Episode 3 of life: A New Hope

Star Wars reference in the title, am I cool yet?

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darth vader is way too cool for you

Ahem.

Before I start, I should say that I’ve finished 2 more chapters of my science fiction story. I didn’t get to 50k during NaNoWriMo but I did accomplish that much. I’ll publish an excerpt soon if I find a suitable passage to publish here. 😛

Now. This is all because I’ve begun to realize that plans excite me, especially plans for life changes when I don’t really uber enjoy my life right now. It’s gotten better than it was, especially now that my family is home for break. I’m also working on an illustration project with my friend Adam Rowe (find him at http://unboxup.wordpress.com/, and the project at academicemmett.com). It’s given me more to focus on, and more drawing practice, which I need. Plus the stories are hilarious and amusing and fun to draw anyways.

But, in an effort to give myself better goals and a light at the end of the tunnel for this stage in my life, I devised a plan for new job apps. I desperately need to update my portfolio site, since the layout is boring and I haven’t included my most recent work. So I’m hoping to get that finished by the end of next month. I’ll have to finish a few of the personal illustration projects I’m working on, since I started them months ago and left them to rot after realizing they weren’t as cool as I wanted…but whatever. At least, if I don’t think my art is cool, it will push me to improve, and finishing things is better than not finishing them…

Then, after my portfolio is done, I’m hoping to apply for jobs in the Harrisburg/Philadelphia area, as well as near Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and NYC (or at least somewhere in New York state or New Jersey…we’ll see.) I just have to get out of my hometown. There’s literally nothing here for me. My favorite grandma just moved to the other side of the country, all my best college friends are far away, and all my other good friends (and my boyfriend) who are still in college are going to be graduating and moving away in a few months anyways…there’s no one here who I feel the need to stick around for anymore. So that’s nice, since I know that when I move I won’t be tearing myself in two over it.

And then, of course, I’ll have to wait, and send in tons of job apps and work samples every week, and I’m sure that will be just as stressful as it was this summer…but at least I have a car now, and some savings, so I can actually get my own place in the foreseeable future. W00t.

So who knows what will actually happen, but this is what I’m shooting for. It’s not just New Year’s resolutions. I really need these plans, if only to get myself out of the anxious, depressed, self-hating rut I’ve been in for the past few months.

And hey, thanks for sticking with me, and putting up with the random life updates. 🙂

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I’m so sorry.

I just had to make that reference.

This is kind of a…journal entry. If you’re not into sad, fun-less personal stuff, please kindly move on to something more amusing.

Do you ever have problems that you wish you could tell to someone, but not anyone you know? So you want to talk to random strangers and followers on the internet?

I normally use my personal tumblr for posts like this, but my relatives read it on occasion and I feel awkward about that sometimes…So here’s this.

I apologize if you follow my blog for the writing and are only getting the occasional post about life every few months. I’m kind of disappointed with myself in that I haven’t written as much fiction or fun stuff as I wanted. I’m disappointed with myself in general, so that kills my motivation to do anything, aside from that which other people are counting on me to do. Like work, and teaching a Sunday school class, and a few other random projects.

It’s probably a good thing there are people asking me to do stuff. Otherwise I would just lie on my bed and browse the web or read or watch TV shows all my waking hours, and I probably wouldn’t eat much. I just feel kind of…eh.

Except for the times when my thoughts are so negative that I want to go jump off a bridge. Well, I wouldn’t actually do that. But I can’t stop my thoughts from becoming black and miry like a bitter inky licorice swamp prison. It’s hard to get out once they start. All I can really do is wallow, and try to trudge on with my day, silently apologizing to any- and everyone for my failures, past, present, and future.

I don’t want to do anything. I’m confused about my dating relationship–just when I realize I need him, I also begin to think that there are things I want to be different that might never be–and I just want everything to be ok and figured out and good and normal. I’m not accomplishing all the grand things I wanted to do…or at least not at the pace that I’d like. I don’t think there’s anyone here in town who I feel really comfortable telling my problems to…and it’s aggravating having to rely on Skype and phone for those with whom I can talk.

I often wonder if there’s something wrong with me. I thought I was just sad about not liking my job and not having all my friends around, but I don’t know. I thought things were getting better, but I’ve been in an odd funk for about two weeks and I’d like it to go away as soon as is convenient. Sometimes I just lie on my bed or on the couch and stare at the ceiling. It’s hard to get up. I always do, but I’m afraid that someday I won’t be able to.

I’m not sure why it’s like this. All I can do is wonder when I’ll do something right. I’m trying, but deep down I have a feeling that older people are looking at me and shaking their heads.

I’m sorry. I know you didn’t want to read something like this. It’s not fun or well written, it has no literary value. It’s weak and silly and now you know how pathetic I can be. But I need help. I don’t even know what kind of help I need. If you like praying, please pray for me. If not…I don’t know. Send me a kind telepathic message. Maybe I’ll get it and feel better.

In which I become acquainted with military airplane parts

…er…yeah. First I’d like to say that this post is by no means a cry for help or a request for a mutual pity party. I’m just telling it like it is. I can’t pretend to be happy and okay and fine all the time.

I got a job at a place called Acutech Precision Machining. It was full time and a guy from my church offered me the position. It’s great money. I get about $400 a week, which will speak wonders when it comes to paying off my loans in a few months. Plus I have gas money to go visit my friends, boyfriend, and brother at college.

But…I’ve been working eleven hour days, overtime, for the past two weeks. (Well, 10 and a half hour days…but a 30 minute break doesn’t count for much when it’s the only break I get during the day). I don’t like it. I’ve been packaging little machine parts in foam and bubble wrap and cardboard dividers. I’ve learned a lot about what box sizes to use for an order, how much foam padding to put around fragile metal nut/tube/block things, how much weight I can lift–and carry–for longer than a few seconds (it’s about 30-40 lbs if I remember right), and most of all, what kind of job I don’t want to work in my entire life.

gears

I’ve seen a few of these…but like, big heavy ones that aren’t cool or steampunkish.

The lack of creativity is stifling. Everything has to be done a very specific way, or else something might go horribly wrong. I understand that. Messing up parts for military aircraft by accidentally dropping them, packaging them wrong, or sending them to the wrong customer would be pretty darn awful. But that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. I’m on my feet for most of the day, too…luckily they let me bring in a chair so my feet aren’t splitting in half by the time I go home.

At least the people I work with are pretty nice. My supervisor can be a bit of a drama king sometimes, since he gets stressed out easily and if I mess up sometimes he gets mad…but I think I’m starting to get used to him. I’ve also been able to bring my iPod, and I’ve been listening to audio books since I get tired of my music when it’s the only form of entertainment I have. Most recently I’ve finished The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton and Lilith by George MacDonald. I can only get classics because they’re public domain and thus free and I’m cheep, but I’m not complaining about that.

But in the end I feel trapped and confined by this job. It leaves me feeling grumpy and pointless. I need the money, so I’ve pretty much resigned myself to not being at my best until Christmas. By then I have to apply for a new job or I’ll go crazy…or fall into a depressive state…or something like that.

I’m often tired and lonely, and the fatigue makes me unmotivated to do anything other than eat, sit, watch Black Books, and browse Tumblr for several hours before showering and collapsing into bed.

Let’s just say I’ve learned the true importance of doing something that I like for a job. I’m hoping things will get a little better. They won’t call me in for overtime every week, I know that much. I just need to find ways to get myself through these next few months.

I have to keep doing art and writing on the side. These are two things that I can’t give up, because if I do, I’ll be out of practice and end up stifling myself.

So…it is with a somewhat heavy heart that I look to the near future. Life can’t be fun all the time I guess. I’ll just keep hoping that I’ll find something better.

“Perfect Story”

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seven steps to the perfect story

They make this seem way too easy.

 

I understand the need for guidelines and general rules in writing, but some of this just seems so…cliche. I can make up whatever characters I want, gosh darn it. I don’t want titles to fit my characters into. They’re people that are alive in my head, and they all have cool back-stories that are way too long and involved to put into the book. No one can limit them or make them fit into a stereotype unless I do first. They’re like, my imaginary children. But not.

I definitely want a mix of a few of those plot lines too. Who says you can’t go on a quest and escape a monster and get rich at the very end? XD

Also why is hobbit misspelled? 😛

Yeah it’s late, or rather, early. End rant, bed time for me. 😛

Although, if you find this helpful, then that’s awesome. I wish you luck in your writing endeavors. I’m just a little overprotective of my characters. :3

 

 

 

 

That awkward moment

If people ask what projects I’m working on, or what my long-term goals are, I can always say, “I’m writing a novel!” But deep down I know that I’m really just procrastinating as the first draft ferments and stagnates in My Documents.

I’m at an awkward point in my novel where I’ve just passed the last scene that I actually had a plan for. That is, I had several main ones in mind that were in a nice, connected, chronological order. With those successfully written, I have a few other random ones that may or may not happen since I never really decided how to link them to the overall plot. I only planned up to a certain point when I first started writing it. At the time I assumed that I’d figure the rest out as I went along. Well of course that didn’t happen. 

I’m lucky to have an engineer and serious sci-fi fan as a boyfriend, because when I need some crazy scientific reasons for something, I can ask him for ideas. [I’m honestly not sure why I started writing sci-fi when I really think it’d be easier for me to write children’s fairy tales or YA fantasy.] Anyways, I got a few things from him, but that doesn’t cover everything. In fact, talking to him only brings to my attention the multiple problems and plot holes. I’m starting to realize that I need better motives for some of the characters. I need more diversity. And I should probably do more research on green technologies and energy crises, since that’s kind of the setting of this whole thing. 

Part of the time I feel like starting over and fixing every problem I can find, even though I’m only about halfway finished with the first draft. It’s difficult to continue when I see so many errors. And I can only lament the lack of plot-relevant ideas within my brain.

I opened my story doc last night for the first time in a few months, and wrote a whopping 346 word conversation before getting distracted by tumblr and YouTube. [Curse you, internet!] I know, it’s no one’s fault but my own. I also know that the only way to get this done is by sloughing through it.

Those how-to-write-a-good-book authors always say “Just write!” And that works fine, if I’m writing for NaNoWriMo and I don’t even have a perfectly coherent plot. [Some people have wonderful plots in their NaNoWriMo projects, I’m sure, but I generally don’t think everything out. It’s kind of a reoccurring theme in my life.] It’s so much harder to word-vomit when I want things to be nice and consistent and make sense.

Maybe I just need to let go of my inner control freak editor. I mean, that’s always a good thing to do for a first draft, right?

Don’t ask me what I’m doing after college.

My boyfriend and I were talking a few weeks ago, and he said “You know, your writing blog has been dead since November.”

And I was rather taken aback because I didn’t realize it had been so long. Now that I’m finally posting something new, I apologize.

So while I was not posting to this blog, I finished my last year of college, during which I worked as a Humanities TA and as the graphic design intern for the student events office. I’m now trying to improve my artwork with personal projects and freelancing, playing video games and getting on Tumblr all the time because I have no social life at home, and applying for jobs. I’m getting kind of desperate. At first I thought I’d stick to jobs in my field, because then if I got started on something good I’d end up where I wanted to be. Well so far no one really seems to want what I have to offer. So I applied to Sheetz. If they don’t take me, I don’t know who will. Maybe it’ll be Pizza Hut or Dollar General.

It doesn’t help that the people at my church, or my parents’ friends, or whoever else I happen to meet, all keep asking me, “What are you up to this summer? Do you have a job yet?” I’m starting to clench my teeth every time I answer. I know they mean well, but they make me want to scream. “Thank you all for reminding me that I’m unemployed! Especially when I know that people my parents’ age will view me as a deadbeat bum if I’m not doing something to earn money!” But… that really wouldn’t go over too well. So I take a deep breath and try to speak as pleasantly as possible.

I quite honestly want something to do with myself. I feel entirely useless and lame sitting around the house. Especially because most of my friends were in college. My good friends are scattered across the country, and my boyfriend lives in New Jersey. The few college friends I have here are my old roommate, who is a wonderful, fun person, but seems to hang out with her boyfriend more often than not (and I don’t really feel like being a third wheel), and…my ex. And while we’re almost cool, I just…no.

So, with all this free time, hopefully I can get some work on my story done, or perhaps some more writing in general. Ah, free time. A blessing and a curse. I guess I definitely know what it’s like to have too much of a good thing right now.

Here’s to updating more often and writing more this summer. And probably fall and winter too because whoa, I’m not in college anymore.