readingredhead: (Stranger)
I love books. Just thought I'd mention that. They're so unbelievably earth-changing. My sister and I had a good conversation last night about books that make us cry (she'd just finished A Tale of Two Cities). And today in TOK I'm probably writing an essay about why literature can tell the truth better than other arts or areas of knowledge. Other areas of knowledge I can understand, but it's other arts I'm going to have problems with.

I randomly decided to look up the anthology that I could've gotten published in on Amazon. I felt a little better about myself because there are only 10 stories in the entire book. Of those ten only two thirds are student work. Seven stories picked from writers around the globe -- because also, apparently, this was really an international competition, and not just something on a smaller scale. Apparently, there were thousands of entries? Maybe? To boost my ego?

And apparently, I'm being listed in the book as a runner up. Really, that's pretty cool. It's pretty damn amazing. I feel better about myself and the world today, because of that, and because I just realized that I can put this on my Stanford application supplement. What new awards have you received? An honorable mention in a published anthology. Only thing more kickass would have been getting Julie to write me a letter of rec. That'd show 'em. Except Matt knowd me better, and since I only get one optional letter, I think I made a good choice.

But to start this where I began: books are glorious. Sometime later I'll have to make up a list of the bestest books ever. And I'll have to figure out whether or not I'm doing the "read 52 books in 52 weeks" thing. Because I wanted to do it, but I haven't been keeping up with it? Oh well. Life has so much in store for me.
readingredhead: (Stranger)
It's funny, really. Because I'm sitting here in the wake of my first ever rejection letter, and yet I'm smiling.

I don't even know why, completely. Part of me feels like I should be sobbing at this lost chance. But then another part of me remembers that last day of class at Stanford, when Matt pulled out his folder of shame and showed us his rejection letters, passing them around the table for everyone to read and absorb. We felt his pain through the lines they wrote.

I remember Grisha talking about how he keeps his first ever acceptance letter with him at all times, to give him inspiration or comfort or whatever he needs. And it's funny, because I've been thinking about printing out the e-mail Julie sent me and doing the same thing with it.

Because I realized, my first rejection doesn't just mean my first rejection. It also means the first time I tried. The first time where there was a chance that what would be coming in the mail was an acceptance. It was a taste of greatness, even for a moment. When I saw who the letter was from, adrenaline rushed through me and settled in the pit of my stomach as I scanned the message, looking for the yes or the no. For half a second I thought, "This is it!" But when it wasn't, I realized that that didn't matter -- the feeling I'd had for that half a second was good enough to keep me writing.

And as far as I can tell, my story wasn't rejected because the writing was bad. In fact, Julie had a lot of things good to say for it. The main thing she mentioned in why my story wasn't accepted was that it strayed from the topic of polar science, and that she had to give room in the anthology to people whose plots had focused more around the direct sciences. Which is understandable, considering that I know nothing about polar science and this anthology is supposed to be used as a teaching tool in science classrooms.

If anything, this rejection has encouraged me. I feel like so much more of a writer now that I can say "Look here, see this, this was the letter where I got rejected." Because what it really means is, "Look here, see this, this was the letter where I could've been accepted."
readingredhead: (Default)
Heh, yes folks, this one's actually about current stuff.  Like that life I'm supposedly having.

Well, okay.  So I have a life.  I'm just not amazingly pleased because it involves summer school, and I really wish there was a way that it didn't have to.  Econ itself isn't bad, and I'd rather be taking it over the summer than during the regular school year, but it's still disgusting because I don't get any days to myself, really.  Yesterday, for example.  I left the house at 7:00 for school, then got back at around 1:45, then had group members over to film a project and they didn't leave until six-thirty.  Once they were all gone it was dinner, shower, homework, and bed.

Today will be better than that, because we finished the filming up, but I now have massive amounts of homework (well, okay I exaggerate a little, but still a lot of stuff to do) because we have a project due Friday and I won't have a chance to work on it tomorrow since MUN summer sessions start.

And I'm also still waiting on an e-mail from Julie or someone on the Polaris staff telling me whether or not my biggest dream is set to come true this January.  But my fingers aren't too crossed on the letter coming too soon -- with my luck, it'll show up the very last day of the month.  Granted, I don't care if that means they took more time to adequately review submissions...but still.  I want to know.

And that's really my life at the moment.  Tell you if anything explodes.

A Dream

Jul. 7th, 2006 12:27 pm
readingredhead: (Stranger)
I'm back at home, and it's the fifteenth of July. I look at my watch, just to check and make sure -- yes, I'm right, it's the fifteenth. But maybe that doesn't count as the "middle" of July, exactly -- July has thirty-one days, so maybe at the middle of the night tonight the call will come. But that would even be later for her, since she's in Ontario and a few time zones ahead...

My mind wanders, waiting, wondering, wanting nothing more than the interruption of the telephone to confirm -- what is is? A dream? A miracle?

Or maybe a nightmare. Maybe it won't be what I've always wanted. A call, a voice on the other end. Sorry, it was a really good first try, but we had to be picky, we could only accept so much. You're really talented, though, try again next time! And then the call's over and my dreams are over with it, no, not the way I wanted it to go at all. Maybe I really shouldn't be waiting for the phone to ring.

Maybe it would be better if I held this vigil in front of the computer, with my inbox open, waiting for the letter, because do I really expect a call? I mean, they asked for the phone number...but am I that important?

Yes, I am, to me, but to others it remains a mystery.

So I get up from the couch, sigh, turn on the computer at my desk, sit down in the chair that I have missed all these weeks away, and wait for the opening sequence, hear the hard drive begin to whir --

-- only to be interrupted by the dulcet tone of the telephone beside me, ringing.


Jul. 6th, 2006 03:21 pm
readingredhead: (Default)
Oh, so I forgot to say, but I got an e-mail yesterday from Jana Paniccia, who's helping Julie Czerneda with the anthology thing and who's had stories of hers published in some of Julie's anthologies before. So the e-mail basically said that they'd know which stories were going to be in by the middle of this month! I'm really nervous, really anxious, and full of apprehension and anticipation. There's so much that I imagine could happen, if only Julie likes my work and if only I can get published here, now, by her. I've got to start somewhere, and in my head, this particular story really ought to be the start.

Intoxicating is the idea that what starts must then continue...and I think that there is nothing I would love more than to see a continued writing career blossom from this single story.

I haven't been doing much lately, mostly working on my story, going to class, hanging out. I've more or less got it down to a system, though not quite a routine. But I'm having fun. It's so weird to think that I'm already done with more than half of my stay here--it's gone by so fast! But at least I know that I really want to go here; at least I know that, at Stanford, and even more specifically in a workshop environment, I feel like I can thrive. Living with these kids who are mostly as in to writing as I am has been so wonderful--I can only wait to have another similar experience.

Hugs to all back home, and I hope you're doing well.

I live!

Jun. 28th, 2006 09:42 pm
readingredhead: (Azuria)
So I'm happy -- I re-sent my story for Polaris and got a confirmation e-mail this time. Huzzah! Therefore all my worries are over, and I can focus on the really awesome stories that I'm going to write.

There are so many awesome things happening!

I'm sorry, I took a kind of a nap earlier and so now I'm really radically awake. And this is having some unforseen consequences.

I feel like I'm really getting to know the people here. I feel slightly guilty because there are a bunch of Asian girls who I can't tell apart, but that's probably because they're not in my class, and really, I'm working on it.

On a positive note, I have managed to distinguish between 4 different Katherines and remember which different nicknames they go by (2 Katies, 1 Kate, 1 Katherine).

And all of the people in my class seem interesting. The girls are nice, the boys are funny. Right now, everything is fairly wonderful.


Jun. 27th, 2006 09:43 pm
readingredhead: (Default)
So I'm afraid that the story I sent in for the Polaris anthology didn't get sent. They said they'd send a confirmation e-mail to us when they received the story, but I haven't gotten a single letter on any of the accounts I provided them with. The story's due by the last day of the month so I really need to figure out soon whether or not they got it...but it's harder to do all this because I'm not at home.

It really bothers me, and now I'm sitting here and going back over all of the things that could've gone wrong...

And this is a sure sign that I need to get to bed. I only hope that, in the morning, I'll figure out that the message did get through, or that something went right, or who knows...

Daddy, if you're reading this, will you check my e-mail on my computer at home and see if there's anything there? Thank you.

And now I'm going to do my best to try and stop worrying...I hope...
readingredhead: (Default)
Tomorrow morning, early, I leave to drive up to Stanford, where I'll be staying for three weeks taking a creative writing course. I don't know if I'll have e-mail access (they said specifically not to bring laptops) but I will be writing to people via snail mail -- I did bring stationery. So if you want some letters, let me know your address. I don't have mine on hand now; I'll post it later. If you want to e-mail me during the time I'm there, the address I'll be using is

That said, there are things I have to do:
--Revise & submit short story
--pack clothing
--pack all the other stuff I need
--get all my writing onto a flash drive & print out some of my favorite pieces to bring with
--clean up my room (mother's orders)

It seems like less when I write it down but it's really a lot.

Oh, and if you haven't already, read my story!!! I posted the first draft in my last entry and I really want feedback, but as soon as I submit my final copy, the story portion of that entry will be deleted. Please, I really want feedback....pretty please?


Jun. 21st, 2006 06:17 pm
readingredhead: (Red Pen)
So I came home today and wrote. A lot. At least it feels like I wrote a lot. In reality the length of my story hasn't increased much, thanks to the word count limit. I never realized how hard it was to tell a well-developed story in 5000 words or less! I think I needed at least 2000 to set up the backstory...and I really would have liked to have gone into more detail on a lot of things. Granted, I also would've liked to have taken more time on this overall, but you can't have everything.

It's not done, but by the end of the night it should be there -- at least, that's what I promised myself this afternoon. But for it to end, I have to know how it ends. Well, I know that the hostages get safely recovered, and no one's the wiser as to Japan's involvement. I need to reveal Mr. Robinson's "identity," aka who he's working for. Some closure needs to be brought to the storyline with Jorge & co. -- they need to feel some sort of happiness at having done the job right. So, bullets!

-+-The suits get made
-+-The special ops team goes in
-+-Jorge & co are allowed to listen in on the radio (or if they're not allowed, Mark taps into it and they listen anyway)
-+-The hostages are successfully saved
-+-There is a battle, which the OAS wins
-+-Robinson debriefs Jorge & co
-+-They feel happy
-+-The end.

And all of this in about 900 words! Thankfully, I can probably do it. Which, really, is all that remains: to sit down and do it. I go, I guess.

EDIT: Oh my goodness I'm done! Done! You hear me, I'm done! I finished! In the words of my sister, finito! BOO-yah! Owned!

I'm going to go stop being hyper now and begin the revision...
readingredhead: (Default)
Hm...for some reason my eyes hurt. I don't know why; I just don't feel like keeping them open. So I'm sitting here in the MUN room and listening to all of the signs of lie in the background, combined with the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. It's interesting to figure out what you can sense with your eyes closed. As I sit typing this, I feel at once a part of and yet outside of at least five different conversations that are going on right now. There's the group watching the World Cup in the background, Shashank and Kevin playing chess, Casey and Alex talking about who knows what, Evan Foreman, Mr. Trevino trying to control it all...

Somehow, with my eyes closed, it seems a lot more interesting in here. When I open my eyes I'm subjected to the reality of everything. Conversations become clearer, more intrusive, tackling my consciousness and destroying my drive to write. With my eyes closed, I wasn't nearly as bothered by the world.

This, I think, is why I type: because I can't handwrite with my eyes shut, but typing, at home on my on computer, I don't have to have my eyes. Taking away one sense... I don't know if it really heightens all of the other senses, but I do know that for me it's a worthwhile experience.

And right now I am procrastinating, but I decided a long time ago that as long as I'm writing, I'm not procrastinating as much as I could be. Who knows when thought will come up that I initially find trivial but that later on becomes something important?

Which reminds me of something that I was thinking of yesterday. I want to write a story called "Happy Endings." One major character would be a man who writes stories prolifically but doesn't know how to make them end, and so he abandons them and starts new ones. He's never finished a story; he writes only beginnings. So he puts out an ad for someone willing to write the endings for his stories... I don't know what kind of story that would turn into but at the same time it would be interesting no matter what it evolved into. I want it to be pseudo-fantasy, I think, or at least not completely real...but who can say what is completely real and what isn't?

Changing topics slightly: I think that I'm feeling pretty good about my short story for Polaris. I had a bit of a hard time at it, but the story's now at slightly above 3000 words. I think that the rest of it will be a bit easier than the beginning. Granted, whether or not this is the case is a bit of a sketchy thing -- I won't be able to really tell until I'm done.

But I am fairly confident that I will be able to finish it, at least, and that's always a good thing. Not only do I think I'll finish it, I'm fairly sure I'll be able to finish it well. Then again (once again) I won't know until it's over.

In my writing I am inspired by so many people. Julie E. Czerneda, of course, but also J. K. Rowling (the reason I decided to be a writer), Diane Duane (who has written sci-fi/fantasy which has taught me a more active morality -- kind of funny, considering her work's been boycotted by some Christians since she's an atheist), Jim Butcher (whose first person stuff is great)...actually at the moment those are all of the writers I can think of. But they're only a small portion of those who have kept me writing. My family deserves a mention. Corinne, with her witty cracks that I write down for use in later books, who has leant her nickname to a book I'll someday complete; Carissa, who will always read through what I've written (eventually) and be straight about what she thinks; Mom, for bringing me warm milk and feeding me (because if she didn't I'd die of starvation); and finally Dad, for telling me that science fiction is pointless and that I'll go nowhere with it yet still reading anything I hand him and giving me insightful commentary on it (I think the hating sf thing is more of a face now than a true belief).

And of course all of you, my friends. I'd name off everything you've done for me but I don't have the time left on the computer, so suffice it to say that you all have helped me in ways you probably don't even know. Thank you all.
readingredhead: (Default)
Don't want to do homework. Wow, that's new.

So far I have a few things left on my list of "must do before school ends," including but not limited to:

--touch up the Vargish essay so I can turn it in; I finished it today, but I need to go back and reread the entire thing at some later point;
--write the English essay; I've decided I'm writing a comparative paper about the function of law in both A Doll's House and The Handmaid's Tale, but beyond that I have no idea;
--write my short story; I'm to the point where I don't even know how much it relates the the inital prompt any more and I'm just waiting for it to be writeable;
--create a PowerPoint presentation for math; this should be easy.

I'm kind of excited about the paper for English, now that I know what I'm doing, but I'm worried that I'll miss some important part of Handmaid's Tale because I haven't read it recently and it's not like Doll's House which is short enough that I can go back and reread it. Still, having a direction to go in does help. So far I think I'll discuss things like:

--law's ignorance of human emotion (For some reason I think of "The law is reason free from passion" from Legally Blonde);
--whether laws should be a list of "do's" or "don'ts";
--the use of religious law as practical law;
--how laws which are intended as protection of freedoms end up restricting freedom.

I just don't know if I have enough evidence from Doll's House to support all of those different ideas. I know I can find it all in Handmaid's Tale, but it will be tricky finding noticeable differences between the two. Still, I have confidence that this is something I will be capapble of doing. I just don't want to have to do it now.

And on a final note, though I don't have a story written yet for Polaris, I think I've got a title for it: "Cold War, Cold World." Any thoughts on this are much appreciated.
readingredhead: (Stranger)
Okay, I don't have much to say, but I thought I'd throw this out there before I forget.

I'm looking for names. Weird names, normal names, guy names, girl names -- human names, admittedly, but still names. Because I have this odd tendency to pick names for characters before I create them, and it's nice to know the pool I have to pick from ahead of time.

Just for background, these would be for the Polaris short story I'm going to write. I've almost completely decided to go with my second idea, involving the poles of Mars. This means that most of the characters in my story would either be scientists or scientists' kids. It's set a fair bit into the future, so uncommon names are fine.

I think that this post is my brain trying to procrastinate without letting me know that it's procrastinating. Ah well, at least I'm getting a head start on something...
readingredhead: (Default)
Heh. So these past few weeks have been ridiculously busy, what with all of the usual, and yet at the same time ridiculously boring, with nothing of worth to report or record (at least, in retrospect, nothing I can remember). But for the sake of keeping this journal slightly up-to-date, I update.

Is it a bad thing that, at the end of the previous sentence, I had a strong urge to go off on all of the derivations of the word "update"? In a Handmaid's Tale sort of way? Maybe that's understandable since I just finished the book yesterday and I just finished the questions on it a few minutes ago. I thought it was really good...and really weird...and really good. Also, not nearly as dirty as I'd expected it to be. Honestly, I didn't think it was that bad. A bunch of the concepts were, I'll give you that, but the actual writing always made any of the more disgusting ideas into something rote and mechanical. I think that the part of the story that had me the most disturbed was when, right before the narrator and her family were going to run away and leave Gilead, they realized they had to do something about the cat, and Luke "took care of it." For some reason that really disturbed me. I think it was because of how it showed someone who seemed completely normal doing something that felt extreme, not because of choice, but because it was necessary -- it was behavior caused by the governmental regime that the people had to suffer under.

Anyway, now that I have that out of my head, I guess I have a little news. My aunt is here for a few days, because it's my grandpa's 70th birthday this weekend and she and a bunch of other relatives flew in to surprise him (she lives in Florida, she's my mother's sister). She makes the house a lot louder. As soon as she woke up, there was noise, and she even came in and asked me, jokingly, why our house was so quiet! She's just one of those people who is always loud, if not verbally, then in other ways. But it's nice to have her around; she's always smiling.

Really, I can't think of anything else that's going on. I have an IB math project which I haven't really started due on Tuesday, but I'm trying to get all my weekend homework out of the way so that I can spend all day Saturday on it.

Also, I realize that I want to still keep thinking up ideas for my short story for Polaris, so that's something I'll hopefully have time for at some point in the future. Maybe next weekend? I don't know; I just like having a story in my head for a while before I have to give it away. It doesn't necessarily have to have been sitting there, fully finished, for a while -- I just have to have been working on it and with it for a while. For instance, my favorite short story that I wrote is definitely "The Free Way," which I started last April (I wrote maybe the first two pages and set out characters) and then didn't finish until the beginning of July. I also revised it recently, fixed up a few small details and edited for clarity, before submitting it to Stanford as my sample work on the application to do their summer program. It must have been good enough, because I got in! I'm really looking forward to that, as well -- it should be one heck of an experience.

We always say we're "looking forward" -- maybe part of my problem, part of my stress, is that only by extrapolating into the future can I ensure myself a time of calm and peace, promise that there is a light at the end of this foggy grayness. Maybe if I could managed to bring some of that light here and now, it would be easier for me to get through all I have to do. But at the same time, my habits have been set and are hard to break, and I still get everything done, and there still is a light up ahead, so I don't think it's something I need to worry about.


readingredhead: (Default)

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