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Blowing off the dust... [13 Jan 2004|11:04am]
Well, this journal hasn't seen much action lately.

To be honest, since Odyssey--or more precisely, the fiasco that ensued after--I haven't even felt like writing emails to anyone, much less journals. Or stories.

At least I'm getting back to the journaling. The jury is still out on the fiction.

I have actually started another livejournal, travelingmuse, to document the traveling I'm planning on this year. I am building a website related to that. I was going to let this journal die (I know, like it wasn't already dead?) but I found myself adding friends and groups to my travelingmuse journal that just didn't fit. So I decided to embrace my bi-polarity and have two journals, with this one being more personal and a different focus of interests.

Right now, that personal life is in chaos. I've been contemplating moving overseas seriously for the last couple of years and have started putting the plans in place to make it a reality. I have my nursing license in New Zealand, but I'm thinking about the UK so I could have easy access to all of Europe. I have to see if I can get my license there. Hope that will all work out, because even if I do decide to go ahead to NZ, it would be nice to have the UK license for travel assignments and to make extra money if I want to run away to Europe for a few months. (Beats picking fruit. I guess...or maybe not?)
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Still alive and kicking...sort of... [27 Jul 2003|10:00am]
[ mood | drained ]

To those precious few of you who actually pay attention, I just want to drop a line to say I will be updating in a few days. I'm still recovering from the post-shock of Odyssey and trying to integrate back into the "real world," which sucks just as much as it did when I left it.

No surprises there.

I promise a big overview of my Odyssey experience, sans the infamous Wolfe fiasco. I'm not going there.

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The Odyssey continues... [20 Jun 2003|02:53pm]
[ mood | creative ]

Yesterday was long, because after class I had a my first meeting with Jeanne which was over an hour, then we had a reception for Melissa Scott at 7pm. I was about to fall over. After my meeting with Jeanne I was bursting with ideas anbd trying to write them down but had to stop for this reception (2 hours.) On top of that, we get out at 9pm then had to go home and do our crits. Since there was a guest speaker here, we did THREE stories so more people can get in with the guests. I got home after the reception and tried to write down more about my meeting with Jeanne, then collapsed, and got up at 4:30 am to do my crits. Today we had class till noon with Melissa, including an exercise. We had to make up an "artifact", as in something for a sci-fi world. The we handed them to the person behind us and had to write a story based ont he other persons artifact. I am so NOT a sci-fi writer. Then we broke for lunch for half hour, then went back and formed the circle of carnage till 3pm. Afterward, those who had private meeting with Melissa met with her (of which I was one) then we all meet again at 5 pm to go out to diner together.

I will say it is an incredible group who give excellent critiques and are really tactful for the most part. That was refreshing. Although it's still hard ot put your "baby" out in the circle to be torn to shreds. Now it's getting really interesting because most of us have used up what we had written in advance and now we're going to be showing all our flaws with new, unpolished work.

Quotes of the day:
"A duck is too goofy for a vampire story."
"After I read this I was afraid to go to the bathroom alone."
"I have a problem with Lutheran vampires. It's a personal thing."

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PS [18 Jun 2003|08:19pm]
And on top of all the other shit, I didn't even get an interview for the Wellington job. That causes me some concern -- hope nothing is wrong. I do think they were looking for someone with a bachelors degree and at least working on a masters. Oh well, who wants to live in Wellington, anyway, right?
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New lows... [18 Jun 2003|07:53pm]
[ mood | stressed ]

I am discovering all new lows of self-esteem. I came here at about zero and now I'm dwelling in sub-zero levels. Underground caverns of self-confidence. I used to make jokes about how I should be the poster child of SAD--Social Anxiety Disorder.

Those jokes aren't funny anymore.

The prospect of meeting up with 16 strangers to bare my soul has reduced me to an emotional mess this week. I've lost count of the anxiety attacks...and I haven't even been critiqued yet. This isn't pretty.

We have lecture every day form 9:30 to 11:00 AM, then start to critique the two manuscripts we recieved the day before. To critique, we all form a circle, and then the carnage starts with the first person on the author's left and ends with the instructor. Even THIS has me anxious, as I hate being the center of attention. I think the social aspects of the situation are harder for me than the critique part.

This lasts till approximately 1 pm, then class is done for the day. But we have two new stories then that need written critiques. I go home (my student housing townhouse), grab lunch and start the stories. I usually don't finish my crits for the next day till 5 or 6 pm. Next comes dinner break. Then I have a journal entry/exercise to do. These take an hour or two. Now it's around 8 pm, and I'm finally free to start writing, if I can. This is after about 10-11 hours of working and lecture except with only breaks to eat. I'm dead tired. I haven't even checked my damn email I've been so busy.

Now is when I like to have my anxiety attacks, fretting over the fact that I'm blocked, that people are going to hate my stories and that people just hate me because they can see, or will see, what a freak I am, even in this company.

I'm doing my first meeting with Jeanne tomorrow to go over my pre-Odyssey assignments and get some feedback. This includes the first chapter of my novel and a synopsis. I know I have to do a major overhaul--I've already commited at least one of the cardinal sins of writing on this one, and since it was origianlly in first person POV, it's almost all "telling" not "showing." Fuck.

The other thing that makes me so anxious is the quality of the writers and critiques is much higher than I expected. That's a good thing, but increases my anxiety tenfold. I feel like I don't belong here, and I feel like they will think the same, especially when they find out I was the recipient of the second place scholarship to attend. They're going to be thinking I didn't deserve it.

I'm trying to be courageous and stick to my voice, even though I don't think many of them will like it, but then again, who knows? By next week, I will.

This week I have a private meeting with Melissa Scott to discuss my application story, then next week I will have a private meeting with Bruce Holland Rogers. Nobody seemed to want that, so it was the only option left when it came to signing up for a critique day or meeting.

Why did I do this to myself? I really am a masochist!

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Back to square one... [12 Jun 2003|03:23pm]
[ mood | disappointed ]

Over the last few weeks, I've been thinking about this book I want to write and the direction I want it to take. The problem comes down to the fact that I started this novel a few years ago, and my perspective and approach are completely different from where I'm at now.

Jeanne Cavelos helped me find a good analogy for the situation. I started out wanting to make an irreverant, blasphemous book that was a big "fuck you" to the Xian Church (I refuse to put "Christ" in there because the Church and Christ have very little in common if you ask me)...

Anyway, although it wasn't funny -- to say the least -- the approach to religion was more like the movie Dogma, in the way it took jabs at the church. Plus it really fell into the angsty, goth cliche. It was turning into an Anne Rice treatment for Biblical characters. That I don't need and the inevitable comparisons... Anne Rice...Diana Price...

Does this book sound like it sucked? Well, yeah, pretty much.

But now I'm geniunely struggling with issues of God and redemption and reconciliation with some kind of spiritualty and want to write something with some substance. As you may have guessed, Jeanne's analogy for the new approach I've discussed with her would be more like the film The Last Temptation of Christ.

So now I'm looking back through 100 pages of writing or so and realizing I am going to have to start all over again. That doesn't mean I won't be able to use different bits and pieces, but this just isn't going to work, because when I try to edit, I get a combination of Dogma and Christ and it's disjointed as hell. My main character sounds schizo, the way he flip flops back and forth.

To see most of this work go down the drain is killing me. Yes, I know the process I went through with what I wrote was important to get to this point, but it still pretty much sucks. My only consolation is that now I should be able to get a clear focus on what I'm trying to do and what I'm trying to say.

Instead of presenting a chapter when I arrive, I'm going to pull an old story out of my archives that I'm not happy with and see if I can get some insight to bring it up to snuff. In fact, I think I will spend the first half of the workshop writing short stories, since Jeanne recommends this anyway to improve my writing quicker. Then maybe I can run the first few chapters by my class as we get to the end.

I have to slow down. I've been thinking I would just work round the clock for these six weeks to crank out a rough draft of the novel. Yeah, I know how crazy that sounds, but I have known people who get on a roll with an idea and it just flows.

But that is NOT going to happen with me. Major reality check. This is far too complex.

The most important thing is to get clear on what I am trying to say and learn the tools to say it well, then I can write this beast.

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Spirit + Flesh [12 Jun 2003|12:54pm]
[ mood | sad ]

I've been reading bits of Kazantzakis' book, The Last Temptation of Christ, and particularly the afterword about the author. I have never found anything that so described many of the internal spiritual struggles raging inside me. Nor have I found anything that so describes what I am trying to accomplish with my writing. About Kazantzakis:

"He wanted, rather, to lift Christ out of the Church altogether, and -- since in the twentieth century the old era was dead or dying -- to rise to the occasion and exercise man's right (and duty) to fashion a new saviour and thereby rescue himself from a moral and spiritual void...

"Kazantzakis tried to draw Christ in terms meaningful to himself and thus, since his own conflicts were those of every sensitive man faced with the chaos of our times, in terms which could be understood in the twentieth century: he wished to make Jesus a figure for the new age, while still retaining everything in the Christ legend which speaks to the conditions of all men of all ages."

P. A. Bien (translator of the English version of The Last Temptation of Christ)

Kazantzakis wrote one of the most deeply moving and spiritual books of our times, and his reward for writing something so misinterpreted and so misunderstood was that when he died, the Archbishop refused to let his body lie in state in a church in his native Greece. He was able to write about the path, because he knew the path, because he walked the path, more so than the people who call him a blaspehmer and heretic.

"The dual subtance of Christ -- the yearning, so human, so superhuman, of man to attain to God or, more exactly, to return to God and identify himself with him -- has always been a deep inscrutable mystery to me. This nostalgia for God, at once so mysterious and so real, has opened in me large wounds and also large flowing springs.

"My principle anguish and the source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onward has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh."

Nikos Kazantzakis

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[12 Jun 2003|04:14am]
[ mood | stressed ]

Okay, I have spent WAY too much time browsing for communities and playing with the colors on my journal, which I'm still not happy with (and likely never will be.)

Why am I doing this when I should be preparing for a writing workshop that is so important I've completely rearranged my life to go to it? I'm sure there is some psychological misfire that's causing this procrastination.

Maybe I'm scared of the whole thing -- scared to find out I really suck at writing and should give it up. Or worse, that I don't suck and will spend the rest of my life trying to attain a goal I'll never reach. I really don't feel like I'm good enough to make a go of it and I feel completely lost trying to figure out what to do with this novel. Or novel idea, more precisely.

I know, I know...the logical thing is to get off the fucking internet and get to work, lest I create a self-fulfilling prophecy by showing up with something half-assed. I fully expect any traces of ego to be annihilated once and for all by the end of the six weeks after I get ripped to shreds by my instructor and my peers.

This is going to hurt. And not the "good" kind of hurt...

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Meltdown [10 Jun 2003|10:12pm]
[ mood | discontent ]

I had a small thermonuclear meltdown today. I was totally blowing every problem out of proportion and borderline hysterical. I mean, I was a "mushroom-cloud laying motherfucker" this morning.

The DSL was fucked up again, so I screamed at the tech support person. I discovered I have to have my next chapter for Odyssey IN HAND the first day of class and totally freaked, deciding I just wouldn't go. I decided I was going to go work this camp for the summer so I could save up the money for NZ by the end of August and tell my employer to fuck off.

After I calmed down -- one major anxiety attack later -- I realized the only part of that plan I should follow was telling my employer to fuck off, since they're the ones who put me in this state.

I just can't stand the thought of coming back after my six week hiatus to try to work there another 3 months while I save for my move. I am going to have to go with a temp agency.

On the good side, I rang the nursing board in NZ, and although they haven't received my last reference letter yet, the next board meeting is July 23. So as long as I get a letter there by then -- which I now know I should send by FedEx instead of our lame-ass postal system -- I will have my license approved at that meeting.

I should be getting some interviews in the next week or two with the aged care company in Dunedin. I'm anxious to square everything away and set a date. And get the fuck outta here.

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SSDD... [10 Jun 2003|10:11pm]
[ mood | tired ]

I didn't even bother to write yesterday. When I woke up to go back to work Sunday night, I felt pretty much the way I did when I left Sunday morning, and came home to make this entry.

I was already still in a bad mood, then when I got to work, all hell was breaking loose. I'm not even going to write about it since it was just a continuation of yesterday. Although I will say the nurses were fighting so bad I got fed up and told them to take it up with the DON, because I was "tired of babysitting them."

The day supervisor took about 40 minutes to find me to give report, and that whole time I wanted to to leave. Just walk out. I was really "this" close.

Oh well, I only have to do Saturday night 11-7, then I'm off to Odyssey for six weeks. People think I'm nuts when I say I need a break, given I only work weekends, but those weekends kill me with the stress. I had a bitch of a headache when I woke up this afternoon, and I'm guessing my blood pressure was up. The maintenance guy came in this morning, and I slept through it I was so exhausted! I wouldn't have even known he was here except he locked both locks when he left, which we NEVER do.

This week is a bit hectic since I committed to working Wed night at another place where I pick up the occasional shift, and Friday night we have a Smithereens show to go to. We're on the guest list since we know Pat DiNizio. I'm so tired and stressed I don't even feel like I want to go right now.

I sent my resume to a place in New Zealand that recruits for nursing homes in Dunedin. I would really like to end up there, plus this company pays for a one way ticket of you work with them for a year. Worst case scenario, I would have to pay them back if I take another job. I'm trying to take care of some of this stuff before I go to Odyssey, because when I come back, it's just a matter of saving up the money and going. I do want to get a Mac and a decent digital camera before I go, but I won't need any more than three months to save up enough to get started. Of course, I'm not sure how long I can take my current job. We'll see...

I better try to get focused on the writing thing, because I can't seem to get myself motivated. Maybe I'm just waiting till I get there, knowing I will have nothing else to worry about for six weeks. It should be sort-of a vacation...

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[07 Jun 2003|10:08pm]
[ mood | amused ]

Now I know what city I need to move to in New Zealand...

You are Dunedin.

Which New Zealand city are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

You know, it occurs to me that everyone in my interest groups is a lot younger than me. Could this mean I am living an extended adolescence?

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[06 Jun 2003|10:06pm]
I'm sitting here on a Friday morning pissing away time on the computer again -- time I should be using to do some writing. I'm leaving for Odyssey writing workshop in a little over a week and can't seem to get motivated here. I would like to say it's just writers' block, but I think it's writers' lack of confidence. As in none, zip, nada...

I had taken a hiatus from the whole writing nonsense after getting caught up in the bullshit of a certain genre writers' organization which shall remain nameless. Most of the people involved seemed to be nothing more than a bunch of egotistical "small press" writers trying to one-up each other with a bunch of useless writing credits from online zines and anthologies run by friends. Egos running amok. Unfortunately, I got caught up in that same mentality.

I decided to apply to this workshop to set aside six weeks to really take the time to learn something about craft and see if this is something I should pursue further. If I'm lucky, the instructor and guest lecturers will tell me to give it up. I am nervous about the whole experience -- afraid I will find out I have no talent and afraid of what my peers will think when I present my novel I'm working on, which is full of blasphemy. It's also a bit of a mess since I have absolutely no idea how to construct a novel length work. Christ, I can barely put together a short story. Who am I trying to kid here?

I don't know how many times I almost dropped out, but I know if I don't do it now, I never will. Especially since I am planning on moving to New Zealand in the fall. The reasons for that are a whole entry in themselves, but trying to put that together has been quite the time consuming nightmare in itself. I'm finally at the stage where I'm waiting for my nursing license to come through (which should be anytime) then I can secure a job offer, and the rest should be (relatively) simple.

I better start going over that outline again...
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