Sometimes, I just want to write. To find some quiet corner or hole where nobody will see me or hear me and just release my imagination to eat away the paper until the holes left behind sprout words of such brilliance that, when I finally hold them up to the light, they look like stars.

But then reality strikes. I am reminded by my culture and my country and my friends and my family and myself that writing will not pay my bills, will not fill my fridge, will not ensure my comfort when I am older, and is something that people do in an attempt to avoid getting a real job. So I force myself out of my hole and go to work and when I come back to my paper, blank and whole and lifeless, I’m left wondering if anything I want to write will be worth it and, if it is, if life will let me finally write it.

But, every once and a while, I stare life in the face, lift my chin in defiance, and insist that I shall be a writer, that my words will burn through people’s souls and leave them wishing my stories were reality. And I sit and I write and I dream of the day when that is all I will have to do, when I will surround myself with books and maps and figurines in my home and type until my fingers bleed, and then type some more, because that is how you make a story. You create something and, when it is finally good enough, you cut it away so others can bleed with you.

– Katelyn Gentner, Future Novelist

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Discarded Light

So, I recently wrote the poem Ink Dreams for an assignment in my poetry class (Yup, I’m taking a poetry class this semester. You are hereby warned of the incoming poetry), and I’ve gotten a great reception from you all. The assignment was to write a poem with this prompt: “_____ drips from______ fingers while they sleep.” In addition to Ink Dreams, I wrote one other poem and I have decided to send it out to you for feedback. It is a little less refined than Ink Dreams, but that is mainly because I am not sure what to do next. Enjoy!

 

Sunlight drips from your fingers while you sleep

Past the hangnails, the torn fingertips,

The clinging ingrained dirt

Pooling on the floorboards,

Rippling over the discards of your life,

That have attained so fine a layer of dust

That it floats when you open the window to elicit a breeze

In your stagnant body.

You lay in the middle of your circle of sunlight

But cling to the darkness under your pillow,

Basking in the shadows

And fearing the light.

Ink Dreams

Ink drips from my fingers while I sleep

Dropping onto a lake of words

That flows down a river

Of Consonants and Vowels

To pool onto my notepad.

Words bloom into bloody flowers

That grow in a man’s abandoned ribcage

And are trampled underfoot

By wolves that feast upon children’s nightmares

And cuddle with the victims of their prey.

In the morning it dries

And I am left

With a blank page.

Advice 2

So, I had to give up on NanoWrimo. School decided that this semester wasn’t quite hard enough, so it procured three research papers and a creative writing portfolio for me to put together and then lumped on top of the pile of misfortune two final cumulative exams on the same day.

Great.

So, I have a partly finished novel that I am forced to put aside until the semester stops dogging my heels. In the mean time, I am also taking a larger hiatus from here. Don’t worry, it is only three weeks. I will be back before you know it. I do, however, want to offer this to you until then.

So, my creative writing professor here at college is Dr. Robert Vivian, a man who walks around the world in perpetual wonder. He is amazing and offers some of the best advice when it comes to writing that I have ever received. This is my third semester in a row with him and I regret nothing except that I have taken all of his creative writing classes and can no longer continue (though, I am currently trying to devise a way to change that… we shall see). His curiosity about the world can never be fulfilled and he is continually astonished by the beauty he is surrounded by.

Seriously. You may think I am exaggerating, but I am not in the slightest. He refuses to hold his creative writing in a normal classroom because he feels his mind is too confined and moves them permanently to a corner in the library where we are surrounded by books and that unique smell they give off or the basement of the chapel where occasionally piano music drifts through the floorboards as we work. He offers assignments where he simply gives us a list of characteristics and asks us to write a story where they are all included, has us create a fictional town and then insists we propagate characters to fit inside, takes us outside to sit in the sunlight on the lawn and write about a ray of light on some object, or sends us on a scavenger hunt for the last half of the class period to find the oldest book in the library and then write about it (by the way… I highly suggest you do these prompts. They are quite engaging.).

So, I have decided to share a bit of his wisdom with you. He is a firm believer that writing comes from a place of other, a dream space that sends us inspiration to the point where we are simply a conduit of words and phrases to place upon the page… sound familiar? Yeah… kind of like my theory about my Muse. That probably explains why I like him so much. The following link is a paper he wrote about the writing process and I do hope you will take the time to read it. He wrote it several years ago, but it is still relevant to what he teaches and the writing process in general. He explains his theory in more detail within and I think it will help those of you who are actually managing to finish NanoWrimo or simply write and are looking for some new inspiration/writing advice.

http://www.sosyalarastirmalar.com/cilt1/sayi3/sayi3_pdf/vivian_robert.pdf

Godspeed!

Advice

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/the-ultimate-guide-to-writing-better-than-you-normally-do

This is a link to some good writing advice. I know, I’m due for you to read some of my reading, but the pieces I’ve been working on aren’t quite ready for public viewing. They’ll be done soon, but in the interim I thought I would give you something to check out.

I think that, of all the advice given in this, the most important is that writing is a baring of your soul. Every character, every impossibility, every suggestion was deliberately placed upon the page and contains a piece of you inside. The characters, I feel, are even more like this. Whenever I create a character, I place a piece of myself inside of them to ground myself in their reality. They are real the moment I place them upon the page because they are me in some form. It’s important to remember this not only when writing but also when reading. Delicacy is always important when critiquing a work, as it is special to the writer.

So… yup. That is my thought for the day. If all goes well I will actually have one of my pieces finished soon to let you look at, but at the rate they are going the page length is going to be ridiculous. I might just have to think of something else to post.

Dreamy Inspiration

Sometimes, after waking from a particularly vivid dream, I feel like something is missing. I’ll find myself reaching for objects that aren’t there, trying to accomplish tasks that are beyond my ability, and searching for thought processes that I’m sure I was thinking just a moment ago, though I don’t know what they are. I just feel my mind reaching for something and whenever it isn’t able to grasp it, I find myself feeling confused and sad, like I’ve lost something important.

I have come to suspect that my mind is looking for creation, the power of changing the world around me to create something more that is only possible to attain in a dream. When nothing changes, that is when I realize what I am doing. The realization doesn’t end the feeling, though. Instead, it intensifies as I actively search for it along with my subconscious.

The lure of writing grabs me best at such times. Throughout the day, all I will want to do is write as I go to classes or work and run errands. I spend the day as though I am still dreaming and the world around me becomes secondary. It is times like this that I understand how some people could become lost in their dreams. When dreams become so similar to, or even take precedence over, reality, it is hard to break free. So I just take advantage of my extreme introversion at such times and use my wildest imaginings as inspiration.

The Origins of Holidays

First, I wish to apologize for skipping time between postings. I hope that, in the holiday spirit, you can forgive me and understand that the holidays are a busy time. If you can’t understand that, then I hope you can realize the power of procrastination on a college student visiting home.

Now, as we have passed Christmas and New Years I thought it would be an apt time to discuss holidays. If you are creating a fantasy world, one where every facet has been created and analyzed, you need to look beyond what is important towards your story. Little details, such as clothing, superstitions, farming equipment, or the style of architecture, can help your reader place themselves within your world. Look at it this way: if you are watching an animated movie, or playing a video game, don’t you find yourself analyzing it? Would they have worn those types of clothing? Why is that person making a weird hand gesture? Similarly, your readers will analyze what you create and the details you provide can help them to relax and enjoy.

One such detail that I think is sometimes forgotten is holidays. Even though in daily life we look forward to searching for Easter eggs, giving Christmas presents, eating Thanksgiving turkey and Valentine chocolate, and dressing up as monsters for Halloween, writers tend to consider it a trivial fact when writing.The possibilities that holidays project are easily overlooked.

For instance, during the Revolutionary War, Christmas rolled around and the British decided to take the time to party, since it was a holiday and they figured that the Americans would be taking time off as well. In the midst of the celebrations, the Americans attacked their camp full of drunken soldiers and decimated them. Now, think of what a great twist this would add to your story if you put it in. After all, holidays are well established as times of merriment and relaxation so if you story includes a war you can use this to your advantage.

Even if your story is not a gory fest of violence and war, holidays are still advantageous. Holidays represent traditions and traditions represent centuries-old civilizations and societies and the traditions that have been created over time. They make your world old. If you want to establish that the world you have created is old, put in traditions. Prejudice against a certain type of worker, alien, or magic. Hatred for another country that is so old no one can trace its origins. A holiday celebrating the triumph of a battle or war or the passing of the seasons.

Think about where most holidays originate. Christmas may be the celebration of Christ’s birth, but there is more to its history. The date for Christmas was used as a tool for the conversion of pagans and barbarians by coinciding with one of their holidays. Halloween used to be a time of fear, when all that was wicked joined the world of the living, thus being called All Hallows Eve. Groundhog day celebrates the coming of spring, even as centuries ago the equinox was celebrated.

A lot of holidays are associated with the change of seasons and religion. It’s easy to forget how much religion affects our daily life, even if we ourselves are not religious. So, when creating your holidays it is important to keep this in mind. No holiday is started without a reason and there is always a purpose. A chance to relax after crops are harvested, a happy time full of alcohol and food as the new year rolls in, and a time to drink beer and kiss the Irish are just a few examples. Holidays are a time to look forward to and as you send your protagonist  on his or her quest, time will pass and, even if you don’t use the holiday for anything else, you can have him or her long for the past.