Wednesday, November 22, 2017

On Writing.

There's this David Sedaris quote that I see pretty regularly cropping up on the internet at stuff.

"Write relentlessly until you find your voice. Then, use it."

That's something that a lot of published authors have either said or demonstrated through their own bodies of work. A.S. King, a young adult author whom I admire greatly apparently wrote seven full novels before she wrote one that got published (and, if I understand correctly, that she even wanted/tried to get published). She spent that long developing her voice and finding the style that she would become known for. It's incredible!

I've never written a full novel. I have written some shorter pieces that I've been really proud of before, but they always seemed pretty experimental. Not to mention they were usually assignments for school, so it was hardly self motivated. That's the one thing about writing that is really hard for me; I am not a self-starter.

Right now I am in the middle of writing a novel that I may or may not end up liking. The last time I participated in NaNoWriMo, two years ago, I got to the 50,000 word count and hated what I'd written. It was an idea I'd wanted to make into a book for years, and when I'd actually spent a month writing it I didn't like what I'd come up with at all.

This year, I'm enjoying writing the story I decided to go with a lot more, but it's also turning into something I didn't really have in mind and I'm not totally sure the direction it's taking is one I like. But we'll see. Maybe I'll end up liking it after all.

I'm also currently listening to the audiobook Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie, which is a memoir written in the third person. It's so incredibly fascinating even though I've only read one of his novels, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, which was published in 2015 after Joseph Anton. It's really cool to learn insights into his writing process and how different things affected him as a person and as a writer and all sorts of stuff like that. I'm not really holding my breath on becoming a published author, nor am I planning to try to support myself exclusively by writing, and I'm certainly not expecting to ever be on Salman Rushdie's level of fame and recognition, but it is really cool to learn about it all the same.

It makes me wonder if I will ever have a style that is my signature. One time, in college, a professor told me that he found my writing to be Vonnegut-esque, which is maybe the highest praise I've ever received. I don't think that's what my particular writing style is like any more. I just don't know what it is now. And I don't really know what I want it to be, either. I've also been told often that my writing reads with my exact voice. That's pretty believable to me; I definitely think that I write how I speak and I probably don't spend nearly as much time editing/revising as I should, so it is logical that my written words sound just like my unedited spoken words.

I don't really know what the point of all that is, it's just a collection of thoughts I've been having these days as I write my "novel" and listen to an author's memoir.

Speaking of my novel, I HAVE CROSSED THE FINISH LINE! With a week to spare, I have officially written 50,000 words. Go me.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Computer Glasses. And a Novel Update.

I recently ordered some computer glasses for myself from Felix Gray.

What are computer glasses? You ask. Well. They are non-prescription glasses that block out the blue light spectrum that comes from screens. They're supposed to help with eye strain and eye fatigue and all that jazz.

"Are they working?" you ask. Well, I have no idea. I'm not someone who gets headaches from looking at the computer, but I do sometimes feel like my eyes are drying up and maybe will drop out of my head when I've been sitting in front of my computer all day.

Mostly I got mine for two reasons:

1. Since we've really only had access to personal screens for the past twenty years or so (and I think I'm being a bit generous there...I think it's been more like fifteen years for most people. But whatever), we really have no idea what the long term effects of all this screen viewing will be on our eyesight. Chances are, it's not going to have done great things for these ole eyes another twenty years down the road. So partly I'm trying to do my eyes a favor now.

2. I just really like glasses. I really do. I bought a pair of non-magnification glasses at the dollar store in college and literally wore them for an entire semester.

The best thing about these computer glasses is that they are just as cute as that dollar store pair I loved so much! So I'm pretty satisfied with the purchase overall. Not to mention I've been looking at screens an extra lot this month since I'm writing a novel in my spare time. Here's a video of my grooving to some music as I work on my novel.

To that end, here's an update on my novel: I've written 40,000 of the 50,000 words for the month. And it's still only the 16th! It helps that my sister is really really kind and generous and has been letting me borrow her computer most days so that I can work on it. I also have a pandora station that I started off the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack that is really great for writing to, in my opinion. It's got a lot of classical music and also string quartet and orchestral versions of pop songs, which is really cool. I've fallen in love with Clair de Lune. And I've also discovered the Vitamin String Quartet, which is who is doing that cover of Cheerleader in the video above. Pretty cool, right? So it's all going pretty damn well, I'd say. Just have to finish strong over the next couple weeks!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Some Thoughts on Recent Headlines.

This is a micro poem by Nayyirah Waheed. I've mentioned her before, and her work is fantastic. But anyway, this poem comes to mind often these days, as each and every day seems to bring forth more women talking about men who have assaulted or harassed them.

I am tired. I am tired of seeing and hearing about sexual assault every time I swipe over to the news screen on my phone. I am tired of it being in my face all day every day.

I want to stop having to hear about and read about the horrible situations that these women have gone through and continue to endure all the time.

But it's not that I want to silence these women who speak up so bravely in a culture where it could cost them respect, their jobs, their sanity, but most definitely costs them their privacy in a matter that is highly personal and surely painful. No, I'm proud of those who have the courage to expose their tormentors.

What I want is for this shit to stop happening. I want to stop hearing about it not because women continue to be too afraid to come forward, but because creepy men stop pulling stupid shit like this.

It breaks my heart. I'm so tired of creepy men doing creepy shit. Just be a decent fucking human. Is that really so hard to do? How about you only make sexual advances toward people your own age? And whom you aren't a work authority figure over? And how about, if the person you make advances toward seems to not be into it, how about you leave them the fuck alone and maybe even apologize for having misread that. Yeah, that might be awkward, but's better than just continuing to bark up that tree, right?

Like, is it really so hard to not be a creep? Because I really feel like it isn't. Especially when I consider the large number of non-creepy humans I know personally.

I just want everybody to collectively get their shit together about consent and stop doing things that create victims who then come forward and make the shady stuff public. Just STOP DOING THE THINGS. And we'll all be better off for it.

And I know that I will definitely be less tired.