Monthly Archives: September 2014

Writing 101, Day Three: Commit to a Writing Practice

Today’s exercise is about creating writing habits. The assignment is to write about 3 songs that mean a lot to me and to write non-stop for 15 minutes.

if you had asked me to do this 10 years ago there would have been 3 songs and they would have meant a great deal to me. These days I have the Breaking Bad soundtracks, Grimes’ discography, Muse’s discography, 2 Janelle Monae Albums and one Jeff buckle album on my computer and that is it. Not a whole lot of music for a 29 year old, but i’ll try.

1. Crystal Ball by Grimes. This song means a lot to me because I can put it on and write or do anything productive and not be distracted. This is true of a lot of Grimes’ music because she very rarely has lyrics worth listening to. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an insult. She sings indistinctly and usually quite softly so there’s not much to really sing along to. i appreciate that.

2. City of Delusion by Muse. This song is important because whenever I listen to it, I feel very triumphant and it’s one of the few Muse songs that make me want to dance. There are other, better Muse songs, but this is the one I’m listening to at the moment so there you go.

3. Lover, you should have come over by Jeff Buckley. This is arguably the greatest love song ever written. “My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder” is the greatest line ever written in any song and I will fight anyone who thinks I’m wrong. I have listened to this song and cried so many times because I know that no one will ever think about me the way Jeff Buckley thought about the woman he wrote this for. He was 20-something and in love and waiting by the phone for her to call. She never did.

That’s it. I’m not deep I guess. This is the bane of my existence. It reminds me of what happened last weekend when I was attempting to pick up a German chick. I noticed she had a tattoo on her foot and I told her it was really beautiful and she explained to me how different elements of it represented different family members of hers. I showed her the turtle tattoo on my wrist and she went “that’s cute, what does it represent?” and I said “I like turtles” :-/

Goodnight, wordpress.


Writing 101, Day Two: A Room with a View (Or Just a View)

The assignment for today is to describe a place you want to be.

Now I’ve only been back at work for a few weeks and i by no means have the worlds most stressful job, but I’m exhausted. it’s only Wednesday and I spent all day thinking it was Friday and when I realized the truth i wanted to cry.

The only place I want to be is 30 m under water, near a reef, looking at fish. I love diving. I miss it so much when I can’t do it. I live in land so that means literally all the time I’m not on holiday.

I remember when I was last in the Philippines and we went diving at 6 in the morning so we could see the thresher sharks come up for cleaning. The little cleaning wrasses live in much shallower water than the sharks do and every morning they come up and get cleaned. The dive master took us down to 29 m and we sat on the edge of a really steep wall and waited.

Usually, when you’re down there you think you can only hear the sounds of your own breathing, but if you listen carefully you can hear the coral crackle. it sounds like rice krispies. Everything looks kind of blue because colors disappear along with light penetration. You move slowly, underwater. You want to conserve air. Move too fast and you breathe too fast and you can cut your dive time in half. My ex used to swim around like a maniac and our 50 minute dives would be reduced to 30 minute dives. Diving is expensive but they don’t charge you by the minute. This means that it’s probably one of the most stress free leisurely activities you can undertake in the ocean.

Thresher sharks live deep, and they’re long – up to 6 m long – and graceful and elegant. They move slowly up out of the depths and when you see them you can hardly believe that you are that close to something so beautiful. We sat on the edge of the wall, 29 m under water and watched 9 of them swim up and circle above our heads while the little cleaner wrasses did their jobs.

if I had a choice, that is where I’d be, watching the sharks.

Writing 101 Challenge: Day one

I’m doing the writing 101 Challenge. It’s from June, but whatever. Who’s counting. For those of you, not in the know, the first challenge is just a stream of consciousness challenge. you’re just supposed to write whatever you want for 20 minutes and then post that to your blog. So this is what i’m doing now. Tick tock. all of that took exactly a minute and a half. Crap.

Whenever I have to do any kind of free flow writing it always turns into this diarizing shit. One time I resolved to hand write a novel. I purchased a really beautiful notebook, went to my favorite coffee shop in Boryeong, (which also happened to be the only coffee shop in Boryeong, so good job I liked it, eh?) and sat down at my usually table and started to craft the story of… nothing. I couldn’t even think of an opening sentence. I spent the rest of the afternoon writing descriptions of all the people who walked into the coffee shop. Out of desperation I bought for the first and only time a sweet potato latte. Just so i could have something new and interesting to describe. It was gross. and my description was pedestrian. But anything for your art, right?

This is actually an issue for me because I’m going to attempt NaNoWriMo for the first time. The problem I’m having with it is that I have been sitting on this story for months. since April to be exact. I have character outlines, A great concept and a notebook full of hand written Ideas and also a sort of vague outline. I’ve been doing research up the wazoo (not sure what a wazoo is, but I’m up it) and I’m so ready to start writing. But I won’t because: the rules.

I’m just afraid that, come November, I’m going to be so saturated with thinking about this story that I will have research/plan-fatigued myself out of any drive to actually write the damn thing.

I hesitated too long. I should have just started writing in April when the idea struck me. But nooooo! Two of my friends mentioned at that time that they were also thinking of doing the NaNoWriMo thing and I agreed to do it with them. And a promise is a promise so I held off and just did other things book related. all the peripheral things. No actual writing. Now here I am. A month and a half before November. terrified I’ve over thought the whole thing. Damn.

My wrists hurt and it’s only been 9 minutes. My writing technique must not be good. how do people do it for hours on end without stopping? i do not know. On the other hand, if i can write around 400 words in under 20 minutes, the 1700 odd words i’ll need per day to complete nanowrimo will be a piece of cake. I just need to carve out the hour and a half to two hours. every single day. Who am I kidding? 😦 I’ll just have to do more on the weekends. And take up waking up super early to write again. That use to work when I used to wake up at the crack of dawn to write short stories.

I haven’t done that since June though. I hate that all my good habits were undone by the summer break.

I have seven minutes left so I guess i’ll give you more of a life update. Not that any of you know me in real life, but I bet you’re super interested in my life.

1. I got a tattoo. A beautiful little turtle on my wrist. I’ll post pics later if one of the tasks calls for it. it’s true what they say. They are addictive. I already have a plan for another tattoo on almost every part of my body.

2. I no longer wish to work at this university. Academia is not for me. I tried it for 5 years and most of my twenties and I’m done.

3. I want to be a dive instructor. I love the ocean. I love diving. I love boats. I love teaching (i hate office hours and grading). I have a plan too and i’ve already told my parents and they are on board with whatever I want. Although, if I’m honest, they don’t really have a choice, i’ve always done exactly as i pleased.

4. I’m going to buy a boat. some kind of yacht. What i really want is a 50 ft full displacement hull yacht. but i’m not super rich so I’ll probably just get a mini trawler and call it a day.

5. I feel like I’m outgrowing most of my friendships. People misunderstand fundamental things about me and it bothers me more than i can say. I feel like I shouldn’t have to keep explaining myself to people who are close to me. this is probably quite cryptic. but whatever. it’s almost midnight, i don’t have time for full explanations.

Holy cow. 800 words. Go me. that would be 2400 words in an hour if I was writing my book. That’s WAY more than 1700. yes. Go me! Good Job Natalie.

there’s one minute left on the clock so I’ll just sign off.

thank you to the one of you who made it all the way to the end. You are a gentleman/woman and a scholar!

zia jian!!!