Category Archives: Writing

NaNoWriMo 2015

Complete with left-handed writer up there on the featured image.

It’s the first year in a long time—ever, in fact—that I haven’t had classes or homework to contend with, so this is me, announcing that I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo starting next week.

I’ve had a funny relationship with NaNo in the past (it’s another thing that falls on my birthday and manages to cause hangovers and loss of sleep in people I want to party with). The handful of times I tried in high school, I never went in with anything more than a vague idea of what to write, which doesn’t work for me, I’ve learned. My biggest struggle tends to be creating conflict, and there is so little advice on the topic apart from outlining!! and “What does your character want? Deny them that and there’s your struggle.”

As much as I hate plot outlining (both because most outlines tend to assume all stories follow the Campbell Hero’s Journey structure and because outlining tends to feel formulaic and overcooked, like a Scooby-Doo episode), I’ve given in and have started filling in a 30 point list—although I still have reservations about what “next leg of the journey” means.

 

 

Writing Prompt: Alice, crafts, and SHAG on the walls

What do you display on the walls of your home — photos, posters, artwork, nothing? How do you choose what to display? What mood are you trying to create?

Wall decorations have to be something I want to look at or that I have a personal connection to—cottage art or something for the sake of filling a space isn’t really my thing. It has to be interesting, and I’m more intrigued by people who decorate with a distinctive style than those who want a space to look traditionally correct, or like something out of a magazine.

I like anything related to Alice in Wonderland, so I go for interesting and unique prints, some from independent artists like Gemma Roman’s up above, others from official Disney artists. I also have a few Alice-themed puzzles that I’ve glued together. There’s a craft store nearby that’s selling huge (like, five foot tall) fake flowers—roses and daisies on these gigantic stalks—and it’s tempting to buy them up and make my own oversized singing garden.

Finished craft projects always get a spot on the wall—cross-stitch hooplahs, paint by numbers. I make lots of them, and am trying to build a style around the notion of excess. I have a librarian friend who’s well known for collecting formal artwork, oil paintings and such, and he’s covered every possible inch of bare wall space with his collection. It’s an entirely different method of collecting, and given how many pieces of embroidery I keep working, I’m thinking I’ll copy his display methods.

My ideal decorating style would be anything tiki-inspired or related to SHAG.

Actually, just let me live inside a SHAG piece and I’ll be set.

Moody colors and clean lines are always fun, and I can’t say I’m averse to macrame planters hanging from the ceiling. He has kind of a Mary Blair/commercial 60’s artwork feel with modern vector effects. I think it’s a hard left turn from the antiques I grew up around, to have a garish statement style anchored to a particular era or theme.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Wall to Wall.”

Writing Prompt: Quarter, 1996, age 11.

Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

The first coin I pulled was a nickel from 1964, so let’s have a good, firm chuckle about me not being alive and move on to this quarter I managed to find that was made in 1996.

Pictured: not the actual quarter I found.

I always have to think hard about what grade I was in school for each year, because through some trick of chance birth dates, they line up—first grade in 1991, second in 92. It’s easy to remember until I suddenly can’t think of whether I was entering those grades, or going out of them.

In the spring of 1996, I was leaving language immersion elementary school, where I had been with the same 23 kids for 6 years. I had been an exchange student to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, the fall before, and had my 11th birthday miles and miles from home, a pool party with my host family and a Hello Kitty birthday cake with white frosting peaks. There was such a big deal made of our leaving 5th grade, I think mostly because we were all like siblings to each other, in the best and worst ways. We filled out questionnaires about ourselves, snapshots of our likes and dislikes at that age, and some PTA parent or another had them bound together like a unique class-only yearbook. I still have mine—filled with revisions to my original answers that I spent the summer carefully writing and scratching out, unsure what my favorite song was but pretty confident that it got frequent rotation on the local oldies station.

Transition to middle school was a different game—surrounded by a whole universe of new people who hadn’t learned the names of human bones in Spanish. I remember taking other language classes by a quarter system (hey!) which meant the course was broken down into half-semester increments. I took French and German and liked them both for different reasons. I met Zannah, who sat behind me and was quiet and funny, and is living in New Zealand now. I met Judd, who had a disposable fountain pen, and somehow that changed my life. A girl with hair pulled back so tight I thought she must have had a permanent headache tried to bully me, threatening to jump me at my locker for some reason I don’t remember now, and I don’t think she lasted more than a year at that school.

There were good things and bad things, and I don’t like the number 1996 as much as I liked 1995, with its paradoxical evenness, but 1996 was alright.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Buffalo Nickel.”