I am kaitco

a writer's log

NaNoWriMo 2015 – Day 2 Monday, November 2, 2015

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:07 pm
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I’ve decided to take a different approach to NaNoWriMo this year. In previous years, I’ve started by writing and writing, but end up failing to follow through with this venture because, as I’ve learned the hard way over the years, I have a very specific method for constructing my novels.

I can’t simply begin with Chapter One and proceed with the story until all is done. If I start “pure” writing, I will definitely get lost along the way. I get bogged down by the craft because I have no idea where the story is going and, as my short-term memory is shot and I get bored easily, I lost interest in the idea and fail at the NaNo project. This year, as I proclaimed to myself last night, will be different.

I liken my writing process to old scanners. The first wave over the image looks distorted, but has some shape and each consequent wave over the image brings about more and more detail until it’s complete. I’m going to approach this year’s NaNoWriMo the same way I approach any novel, just doing it a bit faster. I’m going to spend the first 15 days of this month outlining my project and then spend the last 15 days of the month filling it out and adding the relevant detail. With this method, unlike past years, even if I fail to reach 50K words by November 30th, I will have a strong outline and partial draft of a complete story. Rather than a chapter or two of a story I can’t bare to even glance at a year afterward because I recognize I’d got lost early in the unnecessarily deep prose, I’ll have a project that I can revisit and even flesh out to completion.

It’s the little experiments like these that make life interesting, I suppose. On I press!

 

Finding My Way Monday, August 31, 2015

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 8:10 pm
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The last few months have found me incredibly busy. My project with first-job has become permanent, I’ve taken to writing bits of sermons and gospel songs (of sorts), and my writing has been so scattered, it’s difficult for me to even consider it real writing. I think what’s been most pressing, however, is my faith.

Several times over the past couple months, I’ve asked myself, “Wouldn’t life be easier if I were an atheist?” I would certainly have more time on my hands not taking the time to study the bible each day, not going to bible studies, and definitely more time on Sundays. What I would do with all this “extra” time, I’m not sure, but it’s presumed that I would have it.

A couple weeks ago, my pastor did a sermon about what to do when one finds him or herself angry with God. The message was simply to recall that you can’t really be angry with God because God owes you nothing and you owe God for everything; from every breath you to take to every thing you have done or ever will do. As I write, these thoughts press against me because, while I want to take them fully to heart, I’m not sure I’m there yet.

It’s hard, very hard, to remain steadfast when I continuously see the righteous left to suffer. I know…deep down…everything is all a part of God’s plan and purpose, but lately, I’ve been having a difficult time remaining satisfied with not knowing the end results. I am, for lack of a better word, utterly frustrated with the state of things. All around me, life seems to get worse and worse and especially so for those who, at least outwardly, seem the most faithful and the least deserving of the world’s malevolence.

I try to press forward and I try to consider the positives. I have a good career and a hobby that makes me happy. I have a nice roof over my head and a nice car to drive. I have family who would miss me if something were to happen. I have a lot more than a lot of people could say and I certainly don’t take that for granted. Still, I can’t help these thoughts that wander into darkened places, considering the what-ifs and could-bes of a supposedly easier life.

I’ve written some “mini-sermons” recently for a program focusing on the seventh chapter and the seventh verse of any book of the bible and, though, I’ve only given the first one and I worry that I don’t even understand the words I preach to myself, I think it prudent to include them somewhere:

 

Job 7:7
“O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.”

Life is short.

I was talking to my father’s mother a few months ago and she said to me, “It goes by so fast.” Now, my Nana is 91 years old. Ninety-one years on this planet and she tells me that her time has gone by so fast.

I’ll be 31 at the end of next month, I’m thinking to myself that the years between when I finished college and the point where I stand before you today have gone by a little quicker than I’d prefer. I can hardly imagine what I’ll think if I live long enough to be my Nana’s age.

In this 7th chapter and 7th verse, Job is referring to the brevity of life as a man who has lost virtually everything, and he is calling on God to give him a speedy death rather than let him continue to linger in his current state. But, we should not pass judgement on Job’s mentality at this time of his life.

We should, as we should always do in reading God’s Word, look upon ourselves and apply this Word to our own lives.

Our time here on this rock is short. What we do with this short time, however, will determine how we spend eternity. So, everything that we do ought to be for God’s greater glory.

How we speak to one another, how we behave when we’re outside of God’s house, how we carry ourselves when we think no one is looking.

God knows all and sees all and He is perfectly cognizant of how you are using the gifts He has given to you. So, be honest, and ask yourself: How are you using the short time God has given?

Are you using this short time he has allowed you to walk amidst His creation to wreak havoc on the lives of others or are you using this short time to walk the straight and narrow path and be a light to others?

Are you using His time to lie in the front of the television and watch hours and hours of Real Housewives of Atlanta or Extreme Cheapskates or perhaps even some truly nonsensical television that will likely corrupt you and those in your household?

Are you spending God’s time posting and saying ungodly things on Facebook, and on Twitter, and on Instagram? Are you using God’s time to make passive-aggressive statements to other Christians when, clearly, your time could be better spent?

Are you using the short time God has given you to eat yourself into oblivion? Are you more likely to go without feeding yourself God’s Word than go without feeding yourself McDonald’s or KFC?

Are you using the short, breath of wind that God has given you to grow closer to Him? Are you studying God’s Word daily? Are you loving others as you love yourself and as you love God?

Are you doing whatever you can be to a light to this dark world and bring others to Christ?

My brothers and sisters, our time on this Earth is but a trifle. I’m here just to remind you this afternoon, that we are to use this little time that God has given us to continue to magnify His glory and bring other lost ones back home to Him.

 

2 Kings 7:7
“Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.”

So, let me take you back for a moment to the Year 891 BC at Samaria:
Leprosy was highly contagious disease and those who had it were forced to live outside of the walls of the city, often surviving only on small charities or even the table scraps of the city when life was good. But, at this point here, Samaria has been under siege by the Syrians battling against them and there was great famine in the land. Food was scarce and what little food was available was incredibly expensive.

So, the lepers living outside the city, couldn’t even depend on the extras because everyone, everywhere was starving to death.

At this point in our text, there were four lepers living outside Samaria and they were starving as the city continuously prepared for battle against the Syrian armies.

One of them, stands up for a moment and says to the others: Listen. We’re just sitting here starving. If we continue to do what we’ve always done, we’re going to continue to get what we’ve always got. If we stay here, we are going to starve to death. However, if we get up and go to the nearby camp where the Syrians are…well, to be honest, they may very well kill us, too. But, there’s also a chance that they may be willing to give us something…anything to eat. So, we either go to our graves quickly by being killed outright by the Syrians, or we might get a little something to eat from them. Either way, we won’t be starving anymore.

So, up they get and go off towards the Syrian’s camp. What they didn’t know what the God had already made a way for them.

Just before they arrived at the Syrians camp, God caused the Syrian soldiers to hear something in the distance. The Syrian scouts and generals and foot soldiers thought they heard the sound of many chariots rushing towards them and they started to panic amongst themselves. They said to themselves, the Samarians have somehow hired armies from the Hittites and the Egyptians and they were all coming for them right now and they thought that EVERYONE was about to be killed. And, they didn’t just run. They panicked! And, they left everything behind them in their haste.

Now, a little common sense at the time should have helped at least one of them say, “Hang on. How are these Samarians who are practically cannibalizing one another for lack of food getting money to hire other soldiers to battle for them?” But, they were in a panic and no one thinks rationally when they panic.

Now, the four lepers arrive at the camp, and they see everything has been left. Food, clothes, money, everything is out for the taking and Syrian is nowhere to be found. So, our four lepers sit down and have a NICE meal amongst themselves and even get a little money for their troubles. But, that’s not where this ends.

Elisha, the pupil of Elijah, had told the Samarian king prior this, that food, which had become so dear in the siege against the Syrians, would soon be so plentiful that it could be sold cheaply. There was a doubter of the prophet, of course; we all know, there’s always at least one, but this was what the prophet had told the thing.

Now, the lepers, after eating to their fill, returned to the city and through them, the king was advised that Syrian armies had fled. And, the starving Samarians were then able to take up all that the Syrians had left behind and just as Elisha had prophesied, food became so plentiful that it could be sold off to the other cities at a profit.

So, you may ask, what’s the significance of this?

Well, friends, we know here as it is shown in the Word, that God can and will use anyone for His glory. And, many times he will use those who mean to do you wrong or simply malevolence to do great things that will always show His glory.

 

Romans 7:7
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”

I’d like to pose the rhetorical question: How do we know right from wrong?

Even before a person is taught the tenants of religion, some truths are universal. To tell the opposite of the truth is generally undesirable. Treating others as you wish to be treated is generally considered the best way to live across many religions. But, how do we know the difference between what is right and what is wrong? Only through the Word of God.

You can be told many things, but until you study the Word for yourself, you’ll never know what is sinful and what is not.

Some cultures and even some sects of Christianity will tell you that women must always wear either dresses or skirts and it is sinful to do otherwise. But, in studying the Word, we learn that the law says that men and women are to be dressed differently. It’s not that women can’t wear ladies’ slacks or a woman’s pant suit, but that women shouldn’t be wearing silk neck ties and men’s Armani suit in an effort to look and behave like a man.

A lack of studying the Word can often lead to misconceptions about the bible.

A common misconception is that Even took a bite of an apple in the Garden of Eden, but in the studying the Word, we know that the fruit is never specified and that the apple has been ingrained in our imaginations because of the interpretations of a few artists.

Another misconception about the bible is that Noah gathered two of every single animal on Earth into the ark, but in studying the Word, we know that he took two of every unclean animal into the ark, but seven of the clean animals, making his feat even more incredible.

Biblical misconceptions say that you shouldn’t eat pork because the pig is deemed as unclean in Leviticus 11:7 and 8, but in studying the Word, we know that God says everything that is His is good to eat. Now, personally, I don’t eat any meat because I’m an American and I’m an adult and I can choose to not eat whatever I want, but that’s a subject for another day…

But, ask yourselves: How can you ascertain whether you are walking on the narrow path of righteousness or taking that broad road towards damnation? It is only when we take the time to stop and study the Word of God that we see for ourselves the light and right path God wants us to walk.

 

Project Duality Sunday, May 31, 2015

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:57 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve always suffered with my short attention span. It’s common for me to forget what I’m saying in mid-sentence, but in my writing and in person, and it hasn’t got much better as I’ve aged.

Something I think that’s kept me from pushing forward with some projects in the past is my lack of attention. Even when I’m fully engaged with a project, I eventually reach a point where I no longer have the drive to look at it. I want to write, but everything else in the world will pull at my focus and keep me from continuing.

I think, perhaps, this month I’ve come up with the best band-aid solution to my problem that also requires a little effort as possible, given that I lack the attention necessary to fully tackle the problem: Multiple projects.

I’ve always been in the middle of writing one thing or another since I was about ten years old, but in general, I typically “focus” on writing one book at a time. In the past month, however, I’ve been writing both Anne and Re-Flight. They are in completely different phases, but so far I’ve enjoyed simultaneously writing them. I write Anne until my attention begins to wane and then I focus on Re-Flight. By the time my enthusiasm begins to falter there, I switch back to Anne and manage to make headway in both projects this way.

It’s hard to say whether this will result in something worthwhile overall, but I’m just excited to say that I’ve consistently written in one project or another every single day for the past few weeks. A few hundred words here or there, in one project or the other, may not get me to my end goals as quickly as my impatience desires, but at least I’ve not let my waxing attention prevent me from writing at all.

On I press…

 

So, then, life happened Thursday, April 30, 2015

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 7:38 pm
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I don’t have anything meaningful to say about this month because, as far as writing goes, I’ve not done anything meaningful.

I’ve spent a lot of time on first-job, by which I mean 65-hour weeks, “a lot.” These weeks have found me actually gaining some fulfillment from my job for the first time in my fifteen years of work experience. All this work, however, has prevented me from making any real headway in Anne. I’ve not written in more than a week, but I’ve been “noting” a bit, so I suppose that’s got to count for something.

I’ve made the tentative decision to re-write Flight as a novel with my own characters. As I’d said aloud to my mirror a few weeks ago, “If that 50 Shades heifer can do it, why can’t I?” I’ve made a lot of notes on what I’ll need to change and how I’ll be shaping Denny Darrow and Olivia Jennings in order to tell the story I’d really like to tell. It’s been fun thus far, but I’ve still not done anything meaningful outside of first-job work.

I suppose I’ve come to a point in my life where my paid work isn’t just something to keep a roof over my head and the internet flowing. Instead, I almost look forward to first-job and have been willingly allowing it to supersede my writing. I’m not sure how to feel about that…

 

A Flight (a novel) to Remember Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Filed under: Dorienne,Reading,Writing — kaitco @ 10:01 pm
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Eight years ago, at the age of 22, I sat at the same desk at which I’m currently writing and decided that the only way I was going to learn how I write novels was to sit down and just write one. I’d written two novels earlier, but as they were both completed before the age of 17 and neither were any good, I abandoned the idea of re-writing a previous project and perused my dozens of handwritten notes. I had notes about female football players and towns I’d called Mansfeld and even lengthy notes about what would eventually become Luka, but I sensed that none of these fit what I was trying to do. I needed something about which I was incredibly passionate and into which I could wholeheartedly throw myself without fear of upcoming boredom and, after a suitable amount of brainstorming, Flight, a novel was born.

I’ve written about Flight here a gazillion times because it was my first real effort in writing as an adult, but over the years I’ve simply looked back at it, fondly recalling what it was like to get new comments from Fanfiction.net about it, etc., and I’d shelved it as a long and so-so written story. Last weekend, however, I found myself honestly bored for the first time in…years, and I sought out something swamped with nostalgia. After cruising Netflix for ten minutes, I perked at the idea of re-watching the earlier seasons of Law and Order: SVU and three episodes in, I had an intense urge to revisit Flight.

I hadn’t actually sat down to really read more than a chapter or two of it in likely five years and, as I was already in an SVU mood, I figured I would laugh at my inability to tell a decent story and take a trip down memory lane. And, I was able to take that desired memorable trip…but I haven’t been able to put down my own old book!

There’s something that feels very narcissistic about reading one’s own writing as if reading the works of others, but I can’t help it. There are missing words every few pages, the prose tells the reader everything because I hadn’t learned “show versus tell” yet, the novel is over 450 thousand words, but I can’t help it! This book I wrote when I really had no idea what the deuce I was doing is compelling even to me, the writer, and I love it.

As I’ve been reading my own work, I’ve asked myself, why am I so engaged? It’s not written very well, it goes on too long in certain areas, and one of the plotlines falls completely flat, but I’m captivated. Is it because I’ve been so disappointed in reading the modern fiction of others lately? I wasn’t terribly impressed with The Lovely Bones and, if I’m honest with myself, I’ve likely turned to Flight because I just didn’t want to face reading The Night Circus anymore. It’s hard to say.

I enjoy this old work of mine on so many levels. Years ago, I put it into Kindle form, so I can actually read it like I would any other book, which just makes the process that much more fun. Aside from reading something that’s just generally enjoyable, I get to envision myself eight years younger as I was writing the very words on the page and that’s worth a post all on its own. For example, I was hardly six months into my current Christian Walk when I started the first notes for Flight and it shows. The use of “goddamn” in every other piece of dialogue is so prevalent that I can hardly believe that I wasn’t still an agnostic when I wrote it.

I’ve still got another third of the book left to go, but I’ll admit that I’ve not been this into a book since I read Gaskell’s North and South for the first time. I’m smitten with my own work, as shameful as it at first seemed, and when I shared this revelation, my mother advised that I shouldn’t feel shamed by liking my own writing. She posed that perhaps I write simply so that I’ll have something I want to read. I don’t generally like most modern fiction. Outside of greats like Crichton and King and then Harry Potter, the only books I’ve really loved in the last decade were written in the 19th century by British women…and to be honest, how far off is Potter from there? Before turning to Flight, I was re-reading Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Making of a Marchioness and loving every minute of it.

As I look to my current projects Anne and Jill, I can’t help but see them through different eyes after re-reading Flight. While I don’t wish to fully emulate what I’d created sans-Bachelor’s degree and eight more years of life experience, I do still wish I could recreate the same energy, the same excitement and fervor, in my current work that I had in Flight. Maybe this was what I needed to make peace with my writing endeavours?

As I did with Flight, I write for myself. I write just so that I will have something that I want to read.

 

Jumbled Thoughts Saturday, February 28, 2015

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:06 pm
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I’ve been thinking quite a bit these last few weeks, but as my thoughts hurry from one to another, I’ve not got much to say on anyone thought, so I’ll speak on several. Nearly all end with questions I’m unable to answer at present. I suppose that says a lot about me, doesn’t it?

 

Educated Unhappiness

I experienced a somewhat interesting event a few weeks ago.

I was engaged in small talk with my co-workers when the subject of reality TV was discussed. Having not watched “normal” TV for the last six or seven years, I was unaware of this particular show and asked for more details.

“Oh, it’s so great!” I heard. “These people are ridiculous. You have to see it!” I was told. So, out of curiosity and out of a desire to relate more with my peers, I downloaded an episode of Extreme Cheapskates to see for it myself. I got about 15 minutes into the episode when I had to just stop the video entirely. I just couldn’t take anymore.

I’m unsure whether it was the pregnant woman dumpster diving for expired medication to use as “prenatal vitamins” or the guy who was willing going to have one of his testicles removed just for the 20K payout associated with it, but I didn’t last more than 15 minutes and this distressed me.

When I find myself unable to relate to the world around me, I behave like a good Christian and look internally to see what I’m perhaps doing wrong. What is wrong with my tastes that I couldn’t sit through something so popular with people from my own age and (more or less) economic group?

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy anything that other people do. I’m in the midst of binge-watching House of Cards as I recap and prepare for Season 3, a show which, it seems, nearly everyone loves. That said, almost everyone I know adores Breaking Bad, yet I’ve not geared myself up to watch another episode of Breaking Bad because after pushing through three seasons of it, I hate Walter, I hate Jesse, I hate Walter’s wife, and her sister and her brother-in-law, and I’m not too crazy about Walter Jr. either, but he’s at least tolerable for me.

This goes beyond television as well. I’ve disliked most popular music since I last put away my NSYNC CDs in the twelfth grade and, as a black American woman, my dislike of rap music and indifference to all things related to Beyoncé, and my right-leaning politics, my vegetarianism, and my relative introversion have all thrown the slurs of wigger and oreo at me more times than I care to count.

The books I enjoy most were written at least 100 years ago in a country an ocean away from me and even my favorite video games aren’t considered “good” games by most gamers.

What is it that prevents me from relating to those around me? Why must I be so different?

 

What Does The Old Man Want of Me?

In cruising Reddit some time ago, I became intensely discouraged by an article on writing as a craft and a profession.

I even asked God for a moment, “Well does this mean that writing isn’t for me? What else am I supposed to do?”

I immediately dismissed the thoughts, saying to myself that it didn’t matter because this is what I do. Everything that makes me Dorienne has always led back to storytelling.

As I continued with my work (i.e., browsing Reddit), a random X-Files story popped into my mind. I don’t think of X-Files stories often as I don’t really have much time for fan fiction these days. It sounded so good, however, that I had to write it in my list of “book ideas” and it seemed as if, again, I was met with what seemed like an answer to my aforementioned question.

Should I continue to write? Am I meant to write? The instant story would point to yes, but I can’t help my doubts over coincidences.

Going back to X-Files though and one of my favorite quotes from it…if coincidences were just coincidences, why do they always feel so contrived?

 

Dysfunction Suction

To call recent months with my family dysfunctional is to not do them credit.

I’ve uttered aloud that I hate some of them, and I’ve even become so overwhelmed by emotion that I cried in public.

I’ve tried to pray prayed over my heavy heart again and again. Some days I get an inkling of the answers I want. Other days, I’m left in such darkness that I don’t know if I’m there because I won’t accept a hearty “No,” or if I’m just too impatient to see the answer in front of me.

In general, however, all this dysfunction has sucked much of my creativity. I continue working on Anne because I need to do something to pretend I’m not just standing still; waiting for answers I’ve likely already received.

I’m reading through the entire Bible and I’m into Proverbs. I’ve read, several times in these chapters, that I must lean not on my own understanding and depend on God. I do…but…

I’m often left asking “why” as I’ve done so many times this month. Why must I wait? Why must I be different? Why can’t I tell the difference between coincidence and providence? Why can’t I have what I want in life and, if what I want isn’t good for me, why can’t The Old Man just tell me what to do so I can just do it and go home?

 

 

An Aging Lamentation Friday, January 30, 2015

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 2:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

In the last week, I’ve come to a painful realization: I’m old. True, 30 didn’t seem that old when I was 28 and I’m sure it won’t sound old when I’m 45, but here in the present, I have to acknowledge what it is.

I suppose, it’s not so much that 30 is old, but that 30 is no longer young. I’ve reached that age where I just don’t “get” youth culture anymore. Despite remaining relatively Internet savvy, there are far too many things that the young folks (ya’ll under-25ers) do and love that I don’t understand.

Let’s take Instagram. I thought I understood the concept; take interesting pictures and post them for
friends and family to see, to like, to comment, whatever. That, however, is not what I’ve come to find. Instagram is the selfie playground and if kids aren’t posting 18 selfies a day, they’re posting image rants that tell anyone with an Internet connection all the details of their lives.

Then there’s Tumblr. It’s not like a full blogging service like WordPress, Livejournal, or Blogspot. It’s not
singularly about posting art or images like Deviant rt. It’s not a micro-blogging site like Twitter. It’s not even a friends and family social media avenue like Facebook or Instagram.

I spent a few days perusing some Tumblogs and when I thought had the basic gist of it, I searched through a few tags that interested me. Searching through #christianity yielding more results about Christian Dior and atheism than anything uplifting and searching through #thinspo for some workout tips or basic thinspiration was a never ending abyss of pseudo-emo, wannabe anorexic 16-year-olds.

It was at this point I fully grasped the problem. There’s nothing wrong with the social media avenues and there’s nothing, technically, wrong with today’s youth; it’s me. I’ve grown up and I’m the one who’s changed.

For example, there was a point in my youth that I could watch television from four in the afternoon until at least midnight Sunday through Thursday every week, with no problem. Today’s Dorienne cancelled cable eons ago, there’s no digital TV signal to the house, so I can’t even watch football, reality TV of all kinds disgusts me, most newer shows don’t hold my interest (I hate zombies, so no Walking Dead and I equally hate Walt and Jesse, so Breaking Bad gets on my nerves) and even when I find a show I adore on Netflix, I can hardly make time to sit and watch. Seriously, I binge-watched 3 episodes of The Fall’s second series last Monday and since then, I’ve yet to watch the rest because I’ve found writing, sleeping, or playing games a better use of my time instead of watching a show I really like.

So…it’s time to accept that I’m no longer young. I’m out of the age range that looks to the future with blind optimism and instead I’ve got a clear understanding of what lies ahead for me. Purchasing that first house, paying off those student loans, watching kids grow up, publishing a first novel with enough life experience to make my characters believable…

The rose-coloured lenses have lifted, but I think I may prefer these clear visions instead.

Oh, and I’m kaitco on Tumblr and Instagram, if anyone is interested. 😉

 

 
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