creative writing, writing

Prologue

I’ve wondered whether it’s worth recording any of this. Obviously, I’m writing here, now. So? What does that tell you about me, first off? That I’m shy? That I don’t want contact? That I don’t want to be seen?

It’s difficult even to commit fingers to keyboard like this…but circumstances have changed in my life…and…

Right now we’re having to deal with an agglomeration of consequences — some ecological, some political — due to what we have done to this planet and to the beings we share it with. Which has then circled back to us. (You mean we’re not excised from the world?! [We might be, soon.]) Just one of these circumstances would be enough to deal with: but no. Nah, we gotta have a bunch at once. It’s not living otherwise, right?

I forgot — or neglected — to introduce myself. Maybe it’s more comfortable to be anonymous. To speak without divulging the speaker, to listen without giving one’s name. The Internet went up when I was a kid. I’ve grown up on it. Needless to say, not all my text-based decisions were in good stead. From the first time I got a moderator called on me when I was 7 for correcting another kid’s horrific spelling. (Apparently, you don’t do that, even if it’s barely legible.)

But that’s nothin’, compared to growing up in a small town with little nutso kids who do anything they can to make you look bad. Thing is…when you grow up being different in the way I was different, kids assume you’re a predator. Like most of them even know what that looks like, right. Just need someone to victimize, or it ain’t living.

Peace? Harmony? Who wants peace and harmony? (What about continued existence?) Gotta find something to complain about, gotta make up stories about people so you can justify screwing around in their life, or the world can’t be right. Don’t seem too happy, or you’ll make yourself a target.

I’ve successfully made it to my young adulthood. Yeah, some of my older friends get put off by, “my intensity,” but they also tell me that I don’t know everything and that I’ll mellow as I age.

…Yeah, you know where I wanna go with that. I won’t.

Particularly, there’s someone I met a bit ago. I don’t even know how old they are, they’ve gotta be…well, they’re old…er (I know my mom got angry with me for assuming she was a year older than she was [like I keep track of my parents’ birthdates? Mom, I only know approximately how old you are]).

The back-and-forth has been pretty…well, the term for it in Japanese is fushigi, and I’m not going to translate it because it sounds stupid, translated. But I mean, it’s weird on my end. I keep getting these images in my head in their presence, and I feel like I know them; though that’s pretty, just, well…I guess the non-judgmental word is “fanciful,” but that is barely part of my vocabulary.

But yeah, it’s also weird how birds don’t fly away when she passes. Apparently, it starts happening at 35. The pigeons and the sparrows are no longer scared of you.

I say, “her,” but I don’t even know if she’s yet settled on a pronoun. It’s also hard even for me to use the right ones. I mean, I look, and they look male; I listen, and they’re not. But, I can relate.

With everything I’ve been through in my short time here, she’s been through worse. Like seriously, ten times worse, from her additional 30 years on me.

I’ve already checked it out…she said it was okay for me to write about what we had talked about in session (and later, outside of it). No, she’s not my therapist (though I do have one). But we met, well…

I don’t make friends easily — we met at a group. And yeah, boy, you know I’m fictionalizing this…

career, psychology, spirituality, writing

Solitary?

Well…I’m not sure if this is a really truly great thing or not, but I think it is: I’ve been reading over a couple of books related to Linked Data and Subject Classification, and I’m getting an inkling that this may be my ticket into a real, non-customer-service-oriented job…

Over the past 24 hours, I’ve been thinking about the level of demand there is in Public Libraries for staff to be brave in engaging with people they rather would not. That’s usually because said people create problems for themselves and others, and it gets to the point where staff can’t let the behavior slide. This is, realistically, the hardest part of the job — at least if you’re a person who tries to avoid conflict.

The issue I have is that not only have I been conditioned to avoid conflict (it’s the first rule of self-defense), I’m also not driven toward social interaction, to begin with. That makes the job doubly hard for me, because not only do I not want to engage people who are involved in situational problems, but I am not driven to engage even friendly people — at least, until I know them. I tend to be a solitary person: you leave me alone, I leave you alone. But that’s not an option when you’re responsible for the safety of patrons and preventing abuse of library space.

People have been telling me from the outset that I seem like I would make a good “Cataloger”. Unfortunately…I’ve never seen a Cataloger in action. I do have some good leads as to tools that are useful. And I may end up dealing with that $850 charge so I can play with Cataloging tools prior to actually needing to use them…which is, after all, less than 2/3 of what one 3-unit class might cost me with the University.

I also have been looking into Writing as a field, a typically solitary occupation as well. If I got into Academic Librarianship, Gender Studies is an area I’d be interested in (combined with Ethnic Studies, and Japanese Language and Literature).

Who knew there would be a demand for any of that…but if I were a Subject Specialist working within Academia, all three of those fields would be of interest to more people than myself. Particularly, Gender and Ethnic Studies are also interdisciplinary enough that I could bring in a lot of cultural material. Comparative Literature could use my (potential) knowledge of Japanese language materials and English-language fiction…though I wonder how far I would actually want to get into the latter. Fiction, you know. (I kind of get claustrophobic in other peoples’ minds.)

It has been a great release to stop thinking about, “having to,” compose fiction, as well; though my refocus — knowing I’m more drawn to nonfiction — isn’t complete, yet. I’m still not entirely sure what to do about my illustrations (except keep them as a hobby, or let them grow into Concept Art or Sequential Art, with the emphasis being on Concept Art, for now); and right now, the entire spiritual bent is a relatively newly recurring (even if inspiring) thing. Spirituality is something that I think I had been avoiding, through not writing.

I would say it gets twisted up, but it really only does that when I invest too much time, energy, and effort trying to figure out what’s going on, given partial information — instead of accepting reality on the face of it, or seeking help from others. I overthink things, that is. I’ve had that problem since I was a kid. The problem is letting fragments of stories (or potentialities) get me away from the main idea.

What I mean is that I get flashes of insight and then my discursive mind tends to complicate those insights. I end up going from something plausible into something that’s overtly untrue. That may be a weakness I can’t afford, if I want to be, or am, regardless, a spiritual medium. (Or, I’ll need to keep clear track of what I invent. I’m not certain the spirits had in mind that I would only speak what I know is true, when they began to deal with me…though I have been through most of my life, honest to the point of tactlessness.)

A bent toward truth and facts would also help me if I were an Academic Librarian…at least, unless I were an English Subject Specialist.

On the other hand…if I barred fiction from my practice…what would a piece of spiritual writing look like, from me? The possibility of that is intriguing, though I realize that it would probably also stigmatize me. (But if I had tenure, I wouldn’t have to worry about it, right? Ha!) That…that could be interesting!

What’s also interesting is that I’m talking about writing drawing me away from initial insight, when I’m looking to deal with written language as my primary mode of communication. I also regularly use writing to clarify my own thoughts and make sure things make sense.

I sense I may be confused, here. There’s good reason, that I’m not stating. Here. Yet.

It would be good to revisit this post, in the future.

I shouldn’t lock out fiction, even though it requires an additional avenue of study. There’s a reason it exists. Also, a lot of people read it, and it can be educational. It can be speculative and inspirational, and it doesn’t have to be rigorously verifiable…no one expects it to be.

Hmm.

career, LIS, psychology, writing

Where to go from here

BY the time this is published, it will be Sunday, April 5: Day 21 of COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place, for me. Since I got that last monster blog entry done (which was intended as a writing sample to begin a portfolio), I’ve been…well, writing, a lot. Also, reading.

So it is a good thing that I stocked up on international-format notebooks (and black ink), prior to this. My A5 notebook, which I had intended for Creative Writing — it’s turned into a place where all of my journal entries related to COVID-19 are going, for now. They just started in there, then continued.

I haven’t been drawing much at all, over the last couple of days; what I’ve been doing is sleeping, mostly. And…trying again to figure out where to go from here; what I really want to do with my life. I’ve been reading a book I was gifted a while ago and never read; it’s Careers in Writing: Second Edition by Blythe Camenson. If I check the title page verso (the back of the title page, where all the Cataloging-in-Publication [CIP] data is [it’s a Library Science thing])…it was first published in 2008. So by now it’s 12 years old, but to my knowledge there is not yet a Third Edition. I’m about 40% of the way through, and I just started reading it, today.

When I received it, maybe it was the wrong time? Maybe I wasn’t serious about writing? The funny thing is, I look back over my A5 journal, and I see multiple references to not being terribly into fiction! I do read, but fiction tends not to hold me.


That is likely from having gone through the Creative Writing program and having ended it with the unresolved question of why anyone writes fiction in the first place. I’m not sure the answer is altogether flattering. I’m also not sure I want to get into it before I can spend some more time getting my head around it. It may be one of those thought processes that is distorted because my thinking was distorted at the time I came up with the constellation.

In particular…the classical English half of my Creative Writing training was…conservative. I would try not to go to the extent to say, “amazingly conservative,” but that’s the way it felt to me. Undergraduate work was just one of those areas where I was made to feel as though I were an outsider. I don’t consider myself a huge Leftist (I have actively criticized some Leftist “leaders” for being exclusionary and hateful, and may have lost at least one strongly-opinionated friend over it), but I was made to feel that way by professors in the Department.

In particular, one Professor stands out to me, who would not stop talking about her religion in the classroom. Public University. I didn’t pay tuition to be given sermons. That wasn’t supposed to be the point of the class.

The impression I got while in there (I ended up dropping after she de facto called me “Godless”) was that the authors she was teaching were all writing in order to bolster their own religious convictions. (With lies, you know.) It may not have been so bad, but it was all one-sided: in effect, the class ran like she was teaching in a church (from what little I’ve seen of Church — I don’t make it a point to hang out there).

The problem I can see and have seen, both in myself and others, is an inability to separate fantasy from reality. In my own quest to find out what’s true and real (or true enough or real enough), I’ve found that there are a lot of traits in the general population which aren’t based on fact or reason. There are in fact widespread patterns of thought which, were they not widely and institutionally supported and shared, would be considered delusory.

That doesn’t mean delusion doesn’t have its place. If you have a delusion and you know it’s a delusion and you don’t act on it as though it were real, that’s one thing. To lead one’s life by holding onto an obviously untrue belief, however (and this is separate from an inherently unprovable belief), calls up the question of, “why,” and answering that question may be more fruitful and honest than holding onto dogma.

What I can see is that fiction contains a method of playing with temporary, provisional beliefs (to what end, I haven’t figured out, yet). From experience, I know what it’s like to have the elation that comes with being unable to separate fantasy from reality. “Anything’s possible!” Right?

Well, there’s a downside to believing, “anything’s possible.” Along with that type of mindset can come inexact thinking. When you add up a bunch of thoughts that are off-base…you get a network of people who are no longer engaging with reality, and don’t know how to distinguish reality, anymore.

But then, I’m told I have a very high level of, “insight,” where it comes to this. That basically just means that I’m aware this is going on, as versus being unaware of it. In reality, the biggest cue I have that I’m having trouble thinking clearly, is that sense of elation, and, “knowing,” like I’m in a dream; that I know what everything is, and why it’s there. Serendipity is no longer chance, but active involvement of “invisible” forces. I can see this in other people now. I’m not kidding.

This sense doesn’t have to do with content: it has to do with feeling and mood. False beliefs don’t have to be huge ones. It can be as simple as giving someone the benefit of the doubt all the time, because, “they’re really a good person,” when all evidence is to the contrary.

My issue — largely — is not wanting to slip back into a state where I can’t tell what’s real and what isn’t. It may have been that ability that made me a good author in the first place, as I could describe things as though they were real, when the bare fact was that I just had a powerful imagination. (It didn’t help that I liked to write plausible psychological thrillers.) And right now — well, not to get too deeply into it, but the issue was severe enough that I began treatment for it, so that I could think more clearly about my gender issues and how to cope with them.

So right now, I’m a relatively clear thinker, but it’s harder to fabricate lies about the world, and easier to discern things that are being presented as truth, which aren’t. I’m not really sure how this is working, other than either physically inhibiting or down-regulating some inherited trait. But it was obvious enough to me when I started treatment in Undergrad: the thing I majored in (Fiction) became a thing I wasn’t so great at, anymore.


On the other hand, there are an awful lot of things that do hold me, in nonfiction. I have a miniature crafts library (beadwork, Jeweling, micro-macrame, tatting, sewing, knitting and crochet), a bunch of books on Japanese language acquisition, a bunch of South- and East-Asia-area plus general spirituality books, a bunch of books on “how to write,” some books on how to survive writing (or editing) as a profession, my Library Science books…a bunch of books on (especially Asian) art, Graphic Art, some Hawaiian Ethnic Studies books…

In my bedroom is the majority of the fiction I’ve been interested in, but…I haven’t read most of it, even if it did interest me long enough for me to bring it home. I did just today figure out where Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin had been living: downstairs, by the library books. On a shelf I don’t consider mine. (Well.)

In any case, I picked it up, looked through it, realized it wasn’t important to me to finish right now. I kind of wonder if I ever would have read fiction at all, if I hadn’t been exposed to it as a kid (who had nothing better to do).

Though I suppose, now, there is the chance for me to use the excuse that I’m reading it for work. So therefore it can’t be a waste of time! Right?

Maybe?

The thing with LHoD is that it would have been fine with me, until it started getting into anthropological reports. That…just made me feel like the book was a study of myself by an outsider. But this is seriously a perennial problem with anthropology. I’m not sure if excluding the reader (who may identify with the Gethenians) was the intent, or who Le Guin’s primary audience was assumed to be…but I’m thinking that it wasn’t anticipated to be me. (I guess that’s what understanding a semester of Marketing will get me: if it’s offensive to me, that probably means I’m not a member of the target market. My problem is that I’m a person, and not a general reader.)

I’ve read that in order to be a good Reader’s Advisor, it’s essential to read widely — beyond what one is interested in (and into what one may personally dislike) — to get a sense of what is out there. That’s not quite the same recommendation as is given to Authors, who are encouraged to read things in their own genre or field (at least).

There’s a parallel here between Writing, Editing, and Librarianship: all three require reading widely. After having gotten into What Editors Do, edited by Peter Ginna, it’s becoming clear to me that Editing (at least as an Acquisitions Editor) is also interpersonally intensive…in a way that Writing is not. In a way that Technical Services in a Library, or being a Cataloger for a Library Vendor, Aggregator — or Publisher (if that last one exists) — is not. Because of that, it’s possible that if I did go into Editing, I might want to try one of the more satellite, freelance positions like Copy Editing or Proofreading.

I’m also thinking that I shouldn’t throw in the towel as regards my Library Assistant position so easily. Especially as a part-timer with adjustable hours, it’s doable. I’m not sure how I would do at 40 hours a week, though.

Really, the hardest part of it for me is public contact, but that’s basically almost all of the job, right there. I mean, there’s a difference between me pushing my boundaries and growing, and me being unnecessarily psychologically ill-suited for the position. Either it gets better with practice, or past a certain point, it’s never going to get better. I don’t know which of those it is, right now.

So, I’m looking at becoming a nonfiction author on top of whatever else I’m doing. Because of my Library Science background, I know a bit about how to research (and will be learning more about this as the years go on). Right now…I’m thinking about Gender Studies, Comparative Literature (once I get my Japanese down well enough to read with facility), Ethnic Studies, American Studies. Just…off the top of my head. Facility in Japanese language would also allow me to translate.

I’ve also found a relative dearth of serious books on Jeweling (that is, Silversmithing) in the market. I’m not entirely sure why, but I know that Smithing is generally something one learns from a Master/Apprentice relationship. There are some good magazines on this (like Lapidary Journal: Jewelry Artist and Metalsmith), but as for serious one-shot texts? There is one I know of, The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight. I’d also go and look at what else he’s published, and see what he links to from there. Other than that, it’s like people are intentionally hiding their knowledge (though I shouldn’t forget to mention Ganoksin, which is an invaluable online resource).

Before I go…I should mention that there is a Gender Studies MA program that I could have access to; though I’d probably only get into it if I became an Academic Librarian and needed a second Master’s (which the Academy would likely sponsor). So, no worries about that, for now.

So…looks like I’ve identified cultural studies as an area to focus on, in my Writing — and possibly in my second Master’s. I also need to be reading more, and right now am focusing on skill acquisition where it comes to Library Technical Services.

Well, that’s a neat little bundle.

art, creative writing, creativity, writing

Getting off-track

Long version short: I’m waffling again on whether to write my story out longform, in prose — or to make it a graphic novel. I do think that no matter what happens, I’ll end up keeping Photoshop (PS), simply because optimizing images is so discouraging with GIMP 2 that I just avoid it (and I haven’t yet discovered other programs with a UX [User Experience] as simple as PS). That is an exorbitant amount of money per year, but it’s far less than keeping access to all of Adobe CC.

(First-world problems.)

The waffling has largely come out because of contacting people about the project and realizing just how much of a writer I am. It’s even kind of hard to keep to a regular conversation online because, when given the chance to think things through “out loud”…I do.

I…somehow don’t think that’s a usual trait.

I also realize that I have forgotten about my fountain pens. Right now I’m soaking three of them, which had either almost totally dried out, or were getting there. Two of my Pilots are in that batch (the Prera stub-nib and a Metropolitan), and the Noodler’s Nib Creaper, which is easily the most disposable of my pens, due to the fact that this is the second time it has dried out (tiny ink capacity + no airtight seal in the cap), and I may have broken it unwittingly. (On top of that, it’s hard to flush.)

Fountain pens have to be continually used to be kept in operating condition. I’ve just now realized how long it has been since I’ve used them. I’ve been writing online and reading and seeking out materials to trial, instead.

Amazingly, maybe so or maybe not (not), all of my TWSBI ECOs — with the rubber gaskets — are still in good working condition, though I haven’t tried the stub-nib recently, for any appreciable length of writing. This is the one that kept skipping (missing parts of letters) whenever I wrote on for too long…

But yes, I can see where I went on a fountain pen kick and then a dip pen kick and then an Adobe kick, and kind of lost touch with the actual story I’m supposed to be writing. That story, in turn, only showed up after I had been writing by hand for a while and pondering why it was that my content was the same, time after time. The answer to that was the condition that I was afraid to take risks in my writing. Also there is the fact that for a while, I’ve had the tendency to view my characters as “people” and hated to make them suffer.

However, when stories are based around conflict…it happens. Even if you don’t want it to. And the characters are better for it, I’d say. They can’t learn and grow if they don’t confront some obstacles. Plus, they’re never really, “dead,” if they were never really, “alive,” in the first place. Their life is from my life, even if their continued existence doesn’t make sense in the plot. ;) Plot is machination; character is essence with decision.

And if you believe that essence continues after death…you’re in a good place. I think that this is one of the lessons the current version of this story is taking me to — even though, yes, I know it’s fiction. My believing mind doesn’t know that, though.

While I’m thinking that growth out of overcoming obstacles may be a metaphysical phenomenon which kind of epitomizes life on this planet…(I’ll try not to get into it, but the system of multi-tiered and -branched worlds based on life lessons and quality of vibration comes into play)…maybe that sort of view will help me rationalize why I’m causing my characters to feel things that I don’t even want to feel.

Mirror neurons.

Oh gosh, how much of this is mirror neurons?

Anyway…I’ve been questioning whether it would help me to write in a notebook with easily removable pages, so that I can shuffle the different parts of the story — given that it takes place in at least two different time periods. Also, writing in a $2 notebook means that I don’t have to be afraid of messing it up.

But if I’m going to do that, it just makes more sense to use a memo pad with holes punched into one side, or to use my A5 binder, for now. At least then, I could keep things in one place.

That actually sounds good.

And while I realize that I couldn’t have come to the production of this post without my skill at writing prose…I have a feeling I’m going to go back and forth some more before I settle on one form for this project.

Which does, of course, mean that I can post supplementary concept art on this blog. :)

creative writing, personal, planning, psychology, spirituality, writing

Feeling a little heartsick right now.

I know I should get some rest. What I’ve been doing is scanning WordPress while thinking about one of the first people I fell for — hard. This was never quite requited, in part because I was barely out of my teens when it happened, and the guy I was crushing on was 25 at the time. I mean, it basically would have been cradle-robbing if anything occurred. And I was too **** shy.

This was one of those local rock-stars who every woman in the area (even the lesbian ones), flirted with.

It was hard, for me.

I haven’t gotten in contact with him for a reason I probably shouldn’t share…and I’m wondering if I should use this experience as fodder for fiction. It would enable me to write out my emotions without saying too much that reflects on others.

My main problem at this point is trying to figure out from what time the story is told. It ties in with what I had been talking about before with being unable to distinguish reality from stuff one’s brain creates…I know that if I place the story early on in my protagonist’s life, they won’t have the perspective to know what’s going on. That means the protagonist has to be mature and looking back/reminiscing…but from when?

Also: in my own life, I’m being reminded of what happens when kind people suddenly enter one’s life. I may be dealing with a current crush there, too. I…just don’t know what to do about it when it happens. Or when this later person reminds you of earlier people who had the same trait that drew you…which sounds like an appropriate time to start the story.

Friggin’ bodhisattva magnetism…