Day Twenty-Two: Crazy

Today I wrote for about four hours of complete drivel that I already have figured out how I’d like to re-write. Then I wrote for one hour of good stuff that just wouldn’t stop. Then, of course, my iPad died. And I had forgotten my charger. So, not knowing what else to do, I left the library. I walked about 4 of the 30 blocks toward home and the sky opens up. I had to zip my bag inside my Harry Potter sweatshirt and trudge home though the rain.

You know that movie cliche where someone is having a bad day and it suddenly starts raining and a big truck drives by and they get doused with a good amount of water? Yeah, this happens in real life. I’d almost think that truck was trying to spray me! I was soaked by the time I got home.

But overall, I wouldn’t say it was a bad day, despite the rain. It sucked to write for so long and feel like it wasn’t going anywhere, but it felt great to get past that and get that really great hour. I finished chapter 8 and started 9 today, and I’ll count that as a victory even though 8 will need a lot of re-writing.

Really the worst part of the day was that the rain scared away my crazy friend. You know those people that have to dance like maniacs on the side of the street and sometimes they get really into it and spin their signs like badasses? I really thought this guy might be one of them, but I think yesterday’s walk past him confirmed that he is not.

No, he’s just a big guy, probably late twenties, latino that likes to stand on a street corner and rap to himself. Like crazy raps. He even does that rap dance. Lots of gesticulating. People cross the street to get away from him and, I’ll admit, I used to be pretty intimidated by him too. He is literally rapping to no one.

Maybe that’s what crazy is? Giving up time that could be better spent so that you can rap at strangers on a street corner. Really, it’s not too different than what I’m doing… just going out there and doing what you love even if it means it puts people off.

Man, this rap guy looks like the happiest person ever though. He just loves it. It may not be what society accepts but if rapping to no one on a high-traffic street corner is what makes you happy–forget if it is crazy–then rap your damn heart out dude.

Word.

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Day Seven: Literary Identity Crisis

At last! Before leaving my hometown after my mother’s rousing birthday adventures, I managed to get my hands on her library card and spent a good portion of my morning raking through its treasures.

I’ll admit, at first I was a bit worried about entering what bold faced signs around that mysterious corner of the library, hidden somewhere past the tedium of Reference, dubbed “Teen Section. Teens ONLY!” But at last I found that partially concealed portal somewhere between two angular shelves and a support beam, and slipped into the hazardous world beyond. I feared I would never make it out alive and, after a small avalanche of Seventeen Magazines, I almost didn’t.

Now, I am not particularly old, by any means. I’m a solid 23 years of age. Only four years out of teen-dom. Yet, I have absolutely no idea how anyone can manage to pick even a single book out amongst the Young Adult shelves. So, after scurrying around this deserted corridor into what was largely made of thick supernatural (emphasis on the Vampire here) novels, they all kind of began to mold into two basic categories:

1) Books for Teenaged Girls. This consists of your prototypical forbidden “no one understands me” forbidden romance, typically distinguished by it’s overly gothic script that’s nearly impossible to read and the word LOVE written at least thirteen times on the cover alone. I was once, not too long ago, a teenage girl. To this day I still don’t understand why all of these novel encourage young girls to “find their soul mates” at age 15. I did not find my soul mate at 15, and I wouldn’t trade a day of the eight years between then and now that I got to explore the world without worrying about the safety or well-being of another person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure love when you’re a teenager seems cataclysmic and destined (as all things do at that age), but surely, there is something else young girls think is worth living for?

2Books for Teenaged Boys. Is it weird that I was naturally more drawn to these books even though I’m a girl? Although, I’ll admit, there was a pretty clear opening path that all of these books started out with. Boy doesn’t fit in, figures out he has some sort of special power, learns to use that power all while kicking serious ass. I love this general theme. I was undoubtably an outcast as a teenager. There’s a reason why I only have one friend remaining from that period of my life. But… with so many books verging on the same opening summary… I was finding it hard to pick any. I’m sure they’re all very different (for even my own work could boil down to that same opening theme, but I couldn’t find a book on those shelves with the same real idea), but they have the same covers, the same general cast of characters, the same rhetorical questions to grab your attention. How do these books set themselves apart?

So, in keeping with my rather thorough research, I rented as many of these books as I could. And then I went to Juvenile fiction and did the same.

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So… how did I do? (I’ve already started Percy Jackson and am already a third of the way through. It’s going well!)

I’m not entirely sure where the line is between Young Adult and Juvenile fiction, but I intend to find out (because, clearly, I’ll be toeing that line quite a bit). All I do know is that Juvenile Fiction seemed to consist of a lot more of that second category of Young Adult than it did the first. And Juvenile seemed to have a lot more kick-ass girls and a lot less icky love stuff. Is that the difference? Young Adult is Juvenile Fiction with a love interest? Throw in series that these kids grow up in (Harry Potter being of course the most obvious and a crowd/personal favorite) and I think we have ourselves a bit of a gray area.

I don’t know where I belong in this world and I’ve spent 23 years learning to be ok with that, but learning today that I don’t know where my book belongs… I think I may be having a bit of an identity crisis…

Day Three: Fun At the Library

At long last I find myself in a safe place surrounded by books and therefore slightly more reassured about my life. Yet, after at long last navigating myself to the local library upon completing the two books I brought with me into my isolation (Books Two and Three of A Series of Unfortunate Events, in case you were wondering), I find myself still somewhat empty handed.

Let me first preface this with a small, irrational fear I have… I am very scared of librarians. There is really no reason for it, other than they are very protective of public access to books and I always found myself at the wrong end of their stern gazes. I always much preferred book shops, where no one demands you return your recent love affair with a book to the shelves and not bend the pages. Essentially, i feel that librarians prevent one from really loving a book, from making your mark on the book they it made its mark on you, and then, to add insult to injury, they take it back from you. So, needless to say I was very unhappy today to learn that I am not even allowed to take books off the premises.

“Go ahead, look around until your heart is content… or at least until closing,” she had said. “But you may not check out any books until you have proof of residency.”

So in lieu of heading to the DMV to change my address or voting registration (no thanks), I am instead hiding in a back corner of the library amongst the outdated writing guides and Percy Jackson.

The breakthrough is that, while also serving as the most remote section of the library almost miles away from the children that are screaming in the Teen Section (since when do you not have to be quiet in libraries? Maybe it’s cause my mother was a librarian, but I was always very reverent in the library–and no, let’s not get into the Freudian implications of my mother being a librarian and how that impacts my irrational fear), it’s also got loads of interesting books that I probably should have been reading ages ago. Like there is an entire book of every literary agent and publisher in the country, according to genre even! And on top of that, they have loads of incredible tips about making money with writing and how to send Queries to publishers and even writing calendars.

Tip number one, above all though, seems to be that I should start a blog and a website, so I’m at least feeling half-accomplished with that. Also, number one blogging tip seemed to be that I should make lots of lists and use lots of keywords to make me very searchable (they call this SEO, stupid acronyms.). So here is a list I’ve been thinking about:

Reasons Why I Feel Already Defeated In This Writing Process

1) Money. Isn’t this always the number one excuse for everything? I can write something I care about or I can write and worry about making money. Surely some publisher out there realizes that I would write much better stuff if I didn’t have those stupid greenbacks banging at my door? Surely, someone else can worry about this on my behalf.

2) Overthinking. Looking at books like this is good because they basically outline the entire publishing process as a step-by-step process, but now I can’t help thinking about how I can sell a series when I haven’t even written two chapter. Stop worrying about Book 7, Casey, and let’s start Chapter 1.

3) Competition. Have you guys ever read this Percy Jackson book? It’s very good actually. I know they say to check out books in the market you want to enter, but I can’t help but walk down the aisles in the library and not think about how my book would ever even be found amongst all these series.

4) Work-experience. Why does everyone keep instructing me how to publish all of my novels? Clearly I have not published any novels or I would not be reading this book on how to publish novels. I have no experience, we get it! It’s like those jobs that require 2 years of experience for an entry level job. Surely someone out there is looking for NEW writers?

5) I can’t seem to turn off my cell phone. And I get very sad when I don’t get any texts. I miss people. So sue me.

Ok, I am tired of making this list, but I’m sure there are at least a thousand other great reasons why I feel I can’t do this, but only one good one as to why I can. And that is that I am going to. I am very stubborn.

I’m off to go write my story out as if speaking to a young child like this book just told me to do.

(If anyone is feeling generous with their Amazon Prime, I would very much like a copy of this book. Let me know.)

Also, yesterday’s story has a happy ending. I found my corkscrew! All is well.