Dear Summer

Dear Summer,

It’s almost fall and I still haven’t had the chance to see you. I waited back home through June to late August, hoping you’d stop by for a while, but if you came I missed you and I never heard anything about your arrival.

I promise I waited diligently. I looked outside every day in hopes I’d catch a glimpse of you; I even wandered to the beach twice because there were rumours you would show up, but I only encountered rain and wind and they were unwelcome visitors when I was looking for you. Most of the time I stayed home, looking for any sign or whisper that you’d arrived.

I found heat a couple times and they said they’d seen you just a little while before. I found sunlight and they said the same, but the two must have had another fight because they were never willing to hang out at the same time. I figured that, whatever happened, that’s why I haven’t seen you yet, either.

For a while I was away from home, visiting Whitehorse up in the Yukon for the first time. I thought maybe I’d catch you while I was there, but it seemed like I just missed you. My plan was to round up heat and sunlight and force them to make up in hopes of drawing you out, but you showed yourself back home the second I left town.

To say the least, I’m frustrated.

I know it’s not entirely your fault… sun and heat were part of the problem too, and all the fires and smokey skies definitely didn’t help. All that made me pretty hesitant to be outside, too. But all I wanted this summer was to hang out at the beach and swim and for once, get out of the house. I just couldn’t make that happen without you.

I hope you change your mind before it’s too late, and at least give me a chance to spend some time outside with you.

~Erynn

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I’m An Idiot

So I’ve meant to write posts– it just hasn’t been happening. It’s a mixture of laziness, summer classes being a little more work than I expected, and I’ve been spending a lot of time doing stuff for myself. I’ve decided that I’m going to write a post every other day or so, but nothing too long, kinda just to keep up the momentum, kind of deal. I kind of need to get into a routine anyway, and I’d like blog posts to be a part of that again.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to write about today. A little while ago I posted a Desolace update. I was pretty happy with my progress up until that point, even though after I finished the chapter I was working on, I knew I needed to go back and change the ending and have something else happen first.

Except that I put it off for so long that now I’ve forgotten exactly what I was I wanted to do instead…

Usually I write it down in the instance that I know I can’t get to it right away, but this time I didn’t. So I’m an idiot, and will probably be spending the next couple days, or maybe even weeks, trying to remember what it was…

Ugh. My own damn fault.

~Erynn

Desolace Update #1

So this is my first “official” Desolace update post. I don’t expect this to be a regular thing because Desolace is going very slowly, but I figured since I’m happy with where I’m at, I may as well talk a bit about what I’ve done with it, talk about it, stuff like that.

I mentioned a couple times in previous posts that I worked on Desolace as one of my projects for one of my creative writing classes last semester. By “worked on” I mean I wrote an analysis on some of my plans for the novel in the future, and wrote, re-wrote and extensively edited the first two chapters. I also wrote (not fully edited yet) the third chapter after classes ended and I plan on writing another two of three over the summer in preparation for my next intermediate creative writing class.

My final grade on my writing submission (the two full chapters) was a solid A, which was my goal, so I’m pretty happy with that and hope I can keep it up.

Desolace has always been in a weird spot in the grand scheme of things. Sure I’ve had a good idea of where I wanted to go with it since the beginning, but writing a book is so much more complicated than knowing your characters and plot. Things tend to happen without your consent because your characters do as they damn will please and your world evolves behind the scenes. It gets frustrating, but part of all that is learning how to control the reins and keep things from diverting too far from your original purpose (or knowing when it is appropriate to let it continue).

A couple things I’ve determined from writing these first few chapters is that without an outline (as I prefer) I’m being really particular about the details I add in, and how scenes transition from one to another. Usually, I leave it choppy or whatever and go back and fix it later, but for some reason, with this project, it’s been really hard to move on to the next part if the previous scenes don’t set up everything right. The result has been three good chapters that transition really well from one to the next, but that also makes it slow as hell.

Even without an outline, though, I’ve got the help of the novel analysis that I wrote on Desolace. It helped me solidify some plot points that I’d been thinking about, fleshed out some traits for my main characters and helped me figure out a lot of the why for the novel. So I think the difficulties of writing the chapters so they transition well aside, I’m in a pretty good place to continue writing a good chunk of the story.

I’m considering writing a brief outline just to organize some of the events I’ve got in my head. I’ve had a couple instances already (I’ve got to go change the ending to the third chapter so it leads into something else first) where I’ve rearranged the order of plot points because it made more sense to do it in a certain order. But it’s a pain in the ass to write it out and then realize it’s too early for that, so I figure it would be worth it to write out all the events I have planned and properly organize them in correlation to each other. I don’t want to do anything too fancy, just some bullet points that I can rearrange things visually rather than in my head.

Anyway, I think that’s it for now. Next time I might go into more detail on the characters and what the story is about, but I need to work on accurately summing it all up before I can write anything about that.

~Erynn

 

 

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

 

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

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

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