Ars longa, Vita Brevis: NaNoWriMo 2016

I did NaNoWriMo this year!

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Well, I participated, at least… I didn’t get to the 50,000 word mark but I did get 10,000 words down. I started off really strong the first day, slowed down on day 2, and then got bogged down for two weeks with Comp Sci homework (and then dropped that class) and the shitstorm that was the 2016 election (spent the 8th working the polls). Realized about halfway through the month I should get back to work and wrote a bit more… then every couple of days I wrote a bit and then made a break for 10,000 at the very end. Well, now I know exactly how bad my work habits are…

Even though my totals weren’t that impressive I’m proud of myself for not giving up. I tried to do NaNoWriMo a couple of times in high school, but I never got very far. There were a couple of things I kept in my metaphorical “backback” this year to help me get through the NaNo journey: Continue reading

Trich Tips (BFRB week, pictures)

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It’s the very end (actually the last two hours) of BFRB week. For those of you that don’t know, BFRB stands for Bodily Focused Repetitive Behavior. BFRBs include trichotillomania, an issue that I’ve struggled with since I was about seven years old. Trichotillomania is a condition of unknown origin (not sure if physical or psychological) which causes a person to pull out strands of hair.

The first time I remember pulling was when we were in a hotel room after just moving to Mobile, Alabama. We were looking for a house and I was bored so I was jumping on the bed a lot and generally misbehaving and getting scolded frequently. I remember looking in the mirror – I think I might have had something stuck in my eye – and pulling out a hair. Then I pulled out more hairs “to see what would happen”. I don’t know what I expected to happen. No magical portal to another realm appeared, and I wasn’t imparted with any kind of arcane knowledge. What did appear was a small gap in my eyelashes. Continue reading

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

funnystoryMental-health memoirs are my guilty-pleasure reading for 5 reasons:

Reason 1: They’re relatable. It’s comforting if you have a mental illness (or even if you just get moody sometimes) to know that someone else has had the same experiences.

Reason 2: They provide insights into how to deal with mental illness. You get to follow the protagonist as they grapple with their issues and see where they went wrong and what helped them get better.

Reason 3: They have the most interesting, unique, and mysterious side characters (I will never forget the chicken lady from Girl, Interrupted… *shudder*).

Reason 4: By their very nature they require the writer to dig deep, be honest, and hold nothing back, and consequently by the end you feel like you know the protagonist almost as well as you know yourself.

Reason 5: Schadenfreude – the pleasure of knowing that someone else has it worse than you. Continue reading

Weekly Update #3

Again, not much done this week because of wedding planning and job stress. ^^;

However, I got through 3 chapters of A History of Western Philosophy:

  1. The Rise of Science
  2. Francis Bacon
  3. Hobbes’s Leviathan

(and a little bit into Descartes but I’ll leave that for next time…)

“The Rise of Science” summarizes the work of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. It talks about how Protestantism led the way for the rise of science because it broke up of the Roman Church into national churches, which weakened the Church so it was less able to suppress science. Continue reading

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

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Rating: ☆☆

January 2016

 

I’ve been following Charlie Jane Anders’ career for a couple of years now, and so I was super excited when I heard that she released a science fiction/fantasy novel. She was a writer and editor at i09, a science, science fiction, and pop culture news blog. Charlie Jane Anders is also the host of Writers with Drinks, a cross-genre reading series which you should definitely go to at least once if you like science fiction or literature and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before All the Birds she published two short stories for Tor, a coming-of-age novel about a choir boy, and a humorous guide to casual crossdressing for men and transwomen (The Lazy Crossdresser).

Since i09 and Writers with Drinks are both crossgenre mashups, it’s not surprising that All the Birds in the Sky follows suit, sitting directly on the line between science fiction and fantasy and refusing to be pushed to either side. The structure of the story weaves the two threads of magic and technology together as well as is probably possible (the plot does have a couple of holes, I’ll get into those later). It’s about a girl named Patricia who’s a witch and a boy named Laurence who is a computer wizard. The story starts with the main characters in middle school, skips a few years, and then picks up their story again when they are young adults living and working in San Francisco. Continue reading