Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hooked On NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo starts in a few hours. I am bouncy with anticipation. I do not intend to stay up until midnight and then begin writing. That's just not how I work. Instead I will get up in the morning and write and write and write. NaNoWriMo is such a great time of the year. I think I prefer it to hunting season when I was a kid. I do not hunt anymore, I do not like killing animals. It's just a matter of personal preference. I will eat them, but I will not kill them. In a way, NaNoWriMo has replaced my need for something fun and solitary yet not solitary to do during the month of November. That sentence could use a nice overhaul, so let me explain. When hunting one tries to find a place alone, however, when the sun rises above the trees one can always see glimpses of orange not too far away. Those are the other hunters who are also trying to find a place alone. As the day wears on you will hear gunshots from all around you. Sometimes it's like a war zone or something. Eventually you will return home to get on the phone with your neighbors and ask who got a deer and then your relatives call.

NaNo is similar, it just takes longer to get your novel written and -- in my case at least -- you are more assured of winning. I write alone, but there are hundreds of thousands of people all over the world writing at the same time. They can talk to me and I can talk to them via the forums at the NaNoWriMo website. I am not afraid to write a book the same way that I am afraid to shoot an animal. I think I liked hunting best because I could just sit there outside in the quiet. If I saw a deer I did not actually have to kill it. I could just tell everyone that it was an impossible shot. Of course, that never happened, but it was an idea that crossed my mind. Not so in NaNo. I never even think of losing, let alone doing it on purpose! I would not do NaNo if I was not absolutely certain I could win.

This year I have decided to dedicate this month of writing to my friend C. who passed away a couple weeks ago. I worked with him back in Indiana and I am pained at his passing. He was also a writer, not published and he liked sci-fi. It's a very sad story. Of the friends I made back in Indiana he was not the closest, but he was one of the few at my workplace who got to know me when I was just a temp instead of waiting for me to be a permanent employee. Most people do not talk to the temps because we do not stick around. So that meant a lot to me. I never took the time to tell him that. I was unable to be there at his memorial, in fact, I did not find out about his death until after his funeral. So, I am going to give him my own memorial by basing a character off of him. It's the least I can do.

I guess I better get to work on my last few plot notes and character sketches. The big day is tomorrow! Wish me luck!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Tale Of Two Rallies

On Friday I went to a Ron Paul rally. I listened to Ron Paul give the best speech I have ever heard in my entire life. Most of the speech appeared completely unrehearsed. I saw RP look at his notes once and only once. He looked his audience in the eyes and I am absolutely certain there was no teleprompter behind us. That man was not reading, he was speaking from his heart. He explained some rather complex concepts to us about the economy and how it connects with foreign policy. But it was all perfectly understandable. For once I felt like a speaker was not talking down to me, and actually believed I have the intelligence to understand something other than an upbeat blurb. I got a Ron Paul button and a sign. I cheered with the crowd. From where I sat I could have taken two steps and been standing right next to Ron Paul. There were quite a few other people up there with me. And we all sat neatly in our chairs and clapped when Ron Paul said something that was good to hear. We made sure not to clap or cheer too long, you know, let the man have his say. I gave Ron Paul a standing ovation along with everyone else at the end. Then I quietly decided to let the people who had never met Ron Paul throng him and I went home. Actually, throng would be the wrong word to use. They lined up in a neat greeting line and walked up to him in an orderly fashion. All in all, there were 300+ people at the rally, which, I think, is good.

Contrast that experience with the Bush rally I attended back in 2000. Yes, I did go to a Bush rally. No I do not like Bush and even in 2000 I had some misgivings about him despite my concerted efforts to get the man elected. Easy to say in retrospect . . . I digress. There were about a thousand people at the Bush rally. I was near the front of the crowd. The rally was held in a small stadium and the people had to stand on the cement floor to listen to a speech that we had heard many times before. When Bush entered they played some upbeat and overly loud song and we all cheered like he was a rock star (which he is not). Bush did not look at the crowd much of the time, or at least, not where I was. This may have been partly because he was standing on a platform high above our heads. At the end of the speech I got smashed against the side of the stage by a mass of screaming, struggling people. It is amazing that nobody got hurt. I managed to get a sign I had autographed by Bush and I managed to shake his hand as he walked past me. But he did not look me in the eye or even see me. All he saw were my hands sticking out of the crowd. The people right next to me on either side did not get autographs or handshakes. It took me hours to leave the rally. The press of the crowd was overwhelming and infuriating.

I think the biggest difference between these two rallies would be accessibility. Ron Paul supporters feel like Ron Paul will listen to us. He's a regular guy, just like we are and he has no sense of celebrity-ness even though he's famous and we all love him. When Ron Paul is there we are very excited, but we do not have that same desperation that drove the Bush fans to crush me against the wall. We do not mob RP, we just walk up politely, say hello and ask him some questions. I am sure not every RP supporter is that nice to him, but the majority are. There is no one attempting to keep us away from Ron Paul although there is security available. They just do not have much of a job. The Bush people made it impossible for his potential constituents to talk to or reach Bush by putting up an actual fence between us. That made people crazy, it made them feel like Bush was not hearing them. I doubt that we would have mobbed Bush if he had been standing on our own level and we had been asked to line up. Had we been able to ask him questions like Ron Paul supporters can we probably would not have been such a messy crowd.

I am not going to compare the actual candidates in this post, just the rallies and the way things were done. I can definitely say that "it is a far, far better thing I do now than I" did when Bush was running.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

This Am I

Taking a different angle on my life than the usual serious note you get on my blog, I have decided to tell you a few stories about myself that may shock. I am not always the cool headed, political analyst you read about on here. So, I will begin with a story from yesterday and go back through the years to reveal a few more incidents in my life that may surprise my noble readers.

1) Craig and I went to the mall on a whim last night. It was already 8:30pm and I was not sure when the mall would close. I was banking on 9pm as we live in that kind of a town. I paused after passing through the door of the mall to scrutinize the hours. Of course, they were on the outside of the door, so I was reading them backwards. I muttered to myself as I did this, "10am to 9pm Monday thru Saturday."

Suddenly Craig said, "Why are you staring at the man?"

I was surprised by this, because I had seen no man at all. As we walked away I asked Craig what he was talking about and he told me I had been staring at a homeless man who was standing right in front of me as I looked at the door. I guess the guy was eating a sandwich and started to look surprised at my concentrated stare. So, yeah, apparently I accidentally ogled some homeless guy with a sandwich. Out there somewhere, is a person who might recognize me the next time he sees me, but I will never know what he looks like. All I saw were the store hours and tell me, how would this guy know I was reading store hours? Who reads store hours backwards through a door?

2) I lived in Washington, D.C. for a while and I worked in one of the House Office Buildings. One day as I was on my way home from work -- keep in mind this was not my first day -- I got on the elevator and pushed the first floor button. When the door opened I got off and started walking. I arrived at the place where the outer entrance should have been, but it was not there. I started wandering around the floor searching for the entrance. I began to panic after 20 minutes or so. I was trapped inside a building, would I ever get out? I noticed the red exit signs and decided to follow them. They took me to the elevator and stairs. Yes, indeed. I had got off on the third floor instead of the first (of a four story building, mind you).

3) Craig, myself and my roommate went to Wal Mart one time near Halloween during my senior year of college. We were just walking into the entrance when I noticed something moving to my right, out of the corner of my eye. My peripheral vision is extremely good, my reaction time is even better. I turned to face a monstrous, dancing, singing skeleton and I screamed for all I was worth. Then I realized it was not real. There was a woman mopping the floor nearby and she just about ended up rolling on the floor with laughter.

So, there you have it. Three stories that illustrate the fact that I am not perfect. Are you disillusioned?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Changes Effective

Frequenters of my blog may note a couple changes in my sidebar. First, I have switched my Ron Paul logo to an actual Ron Paul promotional thing and linked it to his official election '08 site. Second, I removed the Pence '08 link and very cool looking icon. I believe I have paid enough homage to the idea of Mike Pence running for president. He is not going to, that's sad, but I am making the best of things by throwing my support behind an even more fiscally conservative gentleman. Lastly, I replaced Pence's spot with my NaNoWriMo participant icon. It is linked to the NaNo site. I used to have this particular icon and link down at the bottom of my list of links. I decided that it deserves a higher spot on the list, so there you go.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Back In The Race

It has been a while since I have done anything related to the Ron Paul for president campaign other than read the news. Today I finally rejoined the ranks of the committed and crazy. I went to the campaign office in my town and made phone calls. Fortunately, they were what we call "warm calls." That means the people had already put their names in the hat as Ron Paul supporters. The idea was to get them to register Republican, go to the Iowa Caucus on Jan. 3rd and maybe even recruit more supporters.

It went fine. I am not a big fan of making phone calls to random people. But I signed up to help out every week. The fact is I need to help and I know it. I care about this cause, I need to put my best foot forward. That's how I am. When I care, I act. I do not just sit on the sidelines and watch other people act. In fact, doing that makes me feel like a less worthwhile person. I am proud of myself for working the phones.

After I made it through one page of numbers I asked to do something different for a while. Like I said, I hate making phone calls to random people. As I get used to the idea I will probably be less apprehensive about it. But after the first time I needed something else to do so I could blow off steam. Most Ron Paul supporters are pleasant and interested people. I did have one guy get mad at me because he was on his way to catch a plane and another gal got annoyed because she was heading to class. A) I am a volunteer B) they're the ones who answered their phones when they were busy. People always put blame on innocent parties for their own issues.

Oh well, for the most part I got to talk to some interested and excited RP supporters. That was good. I'll keep trying. It's all I can do.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

T-Minus Fifteen

The only fact my brain seems capable of processing at the moment is that I only have to wait 15 more days until NaNoWriMo. Another year has passed. I used to count the years by my birthday or by New Year's Day, or both. Now I count them by the 50k word novel I write in 30 days or less. I am so excited I have almost nothing to say. Of course, this being the final days before I become a recluse I should work harder at writing some interesting posts. We will see.

So, this year I am doing a rewrite of a fairy tale which no one reads. Hence, there's not point in me telling you what it is. It reminds me of Robinson Crusoe in that things keep happening which add to the plot, but there is not a central fantasy plot so to speak. It is a story of events and characters. There is no main bad guy or evil thing that the main characters have to overcome. This is mainly because I think books like that are kind of stupid. Not all of them, but I am rather tired of the Evil Overlord trying to destroy the known world for no reason whatsoever. At least no reason that said Overlord is capable of describing. I am also tired of the Perfect Hero saving the day by being more powerful than the Evil Overlord. Where is the suspense in that? However, I do like big battles at the end. So maybe I can throw in one of those.

I have no main Evil Overlord and my story will be from the point of view of what should be a side character. For the bad guy I just have an ambitious guy who made a mistake. The only way out of the mistake is to conquer the kingdom. Oh yeah, and there's some magic, a witch, a pair of brothers and some weird animals who can talk. Not sure what to do about the animals yet, they frighten me with their cliche-ness. I am writing the story from the point of view of the bad guy's girlfriend. I thought it would be fun to write a story with a female lead for once. A new step for me. She's not a bad person either. Yes, I have a hero, or a couple of heroes. The focus is not on the heroes nor is it on the bad guy being bad. It is on the development of the main character and the events that occur to change that character. The story is the journey. In a way it is my own journey as well. I learn as I write.

After all, there are two main points to NaNoWriMo. The first is to write your heart out. The second is to try something you have not tried before. I will employ both this November. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Am Just That Good

My friend at Audendi tagged me with this task:

Make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It’s not really bragging, it’s an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list. Tag four other writers or artists whom you’d like to see share their strengths.

1. Subtlety - I write subtle, if you know what that means. I am good at writing with subtlety. I have spent the last year or so working on subtleness in writing. Before that I had a knack for writing humor without the blatant comments, I simply did not practice that knack. Now, however, I think I have earned the right to call it one of my writing strengths.

2. Wit - This does not just mean that I am funny. There is more to wit than humor. Wit requires intelligence. You know, the ability to mock someone without that person realizing that you are mocking them. I am able to do this in writing. Of course, most of the time the reason the person I am mocking does not know I am doing it is because he or she is too important to read my blog.

3. Action - To me action is the part where you tell the reader what just happened. I can tell people what just happened and it will make sense. It might take me a few times writing the story for the sense part to come in, but it does. Specifics are important to action, so I always focus on the specifics.

4. Insight - I can pinpoint the problem and strike to its heart instead of just edging around it. I can summarize the heart of the issue in a way that is both instructive and entertaining to the reader. That is insight. I may not always get all the main points of an issue, but I am only one woman with one point of view. I see the big picture and I do my best to bring up what I see to be the central point. And I am damn good at it.

5. Humanity - I have both humor and insight, but I am not above the rest of the human race and I do not seem to be so. I come across as able to relate to the average person. I am down to earth and easygoing even when I am in the throes of describing my biggest pet peeve.

I suppose that I should tag some people now. Consider yourself tagged if you want to participate in this exercise. Yes, Little Cicero and Emily that means you.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another Year

It's my birthday. Yesterday it was pouring rain. Today the sun is out and it is beautiful. I don't see a cloud in the sky. Here's hoping I have no birthday clouds either.

Oh yeah, my car broke down yesterday so I may not be able to go to work today. I am not seeing how this is such a bad thing. Unless, of course, I do not get the car back in time for Craig to take me out to dinner.

Edit: Yes, I got the car back in time for work and for a good birthday dinner. To those of you who want to tell me happy birthday and cannot do so because of my blog's google account requirement I can explain. I got some anonymous spammers a while back who said nothing helpful. I found that changing my blog to google account only comments kept the spammers away.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Time Waits For No One

Sometimes I pause to wonder what I have accomplished in my life and if I will ever accomplish anything. Looking at people who are much younger than myself and are already famous and seem fairly well balanced scares me a little. Perhaps I should not compare myself to others. I know, we all do it. It's probably only a discouragement in the long term. Maybe it pushes me a little to work on the goals I have for my life. But then again, maybe it just makes me cycle into a few moments of self pity that will never help me get anywhere.

I want to be an author. I have completed the second draft of a fantasy novel. I am tied up working on the second draft of a science fiction novel -- my current masterpiece. It requires a few more chapters added to the middle of the book, a new ending (I have planned for that) and a total revamping of the bad guy character. He's too stupid. I also want to do something consequential with my life. Like being the CEO of a company or something. Someday it might be nice to use my poli-sci background writing for a political journal of some kind. Oh yeah, and I would like to have a family at some point in all this.

I know I said a while back I was thinking of going into psychology or social work. I changed my mind. Among other things I do not have the drive to spend the amount of time necessary to learn all that. However, I did have an alternative idea -- suggested to me actually -- about going to grad school for Public Administration. I have been looking at the universities in my area and have discovered one very good PA Masters program. So, now I have to study for the GRE and take it. Another scary beginning step.

There are many things I want to be and it seems only one thing that I am: a dreamer. I hope that changes sometime in the near future. After all, I am not getting any younger.