coniferous_you: (Accurate Portrait)
Hey Livejournal, my girlfriend's selling some stuff. She binds books, and makes other stuff. She bound some books of my participants' writing for the Centre, and everyone over paid our price by at least double because they were so beautiful.

ALSO SHE MADE ME A CUSTOM BOOK WITH POLYMER CLAY AND IT IS ONE OF MY MOST PRIZED POSSESSIONS NO BIAS

You can find the stuff being offered here:
http://ohaugustine.tumblr.com/tagged/jewelry
coniferous_you: (Accurate Portrait)
Basically what happened was I worked like three six day weeks in a row and then I got sick again and I am trying to learn from my mistake but it's hard because I KEEP FALLING ASLEEP

However, the following also happened in my class on Monday:

One of the participants touched my hair and I don't know why but that makes me end up like "AHHH DON'T DO THAT WHY DID YOU DO THAT?"

I regretted that even before he started crying, but then he said, "I'm so sorry. Do you still like me? Are we still friends?"

And I was like, "Yeah man, we're cool. I just don't like that. Know what I do like though? Hugs!"

He said, "Really? Can I give you a hug?"

I nodded; we hugged.

Then this other participant was like "I wanna hug too!"

So we had a group hug because why not.
coniferous_you: (Duhhhkasa)
I thought I started back to the Centre today, but you know what? It's Labour Day, so Wednesday is our first meeting day (teaching doesn't start until next month, but we're choosing the groups now).

But basically I'm pretty excited to get back for some reasons:

1) My research on my literacy program was accepted to an international journal, so we're going to get more recognition and hopefully more funding because of that.

2) This will be the fifth year of the Reading Group and I am getting that nudging feeling that perhaps it could or should be the last (with me as the facilitator, anyway).

3) LIBRARY I THINK

To explain that, I'm getting the feeling that I am close to having done all I can do with this group, but it was my idea so I don't think I could just move on and say "'kay, bye." I want to provide something that will make meaning of my time there and justify the time I put into this project.

So Wednesday I'm going to propose establishing a lending library. We're already one step away from this, as I am constantly bringing books from home for the participants to read.

I AM KIND OF EXCITED
coniferous_you: (Rainy Day.)
My epic cleaning-and-purging adventure continues.

I am still disappointed that I cannot burn stuff, but I guess sometimes fire just is not allowed and I have to pretend I understand that.

This purging is very freeing though. I don't feel as weighted down; don't feel as much like I am imprisoned here.

I still wish I had a fire though.

Or a paper shredder at least.

Trying to dispose of old manuscripts is really hard without one evidently.
coniferous_you: (Raccoon Hand)
Today I woke up, non-manically, at sunrise.

Then what happened was:

- Read Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken
- Ran up the mountain
- Began filing for a passport
- Began filing some other paperwork
- Put together a cleaning spreadsheet
- Began cleaning
- Supper is a thing
- Maybe dessert too
- Listen now that I'm not manic I'm struggling to feel useful and this is the best I can do currently
- I think I'm going to make pasta
- Maybe soup
- Cupcakes. I have this recipe that's pie except it's cupcakes.
- I believe I have discovered my issue with the city: they won't let me burn things
- "Purge all the things" should be on this list but it isn't because I want a big ritualistic fire because reasons and my brain still thinks I can have one

So basically my life today is spreadsheets, cupcakes, and fire.

But that's everyday.
coniferous_you: (Duhhhkasa)
Three things:

1) I have a LAN cable.

2) I have a roommate.

3) I have a slot on the back of my computer that is decidedly not for a LAN cable.

But Roommate did not know that. And then he got curious. He wanted to know if my LAN cable "hooked" into the back. However, what he actually said was "I WONDER IF IT COOK IN THE BACK" BEFORE TEARING MY LAN CABLE OUT AND DISCONNECTING MY INTERNET

Because.

He wonder if it cook. In the back.

Not a typo, folks.
coniferous_you: (Accurate Portrait)
So a few things happened:

1) I decided to take a little time off from sprinting because I woke up one morning and had to stay in bed because my lungs just didn't work all day.

2) I've been seeing a therapist for my anxiety.

3) With no anxiety or sprinting to wear me out, over the past week or so the usual manic tendencies I get this time of year have become full-on mania.

There are positives:

- I have written somewhere past ten thousand words in the past few days. Some of those words finished my chapters of George Cooney Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

- I got a lot of editing done in a very short period of time, some paid and some for friends. The highlight was editing Derek's the Circle because it took so little time that I then also edited an outline of the virus story also from Derek. There was also, in this time, a thesis about what it takes to be a champion. That was pretty neat too.

- I have been everywhere all the time. My friends have needed things and I have bought them things or given them things I own or have helped them out with words or shouty e-mails.

But there are negatives:

- Will I regret that money I spent on my friends? Will I regret the stuff I gave away?

- I have slept four hours a night for at least a week now. I am not insomniac. I am not anxious. I simply cannot sleep more than that. I am going to pay for this.

- I get ideas that just will not go away and sometimes they're actually good ideas but I have to shout about them and I lack the awareness to consider, for example, that people shouldn't be shouting after a certain point in the day.

- I require constant stimulation to maintain my mental stability. That doesn't sound so bad because productivity, but sometimes I run out of writing, editing, books, exercise, cooking, baking, and people to talk to and then what do I do.

- The worst thing is probably the feeling that my days are no longer connected to each other. Thus, stuff that happened yesterday doesn't necessarily have any bearing on today and tomorrow is a very distant possibility. So I don't worry about the future, but I also can't be comforted by the past. (Translation: I am a six-year-old).

BASICALLY right now I am kind of effervescent and kind of a jerk and the real problem here is that, although I feel vaguely guilty for being this way, when I am occupied I like it.
coniferous_you: (Accurate Portrait)
If you know me, you probably know that I love baking and also cooking. These are things I know how to do, and making loved ones happy with edible things is just exactly my speed of domestic generosity.

I'm able to happily think up recipes and make them; I never burn anything.

UNFORTUNATELY

I seem to have this problem with burning everything else.

Today I tried to make a toasted sandwich with various spices and arcane vegan stuff and I guess onions.

Did the sandwich end up delicious? Yes.

However, I also ended up burning my hand on the pan when I took the bread out of the oven from broiling the vegan cheese on top of it. Then I set the pan on top of the oven and it fell over and I had to catch it and I burned my hand again.

I burned my hand a third time when I realized I'd moved the pan onto the still active burner I had been using to cook the arcane vegan stuff and the various spices and I guess onions.

I also burned the pan, of course.

And then I got wise and used a pot holder to take the pan off the element. Except then I also ended up burning the pot holder when I left it too close to the element while I was putting cold water on my hand.

It smoldered while hanging and, well, at least I put water on it, right?
coniferous_you: (Dance!)
So hey folks, I'm trying this thing where for once in my life I'm not Cryptic LJ Person. And there's this news in my life that I'm REALLY REALLY EXCITED ABOUT OKAY

If I haven't already yelled this at you, it's either because you're hilariously busy or, let's be honest, because I'm on vacation.

So anyway, I was talking to a friend today about our plans for the day. He was talking about World Cup and I was wondering how I could get pizza to me when I had no car. Or license. Or anyone around to drive me places. But then I realized I had another plan.

me: OH
RIGHT
I ALSO
had a baking plan!
friend: !!!
me: basically sometimes when you feel feels for a person you want to send them muffins in
the mail and you also want to eat them yourself so double-batch.

friend: hahaha
me: It's TRUE
If you don't mind me saying so, I AM STAYING IN ON A FRIDAY EVENING TO BAKE STUFF FOR MY GIRLFRIEND
AND IT'S PRETTY OKAY
friend: awww
You're adorable now.
I could put you on reddit with the kitten pictures

Edit.

Sep. 15th, 2013 11:26 am
coniferous_you: (Why I'm Smiling.)
One of the students I am editing for this term told me a story yesterday, about this really arrogant girl in her class who tried to explain to everyone how to write a paper.

"I know how to write papers," she said, "I'm very good at it."

She was pretty irate (arguably with good reason). But I talked her down in reminding her that all the truly good writers allow themselves to be terrible. The good writers, and I think this goes beyond just academic papers, are the ones who know that the first thing that goes onto the page is going to be highly flawed, if not total garbage.

The real skill isn't in how well you can express yourself in the first flyover. The only goal for that first draft is to finish it.

It helps to have something workable, but solid editing (as well as a sense of humour about the whole process) will always be what separates a truly skilled writer from one who rides high on her (or his) own "talent."
coniferous_you: (Stop! Lizard ahead!)
So, perhaps thanks to my subconscious needing to underscore that I really am writing something totally new for a change, I'm writing my latest manuscript using what I have always been told is called the "inside-out" method.

Basically, that just means that the story is at least partially written out of sequence. In my case, I am still mostly using the usual "forward" method, but also writing later dramatic beats before they happen.

I've written the final conflict scene and the ending in this way, while also continuing to tell the story sequentially. I feel as though this method is well-suited to this particular manuscript, because what I want from the first draft is fairly defined.

Of course, getting the major dramatic beats out of the way is also useful for avoiding that deadly "first draft rush" whereby the interim chapters suffer from hurried writing, casualties of the mad dash to the more defined climactic scenes.

Limit.

Aug. 23rd, 2013 10:25 am
coniferous_you: (Stop! Lizard ahead!)
The other day a friend of mine asked me what I thought was the best method of finishing a big writing project. She has a friend who has trouble finishing things, but "wants to write."

I told her that having some kind of quota was important, but that I thought a word quota was the best.

"But why?" she asked.

Well, the writers I know seem to use one of four different kinds of quota:

There's the time quota. The people I notice using this are either super-busy, or just getting into writing. Kind of like how people just getting into running aim for time, not distance. The problem is that it's very easily cheated, especially by people who haven't yet become self-motivated in writing. It isn't that hard to "wait out the buzzer" and sit in a haze for the last thirty-minute stretch of your two-hour writing quota and feel accomplished.

Some people use the page quota. I'm not even sure where this comes from, as it's even more easily cheated than the time quota. It's easy enough to aim for, say, ten pages a day and then write nothing but stuff like:

"She came into the room and said, 'I love you.'

He replied with something inaudible.

Then, silence."


Another one I've seen is the milestone quota, whereby the writer sets a daily limit of one plot point/chapter/significant block of text. I actually think this is a great method. My only problem with it is that it's really sort of the master class of quotas, and probably best attempted by people who actually plan their manuscript in advance.

The word quota seems most logical because it is accessible and difficult to cheat. Sure you can write "I don't want to write this" over and over to fill the quota, but that ultimately gets old pretty fast. You're still going to be stuck with words that you can mostly use, if only to scaffold later drafts.


Because no writing is ever wasted.

Raw.

Aug. 17th, 2013 12:45 pm
coniferous_you: (Stop! Lizard ahead!)
For the first time in actually quite a while, I'm first-drafting.

I'm not sure why, but the most recent draft of Lunaside Girl broke the curse of constant re-writing that had kept me paralyzed for literal years.

So now I've (finally) moved on, and I'm able to consider the first-drafting process from a fresh, raw perspective again.

My process for writing a new manuscript is similar to the one Jandy Nelson (you might have noticed I mentioned her a few times in here now) describes as her method. For her, and I suppose for me, the first draft requires sort of relentless immersion in the life of a character that necessitates the end of the writing process. Sort of an obessive "I can't get out of your head until I tell your story" complex.

Not that it's like automatic writing, but that the first draft is where the character comes into her or his own voice. In that crucial "getting it down on paper" time, everything is raw, and characters tend to be made of extremes. Nice people sweat sunshine; antagonists are larger-than-life sociopaths. It's visceral, a rush, and emotionally taxing. Its completion means catharsis, which allows for a clear transition to the real work of editing and, often, research and world-building.

That's why I do it this way. The personal challenge from this method of drafting ensures that I finish, and I genuinely enjoy the editing process. There's a certain satisfaction I get from taking that raw draft and meticulously shaping it into something reasonable.

Because I am, above all things, a masochist.

A Return.

Jan. 12th, 2013 01:31 pm
coniferous_you: (Rainy Day.)
     So my first week back to "work" began with a meeting. The content was pretty interesting and necessary, and probably worth a post in itself, but right now I'm thinking about the time before the meeting actually started.

    Everyone in the room was crowded around a circle near the coffee pot, waiting for that first brew to finish, and having a round of compliments on how good everyone looked after getting a month of rest and such until the conversation turned to talking about some TV show. It wasn't a show I knew, and maybe that would have been fine if it went something like:

    "Oh, did you catch Spoiler A at the end of season 1?"
   "Yeah, I hope that Handsome Man A hooks up with Danger Lady B in tonight's episode!"

    But no, it amounted to:

    "Hey, who watches Name of Show?"
    "Oh, me! I catch it when it's on TV, and I'm not studying. Otherwise, I PVR it."
    "Yeah, we just bought the seasons on DVD."
    "Yeah, we got ours on Blu-Ray. The HD isn't much to brag about."
    "My husband and I get it from Netflix."
    "Oh, we started buying it from Netflix-"
    "You don't buy from Netflix, I think you mean iTunes."
    "Yeah, iTunes then."

      After learning so much about every video format ever, I suddenly found the coffee pot's stylish blocky, cheap-looking retro-design much more interesting, which prompted one of the guys to turn around and share my longing gaze, which turned into a fairly simple conversation:
      "Oh yeah, I think we all want the same thing. It's hard getting back from holidays. These early mornings, eh?"
      "I don't know; I wake up at 6am. I only turned my back because you guys were talking about TV shows."

    Anyway, I think the moral is that it's always good to be back.
coniferous_you: (Rainy Day.)
     Now, I love the post-New Year's season at the gym. It's a great time when the regulars blend into the background and there are all these new people to make up stories about as they make their way into their own routines, or speed toward quitting. It's a bit annoying to have to wait in line for every machine, but that's life and there's a definite spike downward after mid-January.

     And I know that it really brings out the oddballs; that's one of the fun parts of it. But while I make no claims to athletic normalcy, there's a new thing that I've been noticed that I admit I don't understand. You see, there seems to be this contingent of new gym goers who, after a hard stint on some machine, will whip out their smartphone and snap a photo.

     If you are thinking what I thought, your first thought is, "what a creep, this person is probably taking pictures of the girls/guys on the elliptical machines" or possibly, "hey there, Narcissist Joe, enjoying those pictures of your own muscles?" Except...it's not that. I admit I spied a little as to what was going on here (mostly to report the people in the former group to the staff), but what I found was that there are a bunch of people not doing either of these things.

     What they are doing isn't creepy or obnoxious; it's fascinating.

     You see, these people I mentioned are turning their phones on themselves and taking photos of their own sweat-drenched face after a workout. What purpose could this serve? Is there some kind of face-muscle training program I haven't discovered? Does sweat really make you look ten years younger?

     Anyway, I'm filing this under "hilarious," sub-heading "insane." Maybe some day I'll ask one of them what's going on with this. 

Concept.

Mar. 16th, 2009 12:47 pm
coniferous_you: (Rainy Day.)
  Someone told me their "idea" for a story today and I didn't mock them, even though it was fairly generic and open-ended. They asked me what I thought. I responded with, "there's nothing I can say. Write the story and I'll tell you."

    This idea of concept first, EVERYTHING ELSE second is an interesting thing to me. I've taken quite a few writing classes and know many writers and a lot of times we talk about process. There are many cases where I will be sitting in some pretensious upscale lounge with my writerly friends and they'll start talking about "this great concept they've been working on." I always freeze at that, and have nothing to say. I'll admit that I get a little bit suspicious at people who have concepts first. I am suspicious that it's really just procrastination and it's easy to just sit around and say "what if?" if there's no story that you have to feel guilty about not writing.

    Of course, it could be because my concepts are about as simple as primary colours. What long-type stories have I worked on? What were the concepts? "Bullied girl tries to assert her position on the high-school scale by destroying the life of mysterious new kid before she becomes too popular." And the one I'm working on now, "friend comes back after two years, wants free place to stay." And I got like 100,000 words out of "girl wants to fix bridge."

      Do any of you feel that people who develop concepts before writing are just masters of not writing? Do you, like me, believe that the "concept that sounds like a pitch for a television show" part actually comes at the end? Do you prefer simplistic concepts? Do you get agitated when someone windbags over his or her "brilliant new concept"? Do you want to scream "IT'S ABOUT THE STORY, NOT THE CONCEPT, YOU GASBAG!"


     ERSATZ WRITING. I HATE IT.
     - L.

  

    



The Bully.

Mar. 8th, 2009 01:00 pm
coniferous_you: (A L'ecole.)
   I was actually talking to someone about writing today, as they are slowly getting through the entirety of Bridge to Sunrise Island. In the second "part" (I never know what to call these things without sounding like a jerk), there's a bully  as a main character. I really like writing bully characters as I feel it's an interesting "type" to write. I usually write girl bullies too. It might be easier for me to relate and maybe that's some tiny part as I've been bullied and have also been guilty maybe of BEING a bully at times, but mostly I just like to show a case of a girl who is angry, who HURTS people, but who isn't irredeemable. Vatusia, the bully character, ends up being the only person with enough guts to do anything about the problems facing the people around her. 

    This person who is reading the story felt a little alienated because they WERE bullied all through school, but I think that's why Vatusia exists. I mean, there's the point that the story necessitated her - but also that, demonizing bullies really just makes it less okay for those same people to express any other emotion. So I guess it locks them into the role they've been labelled with.

   Or maybe I just like to write characters who beat up people for fun  (particularly female characters as society makes that more complicated) AND are really, when it gets down to it, really smart, intelligent and "decent" people. 

-L.

   

coniferous_you: (Default)
[Since I'm ultimately only capable of "quiet love," I have taken this one from [livejournal.com profile] apiphile ]

Finally, a quiet love meme.

One little compliment can make you feel amazing. So give me a compliment, anything in the entire world, even that my shoelaces are pretty. Put this in your journal. And once you get some comments, put that entry in a memory or tag and when you are feeling down, just go to that entry and this will remind you how great you are.

Comments are going to be screened.


L.

SUNLIGHT.

Feb. 25th, 2009 02:45 pm
coniferous_you: (Smile!)
 Well, my mood has gotten better since yesterday when it was already pretty great. My hands are twitiching with the rush of happy, but I feel like I could finish projects again now. 

SPRING GUYS. IT'S COMING.

- L.

Venture.

Feb. 6th, 2009 10:14 am
coniferous_you: (Rainy Day.)
Okay. So, after eight days in a row of staying INSIDE, I'm going outside. It won't be an extended thing and I feel vaguely apprehensive about it, but we will see where it goes.

- L.
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