moaning

All posts tagged moaning

IWSG – Post CampNaNo

Published August 3, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Though CampNaNo is over, I don’t feel the usual release I have after the actual NaNo.  Normally, by Dec. 1, I’m free of what I’ve been writing, and can move on to other things.

But this time I’m still obsessed.

Admittedly, in part that’s because I’m looking the piece over to fix the worst problems so I can send it to one of the people from my cabin as a beta reader prior to possibly posting it on a fanfic site, but that doesn’t really cover the crux of the problem:  these characters haven’t let go of my brain yet.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they were my characters.

I’d try inventing original characters similar to them for an original work, but the last time I tried that (NaNo 2012) it didn’t work in any regard:  by the time Dec. 1 rolled around, the characters were utterly unlike the ones they started out as, I was horribly disappointed by the book (to the extent that I’ve never once re-opened the file to have another look at it), and the new characters never took up residence in my head for a minute, not even while I was writing it.

Anyway, while I’m still afraid I’ve re-opened the fanfic floodgates (there are so many other things I want to write about these characters!), I’m trying to focus right now on what the heck I want to do in fixing this story up.  (“Story,” she says.  About a 155k behemoth.)

The biggest problem — other than the inconsistent pacing, lack of description, spotty characterization and dangling plot threads that are typical of me — is this one particular sequence relatively early on.

Okay, so my piece gets its two romantic leads from the movie, the reporter and the rock star.  (Which would be a great title for it if it was just about their romance.)  At the start of the fic, the reporter is already essentially in love with the rock star, though he’s not quite prepared to use those words to describe it.  And he doesn’t figure he’s ever going to see the rock star again, so he’s mostly just trying not to think about him.  Only then he goes to his favorite bar for a drink on Saturday night, and the rock star just happens to be there.  (Which reminds me, I need to explain what the heck he was doing there…)  Well, this obviously does nothing to reduce his romantic feelings for the other man, but he’s still trying to fight it.  Only then, the next Saturday, he goes back to the same bar (well, it’s more of a club than a bar, actually) and runs into the rock star again.  (That one I did explain.)

Now, here is where the difficulty comes in.  Because by the time I was writing that scene, I already had in mind several other scenes about their relationship:  two in between scenes of the reporter pining for the rock star, the scene where the rock star shows up at the reporter’s apartment completely wasted and they end up having rather unsatisfying sex, and then the first time we get the rock star’s POV which ends with them having much nicer sex.  (Yeah, I know, there are a lot of problems with that.)

And the difficulty in that?  Because the rock star had only gone back to that bar in the first place because he was hoping to run into the reporter again, in order to score with him, trying to keep them from hitting the sack together at the end of the second bar scene was so difficult that the only way I found to do it was to have four horny fangirls show up and chase the reporter away.  Which isn’t very convincing (said girls being in the 18-22 range, and said rock star being 37), is awfully (in)convenient timing, and isn’t much fun to read.  Plus it really ticked off the rock star (in that he felt the reporter had abandoned him to his vulture-like fans), so that when he next shows up, he’s incredibly angry (he does that) and calling the reporter some very not-nice names, to the point that it was actually physically difficult for me to write it.  (He uses a particular profanity a lot in the movie, one which I really don’t like and never use myself (a very rare thing), and though I have no trouble typing it normally, because it was aimed at the reporter, it took me like half an hour to get that part of the scene written, because my fingers so didn’t want to type that.)

The real problem is that I don’t like the idea of just re-writing the scene so that the girls don’t show up and the leads hook up a bit over a week early.  Because the two scenes of the reporter pining for the rock star are really…it would be going too far to say that they’re good, per se, but let’s suffice it to say that I really like them, particularly the one where he goes to a gay bar in the hopes of having a one-night stand to make him forget the rock star, only to get jealous when the sound system starts playing a love duet sung by the rock star and one of his exes.  And that’s the one that can’t still be used.  The other one — in which he goes to hear the rock star performing live at a local night club — could be adapted and kept, but the gay bar scene absolutely would make no sense if they’d already hooked up, and putting it before their second in-fic meeting is too soon:  they only met twice in the movie (yet I am absolutely not inventing the reporter’s feelings for the rock star) so for him to be that obsessed that quickly would be a bit much.  In fact, it’s really kind of pushing it to have it after their second in-fic meeting.

*sigh*

Well, that’s something I’m hoping the beta reader can help me with.

I also have something like 8 or 9 temp names that need replacing with real names.  Characters have temp names like Ughanother Nameneededhere and Ihate Namingcharacters.  Things I can swap out easily with “find – replace”…if I can come up with names for them.  (For a fanfic, it has a ludicrous number of OCs.  Probably because the nature of the story requires a ton of characters for them to interact with, which the movie does not provide, particularly in the 1984 section.)

I think I had more I wanted to say, but my back is now screaming at me that it’s time to lie down, so I’m just going to cut off this rambling mess of a post here.

Tomorrow will hopefully be back to my regularly scheduled programming.

Assuming my back will let me write.

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IWSG – Not a lot to say, really

Published March 2, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Another double post Wednesday!  (Yeah, that’s going to keep up for a number of months, until I get rid of my ever-growing backlog of quotes.)

Anyway, it’s been a very slow month for me as a writer.  Like, deadly slow.  I haven’t had much time for writing, not writing fiction, anyway.  I have to spend a lot of time reading for class, and I have a paper due every week, which doesn’t help.

But I think it’s also just that I’m not really very motivated to write right now.  It’s this NaNo novel that’s been hanging over my head since November.  I don’t want to abandon it, but I’m not sure I can finish it.  It’s not that I don’t know what happens next, or even that the next scene is going to be all that hard to write.  Well, it’ll be hard in one sense, since I’ll have to describe things, and that’s my biggest weakness.  But there’s no painful emotions in the scene.  After I got through all the turbulence of Ashley having to come out to his best friend at the same time as he confesses his love for him, and then the ensuing whirlwind…writing the characters discovering  the now-ancient ruins of a far-future weapons factory shouldn’t be that difficult.

But I just can’t get up the interest to write it.  I’ve started re-reading everything I’ve written so far, in the hopes of renewing my interest, but it’s not working.  I think the problem is that the novel is incompatible with the characters I invented it for.

I’ve gone into aspects of this before in my IWSG posts, so I’ll just summarize.  Because Ashley and Paddy were taking over my brain, I thought I could exorcise them by making them the stars of their own novel.  But I didn’t want to write the gruesome story of the deaths originally planned for them (couldn’t have written it even if I’d wanted to, in fact), and I knew I wasn’t up to the challenge of writing a realistic novel about their struggles to come to terms with their love and fit into a society that wasn’t ready to embrace homosexuality.  Even if I was a mature enough person to write something that serious and down to earth, the required research into the late 1960s or the early 1970s would have taken far too long.

So I gave them a new setting.  In the original version, it was already established that they had fought in Vietnam, so I had them in a helicopter that went through a timeslip and ended up in the super-distant future.  I think the setting and explanation I came up with are kind of interesting, and it might make a nice story in someone else’s hands.  However, I’m spending as much time on the romance between the two leads as I am on the story, and the romance is totally freakin’ irrelevant to the story (as well as being utterly unrealistic).  And, perhaps worse, this story is just not the right place for these two characters.  They belong in the real world, not a distant future filled with all sorts of oddities.  (A strange statement considering they were originally dead backstory characters for a goofy, anime-inspired, reincarnation-and-robots novel.)

I don’t know what to do with the realization that my characters and my novel are incompatible.  I can’t just delete them from it and go on without them.  Among other reasons, none of the other soldiers from Vietnam are men whose heads I can get inside.  The one of them I like best, Caesar, is the brother of a Black Panther, so he’s paranoid that the brass were always watching him, expecting him to be doing undercover work for his brother.  As a white woman of a much later era, I could never get into his mindset enough to write his POV; I know my limits, and that’s way past them.  One of the others is an uneducated country boy, and then there’s the career military NCO, two more I’d never be able to understand.  So right now the only other character I can give a POV is Ricki, the time-displaced 80s girl.  If I were to remove Ashley and Paddy, I’d have to invent two new people to put in their place.  And, honestly, if I did that, I think I’d also do myself a favor and get rid of the whole “helicopter over Vietnam” thing, and make it a small plane somewhere in the US.  Caesar could still be there, as is, perhaps having just been discharged from his military service.  And the country boy wouldn’t require any change except that he’d be a civilian instead of a soldier.  The NCO would have to go, unless he was maybe someone who trained new troops stateside.  But with such a massive re-write…ack.  I think I’d want to finish draft one before I tried it, but I don’t think I can finish draft one.  (Catch-22 and back where we started…)

I had, for a brief time, been pretty charged up about the experiment I wrote about last month.  I even made up a lot of characters, some great story details, and I had a blast making up all sorts of totally useless superpowers for the squad of losers who make up the male lead’s gang.  I even wrote the first, I dunno, couple hundred words.  Just a bit that came to me and was really fun.  (That reminds me, I was thinking of posting some of it on the blog at some point.)  My enthusiasm wore down a little, though, perhaps in part because I kept telling myself to finish the NaNo novel first.  I’m pretty sure I could get the enthusiasm back quickly enough, but should I?  I mean, shouldn’t I finish the other one first?

I dunno.  Maybe it doesn’t even matter.  I mean, it’s not like I have a lot of time for it.  Between class, museum work, and blogging, I have very little time for anything else.  (Though blogging will take up less time after I finish researching for April A-to-Z.  Slightly less, anyway.  Maybe I spend too much time on my blogs…)

It doesn’t help, of course, that my arm is getting worse, and it’s now painful to try to type in most positions.  I’ve been put on new medication, which hasn’t helped, they did another MRI, which revealed nothing, and now I’m scheduled for a spinal tap next week, so they can find out if this is MS or something else.  (I’m rooting for it to be something else.  From what little I’ve read, I really don’t want to have MS.)  I don’t want to go through such a horrible procedure, but if it lets them figure out what’s wrong with me and thus enables them to fix it, then it’ll be worth it.  But I’m told I’ll need to spend 48 hours or more afterwards just lying down and recovering.  Which is a problem, because lying down makes my arm worse.  Maybe I can lie down on my back and read, holding the book up at arm’s length.  That might work.  Maybe.

Ugh.  My life sucks at the moment.  That’s the short version.

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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Missing Letter Monday – No “C”

Published December 14, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

So, my final paper of the semester is due on Wednesday.

It’s killin’ me.

I wrote the rough draft over the Thanksgiving break, but…there were all these bits where I just wrote things like [find an example and quote it here] or left a footnote saying things like [I know someone was saying this; figure out who it was!]

This may stop me from doing any real re-writing.

In that I first have to figure out the right books to point to for every single one of those.

Not to mention finding and typing in all the right quotes.

And then, if I have any time left, I finally get to do the genuine re-writing.  And let me tell you, it totally needs it.

So, yeah.

That’s why this is an even more lame than usual Missing Letter Monday post.

Sorry.

 


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My bibliography is going to be, like, ten pages long.  At least.  *sigh*

(The paper’s only supposed to be 25 pages, btw.)

 

 

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?

What helmet would you wear?

Published July 7, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Would it be dragon-shaped?

Bronze? Leather? Boar’s tusk? Dainty or massive? Or would you wear a hat, because you–like me in this lifetime–would prefer to avoid harming other living beings?

I’m asking because I’ve recently realized that the one thing I want more than anything else is to go to sleep and wake up to discover that my whole life has been a bad dream. I guess I’ve wanted that for a long time, but it’s become a more pressing desire lately than it has been in the past.

I’ve figured out that it is impossible for me to succeed at anything; I am congenitally bred for failure in all things, but particularly in all things that could lead to anything emotionally or financially rewarding. The better I think something I’ve done is, the worse it is received by others, though sadly the reverse is not the case.

This has its obvious problems, as you can well imagine.

The question is, then, how in the world am I supposed to make it in this world?

I obviously can’t do so by my writing: born and bred for failure definitely applies to my already underwhelming writing skills.

But I haven’t any other skills to use, either.

Too stupid for academia. We’ve established this repeatedly.

Literally no ability to process visual imagery, so no hope of discovering any latent ability in any visual artistic medium.

Even if I had any acting ability (and I don’t), I look like the south end of a north-bound hippopotamus (only less gray) so there’s no chance of going into the performative arts.

No physical stamina, no social skills and no work history, so I can’t go into basic career paths like sales clerks and whatnot.  (Plus I’m way too old to be starting at entry level positions.)

I am left with literally nothing, unless I get someone else to win the lottery on my behalf and give me the money.

Like that would ever happen.

How the heck did I manage to screw my life up this badly?  Usually, to wreck a life, you’d expect someone to have to engage in danger sign activities like drugs, drinking and wild sex.  I’ve never done any of those things.  (Well, I did at one point in my life I did do a tiny amount of drinking, but one margarita on the rare occasions when I went to a nice Mexican restaurant hardly seems to count.  Especially since I always asked for it to be a weak one.)

I often like to think it’s karma.  That I’m so screwed up in this life not (just) because I made so many spectacularly stupid decisions, but because I did something so terribly wrong in a previous life that this life is punishment for it.

In which case, in the previous life, I must’ve been an oversexed, male chauvinist who routinely went about a battlefield slaughtering people left, right and center.  Not really a very nice thought.  Particularly because I haven’t really been “good” enough in this life to earn a better next life, I wouldn’t think.  (Then again, what the heck do I know?  I have little to no knowledge of the Hindu religion from whence the reincarnation terminology springs, and while I’ve read a summary of the Socratic/Platonic philosophic equivalent of reincarnation, it was only a one page summary, and I read it a couple of days ago, while my head was all wobbly with medication, so my information retention was not at its best, to say the least.)

Anyway, I realize that complaining about it isn’t going to make it any better, but I’m not quite sure what will, and sometimes just talking about it (or–in this case–typing about it) can help me work through my thoughts and try to come to grips with the situation in the hopes of understanding things and finding possible solutions.

Though at the moment I certainly don’t see any.

And my head is still a bit wobbly, I’m sorry to say.  I was hoping I’d be adjusted to the medication by now.

IWSG – Futility

Published June 3, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

(The usual Words Crush Wednesday post is cancelled this week, because it’s the first Wednesday of the week, so it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.  I’ll be back to quoting the Iliad next week.  Or maybe I’ll switch it up and move to someone more recent, like Sophocles or Euripides.)

Lately, I’ve been feeling like there’s no point to working on polishing my writing.  Because the point of re-writing and polishing is trying to get it to out to the public, right?  But it’s clear to me that I’ll never get anything I’ve written to a point where anyone would want to read it.  My basic ideas are good, I’m sure of that, but my prose is childish, my characters are shallow, and any time I attempt a love story, it’s entirely unconvincing, because I’ve never been in a romantic relationship.  (That, of course, is why I decided that my heroic trio in my quasi-YA novels would not have any romantic relationships.  Well, except then I later established that the young man in the trio already had several unofficial fiancees (not of his own will) and a girl he’s in love with, but since all those conditions are pre-existing, it’s a very different type of unconvincing.)

On the NaNo forums towards the end of April’s Camp NaNo, or possibly in very early May, I was given a link to a private forum where I could get some feedback on Ilios, since it was already in bite-size chunks, so that I could re-publish it.  (Ilios is my Trojan War novel, telling the whole story of the war, as mythically accurate as possible, with each chapter being narrated in the first person by a different character.  (Which I thought was a unique approach, until recently at a used book store, when I found another novel that had done the same thing, as far as I could tell by glancing through it.  Took a very different approach, of course, and probably didn’t tell the whole war.  I might have picked it up, if the author had used Aias instead of Ajax, but he didn’t, so I didn’t.)  I had e-published it a while ago on LeanPub, but I officially “retired” it because I was so disgusted with how badly I had handled some of the chapters, particularly some of the key emotional chapters tied to the events of the Iliad.)

Anyway, I said I would go to those forums after turning my final paper in, mid-May.  I still have yet to do so.  Because…what’s the point?  The person who offered doesn’t understand how bad my writing is.  People always hear my ideas and say “that sounds great; let me read it and I’ll give you feedback!”  Then they read it and can’t find anything to say, because what needs to be said is “Don’t give up the day job.”  (Which is awkward, considering I don’t have one.)  Of course, there’s more to it than that; I’d be intruding on a forum where everyone else is already close friends, and what would I say when I got there?  I guess it’s partially my social phobia obstructing me even online.

But even though I intend to eventually re-write the abysmal chapters of Ilios, I don’t know if I’ll bother re-publishing it.  Even for free, it only got two downloads.  (Admittedly, that’s partially because LeanPub does not have a flourishing fiction section; it’s more a place for IT texts and other technical books.  But even if it was on Amazon or someplace, I don’t think it would have any more success, even for free.)

For at least fifteen years, every word of fiction I wrote was purely for myself.  In fact, most of it was fanfic.  Though it might seem like a waste of time and effort to write stories/novels/whatevers that I had no intention of ever showing to anyone else, it was comforting to know that it didn’t matter if it sucked, because no one else was going to see it.  It didn’t matter if someone was out of character for a while, because no one would know.  It was okay that the relationships were flat and unconvincing, because I was the only one who could read it.

But since telling myself that my fanfic days are over, I feel like I’m supposed to be writing towards the goal of publication, admittedly only the self-published kind.  But there’s no way anything I write can ever be suitable for the public.  As I said last month, I’m incapable of writing descriptions, because I don’t think visually:  I have no idea what my characters look like apart from a very few physical details that I do impart in the books (primarily concerned with height and hair color) and even if I did know what they looked like, I wouldn’t be able to describe them, because I don’t “get” descriptions of faces.  My ability to describe locations isn’t much better; my brain can’t grasp the geometry of the place, no matter how many descriptions I read of the region, or how many photos I see.  (Even if I went to Greece and Turkey to see the places for myself, I doubt I’d have any better luck trying to describe them.)

I think I’m about to sink into a re-run of last month’s post, so I should perhaps stop while I’m ahead.

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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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Random Thoughts from the Past Week

Published April 19, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Since I’m no longer posting my random stuff whenever I feel like it, due to April’s A-to-Z challenge, this week I’ve stored up a bunch of little things.  At the time I’m writing this section (mid-afternoon Wednesday) they are all, so far, positive.  Uh, except for the ants in the kitchen.  But that led to something positive, so it’s not so bad.

So, on Tuesday, when I went to the post office to mail in my taxes (yes, I know, I know, I shouldn’t have waited so long!) I was surprised by how few people were there.  In front of me in line were a couple of women, and there was another woman off to the side, using her phone to take a photograph of one of the other women, so I assumed the one off to the side was there with her.  The woman being photographed looked to be in her early thirties, and had two small children with her.  After she was done at the counter, as she was on her way out the door, I heard the other woman approaching her, at which time she said something along the lines of “I don’t want to seem like a stalker, but I’m a big fan of your online blog, and I just wanted to tell you that,” and then went on a little longer about how great the blog was, and how her daughter was also a fan, and so on.  I was just standing there going “what, seriously?”  This woman with her two small kids posts pictures of herself (and/or her kids) enough that this total stranger was able to recognize her.  Now, in this case, that was a totally fine thing:  the woman who recognized her was very nice, and a fan of her work, whatever her work is.  But what if she hadn’t been?  That’s the second major reason I would never post my photo online:  I’m too paranoid and misanthropic to trust people that far.  (The first reason, of course, is that then I would have to see my photo, and I don’t want that.  Ever.)  Overall, a very surreal experience, though it must have been even more surreal for the woman with the two little kids!

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Thinking about a title change.

Published January 24, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

The title was appropriate for the blog I originally set out to write, the chronicle of my last desperate attempt to enter into a romantic relationship before I turn 40.  But of course that hasn’t been happening.  I’ve barely even made any sort of attempt; the one new foray I made into online dating was an even bigger disaster than usual, and left me feeling even more cynical and hopeless than ever.  Consequently, instead I’ve been doing a daily blog chronicling my ordinary life, my studies, my writing and Greek mythology, which are, of course, all interconnected.  (Though sadly the mythology is only connected in the sense that I’m writing about it and studying it, and tend to think about it a lot.)

Over the last few weeks, I’ve come to the bitter but inescapable realization that there’s no point pretending that I’m going to be able to change my loveless existence so easily, or at all.

We live in a society where a woman’s worth as a romantic partner is judged solely by her looks, and I’m quite probably the most physically repulsive person on the planet.  I’ve seen women even heavier than I am, it’s true, but they’ve had more attractive faces to make up for it, plus their weight was better distributed.  I can’t even hope to make good friends with some compatible guy and then turn that into romance, because most men are too disgusted by my appearance to be willing to speak to me, and even if they were able to speak to me, I’m too socially inept to be able to make friends easily.

So I’m going to change the title of my blog, as soon as I come up with one that seems appropriate.  After all, I set out to write a daily blog for a full year–minus November, of course–and I plan to achieve that goal at least.

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