Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Chapter 12 - Updates

I promise, I am trying to get on a better blogging schedule.  I know I've been pretty sporadic here, but now that I'm actively working on improving my craft, I'll hopefully have more to say.  Some little words of wisdom here and there.  I want to aim for a post a week here.

Here's my most recent Barnes and Noble haul:

From top to bottom:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - I started reading this last week.  My schedule's been pretty full, but I've been sucked into this thing.  Everyone on the blogosphere has raved about it and I see why.  So glad I started it.
Different Seasons by Stephen King - Confession time: I haven't read everything King's written.  Shocker, I know!  Until now I've had a strange aversion to short stories and novellas, but my writing classes have opened my eyes.  I'm also writing some short stuff now so I need to do my homework.  This one includes the inspiration for the Shawshank Redemption.  Can't be half bad.
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - It's my first fey book!  I've heard about this series over and over so I thought I'd give it a try.  From what I read last night, I like.  The faeries so far aren't your typical winged creatures flinging glitter everywhere.  They have teeth, literally.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - Finally!  It came out in paper back and I bought it yesterday.  As much as I love a good hardback, they're expensive.  And I'm back in school paying for supplies.  Gotta be thrifty.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I'll admit, I bought it because of the hype.  Everyone has been raving about it and it's at the top of the best sellers lists, so how bad could it be?  Plus Barnes and Noble had it for 40% off.

So what have I been doing all this time, you ask?

Well I went back to school!  That's what I did.  After much pushing and shoving and calling the registrar's office (because NC State has the most asinine advising system on the planet), I forced myself into two writing classes.

First I have Fiction Writing, which I love.  My professor (I don't know if it's appropriate to call him that because he's a MFA student at State and he's also probably only a couple years my senior and I feel weird calling someone who could be considered a peer Mr. So and So) is great.  He reminds me of one of my long time friends, if she were a dude.  He's a science fiction writer (yeah, I googled him and found his blog, whatevs) so I'll probably try to hunt down the stories he's had published.  The class is great.  Granted, I'm the oldest person there, but everyone is excited and ready to go.  They start talking about our readings and discuss them before class even starts.

Last week we finished our first drafts of our stories to workshop.  We have two due during the semester consisting of 2,000 to 10,000 words.  I've never written short stories before (aside from that pretentious allegory I tried to write in high school), so this is new territory for me to squeeze my ideas into that word range.  I think I did well on my first go around.  I wrote about two kids spying on their strange new neighbor.  My own neighbor was the inspiration.  Life imitates art, right?  My workshop group receives its critiques next Wednesday so I'm excited to see what the class's response is.

Second I have Creative Writing.  This class focuses on more forms: drama, poetry, and short stories.  Right now, we're smack in the middle of our poetry third.  My professor is another MFA student who specializes in poetry.  She's exactly what I would picture: soft spoken, well dressed but without make up, often wears only one earring, and she must have art class before she teaches us because she never wears her shoes and her toes are covered in either plaster or white paint.  This class has a different feel to it.  The students are quieter, less prone to blurting out their opinions, but now that we've begun critiquing each other's work, they are starting to become more animated.

It's a funny thing being back in school but not working toward a degree. For one, I feel old.  Most of my classmates are five years younger than me.  They can't buy alcohol and have really only just graduated high school.  They're concerned about Rush and football games and intro Biology exams.  They don't know what their majors are, but they have ideas.  I feel like a fish out of water sometimes.  I say things like, when I was in college, or my old college roommate, or when I was a senior.  I don't have an answer when they ask me what year I am or what my major is.  I don't have either.

But I see that bright-eyed ambition that I've been missing.  Out in the real world, it's an easy thing to lose.  Young minds like these are always clicking and turning, looking for new ways to make better grades, how they can update their resumes, what they can do over the summer to show they didn't waste their time.  They're busy and tired.  Each semester, their lives change with their classes.  They are surrounded by their friends, free from the watchful eyes of their parents for the first time.  They have the world at their fingertips.  It is refreshing to see that again.  It makes me want to move, to do more.  These are people who will stay up the night before, toiling until the task is done.  I've become lazy.  If I don't finish something by bedtime, I push it off until morning.  Not these people.

So in a way, I am different, but I am the same.  They are different, but they are the same.  We're all a little bit mad but we are all determined.

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