Year One Officially Over

Hey guys!

I finished my finals about 10 days ago but I just got my grades yesterday (B, A-, A-, A-, pretty good!). I’ve spent the last twoish weeks relaxing and catching up with video games and anime, but it’s pretty much time for me to kick myself back into gear and start working again…

But before I do that, I wanted to recap a bit on the year and what’s been going on.

So I’ve been going to UBCO to study creative writing. Had to take a second language, chose Japanese, am having fun but am also struggling to hell with it (guess which grade was Japanese, hah). I’ve been excelling with the creative writing side of things though, which I’m happy with.

A quick mention of all my classes. I’ve taken three Creative Writing classes (intro to fiction and drama, intro to poetry and creative non-fic, and second year writing popular fiction with an emphasis on writing young adult), an introduction to Anthropology, an English focused on narrative and writing essays, and two first-year Japanese.

I’m only briefly going to mention my endeavours with Anthropology here– I planned on writing a whole post about that but haven’t gotten around to it yet, so maybe if that’s something your interested in hearing about, keep and eye open for that. That said, a bit on anthropology… I decided to take it this last semester and probably will take more classes in the future, not really because I have a distinct interest in anthropology, but because culture is something I really want to ingrain into my novels because it’s important for character and worldbuilding. Plus theorycrafting and all that stuff is lots of fun.

I’ve probably mentioned it before but I really dislike English courses. Unfortunately, they are a heavy requirement for my major, so I’m kind of stuck with taking them. I don’t mind the reading or the discussions, but the essays are brutal. Honestly the writing itself I can handle, research is a bitch but I can do that too, I just really really hate the stupid citation styles that are used. They’re different for literally every class (and reasonably so, but still) and I hate it. Takes whatever bit of joy I have for writing essays and throws it right out the damn window. Ah, well… I’ll probably get used to it.

That said about essays, I was considering taking a minor in history but seeing as that’s my boyfriend’s major and all he does is write essays for those courses, I’m not so sure that’s what I want to do anymore. But my first history course isn’t until this summer, so we’ll see how I fare with that before I jump in either direction. Anyway, with that, I wandered off a little from what I was talking about.

Creative Writing was straight forward; Wrote some baller short stories my first semester (one that I’m going to try and get published this summer), started learning how to write poetry (still got a lot to learn but I’ve improved– I even did a reading in front of the class! I’ll talk about that sometime), tried and failed to write creative non-fiction (it’s fun just not my thing, I enjoy making shit up too much), and made some excellent progress on one of my novel works in progress, Desolace. I’m going to make some more detailed posts for these things individually later, I think, because there’s a lot I want to talk about in regards to that.

Then there’s Japanese. What a bitch. I really love the language, it’s just super hard. I’ve fallen off a bit with my practising and studying since the end of the semester, but I think I needed a break after all the effort I’ve put into it over the last eight months. I intend to continue studying Japanese over the summer and next year so I can still use it as my language credit for my degree, but I’ll talk about my plans in more detail later on since I’ve put a lot of thought into that and I’d love to share a bit.

AND, with all of that, I’ve earned 21 credits, which is 6 short of completing a full first year. I’m not too upset about that because I only took three classes for my first semester, as I was worried about becoming overwhelmed and doing really bad. But because three classes went well first semester I went up to four in the second semester, which also went well and gave me enough free time to not burn out on school. So next year I’ll likely end up taking four classes each semester. That’ll still leave me three credits short of advancing another year, but there are a couple classes I want to take that are offered over the summer, so at least for this year and next year I’ll be set to advance to second and third years with no problem (fourth year is a big fat unknown until I get to that point).

So yeah, summer classes. Those start on May 15th and I’m taking some less academic stuff that’ll keep me busy and still work toward my degree. I really don’t want to work full-time over the summer, so this gives me a perfect opportunity to do half and half. 🙂 But with three classes this summer and at least one next summer, I should be set to advance to second-year by the end of summer, and third-year by the end of next summer, assuming I stick to my plans and take a total of eight classes next winter and fall semesters.

Anyway, I think this turned into a big ramble, but it’s one am and I just felt like writing something. Will be posting regularly again!

~Erynn

 

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February and March Anime!

I missed my post for February because I was lazy/ busy/ whatever, so I’m just gonna throw in what I watched from then in this post as well.

So let’s see… I watched the rest of Fate/Zero, Fantasia Doll, started Cowboy Bebop, and watched the available Nyanbo episodes. I’ve let Trickster episodes pile up so I can watch them all at once, I’ll get around to that once I finish Cowboy Bebop.

Fate/Zero was pretty amazing. I watched it kind of a while ago now so I can’t recall all of the details, but the animation was gorgeous, the magic was really cool, the characters were great, and the story was pretty good. It’s basically about some preset magical war that begins between a couple magical houses. They get to summon these cool “avatars” based off of historical figures that fight on their behalf. It ended a lot differently than I expected, but looking back on it, I think that may have been because I was so caught up in the story that I didn’t see the hints.

Fantasia Doll was alright, but it was a little too cutesy and cliche for my tastes. It reminded me of Cardcaptor Sakura (in a good way) and though they kind of used the card aspect a little differently than most card game animes, it still feels weird to watch an anime about people playing a card game.

Cowboy Bebop is great so far, but I’m only a couple episodes in so I’ll talk about that once I’m done or at least further through.

I’ve saved talking about Nyanbo for last because I love, love, love this show. It is most definitely a kids cartoon and the episodes are only five minutes long, but it’s just so loveable. From what I can tell, the actual plot is very minimal. The characters are these box-looking “alien” not-cats that act like cats and have strange powers. They don’t know why or how they came to Earth, but one of the main characters is set on them rebuilding their UFO so they can get back into space. And they actually do find UFO pieces throughout the show. I don’t know, it’s just adorable and funny and super easy to get into, so I guess that’s why I like it. 🙂

Well, that’s all I’ve watched for now!

~Erynn

Wahoo!

Yesterday was my last day of classes for the second semester. I suppose the year isn’t officially over since there are still exams, but without classes left, I feel like it’s close enough to the end to start celebrating.

It feels pretty good to have made it through the whole year. I mean yeah, I’m still taking summer classes, but that’s a little different. I was expecting to make it to the end and absolutely dread the coming year, but it didn’t end up like that at all.

Okay, so kind of a funny story. Last summer when I was deciding what classes I was going to take this year, there was this creative writing class (the second year one I took this semester) that I really wanted to take. The pre-requisite on it was two completed English courses, though, and since I really don’t like English, I was most definitely not going to take two in my first ever semester.

I ended up emailing the prof, she’s pretty great and said I could register without the credits, I just needed to sign a prereq waiver. After that, it was all said and done and I didn’t think about it again until a couple of weeks ago when I started thinking about what classes I want to take next year. Cue absolute panic.

Let’s take a few steps back for a moment. I wanted to take my second English class over the summer, but no first-year classes were being offered. I was kind of upset about this at first, but in the end, I decided it was fine and that I could just take the second English in the first semester of my second year. But the reason I was trying to take the second English over the summer was because I assumed that I needed two in order to take any second-year Creative Writing classes, and I’ve taken all of the first-year ones already. So because I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to take any Creative Writing classes in my first semester next year, I was really, really upset.

But of course, I’m just a fucking idiot. After about a week of worrying, there was one night that I couldn’t go to sleep because I was super stressed about this. I ended up logging into the university website and browsing the course catalogue, which is where I discovered my idiocy. Only some classes had two English courses as prereqs, there were many with one or none. And the two that I would want to take next year only required the completion of the corresponding poetry or fiction first-year class, both of which I’ve completed. So all that panic for nothing.

Now, I’m really looking forward to next year. I can’t wait to get into some intermediate workshops and work on some new short stories or continue with my novel. I suspect that with this to look forward to, the summer will be long, but enjoyable. I’ll get into more detail about that in another post, but for now, let’s just say I’ve got a couple writing goals in mind for over the next couple of months.

~Erynn

Learning to Draw

I’ve always loved drawing. There’s something about taking a pen or pencil or something and just letting the lines flow, kind of like I do with words. It’s a different kind of creative work… but it’s one that sometimes works the same, in the sense that every now and then stuff just comes out.

I’m not very good at drawing. I used to be pretty okay, back in high school, but since then I eventually stopped because I opted to pursue other interests. Now, though, at least over the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to pick it up again, although this time approaching it from a technical perspective. By that, I mean I’m trying to learn and master the skills I need to make consistently good drawings. Of course, it will take a long while and a lot of work before I’ll draw anything “good,” but I feel like I’m learning some valuable stuff…

It’s a really slow process, learning to draw. That’s probably because I don’t have the time or patience to dedicate multiple hours to it a week, but I digress. It is one of those things I’d like to be able to do without too much thought, eventually. I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.

Right now, I’m just using online tutorials to learn stuff, but in the summer I’ll be taking a formal course at the university. Oddly enough, a drawing class is one of the requirements for my degree, so I guess it works out?

Maybe I’ll post a couple drawings sometime– once I’ve drawn something I’m happy with. 🙂

~Erynn

A Japanese Journal

I’ve been considering for a while getting a journal for me to write exclusively in Japanese since I want to get into using the language regularly and improving upon my use of grammar, kanji, etc. When I first had this idea, I was pretty sure I had an extra notebook laying around and went to go look for it, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find it. So, for the last couple weeks, I’ve been thinking about buying a nice cute one that’s actually Japanese and uses Japanese inside the notebook.

What I ended up getting was a Hobonichi Techo, a planner, not a notebook, but one that has note pages. Since I was considering getting a handwritten planner anyway, I figured this would be a really good in-between and guarantee that I’ll actually use it. I’ll post pictures of the one I got on Instagram once it arrives– it should be here in the next couple of days. 🙂

~Erynn

Summer Classes

So I guess it’s official that I’m taking summer classes.

I decided a couple of months ago that it makes more sense for me to go to school for as much of the year as possible. As much as I love writing, when I’m writing for work I’m more focused on writing for other people than for myself, even if I do make time for my own writing. But so far this year with school, even through all my classes and assignments and other bullshit, I’ve made quite a bit of progress without any additional stress. That’s actually because in one of my creative writing classes I haven’t really had to write anything new, but rather I’ve been able to work on Desolace and flesh out scenes I’ve already got in my head. I’m not sure how much more of that I’ll be able to do, but I think that as I get into the higher level creative writing classes, things will become more focused like this, rather than super generalised like both of the first-year creative writing classes I’ve taken. Fingers crossed!

But on top of that, school, overall, has kept me productive and active. I’ve been working on a bunch of stuff– writing (personal and for school), drawing (personal and for school), I’ve been actively studying Japanese — rather than playing lots of videogames. You know, I would like to have time to play games every now and then when I want to, but right now about 80% of my time is devoted to school related activities– mostly because Japanese is a pain in the ass.

The summer, though, will be pretty light on class time, so I’ll be able to get lots of writing done on the side and (if I want to) even some work. I’ll probably make time for both. I’m planning on taking a history and two arts classes– one drawing, the other digital media. I’m not really sure what the second one entails, but it’s required for my degree, so I figured it would be good to get that out of the way over the summer. The history I’ll be in is about the ancient world, like Egypt and Rome and a couple other places. Pretty generalised, but I’m still looking forward to it, nonetheless.

~Erynn

January As a Whole

So I intended to write this post at the start of February, but I kinda forgot. Whoops. I suppose 18 days late is better than not at all–hopefully this’ll be enough of a reminder to keep me on track for similar posts in the upcoming months. 🙂 

So… January. I guess it was a good month overall, albeit stressful. It started out pretty crappy, I was a bit depressed around New Years, but that passed once classes started again, replaced with the stress of learning. 

Japanese has proven to be as difficult as I suspected, although I’ve spent the last two weeks catching up and working on a system to memorize everything I need to know, as well as get ahead. Creative writing has been a handful; in January I had to write and edit the first two chapters of Desolace, which was probably some of the most strenuous writing I’ve ever done. That’s worked out, thankfully, though I don’t think I have the energy right now to continue onto the next chapter just yet. 

I guess January ended up being a month of discovery for me. I learned some about my academic limits and have begun working around them, planning so I don’t burn out and making it easier to study, stuff like that. I learned more about managing my time, more about interacting with people, and learned how that interaction can sometimes sting.

I belive that I’ve finally caught a glimpse of who I want to be, and grabbed that person and taken hold of them. Obviously it’ll take a while to grow into that person, but you know, it feels good to feel like I’m getting somewhere. 

Anyway, yeah, that was January. 

~Erynn

Music, Music, Music 

A long time I mentioned here that I really liked listening to video game music when writing because it drove me to focus. And it was always helpful to pick songs that were somehow relevant to the mood of the scene I was working on, as that made it easier to picture things in my head when writing.

All of that is still true, but I seem to be drifting away from video game music in general. I’ve still got a couple songs on my Spotify playlist, mostly stuff from Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger, but other than that the playlist has turned mostly into a bunch of lyricless music. I don’t normally like listening to lyricless music unless I need to focus, so really, it’s perfect because that’s exactly what it does. All my other playlists serve different purpose (like the silly angsty music playlist I have for when I’m mad at the world, teehee).

My musical tastes in general have been shifting lately, I guess that’s a big part of reshaping who I am and what I want to do with my life. I have this sad song playlist that I used to listen to almost exclusively, but not so much over the last week or two. I’ve moved to listening to ‘poppier’ music, I guess? Generally more upbeat, happier songs, or stuff that I can sing along to since I like singing (even if I’m bad at it).

I’ve also been going through my general playlist, which is where I used to throw any song I stumbled across that I liked, and sorting those songs into their new, respective playlists. I’ve got one for writing, one for sad stuff, ones with Japanese lyrics, dance music, and of course my ‘fuck the world’ playlist. The plan is to sort out all of those into those playlists and keep pretty much everything else in the general one, so that it really is general and not overtaken by a bunch of other music that’s better when listened to on its own.

~Erynn

My DnD Character

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about dnd, and since it’s something I do pretty regularly now, I suppose that’s kind of strange. So I thought that I’d talk a bit about the DnD that’s gone on since I started university, then from here on out write semi-frequent updates on my campaigns.

I’m currently playing in two campaigns -one at the university, the other not, but I’m only going to talk about the former in this post.

As a part of games club, we do dnd and other tabletop roleplaying games every week. There’s lots of people who participate so there’s a bunch of different groups, but my current game is run by a newer dungeon master with four players, including myself. The group used to be bigger, but just before winter break a different group finished their campaign and lost a couple players. So when the new semester started, they didn’t have enough to start a new session, but my group gave up two players so they could.

It kinda sucked for us, but we’ve managed so far. Anyway, for this campaign, I’ve been playing a female human cleric. If you’ve never played dnd before, you might see the world ‘cleric’ and go “ugh support so lame” but with that, you’d be completely wrong.

Wyvia Louv is a war cleric. She slices shit in half with her battle axe, blows people to smithereens with thunder waves, and only heals teammates when they’re one turn from dead.

She’s not a bitch or a badass. She just doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything. I guess that’s what happens when you decide to roll a neutral/neutral character, instead of someone with the tendency to do good or evil. At first glance, you might think that makes a boring character, but it’s actually been quite fun to play.

See, just because she doesn’t care about other people, doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about herself. So when someone tries to fuck with her, she’s not gonna tolerate that shit. At first, I spent most of my time observing the other people in my group, our NPC companions, and our surroundings, but I eventually moved from that to keeping an eye on the troublemaker of our group.

It’s been interesting playing a neutral character mostly for the developing characterization. Going from not caring about anything to caring about the group of travelers I’ve been paired with has been a slow, thought-provoking experience. I don’t know how much longer I have to see this character grow, but every session is extremely helpful for learning bits about the nuances of characterization that really make the characters real.

Maybe I’ll go into more detail on that another time.

~Erynn