Filtering by Tag: tidbits

Tidbits: February Edition

Picture / Photo Find

A Writer Thing

I wish this month was as sugary pink as advertised on television. For the first time, I'm ridiculously busy early in the semester. That means that when I make it past this month, March should be, in theory, a little enjoyable. 

This Thursday, I'll be participating in my university's first creative writing conference; it's nice to be at home for one of these giant celebrations. The conference is called Blank Pages, a two-day marathon full of panels and readings from all genres. The panel I'm directing, and presenting on, is called "Young Adult Literature Not Just For Young Adults" and that'll be happening early on the first day. I'm excited to be speaking about YA literature, though it's easy to feel butterflies during preparation, you know? My part of the panel will focus fairy tale retellings in particular - why are they so popular, from a reader and writer's perspective. 

There's a grad and undergrad reading happening that night called 6x6; I'll be on my tip-toes in front of the mic, reading a story about a girl who's in a long distance relationship with an alien. 

Well, it is the month of love, isn't it?

Also, I've gotten some great questions on Formspring regarding my writing on Figment, and I'm looking forward to answering them. Some of my blog posts will be answers to those questions, a nice change and, perhaps, a good way to stay on track with my blogging. So much writing! 

Song I Can't Stop Repeating

"Like a Song" - Lenka

For a more melancholy, haunted love song, I turn to Lenka. She's one of my favorite musicians ever, and I can never get enough of her music. This song in particular is so soft and sad with a music box melody:

I can't forget you when you're gone 
Your like a song 
That goes around in my head 
And how I regret 
It's been so long 
Oh what went wrong 
Could it be something I said 

Make it go faster 
Or just decide 
To come back to my happy heart. 

Video I Watched Too Many Times

Oh yeah, Buster Keaton. This clip is from one of his lesser known talkies called Parlour, Bedroom, and Bath. While most of the movie is pretty slow, the interacts that Buster has with the various women (most of them fairly mean) are hilarious. In this montage, he takes the advice the first woman gave him with the lines he yells and the body movements. 

Not gonna lie - I'd love to hear 'em, no matter how corny. My darling, I love you madly! You must leave leave! I cannot live without you! 

Yay, Valentine's Day. 

Tidbits: August Edition

Picture / Photo Find

Something I Did

School is starting soon. I have two weeks left, but that doesn't mean they will be full of freedom. Orientation will block out a few days of each of those weeks; I'll meet new instructors and learn about changes and perhaps see my name somewhere in the new textbook. Doesn't it seem weird for school to start in August? Does anyone out there start later? (And I guess I'm talking about high school and college).

I shouldn't complain though. The weather doesn't change in Florida between the two months. September is just as hot as August. The new school year is close enough for me to close my treasure drawer and put away summer toys. Time to get back to work.

This summer has been exciting, and sometimes boring, and I am looking forward to getting back in the office again. There's a lot of pressure involved in summer vacation. You're required to have fun, goof off, and be unproductive. If you're not any of these things, you get pitying looks that are kind of funny to see. The secret truth of summer vacation is that it's a beautiful illusion; we're all working on something, whether it's paying the bills or taking another step towards our dreams. Although my pile of unplayed video games is getting dusty, I'm still proud of how I spent my time.

Off to school - to the papers, the freezing classrooms, and mandatory fire drills!

A Quote from a Book I Love

So it seems that one of my unconscious goals in life is to collect all of Francesca Lia Block's books. She is, by far, one of my favorite writers. The local library has been so amazing; they carry a lot of her books already, so I've been reading many of her books that I hadn't been able to get a hold of before. However, there are still a lot of them I have yet to read. So I ordered a few of those and happily awaited their arrival in my mailbox.

One of them is the tiny poetry book called Fairy Tales in Electri-City. My first instinct, as a fan of prose, is to latch onto her novels and devour their vibrant imagery and myth. So sometimes it feels like a treat to read nothing but her poetry, and this collection is no exception. Here's a small bit of one of my favorite poems named after the collection title:

once upon a time a man came west to a city
with a lake that glittered silver at sunset
from the scales of the mermaids under the surface
and a park named echo
where the nymphs in the trees
whispered back your words

there was a flock of angels who walked on the pier
beneath the ferris wheel
and a tinkling carousel
ghosts rode in the night

the man fathered a child and called her electra
and when she grew up she found
not only mermaids nymphs and angels
but witches and warlocks too
who would eat your heart like a christmas ham
if you let them

Song I Can't Stop Repeating

"Elf Song" by Priscilla Ahn.

I'm new to Priscilla Ahn, having somehow missed a lot of her music when her first album came out. However, I think I've fallen in love with a lot of her newer songs, including every single on of them on her When You Grow Up album. This song in particular is awfully lovely because it's a story that many people, I believe, can relate to.

When the moon was full
She sat on her stool
And said hello old friend
Could you grant me a wish
And take me away to some place that's different?

So the moon
Sang a tune

And it went like this...

A Writer Thing

86, 643. Oh. my. gosh. This is my word count on Birdcage Girl right now. It's so surreal. You know, I started writing and posting the chapters on only a few months ago. It's strange to think that December will come again - the birthday of my longest novel manuscript to date! I'm kind of stunned by it all, but insanely proud. Now that I'm close to the end, I can't help but marvel at how it feels. Sometimes I feel happy, but, for the most part, my head hurts.

My brain is sucking up all the energy I have in order to make this story complete. I'm almost haunted by it, thinking of nothing else in my idle time during the day. The ending, the ending, the ending. It'll happen soon. And if my heart is racing just thinking about writing it, then I hope that my readers feel the same way when they read it. August is a special month this year because, by the end of it, I plan to hold a finished manuscript in my hands. Warm, like a baby (so I'll have to stand at the printer and scoop it up right away, haha). I'm ready for the inevitable paper cuts. But for now, I have to keep trucking along until the words stop and I find myself at the end of this particular, peculiar, journey.

Video I Watched Too Many Times

Zune commercials! If not anything else, I really feel as if they have a wide array of fantastic commercials (I'll probably end up posting more of them at some point, haha).

Food I'm Craving

Tuna melts *_*

This time, I have nothing insightful to say about it. Only... I had lived on a steady diet of tuna melts when I spent my month in England. There were always fairly-priced and tasted so melty on a cold day outside. I remember when a friend and I sat on a bench with our chins buried in our coats. I had rubbed my hands all over the paper wrapping to gather the warmth.

Photos from We Heart It

Tidbits: June Edition

Picture / Photo Find

Something I Did

May 30th was my twenty-third birthday. Hooray! Considering this post is supposed to represent June, this statement may be a little off. But I couldn't bring myself to post about my birthday on its own. It didn't seem right. So I waited for June. It's strange to be twenty-three. I don't feel much different, but I know that I've crossed a line of some sort. Twenty-three. How grown up am I supposed to be now?

Not much, by the looks of things. I celebrated by seeking out macrons. As I've said in previous posts, bakeries don't exist where I live. If they do, they close within months because of lack of patrons and high rent. And even if they do stay, they never carry macarons. They were mythical desserts. So the family and I took an hour's ride to track down some of those unicorn-rare treats, in a bakery far, far away. And I felt like a pirate when I opened the box and found them all smiling up at me like gold doubloons:

From left to right: chocolate, pistachio, raspberry, banana, and orange. Surprisingly, pistachio tasted the best. I'm happy to report that they were delicious.

A Quote from a Book I Love

Thanks to MJ over at The Woodland Library, I found out about a wonderful book called The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. For anyone who loves a good fairy tale - complete with strange, heart-warming characters, exciting adventure, and a lot of mystery, this is the book for you. The voice of the book is witty and old-world sounding; this is the type of book you might discover hidden away in the back rooms of a secret bookstore. It actually started out online, so you can read the first few chapters and see if you like it (and don't forget to listen to the song).

I had the hardest time choosing just one excerpt, but here it is:

"The Leopard of Little Breezes yawned up and further off from the rooftops of Omaha, Nebraska, to which September did not even wave good-bye. One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown."

Song I Can't Stop Repeating

"The Engine Driver" by The Decemberists

This song puts me in a quiet, pensive mood. With foot-tapping. And the lyrics are wonderful:

And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I've written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
My bones
My bones

A Writer Thing

Lately I've been writing like something is chasing me. I can't say that what's coming out onto my Word documents are lousy because of this speed, but I'm astonished at how fast the words flow. I made a promise to myself that I would finish my manuscript (for that is what it is) for Birdcage Girl by the end of the summer. So perhaps my fingers have caught up with my head. Chapters are pouring out of me like a flood.

Many writers feel sad to see a novel end, to reach that very last page and know - besides revisions - that they are done. You have to say goodbye to your characters and tip your hat to the world that you've been exploring through every late night, every snatched moment. I'm not near the end of Birdcage Girl - I think I'm almost at the middle of the book (experimentally short chapters means a novel will take a lot longer to finish than one would think, haha). It's strange, even in the middle, to think that it will end.

I attended another summer workshop yesterday, and this is what we talked about after finishing for the day. My two fellow writer-friends have already finished manuscripts; one has an agent and the other must begin revising his first draft. They know what it's like to finish. It was fun picking their brains and enjoying a nice mango smoothie while I was at it.

So I'm trying to ride the wave of writing while I can. I feel like I'm on a roller coaster with my characters strapped in next to me. They're ready to go. I just, somehow, need to send us all flying down the first drop.

Video I Watched Too Many Times

Because I love stop motion.

Food I'm Craving

I want marmalade! You know, I've never had it before.

What sparked this desire is that I'm working with a terribly annoying character who is still, to this day, withholding his true name. I think I've found-and-replaced his name numerous times already, and I'm still not happy with what's there. He started out as Ruari, and now he's Buell. But I don't really like either. And I don't have much trouble with character names in general. There's always a rebel.

So when I was reworking this character's description, I described his hair was being the color of bottled marmalade. And so I feel like, if I eat some marmalade, perhaps his real name will pop into my head. What do you think? And what's good to put marmalade on?

Marmalade photo found here
Photo finds from We Heart It

Tidbits: May Edition

Picture/Photo Find

Something I Did

So I got my silhouette done a few days ago. I've been dying to get one done for a while; silhouettes, to me, are magical things. I love how anyone can suddenly seem mysterious and beautiful, yet look exactly like themselves, when they are captured in a shadow. I entertained the thought of learning how to do them myself, but I soon found that it was just far beyond my skills at the moment. It would have to wait in line behind the other skills I want to teach myself how to do this summer, including storyboarding and making pop-up books. I went to Disney, the Magic Kingdom, and sat down for my silhouette. The silhouette isn't very expensive at all - I think it's $8 if you don't want a frame. I gawked at the stall when I first got to Main Street and admired all the elaborate shadowed scenes on display. I kind of wanted them too - Ariel looking up at the surface and Wendy flying - but I had to remain focused. I was here to start with me.

I actually ended up waiting almost an hour to get it done since, when I first got there, the silhouette artist was on his lunch break. So I sat in the chair and waited. I saw one of the smaller parades and watched the balloon guys expertly tug balloons down from their floating bouquets for eager children. I was so relaxed and enthralled by the sights that I didn't realize that the artist had come back from his break. He, in turn, never bothered to ask me if I was indeed waiting for a portrait. He just assumed that I was resting in the chair - apparently something many people do in the park. I didn't know this (I guess you learn something everyday). After smiling at each other, flustered and apologizing, he had me sit up and look straight ahead. I couldn't see what he was doing, but in a matter of minute he had carved out my silhouette. We chatted about art school and novel writing while he placed my silhouette in the frame. I went home a happy girl.

I scanned it and here it is:

Cool, eh? I had planned to do it with my glasses off, but because of the mishap I was so flustered I just sat with them on. Realistically, I don't use contacts, so I'm always wearing my glasses. It's true to life. But I've always admired eyelashes on silhouettes, so I missed seeing that. But yes, my hair really is that thick. It's totally correct, haha. No straightener can hide the volume :) I want to stick it on my blog somewhere, but I'm still wondering where. Hm.

A Quote from a Book I Love

I just finished reading Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. I've actually have the book in my room for an entire school year, abusing the privilege graduate students get by taking out books for months, not weeks, at a time. I renewed and renewed and finally, when I felt for a moment that I could breathe, I sat down and read this in one sitting. Which is a big deal since it's not a tiny book. It's all about adventure, mysterious creatures, airships, and old-world charm. Here's one of my favorite parts of the airship Aurora's liftoff. It inspired me to randomly shout "Up ship!" in my daily life:

"Pull up the gangways! Close the hatches! The cargo was all loaded and tied down in the holds; the last of the passengers were on board. There was a cry of “Up ship!” from the control car. The two-hundred-strong ground crew cast off the mooring lines, and with a great splash we were dumping water ballast, and the men and women on the airfield sent up a cheer, and we were rising now, the passengers swinging caps and handkerchiefs from the open windows, and the people down below waving back, and we were rising, the airfield already far below us, and the spires of Lionsgate City spreading out to the north, and we were rising into the dawn sky, sure and smooth as an angel."

Song I Can't Stop Repeating

The melody alone is beautiful, but the combination with the lyrics is just romantically haunting:

But every time she turned the lights down low
He thought he heard a voice calling out so slow
Come take me away from all this pain
And he said

I see you sitting there at the window sill
Looking for shooting stars
I wanna get closer and closer still
I wanna take over your heart

You will be mine, mine
Over time, time
You're gonna find, find
I'll make you mine, mine

A Writer Thing

Fiction is where the fun happens. I love to spend time crafting magical worlds and strange characters. If I didn't have to eat and sleep and participate in the world, I'd probably do that all day. However, creative nonfiction is where it gets tricky for me. My writing voice actually changes; the humor I always carry with me comes out, and I ramble way too much for my words to have any kind of poetic effect to them. And creative nonfiction is draining to the writer who is not used to it.

I just finished revising my final workshop piece for the semester. I really feel like I revealed a giant secret of mine in that piece - it was refreshing and incredibly exciting. My heart pounded in my chest as I wrote it. But having to revise took longer than I thought. Every change in structure and sentence, every new section written, took a lot of energy out of me. And it's not because of revision itself. More so, I dug deeper into my heart. Pulling that gunky, delicate stuff into the light left me breathless at the keyboard. I rubbed my eyes. Downed more soda. Stayed up late.

And finally, it's done. Until the next revision. My goodness, I have such respect for creative nonfiction writers. They're just plain amazing.

Video I Watched Too Many Times

I don't think I've posted this on here yet, so here we go. This video gives me chills. Good chills. The nostalgia here is just wonderful. I want to have tea in a river with a moose figurine on my table.

Food I'm Craving

SUSHI. Like, good sushi.

All photos except for my silhouette were found on We Heart It.

Tidbits: April Edition

I've been having a bit of an issue with time. It seems as if I've been thinking that the past two weeks were April, despite April only coming upon us since yesterday. This must be because of school. I blame school. I have more papers on my office desk than I know what to do with, student conferencing, and story revisions: April is a race to finish!

After scouting out some blogs over the last couple weeks, I've been giving some thought to the posts bloggers sometimes do where they list or talk about some of the discoveries they've made on the internet. I really like this. It's like show and tell, but better because you're not in grammar school and having to stand in front of a chalkboard.

So I think that I'm going to try something out like that and posting it at the beginning of each month. So here we go!

Picture/Photo Find

Something I Did

April Fool's Day, indeed. The cruelest joke played on me yesterday was finding out that my university doesn't have a Ticketmaster anymore. If you've ever bought concert tickets, you know how much easier it is on the wallet to go pick them up than ordering them online (actual venue or Ticketmaster booth). Well, considering that the venue is an hour away and there are no nearby music stores, I put my trust in the whispered rumors and blindly ran to the Marshall Center after teaching classes for the day.

I burst into the building and ran to the information desk. A lone girl sat behind it and she smiled at me when I approached.

Me: Can you tell me where the Ticketmaster is?

Her: Oh. We don't have one.

Me: What?

Her: The school took it out. We don't have one anymore.

Me: ;_;

Or something like that. So I dashed back to my office, still managing at the same time to text my frustrations to some sympathetic friends. I woke up my computer, took a deep breath, and tried not to cringe when the convenience fees popped up on screen. I was brave. I clicked away. What did I buy?

Owl City concert tickets.

Song I Can't Stop Repeating

"My Hands Are Shaking" by Sondre Lerche.

A Writer Thing

Yesterday I attended USF's 2011 Curtain Call.

Curtain Call is a reading at the end of the year for graduating MFA students in the program. Friends, family, undergrad students and writers and other supportive faculty come to hear the graduates read from their theses. The MFA professors gave great introductions of each graduate, both humorous and heartfelt.

Again, this event took place in the Marshall Center, but this time my walk over was calm and peaceful. The air was cool from the sunset. I wore my green, flower-print bag over my shoulder and felt incredibly happy that I didn't have to lug my netbook or lunch box with me this time. I packed everything away before going. There were plenty of people already there when I arrived. I bought a homemade booklet of sample writing from the four graduating MFAers - the money for the book went to Japan Second Harvest.

The four totally awesome writers who, I got to know a bit during my first year here, are:

It was wonderful to hear their words, in some cases for the first time for me. Each one is incredibly talented and I'm sorry to see them go - but that's what grad school is like, I guess. The time we spend studying creative writing here is so short but extremely powerful. To think that in two years, I'll be standing up there. Woah. So surreal. I tried to find links for each; please check out their writing if you get the chance.

Video I Watched Too Many Times

So I found this Japanese ad that, I confess, I don't understand language-wise. I don't speak or read Japanese, though I consider anyone who can terribly amazing. I wish I could do that. I'm horrible at language learning at the start, haha. But I got the point of this video: it's to show how wonderful it is to read. How you can get lost in the pages of a book and how books might lead to other new adventures (like meeting cute guys?). Japanese books are incredibly cute too. I love paperbacks and these look almost as soft as teddy bears. Yes, yes, I'm a bibliophile, haha.

Food I'm Craving

Macarons. I've never ever had any before. This fact is bumming me out.

Have a great week, dear readers!