This year, the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo is in April, but I don’t think I will participate, even with such features as custom word count, cabins of fellow writers, and a very attractive website.
The main reason I’m not participating is because work on STEPHEN has come to a standstill. I realized I cannot go forward with the narrative unless I look backward, and to do that, I had to unearth character backstories from two years before the actual events of STEPHEN take place. Because STEPHEN is the first book in the series, it is in a way the most important, because it will set up the events of the second book, third book, and so forth. You know, laying a strong foundation and all that…
In essence, I am compiling all the information about this series that I have accumulated over the years into a story bible. I’m also writing out a long, in-depth summary of each book in the series and how the plot and characters change. This is helping me see where I’m going (and where I had once gone before and written myself into a corner). At this point, I’m more or less going backward and forward through the series at the same time.
Doing all that digging gave me the inspiration for a few other stories, but I don’t want to write an entirely new story until I have figured out all the others I have already written. If anything, I’ll wait until the traditional NaNoWriMo in November before I attempt anything new. I’ve already got enough on my plate as it is.
In real life, I’m a wimp. Instead of giving my honest opinion, I will often waffle and sugarcoat things so that other people’s feelings don’t get hurt and so I don’t wind up being the only person in the room with the unpopular opinion. Of course, I realize later on that my reluctance to stand my ground and my urge to tell white lies are not helping the other people at all, and it’s certainly not helping me as a communicator.
But in writing, I try to be honest and tell it like it is… or how it really would be if the story was true. If you’re telling a story, even a fictional one, everything should be as believable as possible. Your characters shouldn’t agree on one issue and disagree with it three pages later (unless there’s a compelling reason related to the story for them to do so). You shouldn’t sanitize the language or be politically correct. You shouldn’t care if you don’t have an equal representation of characters from every gender, creed, and color. You shouldn’t write in accordance with some predetermined formula that the publishing industry wants you to follow or else your work won’t be marketable.
So… be honest. Offend people. You’re going to be doing it anyway because you can’t please everyone.
For Catholics and members of some other Christian denominations, today begins the season of Lent. When we go to church and receive the ashes on our foreheads, we remember that we are mortal and our bodies are mere dust. We remember that earthly objects and desires will all pass away and that we can take only our souls into the next life.
Often, we give something up for Lent, most likely something that ties us to the world, like our favorite TV shows, foods, or time spent pursuing idle pleasures. The time that would be spent watching TV or playing video games or staring at the Internet can be spent in prayer. Or the money that is saved by not eating meat on Fridays or by giving up certain snacks can go to the poor.
Your life should be affected by your Lenten sacrifice. It should have enough of an impact to cause you to really reconsider your faith and the direction you’re headed toward. There are thousands of things in our everyday lives that distract us from the fact that we are souls who inhabit bodies. To me, Lent is removing some of that distraction in order to get closer to the One who created our souls.
An alternate title for this post would be, “In which Maggie realizes she has far too much paper, and her bedroom is a complete firetrap,” but that wouldn’t fit into the subject line. All that paper includes books (both paperback and hardback), notebooks (every kind imaginable, some very old and torn to shreds), printer paper, sticky notes, index cards… you name the paper product, I probably have it somewhere.
Needless to say, I’m not one of those super-efficient people who can work entirely on electronic devices without any paper at all. No matter how advanced technology gets, I think I will always need to have scrap paper or a notebook to jot things down. Besides, you can’t doodle in the margins of a Word document or on your phone’s ColorNote app. I am going to make an attempt to recycle the stuff I don’t need and cut down on my paper use simply because all those hard copies take up too much space.
I find it amazing that the equivalent of about 6 million pages of Word documents can fit on a 4 GB flash drive that I can keep in my pocket. It reminds me of that scene in the old Disney cartoon The Sword in the Stone, where Merlin shrinks all the objects in his house so they fit in his carpet bag. But if I were to print out all 6 million pages of Word documents from that 4 GB flash drive, I would have to rent several storage units.
How about you? Do you have a bizarre obsession with stationery and paper products? Do you think we will ever become a truly paperless society?
I somehow stumbled upon this YouTube video, in which a guy rants (warning: profanity) about how “music fans” are often very defensive about their music choices, and how, if you insult the music they listen to, they feel personally offended. These people who consider themselves “music fans” normally like only one genre and do not play an instrument or otherwise make music themselves.
For years, I have been making essentially the same argument as the creator of the video: All music is art, whether you like it or not. Even the genres and songs you hate are technically art, however inferior or terrible they may be, just like how Palmer chocolate and Godiva chocolate are both chocolate, although Palmer is terrible and Godiva is excellent.
I agree with the statement that music is a product. It is there to make money for the artist. A particular song does not define you any more than the brand of chocolate you eat defines you. If you’re trying to define yourself by the products you buy, whether they be food, music, vehicles, or clothes, then you better find another well of self-esteem to draw from.
And of course, like whatever you want to like, regardless of whether it’s “in style” or whether “everyone else” thinks it’s “cool.” I feel like everyone knows this and is less insecure about their preferences after high school (or college at the latest), but some people still define themselves by products, and this is something that deeply disturbs me. If every material possession and “product” you had was taken away, who would you be?