I am kaitco

a writer's log

C-C-C-Changes! Saturday, February 18, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 2:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My life is experiencing an abundance of change all at once. Fortunately, much of it is good change.

Things at first-job are the biggest change since I’m on a temporary assignment. How this will affect my writing is beyond me for the moment, but the change will be nice.

With regard to my writing, I’ll admit that I’ve not been doing as much of it as I should, but I think this has more to do with the sudden changes I’m experiencing and a lack of inspiration for Damen. A long-standing problem I’ve seen while writing is when I get bored with a project. It’s not to say that the story is boring, but that my attention span is so short that once I’ve other ideas running through my mind, it gets harder and harder to focus on my current project.

The other day, I spent some time backing up a bunch of files to Dropbox and found my original one-page note file for Damen. I was in the middle of writing Flight and was determined to see it through to completion, but even then, I was starting to focus on other things. That is where I am now; Reruns is almost daily at the forefront of my mind, but then there are the other little stories that keep me distracted.

I tell myself that God has led me to this passion and has made me focus on it, hence the reason I see these providentially coincidental happenings in my life. Earlier this week, I was in the middle of playing Guitar Hero (and finished the Hard Tour for GH2, btw πŸ˜‰ ) and all of a sudden, I had this incredibly urge to watch The X-Files. Not just X-Files, but a very specific episode, EBE. I’ve seen this episode probably 100 times since I was 9, but in doing something completely unrelated (though this random spaceship does appear on the screen while playing Freebird), I had the desire to watch this episode. So, I queued Netflix on Xbox and watched the episode I’d watched so often I can practically quote it. The difference, however, is that Mulder and his Deep Throat were arguing about conspiracy and I looked up one of the conspiracies he mentioned, The Tuskegee Experiment. After a simple, but troubled read on Wikipedia, a new story and then a whole series developed within the hour after I’d completed the episode.

I call this experience providential because…well, honestly, how can I be prompted to watch a random episode of a beloved show that I’d seen dozens upon dozens of times and only then have my interest piqued in something that led me to a brand new project? To quote X-Files, If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?

I suppose all this is just an elaborate excuse for why I’ve not come any closer to completing the novel this week, but I thought it worth mentioning just in case I ever desired to recollect how my Lucy Chambers stories became more than just one novel.

I’ve got a lot of changes upcoming at this venture in my life, but with all of this, I realize that I need to change God from something I want to make a priority and instead to something that is the priority in my life. If one whisper in my ear can lead me to a whole series of stories when I’ve not been to church for 2 weeks, what would happen if I did what’s said in the old song: I woke up this morning with my mind…set on Jesus…

 

Poorly adapted Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yesterday, I watched the absolute worst adaptation of a Jane Austen I’ve ever seen. I’ve not seen all that many of them, but I have seen my fair share of 19th century England period pieces and this was, by far, the worst. Mansfield Park from 1999…bleh.

I hadn’t read Mansfield Park at the time of watching, but I could tell within twenty minutes that something was amiss. The characters were not speaking in the 19th century mannerisms and, at several moments in the film, I wondered if these were indeed British actors as the acting was so bland and uninspired and I’d grown accustomed to expecting much, much more from British actors.

Also unlike other adaptations I’ve seen, I did not care about the characters at all. In watching Mansfield Park, I didn’t necessarily care for Fanny, the heroine, or care if she ever married or found happiness. I also didn’t care about her beau-to-be Edmund, whom I found duller than even Fanny. I didn’t care whether Edmund married another girl and, the way the story was set, I wasn’t even sure until the very end of the movie if Fanny and Edmund loved each other and would end up together.

There was also a lot of discussion about slavery throughout the film which, while interesting in concept, never went anywhere. It was as if everyone on the screen was talking about physics and all of a sudden Fanny mentioned something about slavery…and then it was never discussed again. It was like some kind of forced theme to make someone who did not care for Jane Austen’s story find something interesting about the plot.

I compare this adaptation to the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. I hadn’t read Sense and Sensibility prior to watching, but within the first ten minutes of the film, I loved the Dashwood sisters and was interested to see if they would find a suitable place to live on their pittance or if they would be forced to stay with their half-brother and his horrible wife. Later, I was just as heartbroken as Elinor when Edward did not arrive at the cottage and when she learned about Lucy’s involvement and then was just as stressed out when Edward did arrive in London when Lucy was visiting. Equally, I was just as excited to see Willoughby at the ball in London as Marianne and cried with her when she had her heart broken as well. There was none of this in Mansfield Park in which the writer and director had the audacity to dress up Jane Austen by dumbing down the language and pulling at strings to make it appeal to an audience that’s obviously incapable of understand why I a story about a lady seeking a suitable husband is interesting.

I think what hurts the most is that Netflix rated this as a possible 4 stars for me and I only gave it 2 stars and that was only because it was a period piece.

I do all of this ranting because I love Jane Austen’s work and I really can’t stand to see such wonderful literature destroyed in an adaptation. Why bother calling it an adaptation? Why not call it something different and add “based on the novel Mansfield Park” somewhere in the credits? I’ve seen other great books destroyed like this. Directors constantly did this to Michael Crichton novels; Congo, Sphere, The Lost World! It just makes me so angry!

Despite this movie that kept me up half the night because I was so mad about it, I wrote 617 words today (else to Brit for the rest of the period) and I’m bringing all the remaining chapters together in a single file to divide a bit later into “c” files once I’ve re-arranged the story a bit.

All the elements are still there, but I’ve removed some of the slow-moving ones and made the rest of the story flow properly, rather than seem like just a series of events seen through Damen’s eyes.

Tired now…and still a bit angry about that movie. I think what also irks me about this is that I worry that if Damen were ever published that some crazed director might hack it to pieces and call it an adaptation. A part of me wonders if I’d rather just not be published at all than risk that happening…but I try to quiet that part and just focus on my writing.

 

Netflix…I had a rough day, too Tuesday, July 12, 2011

There’s a lot of hullabaloo going on about Netflix right now. I adore the service and have for several years. I also upped my service to 5 discs at a time so I’ve been paying 34.99 a month for the last 18 mos, down one disc from when they changed 6 discs from 35-something to 39-something.

As I’ve been paying this rate for Netflix, which is still more than $40 a month less than what I’d be paying for cable, when said service decided to up their prices again, I barely felt the pinch; only the people who had been paying next to nothing while getting an amazing amount of something, got hit hard.

This is really Round 2 of this rant; Round 1 is at my Dorienne’s Log. I’m about done ranting against the rant against Netflix, but I thought it necessary to say it again. This isn’t like taxes where the funds can easily trickle to the masses when a small percentage of people pay the least amount of them. This is a large group of people paying 7.99 for streaming service and then just 9.00 to have out 3 discs at a time. Anyone who claimed they did not see this coming was either ignorant of business economics or just plain…no, they were ignorant of business economics.

With all this said, I wrote a total of 530 words tonight (when are we gonna read it again?), not counting the extra words that helped shape the series of “instant messages” between Damen and Brit that start the beginning of Chapter 19.

I’ve decided that I’m going to fancy myself a Mark Twain type of author and capture the language of the pubescent set at the turn of the 21st century. Ages from now, in the same light that critics sit in awe of how well Twain captured the linguistics of 19th century Missourah, Damen will be enamoured for it’s detailed descriptions of how teenagers spoke to one another at this point in time.

…at least this is what I’ll be repeating to myself when these parts of the novel get slammed by some agent or editor some months or years from now.

 

Mental cleansing Thursday, June 23, 2011

The other night I had a mild epiphany and I decided that what I really needed was a mental and spiritual wash.

For months now, I’ve felt almost trapped in the mundane, wanting something I couldn’t articulate and unable to think clearly for more than 300 words at time. I’ve skipped church for nothing more than sheer laziness and I’ve skipped piano lessons for the same. I’ve let the housework pile and pile while I’ve played video games for days on end. Books have gone unread and unwritten and all the while, the days of my life float in and out of existence without anything meaningful for any of them.

I’ve become dirty; muddy with filth of sloth and ignorance and it’s time I simply took a bath.

For the rest of the month (less than 10 days because I know how I am), I’ve decided not to watch any TV (via Netflix or otherwise) and not to play any games outside of Zumba or DDR. This means no Rock Band for more than a week…heaven help me. The only thing I can watch are films on Netflix I’ve not before watched, so no re-watching About a Boy or Frasier for the rest of the month…Lord Almighty.

I’m also going to listen to just classical music and opera until July as well to give my mind the time it needs to ponder and wonder (it’s a shame those words don’t rhyme) and since I’m not watching TV or listening to music that “speaking” to me, I’ll be reading nightly to get that touch of characterization I seek each day. It’s only with a completely clear mind that I’ll be able to understand what’s wrong with the soul and why I can’t seem to strengthen my spiritual resolve.

There was a time when I was just so happy to be a Christian that church was the favorite thing in my life. Nowadays, I can’t remember the last time I went three full weeks without missing church. Shameful when I think about what I used to do. I used to be in two choirs and on the usher board and a second board and teach Sunday School and at the very least attend each week. I blamed part of my attitude towards church on my mother moving away, but two years later, there’s got to be more to it.

I keep getting these urges where I say I’ll read my bible every day and will start going to Sunday School again, but these too do pass. I’m in a spiritual rut and I know with three Sundays in July coming where I’ll be working instead of going to church, I know that if I don’t cleanse myself spiritually now, come August, my pastor and my church may have stopped wondering where I’ve gone.

So, it’s time to clean, to scrub and to peel away this rank odor of sloth and boredom. I’m not sure how successful I’ll be; I suppose Sunday afternoon, a prime day to lay around instead of going to church and then play Rock Band all day, will be the real test of my resolve.

This is about more than just getting the dishes or the laundry done, or trying to read my bible and play piano every day. This is about getting back to what makes me before I forget what the real me is like.

I wrote 407 words today (It’s time to get up) and I’ve made it more than 24 hours at this point with no Rock Band or Frasier. Just a few more days to go…and then becomes the real challenge keeping myself from slipping back into monotony.

 

The Climb Friday, June 17, 2011

by No Doubt ~ Tragic Kingdom

I hate nights when I have to work for someone else. The day never drags as long as when I know I’ve got stay even longer than I normally would. On a Friday, especially, I don’t want to be there half the time and to stay at first-job until close and then shooing out those who don’t seem to want to go home on a Friday evening is most soul-sucking aspect of my week. That said, Season Eight of Frasier has arrived today, so I know I’ll perk up in just a bit.

Speaking of Netflix, as much as I adore them, they’ve got an angry call coming their way. I order my Netflix queue so that I receive a season of a show and a movie, five discs total, each time I get something in the mail. For the past four of five rounds, they’ve been skipping that last disc in the series and sending me the next movie in the queue. Then I later get an apologetic e-mail stating that my intended disc wasn’t available and would arrive a few days later. It’s great that they have the courtesy to send me an extra disc while I’m waiting for the one I wanted, but it’s absolutely irritating when it comes to a show that likes to end the series on a cliffhanger. I knew what was coming at the end of Frasier seventh season, so I didn’t even open the envelopes until the last disc arrived because I knew I’d be pulling out my own hair in frustration that I couldn’t watch the last three or four episodes of the season for another day or two.

Speaking of companies I both love and loathe, Harmonix have got quite the racket going and I’ve managed to get sucked into the act of checking the Rock Band site daily and growing wild with anticipation at the thought of new DLC for Rock Band. I only want three of the next six songs coming and they’re not even my favorite music, but I can’t think of anything else I want more in life at the moment. How did this happen?? Two months ago, I would have scoffed loudly at the idea of paying 2 dollars for songs I already owned, but now I’m fervently awaiting the moment when I can readily hand my funds to Micro$oft and Harmonix. It’s a good thing I fear getting kicked off Xbox Live too much to research pirating RB songs because honestly…

I went into another tangent while writing tonight, though I think this one may make the cut. In a story that supposed to take place between end of August 2007 and end of May 2008, I’m up to end of November 07 and I’m a good 100K words into it already. I’ve also got some rather lengthy side stories to lead in and then uncover between now and the end which means this thing will be close to Flight length before all is said and done. How I’ll ever wrangle my wordiness I’ll never know, but tonight’s deviation is a good piece of foreshadowing for a character who life I keep ending and bring back with each edit.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say about Amber, but she, like Brian and Zach and Andy, has been a part of the story since close to its inception and, while I’m not entirely sure she does much more than add some melodrama to the story, I still enjoy writing her. Amber’s personality is like the antithesis of myself; lacking any sense of self-esteem and obsessed with what she’ll never be. Damen mentions when he first sees her that she’d be almost pretty if she didn’t work so hard to look like Jessie, but since she does, to the point of bleached hair and blue contacts, it manages to make her very ugly, which is why it’s important to paint her as not so much a mean or horrible person like Jessie, but just a sad and confused young girl.

Learning from my mistakes with Jonathan Halloway in Flight, if I want my audience to feel a certain way about a character, I’ve got to manipulate it early so that when they do some daft things, said actions will be the result of the stress I’ve put on the character rather than just the same old thing. It’s a bit of a side-track at this juncture in the novel, but I think I’ve given her just enough depth to make my reader really consider her.

I wrote exactly 300 words (to Aunt Jackie watching the others play football) tonight <> and I’m in the mood to write more, but I’ve got new hobbies and TV calling. I will say this, however. Even though it was less than 5 minutes total, I did play the piano for a bit earlier this morning. It wasn’t enough for a full practice, but enough to get my mind working the right way again.

 

What a World Friday, May 20, 2011

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

So apparently, some folks are predicting that the end of the world cometh tomorrow…such tripe!

Honestly, I can’t imagine how anyone can call him or herself a Christian, acknowledge that God’s ways are not our ways and that He is ever mysterious, but then turn around proclaim that they’ve been given foresight into the knowledge of not just the day, but the exact minute when the rapture is supposed to occur. Again, such tripe!

Anyway, what really prompted me tonight was a discovery I’d made in the grocery store tonight about postage-paid greeting cards! What a beautiful concept! My relatives will be receiving a plethora of cards going forward, now that I don’t have to hunt down or go to the post office on a quest for a single stamp to mail a letter.

I wrote 344 words tonight (and left his room to get ready for school). I had got to 247, but 3 words turned into another hundred, but I really do love what I’m writing right now. Not enough to continue watching when I’ve got more Frasier episodes waiting for me, but you know…priorities.

 

Day Two, feeling better Wednesday, May 4, 2011

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

I feel far better today than I did yesterday or the day previous and while I know I’m coming down with a full cold, I no longer feel as if I’m going to be crushed the weight of everything occurring in my life.

I haven’t much to say tonight since Frasier’s Season One has arrived from Netflix today and I’m anxious to continue watching since I’ve been playing Season Five repeatedly since I got my Frasier kick a couple months previous…still a little ticked that the show is not streaming yet, but that’s for another post.

I wrote 266 words tonight (something to relax her for the night) and I think I illuminated Damen very well even though I was telling a lot more than I normally like to do, but it’s for the best.

Overall, I’m just plain happy to be alive and feeling like myself again.

Oh…and a Happy Star Wars Day to all! πŸ™‚

 

Frasier, Shakespeare, Wings and Things Friday, April 22, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:38 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

So, I’ve been watching my single season of Frasier over and over again lately as I anxiously await new discs from Netflix and I came to a conclusion about the show.

Frasier shares a fun similarity to Shakespeare comedies. Nearly every single episode hinges on the fact that one or two characters have a misunderstanding and comedy ensues from there. For example, in an episode where Roz ponders over whether she is pregnant, Niles misinterprets a conversation he overhears between Frasier and Daphne and brings the hilarity in spades. Many Shakespeare comedies contain plotlines that come from similar misunderstandings, like with Much Ado About Nothing that just pops to mind. Claudio’s misunderstanding leads to the drama and eventual perceived happy ending, where everyone is married, that comes in every Shakespeare comedy.

I state all of this, not because it bears any relevance to my writing, but simply because I’ve been watching non-stop and have found that I’m capable of writing with it in the background.

My assistant may come back to join us at first-job and, while I’m tempted to get over-joyously excited, the trust is gone and I know that even if we’re a team once again, it most likely would not stay that way for long. Still…just the thought of having my buddy around again is a nice thought.

In the fashion of randomness into which this post has turned, I’ll also mention that I may go out on a hunt tonight for vegetarian buffalo wings. I’ve been a vegetarian for a little more than four years and the one thing I miss most about eating meat is wings. I used to be able to pack away twenty of them in one sitting and knew the best places to get the saltiest, greasiest, yummiest ones of all and would even drive for some distances to go get them. I’ve had to give them up cold turkey (pun intended) after giving up meat, but every Thursday at first-job, the cafeteria serves them. My mouth starts to salivate at the idea of them and I even imagine myself just going crazy and ordering fifty of them and chowing down for hours. Of course, it’s just the smell that gets me and, four years later, the look and smell of the meat itself is enough to make me queasy, but now that I know that such a thing as tofu wings exist, I may need to put on my coat and not stop searching until I find such a treasure.

Before going on this quest, I’ll note that yes, this is what I would classify as a “high” phase for me, which means come sometime between tomorrow and Monday, I’ll feel like hell again, but with that said, I’ll also note that I wrote 514 words today (I might as well have some fun with it.) and I began my interest in buffalo wings after a Google search into what to serve as a side with flatbread pizza Wikipediaed itself on me and sent me into fervent clicking.

I’m a little calmer now that I’ve chatted with my mother, so I think I’ll save the veggie wings hunt for another evening and just satiate my pallet with some organic pizza and more Frasier.

 

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 busy day Sunday, January 30, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:58 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

My mind is kind of blank right now. I’ve just now come home from an 8-hour stint at the first-job, bringing me up to 59 hours for the week. There is something so awful about the sound of working a 60-hour week that I hate to think about it, but I know that if I don’t get some better organization going, I’ll be peaking at 70 and 80-hour weeks shortly.

A part of this fatigue comes from not getting enough sleep last night (blaming Netflix on that one) and then literally getting “all cried out” over the sight of my pastor drooping over the podium as he fell ill into his seat. What’s really interesting about the whole incident is my behaviour when I start to panic. I probably look calm and to outsiders, I may even seem calm; perhaps just tired or sad. But, eventually I managed to run away from the scene. The first time I noticed I did this was at Edrith‘s homegoing. I wasn’t ready for the funeral directors to bring her in yet and I actually ran away from helping my cousin with the remaining arrangments. I panicked today too and, while everything seems to have worked out for the best (more or less), I really did manage to book it out of church today rather calmly.

I got through 388 words today (, in his mind, was like what Corey did), which is nothing especially special, but…

Considering the day I’ve had, I’m glad I even have the strength to write anything all. Onto tomorrow…

 

 
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