November, In Closing

In a few short hours – but not any shorter than any other hours, of course – November will be over. Finally…

Although I’m glad December is just around the corner, I do have one small regret… I didn’t actually meet any of my November writing goals. If you missed them, or don’t remember them, you can read about them in this post.

I certainly still intend to do these things at some point, but I do feel a little bit like I let an opportunity slip away by not using NaNoWriMo to devote myself to writing. I’m tired of attempting to justify (mostly to myself) the wasted time, and I’m tired of getting so little writing done. But why am I telling you this? It’s my problem – one I’m unlikely to solve any time soon.

I did manage to finish Chapter 2 of Helen, and although that is far behind where I wanted to be, it’s something anyway. I didn’t finish any of the short stories or write my synopsis or work at all on my fairy tales. I have not yet done the cursory edit of chapter 2 either – I’ll try to get to that in the next few days so you can read it.

Generally, there is more bad than good to my Novembers. Maybe next year…

Currently Reading: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Although I enjoyed Pale Fire as a unique and well-structured book, I’m enjoying this one much more. It’s just easier to get into, in the sense of both the story and the philosophy. So far, this is my favorite quote:

 

“We all reject out of hand the idea that the love of our life may be something light or weightless: we presume our love is what must be, that without it our life would no longer be the same.”

This quote appears in a passage that talks about the chance circumstances that brought the two main characters together: The idea being that if the love of two people is what must be, then no matter what they do, they will end up together – but this is the way people want to believe it is, instead of the way it really is. Think about that…

And Having Done So, I Blogged About It

I have finished writing Chapter 2 of Helen! When I’ve had a chance to give it a quick once-over, I’ll post the whole chapter. Right here, I’ll tell you my thoughts on this chapter/the whole novel so far –

 

Chapter 2, The Welcome Feast (not its actual title), is going to need a LOT of editing, when I get to that point. The pages about the feast do not seem complete to me. Although Helen’s perceptions of things are sometimes a little vague, if she’s overwhelmed or distracted, children do notice a lot, and she would be very interested in what was going on. I know that Hector needs more description. In fact, most of the characters could probably use some more physical description. In the first draft, I need to move the story along a little faster, to relay information as slowly as I intend, but still feel like I’m getting somewhere. I need to get into it to picture it better. (The mythological/historical research could help with that as well.)

 

In the meantime, I’m interested to know how you, the readers, are picturing places, people, etc. How do you see Hector? What about Clytemnestra, or Tyndareus? What does your image of the feast look like? If you feel inclined to answer, when I post the chapter, that is, I’d love to hear what you think.

Help a Blogger Out, Will Ya?

Hi, Friends! Want to do me a favor? Well, are you willing to? It won’t take long, I promise…

 

If you’ve been keeping up with my world of words for a long time, you may have noticed that a little rating feature has appeared on each post, in the form of a row of stars (blue for posts, green for pages). I added this last week, and have since gotten one rating on one post. It was exciting at first, but now it just points glaringly to the lack of overall ratings.

Here is where the favor comes in: If you remember any posts that you liked, could you take a moment to locate and rate them? I’d particularly appreciate ratings on my fiction, but if you feel like rating more blog-type blog posts, I’d gladly accept them too.

If you’re newer to the blog, or don’t remember many posts you’ve read, I’d be so grateful if you would go read a few and rate them. Pick from Top Posts or the category cloud on the right side of the blog.

I believe all ratings are anonymous, but if you feel inclined to let me know you rated something, comment on this post or the one/s you rated.

I won’t go into any updates or excerpts right now, in an effort to keep it simple. So, thank you in advance for helping me out with this. And if you choose not to, that’s all right to, I still appreciate you reading.

Another Life #1

My home was an island, a small place with a tropical look and a temperate feel. Time passed slowly. Everything was leisure. Not much changed from day to day, but for my face, slightly older every time I saw its reflection in the crystal-blue waters of the surrounding ocean. I didn’t mind. I knew the same people since I was born, and we were family. A small number of people left our island and moved onto it, respectively sent off with tearful joy and welcomed with open hearts. I never fell in love, but I was well loved and I loved greatly. I did not have everything, but I had everything I needed.I pursued creation in many forms – painting, drawing, writing, weaving, cooking. One day I stepped back from a painting and realized with a great sense of accomplishment that I had pictured a perfect sunset. The canvas emanated the light I had painted. Such a small achievement, but it did not seem unimportant to me. I looked back over my life and I was content.

Updates, Ideas

Some of my readers (I know at least a few people read my blog regularly, which is a small comfort) might be interested to know that I’ve made slight progress on Helen. Since the last pages haven’t included as much fun imagery, and more of establishing plot elements and relations between characters, I would prefer not to post any excerpts. I might not post any more of it until I’ve finished writing Chapter 2. Before the end of November, I do so hope…

In terms of my November writing goals, I haven’t made much headway yet. The last two weeks have been full of wasted time. I would use the term “Epic Fail,” but it’s very slang-y.

 

If I had the means, I would make book trailers that looked like movie trailers. Most of my longer fiction has plots that lend themselves well to such trailers. (Think mythology, magic, color, gorgeous outdoor settings, etc.) Of course, while I can create these trailers in my head, I don’t have the equipment, skills, or manpower needed to actually do so. However, I do like the idea a lot. And don’t you think that it would interest people who may not otherwise ever hear of my books?

A more likely idea: I have been thinking of creating a fictionpress account to put up my fairy tale retellings. All of them need at least some editing, so it wouldn’t happen for a while. I’d be happy to post them here, but I feel they’d have much more visibility on that other site. I’d post links, of course, so my blog readers wouldn’t miss anything (unless they want to). Once I’ve got the first few chapters of Helen and the short stories I’ve been meaning to finish crossed off the list, I’ll probably look into editing the fairy tales. More on that later.

I’ve had a flash fiction series idea. Look for the first one by Friday.

Currently Reading: Pale Fire

I am in the middle of a very interesting book by Vladimir Nabokov. I am a little bit annoyed with myself because, for the past few days, I’ve been watching episodes of The Big Bang Theory online instead of using most of my time to read and write, which had been my intention before finding all the tv show links. However… what can you do?

 

At the moment, in lieu of actually reading, I am writing this post – but I’ve been putting that off for at least a day and a half. I think that means I’m ceasing to procrastinate in one regard in order to procrastinate on something else. As long as I’m procrastinating somehow, it’s okay. Can you imagine if I just had everything done? Of course, that isn’t possible, because new ideas for writing come to me frequently. Some will never turn into a piece that was written down, but I the point is that I always have something else to create. Which means I’ll never be finished. It’s lucky, though, in one sense – since I intend to write for my whole life, I never have to worry about retirement!

But I am digressing most flagrantly. This post is meant to put down some of my thoughts on Pale Fire. I will now move on to my original purpose…

If you’re unfamiliar with the work, it is a story written in this form: a poem by John Shade, with an introduction and commentary on particular lines by Charles Kinbote. Let me make this absolutely clear: The entire book, introduction through commentary, and I believe all the way through the index, is Nabokov’s novel. John Shade is a character, and Kinbote is a character. Kinbote is the protagonist. The annoying, ridiculous protagonist.

The commentary is amusing because of its somewhat unpredictable inconsistency. A few of the notes do seem to be attempts to elucidate the meaning of the poem, while others, apparently, are platforms for free association. In my reading, it seems that the notes that go on for pages about the King of Zembla is Kinbote’s own writing, which he has decided should be published and therefore sticks in the commentary anywhere he can.

The most interesting thing about it, I think, is the presence of at least three stories. One story is told by the poem, and gives us a sometimes hazy picture. It is Shade’s voice, and the only chance we have to see Shade from any POV other than Kinbote’s. Then there is the story Kinbote tells, centering on his friendship with Shade – which to me seems overstated, wishful. He writes as if he believes that Shade loves him, a man he only knew in the last year(s?) of his life, and his wife, Sybil, controls him like a captive lapdog.

The third story is about the history of Zembla, particularly the one king who ran away and was then hunted by a man who was supposed to kill him. It clearly has nothing to do with the poem, but Kinbote’s notes make it apparent that he thinks his stories about Zembla were the intended subject of the poem. The poem, in fact, was an autobiographical work from Shade -unlikely to connect to Zemblan kings in any way- and the biggest clue that Charles Kinbote is, to some degree, deluded.

I do recommend this book, but not to everyone. I don’t think it would appeal to general taste. If you decide to read it, I would suggest this: don’t read it as Kinbote suggests at the end of his introduction. Just read the poem, and then the commentary, referring to the poem only when you decide you want a refresher on what that particular line actually said.

Just an Update.

Well then. One full week of November later, and I’m thus far supremely undedicated in my N0-NaNoWriMo exploits. I’ve written a single short story – very short, in fact, it was flash fiction – and haven’t worked on any of my outstanding projects that were on the list. I feel, once again, like a bad writer —

not because the writing I do is bad

because I just fail to actually do the writing. I intend to gather my concentration and write more this week than one could reasonably expect. Then I can say I’m a good writer again.

The story I did write was a horror story, written to submit to a site called MicroHorror, which published horror stories under 666 words. It’s not exactly a typical subject for me, nor is it really my best writing, but it’s still relatively well-written, interesting, and creepy. I am 99% positive that there were no grammar mistakes, at least.  I have submitted it and should know fairly soon whether they will put my story on the site.

When I finally manage to do the work I’ve been meaning to do for weeks, I’ll have a nice list of submissions to wait to hear back from. (I’ve been trying to work the end of that sentence so that it both makes sense and doesn’t end in a preposition, but somehow it just didn’t happen. Suggestion, without rewriting the entire sentence?)

 

For those of you who are interested in aspects of my life: I now have a job! Not officially yet, until I do the orientation tomorrow and Wednesday. Then they’ll have me in their system and I can get paid money. This job has nothing to do with writing, but that’s all right. It’s money, and it won’t sap all my creative energy – always a danger in the type of job I truly want. Some days, I might even be free to work on writing (mentally developing, that is, not the actual writing). Either way, I’m certainly looking forward to making money again. I’ve been unemployed – aside from the one, glorious freelance job completed in August, paid in October – for 5 months.

Melan-Kali

Some days you feel the weight more than others. The phrase is usually “a weight on the heart/soul.” Wherever this metaphysical burden is resting, you feel it in your body. It’s painful. You want to run wild and lie still at the same time, pull on your hair or scratch at your skin.

I’m restless. Calm is becoming a distant memory, near-constant anxiety taking its place. But I did fall asleep last night.

I’ve heard that people are in life just where they want to be. People have what they want to have. I think that’s very true and also very untrue. Like Nature Vs. Nurture. Why does one preclude the other?

“Don’t you want good things?” Yes, I want good things. I want all good things and happiness and peace.

“Art comes from pain.” I can write from the memory of it just as well as from a current experience. Better, perhaps – more intention in the writing with some distance from the feeling.

 

I wanted to look up the roots and origination of the word “melancholy,” but you need a membership for the OED. Or a physical copy – good luck with that one…

Virginia Woolf, one of the greatest writers of all time, killed herself. She walked into the ocean with stones in her pockets. She had a thing about the ocean. Wrote a book, called it The Waves. It was about people, actually, about experience? Or about struggling. One of the characters died. I can’t remember how.

Who is responsible for all of this? Higher powers, with names or without them? An old man in the sky? Or, much more realistically, a power the form of which is not even remotely like human? Is it fate, or chance? Is it me?

Is it?

If it is… is that the weight?