I am kaitco

a writer's log

Jumbled Thoughts Saturday, February 28, 2015

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:06 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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 BeyoncĂ©, 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?

 

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I Dream of Writing Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 6:36 pm
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I’ve been using the Lift.do app for much of the past eighteen months. In addition to helping me make flossing, bible reading, and some form of exercise daily activities, it has also given me a graphical display of my writing activities over the last year.

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Towards the beginning of the year, I seemed to be writing almost daily, but from August through the remainder of the year, I’ve been declining month over month. It’s one thing to have an inkling that one hasn’t been writing much, but seeing it forces acknowledgement. Of all things I aim to correct in 2015, one of the most poignant will be to correct the above graph.

My lack of writing, however, has given rise to an incredible epiphany about myself.

Lately I’ve been growing a bit concerned about the dark and violent nature of my imagination. When left to simply create out of nothing, my imagination always defaults to something dark and dreary. I noticed it with my NaNoWriMo attempt this year where I decided to write about pedophile serial killer seeking help for his deeds. Last year’s NaNoWriMo was hardly better as I simply started with “Once upon a time…” and 5K words in found myself writing a story about a young boy escaping into his dreams as he is being abandoned by his family. I’m still unsure why my imagination, when left on its own, falls into these dark places and that’s something I’ll have to ponder and pray about at another time. This could arguably be to blame for my reduced writing in the latter part of this year, but I know outright laziness when I see it.

I’ve also been having these very detailed recurring dreams which I almost never have. I hate dreaming entirely because I never dream about horses or flying or living a happy life in my elder years. My dreams are almost always just as dark and horrible as my default imagination, but they often include very realistic circumstances involving people I love.

I had one dream several years ago where my mother and I were walking across campus and she suddenly collapsed. I tried picking her up and dragging her to find help and then I noticed that Death was following us. I then proceeded to drag my comatose mother all across campus, in and out of dorms and classroom buildings, trying to run away from Death. I had another dream about a dear friend of mine, who had just been married and was pregnant at the time. I dreamt that I arrived at work and my co-workers surrounded me to comfort me as they told me my dear friend had been killed in a motorcycle accident. That one was so horrible that I actually woke myself up screaming and I had jumped out of the bed and stood around my bedroom for a few minutes before I understood that I’d just been dreaming. These are just a couple examples of the ones that have stood with me over time, so needless to say, I hate dreaming.

My recurring dream, like most of them, can be easily interpreted. I was in college at the time I had the dream about my mother and losing her would have been incredibly difficult for me, at any time really. My dream about my friend occurred because usually when things are going perfectly for too long, I expect something horrible to happen. My recurring dream includes a mixture of current racial tensions in the country and my own frustrations about my life’s limitations. The end doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me yet, but I’m hoping to forget the dream sooner rather than later.

Despite having a mild understanding of what my recurring dream meant, I started searching online for a dream interpretation forum; something, anything, to help rid me of this recurring dream. In my searching, however, I started to think about what was really bothering me. It’s not the dreams themselves, because I know what they mean, but it’s the fact that I’ve been having these horrible dreams far more frequently than I’ve ever had and they’re recurring.

So, I posed myself some questions. Why was I dreaming so much?? What’s going on in my life that’s causing this? Is it a change in diet? Exercise? Music? Television? What?!?

No answer came to me immediately, so I focused on other things, namely my writing habits as I saw them in the Lift app and then it finally dawned on me: Reduced writing has given my brain no other storytelling outlet and thus, has left all the creative thoughts that used to be spent on a writing project with nowhere else left to go, but into dreams.

It sounds fanciful at first, but I came upon this realization in a slightly empirical manner. As I hadn’t been writing as much I should have been, I initially aimed to fix it by enacting what I called “No Write, No Reddit.” I procrastinate way too much on Reddit and so, I figured that preventing myself from viewing Reddit unless I’d written at least 100 words would kick start my writing and this actually worked. I started writing for a few days and, though it hadn’t occurred to me at the time, I had no dreams during this time. Unfortunately, after a few days, I started to get busy and I stopped writing and Redditing altogether. Then, the dreams started again and then they started to recur and the dreams even included a few slight deviations…almost as if my brain was trying to perfect or edit the dream.

After recognizing the correlation between writing and dreams, I tried to make sure I didn’t go more than 48 hours without some kind of creative storytelling and, Lo! the dreams have stopped. If were really a scientist, I’d test myself further by ceasing all creative activities again, while maintaining consistent diet, exercise, sleep, etc., and then see how long it took for the dreams to restart (and, I still may as that sounds very intriguing), but like I said, I hate dreaming and a simple hypothesis works well enough for me.

I’ve asked God recently about my writing endeavours and had considered giving up the craft altogether to focus on other ambitions, but I think I might have received my answer.

I’m a storytelling through and through. Whether I tell these stories aloud or commit them to the page, they will form and with nowhere else to go, they will internalize and haunt me either way. So, on I’ll continue.

Whether I publish or not, I’m still a storyteller and, if for no other reason than my mental well-being, I’ll continue to tell my stories until the end.

 

The Case for NaNoWriMo Friday, October 31, 2014

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:24 am
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve said in the past that I dislike the idea of NaNoWriMo for giving the false illusion that a novel can be written in thirty days. A deep dive into the project would show anyone who was really interested that the goal is not to have a complete work at month’s end, but to have a preliminary draft that could edited and re-written a dozen times into something remotely publishable. In the past, however, a lot of people haven’t looked at NaNoWriMo through that lens, or if they have, they have extremely myopic vision.

What has saturated the market for emerging authors is the plethora of people who take the 50K words they’ve written in November, spell and grammar check the project, re-read once or twice in December, and then start sending their work to agents in January. As one who has catalogued the years it takes to have something even worthwhile for rejection, every year NaNoWriMo distresses me.

I actually attempted NaNoWriMo a couple years ago and I never got past the first day; I simply can’t write like that. Despite my reservations, however, I’m going to try this in my own way.

I attended church this past Sunday after missing for a few weeks for various reasons, and my attendance kick-started a lot of inspiration. I’ve been putting real effort into my workouts, I’ve been accomplishing all the goals on my daily to-do lists, and I’ve been really writing. I haven’t been spitting out 100 words a day just to say that I’ve written something, but I’ve really put in the effort that Anne deserves.

So, I’m going to do some form of NaNoWriMo. While in its current form, Anne is far greater than 50K words, but as I go through my re-write process, I’m going to ensure I write at least 1700 words a day throughout November. Rather than retain my pessimistic outlook on the entire NaNoWriMo project, I’ll participate (sign up, check in, badges, the whole thing), and see where it takes me.

Also, in other news, I made the reddit front page last week. I probably waste more hours each week on reddit than I do sleeping, but still…the front page is the front page! 🙂

 

 
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