blargh, i say.

| Sunday, January 31, 2010
Today's Tune: Frozen

What is it about procrastination that's so appealing?

I've been remaining more or less stagnant with my current WIP for a number of reasons, but the main one is, of course, laziness. Writing is work. I absolutely enjoy it, but it's HARD. Which, duh, right? It's so much easier to procrastinate and write low-pressure blog entries and forum posts than buckle down and try to make this story work.

I do happen to be a little stuck in my plot right now, but that's really no excuse. I know where I want to go, I'm just not quite sure how to get there. Doesn't change the fact that I need to GET there, though. I did rework my beginning today, but now I need to work on the end. Which will be the easy part, since I already know how it's ending, but I need to hammer out this last bit of middle first.

If I'm honest, I'd have to say that I'm also afraid of failure, of course. I'm afraid this story is going to be finished, and it's going to be wretched. I don't mean "the first draft always sucks" wretched, I mean "why did I even think this was a cool or interesting idea in the first place" wretched. Ah, the self-esteem of the writer.

As always, I just need to get over it.

Why do you procrastinate?

inkpop, iPads, and goodbye Mr. Salinger.

| Friday, January 29, 2010
Today's Tune: Strictly Game

No worries about that last entry, it was just a mild concussion. Totally fine now. Except for the fact that Thursdays taste purple, but really, no big.

Couple of random thoughts:

The iPad? I'm feeling pretty meh on the whole thing. I'm a dual-user, (Mac PowerBook laptop, PC desktop), so I'm certainly not anti-Apple by any stretch of the imagination, but dude. Underwhelmed. I'll reserve judgment until we see it in action, but I'm not excited at this point.

Also: Rest in Peace, Mr. Salinger. Hopefully there are no phonies wherever you are now.

This week over on YA Sleuth, one of her Thursday links caught my eye: HarperCollins release of an interactive writing platform for teens, called inkpop. I have mixed feelings about it.

On the positive side, I think any interactive platforms for writers where they can be immersed in feedback and camaraderie from other writers is a good thing. In addition, anything that encourages young people to write and share their love of literature with one another is awesome. I do admire HarperCollins for being ahead of the game on the digital front as well, because IT IS THE FUTURE! It really is.

This is a smart move for receiving direct feedback from one of their larger markets - teens talking about what they love to read and want to see more of. Seeing actual votes and responses to the posted works will give them a great idea about what's actually going to sell.

The part that's giving me a little hiccup is the implication that professional readers and publishers are going to give out publishing contracts to the top vote-getters. They have a little system where the most popular projects go to "the Editorial Board" for review. I'm curious to see how many of these books going to the review board are actually receiving contracts, and what sort of contracts those are.

It's a very interesting experiment. It has potential to actually work, and I'll be interested in seeing how it shakes out. I suppose I'm a little wary of the "contest" element of it, (it's a little "Teen Model Search" for me), or getting hopes up for contracts that might not happen, but time will tell. If anything, it's a chance to find a connection with readers who enjoy your work, and a chance to be seen by a publishing house. For many, that's all they ask.

a brief lesson.

| Wednesday, January 27, 2010
mew music - the stray cats

we seem to have a problem here, and i'll tell you what it is.

the usual author of this blog - namely my provider and caretaker, maybe genius - has suffered a fall while stepping out of the shower. i always tried to tell her that water and soap are a terrible mix, but does she listen?

she's been unconscious for a number of hours now, though i've tried every trick in my arsenal to rouse her. i even licked her eyelids. she hates that. she's still breathing, so i don't think it's too serious. at least, i think she's still breathing... anyway. i'm getting rather bored of alternately picking through my kibble and waiting for her to wake up, so i thought i might interest you in a short lesson on proper insect-capturing technique. i'm quite good.

first things first: you must detect the insect. this is a finely-tuned skill, so don't go thinking you can just wander into a room and be able to rustle out all the ants and flies. there is an art to it. sit at attention, holding ears front and center. you may then rotate ears accordingly, or rotate entire head if you are so inclined. i prefer the entire head method, as this allows me not only to listen for telltale buzzing, but also gives ample time to check the walls and ceiling for questionable specks.

once the insect is detected, the following method must be employed: chitter nonsensically at it. this is a must. it will disorient and confuse the insect, allowing you to best plan your attack.

for fliers, a tried and true method is running beneath the creature as it makes its way through the home in order to wear it out. you'll know you have it run down when you yourself begin to feel exceptionally exhausted. don't be afraid to take a brief rest, but continue to swivel your head and chitter while stationary to further disorient the bug.

for wall-crawlers, the sport is in tricking the thing into believing your depth perception is faulty, and so lowering its guard. the best method of achieving this entails repeatedly leaping at stationary and non-moving wall objects, such as light switches or scuff marks. trust me on this. it will only be a matter of time until your earwig develops a false sense of security and ventures low enough to snatch.

as far as floor-crawlers go, don't be bothered. there's no sport in it, unless one is a dullard or a kitten. if you are exceptionally bored, you can bat them to and fro or scoot them about with your nose, but leave them be otherwise.

follow these guidelines, and you too can enjoy the invigorating activity that is insect-capturing!

huff.

my caretaker is still not awake. i am beginning to worry. please, if you are reading this, send help. i cannot open the can that holds my dinner. i have no thumbs.

regards,
the cat

i started young.

| Monday, January 25, 2010
Today's Tune: Mariella

This weekend, I spent some time with my mother. She's planning a move soon, and she wanted me to go through a few old boxes of my childhood keepsakes and decide what I wanted to keep. As I was pawing through my old swim team ribbons, Principle's Awards, and awkward photos, I found a little bound book.

I had one of those "AH HA!" moments where something you've completely forgotten about comes rushing back to you. I remembered that cover! I opened it, and sure enough, there was a story I'd written in about the fourth grade (age 9) when my teacher had a unit for writing and binding our own books.

So I read through the story, chuckling to myself (I had illustrated this book, as well), and then I got to the end, where I had written an "author bio." It gave my age, my likes and dislikes, and at the very end, it said, "This is Stephanie's fourth book."

Oh, I just died laughing. How cheeky was I? I dug back through the box again to find my four previous "books" and read them all.

Clearly, this was destiny.

yay ten followers!

| Thursday, January 21, 2010
Today's Tune: Great DJ

Oh awesome, I hit ten followers! MILESTONE! LOL. Honestly, thanks for following. Every time I see a new follower, I get a little giddy.

So, I didn't end up placing in The Clarity of Night's short fiction contest, but I DID make the "Forties Club," which means my entry was worth at least 40 out of 45 possible points on his judging scale. That alone makes me feel immensely flattered, because man, the competition was FIERCE. It was so cool to see all the different voices, ideas, and angles that came out when 237 people looked at the exact same picture. If you'd like to read a lot of stellar flash fiction, you should check it out.

My entry is here, by the way. Just sayin' >.>

the action design.

| Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Just a quick post today for the purpose of promoting one of my favorite bands, The Action Design. They released a new music video yesterday, and I recommend it if you like pop-punk, electronica, dance rock, indie, or other such genres.

Click! ---> Landmines

In writerly news, I've been thinking on the concept of amateur writers giving out advice. This has been a topic of conversation more or less everywhere that writers of various experience congregate. Being an "amateur" (aka unpublished) writer myself, it's a subject of interest to me. I have mixed feelings, which I may post about later in the week.

injecting themes.

| Monday, January 18, 2010
Today's Tune: Bottle of Buckie

My post a few days ago (the one with the McDonald's failWrap) got me thinking about themes. To be specific, working themes into our writing.

Most of us have done some sort of literary analysis at one point or another, whether it was discussing Hamlet in English class or reading a book in front of the fire and realizing the author was trying to tell us something with their story. We've also realized that many of the themes we read into literature weren't originally intended by the author. But what about those themes that the author DOES intend?

Do you ever intentionally try to weave a theme or lesson into your writing? I've attempted it in the past, only to find myself floundering. I think my problem was trying to make my writing "deeper," because I didn't have confidence that the story by itself was enough. I felt like it needed a big, meaningful theme to define it!

That was all wrong. This was me taking an idea I already had and trying to superimpose a BIG IDEA on top of it. Doesn't work. Not only that, but trying to incorporate an actual lesson into a work of fiction (to the tune of "suicide isn't the answer" or "drugs are bad" or "don't put salt on slugs") without fail makes an author sound preachy, and most readers aren't interested in that.

If we're writing with a theme in mind, we have to have that theme in mind from the beginning and create a story that weaves easily into it. Better yet, we should just write our story and let the themes present themselves to us. We'll almost certainly weave them in without even noticing.

Some authors seem to be able to write in theme effortlessly, but that's always because the STORY stays front and center - not the message the story is trying to convey.

how far we come.

| Saturday, January 16, 2010
Today's Tune: How Far We've Come

Just for funsies, I thought I'd post a little show of my writing over time. I will forewarn you, this stuff is going to be pretty crap, so, y'know, be nice. I am aware it's crap, and I don't still write this way, I swear :P

These are excerpts from a novel I've tried to write for several years that's never taken off. You'll probably be able to see why.

First attempt, around age 19:

***

“Danika! Dani, are you stargazing again?”

Danika Tadivanda snapped back from her wandering thoughts as her grandmother’s words cut through the night. Sighing, she answered, “Yes, Mali.”

“Do come in, child. It’s nearly November! You’re sure to catch your death if you stay out in the cold like you do,” called the ancient woman.

“I have my coat, Mali! You’ve been telling me that for as long as I can remember, and I’ve yet to ever catch cold!” The girl turned her eyes longingly back to the sky. “Please, Mali, just a few more minutes!”

She could hear her grandmother sigh from the yard. “Very well. But only a few more minutes.”

Dani could not help but smile. Her grandmother was a kindly old woman that loved her more than anything. She knew very little about her grandmother’s past, as she seldom spoke of it. She only knew that the woman had come to their small northern California town from Ireland, and that much was obvious from her thick accent. Dani also knew that her grandmother had become her legal guardian when her parents died. It always pained Dani to think of her parents, for although they died before she was old enough to remember them, she still felt connected to them somehow. However, as much as it hurt her to think of her parents, she knew that it hurt her grandmother even more.

From what little her grandmother had told her of her mother, Dani knew that she had inherited her love of the stars from her. Dani felt that she could gaze at the stars and find the answers to all life’s little problems. She felt completely at peace when there was nothing but the open sky for miles and miles.

She smiled now as she saw Virgo and Gemini moving across the heavens. When she had been old enough to understand astronomy, her grandmother had told her that these were her signs. Dani knew that the position of the constellations that night meant that in slightly less than eight hours she would be sixteen years old.

***

Oh ACK. Info dumps. Info dumps EVERYWHERE. So much telling instead of showing. And over-description. And packing in backstory. Plus, boring. Sigh. This is also when I was WAY overthinking the names of my characters, as you can plainly see.

Here's attempt #2, around age 22. I scrapped the original setting and tried a different approach. I also changed Dani's name to Danny for some silly reason. Probably an attempt to be edgy.

***

A shaft of sunlight had pierced Danny’s sleep. Groaning, she turned her bleary eyes to the window to see that Eyrie, her cat, was sitting on the sill and had pulled the curtain just a little way open, causing a line of morning sun to fall across her face. She had no idea where he’d learned that this trick caused humans to wake, but now that he knew it worked, he implemented it often.

“No, Eyrie!” she whined, her voice thick with sleep. “It’s my birthday! Let me sleep. Have Mahli feed you.”

The cat blinked his large gold-green eyes and flicked a tufted ear, giving her a look that plainly said "no deal." She debated throwing her pillow at him, and opted to pull it over her own head instead. At this, Eyrie merely changed tactics. He leaped onto the bed and began kneading her back. After two minutes of this, she knew he wasn’t giving up. Stubborn beastie.

“Fine, all right, fine,” she said, sitting up on her elbows and blowing away the brown curl that fell in her eyes. “I’m up. Now go away and let me get ready.” Purring, Eyrie obliged, holding his tail erect as he left the room. Danny thought he was gloating. She flopped back on her pillow for a minute, but realized it was futile. Her hope of sleeping in on the last day before classes began was abandoned, and she swung her feet to the floor. Yawning widely, she shuffled to her vanity for her hairbrush and headed toward the bathroom.

***

A little better. More action, less blah blah blah. Still, my sentences are convoluted and I try to explain too much. Some of my word choices are... special... and the whole thing needs a lot of tightening up. I had a habit of writing in long paragraphs, which I'm still trying to break myself of.

Here's my last attempt. It's from about a year and a half ago, before I decided to shelve this poor thing. Danny's name is back to Dani.

***

Dani squinted into the sliver of light that fell directly across her face. After a moment, she was able to make out the silhouette of a sandy cat with tufted ears nudging aside the bedroom curtain just enough to let the beam in.

“Oh Eyrie, no,” she groaned, cursing the day her mischievous cat had made the connection between her waking and his feeding. She attempted to bury her face beneath her pillow, but Eyrie merely abandoned his post at the window, hopped onto the bed, and began kneading her back in earnest. “All right, all right, you jerk. I’m up.”

The large tomcat purred and bounded out the door, tail erect, satisfied that she was awake. Dani briefly considered trying to go back to sleep, but knew it was pointless. Sighing, she swung her feet over the side of the bed, yawning widely and stretching head to toe. Purple-painted toenails stood out against the pale carpet as she stood and walked to her vanity. Navy blue eyes stared back at her from underneath a tangle of coffee-before-cream curls, and a freckled nose wrinkled in mild distaste. Snatching up a clip, she wrestled her hair into a messy bun and shuffled to the doorway.

***

Better. Less awkward, though there are still a number of phrases that just don't sound quite right. The adverbs need to go. I also did the cliché "describe your character using a mirror" thing, ugh. Paragraphs are still a little long, but I like the flow of this excerpt much better than the other two.

My writing has continued to improve, but I still have a long road ahead of me. It's interesting to see how I've developed in only a few years' time. Makes me wonder how I'll be doing two or three years from now :)

Ah, the joy of writing... always a learning experience. You never know it all.

why big mac snack wraps do not work.

| Friday, January 15, 2010
If you live in North America, you may have noticed McDonald’s newest travesty – the Big Mac Snack Wrap. Yes, they are taking their best-known pseudo diet food and slamming it together with their fattiest offering, mash-up style. We’re just starting to see them down here in the US of A, but Canada seems to have had them for a while now.

When I first heard of the BMSW, my reaction was something akin to BLARGH OH GOD WHY. This seems to be my reaction to an awful lot of new fast food offerings, though I continue to give these places my money. To my credit, I get along just fine with fast food so long as it’s not pretending to be something it isn’t. Like health food. Or haute cuisine.

What does this have to do with writing, you ask? Nothing, really. But is that going to stop me from making an analogy? NOPE!

As a reader, I’m a big fan of story retellings. If a writer can take an old story and rework it into something shiny, I’m in. I especially love getting to poke around inside the head of the original antagonist and hearing how it went down from their point of view. I like it even more when a tale is turned completely on its head – still recognizable when compared to the original work, but taken in a totally new direction.

There is a line between repackaging an old story so that it’s a new story, and relying on something popular to prop up your work. How often do we hear that a new novel is a “modern day retelling of Romeo & Juliet/P&P/The Odyssey/etc.” only to read it and find... no, no it isn’t. It’s a tortilla-wrapped beef patty pretending to be a Big Mac. HA! Worked it in on you when you weren’t even paying attention.

The thing I’m trying to drive at is: you can’t pick some popular classic work to cram into your ill-suited story, or at best it’ll seem like you couldn’t formulate your own plot. At worst, it’ll make people scoff and go, “Really, McDonald’s? You’re sellin’ it, but I’m not buyin’ it.” Don’t make your story pretend to be something it isn’t. If they want to buy a Big Mac, they’ll buy the original.

If you want to rework a classic story, you should have something new up your sleeve – like having Cinderella fall for the huntress instead of the prince. You can’t write a romance that bears no resemblance to Cinderella and then decide to throw in a lost shoe at a big party. Well, you can, but it’s a bad idea. Much in the same way wrapping half a burger and some shredded cheese in a tortilla and acting as though it’s anything like the original is a bad idea.

Just write your story. Don’t try to force in classic plot elements that may not work with the story you’re trying to tell. Have a little faith… your work in progress probably stands on its own just fine.

Show of hands... how many people are going to McDonald’s for lunch/dinner now? Sorry.

the starlight crystal.

| Thursday, January 14, 2010
Today's Tune: Le Disko

In continuing to reminisce about the books that stuck with me when I was a teen, I couldn't help but think of Christopher Pike.

I was a huge Pike fan. Couldn't get enough of his stuff. I started reading him when I was about 13, and snatched up every one of his books I could get. They were pitched as "teen thrillers," and though most seemed to be aimed at older teens (sex and/or violence in many of them), I would of course say it depends on the given teen's maturity level. As I said... started reading them when I was 13 :D

Some of his works were pretty standard murder mysteries and horror novels, but there were a few that really stuck with me. The Starlight Crystal (pictured here) was one of them. It was overall a journey story, and was set apart from his other work for me. It was about love, loss, and traveling to the end of time to watch it fold over on itself and start again. At the end, Paige's journey was toward her own enlightenment - and it only took her billions (maybe trillions) of years to reach it.

Other Pike novels I enjoyed were The Tachyon Web and The Last Vampire series. At the surface, these books seemed to many to be superficial slasher fiction, but Pike can really write a story. Sometimes he misses the mark, as all authors with 40+ books to their name do from time to time, but many of his stories were moving. Obviously, since they still stick with me ten years later.

Unfortunately, most of his books are currently out of print. He is coming out with new works, and a few of the books are being reprinted, so if you happen to see something by him, pick it up and give it a go. If you enjoy vampires, aliens, ghosts, mysteries, and murder whodunits, you might become a fan. I know everyone is vampire'd out right now, but The Last Vampire series was recently reprinted, and they're worth trying out.

growing ideas.

| Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Today's Tune: Mouthwash

Neil Gaiman wrote an essay I really enjoyed on one of the most dreaded questions that can be asked of a writer: where do you get your ideas?

Okay, maybe not one of the most dreaded, but one of the most annoying. Neil's standard answer is pretty much it:

"'I make them up,' I tell them. 'Out of my head.'"

He goes on to state that ideas aren't the important thing, anyway. "Everyone's got an idea for a book, a movie, a story, a TV series." And it's so very true. We hear it time and time again that ideas are a dime a dozen, but EXECUTION is what gets you through the door.

Eventually, Neil does expand on his process for ideas when asked the same question by a child. He says:

"You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it.

You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if...?"

I love this. I can relate to it. I'm certainly not published yet, but even so I've still been asked where I came up with X idea, and I never really know what to say. I came up with it from everywhere.

Sometimes snippets come from dreams I've had, though I don't want to pretend I've ever dreamed up a completed story. Sometimes I read a news article, and something sticks with me and my mind starts building around it. Sometimes I see a person and wonder what their story is, and it comes to me.

Ideas just come. Some of them get thrown away, some get toyed with, and some stick around and get written. Ever since I've started actively focusing on catching my ideas for possible use at a later date, I've been keeping a notebook, which ALL writers should keep, I think. You don't have to be the person that fills them with microscopic notes, but you should keep one just to jot down your ideas as they flit through your brain. You never know when one might be worth keeping.

Thing is, there's no magic to ideas. We all have them. We can all catch them. The trick is getting them to work for us. It's no use having a GREAT IDEA! if you can't put it on a page in a cohesive way. I've known people who do this, as I'm sure we all do - they have so many ideas. Awesome ideas! Unique ideas! But they won't write a word. They're scared, or don't know where to start. The problem is, of course, that an idea can't turn into a story if you can't or won't write the story.

There's a certain mysticism around writers, as though we all just pluck these plots out of thin air and write them in their entirety and then BAM! A book! As we all know, it is nothing like that. It is so rare, if not impossible, for a story to come to us fully formed. They start as seeds - seeds that will never grow if we don't give them proper care.

My idea for The Tick-Tock Hearts came from a "what if?" question, actually. But it wasn't a plot. It wasn't a protagonist. It was just an idea.

So that's the big secret about writers and ideas... we just get them. From everything. Everywhere. All the time.

in dreams 2.0

| Sunday, January 10, 2010
Today's Tune: A Favor House Atlantic

My brain is apparently working overtime with the idea-churning these days. I had another strangely story-like dream the other night.

The gist: a young woman who has never done anything wrong in her life finds herself being sent to reform school. The school, called the School of Saint and Sin, is intended to rehabilitate kids that are "too good" or "too bad" into something a little more balanced. The girl is nervous and scared, being stared down by the "bad" kids. She's wondering what she's doing here. At last she manages to find a friendly face - a young man with a biology book who walks her to her first class. The teacher introduces himself as an anarchist. Fin.

I like it.

clarity of night contest.

| Friday, January 8, 2010
The 12th Clarity of Night short fiction contest is still open until January 13th if you're in the mood for a little bit of friendly competition among your fellow writers :D

I'm really digging the short fiction contests these days. I feel like they allow me to do something off-the-wall and experimental that's not as daunting as a full-length piece. It's freeing. I highly recommend it!

this place has no atmosphere.

| Thursday, January 7, 2010
I've been thinking about the books I really liked as a teen, and out of nowhere, I remembered this one. I don't hear much about it, but I thought this book was great. Quirky, a touch of sci-fi, angsty without being All Angst All The Time, and all that good stuff. Plus, I LOL at the title.

The premise of this book is a young teenage girl who has tonsofriends and a blossoming new romance - everything's going right in her life. Until her parents decide to move her away from everything she knows and loves, the jerks. Not only are they moving, they're moving TO THE MOON. THE MOON!

So, typical "teen gets uprooted from her comfortable life and moved to a new place which she hates at first but eventually makes new friends and it grows on her" type story, but with a totally out-there element thrown in. You think it's bad to move from one coast to the other? TRY ANOTHER PLANET. Well, satellite.

This book is an inspiration to me. Danziger took a done-to-death plot and added just the right touch of uniqueness to make it different, all while managing to maintain the feel of teendom. Aurora lives in a futuristic society, she gets to live on the moon, and yet she's still suffering all the same doubts and sorrows of a teenager being torn away from the life she knows.

girls are not the enemy.

| Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Today’s Tune – 32 Flavors

I have a rant for you today! AREN'T YOU LUCKY!!!

For some reason, the past few days have left me feeling inundated with a certain phrase that I hate hate hate. Real life, internet life, in the stuff I read… it feels like it’s everywhere, and it makes me sadpants.


The worst part is I understand the mentality behind the phrase. I used to subscribe to the mentality for a short time when I was in my teens. I know it’s extremely common for so many reasons. And still, it makes me so sadpants.

I imagine if you are female, you have probably heard this phrase said by another female. Perhaps you have even uttered it yourself at some point. It has some variations, but the gist is as follows:

“I can’t relate to girls. I get along much better with guys. Guys ____________.”

The blank can be filled many ways. Aren’t catty. Are more fun. Are more laid back. Aren’t into stupid things like makeup and doing their nails. Don’t do drama. Are just better.

Like I said, when I was around 17-18, I bought into this. I was going through a rough transition period from high school to college - my roommate and I didn’t get along, she and her friends didn’t like me (nor I them), and my three best friends at the time happened to be male. And I happened to have a huge crush on one of them, but that’s beside the point. Later that year, I managed to find some female friends who were awesome and not jerks, and my whole “guys are soooooo much better to hang out with than girls because girls totally suck” mentality went by the wayside.

Anyway. I bring this up because I’ve been reading YA shorts and such around the internet, and I’ve seen this theme pop up more than once. I’m sure it seems vaguely familiar to you: quirky tomboy has male best friend(s), can’t get along with girls because they’re jealous of her/hate her for being so BOYISH and/or COOL WITH THE GUYS, and she’s super unique among the vapid girls of her school because she likes BOY THINGS! Like cars and video games and kung fu movies. And she’s bored by GIRL THINGS! Like chick flicks and makeup and shoes.

This mentality is so damaging, and I really hate that I was part of it for a while, but it happens. There are a lot of reasons for it. The immense pressure on girls/women to compete with one another, the desire to fit in, the quest for male attention (whether friendship or romantic), distancing oneself from the feminine because girly = weak/stupid/lame, trying to achieve more validity as a person by being more “like a guy,” because guys like guys and girls like guys, so everyone should like a girl that’s LIKE a guy, yes?

I don’t know about you, but I have NEVER heard a guy say anything resembling, “I just prefer the company of girls, you know? Guys kind of suck.” Know why? Because guys don’t think guys suck. They don’t try to distance themselves from their own gender by convincing themselves and others that they’re the one member of their sex that “gets it.”

Truth: none of us are that special. None of us (women) are the one special unique snowflake girl that is above the rest of the female population and just can’t relate. We absolutely can relate. There are girls out there that get us, that are like us, that will be our friend. But only if we let them. Reducing your entire gender to one stupid/silly/lame caricature reduces YOU to that caricature. It hurts us all whenever we’re lobbed into the “all girls are catty/backstabby/bitchy/boring/stupid and only care about looking pretty and gossiping” category. It’s not true. All it does is devalue the feminine by making “male” activities (which are not actually male activities, btw) the “cool” thing.

For crap’s sake, there’s nothing wrong with liking makeup. There’s nothing wrong with liking video games AND makeup. I know it’s hard when you feel like the females in your life are hurting you, or you’re looking to be accepted by a group of guys. Or one particular guy, let’s be honest. But I promise you, women aren’t your enemy. You have friends without penises out there. You just have to let down your walls.

dear teen diary.

| Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Today's Tune: This Tornado Loves You

I entered Nathan Brandsford's diary entry contest, and I wanted to save my entry here for posterity. BECAUSE IT'S MY BLOG AND I CAN! Er. Yeah.

***

All right, Diary. First day of college. Let’s do this.

Statistics is going to kick my ass. God, I hate math.
My professor went on about the goals of the course, and I already want to bang my head against the wall. She talked about our homework like it’s the best drug she’s ever tried. I swear to God, how can anyone get this excited about math? It’s so... logical. Hell with logic.
Let’s see, what’s next on my schedule... Philosophy 101. Introduction to Logic. Awesome.

Back from philosophy. Maybe it won’t be so bad, after all. The professor introduced himself as Mr. Mulder, and right away I thought Fox, but he couldn’t look less like David Duchovny. His Hawaiian shirt was pretty entertaining, though. Cafeteria calling my name – back later.

Kelly caught me as I was coming back. I think she declared today Meet-The-Entire-Dorm Day. We ran around and poked our heads in all the rooms with open doors. Which is code, you know. Open door in a dorm = make yourself at home and play my XBox. It’s an unwritten rule somewhere in the Guide to College Studenting and Stuff.

It was a blur of people. Mainly I remember the kid with the ponytail who looked around like he hated everyone for existing and the group of girls that all went to the same high school and hold weekly reality show parties. Seriously, they cast their own votes and drink Survivor Punch. I didn’t ask.

I’ve only known Kelly for three days, and I can already tell she’s going to command every room we enter together. She’s just bubbly and warm and happy and BEAUTIFUL. And I can’t even hate on her for it, because she’s just so awesome. I can’t complain, right? I have an awesome popular roommate. I could have I Hate Everything Guy.

We were walking back to our room when we heard a bunch of crashes and fanfare, followed by, “Take THAT, you Mainland BITCHES!” Naturally, we had to investigate.
Turns out the guys next door were finally at home, and lo and behold, door open. So we peeked in to see this tall Asian guy with Japanese characters tattooed down the back of his arm doing a (very small) victory lap around the common room while his two roommates sat on the couch shaking their heads at the TV screen. Apparently the victor beat them at Mario Kart.

Tall Guy introduced himself as Tai - “Maui built, born and raised, baby.” His buddies were Jay, a blond skater who immediately hit it off with Kelly, of course, and Zach. Zach has perma-hat hair and eyes like ocean spray. He smiles like we’re sharing a private joke. He’s pretty okay.

Not bad for the first official day. I think I can really do this.

But for now, sleep.

***

Admittedly, I might have referenced a few of my own diary entries from my teen years. You know, to get in the mindset :D

welcome to twenty-ten.

| Friday, January 1, 2010
Today's Tune: Dark Halls

Happy 2010, everyone :D

I stopped making resolutions a long time ago, but I do have big hopes and plans for 2010. Continuing to write, finishing my current project, starting another, then another and another, getting out to California, seeing where life takes me... all very exciting. I'm looking forward to it.

I started this blog in August, and I'm curious to see where next August lands me. Stay tuned!
 

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