Monday, September 22, 2008

If you can't tell, I haven't been doing much reading for fun recently...

I wrote another 2500 words tonight once I got home from LA (I drove up to visit friends. Despite the fact that I actually don't really know how to drive). It's that beginning of a new project feeling. That consuming feeling. That fire being fueled. I feel like I could work on this straight and be done with a first draft in a couple months. I know this feeling won't last, but goddamn, it's a good feeling. It almost feels like a purge, and I feel like I can't write FAST enough. And I think I like this project about 10x better than my last attempt at a novel (which I am SHELVING, not scrapping). It feels more organic. I can be more... well, me.

The insomnia probably helps. I haven't slept before 5 am since... I can't even remember. I'm too anxious about everything in my life.

5500 words is only about 20 pages, and I wonder when I'll run out of steam, but it would be really nice if I could actually... you know. Finish this. Well, because you know, the sooner I finish, the sooner I can actually start revising it as my thesis project. Because let's be real here -- who is actually going to write their entire thesis in one semester??

Three years to write and polish this novel -- and then find it a home. I want to be on moonie's mischief roll too! =D

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Keeping things in perspective

I wrote 3000 words of my new project the other day, and that helped ease some of the anxiety I feel. I do have to keep things in perspective and remember that at the end of the day, I'm here for one reason and one reason only - I want to write.

I oscillate between starting to feel like I have a grip on things, and feeling like I've still made the worst decision to come out here. But I suppose it doesn't matter that much when I write. Writing makes loneliness go away, unsuredness, change. In my own world, I am comfortable; in discovering my characters, I have friends; in moving along plot, I have purpose.

Maybe that's the point. With three years of no social life, theoretically, you can get a lot of writing done.

I have three years to finish and polish a novel. That's the goal, right? Come out with a finished product to pedal to agents. See my name on a spine before I turn 35.

That's the plan. That's the perspective I keep having to have. This is what I came here for. Time. And time is what I need to make, time is what I need to have.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

SERIOUSLY freaking out...

I'm having a bit of a crisis right now.

I thought I felt a little bit better after meeting with my advisor, but I started to talk to my mom about the situation, and now I'm freaking out again.

I don't know if I made the right decision in coming out here.

I suppose I should have taken a bunch of warning signs when I got into the school, but I did really believe (and still believe) that I needed to come out West at any cost and experience life out here myself. So aside from the fact that I have yet to enjoy myself out here... (which I'm sure just comes with meeting people, etc)

My problem is that the classes I have to take for my program are mostly straight lit courses, with very few courses focused on looking at lit from a craft perspective. I'm not entirely certain if that's what other programs do, but it's what I expected. Now that I've realized that it's not this way, I'm wondering if I indeed should have just accepted New School's offer because it seems that THEY do have lit craft courses. And I'm wondering if I should try to transfer/reapply. I don't even know how that works - can I transfer from a 3 yr to a 2 yr? Will a place I rejected be likely to reaccept me? Should I just tough it out and see? (but deadlines happen soon!)

I don't know if I'm second guessing myself because I'm so miserable, but my mother made a good point - if I'm getting a graduate degree, I might as well make sure I'm getting out of it what I want and expected. If I'm not, then what's the point?

I seriously don't know what to do, and I'm about to kick myself for not having done my research more carefully. I was just so focused on wanting to come out here that it didn't seem to matter much at the time. Plus, I wanted a three year program, a more intimate program, and one that offered teaching experience. I really don't know what the right answer to this question is....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Goddamn, Kerouac.

Am I blasphemizing here (is that a word?)?

But seriously, Kerouac's writing is killing me. There's only so much of a super stream-of-consciousness, beat style you can take before you want to stab yourself in the eye.

My first impression (130 pages in) is that this novel is an example of a selfish piece of work. Clearly not written for an audience, but simply for the author. In which case, I wonder, what's the point of getting this published?

Am I missing something here? I know it's a great American novel and all (she says with sarcasm), and props to Kerouac because he's clearly not a stupid guy, but ARGHHHHH why? I suppose it's just a style thing, and his writing is just not my cup of tea. I guess it's better to be radical than boring. Better to make people hate you or love you than to remain indifferent.

But good god, I'm ripping my hair out, and I still have 270 pages left to read before my class on Wednesday.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Giving me a hint of the other side

I'm currently reading Visions of Cody for class. Kerouac isn't exactly the style I'm used to (this is my first) so it's taking me a bit of time to get through it. I'm only a couple pages in, and I'll admit, I was a little bit bored. But then came this AWESOME passage, and now I think I may have gained a bit more enthusiasm for it:

Well, masturbation. There's absolutely no sense whatever in lettin your pants down a la shittin and then, cause you're too lazy to get up, or make other shifts, simply milk the cow (with appropriate thoughts) and let the milk at its sweet keen pitch spurt downward, between thighs, when the urge at that moment is upward, onward, out, straining, to make everything come out as thought gathering it from all corners of the loins to purse it out the shivering push bone - No, with the thing flapping and milking below, not only that the seat cover restricting the natural quiverbow jump of the cock - at the great moment there is a sudden sorrow 'cause you can't push in, out, over, onward, at it - but just sit dumbly (like a man sits down to piss) oozing below for miserable hygiene and convenience's sake in an awkward woebegone, in fact castrated with legs-tangled-in-pants position and dumb shirt tails hanging a la shit - and barely missing the real draining kick and ending up having done nothing but clean out the loins as if you'd stuck a dry rag in there and pull-mopped our your life's desire.
-- [pg. 8, Visions of Cody, Jack Kerouac]

Why is this passage so freaking awesome? Because I'm not a dude, and yet I could completely get a clear understanding of this particular guy's version of male masturbation, down to the sort of sad, pathetic emotion of wanting something real, but instead you're just jerking off. I actually felt SAD when I read this, and wished the guy got laid instead of being stuck on a toilet bowl.

Dude, that passage ROCKS.


Finished Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale in pretty much one sitting. Very easy read. It's good stuff. Very disturbing. I was impressed by how it was written, all the attention to details, how she draws out the reality of the world and gives us the rules and history without having to sit down and tell us too directly. It's also interesting because towards the end, the narrator starts talking directly to somebody, who, we don't know. And then at the end, to find that it's sort of meta, is reallly intriguing.

I was a little sad that we didn't get our happy ending, but I also wouldn't have expected it of her. It would have been too easy. If she'd been writing for another crowd, maybe we would have gotten what came after - the break, the run, a la The Giver. But we didn't. She stops just enough for us to consider, for a moment, that maybe this is where her tale ends. Then she throws us a bone with the historical notes thing.

I admire Atwood's writing style. It's clean, detailed, a precise and stoic voice with a hint of wistfulness. It makes something like this easy to read, bearable considering the disturbing nature of the dystopia.

I actually am not doing a very good job of saying what I liked about this book, but as we all know, I'm awfully unfocused these days. Suffice to say that I enjoyed this, and Atwood is fast becoming a reliable favorite of mine. (This is only the second of hers I've read.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blah from San Diego.

I was trying to decide if I should write about the readings I do for class in here... books rather. I decided against it. Though to put it towards my book count, I will put it on my side bar.

By the way, I am so very homesick for New York, it's not funny. My classmates seem to be 90% male (and I have yet to meet a first-year fiction MFA student who is female). I am on house arrest because I can't stand to drive more than what is required of me. The weather is okay, except it's a bit chilly at night. I'm bored out of my mind and miss home so much that I can't seem to get any writing done. I'm completely unmotivated, and I'm also freaked out and stressed out by the courseload and work schedule I've taken on. On top of that, I'm starting to question if I made the right decision to pick this school over New School in terms of program. In fact, I'm starting to question my decision to come here at all. And suddenly 3 years seems like a torturous amount of time.

I'm sure this will pass, I'll settle in, make a friend or two. It's just hard when everyone in my class is male, and there's little outside opportunity to get to know them, or other people for that matter. It's not college where you have all these ways to make friends. Besides the fact that many of these people already have outside lives.

I'm seriously second-guessing myself right now, and it's a pretty difficult place to be. I just want to go home to New York where being alone on a Thursday or Friday night didn't seem like such a bad thing, because I knew that at any moment I could call up a friend if I changed my mind. Now, even the time difference works against me.

Yeah, sucks. I don't know what I'm doing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Where have I been?

Been absent for a variety of reasons. It's been a nonstop whirlwind for me, basically since I left for Vietnam. I just got back from a wedding in Hawaii and am now trying to settle into my schedule in San Diego. Hardly any time for anything.

I finished the third in the Kushiel's series. It was good. Carey is really great with these epic battle scenes, I'll tell you. I don't really have anything to say it beyond that, except that I'm glad my favorite character was saved.

I'm now trying to plow through a text for class for Wednesday, so I'm off to do that.

p.s. I'm so happy football season is here!