Thursday, November 24, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One more thing.

My friends are weird.
One more tip for NaNoWriMo, as if you should listen to me. I'm at 27k and should be at 31k by the end of the day. So not happening. But somehow, some way, I will finish. And I will beat Nicole. I couldn't help it, we're totally racing again. It's just more fun that way.

Anyway, so my last tip (for now), is as follows:

Get dressed- It might sound silly, but it's an essential part of your day. For me anyway. If your anything like me, and have nothing to do all day but sit at home and write, take five seconds out of your day to actually dress for said day. Don't sit around all day in your PJs, as nice as that sounds. I find that when I do this, it makes me feel like I haven't actually done anything all day, even when I've written like 3,000 words, applied for two jobs, gone grocery shopping, and cleaned my room. This is probably a personal preference. I'm sure people who work 9-5 all week long look forward spending their entire weekend in the same moose print PJ bottoms, over-sized college hoodie and cookie monster slippers, and that's fair enough. But, if you are in life limbo like myself (and most people my age, penniless and fresh out of higher education) and everyday is a weekend, get dressed. This will make writing seem more like your job, which it should be if your serious about it, and less like a lazy day putting one word after another, where you don't see the light of day (my curtains are too cool to ever open) and only leave your bedroom to feed yourself, if that. Even if you are just putting on your baggiest, most comfortable pair of jeans (because comfort is key, even if you are dressed. Don't wear your going-out, super, extra skinny jeans that suck you way in and make you feel like a million bucks, because I assure you, they won't feel that way sitting at a desk alone all day. Not that I own jeans like that, but I have a good imagination) and changing out of one oversize t-shirt into another, the small act of wearing something you didn't sleep in will make your day feel far more accomplished.

Moving on. But not too far. I decided the other day that I want to write Two Truths and a Lie haikus. You know, that game where you tell two true things about yourself and then one lie, and your friends have to guess which is the lie. It's sort of a hard game to play, and you need to be fairly creative to make your lies convincing, and you can't play with people who know everything about you or it won't work. So anyway, I wrote one, here it is:

Celeb Encounters

Extra on West Wing. 
Poured a beer for Chris Cooley.
In podcast with Ron.

Which is the lie?? Mom, you can't play, you know too much. It's also good if the three things all sort of have a theme, like Celebs, places you've been, things you've done. Like, I can say I kissed a boy in Virginia, I kissed a boy in Oxford, and I kissed a boy in Istanbul. Which is the lie??? It's a fun game. 

OK, back to writing. Ciao, bella.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Lots of things on fire.

Rob's birthday cake, made, with love, by Basia. Not only visually stunning,  but probably the best cake I've ever tasted.

This looks better small. Super blurry Jame and I.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November.


Tonight, Rose and I sculpted puppet heads out of polystyrene blocks in a room next to where Phillip Selway (drummer from Radiohead) was playing a charity concert, and listened to him through the wall. This is why I love Oxford; it's just so random.

Oh yeah, and Johnny Depp was in Oxford on Saturday. I didn't see him, it was all very hush hush, but still, that's probably the closest I'll ever get to him. 

As I've probably mentioned, the reason for our sculpting of puppet heads is that Rose and I are taking a 6 month puppetry course at the theater where she works, the Pegasus Theater.  Saying that our puppetry class is RAD would be an understatement. For one thing, the title of the course is Dead or Alive Puppets. That alone tells you it's going to be amazing. The teacher is fantastic and really passionate about puppets, referring to them as magic more than once in our first class last week. The class is mostly about movement. The first  was all about watching how we walk, and the position of every part of your body, where your weight is distributed. Once we figured it out, we took rags and tied knots in them for limbs and made them walk, in little groups (one person for the body, two for the feet). It was absolutely amazing to see these completely inanimate rags walk across the floor like little people. You didn't pay any attention to the three people in clear sight, controlling everything. All you saw was this tiny person strutting around the room. The next 6 months are going to be the best.

Speaking of six months from now, we just got word that on May 10th, there is be a showcase for all the MA Creative Writing people at the Pegasus. Apparently, in the afternoon they are going to do a competition where everyone who wants to can read something to a bunch of judges, then the winners get to read later that evening in front of agents. Sounds terrifying and awesome, I'm glad I have so much forewarning. Also, speaking of my course, I could possibly get my marks tomorrow for my final project.  I think I'm going to throw up.

Ok, I'm off. Nano is going well, but I'm really behind, more so than I've ever been in years past. I think it's because Nicole and I are not raceing. It looks like I need to race, I need that fear factor to keep me at it. But it's all ok, I'll catch up.


Monday, November 7, 2011

The Amazing Adventures of R.R. Shackleton.

Ultimate birthday present presented to R.R. Shackleton on the 4th of November, 2011, by Misses Rose Brettingham and Maria C.Goodson. This took agessss. 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to survive NaNoWriMo

Rose likes to draw, I like to color.

This is my 5th year embarking on National Novel Writing Month's November of writing dangerously, so I feel like I can write about it with some authority (and by some, I mean maybe a little, maybe). However, this year is the first time I'm trying to write well as well as just write, which is proving difficult. I know that's not what NaNo is all about, but now that I have a practically-completed MA in creative writing under my belt, sharing a holster with my good old BA from WVU in English, I feel like I should at least try to write well. Or at least write better, better than years gone by. Only December will tell if I've actually accomplished this, the soonest time any living soul will see any of it beyond myself. Unless you ask nicely.

Anyway: back to writing with authority. I've compiled a list of tips to help newcomers get through the month of November, in case anyone was in need of a tip or two. Here you go;

1) Stay off facebook- Impossible you say? Well yes, nearly. I'm on facebook right now, but I know I shouldn't be. Facebook is the root of all time-wasting evil, but it's also so conveniently useful and addictively interesting (sometimes, except when your pregnant friends are updating the world every centimeter they are dilated, from the hospital, in real time) that we just can't stay away. If you can help it, try. Try hard. Because the simple fact is that every moment you spend on facebook is a moment you could be, and should be, writing. I'm going to close mine right now.

2) Wake up early- This might be, for some, even harder than staying off facebook. I know I meet every morning with the same eagerness that one anticipates cleaning the toilet, pulling hair out of a drain and walking on hot coals. I am not a morning person, but in November I am. If you work everyday, get up at least an hour earlier than you normally would and write before work. If you do nothing all day, like me (besides apply for jobs and thinking about doing laundry), don't let yourself sleep in till 11 just because you can. I promise that reaching your word count goal for the day before noon is the best feeling in the world, and will make the rest of your day sparkle.

3) Use your time creatively- When Nicole and I were still in college, we carried our computers around with us everywhere. I'd write between classes, waiting for class, waiting for the bus or the PRT (which was usually late anyway, so that's lots of time there) or sitting in the Coliseum waiting for marching band practice to start. Just carry a notebook with you, everywhere (which you should be doing anyway) and write in every moment of spare time you have. I did NaNo during the busiest semesters of my life, once year when I had a full-time job, and am doing it now with mostly free weekdays, and time was always and continues to be the main issue. You need time to think, time to figure things out, time to stare at a blank wall, and time to write it all down. Basically, all I'm saying is that 50k in a month is going to take time, and if you don't have the time but you have the desire, you need to make it yourself.

4) Get all your friends to do it- In the past it was usually just Nicole and I, running rampant around Morgantown, racing to 50k. The next year we made a few more friends who did it too, which was really great. This year, I convinced a few friends from my course to do it too. It not only feels good to be in it with someone else, but it's also imperative to have other people on your back, pushing you forward when you just don't want to write anymore. I just met with my friend Rebecca an hour ago. We sat on her living-room floor for three hours, talking out our story plots, asking each other questions and figuring things out. It was SO helpful, I hope we do it again sometime soon.

5) Tell EVERYONE you are doing NaNo- So they know why you are blowing them off. Don't just revert to your hermit state without telling anyone why, or everyone is going to either send the search parties out looking for you, give you up for dead and start going through all your stuff, or just get really mad at you for not returning their phone calls. Just tell everyone you know that your writing a novel for a month, and that you'll see them in December, just in time for Christmas shopping. Then go back to blowing them off.

6) Do not get on blogger and blog about writing and neglect your novel- Oh wait.

I am currently doing nothing from this list, so I better go. Good luck to one and all!