Saturday, January 30, 2010

NaNo Update : Excerpt #2

I've decided to post excerpts from my NaNo novel (for which I still have no title... BLARGH!!) in order, starting at the beginning. You have, of course, come across my opening, and your advice and encouragement has been so helpful.

If you want to catch up, go to this post to read the beginning.

This excerpt happens directly after my previous NaNo Update, and it's a flashback. I'm sure you'd figure that out, but just in case... :) It's a rough draft, but I feel like I get my point across. It's mostly met to establish the relationship between Natalie and her father.

Once again, any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.

* * *
"You're leaving for Vismuth in a month, so start making preparations." Official Hansley said casually.

"I'm sorry?" Natalie said, hoping that she had misheard him.

Her father sighed. "A shuttle is leaving for the Vismuth settlement in a month, and I have made arrangements for you to be on it."

Natalie's breath caught in her throat. The Vismuth settlement was doomed to fail, and yet he still clung to its now nearly mythical success with blind, unwavering hope.

"But the incidents -" He held up his hand.

"They've been resolved."

"How?" she asked. "It was less than a month ago. People died. The after effects were too severe."

Calmly, Official Hansley cleared his throat. "Natalie, I don't answer to you. Know your place."

Fire burned her neck and cheeks. Know your place. It was a phrase that her father frequently utilized to shut her up, but this time she would not stand down.

"I know my place, Father," she said slowly, feeling both empowered and meek at the same time, "and it's not on that settlement. How can I help those people? I know nothing about terraforming."

Natalie's father clenched his jaw and narrowed his eyes. "You'll learn."

"That's not something I can learn overnight. You know it takes years."

"So it will take years."

The words boxed her ears.Years? How long did he plan for her to be on Vismuth?

"I have responsibilities here," she said.

"They'll be taken care of." His mind was set. What else could she say? Her arguments were pointless, but she could not stop herself from trying.

"But Mom. I can't leave her behind."

"She won't even realize that you're gone."

He was right, she knew, but the thought still dug aggressively into her stomach. Still, she could not leave her mother all alone.

Sheepishly, she lowered her eyes to the floor, afraid of what she was about to say.

"Why are you so intent on sending me away?"

Natalie's father leaned back in his chair, resting his hands on the armrests.

"As you know, Vismuth isn't doing well. Our funding is dwindling, and the recent problems have made the backers nervous, hesitant to finance the project. I need something - or someone - to instill confidence in them. I can't go myself because I have too many responsibilities here, but you, on the other hand, are completely free. Those funding Vismuth's growth will see that, by sending you, I have faith that we will not only succeed but will also be profitable."

Before Natalie could censor herself, her anger bust out of her like a thousand enraged wasps. "I will not be your publicity stunt!" she yelled, her green eyes flashing. "I'm not going."

In one swift, elegant movement, he stood up and leaned over his desks, his palms pressed firmly onto the antique cherry wood.

"You're going," he said, "and you're going to do it with a smile on your face. Either that or you will be completely cut off and will never see your mother again."

As the words sunk in, Natalie could feel her eyes begin to water and her chin start to quiver uncontrollably. There was nothing she could do or say to change his mind. In one month, she would be in Vismuth.

When he saw that she was not going to fight back, the Official sat back down.

"So we have an understanding?" he said, clasping his hands together, the tips of his index fingers and thumbs touching to form a triangle.

"Yes, Sir." She said it so quietly that it was barely audible. She repeated it - "Yes, Sir" - a bit more loudly just in case he had not heard her.

Her father looked blankly at the door behind her and nodded, signaling that it was her time to leave, and she obeyed.
END

So wha'd'ya think?? :) I think I'm going to go back over it to rework a bit of it, but I'm happy where it stands as a rough draft.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, etc.

Peace.
Stef.

Elmer's Tooth Fairy

Sorry I've been absent for the past 2 days. Things have been a bit crazy, and I needed to prioritize. Because I've been gone, however, I'll post the 2 exercises I've been missing over the weekend! Woo!

Exercise #127 : "Elmer's Tooth Fairy"

What did the tooth fairy bring? Which tooth did Elmer lose? What happens the night the tooth fairy tries to make his/her exchange?

GO!

First things first, who names their kid Elmer? Do they want their child to be beaten up in school?? Apparently.

Ok, now that I've gotten that out of my system, let's do it to it.

Carl fluttered effortlessly from his cloud-shaped plane downward, aiming for Elmer Boyle's house. He was 6 years old and had finally lost his first tooth. He was surely going to expect an exorbitant amount of coins or dollar bills in exchange for his tooth, but what the little ankle-biter didn't know was that Carl had absolutely no control over how much Elmer would receive.

Carl's mechanical wings slowed and straightened, allowing him to glide toward Elmer's window. He saw the kid pretending to sleep in his bed and sighed.

"He's not going to be happy with this quarter," he said, feeling the small, metal coin in his pocket.

Gently, Carl removed the perch from his satchel and attached it to the boy's windowsill. He quietly jimmied the wooden frame open and peered inside. The lights were off, and Elmer laid sleeping just under the window. As silently and quickly as possible, Carl sneaked the lone quarter under Elmer's pillow and flew away, forgetting his perch.

Carl did not get too far, however, when he heard Elmer cry after him.

"Hey!" yelled the young child. "HEY!"

Carl stopped flying and turned. Elmer was halfway out of his window, leaning on the forgotten perch. For a moment, Carl considered going back to retrieve it but decided it unwise.

"What do you want?"

"A quarter?" Elmer said, holding up the offensive piece of metal. "A quarter?"

Shrugging his shoulders, Carl said, "Yep." When he turned back around to go home, he felt something small hit him squarely on the back of the head. He looked down and saw the quarter falling to the ground below him.

Without turning around, he continued. Kids just aren't as grateful as they used to be.

END

Meh, that was ok. It was fun to write, but I'm not entirely convinced that it's 1) a good concept or 2) good writing. Ah, well. You can't spin golden words every time you sit down to write, can you? :)

Peace.
Stef.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Five Words

Exercise #126 : "Five Words"

We all know far more words than we actually use in our writing. Today's exercise is inspired by poet Debora Ager's 5/5/06 entry in her blog, 32 Poems, "Create What You Don't Know." She wrote:
The other night, I sat down to write. I took a glass of water into my study - with its orange walls glowing pink due to a sunset streaming through the western window - and sat down at my desk. I'd recently RE-found my writing notebook and was pleased to find some notes I'd taken on various poems. I wasn't sure what I wanted to write. I decided to incorporate five words I've never used before in a poem. To do this, I quickly scanned the pages of a book I'm reading and came up with "true," "rice," "anecdote," "beam," and "gentle."
What are five words you know but have never used in your writing? Pick up whatever newspaper or book is handy and see what you can find. You may need the whole five minutes just to find these five words. That's ok.

GO!
  1. Cyrillic
  2. repeal
  3. transcript
  4. stimulus
  5. parole
So those are my words, and they took approximately........ 4 minutes and 30 seconds to find.

I'd like to think that I use a good portion of my vocabulary when writing, but I'm sure that's not true. I know quite a bit of words and think it would be nearly impossible to use esoteric words like fenestration or abacinate (etc.). I guess that's what happens when you're a bibiophile. We can thank my parents for that. :) And my sister's competitive nature, of course.

Well, that's that. Time to work on homework. Man, I'm tired of school...

Peace.
Stef.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Five Ingredients

Exercise #125 : "Five Ingredients"

Write something - anything - that includes the following five words / phrases:
  • urged
  • when the servant entered with the soup
  • show him the way
  • zeal
  • dead flies
Part of me wants to be snarky and write a single sentence that incorporates all of these phrases, but snarkiness does not make Stefers a better writer. It simply makes her a snarky lady, so let's put the nose to the grindstone.

GO!

Mikayla looked out of the window, ignoring the dead flies and ladybugs lying on the windowsill between the screen and the glass. She was waiting for Eric to come, and even though he had said that he would be there she doubted him.

When the servant entered with the soup, she whipped around expecting for it to be him. Realizing that she was mistaken, she morosely returned to the window, her chin perched upon her palm. She had lost all of her zeal because of him, and she would make him pay.

The servant put down the soup and urged her to eat, but she would have nothing of it.

"I'll eat it later," she said. "Just leave it."

Sighing and rolling his eyes, the servant left.

A few minutes later, George, the family butler walked in.

"Miss Mikayla," he said, "There is an Eric here to see you."

Suddenly, her stomach lurched and thrust itself up to her throat. Her face felt like it was on fire.

"Show him the way," she croaked.

In a flurry of anticipation, she jumped up from the window seat and straightened her skirt and hair. At least, she did the best she could without help from a mirror.

END

I'm not going to lie. I didn't like that one. I mean, I came up with something, but it was like pulling teeth. In fact, it was so difficult that I'm posting this over a day late. Ew. I hope my lovely readers forgive my tardiness.

Anyways, I need to head out, but I'll probably be posting today's exercise in a little bit.

See you on the flip side!!

Peace.
Stef.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Got an Award!! :-D

You know, I am frequently reminded just how great a writing community there is on blogger, wordpress, twitter, etc. The amount of support that I get from you guys is absolutely wonderful, and I know that I can turn to you guys for any comfort and advice whenever I want. A big thank you to all of you.

As my title suggests, I was given an award by Jen over at unedited (Go check out her blog! It's great!), and I can't even begin to explain how very humbled I am. Well, darn. Now I'm all verklemmt. All I can say is, "Thank you so very, very much."

Here are The Rules: Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Make sure you let them know about it though.

Your Cell Phone? Omnia
Your Hair? henna
Your Mother? goofball
Your Father? logical
Your Favourite Food? lobster
Your Dream Last Night? zilch
Your Favourite Drink? aqua
Your Dream/Goal? successful
What Room Are You In? living
Your Hobby? writing
Your Fear? failure
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? singing
Where Were You Last Night? sleeping
Something That You Aren't? jealous
Muffins? pumpkin
Wish List Item? money
Where Did You Grow Up? Nashville, TN
Last Thing You Did? wrote
What Are You Wearing? scrubs
Your TV? ghosts
Your Pets? napping
Friends? best
Your Life? dynamic
Your Mood? content
Missing Someone? friends
Vehicle? Gertie
Something You Aren't Wearing? socks
Your Favourite Store? bookstore
Your Favourite Color? green
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? hours
Last Time You Cried? forgot
Your Best Friend? friendS
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Belmont
Facebook? yep
Favorite Place To Eat? everywhere

And now for the 5 blogs to which I am extending this award:
Angie at Gumbo Writer
Sharla from a little salty...
R Sparks over at Confessions of a Virgin Blogger
Dorkvader from The Dork Side
Mark at The Bricoleur


All of these are great blogs, and you should check them out. For serious.

Once again, many thanks to Jen for this award.

While you're here, would you mind stopping over at the previous post, Another Nano Update... Opening, and give me your thoughts? Any sort of constructive criticism would be very much appreciated.

Peace.
Stef.

Another NaNo Update... Opening

As mentioned in my last post, I have typed up my new NaNo opening for all of you to read and give me some pointers. It's entirely different from the last opening I posted because, upon further contemplation, it was a boring beginning. I mean, it was alright, but it wasn't something that made me want to read any further. This version hopefully turns out better on that front.

Anyways, just so you know, I've also changed the first name of my main character from Estelle to Natalie. I like the old-timey feel of Estelle, but it got cumbersome while writing so out it went. Natalie is the new name. I haven't quite decided if my character is actually a Natalie, but we'll see as the writing continues.

And without further ado......

With her feet planted firmly on the floor in front of her seat, Natalie Hansley prepared herself for take-off. It began as a slight vibration, but it quickly grew to a consistent, fierce shaking that jostled her violently in her seat despite a tightened seat belt. Her stomach lurched, trying to escape through her throat. She closed her eyes. One, one thousand. Two, one thousand. Three, one thousand. At "ten, one thousand," the shaking was supposed to stop.
Six, one thousand. If it did not stop by then, chances were that there was something fatally wrong with the ship, and the life system would fail, killing all the passengers. At least, that is what she had heard. Nine, one thousand.

Suddenly, the vibrations calmed as if the whole ship had been dipped into a pool of lukewarm water. Natalie's arms lifted slowly from the arm rests that she had previously been clutching, and the bulk of her weight shifted upwards, removing her from the seat. Only her seat belt saved her from floating away.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said a voice over the communications system, "the Captain is about to initiate the gravity stabilizers. Please make sure that you are firmly seated to minimize any possible discomfort."

Natalie pulled her arms back to the arm rests and gripped them once again, forcing her back as close to her seat as possible. The gravity stabilizers whirred to life, and moments later Natalie slowly relaxed, feeling each additional pound push her further intot he plush cushions. When the gravity was fixed, she exhaled deeply and unclenched her muscles. I'll never get used to weightlessness.

A low-pitched beep signaled that the "Fasten Seat Belt" had been turned off, and Natalie hurried to free herself from the tight constriction across her waist.

"Ladies and gentlement," said the comm system, "the Captain has turned off the "Fasten Seat Belt" sign. Feel free to move about the designated areas of the transport."

"I won't be leaving this compartment, thanks," she said aloud to no one in particular. Her hands fumbled clumsily over the latch. "Damn it!" she cursed.

She had finally released the latch when someone knocked on her door.

"Miss Hansley?" It was one of the flight attendants.

"Yes, come in," she said.

The door to her private compartment slid open soundlessly, and a petit woman with an abnormally wide mouth and broad shoulders bounced in, her hips swiveling dangerously. Her nametag read "Marcelle."

Marcelle smiled, her teeth almost overwhelming her mouth, and said, "I'm sorry to bother you, Miss Hansley, but Official Hansley requested that I bring this to you once the simulated gravity was activated." She held out a ViewScreen module that looked big enough to hold a brief message.

As Natalie took it, she said, "Thank you." Marcelle nodded and exited.

Readjusting herself in her chair, Natalie leaned forward to pick up her purse and pulled out her ViewScreen Projector. Holding it with her right hand, she inserted the module and pressed the execute button. A translucent ViewScreen materialized in front of her, about two feet wide and one and a half feet tall. It showed her father sitting in his office, stoic and blank-faced as always.

"Natalie," he began, "if you're viewing this message, then you have left Earth as we had intended. You will reach Vismuth in approximately four and a half days, and your Aunt Kady will be there to greet you and show you around the settlement. Right now, it's small, but the planet will soon be entirely terraformed, opening it for both mass commercial and residntial construction." He paused briefly to take a sip from a mug and continued. "I want to stress to you the importance of your presence on Vismuth. It gives those already on site confidence in the project and lets them know that the recent issues were just a fluke. They must have faith that there is still hope yet for the settlement." He took another sip. "I'm not sure when you'll be able to return, but I will let you know as soon as possible. Goodbye, and may you have a safe flight." Her father pressed a button on the panel in front of him, and the ViewScreen went blank.

Funny, she thought, it's almost as if I had a choice.

END

So that's that! What do you think? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Fill me in!

Peace.
Stef.

A Short Stistening Diversion

Instead of the normal writing exercise, I'm going to use this post to introduce you to stistening. This is a term that I learned from my Third-Year Writing professor. Essentially, it's staring + listening, and it is a tool that makes any ordinary writer an excellent writer. For example, say you're sitting in an outdoor cafe in Paris, France. People around you are talking, they're walking along the sidewalks, interacting with each other. The point of stistening is to pay attention to anything and everything, to absorb it all using the 5 (or 6, depending on who you are) senses. What do you hear, taste, smell, feel, see? Write it down. Let the words come out. Don't think. Just write.

While I like the idea, I don't like the name. Staring, to me, isn't active. I can stare at something for hours but never actually realize at what I'm looking. I can, however, observe, so my combination would be listen + observe which equals........ Hmm... What does it equal? Obsisten? Lisserve? Let's go with lisserve. I like that one best out of the 2. Anyways, we went and lisserved during class today for 10 minutes, and this is what I came up with:
It's on windy days like this that I wish I had a kite. As the air whips across my face, I smile and close my eyes, enduring the chill for a brief moment in order to envision that kite in my mind's eye; to see it bob up and down, to and fro, side to side in the strong breeze, inhibited only by the thin piece of string that connects it to me. Inspired by a stroke of whimsy, I tilt my mind every so slightly, sending it diving toward the unsuspecting students walking below, but I quickly tilt my hand in the other direction to save them from alarm. Then I realize that it's cold outside, and the kite suddenly freezes, mid-air, which sends it plummetting toward the ground. When it hits, it shatters into a thousand tiny pieces. For a moment, I'm upset, but then I remember it's not real and go back inside.
And that's that. It was a rather enjoyable experience. It's been a while since I've gone out simply to observe, and it was nice to be able to relax outside with no pressure even if it was really cold.

Does anyone else do anything like this? I could see how doing it on a regular basis would really benefit a writer's abilities.

I'm going to double-post today. Aren't you excited?? Well, I ended up scrapping everything I had previously written for my NaNo opening and started from scratch. Ugh. But it's ok. I think I've come up with something that's totally workable. It still has a few bugs to work out, but it's at a point where I'm ready for some constructive criticism, so I'm going to post it later on this evening. Woo!

Well, I had better get to typing that up!

I hope you all had a wonderful day!

Peace.
Stef.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rain of Rubber Chickens - Friday Flash

Exercise #124 : "Rain of Rubber Chickens"

Fred pulled down the hatch to the attic; down came a rain of rubber chickens.

Write on.


DISCLAIMER: I have decided to turn today's writing exercise into a Friday Flash post, so it's going to be a little longer than 5 minutes worth of writing.

AAAAANDDDDDDDDD... go.

Fred pulled down the hatch to the attic; down came a rain of rubber chickens. There were at least one hundred of them of all shapes and sizes, and somehow every single one of them landed beak first. Well, every single one except for the one that perched lightly on the top of his head. He brushed it off and looked back upward into the attic. It was dark and ominous, a stark contrast to the brightly colored house.

"Wow," said Melanie from behind him. She had just walked into the hallway from the kitchen after she had heard the chickens falling.

"Yeah," he said, "I forgot she put these up here."

"You knew she had five million rubber chickens?" Melanie's mouth gaped.

"Dad had a thing for them back when he wanted to be a clown," he said, "and there are only about a hundred."

"It's called a hyperbole, smart-ass." She folded her arms in front of her chest and blew a stray hair away from her face. She looked about 16 when she did that. "Well, at any rate, we have to clean this up now."

"We would have had to clean it up anyway."

Melanie rolled her eyes. "Just go up into the damn attic, Frederic." It was almost as if they were kids again, bickering over who was going to do which chore.

Fred scaled the ladder into the attic, flashlight in tow. When he turned it on, he was slightly surprised by the lack of boxes and papers, by the bare quality of it all. There was a small chest to the right with some winter clothes in it and a cardboard box directly in front of him that held what looked like old tax returns, but he could see nothing else. A wave of disappointment rushed over him, and he turned around to descend back into the hallway. Leaning backward for a moment, he brushed his head against something hanging from the ceiling. A light dangled from a thin wire.

When he pulled the chain, the whole attic was brilliantly illuminated, uncovering an extremely large cedar chest that was sitting in the back corner, hidden from the limited gaze of his flashlight. He had never seen it before; it must have been there for quite some time.

When he lifted the lid, the hinges squeaked with fatigue and age. The first thing he saw was a tiny shoe, powder blue and fragile.

"Oh, man," he said aloud, "she kept it all."

From the hallway, Melanie yelled, "What? I can't hear you!"

"Nothing," he said. "I'll come down in a minute."

He rifled through the baby clothes, the god-awful finger paintings that did not, in fact, look like a sailboat, the Excellent Student awards from middle and high school. Where is it? he thought. Where?

Just when he was about to give up all hope, his fingers grazed the corner of a wooden box, approximately one foot deep and six inches long. He pulled it out anxiously. The top was hand-painted with his name, Frederic in elegant lettering. Inside was a piece of paper that bore his mother's handwriting.
My Dear Freddie,

If you're reading this, then I have passed from this world, leaving you behind. I told you that I would leave you a piece of me when I died, and here it is. I made this box myself, painted it with my own hands for you. This box has a purpose.

You're not going to like what I have to say, but it is of the utmost importance that you follow my directions exactly. First things first, tell none of this to Melanie. She mustn't know what you're about to do, and if she did the whole plan would fall to pieces.

Now, read this carefully, Freddie. You must kill your sister. Our family dates back to the 1500's, and in each generation there is a woman of unspeakable power, demonic power. She is capable of bringing an end to the world as we know it, and if you don't kill her, she will realize her potential by the time she's twenty-five and kill you instead. In fact, she'll kill everyone. That's the way of it. It's been a family secret, and now you know.

Once you've killed her, you must put her heart in this box and bury it in the garden out back at least six feet underground. If you unearth another box similar to the one I made for you, put it back where you found it and dig elsewhere. There are many, and chances are you'll run into one or two of them before finding an appropriate resting spot for your sister's heart.

My dear Freddie, I know you'll do the right thing.

Love,
Your Mother
Kill my sister? he thought. I can't possibly... He shoved the letter back in the box and closed it. Suddenly, a cloud of smoke wafted upwards from the large chest and floated around his face. He inhaled the smoke, starting a coughing fit. His throat felt like it was burning. He fell over, clutching his stomach, trying to force himself to breathe. Gradually, the sensation lessened to a dull throbbing, then to nothing at all. He tried to push himself up, but his body would not move.

"Fred?" called his sister, "Are you ok? What happened?"

"I'm fine," said his voice. Who said that? All of the sudden, his body stood up of its own accord.

Freddie, said his mother. She had somehow gotten into his head. I knew you would side with your sister, so I'm going to borrow your body for a bit.

"I'm fine," she said through him. "I'm coming down."

END

I'm not entirely sure what I think about it, but I hope you liked it! :) And to think it all started with a rain of rubber chickens.

Peace.
Stef.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Suitcase

Exercise #123 : "Suitcase"

How does your character pack his or her suitcase? What's in it? And what does the suitcase look like?

GO!

I'm going to do this for my two main characters from my NaNo novel.

Pictured on the left is my MC's luggage. It's a fully functional traveling trunk and has enough space to store several weeks of clothing ranging from evening gowns to casual wear. As far as packing it goes, she doesn't. She has maids at home that do all of the dirty work for her. Honestly, she doesn't really have much of anything to do with the traveling process other than being present. As far as what's in it, there's quite a bit of clothing, of course. She is prepared for any type of event that might occur be it a ball or a day out at the beach. She also has her basic toiletries, etc.

On the right is Pickett's bag. He's a man's man and would use nothing other than a beat up old leather satchel. He's had it for years and has no desire to "upgrade" even though he supposedly has the means to do so. He packs the bare necessities: a pair of pants and a couple shirts, soap, and some socks and underwear. Because he carries so little with him, his packing experience is brief, and he takes each item of clothing, folds it meticulously, and then rolls it into its smallest, neatest form, creating a great amount of space still left over in the bag for anything he might want to take home with him.

And that's that.

I got annoyed with the choices I made for my previously posted NaNo novel opening and rewrote it. In fact, what I have right now doesn't even resemble what I was once so happy about. Ah, well. I guess that's what happens when you write and then edit what you've written. hah I'll post it once I've written a bit more, because I only have a couple short paragraphs. I feel good about it, though.

Is anyone else in the process of editing a work in progress? How do you go about doing it? What's your method?

Peace.
Stef.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Morning After

Exercise #122 : "The Morning After"

Describe an apartment the morning after a party.

hehe My mind went to a dirty place when I read the name of today's exercise....... Slap! Slap! C'mon, Stef! Get your mind out of the gutter! teehee

GO!

I walk down the stairs and survey the damage. In truth, it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, there are a few people camped out on my couch who I don't know. That's a little strange, but nothing appears to be broken at first glance. The TV is still intact, and no one looks to be dead or maimed. It's time to look a bit more closely, though. There are stains all over the carpet from tossed drinks, and everyone knows that beer never comes out. There are scratches on my new coffee table! Ingrates! Somehow, Silly String was introduced onto the scene, and it's sticking gracefully all across my wall.

The kitchen... Oh, the kitchen. I am never going to clean this up. Plastic cups and paper plates blanket the scene like freshly fallen snow, except it's a lot more disgusting and offensively smelling. And then in the corner... Someone obviously couldn't make it to the sink, the trashcan, or the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom... No, I'm not going to even try to head in there right now.

Here's the question: Would it be easier to clean this myself or simply fork over the money to have someone else do it?

END

I've actually had an experience like this, except I had the wherewithal to clean up as the night went on instead of letting the grossness accumulate, so by morning it wasn't bad at all. There was a little trash laying around, but that was easily fixed. Granted, I was the only sober person at this party, so I guess someone had to play Mommy. hah I sometimes think I allow myself to play that role too often at parties. Of course, that also has to do with the fact that I don't like the way alcohol makes me feel, so... that automatically makes me the Designated Driver for the night. Ah, well. There could be worse things, I guess.

Well, I need to head to class. There's still lots to do in the day! :-P

Peace.
Stef.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

May Day : Make It Rhyme on a Dime

Exercise #121 : "May Day: Make It Rhyme on a Dime"

The aim of this exercise is to play with rhyme. Feel free to make use of this Free Online Writing Source or a rhyming dictionary if you happen to have access to one. If you feel too silly to do this exercise, then make one of your fictional characters be an avid writer of doggerel. What little rhyming poem can you come up within 5 minutes?

GO!

Poetry is not my thing, so please, please, please, please, please forgive my terrible rhyming skills.

There once was a man from Nantucket...

Oh, wait, I'm plagiarizing. hehe Whoopsie!! I wish Ms. Mayo had given me an opening line with this one... Something. Anything. But no... Absolutely nothing. Just write some rhyming stuff. 1,2,3, GO!

Think, think, think.

Think, think, think.

...

I hate rhyming! Ok. That's a start. Let's rhyme about how much I hate rhyming! Score.

I hate rhyming. Yes, I do.
But, you see, I am forced to
Because I write on this here blog
Day in, day out, in quite a fog.
C.M. Mayo's quite a chick
For coming up with all this schtick.
For giving me a chance to write
I owe her a nice, chilly Sprite.

Ok, that's enough of that. As you can see, I simply have no gift for rhyming. I mean, I've got kitschy down, but when it comes to actual, useful poetry... I've got nothing. Ah, well. I did my best.

I was looking through some previous posts, and I realized that I never actually posted anything about my henna experience! Whoops! Well, you're in luck, because I just received some more henna in the mail and plan to dye my hair with it this weekend! I promise this time I'll remember to document the experience with pictures. hehe It's pretty messy, but I'm sure you'll get some kicks out of it.

I was going to do an Avatar review, but... that's old hat now. :) I will, however, be regaling you with my review of The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Now that was an interesting movie. And not in a good way. But we'll talk about that later...

In other news, I had a conversation with my ex the other day, and I am proud to say that I am completely over him! [Insert whoop of happiness here.] I would have said that I was over him over a month ago - and I may very well have been - but we spoke today about his current significant other, and there was no twinge of jealousy, no sadness... I was just happy that he was happy and that we were able to talk about relationship stuff.

Now, I am aware that this kind of a relationship is a bit strange, but I have a track record with these kind of things. All of my close friends are long-standing ones, and a little breakup isn't going to make me not want to be someone's friend. Sure, I was pissed and hurt at first, but I came to realize that he was right, you know? I don't know. I just value friends over fights, I guess.

Anyhow, it's time to get off here. Week 2 of school is a go!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Martin Luther King, Jr. Day yesterday!

Peace.
Stef.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fred's Phone Call

Exercise #120 : "Fred's Phone Call"

Fred turns on the hot water to fill his bathtub. Joan calls to tell him something shocking, and he forgets that he left the tap running. What did Joan tell Fred? What happens at Fred's house after the call?

GO!

RING! RING! RING!

"What the hell?" Fred said, as he grabbed a towel from the linen closet. Water was filling the tub in the bathroom, but he didn't shut it off. Chances are the phone call wouldn't last that long.

He hurried to the bedroom to answer his cellphone.

"Hello?"

"Oh, thank God. Fred?" Joan said. Her voice was raspy and hurried.

"Yeah," he said. "What's up?"

"She's back in town."

Silence. She's back in town.

"Fred?" she said. "Fred, are you there?"

In a weak voice, he said, "Yeah, I'm still here."

"I don't know exactly when she came back, but she's here. I saw her at Chotzsky's earlier this morning."

"Chotzsky's?"

"Yeah, she was talking with Aaron."

When Fred didn't respond, she continued, "I think she may be on her way to your place at some point today. At least, that's what Aaron thought."

"Why?"

"To apologize?" she said. "I don't know."

"But-" Just then there was a knock at the door. "Hey, Joan, I have to go. Someone's here. Just knocked on my door."

"Oh, God. Ok. Call me back."

"Yeah."

Fred hung up the phone and put it in his pocket. He walked heavy-footed to the door and paused there for a moment. Was it her? Why was she back in town? What did she want? He grabbed the handle and pulled open the door.

It was her. Just then, he heard the sound of water splashing on his bathroom floor.

Shit.

5 mintes up. END

Hmmmmmmmm... Interesting! Who is this "she"/"her"? What did she do to make Fred and Joan react in the ways they did??? Odd.

Ok. Time to head off here. Sorry that I had to postpone yesterday's post to today. My mind was fried, and I simply had no motivation to do anything but veg out in front of the tv and sleep. But it's the weekend! Glory be! Now I just need to work on a bit of homework. Bah humbug.

Anyways, have a wonderful weekend, folks!

Peace.
Stef.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pam's Scene Objective (Edward's Porch)

Exercise #119 : "Pam's Scene Objective (Edward's Porch)"

In The Power of the Actor, Ivana Chubbuck shows actors how to use their emotions to empower a goal. Actors identify their characters' overall objective as well as their scene objective. Applying this to writing, assume your character is "Pam." Her overall objective is to prove that she is a really nice person, and her scene objective is to make friends with "Edward," her new neighbor, who is blind and has a very difficult personality. The scene takes place on Edward's porch.

GO!

The red tulips were freshly plucked and placed in a clay pot with fertilizer. Today was the day, her only chance. Pam hesitated at her front door. How would he react? What would he do? But none of that mattered. She had to try.

Pam stepped lightly out of her house onto the stoop. Across the street, Edward was sitting in his rocking chair like always, his cane leaning nearby against the whitewashed walls of his home.

"Hello, Mr. Blauers!" she called, hiding her trepidation with a warm smile.

Edward looked in her direction, his pale blue eyes glazed over and unfocused. "Hmph," he said and closed his eyes.

Pam continued forward, the flowers in hand. "Mr. Blauers!" she called. This time he did not acknowledge her.

As she neared his porch, she slowed her walk. "Mr. Blauers," she said, "It's Pam Cantor. I've brought you some flowers from my garden. I thought you'd like them."

"And how," he began, his eyes still shut, "do you presume to know what I'd like?"

For a moment, she panicked. Calm down, she thought. Just calm down. He's harmless.

"Oh, I don't," she said, renewing her smile. "I just thought it would be nice to have some flowers around."

"Ms. Cantor, I'm blind. Flowers are of no benefit to me."

"Of course they are! Just smell them!" she said, moving closer to the man.

In a shockingly quick, single movement, Edward snatched his cane, stood up, and pointed the rubber end directly at her.

"Not one more step, Ms. Cantor," he said. "This is my private property, and I would appreciate it if you would leave."

"But Mr. Bauers, all I wanted -"

He shook his cane. "I know what you want, and you're not going to get it! Leave!"

Dismayed, Pam left the flowers by his mailbox and walked back to her home.

END

Sad news. I kind of wanted Pam to convince him not to be such a crotchety old bastard.

In other news, I'm searching high and low through my personal library (300+ books, mind you) in order to find an excerpt from one of them that might be construed as "snake bite writing." This is an assignment for my English class, and I have yet to fully understand the concept.

I walked into the class room, and she wrote the following words on the board:
  • Apollo
  • music
  • snake bites
  • screams
Somehow, these 4 words / phrases are connected.

Apollo was the Greek god of music and medicine. So there we have 2 connections. Apollo with music and curing the snake bite. Screaming is guttural and real, raw and full of emotion. This is what writing should be like.

That's what I got from our talk yesterday in class. I have no idea how Apollo is connected with screaming, and I feel like that's kind of important.

At any rate, I have to find an excerpt from some book that has writing capable of curing a snake bite. We'll see how that goes tonight.

Peace.
Stef.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Of Time

Exercise #118 : "Of Time"

This is an exercise in generating imagery and, in a way, using synesthesia. Synesthesia is "a subjective sensation of image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated.* Some examples are as follows:
  • the sands of time
  • green-blue oceans of time
  • the unspooling thread of time
  • the gong of time
Keep going. How many more can you come up with? Really get crazy. Think of smells, tastes, textures, colors, shapes... Once you've done five minutes' worth, go back and circle your best two. Then try to use them sometime soon in your writing.

GO!

You know what's annoying? I've sat here for the last 5 minutes staring at my computer, but the only examples that came to mind were the ones already listed in the exercise. Ugh... Apparently, my mind isn't creative today. I have days like that, it seems.

Either way, can any of you think of anything? I'm at a loss.

In other news, today was the first day of the 2nd semester of my Junior year. It should be pretty good. I had my English class today, Third-Year Writing, and I'm actually looking forward to it. My teacher is a little eccentric, but I think she's a lot of fun. I have a feeling that we're going to be doing quite a bit of off-the-wall stuff.

Anyways, time to hit the books. Yes, I've only had 1 day of class, and I have homework. Oh, how I love college.

Peace.
Stef.

*For more on synthesthesia, see Harry Smith and Stanley Nelson's Synthesthetics / Edges of Sound, Robert E. Cytowic's The Man Who Tasted Shapes, and Patricia Lynne Duffy's Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens. For writers and poets, the most useful and stimulating of the three is Smith and Nelson's.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dry Skin & The Hollywood Remake Disease

Exercise #117 : "Dry Skin"

Take this as your opening line:
He had the driest skin they had ever seen.
Ok. Dry skin... Cool. GO!

He had the driest skin they had ever seen, but little did they know that it was this very skin that would save their lives.

The rainy season had lasted much longer than normal, years in fact. The world was changing around them, and they were as well. Something in the rain sped up their genetic growth, mutating them into monsters with scales, disgusting humanoid amphibians. Their main concern was returning to their previous state when they were happy and normal, but could it be done?

The Dry Man, known to his friends as Edward, was a Messiah of sorts to his people, their last hope, and he felt the pressure constantly. Edward had been an accountant before the rains, pasty and dry-skinned, but when his friends and family began changing before his very eyes while he remained normal made his importance all too apparent.

END

I have absolutely NO idea where I was going with that. hahahahaha How ridiculous, a pasty, dry-skinned accountant saving his once-human-now-amphibian friends??? I'm giggling out loud to myself right now. For some reason, it makes me think of this guy (pictured right).

Moving on...

I did a little bored internet surfing last night and came upon some terrible news. For any of you that grew up during the 80s and 90s, consider yourself warned. A wave of blasphemous remakes are on their way. Which movies, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

  • Red Dawn - They're making this classic into an updated version, set in current times, changing the Cold War mindset to one that is post-9/11. Good idea, guys.
  • The Karate Kid - I KID YOU NOT! Sure, it's not exactly a remake because it's set in China, but the plot is generally the same. BLASPHEMY! Pat Morita is rolling over in his hallowed grave. Jaden Smith is a talented kid, but he has no place as Daniel-san.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street - Terrible idea. This movie is a classic and should never be touched again.
  • Awaken the Dragon - Remake of Enter the Dragon. Poor, poor Bruce Lee. They obviously have no respect for your greatness.
  • Barbarella - Now, I'm not a big fan of this movie in general, but the only way I see them doing this movie is to turn it into this campy sex-fest somewhere in the vein of American Pie. Not ok.
  • Footloose - This one breaks my heart. Footloose is perfect as it is. Please, Hollywood, please don't ruin one of my favorites.
  • Dirty Dancing - Same as above.
  • Highlander - I have 1 thing to say to this: There can be only ONE!
  • The Incredible Mr. Limpet - Don Knotts was the perfect Mr. Limpet, fish lips and all.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - I would actually look forward to this if Joss Whedon was involved, but they have sadly opted out of including the genius that nurtured that series into brilliance. Dumb move guys, dumb move.
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM - I refuse to even comment on this one, especially since they're turning it into a movie like Alvin and the Chipmunks.
  • All of Me - No one will be able to fill those characters as completely as Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin.
  • Adventures in Babysitting - Why would anyone remake this movie?!?!
And now for the pièce de résistance... This one isn't a remake, but its sure-to-come bastardization makes my heart shatter into a million shards. I'm about to let you all in on how much of a geek I actually am, but I don't much care right now.

Cowboy Bebop - This is an incredibly well-done, interesting anime, and I love it. I recommend it to anyone who is looking to make a break into the anime world because chances are if you watch anime at all it's among the highest rated ones on your list. That being said, the protagonist, Spike Spiegel, is a great character. Spike is a laid-back, sarcastic guy and is pretty indirect about his feelings, specifially when he likes someone. In the end, he's a fantastic character, and he is absolutely engrossing to observe.

They're making a movie out of this, and in any other circumstance, I'd probably be super psyched about it. But no... They had to go and ruin my euphoria. Guess who they got to play Spike?

Any ideas?

Nothing?

Well, I'll tell you...

KEANU REEVES. There is nothing more offensive than this. Nothing. Hollywood, you have just lost a customer.

I'm getting way to annoyed. Time to head off here. Your thoughts?

Peace.
Stef.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year's Resolutions - Take 2

I know I already talked about this in a previous post, but I'm going to go a little bit further with my New Year's Resolutions.
  1. Get to a healthy weight (i.e. 170). I'm 5'11," so that's on the top of my healthy weight range, but it will be a start. I'm really sick of getting depressed every time I look in the mirror or go clothes shopping. It's been a constant battle for me since I was a teenager (actually, before that even), and each pound that collects around my thunder thighs and waist makes me feel terrible. Additionally, diabetes runs in my family (I am constantly reminded of this.), and I want nothing to do with that horrible disease. It's time to kick this business in the butt and get a move on with my life. With my schedule, I should have plenty of time to work out for at least an hour a day on weekdays in between classes, and that's always helpful. I just have to stay away from treadmills. Dumb bum knee. :-P At any rate, I'll keep you guys updated on my progress. Wish me luck!

  2. Read the whole Three Musketeers series by Alexandre Dumas. Pretty self-explanatory. I have all of the books but have never read through all of them. As an avid Dumas fan, I am so ashamed. Either way, though, that will change this year!

  3. Make Mostly A's in school. Because of various hindrances I've been slacking a bit on grades for the past few semesters, and my GPA has suffered. It's not too bad, but I want to have a solid 3.5 or more (preferably more) by the time I graduate. Why the sudden school stress? Well, I'll tell you. Just go to #4.

  4. Start looking at graduate schools seriously. Yes, friends. It's that time. Granted, I've got a couple years before I actually attend school for my Masters, but time to start nipping this crap in the bud and making sure I'm on track. Among the schools I'm looking at are Yale ("Woah, Stef! Really? Have you gone nuts??" "Why, yes. Yes, I have. Thanks for asking."), The Curtis Institute of Music, The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and John's Hopkins University. Yale and Curtis are on the list mostly because their programs are free. Well, the tuition is free at least, and that would take a big load off.

  5. Read through the Bible in chronological order. Things are on track for this. I've been keeping up with it, so yay for me.

  6. Edit the crap out of my NaNo novel. Simple.
That's pretty much it! I'm optimistic about my success.

Peace.
Stef.

Questions to Ask Your Character

Exercise #116 : "Questions to Ask Your Character"

These questions will help you flesh out a character. For the purpose of this exercise, the character you choose may be one who appears in a piece you're working on or even a new one. Feel free to change the gender and, if it suits, change or add to the questions.

What does he think of:
  • Elton John
  • The Pope
  • Richard Nixon
  • Madonna
  • Country music
  • Blogs
  • Cell phones
  • Pickup trucks
  • McDonald's
  • Japan
  • Golf
  • Ice-skating competitions on tv
  • His local bookstore
  • His priest / minister / rabbi (or other)
  • Camembert cheese
  • His local (or nearest) zoo
  • Small and nicely brushed, Pedigree dogs
  • Elves
  • Mushroom soup
  • Beer
  • The New York Times
  • You
Hmm... I'm choosing Pickett for this one. He's a man's man and doesn't take crap from anyone. I think several of these topics might prove fruitful if only in the humorous aspect. He lives in the distant future, so we'll assume that he has a really strong grasp of human history, including pop culture.

Elton John - Pansy.
The Pope - Fluffy white robes, dumb looking hat... He's no better than Elton John.
Richard Nixon - You know, I don't see what all the big fuss was about. We've had much worse than him since then. He was only doing what was right for him and his.
Madonna - I say it again, not that big of a deal. Move on, people.
Country music - It's actually pretty catchy, but you'd better not tell anyone. Or else...
Blogs - I don't have the diligence to do that sort of thing. Plus, I don't have time to read. They're mostly just whiny little kids telling the world their problems.
Cellphones - A necessary evil. If it were up to me, I'd just fall of the radar for a year and not contact anyone.
Pickup Trucks - Obsolete. Who needs a land vehicle when you can travel by air?
McDonald's - Death on a bun. No, thank you. And people thought they had it bad 1000 years ago.
Japan - Which one is that? Oh, right. The World War II guys... Well, them and Germany, but you know what I mean. Really interesting culture and history, but I've never been there. I haven't been to Earth in a long time.
Golf - Boring.
Ice-Skating competitions on TV - Pansies. All of them.
His Local Bookstore - I don't really have one. I'm on the Spectre (pirate ship) all the time, so reading isn't really much of a priority.
His Priest / Minister / Rabbi (or other) - Nada.
Camembert Cheese - Real cheese? Haven't had any non-synthetic stuff in years, and even then it was only cheddar. I'm sure it's great.
His local (or nearest) zoo - Once again, I live on a ship. Zoos and bookstores aren't the first places I visit when we take port.
Small and nicely brushed, Pedigree dogs - Those aren't dogs. They're stuffed animals.
Elves - Pretty cool, but a bit feminine for me. Men should be men.
Mushroom soup - You mean slightly flavored broth? Give me some meat.
Beer - Man's best friend.
The New York Times - I don't live on Earth, so... I've actually never read it.
You (as in the author, Stef) - An opera-singing writer? She's obviously chosen 2 really lucrative careers......................

That was fun! :) I think I'll do this for all of my characters (with additional questions, of course) to help me get to know them better. It was neat putting myself in his shoes and writing as him, in his voice. I very highly recommend it.

If you guys have done or are going to do this exercise, what kind of questions would you ask to get to know your character?

Well, that's all for today. I hope you had fun!

Peace.
Stef.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Both Delicious and Luxurious

Forgive the slight overlook on my part for posting Exercise #115 before #114. Serves me right for not paying attention...

Exercise #114 : "Both Delicious and Luxurious"

in his delightfully wacky Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia, Rob Brezsny writes:
The poet Muriel Rukeyser said the universe is composed of stories, not of atoms. The physicist Werner Heisenberg declared that the universe is made of music, not of matter. And we believe that if you habitually expose yourself to toxic stories and music, you could wind up living in the wrong universe..."
So, in order to make a universe a better place, today's exercise is to write a brief sketch - perhaps the beginning of a longer story - that is delicious and luxurious. Begin with the word "even" and include an orange, a hungry baboon, a piano, and an elderly man in a perfectly crisp suit.

GO!

Even oranges seemed better outside of the prison walls. Edward Madchen, 76, leaned against the grocery store wall and peeled the golden fruit. The tell-tale perfume floated up to his nostrils, and he took a deep breath, smiling as he remembered the years of his youth that were spent on his parents orange grove in Florida. Those times were simpler, sweeter somehow.

When he was a boy, he and his brother, Garrett, would spend hours in the orchard eating their fill of oranges. Garrett, the hungry baboon that he was, would always eat much more than Edward, but each time they would make a bet to see who could ingest the most. It was not the bet that mattered.

Edward slowly placed an orange wedge into his mouth and bit down gently. The juices erupted from the small sacks encased in the rind, and he was sent into immediate euphoria. A line of juice fell out of his mouth and down his chin, landing on his freshly starched dress shirt, but he didn't care. No amount of the most crisply pressed suits in the world could rob him of this moment.

END

I have an inkling to go back over this and consider it as an actual story. A Friday Flash Fiction entry, perhaps? We shall see.

I just had a thought. What am I going to do with this blog once the 365 writing exercises are done? Find more writing exercises? There are only so many out there. What would you guys do? Any thoughts? Suggestions?

Peace.
Stef.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Here & Now... Then Outside

Exercise #115 : "Here & Now... Then Outside"

Considering where you are right now:
  • What do you see? List 3 things.
  • What do you hear? List 3.
  • What do you smell? List 3.
  • What do you taste? List at least 2 tastes.
  • What do you feel on your skin? List at least 3.
Once you've finished this, imagine that you have moved outside nearby. Ask and answer the same questions.

GO!

3 Sights. Right now, I am in my living room. Across the way, our Christmas tree stands in all its glory, except most of the ornaments have been removed. It was once haphazardly decorated with white and blue lights (Hanukkah, much?) as well as blue and silver ornaments and multicolored Mardi Gras beads. I'm sure you can tell already that this house is filled with a bunch of 20-somethings. The three was originally sparsely decorated with a few olive gre
en and red bulbs, but our male roommate, Andy, decided that we needed to get some more. Now, one of my roommates, Mo, is a bit of a Christmas tree snob, so imagine her surprise when she walked into the house to see a tree with mismatched bulbs, white and blue lights, and a string of Mardi Gras beads. It was actually quite humorous. I was sitting there in the living room watching tv when I heard her walk in through the kitchen.

"Oh, my God," she said slowly. I couldn't even see her, but I knew to what she was referring. When she actually walked into the room, her face was priceless. She pr
oceeded to tell me that her mom made a point of having a tastefully decorated tree every year. The ornaments were all matchy matchy and so on which is nice, but I prefer a tree with meaning. The tree at my parents' house (pictured right) would probably be absolutely disgusting to Mo, but it's filled with ornaments that are over 20 years old. Each one has a meaning and a history, and I wouldn't trade it up for the world. The only thing that I don't like about our tree is that it's fake. My mom is allergic to fir trees, and if she's around them her eyes swell up, she starts sniffling, etc... So no real tree for the Howerton family. That's ok, though. The ornaments make up for it.

But I've digressed... I've only listed 1 thing that I can see. I can also see the tv which is currently playing "Trading Spouses" on CMT. When I write for my blog, I tend to turn on the tv or my iPod for some background noise regardless of what's playing. My third and final sight is Kitty Kitty scooting her butt across the rug. Bad kitty! I guess it's time to express her anal glands again... I know, I know... That's gross, but it has to be done. I would end up with a cat that has a weird problem like that. Oh well. I love my cat.

Now onto 3 sounds. I hear the tv, of course. I also hear the cats' water fountain bubbling away in the dining room. Yes, friends, the cats have their own water fountain. I am slowly turning into an old cat lady. How did this happen? My 3rd sound is the tapping of my keyboard. I don't know why, but there's something calming about it.

3 smells. This one is hard. I have a really good sense of smell, but there's nothing really that's sticking out to me right now. I smell.............. my house. Case closed.

2 tastes. I taste the stuffed crust, cheese and grilled chicken pizza I ate a few minutes ago. Yummy... I also taste the water that I drank with it. Yes, water does have a taste!

2 feels. I feel the big comfy faux suede couch on which I am currently lying. I also feel the plastic of my computer pressing against my forearms. You know, this is really not a very comfortable sitting position....... Consider it fixed.

Ok, this is a pretty long post, so I won't bore you with the outside version. If you've gotten to the end, I applaud you.

Peace.
Stef.

P.S. I just realized that I skipped an exercise! Whoops! I'll do Exercise #114 tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

She's Always Late

Exercise #113 : "She's Always Late"

Why is she "always" late? What are three things she's actually been on time for? If you have time, describe her purse.

GO!

I'll tell you who is always late. My Mom (pictured right). I love the woman. Really,I do. But she is never on time! I can't even begin to list the times where I have waited around for her to get her stuff together.

An example? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Last year, Thanksgiving. I was working (such is the life of a dog walker), so I had specific times where I had to be at work.

"What time do we need to eat, Stef?" she asked me.

"Well," I said, "I have to be at work at 2 o'clock, so probably sometime around noon."

"Ok, we can do that."

Apparently not.

I get to my house around 11am, and my Dad and sister haven't even gotten out of bed. My Mom is in the shower, and I'm just sitting there, waiting for something to get done. In retrospect, I probably could have done something to speed things along, but I was so frustrated that I wasn't thinking straight. I sat there for an hour, two hours... At around 1pm, things were finally being prepared. Too bad I had to leave at 1:30 to make it to work on time.

That being said, I got a tiny bite of corn bread at 1:30 and immediately left for East Nashville and the dozen of dogs that were waiting for me to let them out and feed them. Get this, though. My Mom had the audacity to be mad at me for leaving! MAD! I gave her accurate times, did I not? Sure, it was Thanksgiving, but I had to be a responsible adult and work.

As far as my Mom's purse... It has everything in it. Floss, makeup, incendiary devices... hah Not really. She has one of those purses that has very useful items in it, though. If I catch myself out of my house with her and in need of something I can ask her for it, and chances are it's on her person somewhere.

Oh, Mom. I love you, but you're crazy.

The scary part is that I am becoming more and more like her as the years pass...

Lord, give me strength!

Peace.
Stef.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Who Went to McDonald's?

Today's exercise is going to be completed by my lovely sister, Juniper Trela. Yay for guest posters! :) I'd be remiss if I didn't inform you of her blog, We Can All Use a Little More Juju. Either way, go check it out.

Without further ado, here is my sister's contribution to my little bloggy.

Exercise #112 : "Who Went to McDonald's?"

Who is the most unlikely person - living or dead, famous or non - you can think of to be in a fast food restaurant? Imagine that person just walked into McDonald's. Why are they there, and what happens?

GO!

Perhaps he was just being ironic, but he just looked too uncomfortable to be standing in one of the lines at Burger King on purpose, based on some vindictive hipster ideology.

He seemed to be hiding behind his slightly slouchy knit cap and unkempt kinda-beard, dodging direct eye contact with the other patrons. He shoved his balled up fists into the pockets of his skin-tight jeans and rocked back and forth on his Chuck Taylors. From the line next to him, I couldn’t tell what his dark gray shirt, probably from Snorg Tees, said, as it was covered by a yellow “summer scarf.”

He caught me looking at him with a confused grimace on my face and his gaze shot to the ground, his thickly-rimmed black glasses nearly falling off of his nose. I shrugged and continued to peruse the menu, even though I knew what I was going to get the second I started towards the joint.

“They have really good chicken sandwiches.”

My head snapped back to his direction. His sheepish expression nearly made me laugh. He had just given me his excuse.

END

Hmm... Who is this about? I don't know. I'll have to ask her.

Do any of you have any ideas? An answer is to come!

Peace.
Stef.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Note to Self: Stop Looking at All Memos Immediately

You know... the one that let me know that it was time for me and everyone I grew up with to get married and procreate. I've blogged about this before, yes, but it seems that this rush to the altar is only getting worse.

Anyways, I figured that there was a memo that, for some reason or another, I missed (kind of like that freaking TPS Report memo...), so I went hunting around my room and found this:
Photobucket

Just in case you can't read the tiny font, here's a transcript:
Hey, guys,

I was thinking about pulling a little prank on Stef, and it requires complete commitment on your part. My idea is this: everyone starts getting engaged, married, pregnant, or all of the above except for her. Hilarious, right? Imagine how she would feel being invited to all of these weddings for people with whom she grew up!

Of course, once these weddings and pregnancies are completed, I will not tolerate any divorces or abortions. Just so you know...

But seriously, it'll be great. Who's in it with me??

Respectfully,
(signature)
Yaweh
I'm not going to lie... I'm a little hurt. First off, it was a trick that they all played on me. Not cool. I'll have to have a personal conversation with God a little later about that. Secondly, I'm only 23 years old. I'm not even done with college (even though my age suggests that I am). Marriage is so far from my mind that, well, it's not even a blip on the mental radar.

I swear, though, every time I log onto Facebook or Twitter, another friend of mine updates their status to "...is engaged" or "...is married." Or maybe they tweet something like this: "Ahh! I just had the best baby and/or wedding shower EVER! My friends are sooooooooooooo sweet!" I'm pretty sure I have a cavity now.

Don't get me wrong. It's not like I'm against marriage. I may very well get married someday. Right now, however? HELL no! Like I said, I'm 23 years old. I'm still in school. I'm going to be in school for a while (Thanks, opera and your overwhelming requirements for succeeding in you as a career.).

Anyways, enough ranting for now. I just had a freakout moment and felt the need to share my slight insanity.

Peace.
Stef.

P.S. In other news, I am going straight to hell for my offensive blasphemy.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Bible - Claire DeMaule

Exercise #111 : "The Bible"

Think of one of your characters. Does he or she read the Bible (or other holy book)? If not, why not? If so, what passages would be of particular importance for him or her? When did you character first come across this passage? What does it mean to him or her?

GO!

I keep using my main character from my NaNo novel in these things, so I'm thinking it's time to branch out a bit. I know her pretty well; let's meet some of the other characters, shall we?

Today's exercise will focus on Claire DeMaule, the matron of the Women's Quarter on board the Spectre (I'll have to enlighten you guys about this character and the Women's Quarter in a later post, but the bare bones facts are that it's a brothel type setup for when the ship is out on a really long tour. The men need... er... release somehow, so Captain Eldon begins employing women to fulfill this need. Claire is Eldon's special go-to girl.).

Claire is deeply religious. Before boarding the Spectre she was on her way to travel across the universe in hopes of spreading her beliefs to those who hadn't yet heard of her God. She reads the Bible every day, spending at least an hour in the Word. Her position on board might make her a hypocrite, but when it gets down to it, she loves the Captain and will do anything for him. In fact, her favorite verse is Ruth 1:16-18:
But Ruth said, "Don't force me to leave you; don't make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I'll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I'll die, and that's where I'll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!"
To Claire, these verses exemplify utter devotion and love, and her somewhat naive romanticism exascerbates her mildly stalker-ish behavior.

END

In other news...
Time to officially start all of those New Years' Resolutions!

Mine? Well, I'm glad you asked.
  • get to a healthy weight (I'm 5'11", so let's shoot for 160.)
  • read the Bible in chronological order in a year's time
  • edit the crap out of my NaNo novel and prepare for this year's NaNo attempt (Yes, I already have an idea... heh)
  • maintain a more consistent blog posting schedule - I used to be really good at this, but over the last couple of weeks, I've really been slacking. Not ok. The schedule will be as follows: at least one post every weekday by 2pm. Easy enough, eh?
How about you guys? Do you have any resolutions for this year?

Peace.
Stef.

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