Jan. 27, 2016

I’m really glad the month is almost over, because I’m feeling like I’m in limbo with my writing/blogging.

Stresses galore until this Friday, and I’m avoiding anything writerly in what I assume is a punishment to myself; I like writing. I like blogging. So why am I not doing it?

It’s complicated, lol. I have a long history of not doing the things I like for stupid reasons that basically amount to ‘I don’t deserve it’ mixed with ‘success is scary but failure is a familiar, safe thing’.

So having gotten to the point of acknowledging this, I’m blogging. I’m thinking about where to start writing again. I’m going to dabble in outlining. And I’m going to put down the books and avoid the apps so I can actually stop avoiding all the meaningful things I enjoy.

In the meantime, have this:


Anxiety Perk #4

When life has gone to shit, you escape into the story.

The last few days (and probably the rest of this week) have been shitty. One of the few things that helps is designing scenes in my head. Some new stories, some old, but being able to shape it, to make something go right, eases the panic and dread of having more stuff to deal with.

I wish real life would be as easy. But by being able to ease the panic a bit, I can deal with the real stuff better. And sometimes, that’s enough.

Jan. 22, 2016

So I still haven’t written a non-blog related word this week. I should probably feel bad about that, but I’ve given myself a pass for the rest of January (in that, writing is good, but I’m not setting up any goals for the next week).

February will be a different story; in fact, all of 2016 is going to be more goal oriented for my writing. I have set word goals for each month, with the hopes of hitting, at year end, 200,000 words (including the 2 nano camps and November’s 50k). Which frankly seems ridiculously ambitious at the moment, but I have hopes. At the same time, I know that the goal is really small in comparison to what most writers produce, but that’s okay. I’m going to settle for what I think is manageable.

One of the problems I’ve run into for word counting (which is my metric, lol) is that in Scrivener, you open a ‘novel’, and then within it create documents. I’ve been having a harder time keeping track of my daily word count because I have been saving per scene, not per day. Sigh. I think I will open a new Scrivener file each month, and save myself some hassle; I can always create even more files later, collating each story into one proper file.

I swear, I’m not as obsessive as I sound*.

I’ve had some new story ideas start to pop up again; not sure if they’ll stay ‘new’, or get worked into a current story. Which is an interesting idea; maybe I should see which stories can be mixed together, and which can’t. My list of to-be-written stuff is huge; I’d love to find a way to make it shorter (I’ve already tossed the weird teen fan fiction into the ‘dear gods, why!?!’ pile).

I’m a bit nervous about this year’s goal, to be honest. I usually flake out at some point. And yet, isn’t it better to go out and try? This is my ‘think big’ attempt, and I hope the results are good.

Ruins – Environment Sketch by JJcanvas




*I’m probably as obsessive as I sound.





A complete derailment into existentialism

The comment discussion of existentialism in the reading list post made me think back on why I dislike it so much, and what brought that opinion into, hahaha, existence.

Back in the day, when I was a young and eager first year college student, our professor professed a great passion for existentialism, and proceeded to explain it at a depth that she felt appropriate for folks taking a 1st year class; dipping a bit more deeply into what it was, though no where near the level of a course devoted to it.

And then she loaded us down with dozens of poems, short stories, novellas, and a couple of actual novels. We probably spent more time on this one type of literature than any other, and sort of squeezed in the rest of the normal standard first year stuff around it.

I have to say, she had a real knack for picking the grimmest, darkest, most depressing stuff possible. If there was something related to existentialism in a different era or tone, she picked it. And based on the comments, if she had a choice between a story that had humanity and one that fought against it, she picked the second one.


Looking back, I can see that had she been born in a different generation, she would have been a goth or an emo kid. She had a romantic view of existentialism (which is really weird, when you think about it), of flirting with death, that I was never going to ‘get’. She was also the head of the English department, so the people she would hire often had the same attitude toward existentialism. Epiphany time for me!

I’m a bit of a Taoist and a lot of a mystic (and was back then too). When I think of being a tiny bit of dust in the universe, this doesn’t fill me with fear or loathing, but a sense of community and belonging. When I acknowledge that we are all animals underneath the veneer of civilization, I don’t see the negative of this because I don’t judge animals as innately inferior or as mindless machines.

So, I think I was deeply influenced by one overly enthusiastic point of view, and I think the prof would be shocked at how many people she managed to turn against existentialism. I am still a bit begrudging at the idea of letting go of my aversion to existentialism; habit of a life time at this point. However, I’ve put a library request in for some Camus. We’ll see!

My list of books for teens


Since I’m clearly such a (non) expert on the matter, here’s my list of what I think teens should read this year. And I will bite my fingers and not include fluff or comics. Sigh. And after the ages it took me to put links in the last one, you’ll have to google the titles yourself!

  1. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  2. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  3. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  4. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
  5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  6. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  7. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  8. Kindred by Octavia Butler
  9. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  10. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card*
  11. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  12. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  13. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  14. American Gods by Neil Gaiman


*Be aware, the author is, IMO, an asshat. Despite that, amazing book.