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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My Experience With Poetry

I never liked poetry. I always played it off as a dislike of flowery language (which is the truth, but avoiding the actual problem) and that it was too much work to decrypt that language into something that actually made sense. Because you know, in high school, we always read those stupid poems that didn’t make any sense unless you were a professional. And believe me, none of us were professionals.

It’s a little different now. I’ve come to appreciate flowery language for what it is (even if I’m not too fond of writing it myself) and have begun to recognize that poetry does, in fact, have its uses in the world of prose, and when the time comes, I will utilize it for those purposes. However, that’s not really what I wanted to talk about because I haven’t actually gotten to the point in my writing where I’ve felt the need to incorporate that into the text.

I intended to exclusively write fiction because that’s what I’m best at and have the most interest in writing. However, when I was registering for classes at the beginning of the year, I was looking at the creative writing degree requirements. According to UBCO’s website, in order to register as a Creative Writing major when the time comes, I need to have a portfolio that consists of at least two different writing genres. Genres being fiction,  creative non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting, etc.

Well shit, right?

That made me pretty grumpy. I wanted to learn how to write poetry, but I really didn’t want it to be forced on me. And since even now I’m still iffy on screenwriting/ drama and the like, that was pretty much my only option.

So for the time being, poetry is my alternate genre. I’m going to discuss the other options in a separate post later on because there are some other routes I’m considering, they just aren’t really related to this so I don’t want to drive too far off the road. Anyway, the second semester has come around and started, and thus so has my first formal poetry writing class. You know, it actually isn’t so bad. A lot of the poetry we’ve read so far has been rather pleasant and not too difficult to understand (although maybe that’s because I’m not as lazy nor as stupid as I was in high school).

The most important thing so far, though, has been the discovery of the real reason why I’ve never liked poetry. Now that poetry is part of my weekly required readings, it’s become a part of my routine. And because I have a poetry assignment due sometime in the next couple of months, I’ve begun to try my hand at the writing part, as I know I’m no good at it and that I’ll probably need some time to get the hang of it before I’m comfortable submitting anything.and

My god is it hard. Coming up with something that makes sense, flows, and doesn’t sound absolutely corny as shit is next to impossible. I’ve gone through a dozen pages in my notebook trying to write two poems, and I’ve ended up with six parts of six different poems, and one completed piece. Just last night I started rounding out the second poem I was working on, but it took so much longer than I feel was necessary. Ugh. Still, the difficulty isn’t really what’s on my mind. Writing fiction isn’t easy, either, I’m just used to it now, so it’s more that it’s just a familiar kind of difficult, rather than it’s actually become easy for me.

The reason I don’t like poetry, I have realized, is because the flowery language often evokes emotions I don’t want to think about or feel. I was a difficult teenager. I’m a difficult adult. More often than not, the only place I ever expressed what I felt was via the written word, usually in the form of a story that never saw the light of day. And while, when I was younger, I always thought that poetry was complete bullshit, I’m now discovering how easy it is to drop myself in the world of those shitty, cryptic words, and let all that bottled up emotion flow free.

The poems I’ve been writing are filled with angst and emotional torture and depression and it sucks to read that and know that it’s the truth about what I feel. It’s not even just because it’s the truth, it’s also because most of that shit has been shoved so far down inside my pool of emotions that it’s almost painful to bring it all back up like this. I don’t want any obvious evidence of my emotional failings written up and shown to the world– at least with fiction, I can argue that world and those characters are just fucked up and that it has nothing to do with me– and yet the words just keep coming. And coming. And coming.

I feel like the first poem I wrote expresses the sadness that I’ve hidden. The second, though still a work in progress, the anger. The third, still in conception, the disappointment. Every time I write a new word down, even if it’s not something I think I’ll end up using, I feel like I’m getting closer to that happy place. There is a happy place in the world of poetry, right? Well if there isn’t, I’ll sure as hell be making one, ’cause the moment I’m done getting all these shitty feelings out I’m prepared to write a thousand sonnets of joy.

~Erynn