Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo: We're Still Alive

For those who do not know, this is a parody of the song that plays during the credits of the game Portal, which I love.
"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship." - Thomas Aquinas

Toda'y post comes in some number of parts that I haven't counted yet.

Part 1: Lost

Basically, I started watching the show. We're 3 episodes in, and expect to go crazy once we're done with this disk and have to wait for Netflix to send us the next one.

Part 2: Recommendations

I enjoy passing along reading material-- especially that which is written by people I know. So if you aren't the creator or the other people who know about it already, go look at The Strand for the 21st Century-- a blog on which teen writers may get their writing available for the consumption of others.

Then there's another friend of mine whose blog I mentioned awhile ago. She's only posted a few times, but I figured I'd point you all towards her, since she said she didn't mind-- partially because her stuff is amazing, and partially because I want her to have the motivation to post more, because her stuff is amazing and I miss reading it. Meet The Fleur-de-lis. Play nice, Strand. You don't get to hog the spotlight in this Part of the post. :)

Part 3: NaNoWriMo

So it's over, or may as well be as far as the people I know are concerned. Congrats, guys. I look forward to hearing what you churned out over the past month, but if you're like me and don't want people seeing until its much, much better than it is now, I completely understand.

My sister said to me this morning, "Zoe didn't make it. She got stuck at about 36,000." 
I said, "Yeah, that's the roughest part. I don't blame her." 
"Her dad did, though. At least, he was only 2,000 words away a couple days ago."
(I hear our dad getting himself a bowl of cereal in the kitchen) "That's awesome. That's so cool that he's doing NaNoWriMo too. I wish I had a dad as cool as that!"
Dad: (laughs) I knew you'd say that!

Now comes the months of dilemma: To watch House, or to write? To watch Lost, or to write? To read Book X, or to write? To watch Buffy, or to write? To play Oblivion, or to write?

Part 4: Haircut

Go choose your own adventure with the creator of the Potter Puppet Pals, and then go back and try all of the other options. All are hilarious.

Monday, November 29, 2010

How To Be A Writer

"You like someone who can't like you back because unrequited love can survive in a way that once-required love cannot." - John Green

How To Be A Writer: Because, you know, this guy has it down way better than I do, so I'll let him do the talking from here on out.

Thanks to KTLiterary for the link, as well as the query review she did for me in October, and for a generally informative blog.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Jingle Spells 4 Song: I Wonder As I Wander

“Like all great cities, Amsterdam brims with contradiction. Maps of the Red Light District are dominated by a church, Swans swim up the canal while on the banks of that canal, a woman stands half naked in front of a glass door waiting for customers. Amsterdam is both the city that hid Anne Frank and the city that gave her up. An ancient city perpetually experiencing new construction, A city full of boats that separate you from water and contain water. These same contradictions are in all of us; they’re in me, at least. And so I forgot that I had been awake for 30 hours and kept walking. Grateful to be a little boat, full of water, still floating.” - John Green

I look at the Stats page and see that I've gotten about 70 views today, which is WAY more than normal. By following the links that those viewers followed to me backwards, I discovered that the song I submitted to Jingle Spells 4 is now available for download. Apparently they didn't want me to go by my name after all (they thought it sounded too much like Oliver Wood of the Gryffindor Quidditch team), so I'm the one labeled "Phoenix Song." 
If you can't stand my singing (it's hard for me to tell exactly how bad it is, since I'm more attuned to my own screw-ups than others'), I will be posting a lyric-less version...at some point soon.

So that's exciting. Hello, people from The Leaky Cauldron!

I think it's been awhile since I talked in detail about a book I'm reading. Last night, sometime before midnight but not too far off, I started The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff in a vain attempt to get to sleep. Reading never makes me tired. I suppose I was really just bored.
It takes place in North Carolina, which makes it that much more interesting- to read about my area of the state from a perspective designed for outsiders. More specifically, it takes place at Duke, a place to which I've never been.

The main character, Laurel, is a psychology professor who has just moved to NC to escape L.A., where she had a premonition via dream that her fiancee was cheating on her...a premonition that came true, right down to the last detail.
She discovers 700 boxes full of parapsychology (telepathy, ESP, etc.) research in the basement that has just been unsealed for public viewing. She starts looking into it.

That is what I know as of ~p. 40. While my parents are rather skeptical (which is the nice version of "they flat-out deny") anything of the ESP sort, I have no idea what I think on the subject other than that there are lots of lies and wishful thinking within the field. I figure it could definitely be possible-- just difficult to quantify and measure. Since that's what this book is about... you can see why I like it.

All of her books are very dark. The Harrowing (my favorite) is about five teens (college-age?) alone at a boarding school over the holidays with a malevolent Jewish demon. The Price is about a girl dying of cancer and a deal with Satan, and Book of Shadows deals with a murder that may or may not involve witchcraft (which sounds cliche, but it was actually quite good). Knowing those of you who I know as I do, I thought you might like to take a look at them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: Kids vs. Grownups

“I would totally go live on Mars and stop worrying about America and Iran, but unfortunately I’m no good at terraforming.” - John Green

I intended to write many more words this month than I did last year (~56,000). In reality, I have ended up at about 52K. In my defense, my cousins are visiting.

Tonight, with said cousins, we played a game called Kids vs. Grown-ups, in which the kids answer questions grown-ups should know the answers to, and vice versa.
All I can say is, the kids it was designed for must be pretty dang stupid.

Not to say that some of the adult questions weren't idiotic either. (Ex: What is the square root of 144?)
So maybe my family isn't average. Us kids are smarter than most of our age (and I'm not bragging- we + cousins have the scores with which to back it up), and our parents are involved in our lives and are interested in some things (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings) outside of us. So the HP and LotR questions can maybe be excused, despite the fact that kids "8 and older" are too young to have been allowed to watch Lord of the Rings at the time of its release. Heck, I was too young, and I'm the one who watched some PG-13 movies at age 5 with my dad next to me to hold my hand during the scary parts and to tell me which words I wasn't allowed to say. (Then again, even when I hadn't actually read The Hobbit, I still knew the storyline upside down and backwards. And again, I have the documentation to prove it.)

That's not all I dislike about the game, however. The questions were poorly phrased, and some of the given answers weren't even correct. For one thing, the square root of 144 is not 12. It is technically plus or minus 12. But let's say I excuse that. Galileo still wasn't the first one to "notice" that the earth wasn't the center of the solar system. It's Copernicus who is credited for that (although I'm pretty sure the Mayans and quite possibly some other civilizations knew by some means before he did).
Also, Picasso didn't put "eyes and noses in the wrong places." He drew his portraits from the perspective he speculated to be the 4th spatial dimension. But that one can be excused as well.

But all in all, I'm having a great break. I've missed this branch of the family, despite that I've been playing The Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion alone in my room for many more hours per day than I should be while the others literally launch people off of giant crossbows into cities and try to hit as many things as possible and then get run over as much as possible after landing on the ground on the PS3 in Pain (Utterly hilarious). Sorry about the excessive use of prepositional phrases, there. I know its a bit awkward to read.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Highlights From Thanksgiving

The study of history is essentially an exercise in empathy.” - John Green

“The funny thing about writing is that whether you’re doing well or doing it poorly, it looks the exact same. That’s actually one of the main ways that writing is different from ballet dancing.” - Still John Green

My cousin: (says hello in Chinese) Oh, wait, that's Japanese. (says hello in Japanese)

Me: No, that was Japanese.

My other cousin: One country makes lead, and the other makes electronics with lead in them! Same difference!

(No offense to China or Japan or their citizens, etc.)

Forsche: the official sports car of Jedi Knights.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Start of Thanksgiving Break

"Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up." - G.K. Chesterton

Today in math my teacher spent the entire period reading us snippets of funny emails people had sent him.

I am grudgingly attempting to face how much I loathe the first editing swipe. I don't want to do it. *complains*

Have a good Thanksgiving, Americans, and have a good rest of the week for everyone else (and hey, Americans too). Eat lots of good food and try not to kill your relatives.

Monday, November 22, 2010

NaNo 2010? *checks off list*

"You can never plan the future by the past." - Edmund Burke
Good to know, Mr. Burke.
~ 10:12 A.M. on November 22, 2010: 50,000 words was acheived.
*takes bow*
Now to finish my daily quota for the day. LOL.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Semi-End of NaNo 2010

“That which came together will part imperceptibly slowly.” - John Green

These last 10,000 words have been interesting. The nature of the world's magic has changed radically, unexpected and slightly embarrassing correlations have cropped up...
I've decided that after November is over, I'm going to edit whatever I have so far, and then continue, because the plot hasn't progressed nearly enough for just shy of 50,000 words. There's definitely a heck of a lot of fluff in there, and missing out on the important bits.

My new cousin is adorable. I picked a shirt out for him that reads "All Mommy wants for Christmas is a silent night."

An Epic Announcement Of Some Level of Epicness In Relation to the Last One

“Real gangster-ass Nerdfighters don’t run from nothing… ‘cause real gangster-ass Nerdfighters can’t run fast.” - John Green

The finishing of NaNoWriMo is going to have to wait, because I have a new baby cousin. I have less than 4,000 words to go, so I expect to finish tomorrow, though.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hank Green on Writing Music

Usually I start a post with a quote. This time, the post is the quote, since it's actually a blogpost by Mr. Hank Green. Putting the Mr. in front feels weird....

A comment on "This is Not Harry Potter" got me thinking. The commenter wanted to know why I was so judgemental of Twilight, and why I was excluding them with my song lyrics.

I'm not going to talk about Twilight, I'm going to talk about writing songs.

When I write a song, I don't generally write it from my persepective. I write it from a perspective I understand, but often, it's either just a facet of me, or some character that I imagine.

Obviously, "It All Makes Sense at the End" is from another person's perspective, I'm not 80 years old. Obviously, Anglerfish isn't from my perspective, I'm happy and have lots of friends and a fantastic wife.

But it's true of just about everything I write, even if it seems like it's all me. I actually like some of the books I mentioned more than Harry Potter, particularly Terry Pratchett books and Ender's Game, which come in my top five books of all time, along with Half Blood Prince.

I like these books in different ways and for different reasons, of course. And in a lot of ways, there are literally no books that top Harry Potter. In terms of the influence on my life and on the world, Harry Potter is entirely unique. The culture surrounding it makes it special in a way that a book is never going to be for me again.

But I'm not really throwing down Mockingjay and thinking "why couldn't this be more like Harry Potter." I'm thinking "I could see a world where I feel that way" and creating that person to write the song for me.

Does that make sense?

And as for dissing Twilight...let's be honest, it's an easy target. I devote an entire verse to it for a reason...everyone knows Twilight (not the case for Tithe or Wee Free Men or Frankie Landau Banks.) And people have definite opinions, many of them negative. And so it's fertile ground. It's easy to mix the worlds and have everyone understand them.

It's not that I hate Twilight, it's that it was an easy target for the song's writer to aim at and hit nerves and funny bones. And, let's be honest, I like hitting nerves and funny bones!

*spams with excitement* Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter.

"Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers." - T.S. Eliot

The people on my school's lit magazine staff are very different from you writing club people. They're much more technical, whereas we tend to deal more with good imagery, mental/emotional effect, and concepts. Not to say we don't go in for the phrasing, grammar, style, and such, but...

I'll probably mention this at the next meeting, but I'll stick it out here as well.
I anonymously submitted that poem I read a couple meetings ago, "Overheard in a Dream." They said the imagery and writing was great, but it appeared to not have a purpose.
I told them that was true. I was just enjoying writing poetry.
Unfortunately, I don't think they think too well of you guys, since I mentioned that you all had really liked it. Oops.

My mind is filled with Harry Potter. I have three IMAX tickets sitting next to me. I've posted in the past about just how much those books have consumed my life directly and indirectly. I scarcely remember a time when I hadn't read Harry Potter. I first moved into my own room in October of 1st grade, and there were many conversations about the series when I was still sharing, to put some perspective on that. In 2nd grade, I read my teacher's copy of The Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone until it literally fell apart (okay, it wasn't that new in the first place), and then I continued to just read the last half once every month or two. That was the year my mom hid my copies from me because I refused to read anything else.
This past week, it feels like not much has changed since then, despite that I haven't gone through the series in its entirety in maybe two years or so, which is a lot for me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Look! A Download!

The first of today's quotes goes out to those of you doing NaNoWriMo.

"Go spit in the face of our inevitable obsolescence and finish your @#$%ing novel." - John Green

And yes, he did the censoring himself.

Then there's the humor quote, not to say that the previous one wasn't funny, which is a true story from my computer programming class.

"Friend 1: *burps*
Friend 2: Congratulations: it's a boy."

First off, I would like to say just how much I truly love our writing club meetings.

For those who do not know, last meeting I brought the first chapter of a story in a notebook. Someone else--Hannah-- went home with the notebook to write chapter two. My chapter was a lot of set-up but I didn't have any idea where I was going with it, so there wasn't a lot of detail.
This meeting, when I saw that notebook on the table, I was filled with fear. I've been bringing writing to be critiqued for over a year now, but I've never collaborated with someone other than a silly poem about dolls and action figures since I was five and writing a story via email with my grandpa. Putting something I'd written--that I cared about--out in the open for Hannah to take wherever she wanted...I was scared. I ended up loving what she'd done with it, but that was just chance. I'm sure she would have written whatever it was well, but would I have been okay with the content?
The answer is that it doesn't matter. It's quite literally out of my hands now, and I have a new batch of anxiety stewing about Sarah Gray's upcoming additions. It's like having a child and giving her away for foster care, except I have to watch her grow up and have no control over what her numerous parents do or don't do in terms of her upbringing.
Yes, this story is a girl, I think.

The story I read, which can be found for free download here, is a prose version of "Boxcar Blood" by Alan Lastufka and Luke Conard. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and even more pleased with the reception it received.
One person said it was "like a John Green romance."
While a comparison of my writing to John Green's would be a huge compliment in my mind regardless, this was especially awesome because that's exactly the style I was going for, and I hadn't mentioned anything of the kind beforehand.

In other news, I've got three tickets to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 for the IMAX on Friday afternoon. I am so excited.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


"There are people who, instead of listening to what is being said to them, are already listening to what they are going to say themselves." - Albert Guinon

Earlier today, Hayley G. Hoover of Five Awesome Girls fame announced a new project: Presence.

The idea is for it to be part advice column and part online magazine, and while the only post on it so far is a description of how it came to be, I love it already. 
Read the first post (or the About The Blog page, or both), and then come back.

No, seriously, go read them. :)

I think this concept and mission are definitely things that the world is lacking. Hayley has a decent-sized following on both her YouTube channel and her personal blog, the majority of whom I assume are girls, and Presence will only grow from there due the fact that it looks like it will apply to girls (and guys) outside of her normal YouTube sphere.

I only wish I had the audience and the inspiration to launch a project similar in structure to this. Unfortunately, I only have 10 of you subscribers (officially, I don't know who reads it outside of Blogger) and no ideas as to what I would write about.
Therefore, it is a wish to be shelved for a long time, possibly forever.

Oh, and I've decided to try and re-read Deathly Hallows by Friday night. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Abundance of Quotes Part 2

Read Part 1 here

“There’s this weird but pervasive feeling in the world of contemporary coming-of-age fiction that characters ought to be the person you want to be, or the person you want to be with. And I am happy to acknowledge that Holden Caulfield is not the guy you want to be OR the guy you want to be with-he’s not Edward Cullen- but he IS the guy you secretly know yourself to be.” - John Green

“The future will erase everything–there’s no level of fame or genius that allows you to transcend oblivion. The infinite future makes that kind of mattering impossible. But there’s another way. There are stories.
And he found himself thinking that maybe stories don’t just make us matter to each other–maybe they’re also the only way to the infinite mattering he’d been after so long.” - John Green

“The longer I do my job,” he said, “the more I realize that humans lack good mirrors. It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, and so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.”- Also John Green

"Wisdom outweighs any wealth." - Not John Green, aka Sophocles

Today I received in the mail a Christmas present. A Christmas present from last year

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teaching About Religion

"Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right." -Laurens Van der Post

I was reading the announcements sheet from church today and saw that the high school Sunday school topic this year is regarding Christianity's relationship with other religions and cults. It's supposed to show students "why they believe what they believe."
For one thing, I think the "why" is something everyone should discover for themselves, but that's not the point.
The point is that the class expands upon the teachings of the Bible and shows the differences in the teachings of other religions, and how to better share the Gospel with people of these other faiths.

  1. I hate evangelism of this kind. Sharing in the "this is what I believe and I think it's interesting" context is WAY different from the "this is what I believe and you should too or else you are damned for all of eternity" context.
  2. Shouldn't it be the similarities that are being taught? Shouldn't we be encouraged to love others? (The answer is yes, by the way. Back when I was forced to write this speech for church, my verse on which it was centered was "This is my command: love each other.") Teaching differences only creates more intolerance, fear, and hate.
And that's why I don't want to go to the class. Fortunately, I don't think my mom is going to make me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pleased To Meet You

“The solution is understanding. If you don’t understand the world, then there is nothing you can change besides yourself.” - Hank Green

This is the third time I've written a first draft for this essay. The first time, my premise wasn't specific enough. The second time, I didn't have a clear premise. This time, I have a premise and it's specific, but it's too specific (either that or I'm too concise) so I'm ready to write a conclusion but need another page and a half.

So I was reading something on Neil Gaiman's website about how he believes books have genders, not necessarily determined by that of the main character. I thought it was very interesting. However, I don't know what the gender of The Clockwork Experiment would be and it's much to early to do anything with Ishaera because it needs so much of the literary equivalent of plastic surgery (plus it's still in the metaphorical womb) that no one will recognize it when its done. Ergo, I'm not going to talk about that. I mention it only because it made me think of the thing I am going to talk about.

Last spring, after I took my Creative Writing exam but before I got it back, I was sad that I wasn't going to get it back. I wanted that synopsis, query letter, and first chapter. 
I sat down with a piece of paper, thinking that I could just write the chapter again. After all, if I wrote it that way once, wouldn't writing the same thing again produce close to the same thing? I was the same person, with the same brain and the same intent.
It didn't work. Not only did the writing come out drastically differently, but the words simply wouldn't flow, which led me to the conclusion that despite being the same consciousness inhabiting the same body that was sitting here a minute ago, I'm a different person than I used to be, so any writing I do won't turn out the same.
So I don't know any of you, really. I just know people very similar to you.

On an entirely unrelated note, I watched Stardust Wednesday night, and I loved it. The only parts I thought were stupid were the unicorn and the fact that he became king. Of course, I saw that last one coming from the moment it was announced that the king was dying, but it bothered me anyway. I have a theory the act of becoming king makes awesome characters become decidedly less so. Take Aragorn, for example. (Movie Aragorn, anyway. Just assume I always mean Movie Lord of the Rings Thing). He morphed from "Awesome Ranger Guy" to "Boring King."
Captain Shakespeare...he was so cool.
I definitely intend to get the book out of the library as soon as I've read the one about West African Spirituality I have out now. No time for more than one book at once, at the moment.

I Love to Procrastinate

“Everything you do is a combination of success and failure. There is no absolute success and failure. There is no moment in which you complete the mission and say, “Ah! I am done! Thank you,” because the mission is never complete because the mission is your life and it only completes when you die.” - Hank Green

“True love will triumph in the end. Which may or may not be true, but if it’s a lie, it’s the most beautiful lie we have.” -John Green

Well, my NaNo morale is heading downhill fast. This book sucks. I'm inadvertently skipping over all of the interesting parts people actually want to hear about and I actually want to write about in favor of moving the plot along, since I've got a good bit of story left and don't want it to end up too long.
This is one thing I am not looking forward to editing.

So once again, I am writing a blog post instead of writing or working on homework.

Example: Yesterday, I would write about a hundred words, enter the new number into my spreadsheet, play a round of a word game on Facebook, and then repeat the cycle. Needless to say, it took a very long time to get the 1667 done for the day.

17 days, 18,000 words left.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Interesting Existentialist Concepts

"The past isn't past: it's still shaping the present." - John Green

It's useful for my quoting of him that I get 1-2 new videos each week from which to quote.

Now I would like to share with you two concepts within existentialism: anguish and facticity.

First, facticity, as it relates to the quote. Facticity is the collection of pre-defined things that shape our current essence (as, within existentialism, existence precedes essence). Our past, our environment's past...stuff like that. We decide exactly how much our facticity affects us. In the words of "Snape vs. Snape" by Ministry of Magic, "People can change." Our past is constantly shaping us, but the idea is for us to learn from it.

Existentialist anguish isn't the same as normal anguish, but in order to explain the difference to you I must give some definitions.

Fear: An aversion to a specific thing, situation, concept, etc. do to the harm it may cause to the fearer. Key: specific

Existentialism: A school of philosophy in which nothing has any inherent meaning. A given thing has only the meaning we as an individual or as a race ascribe to it.

Freedom: Due to the lack of objective meaning or moral codes within existentialism, there is no such thing as pre-destination and therefore we are free to do whatever we want (although there are some interesting arguments as to why we shouldn't).

So anguish is the aversion to the freedom given by existentialism.

Example: An existentialist stands on the edge of the cliff. He or she fears the possibility that he/she will fall off, but he or she feels anguish at the knowledge that he/she is capable of choosing to jump.

A longer post of this stuff might be boring and/or intimidating and/or you don't feel like reading it right now, so I'll write about some of the other concepts later. I hope you find this as interesting as I do, but if not, well, whatever. To each their own.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another Quote

“Maybe each of us starts out as a watertight vessel. And these things happen-these people leave us, or don’t love us, or don’t get us, or we don’t get them, and we lose and fail and hurt one another. And the vessel starts to crack open in places. And I mean, yeah, once the vessel cracks open, the end becomes inevitable. But there is all this time between when the cracks start to open and when we finally fall apart. And it’s only in that time that we can see one another, because we see out of ourselves through the cracks and into others through theirs. When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.” - John Green, Paper Towns

You don't get to see the post I wrote earlier, simply because I don't really want the contents out in the world, but I wanted to write them down. Therefore, you get yet another John Green quote instead.

I'm writing an essay regarding Existentialism in relation to the book we're reading in English. Well, sort of. I haven't actually started writing it yet. As you can see, I'm writing a blog post.

My mom talked with one of Sarah's teachers today. The teacher said Sarah was a big influence on her. I was very proud of this statement, as I firmly believe in teaching as an endeavor that should theoretically be two-way, and if Sarah's helping that become more than theoretical, I am pleased. Plus, as she would be quick to tell you, my little sister can be kind of awesome sometimes.

Another thing that makes me pleased is the fact that there isn't any school tomorrow.

Don't you love the posts I write just because I have a quote to share? 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Existentialist in Distress

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -Dr. Seuss

I love that.

Okay, so writing this post is mainly for procrastination purposes.

Today I realized one of my biggest fears (among them being suffocation/drowning and bees).

Most people are forgotten. Their children and a few generations after that will remember them in theory if not actually, but eventually it becomes "Oh, yeah, she's my 3x great grandma. Even my mom, by definition, is My Mom, and not herself. Our roles in each other's lives are often what we are valued for-- not ourselves.
Some people live on in their accomplishments, like the Greek heroes, regardless of whether or not their stories are true.
But how many of them are remembered as people? Real people with thoughts and fears and dreams and blogs on which they procrastinate?
Precious few. I can't think of any, except for maybe Anne Frank. However, her story is distorted by the fact that it closely involves the Holocaust. She's still "that Jewish girl who wrote a diary." She's still just famous for her diary- not herself.
So it follows that I will join them-- one of the billions of people who will never be remembered as the person they were.

The fact that I exist is understandably the most important truth to me. Therefore, the fact that I will one day cease to exist and be forgotten is a rather terrifying one. 
So what do I do about it? Well, I blog, for one thing. I journal. I write letters to no one during math class. I save halves of folders from kindergarten (although I threw that out) that I colored on. I exist, and more than that- I'm a person, and I don't want my person-hood to be lost to the ages. 
Even though it will be, eventually, of course.
I don't want my journals published for all to see. I just want my 3X great grandchildren or whatever to read what I've written and realize that I was once a person just like them. 
I want to be retroactively imagined complexly, I guess, in addition to being imagined as such in the present.

When my Debate  Team coach read the poem that I wrote that I am going to be performing for my event, he said "This is kind of an existentialist poem, isn't it?"

Here is how Wikipedia defines it:

Existentialism is a term applied to the work of a number of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences,[1][2] generally held that the focus of philosophical thought should be to deal with the conditions of existence of the individual person and his or her emotions, actions, responsibilities, and thoughts.[3][4] The early 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, posthumously regarded as the father of existentialism,[5][6] maintained that the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely,[7][8] in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despairangstabsurdityalienation, and boredom.[9]

So yeah, it looks like I'm a bit of an existentialist, and the poem in question, while centered more on fear and the inevitability of suffering and death (which sounds really morbid when I put it like that), matches that definition fairly well.
Only the problem is that I'm currently (as in, mainly starting today) facing the issue of my own mortality and insignificant place in the world, which I believe falls under "despair" and "absurdity," the latter of which refers to the human desire to find objective meaning and the human inability to succeed in that endeavor.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Quote. JUST A Quote.

"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." ~James Bryce

I love that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood

It's time to take a trip back to the old August-style posts when I ramble on and on about some random philosophical thought I've been having. 
Note: Some subjects are capitalized because they are just that- subjects in school, while others are not because while they are taught in school, I am referring to them more as professional fields instead of school-related things.

A friend (who I am sending this to- hi!) and I were discussing the point of English class last week, which was rather difficult to do well because his class is considerably different (in a bad way) from mine. 
I said that English classes of the type I'm in (although on paper it's the same as his) are designed to help us understand people. He said that was what psychology was for, which I couldn't really argue with at the time.
Now I can.

Psychology is the basic (in relative terms), most science-y way to understand people. It's all about chemicals causing emotions and the cause and effects of the actions of other people. From my limited knowledge about the field, that is, since I've only read the For Dummies book on the subject and haven't taken it in school.
Compare that with math: the most basic, logical rules of the universe.
Both of them explain primary principles about the way people/the universe work.

Now let's move up a level.
Meet English class, in which books are read and discussions are held on both the books and on other things. All other things done in the class are irrelevant to this topic. The primary principles laid out in psychology are applied in  ways that form INTERESTING things/phenomena/ideas/what-have-you that can be taken as both LARGE, ABSTRACT CONCEPTS and DAILY LIFE.
In the next lane, we have Physics. Once again, the primary principles laid out in math are applied to data to create INTERESTING theories/ideas/phenomena/what-have-you that can be LARGE, ABSTRACT CONCEPTS (Hi, String Theory!) and DAILY LIFE (computers function via quantum mechanics, plus there's even more obvious stuff like gravity).

Move up another level.
Rising above English is Social Studies-- a broad field full of subsidiary disciplines that focus on using the things discovered in English to fuel the machine of the human race (economics, for example). Psychology= existence, English = thought, and Social Studies = civilization.
From physics we get engineering-- a broad field full of subsidiary disciplines that focus on using the things discovered in physics to more literally fuel/build the machine of the human race. Math = existence, physics = thought, engineering = civilization.

On an existence-level, we need math and psychology. On an personal level, we need English and physics, and on a global level, we need Social Studies and engineering.

So you see, friend who may or may not want his name mentioned here and therefore I am not mentioning it, we are not so very different after all, just because I enjoy my English class and you hate yours. (Side note: I would hate yours as well, rest assured. I'm not that crazy.)
We're just getting to the same place on different paths.

A Succession of Worthwhile NaNo Links

Kristina Horner posted an excerpt from her NaNoWriMo novel today. It's hilarious.


An agent whose blog I follow (the one who critiqued my query letter for me), tweeted this next link to "The Fantasy Novelist's Exam," detailing all of the things aspiring fantasy writers should avoid. While I knew most of them already, it still amused me greatly. Especially the last two questions and the one about Robert Jordan.


Last and MOST DEFINITELY NOT least, is the Office of Letter's and Light (those behind NaNoWriMo)'s post about...me. Yes, me. I opened up Google Reader and saw my own name staring back at me. Awesome.


So I have about 800 words minimum to write for today...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The NaNoWriMo Cult

Hoping to make it to 10,000 by the end of the night. That probably means I should quit blogging and start writing. On the plus side, I drew a picture today of the scene I'm in the midst of.

For those of you who don't read The Procrastination Station on the NaNo website...there was a link to this: "Reasons Why NaNoWriMo is a Cult." So funny. The best part is "Pope's hat: the Viking Helmet"

Chris Baty = the messiah
Ritual writing exercises
Set of understood and upheld rules and goals
Creepy recruitment strategies: come on, who hasn't tried to lure a friend or family member in? And the community rejoices at every new member
No Plot, No Problem = the good book
Strong sense of community
Festivals and celebrations on specific days (Nov 1, 15, Dec 1)
3rd Sunday of the month=Night of Writing Dangerously= pilgrimage to San Fransisco
It has spread the WORLD
ML-cardinals, sent to bring together adherents in regions across the world
website is a holy site
regions are warring denominations
donations are integral and donors are marked as angelic
Young Indocrination programs...I mean Young writer Programs....
Community outreach programs like the YWP and the book drive
Running man as the symbol of the traditionalist Nanoer
Definitive path to be followed with specific checkpoints towards success
Pep Talks? Don't you mean sermons?
Our own set of vocabulary: nanoisms, pansting, nanowrimo, word war
Paraphernalia: wine and wafer? More like coffee and paper!
Widely known and venerated origin story, complete with a change in dates of the actual events to the date that event is celebrated; as March became December, July became November
A published Nano author is revered as a saint, and their published Nano writing is lovingly preserved at HQ
Outward signs of the writer: a laptop and a pen, and a tired, wild eyed stare
Sunday socials with food as an integral element
One can be a lapsed, or even a reborn, nanoer.
Mini-bosses (Vancouver-specific) are priests, sent to subsections of the region
We hear voices in our heads and do what they tell us to
Christening: signing up at the site and giving yourself your nano name (username)
Baptism/Confirmation: getting a certificate when you've won
Old merchandise? More like early artifacts.
The Pope's hat: the Viking Helmet
Dead Sea Scrolls: first nanos; impossible to find and very precious
Validating word count: a significant ceremony that must be completed by a certain time
Forbidden actions: deletion and white out, punishable by discommunication or evisceration in fiction (as the pen is mightier than the sword)