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Am I Really Doing This Again?

I think the more I try to push away writing projects for other things, the more my life works to swing me around and bring me right back to where I started: small and scared, pen in hand in front of a blank piece of looseleaf. Or, in this case, insert creaking knuckles and office laptop screen into the appropriate slot, I suppose.

I don’t want to talk about where I’ve been; I’ll let the stories do that. What’s important is that I’m back again, and that I never actually stopped writing to begin with. The rusty old brain has been kicked around, patched up, scratched up and booted halfway from here to Arkansas (I didn’t actually go to Arkansas, I just like the way it’s spelled, and how I say it phonetically in my head like an elementary rebel while I pronounce it aloud the right way), but thank the Lord above, she’s kept on trucking for me, and that’s more than I could have asked for.

Hell, she even managed to pump out some things that got published, that little fighter, and I love her for it. And now, after our nap that wasn’t quite a nap, now we’re here; maybe because I like this medium, or maybe because there’s something I’m supposed to get from this, I’m not sure. I do know that my fingers got to aching to move a melody against a set of plastic keys–this Mac makes a better sound than a baby grand, let me tell you– and where a rusty tap used to jut out from my cortex, a leak has sprouted from beneath the siding and there’s a bunch of stuff–creative oil, perhaps– just gushing out into my imagination and pooling there. And though that blank page is as terrifying as ever, I’m starting to see what it would look like with, dear God yes, words on it. So I guess I’ve just got to do what I’ve always done and put them where it looks like they should go.

You can see it when I’m done, too, if you like. For now, you’ve got these silly little brain scrapings to read. Hope you like ’em.

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Hello, again.

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Grace, Boats and Neil Gaiman.

I spent three hours today on a boat by myself with sixty or so strangers, two books, and a notepad. The situation was a kettle, a few teabags and a deep mug away from perfection, let me tell you. I live for long trips. If, in the rare case that I’ve neglected to bring some sort of reading material, I can occupy myself by exploring the many corners of my brain. I can’t even begin to tell you how many characters I’ve dreamed up on family road trips; most of them I use right away if I feel that I can’t get to know them well enough for a full-on novel venture. Sometimes though, sometimes I’m introduced to a boy or a girl that just won’t go away. I’ll get a funny image, and blow it up, and stretch it until I’ve got some more information, and by the time I’m satisfied, I’ve got a fully rounded– usually obnoxious, loud and mouthy– person in my head.

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I swear I’m not crazy.

Gracie was one of those characters. I’ve had her hiding in there for awhile; long enough for family and friends to start joining the pack, and by the time I clued into what was happening, I had the tools to bring every single one of them to life. With three hours to kill, I started getting to know Gracie and the five-odd people that came with her. I had a blue ballpoint and a little Marvel-themed pocketbook (I keep my grocery lists in there… desperate times call for desperate measures, right?) and as the boat took off from the dock, I sat in my chair and I bled as much of them as I could onto the tiny little scraps of paper I had left. When I was satisfied that enough of their story had been told for the afternoon (also, I was running out of space), I put them away for a bit–I’m sorry, I’ll let you all back out later, I promise— and picked up someone else’s brain babies.

I’ve not had a chance to read much of Neil Gaiman, but he’s an author I’ve wanted to check out for a very long time. I picked up American Gods at a used book store where I live months ago, but without time to read, I put it away for a little bit. This week, a friend lent me another of his stories: The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s only about 180 pages or so, and I ate it up in two, hour and a half long sessions. Talk about a haunting tale. The beauty of this man’s words mixed with the fog swirling over stormy waters that looked green from where I was sitting, and all I could think about was how perfect my surroundings were for a story of that magnitude. For a small book, Gaiman’s narrative really packs a punch. If anyone is interested in a review, I might do one, I loved it that much.

A final note on public transport: there was easily over a hundred people in total on the boat today. No one gave any notice to anyone that they hadn’t known before. There were many, but each acted as though they were all alone. I find this to be the case on other modes of travel, too. Except for planes. Planes bring strangers together.

I wonder what happened to making friends on the bus?

Am I the only person who enjoys people-watching, or is that weird now?

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I watch people like most people watch “Grey’s Anatomy.”

 

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The Itch.

The cool thing about having the kind of mind that I do, is that I can get inspiration from just about anything. To put things into perspective, I once wrote a story about fish oil and a christmas present and had it published in a literary magazine. I’ve got an imagination; stuff like that happens all the time. 

Being in an academic setting for as long as I have been (I know. Two whole years. I’m ancient. -.-), I’ve discovered two things: unless you’re attending an arts institution, or have enrolled in some sort of creativity-based elective at the post-secondary level, there isn’t much room for imagination. Now, usually, that would be enough to put a damper on anyone’s muses; do enough research under the guidelines provided and you begin to lose the ability to “think outside the box.” However, recently, I’ve found that in my own situation, the exact opposite is occurring. 

The more I’m stuck writing things that I don’t want to write, the more ideas about the things I do want to write start to pop up in really inconvenient situations. (During a midterm last week I wrote a little note on the back of my test booklet so that when I got it back, I’d remember the quirky little thought that sneaked in while I was supposed to be doing short answer questions. It’s like, no, Dr. P, that isn’t for you).

I would liken it to one of those itches that you get where you can’t quite tell where the irritation is coming from, so you end up scratching around your knee for five minutes hoping to get rid of that tickle ’round your ankle. You know what I mean. I can’t get rid of it. It’s fantastic (the creativity, not the itch).

And I’m not just getting bits about things I want to write, either. It’s about things I want to film, about things I want to do with my dorm room, about places I want to go to see about things I want to write about… the list goes on and on. 

I’ve had to start keeping a notebook; it’s rather silly. 

To make matters worse, I’ve gotten my hands on a video camera. There’s about ten pages worth of scribbles perfect for digital capture. Saturdays are going to be fun for the next few weeks. 

Or weird.

Probably weird.

I’ll letcha know. 

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If I’m Going To Waste Time, I Might As Well Do It Here

Welcome to the twenty first century, where instead of beginning diaries and giving up after the first three entries, we start blogs and eat up URLs only to abandon them later on. I myself have attempted three. The first was launched when I was in the tenth grade and thought it would be hilarious to start a joint-venture with a good friend at a slumber party (we made a painfully cliche post about body image and left it at that). The second made a short appearance during the summer following my graduation from high school. At that point, I was riding on a wave of hormones and nostalgia so high that I could have passed for the fifth member of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants heading into university that fall.

If you’re reading this, (bless you, stranger) then you have managed to stumble upon my third attempt at keeping up something serious. Now, this thing isn’t a diary exactly; it’s more of a log book, so if you’ve already begun rolling your eyes at the thought of having wasted forty seconds scanning the thoughts of an eighteen year old, relax. It isn’t that sort of blog. I will not be describing angsty situations with my non-existent boyfriend, who will not be mentioned again, not even if he steps out of my imagination and into the vast realm of “IRL.” I will not be dishing out any juicy secrets, or teaching girls how to contour their faces with mineral highlighter (what does that even mean?), and I will not, I repeat (in capital letters, no less), WILL NOT be writing fanfiction because that stuff scares the hell out of me.

I will be keeping track of what has become a very large part of my life as of late. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a story-teller. My mother still has some of my earliest works (four page epics written in crayon on word-processor sheets and construction paper) stored in keepsake boxes above her closet, for heaven’s sake. Creativity is in my blood. Before I could print, I performed, dragging others into the worlds that I had created with an insistence only a three-year-old could be capable of. Eventually, when I discovered that pencils didn’t go up your nose and could be used to keep stories locked in place, I began writing them down. When other kids were telling their teachers that they wanted to be astronauts or lion-tamers or President of the United States (because even in Canada, that seems to be the coolest job in the world), I was imagining myself sitting at my desk with a tea watching the sun come up over the final pages of my first novel.

And now, that image has become my reality. I never expected to seriously want to write one. I mean, every teenager today wants to be the next Stephen King; hearing someone say that they’re writing a book isn’t exactly a rare occurrence. Hell, I even tried to do it at fifteen but got bored a hundred pages in. This time, though, The Big Idea has wormed its way into the corners of my brain, and it won’t go away. It’s massive, it’s lofty, it’s The Big Kahuna. This is it. The story that’s been building up in my head for years has decided to make an appearance, and my goodness, is it ever huge. I think, like the blog situation, the number of those who have attempted to write something like this is great and many have left their work unfinished. I don’t want to fall into that category. I’m ready to squeeze into the smaller, successful margin.There’s something about the magnitude of this idea that makes it seem different (says everyone, ever). This isn’t just a hobby anymore. This is my life.

I started writing with the intent to publish eight months ago, fitting in small intervals of plot here and there in between term papers and exam prep, unable to contain my excitement for summer because it meant that I had time to write the whole thing down from start to finish with no distractions. Except, now that summer is here, the list of distractions is not only endless, but self-created. I’m like the Queen of Procrastination. I’ll write a sentence and reward myself with an hour of Twitter or video games or another person’s novel. I’m one hundred and twenty two pages into this baby and I just don’t have the attention span to keep it up.

If you haven’t figured out the significance of this blog title by now, let me spell it out for you: I really should be writing that book, but instead I’m screwing around on the internet, doing things that will get me nowhere. One can possess all of the God-given talent that they want, but success won’t come to them unless they work at it, improving their skills by practicing their art. I don’t just want to be a writer; I want to be an author, and I’m not going to make it to that point if I don’t start working at it in earnest. So, out of a massive session of frustration and self-loathing, came the decision to turn my work-induced ADD into something productive. If I’m not working on that story, I’ll be working on getting my thoughts somewhere for someone to read. This blog marks the first day of that mentality; day one of “The Great Journey Toward Authorhood” (I promise, that’s the last time I’ll make up a word). In it, I’ll be writing about looking for agents and researching publishing houses. I’ll be recording struggles and triumphs and talking about my experiences as a young writer in over her head. Who knows? When I make something of this (I’ve decided to eradicate the word “if” from my vocabulary) this blog could become a tool for people like me.

I just have to write that damn book first. Wish me luck.