complaining

All posts tagged complaining

MLM No “U”

Published April 17, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Ack.

I mean, y’know?  Ack.  Ack all over the place.

I have three 4-page essays (wait, or was it three three-page essays? yeah, it was three-page essays, whew!) and a sixty slide PowerPoint presentation that have to be finished by next Monday.  Oh, and 4 annotated bibliographies for things that obscenely insignificant and have received no scholarly attention.  Yet I have to find 4 books and ten articles for each one.

Yeah, so I have one week to do all that.

So I spent all day today in the library, trying to find finkin’ books and articles that were gonna fit the bill.  ARGH!

The only good news is that I’ve already done the PowerPoint.  All that’s left is the bibliography and one image that I forgot to get at the library today.  And the footnotes for two slides.

However.

Nine pages of essays.

On insanely pointless local topics for which no one other than the professor gives a rat’s ass.

Oh, and I’m expected to work 4 days in the coming week.

I am not a happy camper.


 


And yes, I mean every word of that, btw.  In case anyone was wondering.  My life for the next seven days is not going to be pretty.

IWSG: Conflicted

Published March 1, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So I’m back to being insecure again.  (This, I suppose, should come as no great surprise.  If I wasn’t prone to insecurity, why would I be taking part in the support group, right?)

After some SNAFU stuff on the NaNo forums regarding my nearly submitting my 2013 NaNo novel for self-pub, I made a pledge to myself that “screw it; I’m never publishing anything, and that’ll teach those jerks!”  (And no, that didn’t entirely make sense even at the time.  And the people in question were not trying to be jerks.  (Most of them weren’t, anyway.)  But it’s one of those heat-of-the-moment resolutions that becomes firm and feels permanent, because you feel like you’ll have lost if you go back on it.)

After that, I took the smart path of withdrawing from the NaNo forums for the next couple of years, but I don’t learn too good (poor grammar intended), and so I’ve been active on the forums again.

And this time the guy really was trying to be a jerk.

Basically, he said that I’ll be a racist if anyone in my entire novel has a different skin color from everyone else.

Yes, he was advocating an entire planet of uniform skin color.

And he thought that was somehow less racist than having a diverse world.  Ugh.  (And keep in mind, I neither said anything about nor intend to introduce any ethnic stereotyping or prejudices.  It’s a world very unlike our own, without our social construction of “race”.  They have some prejudices, of course, but they’re based on culture and nationality.  (Read any 19th century work wherein the English discuss people from other European nations, and you’ll see the kind of thing I mean.)  But really even those prejudices are unlikely to come up much, because it’s a steampunk/fantasy adventure with heavy doses of m/m romance.  They’re going to be much too busy flying around the world looking for the pieces of the McGuffin and flirting/having sex for weighty social issues to come up much.  Because I write light escapism.)

So, because he said all this crap about the world I’m trying to put together for a series of novels I haven’t even begun to start writing yet, I feel like “now I have to publish it just to prove that f***er wrong.”

But that is in direct opposition to the 2013 doctrine of “never publish anything ever no matter what!”

Which puts me in a weird emotional bind.  All the more weird considering I haven’t even named the main characters yet.  (Well, it kind of grew out of an AU fanfic idea, so for my plotting purposes I’ve been using the names of the movie characters.  Though at this point there’s not much similarity between my characters and the movie ones.)

It’s probably a moot point.  I’ll probably finish the first draft of book one (assuming I ever start writing the thing) and go “wow, this is irredeemably terrible” and go back to writing other stuff.  (That is, after all, what usually happens.  Like my 2012 NaNo novel, the last time I tried to spin an original novel out of a fanfic idea.  I was enjoying writing it at first, but by the time I was done I was just like “ugh, I never wanna see this piece of trash ever again!” and I haven’t opened the file since.)

Anyway, amusingly enough, this all kind of ties in to this month’s optional question

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Because that 2013 NaNo novel?  It was the result when I finally got around to writing something I’d been planning since I was 18.  (So the idea was almost twenty years old.)  I think I had actually started writing it back in the summer of my 18th year, but…not sure what ever happened to the manuscript.  (And I guarantee it had zero similarity to what I eventually wrote.)

Missing Letter Monday – No “J”

Published February 1, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

“Random News”

Well, I’ve been too busy lately to actually, you know, prepare anything, so I thought I’d do this week’s post simply giving some updates on life in general, and otherwise saying any random stuff that doesn’t involve that one particular letter.  (It’s fortunate that this week’s letter isn’t a vowel!)

The reason I’ve been so busy is that this week’s reading is selections from The Philosophy of Aristotle, Signet Classics edition.  The reading list was the Metaphysics, the Physics (or Book II of it, anyway), Ethics, and Politics.  Um, ack.  First off, the introductions admit freely that Ethics is the easiest for a beginner to understand, and yet they stuck it more than halfway through the book, and instead started with the incredibly convoluted and mind-boggling Metaphysics!  (Despite that the Metaphysics specifically references several of the other texts as having been previously written.  So it’s not even chronologically accurate.  It’s simply the editor’s favorite or something.)  On top of the reading itself — which isn’t actually as bad as I’m making it out to be in these complaints (or it wasn’t, before I got to Chapter 2 of Book 1 of Politics) — is the fact that I tried to figure out how much to read each day to be able to finish it Sunday night (which is when I’m writing this, btw) so I could spend all of Monday and Tuesday writing the paper.  (Since we have no guidance on what to write about, this seemed essential.)  I tried to make that calculation Wednesday night after class.

As a result, despite that I had calculated that I needed to read 77 pages each day, the reading I wrote down for Saturday was about 40 pages, and what I wrote down for Sunday was about 120.

Apparently, I cannot do math.

(I mean, I always knew it wasn’t my strong suit, but I never thought I was that bad at it!)

And, of course, I still have no idea what in the world to write the paper on.  I’ve stuck post-it notes in lots of places in the book, but none of the places really feel like they suggest a paper to me.  I know the paper’s not supposed to be anything particularly deep or complex, but…I’d still like it not to be too totally moronic.  (Many of the post-it notes are attached to places I want to talk about here on the blog, actually.  But first I have to finish reading Plato’s Republic so I can talk about it, and then…yeah, I hope I won’t want to talk about too many of my assigned reading books on here, or I’ll never catch up until sometime this summer.)

And it doesn’t help that I’ve had a lot of drain on my time other than the reading, too.  Thursday was the rebroadcast of Rifftracks Live “The Room,” which I had to go see again because a) it’s super-funny, and b) I haven’t gotten to go see many movies lately, what with there not being very many to go see.  (I’ll probably go see Kung-fu Panda 3 after it’s been out long enough that the theatres won’t still be packed with kids, and I’m hopeful that Deadpool will be as much fun as the trailers promise, but…otherwise, yeah, this winter’s been and is going to remain pretty dry, movie-wise.)  Then on Friday morning I went down to the museum for a meeting (to make it sound fancier than it was) with the director, and Friday afternoon was spent at my parents’ place watching the first two episodes of the show that doesn’t really star Rory as much I was lead to believe (but of course I’ll stick with it, especially since it’s only like eight episodes long total) and having dinner with them, which always takes way too long for no easily explained reason.  And then, of course, I spent the weekend doing my usual volunteer shift at the museum.  So, yeah, not as much time to read as there should have been.

And it doesn’t help that I kept reading the same paragraphs over and over again.  Not because I didn’t understand them, but because I’d get distracted, lose my place, and then forget I’d already read them.  (Maybe I need more caffeine…?)

Still, Friday morning was sort of red-letter day stuff.  I’ve been asked to help with a very important task, because I’ve become the resident expert at the computer cataloging software.  (Not sure how that happened, but somehow it did.)  More importantly, once the new wing opens (it’s under construction right now) I’ll finally get to make the switch from long-time volunteer to employee!  (Yay!)  I was pretty nervous about asking to be hired, ’cause although I feel like I’ve proven at least somewhat useful, I’ve also sometimes been unreliable, particularly in that sometimes I’d call in and say “yeah, I’m not coming in today” for reasons that ranged from relatively understandable (feeling a bit unwell) to kinda-sorta-almost-acceptable-but-not-really (snow and other weather issues that weren’t stopping anyone else) to really, totally unacceptable (one closed road in my path).  And then there have been times when I took a semester off due to a heavy workload.  So I was worried that they wouldn’t want to start paying me, but it turned out okay.  Still, I’m going to have to be much more reliable in the future!

Okay, this feels like a decent length (many of my other Missing Letter Monday posts have been shorter, after all), so I’ll close the post after one last bit of info, regarding the Aristotle I’ve been reading.

The translators made a terrible, horrible rookie mistake.

We’re talking 19th century levels of stupid here.

They wrote “Diomede” when they meant “Diomedes.”  And I know it wasn’t a typo, because they did it twice in a row.

Now, both Diomede and Diomedes are characters in the Iliad.

Diomedes is one of the most important and powerful Greek warriors.

Diomede is one of Achilles’ concubines.

Not confusing these two is very freakin’ important!

Ugh.

(Admittedly, you do sometimes see “Diomede” for “Diomedes” in older translations…of Roman materials.  I’ve never seen that done in the translation of a Greek text before.  Particularly not one translated after, say, 1950.  Admittedly, this translation only dates from 1951, but still!  A modern editor should have corrected that, because it’s a horrendous mistake.  Then again, this is sort of the “budget” school of editing:  they don’t even provide footnotes (or endnotes) to tell you where any of Aristotle’s  many quotations came from (or to admit that we don’t know), or to give you any information about his many references to ancient literary texts.  Obviously, I know the myths he references, but when he’s simply quoting something and calling it “Homer”?  Yeah, I don’t have the entire Iliad and Odyssey memorized (and even if I did, the translation would be different), plus at one point he cited a specific text as the work of Homer which was not either of those epics, and my knowledge of the non-Homer Homeric works is much more spotty, so I can’t read a “Homer” quote and know which non-Homer Homeric work it came from.)


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Struggling

Published October 18, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

I want to post things that are seasonal, because it’s October, and Halloween is the only holiday I really like.  But I can’t think of anything to post that’s seasonal.  (This is even worse on my other blog, since it’s about my toy collection, and I don’t have time to take new photos, but the only photos I have sitting around waiting to be used are either singles for Wordless Wednesday, or a set for a review of the new(ish) Monster High two-pack of Cleo de Nile and Deuce Gorgon, but my next post on that blog will be my 100th, and I want it to be something a little more special than just more Monster High.  (Then again, the son of Medusa would be appropriate, given what’s going on right now in my myth re-tellings, and given this past Wordless Wednesday was my vintage Calibos action figure… (I am horrified beyond words, btw, that a toy younger than I am is now considered “vintage”…it was only the 1980s!  That’s not that long ago!  *whimper*)))

Worst of all, I shouldn’t be online anyway.  I should be reading.  I have tons more reading to do for next week — at least 150 pages for the Thursday only class, and about as much for the Tuesday-Thursday class — and I need to be researching my final papers.  But it’s so hard to concentrate on my reading.  I just don’t wanna read it right now!  I want to play games, prepare for NaNo, blog, photograph my dolls, buy new dolls (not that I have the money for that right now) and generally do anything that isn’t reading one more word about the Wars of Independence in Spanish America, or about the fall of the Roman Republic.  Halfway through the semester (roughly) and I’m utterly sick of both my classes.

Ugh.

Sorry.  I know I wasn’t going to do these kinds of pointless posts after leaving the daily format, but…sometimes I just want to vent, and venting to the few people available to me just doesn’t feel right, somehow.  (Especially venting to my brother.  He’s very sympathetic, but it makes me feel guilty; he’s never finished college, and here I am whining about my Master’s studies?  It’s very awkward.)

The worst thing, really, is how much I want to do NaNo this year, though I know I don’t have time.  But I really like the idea I came up with — though that’s bitten me before — and I just…I just don’t like the idea of not doing it, for the first time in years.  (Ilios was my first NaNo novel.  I think that was 2011?  Sounds about right…)  But with two major research papers due mid-December, one 25 pages and the other 5,000 words, plus a 3,000 word paper due earlier in December, I don’t see how I could have time, because I’ll need to spend every spare minute reading.  (Though at least the 3,000 word paper is expected to be based only on the readings assigned for class.  Which, of course, don’t let up for a minute.  At least the TTh class doesn’t have any more assigned readings after the ones for this coming week.)  And yet, on the other hand, I haven’t done any serious amount of writing since April, so if NaNo can get me back on track again (which I had hoped, actually, to have last year’s NaNo do, if I recall correctly…) then surely that’s a good thing, right?  (Then again, my writing sucks, so maybe it isn’t…)

I shouldn’t be writing this.

I should be reading Plutarch.

Or one of those ten zillion books and journal articles waiting for me to read them.

Except it would have to be the journal articles; I’ve already used up all my little post-it-note-flags in the two biographies assigned for this week.  (The journal articles, of course, are .pdfs on my iPad, so I can mark them up in the .pdf reader.)  Once I’ve written the paper for this set of reading — due the Thursday after this coming one, naturally — then I can take out most of the flags, and rededicate them.  (But only most, ’cause the pink flags are all for my final paper.  And I’ll have to check which of the rest of them are for this first paper and which are for the second-to-last paper.  But most of them are for this coming paper.)

Also, it doesn’t help that my arm is acting up horribly, despite that it’s getting cooler outside.  (Though it’ll be back up in the 80s by Wednesday!)  But I’m stressed over all this reading, so of course my arm is acting up.  It responds to stress and hormones as well as heat.

Have I said lately that it sucks to be me?  Because it totally does.

All right, I’ll stop moaning and whining now.

I’ll get to reading that Plutarch.  Should be a faster read than the biography of San Martin, right?

Another Rant You Won’t Want To Read

Published July 28, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

So I met with a new physician. (The old one retired.) It was not a promising first appointment. Now, my old physician always used to harp on my weight, too, but the way she did so was different, more friendly, more maternal. And she certainly didn’t ever suggest surgery. Seriously, this new physician said something about how I wouldn’t be able to get down to my “ideal” weight without surgery, because all I’d be able to lose would be about 60-80 pounds, with diet, exercise and medication, in 6-8 months, so I should really consider surgery as well.

Um, seriously, wtf?

First of all, losing more than that any faster than that would be freakin’ unhealthy.

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This Past Thursday

Published May 9, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Okay, I think I’ve recovered enough to talk about it now.

So Thursday starts out–no, let me back up a bit.  The previous Thursday, in class the professor said that “next week will be our last class meeting” but that he wanted to meet with all of us, individually, on Tuesday or Wednesday to talk about our previous papers and our upcoming final papers.  I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday (to get the crowns put in) but Wednesday was wide open, so I was okay with that.

So he starts an e-mail sign-up sheet on Sunday, for us to say what time we want to meet on Tuesday.  I reply by pointing out that Tuesday is off the table for me, but Wednesday is good.  He says he’ll let me know what times he’s open on Wednesday…and eventually–like, Wednesday morning–says that no, he’s not going to be available at all on Wednesday.  I reply and tell him that I have a doctor’s appointment for my arm problem on Thursday at 11:00, and that I don’t know how long it will last or how long it will take to get to campus from the hospital, but that I’d definitely be available right before or right after class.  He says he’ll only be in his office at 11:00 on Thursday, so we’ll have to talk about the paper via e-mail.  I’m like “okay, whatever,” and don’t reply, ’cause it didn’t seem like a reply was needed.

I guess it was.

But more on that later.  So, Thursday morning, I’m on the way to the hospital, and I’m pissed off at the weather, because I was promised thunderstorms, and I’m getting a bright sunny day.  Good for most people, but torturous for me, because my left arm feels hot all the time, and the sunlight streaming down on it through the car window as I’m driving is the worst.  (And no one was available to drive me to the hospital.)  Plus there were lots of crazy people out on the road, as usual.  And it usually feels like I’m the only person in a five million mile radius who obeys the speed limit.  But mostly it was the weather that was the problem.  I spent a lot of time on that drive screaming obscenities at the sky–and sometimes at other drivers–and I definitely cried some, too.  Frustration will do that to me sometimes.

I did more screaming of obscenities in the parking garage at the hospital, because the first decent parking place I found was for “valet parking.”  Who does valet parking at a hospital?  And, more importantly, why would the valet parking have the good parking places?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the furthest out parking places for the valet parking, since the valets are being paid to walk over there and retrieve the cars?

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Discussion Boards, Group Projects and the Core (Hard or Not)

Published March 13, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

As I warned yesterday, I will be bitching about class today.  But not just about class, but about also the week leading up to it.

So, this is a class on oral history, yes?  Not just studying it (which is what I had thought I was signing up for) but also practicing it.  I should have dropped it as soon as I found out that it wasn’t what I signed on for.  I may still drop it, even though it’s the only class I’m taking this semester, and the drop date has passed, so I’ll have an “EX” on my transcript forever if I drop it.  We’ll have to see what happens, but that’s where I am right now, in my head-space.

Getting back to the class, we have various assignments each week, as you’d expect, but we don’t get much spelled out about them until the week before they’re due.  (With a few rare exceptions.)  So the assignment that was due yesterday was that the class was divided into two groups–undergraduates and graduates–and each group was to compile a list of 40 questions for an oral interview, and that these questions would be put into practice on a test subject in class.  A discussion board was set up for the purpose of this assignment.

Because I really didn’t want to do it, and last weekend was the worst I have had in many years, I put off going to that discussion board until Sunday night.

It was still a blank, virginal slate.

So I started a thread about the assignment, saying that we should talk about what theme we wanted to center our questions around.

When I went back Monday night, the only response was from the professor, who said that determining those themes was part of the assignment.  As if I had been asking him, rather than trying to start a discussion with my fellow students.

Since no one had said anything, I posted again with about a dozen questions, mostly basic, introductory stuff.  Because by Monday night, for a paper due on Thursday, I would usually want to have the rough draft done (though obviously that isn’t always achieved) and so having nothing at all of the question list by Monday night was burning me up.

Over the next two days, two of the other students pitched in.  One of them contributed about the same number of questions that I had–though fewer introductory questions and more on thematic issues–and the other had written a list of 45 questions, which she posted in its entirety.  Which would have been fantastic, except she seemed to have misunderstood the assignment a bit, and had written a set of questions that would have been appropriate for interviewing the men whose interviews we had transcribed earlier in class, men who had been WWII veterans.  It was a fine list, but there’s no point in asking a 50 year old woman if she served in WWII, you know, so most of the list was useless, and most of the basic information questions covered the same information that the other student and I had put up.  Still, at least she had put time and effort into it.  She didn’t have time to contribute to the discussion, as such, but she wasn’t blowing off the assignment, so I don’t have any problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is the other two graduate students.  One posted late on Wednesday night, posting about six or seven questions, most of them fairly basic and many already covered, and the other posted at 4 a.m. on Thursday morning–barely more than 12 hours before the final list was due!–and posted even fewer questions, having clearly not read any of the questions that had already been posted, because there was no truly new material in it.

That, of course, was when I realized that if I didn’t do the assignment, it might not get done.  There were only two of us properly taking part in the discussion, and the other one had said in his latest post that he was working almost all day on Thursday, so I could see that he wasn’t going to have time to compile a full list out of the half dozen threads with the questions scattered through them.

So I had to do it.

It took me almost an hour.

And the results were, of course, pathetic.  The questions were simple and shallow, because there had been no discussion of what information we were looking for, and there were only two people actively contributing questions.

The worst part about all of this is that one of the things the professor said about the lists was that he was disappointed at how little they tried to delve for deeper information on important topics.

How in the bloody, pluperfect, *&%$ed-up HELL were we supposed to do that!?  NO ONE was willing to make any kind of stance, we were given literally ZERO  guidance, and in our case there were only TWO PEOPLE trying to do a job assigned to FIVE!

{*pant*pant*pant*}

All right, I’m better now.

But I am still seriously pissed off.

I’m pissed at the two students who completely blew off the assignment–especially since the professor’s posts made it very clear that all of our grades were going to depend on the whole group taking part, as if I had any way to get the other two involved when I didn’t even know they were graduate students!–and I’m pissed at the professor for designing this so poorly, and I’m pissed at the entire class for turning our in-class deliberations about the final  list into one big argument in which absolutely nothing was decided.

But perhaps I’m most pissed that I didn’t just drop the class after the first day.

I should have been able to switch into another class.  Missing the first day isn’t that big a deal, even in graduate-level classes.

Worst of all, though, is the next assignment.

Because the next assignment is to conduct the interview.

We’ve all been given the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of someone we’re supposed to interview.  We have two weeks to interview them and transcribe the interviews.

This is why I should have dropped the class from the word “go.”

Because I’m not good at talking to others.  Especially not strangers, but even with people I know, I’m not good at it.

And now I have to e-mail–or, even worse, call!–a total stranger, set up a meeting time, and then interview her?

This will not end well.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like this woman doesn’t know.  All the interviewees were contacted by the professor or some of his acquaintances, and they all agreed to do it.  So it’s not like I’m calling a total stranger and having to explain why I’m calling her and asking to interview her.   So it could be worse…but the second interview is going to be like that.  We have to provide our own interviewees for the second interview.

That’s why I want to drop the course now.

But I’m going to try.  I’ll e-mail her tomorrow and hope it’s a working e-mail address so I won’t have to call her.  I’ll try to conduct the interview.

But if it goes as badly as I think it’s going to, then I’m dropping the course, and I don’t care how bad that “EX” is going to look on my transcript!  It’d have to look better than an F, and I think that’s what I’d get if I kept going.

Especially since the second interview is again part of a group project, and we’d have to use that damned discussion board again to determine what the project was.

I shudder at the thought.

There should have been a warning in the course catalog:  “Don’t take this course unless you’re seriously hard-core!”

I am not hard-core.  As far as this subject goes, my core is so soft as to have mostly evaporated.

I guess I’m hard-core about other things, though.  I went to a toy store on my way home tonight, in the constant rain, after dark (and I hate driving in the rain, especially after dark) because it was the first chance I had to check to see if the new Monster High doll had been released today, since it’s Friday the 13th.  (They’ve released special dolls to celebrate Friday the 13ths before.  And since this is the second Friday the 13th in a row, I thought surely they would this time, but it seems not.)  So that’s a little bit of hard-core-ishness about me, but even then, not really.  It’s not like I’m willing to shell out massive amounts of money to scalpers for dolls before they’re released, or for convention-exclusive dolls or something.

Ugh.  I need to do something fun to unwind.

Ow, my back!

Published March 1, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

It would be nice if I could claim I hurt my back shoveling the five or six inches of snow off my driveway so I could get down to the museum today.  That would be a noble, societally accepted reason to have a horrific back-ache.

But I can’t lie like that.

I drove right over the snow, because I’m stupid and reckless.  (Also because the weather forecast lied to me when it said we’d get up to 38 and see rain today, so I thought the snow would mostly get melted by the rain by the end of the day.)

So I don’t know why my back is killing me.

Well, no, I think it’s ’cause of what I was doing at the museum today.  Unlike the past two days, when I’ve been re-assembling broken dollhouse furniture, today I was putting that furniture in dollhouses.  Shouldn’t be a strain on the back at all, right?  Right. But the dollhouses were on tables, pushed far back (so that kids can’t reach them), and so I was having to lean forward over the tables, and then sort of stretch downwards to see what was in the lower level rooms.  (I couldn’t crouch because I have bad knees, and also because the height of the table was wrong for that approach.)

I think that’s why my back hurts so much today, but I’m not totally sure.

It could be any number of things, including that my back just doesn’t like me.

Anyway, I’m going to go lie down on a heating pad now.

Been one of those weeks

Published February 27, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Or something.  It’s just…ugh.  I don’t even know, you know?

My paper was horrendous.  There’s no other way to describe it.

Then, after I had gone all the way down to campus through the snow (flurries) the professor cancelled class.  Only an hour before the class was due to start, mind you, so no one would have had time to find out it was cancelled before they left for campus.  Or very few people would, anyway.  (With the class starting during rush hour, it makes the commute difficult no matter where you’re coming from.)

Oh, and he tacked on a new assignment to watch a movie (which apparently he or someone has posted on YouTube in its entirity, which seems to me rather odd) and said movie is a theatrical movie from some years back which I have heard is absolutely ungodly awful.  Admittedly, that’s part of his point–we’re supposed to post on the class discussion board about its ethnic stereotyping–but I really don’t want to watch it.

It just feels like everything’s going wrong.

And I’m totally out of money, but don’t have any more coming in until the 15th.  Ugh.

And my gas bills are ludicrously high, even though I keep my house absurdly cold.  (Seriously, in light of how much my gas bill was, I had dropped the thermostat from 63 to 60 degrees.  As that didn’t save me much money, I’ve dropped it further to 59.)

Yeah, so my life sucks, as per usual.  I’m going to go take a hot bath and try to forget my life exists.

A crossroads?

Published February 16, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Or a decision point?  Or just a “wander around aimlessly, as per usual” point?

‘Cause, see, I’m starting to feel like I need to abandon Helen of Space, my 2014 NaNoWriMo project.

It was supposed to be this glorious, funny, anime-inspired, sci-fi re-working of the Trojan War, wherein every major character had been reincarnated into a giant robot-style universe, only the war wasn’t going to go as planned, due to the alien invasion killing Paris before he even met Helen.  Only as I was planning it, I realized that it was going to be even cooler if it still started, and went on for a while, only to ultimately be cancelled when the aliens resurfaced and kidnapped Helen themselves.  And generally happy (or not) endings all around, as the characters’ actions and personal stories dictated.  (As opposed to the myth, wherein huge numbers of them die horribly.)

Now, don’t get me wrong when I say I need to abandon it.  I did succeed in NaNo itself; I wrote 100k words (my lowest ever, but it was the first time I was also a student during NaNo, so I think that makes a good excuse) and finished the novel.  Problem is, by that point, the single novel had become a trilogy (of which I had only completed book one), because the story kept becoming more and more complex.

So I started book two in the final days of November, right?  And I still have only, I dunno, 20 pages or so.  Maybe 30?  It’s probably not much over 15k.  I’ve barely even opened the file in the last few weeks, and I can’t even remember the last time I managed to write anything in it.  (Admittedly, last week’s assignment for my class was very time-intensive, but…)

The real problem is that this has turned into a project that shouldn’t even be a book.  It has a massive cast, and they need to have a lot of time to develop interpersonal relationships at every stage of the story, but in order to get the story from point A to point B, I had to rush through absolutely everything.  That 100k, that was the pre-alien invasion set-up, the invasion itself, the tension between the (reincarnated Greek) refugees from the space stations and the (reincarnated Trojan) colonists living on the surface of Ganymede, and the suspicions between the two groups as the alien attacks diminished that this had all been a trick of the other side, so that the first book ended with the outbreak of hostilities between the two groups.  By this point, the relationship between (I’m just gonna use the original names here for simplicity’s sake) Achilles and Briseis and Aias and Tecmessa were supposed to be strong enough that the two women abandon their own side for their new lovers.  Neither had had more than two or three scenes with the other, because there just wasn’t enough time.  Because, as I said, everything was turning out horribly rushed because I had so many characters and so much story.

Really, what it needs to be is a TV show or something.  I suppose if I knew a good artist I could collaborate with, it could be a series of graphic novels, or online comics or something, but…I dunno, that’s sort of going in a radically different direction than what I was thinking of.  (Unless the artist had a manga-like style.)

I think the reason I’ve been so stuck is multifold.  One, I don’t really know how to structure the next bit, the actual “war” between the two sides, because neither side has enough people to spare to have much bloodshed in their “war,” so how, exactly, are they fighting?  Two, I’m already feeling forgetful about what happened in the first book, which I already felt like needed huge re-structuring to begin with, which just leaves me all the more unsure of how to proceed.  Three, because of the huge cast, I have a tendency to lose track of what the minor characters are up to most of the time, and only remember the ones who either have a direct impact on the plot and the ones whose relationships need to have a significant arc in the story.  (And, unfortunately, characters like Helen and Menelaos are among those who do not have a direct impact on the plot for most of book two.  I don’t think Helen’s even shown up yet, in fact.)  Four, one of the big things going on in book two is that Cassandra has accidentally ended up captured by the (reincarnated) Greeks, and they know she’s crazy, so they’re not treating her as a prisoner of war, but the lesser Aias was trying to rape her (again) when Odysseus interfered, so she has to be kept guarded at all times lest the creep get his hands on her, so there’s a huge, slow relationship arc between Cassandra and Odysseus throughout the book, and I have no idea quite where it’s going to go:  the larger part of me wants to have them end up together, and the rest of me is like “Are you stupid?  She’d never allow that!”

Anyway, yeah, so it’s a mess, and I don’t know what to do with it.

I should probably just set it aside and go back to re-writing Ilios, but…I’m just afraid that if I set it down I’ll never pick it up again.  I can’t count how many projects I’ve just abandoned over the years.

I should probably write that “undead werewolves on a cruise liner” thing instead.  I’ve got no idea what the story is (apart from it apparently involving a super-villain who bred them as man-eaters?) but at least it’s actually original.  As much as I tell myself that my Greek myth stuff is a “better” endeavor than the fanfic I used to write, in a way it’s still just fanfic:  I’m still just working with someone else’s characters.  The only difference is that if I want to write a novel about the love quandrangle of Briseis/Achilles/Patroclos/Iphis, I can actually publish that, because they’re not copyrighted, whereas if I write about a love quadrangle of…uh….no, I can’t think of anything that would allow one of those…all right, a love triangle of characters from Final Fantasy or Doctor Who or whatever, I can’t publish those, because the characters are copyrighted.

Okay, I’ve lost the train of thought now, but…yeah, I’m sort of in a funk at the moment.  I’d say it always happens this time of year, but last year I was madly writing away on my quasi-young adult novels.  I really do want to get back to those, try and polish them up, but I want to get Ilios in working order first.  (I feel like I have to, because I used it as the master version of the Trojan War that was the reality for the quasi-YA novels.  Uh, I should point out that the leads of said novels are the offspring of Achilles, Odysseus and the greater Aias, and the books take place 17-20 years after the war.  So what version of the war it was is actually pretty important.)  Of course, even after I get Ilios up and running, the quasi-YA books are another matter entirely.  I have no idea what passes for “young adult” these days in fiction.  Is it okay to talk about things like rape in what’s otherwise a pretty light-hearted book?  ‘Cause the two heroines (the illegitimate daughters of Achilles and Odysseus) spend the first 16 years of their lives as slaves, so it’s actually kind of a miracle that they’re still untouched, and have only once had to fight off a rape.  (Though the fact that the heroine was always calling herself the daughter of Achilles, and threw a guy up onto the roof when she was nine years old probably had a lot to do with it…)

Hmm, I seem to be rambling now.  So I guess I should shut up.

Rose B. Fischer

Author. Artist. Evil Genius.

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