Monday, July 29, 2013

tell everybody i'm on my way, and i'm loving every step i take

well, i wasn't able to add forty thousand words to the novel, but i did add thirty-six thousand and a few. i just can't put anything else in without reading the whole thing first. (also, a lot of the stuff i was adding at the end resulted in me ctrl+f-ing a word and then just adding in exposition or a little characterization and i have no idea where in the story those things fell or if they even make sense where they are and if they should be moved. but they're in there and that's really all that matters to me right now. although that's another reason that i need to do an entire read-through before touching it again.) but the second draft is done, and that makes me extremely happy. i'm not planning many big changes for the third draft, just the basics: get rid of any word-padding (though i was trying really hard to keep that to a minimum) move around plot points if needed and fix the time line which right now is very, very messed up. months pass in a single weekend. one day it is saturday and the next day is friday. there are three days left in school and at the same time summer vacation started two weeks ago. obviously, this needs to be fixed.

but the second draft is done! woohoo!

of course, this means that i was a little under four thousand words short of winning camp nano and i refuse to lose any nano session so i started on the potential sequel and can i just say how much i have missed writing a first draft. so much easier. so much more fun. the words just flowed out. all month i've been struggling to get five hundred words down at a time. it took me hours to get my thousand words a day. yesterday i sat down to a new open office document and when i looked up again there were over two thousand words in it. it was fantastic.

except now a middle-grade story that my brother and i were excited about has been haunting me. (i mentioned the idea to him and he got really into it and helped me hammer out a rough outline for it. which i think i lost. oops.) it's the one that i was originally planning on just getting out during this camp session but then abandoned in favor of fleshing out forbidden (which is the working title for this novel that i just cannot think of a title i am happy with for). part of me wants to take a break from editing and sequel writing and write about mermaids instead. (that's what it was about. a mermaid war. there are kidnappings and fighting and friendship. it's pretty awesome in my head.)

since august will be full of family visits and school preparation, i don't think i'll be able to get much writing done. maybe i'll use august to step away from the story, then push out a third draft in september-october. i will use nanowrimo (november) to write the mermaid story while at the same time get some beta readers for forbidden. and somewhere in all of that, i should probably work in time for school stuff.

anyway, i promise that by the first week of august i will have things going on in my life besides writing. but at the moment writing is my main focus. especially since i finished the second draft. did i mention i was excited about that? oh, and i've finished knitting a third of the patches needed for my blanket. and i decided that if i ever get rich and famous i will hire someone to hold my book open and turn the pages for me while i knit because sometimes i want to knit and read at the same time and since i only have two hands, i can't.

*On My Way - Phil Collins

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

why do all good things come to an end?

i don't know what came over me, but i just spent the past hour waking up from my academic hibernation. i sent out emails to several professors asking if they'd be a faculty reference for me because i suddenly find myself applying to be a mentor to international students in this special program mason has. i emailed the lady about the mentor position just to clarify exactly what would be required. i emailed people about renewing my job as a GTA for the computer forensics program next year. i emailed a student asking for information on his committee because a professor told me that he was doing a policy related dissertation and if they'll work with him without programming they might work with me. i emailed another professor about the new hire for the computer forensics program that everyone has been talking about, and not only did i get his contact information and set up a meeting with him for next week, but i also ended up in an email chat conversation with the professor i reached out to and am meting up with him early august. and suddenly, i find myself right back in the swing of things. i feel both relieved and slightly panicked. i kind of liked my little bubble of no responsibilities. oh well. deep breath.

of course, that took up time that i should have been noveling so now i need to go start on that. i have a little under nine thousand words to go before i call camp nano a success. i kind of feel too accomplished to do anything right now though (and i still need to clean the apartment which i have been finding reasons to postpone for the past few days).

in a couple of weeks my sister and her family and my grandmother will all be back in virginia to visit. looks like my summer of laziness and isolation is coming to an end. a little over a month of knitting, reading, writing, and tv. it was good while it lasted.

*All Good Things (Come to an End) - Nelly Furtado

Monday, July 22, 2013

at least i'm moving forward

so i said i would write about my bad luck with movies, but the post was dragging on and putting me to sleep just writing it, so here's the short version: whenever i want to see a movie in theaters, like really want to see it, i don't. something happens, or a whole bunch of things happen, and it ends up leaving everywhere before i get a chance. it's sad really, and has been going on for years and years and years. some recent notable misses were the great gatsby (i know! i feel sorry for me, too) and the bling ring. the therapist i saw in tenth grade felt that it had to do with my constant putting everyone else before me and my habit of seeing that other people had stuff on their plates while simultaneously ignoring the fact that i had stuff on my plate. or, something like that. (i really wanted to watch ella enchanted that year because it was my favorite book since i read it in fourth grade. she would ask me every week if i saw it. you can probably guess my answer. the first time i watched it was when i bought myself the DVD.)


i have added twenty-nine thousand, seven hundred and forty words to my novel so far, and i recently read the prologue again and i found myself liking it. sure, it's not perfect, but it has potential and it is definitely stronger than it used to be. it has also maybe sort of become the first in a potential trilogy? i mean, i can take out the newly added last chapter and it will be a standalone book. i can leave in the newly added last chapter and suddenly there are follow up books. it's magical, really. the newly added last chapter was added today (but thought of earlier) so starting tomorrow i will be going through it randomly and inserting the things i want to. hopefully these things will add up to another ten thousand words or so. i still think that i suck at the whole editing thing and i'm not even sure if you can count what i'm doing as editing at all, but i am making progress and that is all that matters.

(i am not making any progress on the academic front, though. not even fake progress because i am so over the situation that i refuse to do anything for/about it. it's really bad. whenever i start to feel good about novel progress or blanket knitting progress (i have about a quarter of the patches knitted so far), i like to remind myself of my epic failure with school to keep myself grounded.)

*Moving Forward - Hoobastank

Sunday, July 21, 2013

all my bags are packed, i'm ready to go

one of my favorite things about traveling in the summers is the airplane ride. i know a lot of people that would not agree, but i love them. so much. i love travel in general - bus rides, car rides, whatever. the longer the better - and airplanes are pretty high up on the list. i have had horrendous trips, of course. it would be naive of me to expect anything else. i mean, i have had at least two airplane rides a year for most of my life. sometimes more. there is no way that they could all be good. but the bad ones do not wipe out the good. i still love my airplanes. (i did learn that the saudi side of me has the right to brag that its airline is a million times better than the american side's.)

this year is the first in a very, very long time that i will not be going on an airplane. and that makes me sad. though i am partially (read: mostly) relieved to not have to deal with the familial obligations that come as a packaged deal with travel, and i fully appreciate the fact that i can actually go out and watch a movie and get ice cream whenever i want this summer (a post on my bad luck with movies coming soon), i want my airplane rides. i really, really do.

and i want a real airplane ride, too. none of that one hour flight to new york type of thing. i want my thirteen hour flight with two meals and my touchscreen movie screen and crossing time zones. i would seriously go to the desert for two days just for the airplane ride. (and then i could see some of the people i actually really want to see.)

you know how you get vouchers for free flights for life if something happens to the plane you're on? (i actually dunno if this is what happens outside of tv shows, but let's pretend.) yeah, i want those. but i don't want my plane to crash or anything. i need to find a survivor of a plane crash who got the free vouchers for life but is too traumatized to ever fly again. i would kindly take them off of their hands. so if you know anyone, feel free to send them my way.

*Leaving on a Jet Plane - Chantal Kreviazuk

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

no, i won't give up

okay, so. i have a bunch of drafts that will eventually make really great starts to blog posts, but i am not going to use any of them now because i am hungry, and i am fasting, and i have no energy or will power to do them justice. see, there's this thing about my family where we get grumpy when we get hungry. or we cry. one or the other, and sometimes both. it ranges in severity from person to person. for example, my uncle gets downright obnoxiously ornery. and mean. and if respecting one's elders wasn't such a big thing, i would probably punch him in the face. or at least yell at him, because he gets absolutely ridiculous. i am nowhere near that bad, but hungry!me is definitely not one of my funnest versions to be around.

in other news, i have seventeen pages of my novel left un"edited" and i have only added just over twenty-three thousand words to it. my goal was forty thousand. i've made a few notes like, "go back and add such and such here" and "you forgot to make connor's mom into an actual character. again. go fix that." and "make the passing of time less inconsistent and unrealistic." so those will add more words, but i dunno if i'll actually get to forty thousand even with those or if i feel like going through the thing again to address these notes. the longer i sit with the thing (the thing being my novel) the more it seems really, really bad. it's very discouraging. but i'm stubborn. the plan is to go back and fix all the little notes i've been making first, then to go through it with a pen and paper(s) and every time i mention something about a character or an event to write it down so i can see how many times i contradict myself and fix it. (i complain so much about obvious inconsistencies with other authors that if i have any i deserve to be punched.) then i will move it into a book format by either pretending to publish it for the proof copy or just printing out the pages. i will read through it as a reader (or try to at least) and if i do not want to crawl into a hole with shame (actually, crawling into a hole is acceptable. killing myself from embarrassment is not.) then i will pass it on to some trusted readers to find out what they think. if all of this goes well then i will try to get published. and once i am published i will sign books with: editing sucks. -sarah

completely unrelated information: i go through phases with "scary" things. like, sometimes i can watch anything and not be affected at all and sometimes i watch nancy drew and am afraid to walk into my bedroom alone. the phases last for months and are very unpredictable. when supernatural first came out, i watched it religiously. then class time got in the way of show time and it was not one of the shows available online so i missed a couple of seasons. i have always said that i would go back and watch them all, though. i decided that this summer, the summer of shirking responsibility, was the perfect time. unfortunately, when i got four episodes into the first season (i forgot most of what happened) i realized that i was getting way too jumpy and should probably wait a bit on it. this made me sad so i decided to go through a few of the top shows that i always wanted to watch (or the ones that netflix did not take down. which is not many. grr.) and then go back to it, jumpy or not.

*I Won't Give Up - Jason Mraz

Friday, July 12, 2013

and mama i've been crying

okay so i was originally going to write a TMI post about how i hate being twenty-five because before this birthday i had a streak going of not throwing up for like seven years - i was still a teenager in high school. and then suddenly i turn twenty-five and on the same day i start this weird ritual of spending at least one night a month on the bathroom floor. and let me tell you, now i know why i gave up throwing up. it is not fun.

but then i started rereading the fault in our stars, and, well, book talk trumps everything. (though you may have noticed that i did manage to get in some TMI grossness up there.) anyway, reading TFIOS a second time is so much worse than reading it the first time, let me tell you. i know why i kept subconsciously putting it off. i mean, when you start it the first time you realize it's a cancer story and you kinda expect some sort of a sad ending, but there is that hope present in the initial reading, that whisper that maybe it'll all be okay. then all of the plot twists hit you hard in the gut and you find yourself with a steady stream of tears running down your cheeks as you turn the pages and you are left with a heavy sense of this-is-sad-this-is-wrong for days afterwards. when you read it the second time, there is just this feeling of doom hanging over everything the entire time. knowing the outcome is infinitely worse than not knowing. at least with this book.

but. rereading the book brought to mind certain things that kill me about it. and not in the good way. first of all, and this might just be me being anal, but john green has this habit of referring to 2005ish as the mid-2000s. (i'm pretty sure he does this in a couple of his books, but it could just be this one.) and that just annoys me so much. because the mid-2000s means around 2500. that's just the way it works. you can't change that. 2005 is still way early in the baby years of 2000. no where near middle age yet.

there is also this line that makes me want to go to every john green fan and punch them in the face (and then applaud their taste in books). hazel says that she falls in love with augustus the way you fall asleep: "slowly then all at once." and the john green fandom loves to use that quote to show his pure literary genius. but no. because he did not think that up entirely by himself. see, i have this relationship with prozac nation in which i have read it countless times and pretty much have it memorized but never recommend it to friends because it's just too personal. there is this one point in the book where she says that going mad happens slowly then all at once just like how hemingway described bankruptcy in the sun also rises. you see what she did there? she said where she got the reference from. now, i'm sure there are a lot of books that use that phrase, and i don't really mind it, but the people attributing it to green need to stop because hemingway said it first. if you are going to call the coiner of the phrase genius, you should know who freakin' coined the phrase. /rant.

oh, and john green writes these really metaphorically obsessed pretentious teenagers that are all about metaphysical i spy and the symbolic-ness of everything, and most of the time i love them, but sometimes i am feeling surly and just want to tell him no. stop that.

anyway, i'm at the point in the book where everything seems so perfect and everything is going right and past!me thought that there will probably be a happy ending at this point (and then stupidly thought something about him not having the nerve to be realistic) and i just know that there will be tears soon and gut-wrenching sadness. *sigh*

*The Sun - Maroon 5

Monday, July 8, 2013

i feel stupid, but i think i've been catching on

when i was little, there were some things that i just assumed i would learn how to do when i grew older. now that i'm older, i'm ashamed to say that i have still not learned these things. here is a list of things i thought i would have learned by the time i was twenty-five (in no particular order):

  • i thought i would know how to draw a straight line. after trying for the past twenty years, i think it's getting time for me to just accept that i will very rarely (if ever) be able to draw a line straight through a piece of paper. with or without a ruler. (a ruler just lets me draw a straight line at an angle.)
  • drawing a straight line doesn't matter much anyway, though, because i still have not learned to cut in a straight line. i mean, sure, i got better than i was in kindergarten, but i still assumed that by this age, if i was cutting along a line, there would not be pieces of the line on both sides of the cut.
  • for some stupid reason, i tend to trip over my right shoe when i'm walking. i don't understand it at all, but i thought i would have grown out of it and learned how to walk right. but, no. i didn't. it's not like i'm tripping over it every time i take a step, but enough of my shoes have scuffed right toes to show that it happens way more than it should.
  • i thought i would learn what i'm supposed to do with my hands when i walk (and really most of the time). they're just there, hanging awkwardly and i feel like i should know what to do with them by now. oh, and i have also been made fun of for swinging my arms when i walk, which i honestly don't realize i'm doing until someone points it out, so i should probably learn to stop that too.
  • have you ever watched the movie airplane? if you haven't, you should do so right now because it is hilarious. if you have, you may remember this scene where one of the characters says he has a "drinking problem." (basically, when he tries to drink it dribbles down his chin and out the sides of his mouth. sometimes, i, too, have a drinking problem. i thought i would have learned how to use a cup way before i was in my mid-twenties.
  • i hate phones. i really do. mostly because talking on them is such a stressful activity for me. there are a handful of people that i can talk on the phone with normally, and the billions of other people alive give me heart palpitations when they call. i never know what to say or how to hang up or anything. i thought i would know how to talk on the phone by know.
  • i really thought that somewhere along the way i would just start doing the things i said i was going to do. but i still do not know how to not procrastinate. i do not know how to get anything done until i have no other choice. i do not know how to do things that do not have to be done, and i feel like i should. 

*Mad Season - Matchbox 20

Saturday, July 6, 2013

with these things there's no telling, we just have to wait and see, but i'd rather be working for a paycheck than waiting to win the lottery

today my marriage turns two years old, and i find that really weird because it feels both too young and too old at the same time. if it were a baby, it would be in one of the cutest stages of its life, but also the most bratty.

to celebrate this momentous occasion, here are a bunch of random facts about two years, marriage, married couples, and other random things that are only vaguely relevant.

  • the average person spends around 2 years on the phone in their lifetime. (i'm not sure how much i believe this fact. i mean, my sister will sit on the phone for almost eight hours a day nine months out of the year, which means she's been on the phone for one year about every four years. so unless she dramatically decreases her phone usage, she should fill out her two years any day now.)
  • 101 dalmatians and peter pan are the only two disney movies that have 2 parents that are around and don't die in the movie. (in peter pan 2, though, the dad is at war and i can't remember if he dies or not. my family and i used to watch peter pan 2 on repeat every summer for my little brothers.)
  • washington dc has the lowest marriage rate in america. (i'm not sure if i am surprised by this or not. at first i was, but then i tried to think of a state that would have a lower rate and i couldn't think of one so maybe that means that i'm not.)
  • lions generally only mate once every two years. (from all of the nature documentaries and animal books and shows i have gone through with my brother, i should have learned this before.)
  • the wife of a married, male millionaire is statistically most likely to be a teacher if employed. (i don't know how they came up with this one or if it has any basis in truth at all, but now that i posted it it will sit in your mind and you'll randomly remember it at parties and tell other people and pretty soon everyone will believe it.)
  • in america, tv soap opera weddings tend to have more viewers than a presidential address. (this does not surprise me at all. not even a little bit.)
  • the title for this post is from bright eyes' first day of my life which was the song my husband and i danced our first dance to. (i don't think there will ever be a time that the fact that i played bright eyes, muse, the script, and savage garden at my wedding will not make me happy.)

*First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

sometimes i worry that i lost the plot, my twitching muscles tease my flippant thoughts

[one] while fleshing out my novel, i realized that, once again, i'm taking too long to actually start the story. i can basically take out the first three chapters is what i'm thinking. i haven't done it yet because i need the words for camp nano and there are also some parts that i want to keep in. so maybe compress it into the first chapter and try not to make it seem too fragmented? we will see. i also added a house on the corner to add to the description and that accidentally added an entire character and will really help with a side plot thing that needed work so i am happy about that. i'm hopeful about the outcome of this camp fleshing.

[two] i always wanted to be a published author of novels. that has always been my dream. but somewhere along the way i found prosetry and fell in love with it. (i even published a book of it that you can buy here. you can read what other people thought about it here. /self promotion) i've been more geared to noveling recently and most lines that come to me are either put into my novel or left in a half finished blog draft "for later." i didn't think i'd miss prosetry as much as i do.

[three] i have recently discovered that the pitter-patter of guinea pig feet is one of my favorite sounds. who needs kids when you can just borrow your sister's pets? but seriously, it is adorable and makes me so happy. i love darcy to bits, but those guinea pig feet are just really something.

[four] part of me wants to drop out of school and pretend that i am at the same level in life as the senior citizens in my pottery class. i just want to handbuild, knit, and write for the rest of my life. hopefully make a living off of it, too. i mean, amazon has been trying to tell me that i am a middle aged woman for years now. maybe i should just listen to them.

[five] on the other hand, while watching the news recently (especially stuff about the aaron hernandez case), the computer forensics analyst in me gets super interested and excited. like, that is what i want to do with my life too. i just wish it was easier to actually do it.

*Easy Luck Free - Bright Eyes