Productivity Updates – how I’m writing every day

I’ve been working on building the habits I started during NaNoWriMo into a daily writing practice and I’d like to show you how I’ve been keeping track of my writing goals for the month of January: Continue reading

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Is Lolita a Failure of Empathy?

Can you identify with a character who’s barely there, based only on a common gender? This is the question that sprang to mind when I read Rebecca Solnit’s piece, “Men Explain Lolita to Me”. In the article, she talks about how men reacted to her saying that she identified with Lolita when she read Lolita. One commenter told her that none of the characters in Lolita are meant to be “identified” with.

Some of my favorite novels are disparaged in a fairly shallow way. To read Lolita and ‘identify’ with one of the characters is to entirely misunderstand Nabokov.

I disagree with that premise. I don’t think anyone would write a book, especially one that goes so deeply into the main character’s head as Nabokov does with Humbert Humbert, with the intention that the reader shouldn’t identify with any of the characters. When I read Lolita, I identified mostly with Humbert Humbert. I felt bad for Lolita, but I couldn’t pretend to be able to get inside her head when Nabokov gives her little space to express her own perspective. I took a class on Animal Theory once and in that class we talked about the difference between sympathy and empathy. What I felt for Lolita was sympathy, not empathy. Continue reading

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