Monday, February 25, 2008

Reexamining my Life at the end of 23

I don't work at the part-time job until the afternoon today, so I've had these early hours to do some stuff with my computer I've been meaning to do and never got around to doing. That didn't really work out, so I was site-surfing. Drifting over to Justine Larbalestier's blog (I never did post about her Magic trilogy, but suffice it to say, I enjoyed all three and it was interesting to see the shift between the viewpoints and understanding of language--that's an awkward way to put it, but I mean the difference in the POV of the two Australian characters versus the New York one), and she writes about blogging.

For some reason, that got me thinking about my life. My birthday is coming up in just a few days. Not the end of the month (I get that question a lot), but near enough to still receive the jokes. I'll be turning 24. I am a graduate student in the English department, working towards a master's degree with a concentration in creative writing, mostly as an additional impetus to keep me writing. I work part-time at a retail shipping/packing/copy and fax place. And I have not mailed out a single query letter yet despite finishing drafts for two novels.

Sometimes it feels as if I'm thinking too far ahead for where I'm at right now. (I'm not quite sure how this connects to Justine's post, just that the thought came to me then). At the same time, I am still working towards my goal, and in terms of blogger, I'm not the complete lurker I used to be, reading everything and never participating in the conversation. Introverted much?

But anyway, I'm almost 24 and have been writing since elementary school. I want to make it a career. I feel like I need to set some goals for myself.

February is almost over, but let's say, I will finish this round of editing by the end of March and will finish reading both writing books and at least two of the novels on my immediate list of things to read (I found Mark Del Franco's website and blog via his agent's blog a few weeks ago, and yesterday found and bought his first book, Unshapely Things). Often it feels like I have no time to read novels after work, school and homework, but my manga kick has slowed considerably, though I still enjoy it, and I find that I really want to pick up novels again. The prospect of 300-400 pages doesn't make me balk like it had been for a while there (I don't really know where that feeling came from, but I'm glad it's going away).

And it's twenty minutes later than I meant to be online, so I'll post this and then I'm off to edit for a little before doing some reading for one of my courses.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Writing in Hawaii

I was just over at Patricia Wood's blog and it got me thinking. She often mentions about living in Hawaii. I rarely do. In fact, I rarely write about this place. That old adage to "write what you know" seems to suggest I should try writing with Hawaii as a setting for some stories, if it fits, but I almost never do. Actually, I don't think I ever have. I have one drafted novel with a character from Hawaii, but I have yet to finish a story set here.

One might call it ignoring available resources. I've lived on Oahu since I was six (almost 24 now) and know quite a bit of it, despite a horrible sense of direction. But despite today being a generally gray day, raining for most part, and weather the past few weeks being much of the same, or that weird gray and rainy one minute, bright and muggy the next, I feel like every time I start to write about Hawaii, the steroetypical image of the idyllic tropical paradise comes to mind. Bikini-clad skinny chicks on the beach, tourists with cameras and bright sunny days called "perfect." I know that's not the way it is here and yet somehow, I feel like if I don't immediately set up a contrasting image, that's what the reader will see. But I don't like starting stories with a description of setting.

It's just interesting to see one's own prejudices, what one will or won't write about, and to examine why that is.

On another note, I was just about to end this post with an "Anyways..." sentence, and I've noticed I do that a lot. Now I'm horrible with short stories because I can't seem to finish anything in a concise manner, and even after 300 pages, I'm hardpressed to find a neat way to tie up all the threads, but apparently, that fault has bled over into all my other writing as well, specifically blog and journal posts, and emails. On the upside, I am mostly okay with keeping the 'anyway's, 'really's, and 'right then's out of my fiction writing. I'm still a huge fan of 'just,' though. And pretty fond of 'though's, too.