The Lesser Blessed

I’ve actually been dreading writing this post… because I really don’t know what to say about this book. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I thought it was kind of interesting, but I guess I can only expend so much energy thinking about a book before I just run out of ways to say things.

The Lesser Blessed is the last book I read for my creative writing class this semester. It took place in Northern Canada, I don’t remember the exact location, but somewhere in the Yukon. So, if you know anything about the Yukon, and anything about YA novels, you probably already have an idea of where this is going.

Rebellious children, drugs, lots of sex, fighting, bad parenting, and the like. Personally, I knew about all this being an issue in the North because that’s where my boyfriend and his family are from. But while they’ve experienced it first hand, I haven’t, so I still thought it was amazing to see knowledge like that confirmed through completely unrelated means.

Otherwise, I guess the book was pretty typical. A boy tries to figure out his life, as a young teen, in high school. The only real difference compared to other stories I’ve read is that the protagonist is Native American, and so many aspects of that are incorporated into the narrative through the language used by the character, as well as by their experiences.

~Erynn

 

About: My Poem “Purity”

I decided that whenever I post a poem here on my blog that I’ll write a follow-up post the next day. This’ll be so I can talk a bit about the poem itself, why I wrote it, inspiration, and all that. I don’t think I’ll post poems all that often (most of the stuff I’ve been writing is garbage, or I’m not really comfortable sharing it), maybe once or twice a month depending on how well writing has been going.

So, this is about Purity.

Purity is one of the first poems I wrote this year. It came to me after my second Poetry writing class, sometime in the first couple days I started practising poetry for the upcoming assignment, as I had no idea what I was doing. Poetry was never really my thing, see. Usually, poems take me multiple sittings to sort out– I write a bunch of lines, I think it’s garbage, then I come back and sort through it to find the relevant stuff, putting the rest aside for later.However, Purity was an exception to that ritual. The poem came to me in one sitting, almost perfect.

However, Purity was an exception to that ritual. The poem came to me in one sitting, almost perfect. Well, I mean, the poem is far from perfect, but it’s served its purpose, and I don’t desire to edit it further or alter it in any way. It captures exactly what I want it to, as I needed it when I wrote it, and as I need it now. When I wrote it, of course, I made a couple alterations, but that was just switching a couple words around here and there to make it sound better or to get the meaning right.

Overall, the writing process for this one was simple because of all that. So maybe if I ever post one of the harder poems I write some day here on my blog, I’ll talk a bit more about the detailed process of how I write them.

The meaning behind this poem and the inspiration for it go hand in hand. While I had no visual inspiration (such as a picture or what-have-you), I used a couple events that occurred around that time to build the story behind it. Actually, you could say that I wrote the poem to help cope with and better understand what was going on.Essentially, the poem is

Essentially, the poem is about a dear friend of mine, someone who has gone through a lot of shit and has a lot of shit in their future just because of how their life is set up. It’s an unfortunate situation overall. But because of how much I care about this person, I wanted to be there to help them through it all, to steer them away from the path of destruction they’d set themselves on, and in general just protect them from the demons of the world. Unfortunately, people usually only accept help when they’re ready, and my friend wasn’t ready, so they felt like I was imposing on them. I was devastated when our friendship fell apart. In the end, I think it was mostly my fault, but I’ve accepted that, and have a better idea of what to do to prevent this from happening again in the future.

I struggled a lot with whether or not I should give up on this friend, or stick around and be supportive in the background so I could be there if they ever needed me, even if it proved to be an emotional burden. It came down to whether or not I was able to stop caring, which I so far haven’t been able or even wanted to. I’m also too afraid that if I step away completely, I won’t be there if something bad happens. And even if it’s paranoid to think like that, nothing so devastatingly wrong has happened that this friendship can’t be repaired somehow if I just stick around.

So Purity ended up being my acceptance of the situation. The first half is my acknowledgement of the good, and the bad in my friend (lines 1-4), while the last half of the poem (lines 5-8) is about my decision to be there for them, even if it ultimately means that we can’t be friends anymore. There’s obviously more to it than that, but this is the simplest explanation of how the poem came to be and my interpretation of it. Everyone, of course, is welcome to interpret it as they like. In fact, if anyone has a different interpretation, I’d love to hear it!

Here’s the poem again, for reference:

Purity

Within you rests a sanctuary,

not for the broken or the free

but for the demons you harbour

in your heart.

Silence would kill most

and when I want to think

I’m one of them

I decide to ride it out together

even if our ends are far apart.

~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

Skim

So I’ve only got two books left to talk about for my creative writing classes, Skim being one of them. Unlike all the others, Skim is actually a graphic novel and not an actual novel. So even though the story of Skim wasn’t something I was super interested in, I did enjoy reading it simply because it’s a graphic novel and I’m a bit interested in writing those.

EDIT: I’m not sure what happened to the rest of this post, but I don’t really remember what I wrote, so I’m gonna leave it like this. 😛

~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

Some Literary Festival

I’m probably a terrible person for not remembering what it was called and being too lazy to look it up, but the festival itself isn’t really the point of this post so I guess it doesn’t matter. 

Anyway, last week there was some sort of literary festival here in Kelowna. It went on for a couple of days, I went to one reading as part of one of my creative writing classes. Us students had a private reading with Dina Bucchia and Daniel Zomparelli, two awesome poets who also run the “Can’t Lit” podcast.

I think everything they read was from one of their poetry books called Rom  Com. It was a joy to listen to not only because they’re great poets, or because it was my first experience at a poetry reading, but also simply because I was having a shit day and listening to them really brightened my day. 

My encounter with them was a lite embarrassing, though. I’d just entered the building after an encounter that left me a little stressed and dizzy, and I was the only student in the room because everyone had just left to get coffee. My professor introduced me to Dina and Daniel, and I kind of stood there like an idiot, then said hi and reintroduced myself. Rip. I was so out of it that I didn’t even try to make fun of myself for being nervous because I didn’t think about it until later on, when I’d calmed down a bit. 

I didn’t say anything during the Q&A, and I kinda regret it. I had a good question, but I just really didn’t to talk to anyone. So I listened instead. I’ve been thinking about emailing one of them and asking that way, but I haven’t decided yet if that’s what I actually want to do. 

During the Q&A, though, I learned something important about poetry. Since I’m primarily a fiction writer, I’ve got it stuck in my head that everything I write either needs to stay hidden because it’s only for myself, or because if I share it, the writing won’t be worth as much if I want to publish it in the future. 

I don’t remember what the question was or what the actual response was, but what I got from it was that there are some things you write for yourself. And if a piece is emotional enough to warrant that title, then it shouldn’t be reserved to be sold and potentially diminished. It should be used by yourself for whatever you need from it, for whatever reason you felt the need to write it. So in my case, that I shouldn’t be afraid of putting some of my writing out there if that’s what I need it for. 

I guess this applies to fiction as well, but I feel like it’s more relevant to poetry because poetry tends to be more emotional or relevant to our lives than fiction. Not that it can’t be or isn’t, and not that poetry always is or can’t be irrelevant, this is just in the general sense.

So I guess that’s another reason I’ll be posting some of my actual writing–be it fiction or poetry or whatever–here on my blog every so often.

~Erynn

Shiny New Camera

Hey! So I’ve been running low on ideas as to what I should write about, but I’ve spent a couple of days thinking and now that I’ve got a bunch of ideas ready, here I am back at writing.

SO first of all, reading break has officially started and I’ve got the next week off! Woo! I don’t have any exciting plans, maybe I’ll go visit family for a little bit, but ultimately I’ll probably spend most of the break preparing for mid-terms and catching up on stuff that I can’t normally do because I have no free time. So read more, binge-watch TV shows, video games, and work and stuff. 🙂

Anyway, for the actual subject of this post… my lovely new camera! Scored a Canon EOS Rebel T6 at Best Buy during a flash sale a couple days ago. It’s got a bunch of cool features– I can connect it to my phone and take pictures with the camera from my phone at a distance, and different shooting modes specific to whatever I’m taking pictures of. I haven’t played around with it *too* much yet, but I’ve taken a few shots with it and though I’ve still got a lot to learn about taking pictures, I think I’ve managed to take a few nice ones so far. Now that the weather is getting a little nicer, I’m thinking I might go on an adventure sometime within the next couple of days and practice, and, you know, get some exercise.

I was thinking that once I managed to do that, it might be nice to write and post some poems based off the pictures I take. That would probably be fun and good poetry practice, too, so maybe keep an eye out for that in the next week or so. 🙂

~Erynn

Eleanor & Park

This was the second book I finished this semester for one of my creative writing classes. It’s probably my favourite of all the required readings I’ve had so far.

I read it for my second-year class, so it’s YA, but I actually thought it was pretty good. The story takes place sometime in the 80s, the protagonists being 15 or so. The girl, Eleanor, is pretty poor and also the weird new kid in town that nobody likes just because she’s new and weird.

She was pretty weird, honestly, but that was part of her charm. I really liked her character because she ends up being one of those people who isn’t weird on purpose, she’s just weird because of her circumstances, and I guess it kinda resonated with me. I’ve felt like that most of my life.

Anyway, like most YA, it’s a love story, and I thought the dynamics of that was pretty good. There was no love-at-first-sight nonsense, the girl isn’t some “secretly super attractive girl with low self-esteem” and no “super ridiculously hot dude who has a thousand different chicks all over him but he picks the weird girl for god knows why” thing in it, which I really really hate. Eleanor is some chubby redhead and Park is a short, rather feminine Asian. That might be as far as you get from that cliche.

My favourite thing about this, though, was that the two started feeling something for each other without speaking more than a couple of words to one another. And they basically fall in love over comic books. I thought that was super cute. I even recognized a bunch of the stuff they referenced! 🙂

I was a bit upset about the ending, though. It was realistic, but I found it a bit rushed, and that kind of ruined– for me, at least– what could have been an excellent ending. Oh well. There aren’t any perfect books, anyway.

~Erynn