TV Rots Your Brains Out

Ever heard that? I don’t think I really believed it until I started writing. Okay, so here’s the part where I reveal that I’m a complete and total psycho:

I hear voices.

Not mean or bad voices and most of them sound like me anyway, but nonetheless, most of my stories come from these voices. They’re like little elves, always chipping away at a plot or character or scene etc.

But here’s the odd thing that happens when I watch TV–the voices go away. It’s incredibly frustrating because I LOVE TV but I can’t WRITE when I watch it!!

Why??????

One of the authors I admire most is absolutely ADDICTED to television. I HAVE SHOWS TO WATCH DAMN IT. And no amount of warming up or scene sketching helps. Just…have to not watch TV for another day and just like that, the voices are back.

Normally I do agonize a lot over what I write because I do want some sense of purpose/conflict/soul injected into it. Sometimes it takes a bit of writing to find it, but when I watch TV I flounder and I can’t take my characters where they need to go. You know, where they need to go, not just just their destination. orasitjoiwerjqoirjq

Okay, I’m done. No writing for today, just endless amounts of reading author blogs.

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Slow down even though you have a long way to go

I’m terribly impatient and lazy, a bad combo to have if you have an above average level of intelligence. I coasted through high school and college and graduated both in the top 10% of my class. In my final two years of college I got so good at finding classes that didn’t require effort from me that I was only an English major in name. My favorite class was one where we read NYT Bestsellers and writing a one page response to our daily reading (best summer ever). My mom brags that she never studied in school yet she was always ranked first in her class (Korean schools rank by test scores). My auntie (her best friend) testified to this because while my auntie would study, my mom would be playing with her cat and rolling around on the ground. ….I can see where I get it from.

Also, my mom won’t let me get a cat but she was allowed to have one?! (I’m allergic, but I WANT A CAT.)

So somewhere along the way I got it into my head that I wanted to be published so that I could share my stories with everyone. At first I don’t think I wanted it for the right reasons–I just wanted to be published for the glitz and glamour of it all. I furiously spent one summer finishing a book and then promptly gave up. It wasn’t going as fast as I’d like so I decided that getting a good job was more worth my time. That’s why I’m going to law school, but that’s another story.

In any case, I drifted away from writing and the dream faded.

I got older, graduated, and found a rut in my life that I liked and was comfortable in. I like the person that I am now even though there’s plenty of room for improvement. It’s a far cry from the awkward teenager that I was.

But one day I decided to start reading more. The book broke me. I don’t think I had ever been so affected by a book before and I wanted more. So I went back to old books I had enjoyed and forgotten–THEY WERE NOTHING LIKE I’D REMEMBERED. WERE THEY ALWAYS THIS AMAZING? And this made me think of stories, ideas, plots I could use.

I was older and wiser–maybe I could write again!

So began my addiction to different blogs. Reading them inspired me because I felt as if I had access to that hard struggle in their lives and I wasn’t alone in mine.

Then I thought back to that sad effort from that one summer. It was the only thing I had ever finished and it wasn’t done well at that. Every time I thought I wanted to give up on the current book, I thought about where I had come from. Just finishing isn’t enough and I’m not even there yet.

Everyday I learn something new. I’m improving my craft. I’m giddy with the leaps and bounds I have made in my writing. I’ve only learned this by slowing  down and realizing that there is more to this than just the book. Lately I’ve read a lot of books by people wanting desperately for publication and I didn’t enjoy them. They were missing something and didn’t move me like I think books should. I have to inject my book with my soul.

It’s hard.  But I want to get there.

2/6/13

Pandora has been an amazing tool to me for music. I don’t really listen to music and I don’t buy it often either. The only reason why I have the few albums that I do is that lately I need something to listen to on my commute other than the radio. The radio is just awful these days…not because I hate everything that comes on, but it’s always the SAME THING every hour. I swear sometimes I find two stations playing Trouble by T Swift and then two OTHER stations playing Scream and Shout  (??? is that the title?) by will.i.am and Britney

I don’t mind either artist but I certainly wish that there was more variety….I have 6 stations set to my car radio and very often I hate them all.

My favorite channel on Pandora is Joe Hisashi who composed many of Ghibli’s fantastic scores. Other artists come up like Yoyo Ma and I’m not sure why but when I listen to this channel I can forget that I’m ‘writing’ or sitting at my desk. I immerse myself better when I’m listening to this channel.

I don’t really think it’s because it’s more classically inclined because sometimes I have to stop myself from the sheer emotion evoked by some of these artists. I don’t often get that with ballet music, which seems too dramatic and over the top, or classical greats from the old masters like Beethoven. I feel disconnected from that kind of music probably because I’ve always viewed them very distantly. The collection is good and takes me to faraway places where magic is possible. And that’s where I want to go. I would say that this is especially true of the Ghibli soundtracks because I have seen them films many times and I love everything about them. The stories, the worlds, the designs, just…everything. They are familiar to me because I grew up with anime and fantastic stories where children go on adventures. I probably sound like an uncultured nitwit when I say this, but ballet seems a bit silly. A lot of posing without much substance. Every now and then is a heartfelt solo that is supposed to evoke emotion.

But animated films? I can feel the sheer amount of work that goes into them (not that ballet isn’t a lot of work, I was at one point obsessed with ballet and studied it like mad). The difference though is that I think a good film (any film) is a collaborative effort and when a person doesn’t speak up because they are too afraid to say anything when they know that the direction of the plot (etc) is not strong enough, then it just ends up being a mess. Editing is key. Just like in writing novels.

I might be alone right now, but I’m working to bring my work to others. I’ve started to show more to my friends and seek out communities for writing. The blaze of passion that makes Ghibli films is what I want for my books.

Hayao Miyazaki is an amaaazing man. My favorite clip of him was a behind the scenes look on Mononoke Hime where he is going through the roughs of a running sequence. He’s so passionate and demanding as a director I can see why it tires him out. It’s hard to be THAT PERSON you know? The person who demands more out of people because they know it’s not good enough yet.

There’s a reason why it’s easier to be miserable than to be happy. And there’s a reason why people tear apart stupid youtube videos or articles in the comments section too–those people had the audacity to create something. Maybe it wasn’t good enough yet. But they will improve while those who jeer in the shadows jealously watch for signs of weakness. And when you fail, they will be there to triumphantly crow over your mistakes. Because they were ‘right’. You shouldn’t have tried. You failed.

The important thing is to keep going no matter how much you are embarrassing yourself. Keep improving and keep demanding better things of your work.

And that is the end of today’s rant/pep talk/music appreciation (??) ok I don’t know.

 

 

2/4/13

A new year, a new blog. I’ve been writing my book, which I haven’t got a title for yet, and somehow I just felt like I should share my experiences a little bit. No one is reading this now, but maybe I can link it on Fictionpress or something to start a small following. I would just like to share my stories somehow and even though I haven’t been on FP in such a long time, I do miss it.

The past four years in college have been disappointing for me. I didn’t blossom as I was promised I would–not in any way that I think I should have anyway. Sure, I am more confident and sure of myself, but did I really need college for that? Now that I’m out, I think my only regret is not finishing a piece of writing or improving my writing more.

I’ve only recently begun to study how to craft a scene or create more compelling characters. I wonder why I didn’t do it before? Laziness, probably. I tried to blindly stumble through a manuscript once and I finished it, then I didn’t look at it ever again. I didn’t even care about any of the characters. I don’t mind revising, it’s just that, somehow ripping apart all that work seems like a waste. If I had gone in with a plan, maybe things could be improved upon or made deeper, but if I made this book because I just wanted to get to the end, I probably did it with a lot more bullshit than thought. And that’s what I feel like when I write without a plan, a bullshitter.

A fraud.

I almost hope that my temp job will end soon so that I can dedicate this summer to writing.

In other job prospects, I am trying to get this sample ready for a book company. I’m afraid it won’t be good enough or that they will think my characters are flat…But then, the other part of me is telling me to go for it and that the worse thing that can happen is a rejection. And what are rejections anyway? Just a ‘no’. Move on to the next door.

I have to knock on the door to have that chance in the first place. Ok, back to writing. If you are reading this, thank you so much. If you came here from FP, thank you even more.