Asides

November 1st is just around the corner, and I’m getting ready to start my first experience with writing a novel from start to finish. I’ve begun countless writing projects when I was younger, with vast world building and detailed cultures, religions and even appearances. In fact, I can clearly remember that my creative juices were just as plentiful as my imagination.

I used to think that those days have evaporated with the passing of time and the filling up of the brain with all that immense information download that was my undergrad at University of Toronto. Now I’m convinced that this is not the be all end all, and that I can in fact bring back my productivity to pre-uni levels.

Many authors get asked if they listen to music, while they write. One of my favorite authors, Jacqueline Carey, says she doesn’t listen to music at all. She is also very much a plotter, not a pantser, so I believe that music wouldn’t really influence her writing that much either way. As I start thinking about my own writing, I wonder which path is more to my liking. I know that I tend to write whenever the mood strikes me, but I’ll have to change that habit into a daily routine – starting in November and hopefully carrying on after that. I’d like to think that I’m more of a pantser, and even look forward to listening to specific songs for inspiration.

My main goal is to return to writing as a full-on hobby, especially now that I’ve quit my Master’s program. I do feel much more liberated given that I don’t have the next two years chained down to a required monthly salary (to pay for school and other expenses), or a busy schedule (I would be in school for two years straight due to courses offered every semester) and most importantly, I don’t feel like I’m tied down to a specific career destination. I’m not even sure if I want to stay in education for the rest of my life, and I definitely don’t know (and haven’t had any experience) if I want to do education administration either (which was the M.Ed program).

I really hope that I complete the word count for NaNo. I’m writing this particularly as a reminder for those days when I slack off, or fall behind on my daily word count in the coming month!

The genre completely escapes me. I’m tempted to write fantasy or sci-fi, in only in ode to my childhood stories. Well, that and also the fact that those genres make up the bulk of my own reading! I considered a fun chick lit piece, perhaps inspired by my own life here in South Korea, but I just don’t know if I could do it. Or, I just don’t know enough about fashion brands, or contemporary dating schemes or… whatever else there’s a lot of in those books! I do enjoy an occasional guilty pleasure foray into that section of the bookstore, but definitely not enough to go on for a novel. Romance was another option, but again, I don’t think too fondly about raping the thesaurus for a 1001 words for penis. Or I could just resort to “below the waist” or even “down there” and refer to “body wash smell” and how the guy’s pants would “hang off his hips” a few times each page. I still can’t get over how popular the “Grey” trilogy has become. Simply astounding how such a poorly written excuse of a novel has sold millions! How did any editor in the world allow that to happen…

Anyway, enough of that.

I’m still not sure where to start. Currently, my novel synopsis is quite tongue-in-cheek, although it’s probably not to far off:

“An unusual heroine is the only one who can save her world from utter destruction by an evil force.”

Pretty great, right?

Seriously, now. What to do, what to do. Hmm…

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo

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The horse’s black hide shimmered before the cold moonlight could capture it in its snare. He threw his head viciously in the air,nearly unseating the dark man riding upon him. Monstrous nostrils gaped out, steam pouring out like from a geyser. His golden eyes pierced my heart.

That night I had decided to follow the path they raced upon, retracing each forbidden hoof print with the delicate flicker of my haunted eyes. Again he caught me unaware, two dark shadows thundering off into the night, just when I dared to blink.

In the dim of dust I followed the slivers of stardust littering the moist earth. All I could see was a dark figure on the horizon, always eluding me. The cool air shimmered with tension and the land was coated with a dreadful silence. I had the sudden urge to look up ahead of me.

My heart skipped a beat.

There they stood, unmoving, less than three strides away. The black stallion snorted, spraying the cold earth with his hot sweat. I gazed up at the rider astride the massive beast. Sharp, cat-like eyes ensnared me, thick black hair framing a pale face. He had caught me staring at him and laughed, a warm light sparked in his eyes before dying. I unconsciously pulled my grimy fingers through my long tangles, looking up at the mesmerizing apparition before me.

“So it was you who was following since that last bend?”

The Highwayman Came Riding

The yellow grass swayed in the warm breeze

Basking in the harsh rays of the noon sun

Nothing else moved

It seemed that the world had been put on hold

The blades of grass its rasping breath

Far away

Where the hazy horizon met the brazen earth

Stood an ancient wonder

The massive branches reached for the heavens

The trunk solid as a war-hardened soul

The great warrior was old

Bark showed the scaring of the ages

Etched forever in rigid skin

So bizarre was its existence

Nature’s freak

In an ocean of sun and dry grass

Sea green leaves hung from its limbs

Dancing in the gentle wind

The hill where the tree stood

Littered with gold red orange and green

A niche buried deep into its depths

A passage hewed with small paws

A safe haven

If one listened closely

The sound of fox pups nursing

Of mice nibbling

Of ants working

Could be heard

The burrow led far under the earth

Farther than any animal ever ventured

It ran deep

Tinkling the Mother’s skin

And then disappearing

Into the fire of the center

 

Abruptly the wind blew harder

Scattering the leaves to the sky

The strong burst tore off

A solitary acorn

Flinging it to the parched soil

It rolled slowly

Picking up speed until

It collided with the wall of the fox burrow

It did not loiter long

A resident mouse

Snatched up her treasure

Not speculating its origins

A day’s rations had fallen from the heavens

 

Not only the hungry mouse stirred

A hawk soared high above

Silently

With a hidden purpose

A fly buzzed in an antelope’s ear

A cheetah flew silently across the plains

Its lithe paws barely touching the ground

A lion roared

A creek sparkled

A leaf rustled

 

The world woke

As the sun withdrew its blinding rays

 

 

 

In the east

The starry heavens had reappeared

In the west the burning death

Of the sun

Flooded the land with red blood

A flock of swans erupted into a forced flight

Barely escaping the hunger pangs

Of a wild dog

As the sky faded to a blue-black

And the celestial jewels

That decorated the dark land above

Dazzled

The world awoke

 

The small stream

Sparkling in the fading light

One last salute to the departing day

The golden grass slowed its ballet

As the gentle wind blew

One last breath

Across the darkening land

 

The full moon had risen unnoticed

With a tingle of red

The silver orb sent beams

Of silver thread

Upon the golden plains

Flooding the land with a new light

One that didn’t blind or bother

It wove a carpet of silver gold

Enveloping all with its serenity

 

Right now

A thousand leagues away

A new day had arisen

Flooding the same earth

With the same rays of light

That had so recently

Basked the golden plains

Further still

Past the earth

Past the golden globe we call our own

Blew a bitter wind

And still the wind blew

Scattering the stars in the sky

The great storm shook

Infinite anger

As the cold wind slowed to an dubious breeze

Dust and light entwined

Jumped and danced

The red nebula glowed

Feasted on new life

Small dust balls glittered in its light

Brought silver on the seam

Twinkled and laughed

The blue sun shuddered

Erupting gold into the void

 

Further still

One star flickered

Cried out its joy

For the beginning of time

Of Endings and Beginnings

Last night, I decided that I would quit school.

After tossing and turning all night, I managed to gleam an hour of sleep, just enough to keep my eyes open enough to smear on the eyeliner. I wrestled with my sorry excuse of a synthetic hair wig, before giving up on its impossibly tangled tresses.

The cat preened and purred, then frantically attacked a lone q-tip, when I wouldn’t acknowledge him. I finally walked out the door, tripping over an overly attached feline, countless empty water bottles and my uninspired shoe collection.

Just another Monday.

And yet not! I down my morning coffee, check my email through squinty, sleepy eyes, and send off my voluntary withdrawal form to my university.

If you’re wondering what prompted this seemingly rash decision, let me provide some context. I had applied for a Master’s in Education program at an Ontario university, offered online, so I could continue to work in South Korea. Unfortunately, my program of choice (Comparative and International Education) was changed from hybrid onsite/online to fully online, after I had applied, so my application was rejected. Nevertheless, the school offered me a spot in a new fully online M.Ed program (Leadership in Education Policy) instead. I took it without much thought, eager to be given a second change to pursue my graduate studies. Little did I know, this would be the most abysmally boring program in existence. The past month has been a veritable exercise in perseverance. I have never had so much difficulty to be invested or even mildly interested in a subject matter. I suppose I should have realized this before accepting, but I had my yay-graduate-school blinkers on.

As my step-mom put it, “I was rather surprised that you decided to pursue a degree in a subject that has nothing at all in common with your interests”.

So here I am, typing away. Writing. Putting finger-shoved electronic letters to a crisp white screen. Words. A written kind of inkblot. I wonder what others will see?

How Quitting School Was the Best Thing for my Writing

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