Friday, November 22, 2013

Cruise Day

This blog will be deserted for the next 9 days or so, as Shannon and I are on our way to LAX where we will fly off into the sunset (aka: Caribbean cruise). I'm typing this on my iPhone right's hailing on the freeway, and we're being escorted by police. It's taking a LOT of willpower to imagine relaxing in front of a pool with a piƱa colada, but if I close my eyes really tight, I can almost see it.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

DoT - 101% Complete, yet Sadly Unfinished

I just finished chapter 22 of DoT, checked the word count, and nearly had a hard attack.  Because, well, this!

Right?  RIGHT?  I can't even describe it.  Back when I decided "I'm going to write a book," I felt excited, but scared.  Hitting my word count goal seemed like such an impossible feat.  But here it is, two and a half years later, and I did it--I reached 75k!  

Unfortunately that's where the good news ends.  Yes, I reached one goal, but the ultimate goal was to write a book, and at this point, I've written 75% of a book.  I never imagined that I wouldn't be able to flesh out this story in 75,000 words, and now I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that I can wrap up my novel in a mere 25k.  

So yeah, wish me luck as I scramble toward the new finish line.  But for now, I think I'll keep that progress meter where it's at for a little while longer so I can keep marveling at that dark green bar being all the way at the finish line.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembering the Jelly

Thought I'd drop in!

I haven't written in so long, and so I've been experiencing that phenomenon where the longer you don't write, the harder it is to write. Actually, I don't think that is much of a phenomenon. That's more like...a boring occurence. In any case, I really want to get back into the habit of writing again.

Jodi and I were texting back and forth the other day...well I wrote her this:

"Hey Jojo! It's Shan. I can't do our blog anymore. I'm so sorry. I thought it was because of my tests, but now they are done, and I just have no urge to write in it. I keep hoping I'll get the urge, but it's not happening. It's not cool that you have to keep explaining my absence. Do you want to take it over, and just have me as an occasional guest blogger?"

Yeah, I actually was gonna quit.

This is one of the things Jo wrote back:

"You've NEVER been able to sustain writing though. Remember how you used to rip all of your journal pages? This is your blogging version of that."

She is absolutely, 100% correct. My sister has shelves full of journals that she has been maintaining since high school. Me? Nothing. I have ripped or burned any journal I have ever attempted (burning is more fun).

Jodi's journals are time capsules filled with fragments of her life. What I love about them is the nature of the memories. Anyone will mentally file away significant events and milestones. But these journals document the things that most wouldn't bother to remember, the threads of one's world that seem small, but accumulate in such a way to create the whole fabric of a life.

The other day, I stumbled upon my old "MySpace" account. My profile is set on private, and I can't remember the password, but I was able to see a dozen or so old "blog" entries I had written. Here is what one of them said (dated 10-09-2006):

"Okay, I had a dream that my kids turned into different jars of jelly. Samantha was butterscotch (butterscotch jelly? I don't think that even exists). Either Cassidi or Dylan was strawberry preserves. That's all I can remember."

This got me thinking. If I hadn't written this down, I would have NEVER in a million years, remembered that I had this dream? And this reminded me of a quote from my favorite book EVER:

"If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?”
― George Orwell, 1984

Back to my dream. If I am the only one who has a memory of this dream, and I LOSE this memory, did this dream even happen? Even actual memories...If a man in a purple shirt almost hit my car with his bike 3 years ago, but the man has no recollection of the event, and I no longer remember it, does this incident even exist? Nobody can see it, hear it, touch it...It doesn't take up any mass in space....if the only place this incident ever existed is in the mind of the man and the mind of me, but it no longer exists in his mind or my mind, whose to say it even occurred?

This is probably just an annoying extension of the whole "If a tree falls in a forest..." question, but...I get stuck on these silly thoughts sometimes.

Basically, I want to try and keep writing. I'm afraid that if I don't, my memories will start to evaporate, and then it will be like they never happened at all.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Goodbye Facebook

I made a big decision.  Well, big for me.  Can you guess, can you guess?

Yeah, I deactivated my facebook account.  I guess that doesn't seem like that big of a decision.  It's not like I decided to move out of the country, start a peacock farm, or adopt a Chinese baby.  But it's big for me.  I've been on facebook since 2008; my account was very well-established with five years worth of pictures and memories.  So why would I deactivate it?  Here was the reason I gave facebook when it prompted me to "please explain":

I guess I'm sort of taking an ethical stance.  I hate how social networking has replaced flesh-and-blood interactions.  Moms who used to go on play dates and take their kids to the park now sit on facebook all day posting pics and playing Candy Crush.  Facebook breeds nothing but laziness and pseudo-friendships.
That's my reason in a snapshot, but that's not the entire reason.  I think part of it is feeling perpetually annoyed by all the fakeness on facebook--those who feel compelled to talk up every mundane aspect of their lives--but the other reason is lately I have just wanted to keep a lower profile.  Last year, I had to take one of those personality/learning inventories at a training I attended, and my results came out 100% "intrapersonal" (some other inventories call it "introvert").  I was shocked by this.  The last time I had taken one of these tests was in high school, and at that time I remember I was very much on the "extrovert"-side.  But more than that, I have always considered myself as a social butterfly who thrives on being around people.  I also like to lead, and have almost no reservations speaking to a large audience.  Yet no matter what version of this test I take, I keep getting the same result: introvert.  So I think sometime in the past few years, my personality has changed.  I  still get energized when I'm in social settings, and I love talking to people, but I have a huge introspective component to my personality that wants to do nothing more but sit in a quiet corner of a coffee shop and work on my novel, or curl up in front of my fireplace and read a good sci-fi.  Somewhere in the last few years, regular "alone time" not only became desirable for me, but necessary to my sanity.  On the other end of this, one social gathering can keep me satisfied for months.

That being said, facebook is an extrovert's faux-paradise (faux because, let's face it, interacting on social networking is like skiing on Wii; fun to a degree, but pale in comparison to the "real" experience)  Unfortunately it's draining on introverts.  The average newsfeed is chattery and convoluted and overwhelming in mindless stimulation.  For the last year, this fact was begging the question: Why are you forcing yourself to be a part of something that's such a burden to you? My answers were always the same: 1. My family is on facebook, and it's become our way of sharing our lives with each other, and 2. I hope to be published someday, and I will need my facebook account to glean support and to possibly promote a future novel.

Both of these were valid points--and still are--which is why I chose to deactivate my account, as opposed to deleting it all together.  Deactivating my account gives me the option of returning to facebook in the future and fully restoring my account whenever I'm ready.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy this break.  I've been without facebook for a full 110 minutes, and so far, it feels wonderful. You'll have to excuse me now as I make myself a cup of hot tea and curl up with Cinder, my latest sci-fi read, and NOT check my latest notifications.