the feeling of accomplishing something tangible. Passing a course is not a small feat, and it’s a credit. Also, I despise math, so I usually just try to get that out of the way. But it also gets me into the habit of valuing my time and dividing it up accordingly. Again, I’m a multitasker. School does not prevent me from multitasking.

So now summer school is over, and I’m working on a whole bunch of projects at once. But I’m starting to think about simply getting the projects started. Maybe not finishing them, but I should just pick one, get a huge chunk of it done, and then dabble in the others. Hmmm…

-Rebeeks

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On Fiction Writing

Sometimes I don’t understand why, deep inside me, there is still an impulse to write. Why am I doing it? sometimes it actually doesn’t make sense to me. I always start a lot more poems than the number of poems I actually finish; why, I do not know. Or actually, I do know. To me, inspiration is something which is fleeting as the wind. It comes and goes like the wind. Sometimes I wonder how actual writers, real published authors, overcome this. But maybe they don’t. John Green did just go like, at least 3 years without publishing a book.

A few months ago I decided I sucked at story-writing and almost gave it up completely, but I couldn’t. I always tell people I am primarily a non-fiction writer, which is true, and I wear that self-appointed label like a badge of honor. Why shouldn’t I? These days, all people seem to care about is fiction. And I do love fiction as much as the next person, but I love my essays too much. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a literary narcissist. I spend way too much time writing about my life, my experiences, my joy, my sorrow… I know my life is complicated, and I do like giving myself a voice. But I realize there are others, other people, other problems, other complications in this world. I’m just not necessarily qualified to speak of any of them. And so I know the non-fiction genre, unpopular as it is, has a lot to offer. And it has a special place in my heart. But I still find it quite impossible to give up fiction.

Perhaps it is good that I can’t give up fiction, but it does cause me some issues. I am not confident in my ability to make up and tell a good story. At all. The last time I tried, I came up with eight pages of rambling nonsense. And as we all well know, rambling nonsense is not conductive to telling a good story. At all. My characters are flat and there is generally a glaring absence of plot. But for some reason, despite all of this, there is a tiny voice in my head telling me not to give up.

Well, it’s actually not one voice. It’s voices, plural. I swear there are sometimes characters in my brain clamoring for me to tell their stories. I am not making this up. One, it actually drove me crazy for about two weeks, and I was forced to sit down and take extensive notes on this character and her family. I haven’t started telling her story, yet, though. And I think deep down I fear that if I give up fiction, I will irretrievably lose a part of myself, the part of myself that is a storyteller at heart and loves bouncing story ideas off other people. That has been a part of me since my earliest childhood. Where is the confidence I had, back in fourth grade, back when I thought I could write mystery novel? What happened to the sixth grader who thought she could win short story contests? I admit I’m scared. I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid of becoming incoherent and messy in my writing again. I hate being messy and incoherent. But what do I do?

For the first time in almost three years, I am writing a story. It may be a short story, it may be a novella, it may be a novel. Who knows? But the effort counts. I am not saying I haven’t written fiction in 3 years. I am saying that I haven’t done it for myself, with passion, with actual belief in what I am doing and the story I am trying to tell, in 3 years. It’s a lot. With that time gap my adventurous self is returning. I am trying new genres; I’m experimenting. I’m going all out. I don’t hate writing fiction. I’m trying to regain the confidence to be able to look past my shitty first drafts, the confidence to even begin those drafts. I hope I find it again, because deep inside, I miss my inner novelist.

Poem

I thought I’d share one of my poems today.

What Talent?

Inspiration doesn’t come when you call it.
Not even remotely when you need it.
Oh, no. It runs away from you. It stutters. It stalls.
It finds good excuses – oh, sorry, good reasons
To not help you out.
I’m sure it says (or is saying),
“Oh, look, she’s tired, I won’t bother her with good ideas” or
“She has two weeks to finish that; she doesn’t need my help”
Which is really annoying.
Or, maybe you just infuriated the Greek muses.
Really, who knows?

And when your creativity finally shows up—
Oh, when it comes, it’s always at the most inconvenient time
Such as, in the bathroom or
At three in the morning
Or during that really boring science test—
I mean, ideas are great and all but you sort of need to pass that—
And creativity doesn’t always flow like water, but no,
It drips and abruptly stops or
It is a crashing tsunami that quickly washes away,
And then you’re just stuck there thinking,
“Why,
Why do I even do this art thing with my life?”

The problem is, the making of a creation
Is a long and drawn out process that involves
Sitting at your desk and yelling
“Ideas! Come to me!”
(Which may be why the Muses hate you in the first place?)
Or you know, even days when ideas appear while you’re otherwise occupied
But disappear before you grasp them,
And, it involves piles of messy drafts
And mounds of vile work
And days of adjusting details to unattainable perfection.

The worst part?
Your friends might come over and look at
Your painful hours of exertion and tell you
That you “were hit with the talent stick too many times.”
Talent stick? What talent stick?
It’s not like someone invisibly walks around and
Randomly bops people on the head with this huge stick marked “TALENT”
And doles out talent (Because why not?)
And this person is like “You’re going to be this amazing singer” or
“You’re going to be this amazing painter and—
Yeah. No.
Life doesn’t work that way. Sadly.
It takes time and work and so much effort
To do something presentable
And so, when people tell me that I’m talented,
Sometimes, just sometimes,
I look at them like, “What talent?”

Year 2 of this blog!

My blog turned two years old a week ago. I don’t really know how I feel about that. On one hand, it makes me happy to know that I have been able to stick to blogging for that period of time, but on the other hand… I don’t know. More people are reading this now. I didn’t really have an audience before. Not that I have a big audience or anything, but people are aware that this blog exists. That’s sort of a freaky thought that I have about my little corner of the Internet. 

One thing I will say is that the quality of my posts has improved a lot, even though the frequency of them has decreased. I always say I’m going to post more, but then things get in the way… I don’t know what to think, so my only goal for this year is to post better content. 

-Rebeeks

Rambling About Ideas, Writing, and School

I haven’t written a post since November. I really do suck at this whole blogging thing. But I have been really busy with school work and summatives and exams. This is high school, people. Dying. This semester is starting out pretty strong. Report cards are coming out tomorrow for last semester (AAHH!!!), I have 3 projects at the same time going on in lit, and I am rediscovering my artist side. I’ve never really been a traditional artist, and I sort of suck at drawing, but I’ve always been into the physical things, such as sewing, knitting, jewellery design/ making, and photography. I am discovering the joy of keeping a sketchbook, and I am also discovering just how annoying is it to blend with coloured pencils. It is a pain.

I did read the new Unwanteds Quests book that came out about seven days ago. It wasn’t as disappointing as the last two books in the main series, but it wasn’t nearly as satisfying and it feels like the shortest Unwanteds book yet. I don’t know if it is though, because I read it in ebook format, since a physical copy was just sort of like a hassle to get a hold of. In fact, I’ve discovered a lot of new authors and book series through ebooks. Some of them are kind of shitty, and some of them are straight up garbage, but some of them are actually good and then I just binge read them. One such author was Shannon Hale, who wrote the Books of Bayern series. Do check them out, because they are great and amazing and awesome.

We are starting Sci-Fi in lit and I have no clue where to start. Half of the time I am like AAHHH! and the other half of the time I am like HOW DO YOU DO THIS!!! and all of the time I am like I HAVE NO GOOD IDEAS!!!! HELP!!! because it is true. I don’t know what I was thinking, but somehow when I was auditioning I didn’t think we were going to be writing fantasy or sci-fi or dark shit but our first assignment was to write a horror story. No dark shit indeed. Right.

So as much as I love complaining, I am going to have to pull myself together, because you can’t just be in a writing program and then not write. Not writing will not get you any better at writing so I get just have to sit my butt down nd do the damn work. The other thing is, I really need to work on my deep thinking skills. Also on letting my mind wander, and then capturing those thoughts. I get my best ideas at times when I can’t really record them, like when I’m in the shower or when I’m in the middle of doing a mindless task such as, I don’t know, washing dishes. The ideas flit by and disappear as quickly as they come, and then what I end up remembering, if I remember anything, is a colourless, washed out, unrecognizable version of my previous idea. Bummer. See, we all have problems. Some of us struggle with getting good concepts. Some of us struggle with executing them.

So, most of the time, I end up sitting down during a very uncreative time and brainstorming. My version of brainstorming is writing down everything I can think of until I fill at least 2 pages, handwritten in my messy handwritting. It’s sort of like a really messy free write. I always handwrite it because pens are comforting, but also because working on paper just helps my ideas glide better, I guess. Then I usually go and bounce my generally horrible ideas off of other people, because it really helps to refine or broaden or add on to a concept. You’d be surprised at how many good ideas will come out of a conversation. Just saying.

So, that was my rant of the day. I hope I see you soon in another post!

-Rebeeks

On Me and Writing Poetry

I’m in my poetry mode right now, which is such a rare thing for me that I just try to take advantage of it. I mean, I’m a prose writer, which means I do things such as write in paragraphs, not in stanzas; use punctuation properly, such as putting periods at the ends of sentences (and not ending lines without them). Prose also does not have to be poetic or metaphoric (although it can be those things as well) and is generally not a rhythmic style of writing.

Ha. That means the way we usually speak can be considered prose (or if we want to be fancy, dialogue, although dialogue can be in poetry as well). 

When I’m in poetry mode, I generally attempt to rhyme things and binge write poetry, which I really need to be in the right mindset to write. My poems are generally a constant refrain in my mind during that time. I know I’m really in poetry mode when I tend to rhyme my sentences when I speak French. Actually, that it THE key indicator. French is my first language. It’s also a language that I don’t spend much time writing in (and that I never write poetry in). When things in French become rhythmic and start to rhyme, I probably should be using that brain processing power elsewhere.

I also write poetry in a very different way than I write prose. My poems are never free form. They always have some rhythm to them, and most of them rhyme. I spend a lot of ime reading them to myself, and I edit things, and change words on the go. The next stanza is usually not started until the first one is complete. I mull over my phrases even when I’m not writing them. So when a poem is done, it’s done. It’s not getting edited any further. Well, sometimes I do change minor things. Tweaks, really. But rarely.

When I write prose, like essays or stories, I just write for as long as I can and worry about editing later.
So don’t ask me why I don’t edit my poems. I probably spend more time editing them than I spend editing prose. It’s just, I edit them WHILE THEY’RE BEING WRITTEN. Not at the end. (And as you may know, these posts don’t even get edited.)

So that was my rant of the day.

-Rebeeks 

On Nanowrimo, Typos and Other Things

God help me.

Nanowrimo is very, very, time-consuming. In fact, I should probably be working on my story right now. But I am just so annoyed at it, and I guess I just don’t know where it’s going.

So you know what? I gave up. After four thousand, five hundred,  and thirteen words.
Huh. Good job to me. Actually, never mind that. I suck.

I have discovered that I am utterly incapable of motivating myself to do anything. Which is why I’m typing this blog post instead of stydying for the dumb science test that I have tomorrow. I really am an idiot. Thank God I don’t go to an IB program school. I would just about die. (And people say I’m smart. What are they thinking?)

So yeah. I’m in a writing program and I’m not even capable of writing 670 words everyday to meet a good of 20 000 words. That just doesn’t say much about me as a writer.

Things I Have Written Instead Of The Novel I Was Going To Write:

  1. Bad poetry.
  2. A dumb essay on character development, adversity, and tigers. Don’t ask. (And yes, it was an assignment.)
  3. Emails and text messages that showcase how boring my life is.
  4. An essay about perception.
  5. More bad poems.
  6. This blog post.

    Do any of those include the words “novel”, “dumb novel”, or “stupid novel”?
    No? I thought so.

    On a completely different note, my work has been published on my school’s literary magazine and there are currently two typos in it. I actually can’t stand to look at it. It been bugging me for days. Days!
    And have you ever had the issue where omitting one word completely changes the meaning of a sentence? Yeah? Well, they did that. Do you have any idea how annoying it is? I actually had to restrain myself from yelling at the editors. 
    And of course, their website had other problems as well. It always does! Yay. I am not (let me repeat this, NOT) excited to have to be one of the editors next year, which, like so many other things, is a mandatory experience. Yay! (NOT)

    So now that I’ve ranted about NaNoWriMo and those dumb typos in my work, what’s left?
    Ah, that DUMB SCIENCE TEST that I’m supposed to be studying for.

    I hate biology. And obviously, it’s a biology test. Some people are perfectly content with doing it now to get it over with. I, on the other hand, am not. I would rather never do it.
    Unfortunately, I am not so lucky as to have that option. Screw the science curriculum that makes biology mandatory until grade 10.
    Did I mention that I have when things are mandatory for no reason?
    I need to memorize a whole bunch of terms that will probably not be any use to me in the future all so I can pass this dumb course that I really like except for this unit. I hate this unit. I will never take biology again one I have the choice.

    Screw this test.

    -Rebeeks