I am kaitco

a writer's log

The difference a day makes Sunday, April 3, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s fascinating what a difference 24 hours can have on one’s body, mind and spirit.

I’ve long-since known that these waves of extreme happiness and depression come once a month, I know when they’re coming and I know when they’re about to end. That said, I’ve yet to find a way to let the rush I receive each month keep allow me to be happy and productive without suffering such a crash the next day, but perhaps, if I put myself in the right state of mind right as I hit the high, I won’t fall so low on the other side.

My pastor said today that a Christian has no reason to be depressed. It’s difficult to remember that through the dark times, but like I said a few posts earlier, I often make a lousy Christian.

He also said something incredibly profound for me which was that folks need to focus on their blessings and not their troubles. Going further he said, we often remember things we ought to forget and forget the things we ought to remember. Truer words are rarely spoken.

On top of that, Pastor also reminded me of the saying that the world didn’t give me my joy and the world can’t take it away from me. This struck a chord since I walked out of first-job on Friday thinking that I had such joy going into the day, but that first-job had managed to completely suck it from me. I swear, it was almost as if his sermon was written specifically for me today.

It’s so easy to remember all the things I want to get done in a day, but likewise it’s so easy to forget that I’m blessed for even having the good sense to want to do something with my day and I’m not so disturbed or shaken that I can’t conceive of doing anything significant with my time.

I wrote 400 words even tonight (the same nothingness that his meager closeness with Tabitha had) and I’m blessed to get them. I attribute a lot of those words to being able to write from my laptop upstairs without having to carry it back upstairs to do it, but mostly due to having spent such a wonderful day just studying God’s word, being in church and spending time with my family.

I’m not sure how I’ll accomplish this, but I need to remember to remember the good stuff. I need to remember that all things will pass, so it’s best that I just make the most of the time I do have in a day. There really will always be tomorrow and, if there isn’t, it doesn’t really matter one way or another.

 

Decisions Sunday, March 27, 2011

I make a lot of stupid choices a lot of the time. Some are born out of a lack of insight while others come from just plain laziness.

I’ve been trying to justify my purchase of a second laptop and third PC since I bought it last night and while I know the immediate gratification it will bring once I bring it home and create the mock television setup I’ve dreamed about for years, I know it was a poor decision to buy now. But, I really wanted it and desired a gift for myself and found it a fairly decent price and with 18 mos zero interest, it feels like a bad decision, even though when I think of it in the long term.

I spent the majority of the day playing games: Rock Band, Fable II and Lego Indy’s demo. I could have been doing so much more with my time, but I played some games instead…and didn’t even get that many achievements on top of it.

I went to sleep last night while baking some mac and cheese. I woke up this morning thinking, “Dang. I forgot to put my mac and cheese in the fridge last night.” Then, I remembered that I had no recollection of even taking the dish out of the oven or even turning off the oven. By the grace of God alone, I didn’t burn down the house, but I wasted ten dollars on the mac and cheese that had been burnt for so long it nearly evaporated – I didn’t really know that noodles could liquefy…

I make a lot of poor decisions often, but today I’m still proud of myself. While I didn’t get to Sunday School for the full class, I made it for the last twenty minutes and even bought myself a new teacher’s manual. I know I’m not ready to teach again, but just being where I belonged was an experience in itself.

I wrote 302 words tonight (I feel her friend’s hand; still warm.), still focused on Damen’s experience with his mother’s drug abuse and even though, I haven’t written over 500 words in nearly a week if not more, I’m not depressed about it. I’m still writing.

I haven’t missed a post in 2011 and I haven’t gone a day without writing in Damen since February 1st. Like I said, I make a ton of poor decisions, but this year, I think I can say that I’ve made at least one right choice.

 

A lousy Christian Saturday, March 26, 2011

Filed under: Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I added a bunch of my notes from the Notes app to my Awesome Note app today and I was able to see a quick view of all the days where I took notes on my phone during church service. Ideally, I should see consistent organization with 4 or 5 notes per month, but I don’t see that…not even close.

There are huge gaps all over the place, sometimes for weeks at a time and I have no recollection of what could have happened in September 2010. Just weeks and weeks where I had missed church for one reason or another, none of them for any meaningful reason.

Looking at these notes and gaps makes me realize just how lousy a Christian I’ve been over this past year. I’ve got just 41 notes from end of November 2009 through last Sunday. There are 52 weeks in a year and excluding two weeks for Christmas vacations, I’m missing a lot of time.

I’m going to make every effort to make it to Sunday school tomorrow morning. I’ve got to do something to get me out of this slump I’ve been facing for the past two weeks and, if writing in this blog has taught me anything about myself, I need to depend on my faith more often than I do.

I wrote 264 words tonight (Mom,” I say. “Mom…please. Wake up.) and they are part of a very dark part of the story as I delve further into the demons chasing my protagonist. Before I let this slump dive into a full blown depression, I’ve got to stop being such a lousy Christian.

 

Build 2 Thursday, March 24, 2011

Filed under: Favorite,Music,The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 11:58 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve been playing a game in The Sims franchise for the last eight years and, while I spend the majority of my “free time” playing The Sims 2, I’ve edited my Sims 2 game to play the “Build” music from The Sims 1.

In the first Sims game, when you were building houses or making structural changes to the lot, a very calm piano music would play, though it changed when you went to the “Buy Mode” in the game. I spent countless hours in Sims 1 just building houses because I loved to simply create and listen to the beautiful music.

The Sims 2 brought its own brand of techno-something music that crossed every mode from Create-A-Sim to building and early on in my Sims 2 playing, I changed all the music over to the Sims 1 Build music. After realizing how much I enjoyed said music, I eventually ported it onto my iPod and then iPhone and even added some album art to it. Nowadays, most of the six Sims 1 Build Mode songs create the bulk of a playlist I call “Soothe Me” which I play when I’m in need of something to calm my mind. I also write to that list on occasion as well, which is why I’ve spent two hundred words of this post talking about it.

While listening to a song I only know as “Build 2,” I not only felt calmer than I had all day, I also wrote some really beautiful prose and was so in the zone with it playing, that I re-played it to keep the momentum going.

Tonight I wrote 260 words (and left the table to sit on the floor next to Angel) and I am calmer for it. I have no other desires for tonight, either; just to sit and listen my Sims 1 music and let my mind rest for the night.

 

All We Have Is Now Monday, March 21, 2011

by The Flaming Lips ~ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

I’m doing my best to write from downstairs as I paused a The X-Files episode right in the middle of the Duane Barry/Ascension piece and long to go back to it, but want to continue my obligations to myself.

Today was a much better day than the days before it, but this evening as I set to write, it occurred to me that I’m coming in close to 60 full days where I’ve written every single day. Outside of breathing, I can’t think of a single thing that I’ve done every single day for 60 days straight, so I’ll have to mark my 60th day with something special.

The most interesting thing about watching The X-Files for me is that I can simultaneously watch an episode through my eyes as a 10-17 year old (depending on the season), yet still watch it as an adult. I remember noticing small details that I first noticed at 10 years old watching the show, but can then analyze them with 21st century 26 year old eyes. For example, Mulder is trying to find a particular park that Duane Barry mentioned after he “abducts” Scully and he reaches for some kind of book, I assume a phone book. At 10, I probably wouldn’t have understood what he was searching for or through, but at 26, my first thought was “Why doesn’t he just Google the…oooh.” Because then it occurs to me that in these episodes, it’s 1994 and Google is still a decade from existence.

All this said, when I think about The X-Files, I think about comfort. Watching the show is like wrapping an old, worn blanket around my shoulders and brings with it the sense that everything is going to be okay. I turn to many things in times of stress and depending on the level and how long and deep that stress has pressed, I may turn to different things. As far as turning to the Bible, that’s (as of this point in my life) for times when the darkness is so wide and deep, I doubt I’ll ever see light again (aka, someone has passed). I turn to writing when I can’t seem to think straight or can’t focus my thoughts on anything other than that which causes me strife, for example, an episode of SVU showed Olivia in a prison getting attacked by one of the guards. Not only was that episode unnecessary vivid, it also portrayed one of my own worst nightmares and I could barely function properly until I sat down and wrote a simple story about it, that is, I wrote out the stress.

Today, I’m neither so stressed that I feel the end is near, nor so stressed that I’m unable to focus on anything other than what is causing it, but I still feel the need to be comforted. Sometimes, I seek this comfort in watching an old TV show or movie, or reading a book or just plain creating new code for my website, but for this bout of stress, I’ve turned to the show I watched from childhood through adulthood. Their voices, no matter what they’re saying, soothe me better than any music and, even though I’m watching Mulder and Scully chase down flying saucers, the show has the same effect on me as my mother rubbing my back and singing the Kangaroo Song as she did when I was child.

Tonight, I wrote 275 words (Where is your mother) and even though I spent much of today reading about the improbability of ever getting published, I’m still glad I wrote.

 

A favorite Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Years ago, when I was still coming up with the basic notes for Damen, I would brainstorm for hours which books Damen and Brit would read throughout the novel. I think I’ve changed the list a dozen times, but the one that’s always remained on the list is The God of Small Things.

I find it very difficult to sit down and say, “My favorite book is…” because different books affect me differently and thus, are “favorited” for different reasons. I enjoy The Silence of the Lambs on a whole different level from Persuasion or Animal Farm or Moth Smoke, so how can I honestly name a favorite book?

That said, if I had to name just one in the guise of only one book to read for the rest of my life, it may be The God of Small Things. I’ve never felt so many emotions from just one book and it was the first book I’d ever read and called “beautiful” immediately afterward, which is why it was a natural choice for my protagonist and his friend to use for bonding.

Right now in Damen, they are reading through it and it makes me want to pick it up and start reading all over again. I’m excited by their excitement which keeps me in the zone and keeps me wanting to just write until my fingers break.

I wrote 658 words today (bounced into the crowds on Locker Street with a smile on her face.) and for the first time in a while, I feel great about it. My stomach hurts so badly that I nearly cried out in pain on three separate occasions today, first-job is still not moving the way I want it, and my father’s in the hospital on his birthday.

Sigh…but I still feel good about what I’ve accomplished today.

 

Nine chapters in four months Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I finished Chapter 11 and wrote 1166 words tonight (cuz i finshd d gray c u 2mrrw).

I had made a stop to Bath and Body Works this evening and, since I always park near where the Gamestop is at the mall, I couldn’t help but stop a moment and came out with the first Rock Band game, which enabled me to cross another item off the “Stuff I Want” list. Game in hand, I desired nothing more than to come home and play.

Instead of going straight home to play my game, I remembered that I was nearly out of my daily steamer meals that I eat for lunch and since time has taught me that the moment I run out of food, I run straight for the junk in the cafeteria, I did the adult thing and went grocery shopping.

After shopping for only what I needed, I went home and even played an iPhone game for ten minutes, before putting away all my groceries and admiring my new BBW purchases, all with the full intent of playing Rock Band for the rest of the evening. There was just one caveat tonight…I knew I had to make a post before midnight.

Any other night like tonight, where I went about my life, pretending to be an adult, it would not have mattered if I was seven words from completing the chapter, everything else that happened this evening would have taken over my mind and kept me from writing. I would have spent too long in the grocery store making plans to cook all these recipes that I would never get around to making or gone to Macy’s as well and dropped another 2-400 on stuff I don’t really need or bought three or four games that I had perused, but hadn’t put on the list and then gone home to play all of them well into the night. I had so many viable distractions tonight and yet…I finished Chapter 11.

I’ve heard it said that it takes 21 days to make a habit and I’ve proven that wrong many, many times as I get to day 23 or 25 and completely lose it. With this blog, however, I’ve grounded myself into something that keeps me accountable to me and the progress I’ve made just astounds me.

I completed “the heavy notes” for Damen just after my birthday in 2009 and I spent the vast majority of 2010 trying to accomplish what seemed fairly simple at the time; just write. But, I went from October 2009 through November 2010 with only getting through 3.5 chapters of the whole book. I look back on the progress I’ve made since December 2010 and I smile…wide.

I’ve completed nine chapters in four months, when it took me more than nine months to get to four chapters last year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This blog keeps me honest.

 

In vain Saturday, February 26, 2011

One of the more fascinating things about writing a novel is crafting the personalities and voices of the many characters that appear on the page. What I find simultaneously enjoyable and frustrating is the physical act of creating dialogue that I could never even imagine myself saying.

In Damen, this comes about most often while writing Corey. Corey is crass, blunt and curses like the proverbial sailor, yet when I write dialogue, I often need to whisper the words back to myself to make sure they make sense, and when a character is so unlike myself that it’s rather sickening, I feel dirty even writing what he would say. That is to say, I used to feel dirty when writing Corey’s dialogue. I’ve now grown accustomed to it and can easily separate my own voice from Corey’s. Damen, however, is far different.

To make him a character all on his own, I gave him “life” by giving him small pieces of my own personality. Since Damen is not an autobiography, however, he is a completely different person with a voice and history all his own. I go to church often (not as often as I could and should, but we’re all Christ’s works-in-progress) and I try to thank God for all His gifts every day of my life. Damen, on the other hand, rests somewhere on the line between agnostic and plain atheist. So much has happened in his life that make him doubt that a creator could have any hand in the machinations of his world and the fact that he has had none of the religious reinforcement that many others his age would experience, has tainted him even further against God and all religion. And so, he when he swears (and when he’s still reeling in Corey’s influence, it’s very often), Damen will often use the Lord’s name in vain.

My mind and heart make great conflict over this. The mind says that words on a page are simply that and as long as I don’t go around screaming “Godd***t!” all the time, I remain clean. On the other hand, the heart that helped me walk out into the church aisle years ago, crying as I went to the altar to join the church, knows that it is wrong to use the Lord’s name in vain in any context. If I’m writing it, I’m saying it, even if I do skip over those words and phrases as I whisper dialogue back to myself and thus the battle continues.

This reminds of when my 16 century Brit-Lit class was studying “Faustus” and the effect of being an actor in the play during a time when folks were far more religious than they are now. The actor playing the titular character would have to call upon the devil to make Mephistophilis appear and whether one is acting or not, there is still that innate worry of “calling upon the devil.” While I have stopped blatantly swearing and using God’s name in vain years ago, the mere acting of writing such dialogue is difficult to the point that I go through four or five waves of typing and backspacing as I decide whether or not to have Damen think “Jesus Christ!” in a moment where he is clearly not praying. Even typing that last sentence used to get across my point gave me pause.

I can’t say that I’m completely indoctrinated as I have only come to the church in the last five years and had written off myself as an agnostic prior to that, but I must say, each time I’ve got a choice between staying true to my character and saying what I know to be wrong to say, I struggle…a lot.

I wrote 626 words tonight (his first extracurricular conversation about a novel since his father had passed) and when a moment called for Damen using God’s name in vain, somehow my heart took control and I’m glad I found a better way to say I wanted. That said, I’ve still a lot of Damen’s character to unleash and eventually, I’ll be pressed with the same battle again.

 

The blinking cursor Wednesday, February 23, 2011

For what seems like the entire month, but may have only been the past three or four days (to be honest I’m too lazy to open another tab to check the main page as I type), I feel as if I’ve spent each evening just trying to get to over a hundred words so I can stop.

This has really been the most difficult 23 days I’ve experienced personally. Not that I’ve had any real problems in the past month, but the sheer stress of ensuring that I write something, even when I don’t to write combined with this diet is starting to eat away at my sanity.

I keep having visions for throwing the laptop out the window and then going to Taco Bell and ordering four cheese quesadillas (with tomato and onion), two cheesy bean and rice burritos and a Pepsi so big I could take a bath in it. I’m on the cusp of simply breaking…but on I press.

I wrote 182 words tonight (but his grey eyes still made him nervous); 100 words here, 100 words there. It doesn’t seem to matter much, but I know it is still 100 words more than I had the previous day and 100 words closer to saying “there was nothing left to say” if I even want to leave that as a last line when all is said and done.

The worst part about writing when I don’t want to, is staring at that darn blinking cursor. I rarely need to view it long since I usually have some notes before me and know where I desire to go with the rest of the scene, but there are nights, like tonight, where I simply have no idea and since I’m not in the mood to write, I can’t even come up with something to satiate my writing goals for the evening.

So, I just have to stare at that long blinking line, taller than the text around it and feeling like a baseball bat hitting me between the eyes as it pops in and out of existence on a white background. God, I hate it.

Walls and blocks aside, I got something written today and, after the day I’ve had at first-job, I’m happy to get it.

 

iDraw Thursday, February 17, 2011

Filed under: Artwork,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been watching a lot of “InuYasha” lately and it has got me thinking alot about drawing and learning Japanese again. Mostly the former; I think the latter is a project best left as a reward after I send Damen off for rejections letters.

My father is an artist and it’s long since irritated me that I haven’t inherited too much of his talent in the visual arts. I have tried to play this off by saying that I am a literary “artist,” but when I struggle to do something as simple as draw a face or eyes, I feel like a total failure.

Anyhoo…early this morning, I was bit by the drawing bug while “InuYasha” was playing in the background and put cheap pencil to paper. I started, like my protagonist, by drawing an eye. I’m not entirely sure whose eye this is since I’ve not moved onto colour yet, but I’d like to call it “Jessie Eye” since it looks really striking.

From “Jessie Eye,” I did some searching on drawing tutorials, etc. and had the strong desire to draw a manga face, particularly Kagome from “InuYasha.” I know I didn’t really capture her and, honestly, there’s no way to tell who it is since most manga/anime characters look identical, so I call this one “Manga Face” for now.

Once the manga bug dug a little deeper in my skin, this sensation to truly create something original arose within me and I decided to recreate my character Ben as a manga character. Ben is one of two main characters in a comic I created called “Little Green Men.” I created it and have been drawing Ben and his counterpart Al, in “Little Green Men” since I was about ten years old and completely enamoured with “The X-Files.” And, so I set to work to make Ben into a manga for “Ben revisited.”

Sometime, somewhere, somehow I’ll find an image of the way Ben originally looked and load these side-by-side for comparison. I have to say, I like Ben as a manga and I think this was part of my main rationale for not progressing with “Little Green Men” as my own little webcomic for fun. I can barely draw as it is, and while the writer in me can come up with some great wit and sarcasm for a comic, my inability to draw anything better than a fourth grader kept my pencil in the cup. Mostly, it seems like I’ve always known how Ben and Al were supposed to look, but I wasn’t sure how I’d draw people or how I wanted them to look, so I kept the whole project hold. Drawing Ben as a manga, however, has ignited a drawing fire in me that hasn’t been lit in…well, almost a decade at this point. The real interesting thing was not only did I recreate Ben as a manga, but I also inked him a little in Photoshop, like a real artist who knew what she was doing! 🙂

Needless to say, I gave up on writing for the rest of the night around 3:30am, but later in the day, I DID manage to write another 128 words in Damen (meanwhile the anthology’s still being well-received), which is a bonus either way.

 

Edit: My timing on this post was way off; I’m not sure what happened between 11:15 and 4am, but I definitely got lost in the middle on this one…

 

 
%d bloggers like this: