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The Jerk Store Called
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"Oh, they're DECONTEXTUALIZING now?!" "Those motherfuckers!" 
17th-Feb-2010 01:31 am
travelling, stony
Oh, oh, oh boy, oh boys and girls!

It has been some time... Not that I am much in the business of keeping this thing constantly up-to-date these days. In fact, I often have to stop and think about why I continue to do this at all. There was a time when almost all of my closest friends were on here, so it made sense to saturate this thing with my thoughts and feelings. Now, not so much. The majority of my friends list is semi- to fully-abandoned journals. There are still a few of you out there (HELLO) but you are only a sliver of the people who I care to keep appraised about what I do, so babbling here seems an inefficient method of communication.

Still, I feel compelled to write here every so often. Why is that? I guess because it encourages verbosity, and verbosity is something which I am very much FOR and the emerging technology of our day seems to be very much AGAINST. (For example, MSN increasingly limits the word count for each message--why, I remember a day when I wrote novels on there, yet these days you can't even fit a paragraph! And then there's Facebook statuses, and don't even get me started on fucking Twitter... etcetera etcetera, kids these days, why I never, get off my lawn.)

So! Back to the good old days of verbosity. What has happened to me since... uh... November 16? Jesus.

-I did finish NaNoWriMo--with 36 hours to spare, even. It was even easier than the previous year, which seems odd.

In 2008, I had 12 hours of class a week, plus 16 hours at my part-time job, plus homework time (minus the fact that I was able to do a lot of homework and novel-writing while at work).

This year, I was working 40 hours a week, plus 6 hours a week of class, plus homework time (with absolutely no time to do anything but work at my job).

It's because of my theory of self-organization, which has been scientifically proven in 100% of individuals studied (i.e., myself):
The more my time is structured, the more I make my remaining time work for me. If I know I only have X amount of hours to write X amount of words today, there is more pressure on me to get it done, thus I will be more likely to do it. This is why I started getting better grades when I got a job, and why being unemployed makes me late to everything.

I am still writing the same story, and this year's NaNoWriMo was another part of that. The first part. I am finally at a stage now where the bare bones of the story are laid out and will not do too much more changing on a structural level (I think). Now it is time to fix the delicious, fleshy details.

The fact that I am studying editing as I do this is immeasurably helpful, and I think vice versa. The two processes play off each other quite nicely, and I find myself constantly borrowing knowledge from one to use with the other.

Last time I finished NaNoWriMo, I went on to post some out-of-context lines from what I'd written that I felt had appropriately captured what I wanted them to. It is a bit harder to do that this year, both because my dissatisfaction with my own writing increases with my ability to edit, and also because I've "tracked changes" all the fuck over it since then. Still, here are a few contextless bits that cut my jib in the appropriate fashion:

Torry is arguably the central character. The first part is largely about her, and I apparently have her much better figured out than many of the other characters, hence she appears in everything here...

A telling run-on sentence about Torry:
“Sort of,” Torry said with a grin. His face fell immediately. He knew exactly what that kind of grin meant, having grown up with it, used to seeing it at all the wrong times. It was Torry’s signature behaviour—-to do what she was asked, if only sort of, while purposely missing the entire point of why she was asked to do it in the first place, then betraying that purpose with the ghost of a grin on one side of her face.

sometimes I laugh at my own jokes and then hate myself for it afterward:
“Oh, my God,” Seo said. “You're living with a homeless person?”
“Well, that would be impossible,” she said.

Torry chats with her legal guardian, Pollok:
“It's funny, Torrylin, that you talk about problematic definitions,” he said. “In your case, you seem to think that ‘convincing argument’ and ‘petty insult’ are one in the same.”
Torry assumed a shocked expression. “You mean they aren’t?” she said. “Gosh. I must be a lot less clever than I’ve always thought! ...Or a lot more petty,” she added with a grin.
“I assure you, it’s both,” Pollok said, kneading his temples.

sometimes I like over-describing things:
Torry found this so ridiculous that she could not help but laugh, and the laugh was so chock full of scorn and ridicule that she nearly winded herself on it. “Are you serious,” she gasped.

for some reason this just tickles me:
“Sorry about that,” Torry said. “He’s useless at meeting people without his hat on.”

Finally, just because I actually hurt my brain thinking about this while writing it (seriously which one of them makes more/less sense? I don't even know), London and Torry try to have a staring eye contest:
“You have an unfair advantage,” he said. “It’s not my fault you have twice the eyes I do.”
“What? That doesn’t make any sense. Wouldn’t it be easier with one eye?” she said.
“How would it be easier? The eye-strain is spread out over a larger area for you.”
“Eye-strain--? No, but I have twice the chances to blink!”
“Now that really doesn’t make any sense. You don’t blink one eye at a time!”
... etc

And worth noting: I unconsciously quoted Louis C.K. not once, but twice within this part. Fantastic.

-My internship finished last week. This probably explains why I am suddenly taking the time to post again (as well as the reference to me being late to everything while unemployed--seriously, everything). I was sad to finish, and I feel genuine regret that I can't continue on with the projects that were just starting as I left. Still, it's good to take more time to concentrate on my creative projects for a while.

I seriously don't know how I'm going to balance that when (?) I make the transition to real adulthood (??). Nothing else in the world seems as real and important to me as working on my writing, yet it's not something that can support me. I'm certainly not confident enough in it at this juncture to think it will ever be published, let alone achieve financial success. AND YET, I dedicate whole days to it and feel fulfilled. Why?

I've yet to come up with a good answer. ALTHOUGH funnily enough, yesterday I wrote an exchange between two music-playing characters on this exact topic. But I failed to realize that I was totally talking to myself about my own issue until just this second. Jesus.

Just thinking about that is reason enough. I can put my garbled thoughts and feelings through my writer's mind and editorial eye and it comes out addressing problems that I didn't even realize I had when I started. What could be more beautiful?

Anyway, internship...
I had no illusions about this internship leading to a job. I was in a small division with no conceivable room for a new employee, so I can't say I'm disappointed. One of the people I worked for told me that they would love to hire me if they had the money, so what more can I ask for? It's a huge validation, for sure. I still sometimes doubt that I've chosen the right career path, but that I can apparently do a good job at it, and enjoy working hard at it, is a good sign. I'd be content doing it for a while to come.

Right now I am just considering my options. Unfortunately they are rather limited in this industry at this moment. However, I'm not yet concerned. Thus far in my life, things have had a tendency to work out. I am a bit like Jerry Seinfeld in that respect (ALWAYS EVEN).

-Want to make fun of me a little? Sure you do.

I was at my parents' house with my companion this weekend. While there, I sent myself a bunch of essays I wrote in high school off an old computer. Two words: Oh god.

Actually, they are not too bad. Mostly. There is one, however, that stands out in how horrid it is. It is my final essay for Theory of Knowledge class.

Some context: Theory of Knowledge was a "philosophy" class that we had to take as part of our IB diploma. It was taught by a drama teacher who was on the brink of retiring and couldn't give a shit about philosophy. (There was also a short while when it was taught by a philosophy student from York U who was an unabashed idiot.)

After dicking around all year, we had to write a big final paper for the class. We weren't really given any direction or help on this matter. The teacher claimed that he was "not allowed" to give us any help with the substance of these essays. Literally, that is what he said. So, that might have something to do with how shitty it is.

But also I distinctly remember frantically typing up this thing the morning it was due, in typical IB fashion, without even bothering to read anything over. So that's not good either. Probably it would be less horrible if I had, you know... thought about it in any way, shape, or form.

I would post the essay itself, except it seems that I have a shred of dignity left in me somewhere that prevents me from doing so. However, after reading the conclusion aloud to my companion and both of us holding back vomit over it, I scribbled this little comic. (It's on free Oxford stationery... and also, it was done in the dark / while in bed / in 2 minutes... hence the quality. Man, I always have to qualify everything, don't I!)

The comic features me and Snickerbot, the mean, joke-cracking robot that my companion and I invented together. (Snickerbot pretty much symbolizes our relationship. I think I realized I was in love one time while we were laughing hysterically over a dumb fantastic Snickerbot joke...)

Anyway. Here you go:

(In case you have trouble deciphering my hurried scrawl:
Panel 1: "Oh god... I can't believe I handed this in..." / "NINA HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY"
Panel 2: "YOINK"
Panel 4: "...it is that which truly MAKES US HUMAN"
Panel 5: n/a
Panel 6: "CONTEMPT.EXE")

Yes, that sentence really does appear in the essay's conclusion. Yes. Really.

Permission to hate me: Granted.
17th-Feb-2010 10:39 am (UTC)
See, my current essay (that I still labor to finish) contains the phrase 'a far cry from an intoxicated panda,' which is how you know that as you get older your writing does indeed improve.

Crazy how I too updated my journal after a long absence (not as long as yours, but still) and immediately wondered why I bothered anymore because all the cool kids use Twitter (including me, the coolest kid I know).
26th-Feb-2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
Man, that is way better. That is a clear illustration of high school vs. Masters writing, right there.

Wait wait, YOU use Twitter? You, a supporter of writing with the stench of pretention? HOW CAN THIS BE?! How delightfully pretentious can you possibly make a limited-character little word-byte??? You better "tweet" in Ye Olde Englishe or I don't know if we can be friends anymore.
26th-Feb-2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
Well, there's not a lot of pretension in the tweets, but it is the best way to keep up with my more pretentious ramblings.
17th-Feb-2010 11:02 am (UTC)
I think everyone BSed their ToK essays with crap like that. ): I'm pretty sure I did, although I'm too scared to check now. Granted, though, our ToK teacher was a lot better - Mrs Kilbourn! - but ToK is mainly a self-guided subject anyway..

I like that you update occasionally! :D
26th-Feb-2010 08:47 pm (UTC)
Haha, I guess the definition of TOK as a class has BS in there somewhere. And I suppose, in all fairness, I can't really blame the teachers... I definitely didn't put the required effort in. (Still, talking about Mr. Miller's boat isn't particularly philosophical! Was... was it?)

And yeah, best to give it a few years before you re-read old high school stuff! This is the first time I've dared to do it, and it's been 5+ years since I handed that crap in... And it still stings a little, haha. (Then again, I'm sure your work isn't as slapdash as mine was...)

I like that you update occasionally, too! As I just suggested in your journal... I think about you and how you're doing a lot. I'm glad to be kept up on it.
18th-Feb-2010 06:49 am (UTC)
But sistah, that's what lots of people do! They try to find what's so special about humans. A quote from a book I recently read by Daniel Gilbert is "Few people realize that psychologists also take a vow, promising that at some point in their professional lives they will publish a book, a chapter, or at least an article that contains this sentence: 'The human being is the only animal that...'". Of course it's meant to be humourous, and people are starting to realize how silly it is (although this particular author then goes on to do it himself), but I don't know why you're embarrassed that your highschool self would do something that idiots with PhDs do all the time.

Also, I don't want to be guidance councillor/parenty overprotective of baby sistah self, but I am pwoud of this post. I agree that you will be able to succeed at what you're doing. I know you're doing well and it will work out somehow. It has to work out for some people and I know that the people at your internship know that if anybody gets anywhere it'll be someone like you, and that will really help. But the big guidance councillory thing is that the main thing that's stopping you from getting your writing out there is... Getting your writing out there. I bought you a book on how it works years ago and I'm sure you know lots better now through your editing program/internship. Don't wait until you have the most perfect masterpiece ever because it's not going to happen. Whenever you create something you always think it could be better and you always improve next time you repeat the process on something new. We don't live forever and this will go on forever for the amount of time that we do live. Remember that your competition contains lots of people like Kevin Wong haha. I bet he's more well known for his writing than you are and he shouldn't be. I know your writing is excellent and I'll read anything you write anytime if you send it to me. Don't be scared by the fact that there are a handful of spifftacular authors out there. Good artists of any kind are hard to come by. Like I said, the stakes aren't actually that high if it's a talent of yours. End of guidance councillor.

I know that the more stuff I do, the more stuff I want to do and the more motivated I am to get stuff done. I wrote lots of songs between exams hehe. I wouldn't worry about finding time to write. It sounds like the same sort of thing happens for you. You're life goals are sort of similar to what I'm doing. The science stuff I'm doing is partially related to music research. And on the side I write/record/perform music. They feed off each other, too. I think you've got it figured out and shouldn't worry about "adult" life. :P. The only thing crappy about being "adult" self now is that I am impatient with childish behaviour and I am becoming senile/even more preoccupied because of how much madness I am doing. It's basically living in my own reality that I created for myself, for better or for worse. I have lost touch with the normal people reality worse than ever. Trivial pursuit pink category is going down the tubes even farther than before. I should have bought the parentybeasts a 90s trivial pursuit.

And... Are you sure you want to use the word verbosity? Conciseness is a good thing. But complex thoughts need more words to be expressed. That doesn't mean that a 40 page paper can't be concise. Your "over-described" Torry thing was just very in depth, not wordy. I think in a lot of ways the internet causes verbosity. I thought EIGN? When I first read that statement of yours, but I can see what you mean by twitter (I don't grasp the concept of twitter). But then there are people who blog about the most napclass stuff. My supervisor posts blogs about what food he ate that day and how long he walked the dogs and how many sit ups he did. Literally. I can show you this blog. There's too much pointless blather on the internet.
26th-Feb-2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
I don't think there's anything wrong with searching for the essence of humanity! The thing is my paper doesn't really do any of that. Like most people who would write "WHAT MAKES US TRULY HUMAN", it's just throwing in that hackneyed phrase in lieu of making any real points. It's... it's pretty disgusting.

BUT! It was ages ago, what are you going to do! I didn't get any bonus points for it anyway (Sob)

I know, no creative work is perfect. An artist told me that you never finish a work, you just eventually have to give up, and I've long since embraced that... Still, I only just this past November finished writing the story in its entirety, and since I wrote all the parts at such different times, a lot of details don't link up at all. I'm not just poking at it, there's real work that needs doing! Haha. I've set next fall as a deadline for finishing it up.

And yeah, I know, I always find time for writing, even when I pretend I have no time for anything else (i.e. homework)... You can always make time for what's really important!

While I agree that the internet is clogged with pointless blather (I've seen blogs like that, trust me)... no one really reads it! I definitely think information, especially "news" and the like, is being condensed for a shorter attention span. And twitter is an attempt to get people to talk in punchy soundbites like they do on the news. Except it doesn't really work, because most people seem to "tweet" things to the effect of "Eating a ham sandwich." and "Going to the mall.", etc. FRIG. The same problem, only condensed... which is a bit better in some ways, I guess.... Still, there's less thought involved in a "tweet" than a blog post (however inane), and it gets on my nerves that people can think for 2 seconds (or less) and call it content these days.

Who cares! Almost no one will read what I write here, but I'll still do it! BECAUSE I LIKE WORDS
9th-Mar-2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
One thing though that has been bugging me: an artist told you? What makes a person an artist? The answer is that other people know and respect their art, not that they are necessarily more artistic or anything else. I am also confused by your fan self about artists: they are just people. The best way to treat a person is like a person if you want them to respect you back. I feel like being fan-self is really a way of being down on yourself as if you could never be that good. I am just aware of how spifftacular you are and I hope that you know it, too. But I think you do, I'm being overprotective SISTAH self.
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