Saturday, April 30, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Also big on my Awesome List: The Texas State Alkek University library. I've lived in this area all my life--I grew up in the same county and my brothers went to this university. A few times growing up I walked up the many stairs to the imposing structure, seven stories tall and full of BOOKS! I was in awe of it. It's nestled in among the hills of the campus. Lately all the stairs had become a problem for me because of my chronic illness, which leads me to my last Awesome List Item. I've had CFS for nine years now, but for the first time actually got a disability placard so I can park closer to buildings and save energy.
I don't know WHY I DIDN'T DO THIS SOONER! Suddenly, I can GO to the library again, because I can park right at the back where the elevators are. I don't half to walk the half-block to my favorite coffee shop, stopping three times along the way to rest. I can take limited trips to the grocery store. For such a little thing, it has made such a BIG difference. Good things happening in my life lately. Good things. Good things, my friends.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Pretty, pretty, pretty. Of course we'll wait for awhile closer to the anniversary, because I have the patience of a gnat and I would want to wear them right away! But maybe the flower ring later this summer :)
Friday, April 15, 2011
- Reading about interesting ideas (aka academic research)= Awesome, life affirming
- Being forced to synthesize those ideas into specific narrow thoughts and write a half-ass paper in a week = NOT Awesome
- Panic attacks = Not Awesome
- Dropping a class and cancelling academic conference paper presentation = AWESOME
- Attending aforementioned class on an Auditing basis just to talk about ideas with no stress= Awesome
- Tattoos = AWESOME
- Oh, and Tax Returns = Awesome
Conclusion: I love ideas. I love creative writing and art. I do not love academic writing, and when I go back to it for my thesis slowly over the next year, I'll do it on my terms, slowly, letting the passion for ideas manifest without hard deadlines. Also awesome this week: husbands, cute 6-yr-olds, and the internet (especially all you Apocalypsies!).
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
This has been remedied in a frantic last two days of researching, and really, this paper is just a small chunk of what will be in my thesis--I've thought out the theory and thesis statement and all those lovely things. I've been a giant stress-ball lately, so it was a nice surprise when I was able to chill out, read theory all weekend, and get excited about research again.
Because, the thing is, I'm writing about YA fantasy literature for my thesis. How cool is that? Reading up on theories of how fantasy functions is actually AWESOME. The paper I'm presenting is on C.S. Lewis' Prince Caspian, so I got to read these lovely essays by him and Tolkien on what they thought fantasy literature actually DOES, you know, insight into why we love it and how it satisfies us. Now, I don't completely agree with Tolkien. As a good post-modernist, I can't quite. But oh I do find myself resonating with the longing he speaks of:
"The consolation of fairy-stories [i.e. fantasy], the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous 'turn' (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-story can produce supremely well, is not essentially 'escapist,' nor 'fugitive.' In it's fairy-tale--or otherworld--setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief" (Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories").
Lewis' Prince Caspian is full of this longing--nostalgia for the Old Narnia that has been lost and become ruin. All the pages are filled at the beginning are filled with loss and ruin and brokenness and forgotten glory. Then enter the hero. Then enter the wild of the awakening Old World. I can't deny the power of this storyline. I guess I'm still moved by redemption and regeneration stories after all.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Note: multiple coffee cups on the shelf, as well as wine bottle and glass. Both are important ingredients in the Hermit Cave. Mini-speakers on the couch arm (blasting mainly Florence + The Machine and Mumford & Sons). Also important: comfy couch space, pillows and blankets that nestle the aforementioned Heather Hermit into the couch space. And yeah, random stacks of laundry and books scattered around. This is my life.
Next item of importance: midway through edits, printed out manuscript, with more chicken scratch:
And last but not least--the beacon guiding in the dark: THE EDIT LETTER, in all it's 18-page gloriousness, marked up, highlighted, and each item crossed off one by one as I work through Amazing Editor's thoughts and suggestions for manuscript.
And then there is the Heather Hermit in the Aftermath. That's right, I am sleeeeeeeeeeeeepy. But wait, what? Grad school needs my attention? Bahhhhhhh!!!
Monday, April 4, 2011
- Original Star Wars. Luke’s journey of maturing through the three films, as well as Darth Vader’s redemption, not to mention Hans Solo's extremely likable persona—in spite of the space-fighting-kick-assing action, it’s the characters that make this story timeless.
- The Terminator, especially Terminator 2—this was a 90’s action flick at it’s explosion-y best, coupled w/ cool sci-fi of the mercury-like enemy terminator—but all of it is based in the emotional journey of a family and the machine sent to protect them, leaving viewers pondering well after the movie has finished if the Terminator’s loyalty was all his programming, or if sentience in machines could mean becoming more human than was ever intended. Not to mention the lingering discomfort about the future of the human race and the worry about computers taking over the world that seeped into the consciousness of my generation!
- Jurassic Park—one of the landmark films of my childhood. The more I think about the places I went with Glitch, of nature to react against the bindings of attempted human control, I can trace thought processes back to this book/movie. In Jurassic Park, man thinks he can control nature by cloning, reproducing, and packaging ancient wild beasts. And instead, they begin adapting in unforeseen ways. I mean, think about what this film highlights—there are actual amphibians that can CHANGE THIER BIOLOGICAL SEX when forced into a same sex environment in order to procreate and continue their race. It’s f’ing nuts, completely wild, untamable, just like human nature. Societal rules and many religions attempt to control us, to mold us into singular, controllable, patterned entities. Any attempt at control that does not acknowledge the chaos of what it means to be alive, however, is doomed to fail. Ok, excited soap-box ranting over :) Yeah, anyway, this and other awesome scientific ideas were interspersed with very human main characters, navigating the dangerous and thrilling consequences of human tampering with things too large for them to control. Not to mention, the special effects were unlike anything we’d seen in 1993 when it came out!!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Yeah. I spent a few days there last week. I've edited novels before. I edited the last two Shelved Books, went deep into Edit Land, just like I did this time....but this time was different. I mean, a Real Book is going to come of this. Real Book. On shelves. In stranger's hands, packaged and pretty and out in the universe. So maybe that's why this feels very different, or maybe it's because I've been stretching myself too thin lately. Grad School + Mom-dom + Writing. I've only ever been able to manage two of these at once, but this week, I've been attempting all three, and I found out very quickly that all three things put together = FAIL. Not quite Epic Fail, but certainly paralysis-on-all-endeavors kind of fail. Who knew? Actually, I knew at the start of the semester, but I didn't quite want to admit it.
Things that fixed Heather's Neurotic Semi-Breakdown: 1) handsome husband taking me out for ice cream. 2) Dropping a class I should never have signed up for in the first place. 3) Reading Natalie Goldberg to remember why I'm writing, what this business is all about at it's base.
Amazing Quote about writing from Goldberg: "We are not running wildly after beauty with fear at our backs."
Did you hear that? Because you should read it two or ten more times until that sinks in. We're all writing because we are running wildly after beauty. That's what character development is about--that's exactly the journey my main character is going through, and learning not to let fear drive her is the triumph of the story. And it's the triumph of my own story too, the part where life imitates art. At the base, I write because beauty moves me. That's what I'm trying to get across in all these pages. It's why I started to write and why I continue--because there is something so fucking startling, beautiful, and light-making about life.
Love and joy and all the bright things that create meaning. It's a tragedy if I forget that because of inane responsibilities, due dates, papers and other mundane-ness requiring my attention. The past few days have been dedicated again to that wild chase after beauty. Fear as a driving force is abandoned and exchanged for joy. What the hell else are we on this planet for?