Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chapter 5 - A Year in Reflection

A Year in Reflection

While at work today, I’ve been distracted by blog postings and tweets and facebook chatter. Jimmy Fallon is filming his late night show today featuring Obama at my alma mater and it’s making me a bit of a sob story. Gasp!

This isn’t something new for me though; nostalgia hits me nearly every change of season and I reflect back and wish and want and learn. It’s good to be self-assured and aware. I think you have to look back to gain perspective on your life. This time last year, I was scrambling to graduate. Finals, LDOC, long nights at the library, bad food, energy drinks. I did it 8 semesters in a row, not counting my summer sessions. Now, however, I find myself missing it.

Do I miss the annual library streaking the night before the first exam? Yes. Do I miss the flash rave in the Pit organized by one of my friends? Yes. Do I miss the way the light falls across those brick sidewalks and across the tops of the buildings nestled between the trees at 7 am when I’m trudging back to the library after leaving at 2, backpack laden with supplies to keep me going for another marathon study session? Yes, actually.

I miss the pressure, the sense of urgency, the momentum pushing at my back (see what I did there?). I’m starting to believe this is what my job is lacking. I like the unpredictability of hours -long study sessions into the night. I like watching the deadline creep up on me as my Adderall-addled brain starts cranking out more and more words in a last ditch effort to finish a paper on time. Honestly, it’s when I have some monster of responsibility (a class I must pass, a test in the morning, a paper due at midnight) breathing down the back of my neck that I discover a font of untapped resolve deep down inside.

I don’t necessarily want to go back to school, but I hate the day to day monotony of post graduate life. I’m not being pushed is what I’m saying. Sure, I can push myself but there are only so many days when it is dark and rainy in the morning that I have the energy and dedication to convince myself to get out of bed and go perform. My job doesn’t offer me any deadlines or bosses waiting by my office door with open expectant hands. Instead, it’s like working at the library for 8 hours a day and constantly being granted an extension. It’s the same spot in front of the same window with the same people and the same food and bad coffee and distractions.

I often find I tire of workspace very quickly. Sometimes just moving my laptop to another place rectifies the need I feel to be constantly moving. The problem is I can’t do that here. It is the same – day in and day out. I can’t go lay on the quad. I can’t set up in my bathroom (done that) or sprawl my notes across the couch. I can’t sit in the rocking chairs in front of the Student Stores overlooking South Road. I can’t even visit an old yet cherished workspace in the libraries I spent a majority of my time in school.

It’s a small reflection of the larger wanderlust that creeps up on me every so often, whispering in my ear no sort of solution but simply pointing out that I need to be doing something different, something strange or off the wall or better. It’s a gift and a curse because it allows me to constantly dream, but it also is a thirst I can’t slake and I know somewhere, sometime, it will come back, as insistent and pulling as ever.

My curiosity with the world is a near constant itch I can’t scratch and is part of the reason I know deep down in my heart, deep down in the place where my soul resides, that I need to be doing something creative. I need to. It’s something I can’t help, deny, or control. It’s something I can ignore only for so long before it bubbles up in me, angry for being kept at bay for so long.

Insurgent Giveaway!

Desperately trying to win SOMETHING! I won a thousand dollars in cash once. This would be so much more awesome! http://www.divergentlexicon.com/news/insurgent-is-8-days-away-were-giving-away-an-arc#comment-1028

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Momentum current word count: 47,526

Over the halfway hump!

Also, 90K is just what I'm shooting for. I'm not necessarily saying the manuscript will be finished at 90K or that I'll finish before and have to stretch.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Chapter 4 - Sex Alliance Against Society

Sex Alliance Against Society

I read King Dork* recently and a passage in the novel got me thinking. The main character, an adolescent boy, muses about what it means to have a girlfriend in high school. To him, it seems to be lots of making out and bjs in cars. A girlfriend is someone who stands by your side as armor, who stands shoulder to shoulder with you in a Sex Alliance Against Society – Society being asshole bullies in high school.

In all honesty, I don’t know much of what happens in relationships my own age behind closed doors. I mean, I know what happens behind closed doors – I lived with 4 girls in “committed” relationships in college, trust me – but I don’t really know what happens. You go to tailgates together and get mad at each other when you’re drunk. You always have dates to weddings, no matter how awkward it might be. Sometimes when you have money, you take trips. Concerts. Bad food. Lots of Going Places and Doing Things. But beyond that and basic pillow talk, your general Sex Alliance Against Society is like Clue and I thought it was the lead pipe but instead it was Miss Scarlet in the Billiard Room with the wrench.

What I’m saying is my understanding of relationships is elementary and limited. I have one “real” relationship to speak of (I’m not counting high school) and I say “real” with quotes because it was my freshman year of college and there’s only so much you can put into a relationship when you’re 19 and don’t want to piss anyone off.

1. What happens after you get settled or past the honeymoon period (arbitrarily agreed to be the 6 month mark)? I never made it past the honeymoon period in college where everything is daisies and I look back through rose-colored glasses to days filled with lying in the sun on the quad, drowsing. Seriously, I did that. As to my other romantic endeavors, the three week mark has always been the point of no return where whatever spark it was snap, crackles, and pops and suddenly, I can’t stand the way he chews his food or he stops calling.

2. How do you fight with a SO? I’m using this freshman year romance as a meter stick. We never fought. Once. Like, not at all. I don’t know if it was because I was afraid of rocking the boat or we really didn’t have anything to fight about or that sleeping with someone creates some sort of anti-fighting hormone that affected both of us, but we never did. In fact, the only time I remember a fight was at the end of the relationship. I sensed distance, realized distance was not in my head, confronted him about distance, and then it was over. Fin. So in my tiny brain, a fight is equated to the end of the relationship. Or like a big blow out, one ingrained in my poor head by that scene in the Parent Trap - the remake - where that lady who died tells Dennis Quaid she threw a hairdryer or a shoe at him and then took one daughter (seriously, how effed up was that? Oh yeah, they're totes equal human beings. Let's split them like you would split a chocolate bar) and moved across the Atlantic. It all seems like fun and games in the movies, but in real life, a fight with whoever my SO may be seems like a giant cliff to leap off of back into Singledom.

3. Social media ruins me. Damn you, Mark Zuckerberg! Back then, Facebook was around but not as prevalent or I was so gob smacked and in lurv that I didn’t notice. There are so many questions and pressures from people I don’t even know to define my not-a-relationship in a public forum from the beginning that it boggles the mind. When is the appropriate time to become Facebook Official? Do I have to? Will stupid girls at the club stop giving me the evil eye that I’m with him if he makes some grand proclamation? Why do I keep looking at the old profile pictures of him and his ex-girlfriend even though I know it makes me mad? Why did I have to be born into the era of Facebook? Seriously, if your man is tech savy (which thank God mine is not, because I already have enough internet-related distractions at work), there are infinite ways to cyberstalk and obsess. Why are guys surprised when we're jealous then? We have access to all your old photos, your EX's interests and disinterests, and twitter pages and pinterest boards and tumblrs and blogs and omg my head is going to explode.

4. I don't know balance. At all. For instance, I spent one semester watching and/or DVRing the entirety of Law and Order: SVU (ILY Stabler!) but pretty soon, I would hear that little dun dun and have to change channels. What I'm saying is that be it a TV show, a hobby, a new friend, a book series, a whatever, if I like it, I throw myself at it and hope it sticks around for a while. I go through phases of liking and disliking things and I'm not sure if my One College Relationship ever made it past the I Love This phase that I go through with every New Thing. I simply don't know how to tell the difference between something intense and fleeting and something intense and longlasting. It's like flavored gum. I can only chew it for so long before it stops tasting like deliciousness and starts hurting my jaw. So I spit it out and move on to the next piece. Sorry, this is supposed to be a metaphor but it's turning into a giant ramble.

5. Along the lines of my above point, I don't do coy for very long. My bag of tricks is exceedingly shallow. Also I am incredibly impatient, unable to wait a couple of weeks down the road to pull out all the stops. I want to be extravagant and unforgettable from the beginning! I will change your life! You will always look back at me as that redhead that you blew your mind! It's self-centered, I know, but I think deep down inside, you always want to be the one that rocked his/her world the best. The problem is it's exhausting and you can't maintain that kind of awesomeness forever. At some point, you will be sitting on the couch in your sweatpants with your hair in a rat's nest above your head, crying watching an episode of the Biggest Loser, eating ice cream**. And someone will see that eventually. I don't know if there's enough mindblowing sex or deep conversations in the world to keep someone coming back for more after witnessing something like that.

I guess what I'm saying is I have doubts about a Sex Alliance Against Society because I really don't know what the alliance part means. It's new territory for me. But I guess years of Disney movies and rom-coms have conditioned me to hope against all hope that whatever the alliance is, it will stand strong against Society - be it asshole bullies in high school or dumb bitches giving me the evil eye at the club.

*Great book by Frank Portman. Go read it. In no way do I tend to plagiarize your idea about a SAAS.
**I've totally never done that...at least, not all three at the same time. There may come a day.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Chapter 3 - Adventures in Procrastination

I mean, this is getting a little ridiculous.

Somehow I’ve managed to paralyze not only my writing but also my “career”. Since making the decision to check out from Soul Crushing, Inc in the near future, I have mentally checked out on anything involving me doing actual work. Here’s a list of things I’ve done this week.

1. Tweeted videos, blogs, articles. I also followed a bunch of people so I don’t have to wait for my feed to update.
2. Blogged…once. (This counts as twice I suppose.)
3. Obsessively facebook stalked my kind-of boyfriend. (It’s that TOM. Biology says I have to.)
4. Started reading another Sarah Dessen novel while blow drying my hair. (I feel the need to always be multitasking. If I could hold a book and put on mascara at the same time, I would do it. Someone needs to invent that. Get on it, dreamers!)
5. Twirled my hair at my desk.
6. Googled dating advice websites and read every single goddamn article I can find on what it means to be exclusive but not necessarily in a relationship. (It’s that TOM. Biology says I have to.)
7. Made grocery lists, To Do lists, written down bills I need to pay. (I haven’t actually DONE any of the things I’ve written down, just planned to.)
8. Watched So You Think You Can Dance videos on YouTube and that one recently popular one floating around about an old guy in a nursing home hearing music he grew up with. Almost burst into tears when he started singing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. (It’s that TOM. Biology says I have to.)
9. Pretended to do work by frantically flipping between windows whenever my boss walks by. Did I mention we share an office? (This is one reason I can get away with blogging or writing. My typing sounds like I’m making progress on something I’m being paid for. Whoops!) 10. Thought about resurrecting my Tumblr but decided against it.

Things I need to do that I haven’t actually done much of this week?

1. Work.
2. Writing. I squeezed a thousand words out of the stone on Monday night, but since then, the 10 things above have kept me occupied.

There should be a study that looks at work productivity before and after the advent of Facebook. The business world must rue the day Mark Zuckerberg was born.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Chapter 2 - Baby Steps

I come up with grandiose plans and make To Do lists for turning a new leaf about once a month but I feel this one is going to stick. I need to give myself a deadline though for when I give Soul Crushing, Inc the big F U and walk out the door. I'm just not sure when yet.

I'm not sure what I want this blog to be. Daily reflection? Posts when I feel like it? Inner ramblings of a post-grad slacker? I think I'm going to write about what I feel like writing about when I want to. If that makes sense.

So the things on my mind today:

1. The manuscript. I'm at 40,255 words as of yesterday evening. I have broken the 40K mark! Only another 5,000 and I'll be halfway. Maybe. You never know with writing. Sometimes something seizes a hold of you and you can find yourself 10,000 words deep not knowing how you got there but loving the ride the entire way. My earlier manuscript - which I'll revisit eventually - sits right around 124K. When I finished the original draft, I clocked in over 180K! Thankfully, I've shaved it down but I think the story needs to sit and marinate for awhile before I try again with it.

Here's what Momentum is about in a nutshell: Riley was the girl in blue lights the night before at the party. The next morning when JR wakes up with a nasty hangover, she's the dead girl on his TV, and he can't remember if he killed her. He enlists his brother Mark's help, an Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD. In order to discover the truth about today, JR must remember the truth about yesterday and he's not so sure he has a firm girm on time anymore or reality, for that matter. To complicate things, he meets Camille, a girl who's yellow personality draws him in the way Riley did. He's terrified to get close to her, but cannot deny the attraction between them. JR will have to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to get the answer he seeks before the police come knocking on his door, asking more questions.

I originally set out for it to be a murder mystery, but these things have a way of getting away from you. It's evolved more into a character study about JR and it examines the way he views the world. It delves into the nearly parasitic relationship he has with his older brother and illustrates the fears he has about the world (including but not limited to the fact he may have killed a classmate). I do want to keep the element of suspense though so I'm sure I'll be going back to make changes soon enough. For now, I'm rolling with where the story wants to take me. I tend to know the beginning and the end. The middle? Well, that's the magic of it.

2. Boys. I'm 22. Of course I think about boys. Almost constantly. Recently, I've been thinking about this one in particular...

Suffice it to say I am navigating the murky waters of the "what are we stage" of a relationship. Granted, this can be the best part, but for my control freak brain (and monthly dose of lady hormones), it can also be the most nervewracking. Let me explain. The last time I was in a relationship, he didn't have a phone that supported texting and any relationships before that were in high school. I have a pretty abysmal record and I'm rusty at this. I am learning not to overanalyze every text message or facebook comment or status update. I am going with the flow.

But goddamn if it isn't hard!

I'll keep you posted.

3. Existential crisis mode. Also, as a 22-year-old post-graduate toiling away at Soul Crushing, Inc, I am undergoing the obligatory crisis of Self where I try to Define Myself and Create A Path and Save Money So I'm Not A Broke MuthaFucka. This blog is part of that crisis. I need to do something meaningful! I need to do something creative! I need to be fulfilled! Wah, wah, wah.

Look. I get it. I know I can't wave a magic wand and become a writer. I know it takes hard work and dedication and an ability to block out pain on the days you have to beat your head against the wall to squeeze out even the most amateur turn of phrase. So I'm ready for that. I've had some experience with mild rejection (read: form rejections) and I'm learning to have a thicker skin. I'm learning to simply open up and let people read and see and discuss.

This blog is called the Closet Typewriter 1. because when I was 13, I found a Royal typewriter in my grandmother's closet and 2. because most of my writing has been done secretly, i.e. in the closet.

But now I'm tweeting about it so I suppose I'm making moves? Baby steps and all.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Chapter 1 - I May Be An Idiot

I've let this blog go too long without posts and without any promotion. Oh hey, zero followers! Time to start working toward something. For once.

Here's the deal, y'all. I want to be a writer. I want to be able to share the stories I have and perhaps inspire something (laughter, tears, some sort of emotion) in someone else. That's all I really want. I want the space to be creative and an environment that offers me new things every day.

Right now, I work a Joe-Schmoe 9 to 5. I hate it. It is soul crushing. I took the job straight out of college (where I did everything BUT take an English class because apparently my 19-year-old brain thought Biology was more practical) and have been stuck here ever since. I'm coming up on a year of my employment at Soul Crushing, Inc.

Things have to change. See those posts I put up back in October of last year? I'm still working on the manuscript. I wrote some that month but really dug my heels in during NaNoWrimo and cranked out near 40K. The problem was after November, life got in the way. Or better yet, I let life get in the way.

And that's not alright. I'm cheating myself and everything I aspire to be by not giving my time and dedication to a craft I greatly admire.

So I'm quitting. I'm taking my 401K and my business pants and my stupid smothering boss and I'm kicking all of it to the curb. I am 22-goddamn-years-old. I am too young to already be unhappy with my career choice. I'm single(ish), without children, and the only real responsibility I have is to myself and my needy Greyhound. That's it.

I don't know if this will make me more accountable or if blogging will simply keep the creative juices flowing - because God knows looking at spreadsheets isn't - but I'm willing to try.

So this is me owning up to what I want. I went to college for a degree I'm interested in but not necessarily as passionate about as I am about writing. I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I can't imagine a life without it and I'm kicking myself now that I didn't have the foresight or strength of self to own up to it in college and take the classes I should have been taking. I want to write and I'm going to. I don't care if that means quitting my job at Soul Crushing, Inc and doing something part-time for a while. I'll wait tables. I'll make do. I was broke for four years in college and I had a great time. I'll figure it out.

This is not me giving up on the professional world or taking the easy way out because I can't handle a 40 hr work week. Actually, I think this is the hard way. I'm setting myself up for a world of rejection, but I'm willing to do it because I truly believe I have a shot at this. And I have something to say. I have a story just itching to get out.

Working Title: Momentum
Word Count: ~40,000 words
Goal: 90,000 by June 1st

Let's do this!

Team Amity!

Just joined Team Amity as part of the Insurgent marketing blitz! I can't wait for this book to come out!!!

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