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Time:12:02 pm

*note to self*

tomorrow - weekly character study, brainstorm short story ideas for competition, read and analyze a Berg short story

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Subject:Character study 1: Woman down the hall
Time:02:38 pm

There is something absurd about her.

Her cheery politeness is as irritating as her short, glossy (dyed) black hair. Her walk is an energetic hobble. She paints her lips and smiles tight smiles on the elevator. She is judgmental, and has some kind of strange know-it-all attitude. We had one conversation with her about the heating in the apartment (last winter?). We told her it gets too hot in here, and we have to have our window open. I don't remember her reply, but it was enough to shame me and make me feel embarrassed. She is also insecure, hangs onto the utterly feminine. She is close to six feet tall and she likes to talk.

We see her on our way out, we catch the elevator with her. She says she likes to walk in the snow, that something about this weather calls to her. Her voice is average. She laughs easily. Her clothing is ridiculous: a shiny black faux-fur coat over a purple hooded sweatshirt and dark pants. Snow boots nearly up to her knees. We see her walking across the street at the intersection and for a second it looks like she has slipped. I do not like her, and say I wish she had've slipped, but instantly I regret it. She is nice, a little too nice perhaps, and she lives alone.

I wait for the elevator in the afternoon and hear a door creak open at the end of the hallway. Oh no, I hope it isn't her. It is. She is wearing a pink sweatshirt and purple sweat pants and carries a bag of garbage. She says hi and bows her head as she walks past.

She is unlike me - I avoid people when taking out my trash. I stare out through the peep-hole and put my ear to the door. I wait until any voices are gone before opening my door.

I couldn't possibly guess her name.

The next time I encounter her I will try to smell her. Does she wear perfume? I've never noticed. I don't think she smells bad. I have a picture of her in my head, in it she wears glasses. Have I seen her wearing glasses? Does she have a cat? She seems like a cat person. I will look for cat hair on her clothing. How would I describe her voice, other than "average"? Apparently she used to live in my apartment. What part of herself did she leave here before moving out and letting another tenant move in? How many years ago was that? How long did she stay? Did she despise cleaning this bathtub and this oven as much as I do?

It strikes me that she may not even have used the bathtub here (especially if it is was as grimy looking then as it is now). She seems like a person who might be slightly preoccupied with cleanliness. She would have worn thongs or "flip flops" in the showers at a campground. Her mother definitely told her never to sit on toilet seats - especially in public washrooms. She probably detests her menstrual blood, it makes her feel dirty. And she only carried one garbage bag out to the chute the other day. Usually, I have at least two to take out, unless the one I have really stinks, or I'm on my way out anyway. She made a trip all the way from the end of the hall to the chute, with just one bag.

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Subject:Day One
Time:01:59 pm

Punctual. For once. Feeling somewhat focused, like the heavy clouds in my head are starting to part. I am ready to solidify this commitment.

Write. Study the craft, the art of writing. Respect it.

I am also ready to study my thoughts and my emotions. I think.

Where do I begin?

First, an admission. I have wasted my time here in Canada. My writing has been cliched, it has been trite, and once I even dared to share it with my english teacher, Mrs Young. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. It has been two years and I still shudder at the thought of her reading that meaningless love dribble. I cannot write poems. Perhaps it is time to cast off my doubts and my demons (possibly the same thing) and be practical. It is time for me to build up a body of work that I can be confident with. It will be a slow process, it has to be.

 

My faults/shortcomings/hinderances:

I don't much care for grammar. I am not Sylvia Plath or Anne Sexton, and I so badly want to be. I am dry. Plot. Story. Motivation. I am isolated from people, lack new experiences. I am married. I haven't found my own voice, my own style. I am broke. Laziness. Easily distracted. Young. Obsessive compulsive. Easily bruised. Average listener. No training. Flattery.

My strengths:

Vocabulary. I own a great dictionary and use it often. I read more than I eat and sleep. I am ready to commit. I can spell. Characters. Description. Open minded. Fairly intelligent. Curious. I am isolated from people, most of the time. I can write beautifully, with emotional punch. I am aware of my weaknesses.

 

I have a plan:

  • Write 1000 words a day, 1000 words of anything.
  • Weekly character studies of people I encounter.
  • Regular writing exercises.
  • Join communties of serious, like-minded writers, but stay somewhat anonymous. I don't want to be distracted by LJ "friendships" between the hours of 2-4pm, which I have set aside for this journal and my various writing activities.
  • Re-establish connection with Tamra. She is a good friend and motivator, and she has connections.
  • Enter story competitions.
  • Read and analyze the poetry of Plath and Sexton, so I can understand it better.
  • Assimilate poetry and short stories as much as possible. Deconstruct and analyze. Discover the elements of good storytelling and poetry. Find ways to apply this knowledge.
  • Make every experience count. Every episode of a TV show, every film and ever novel has something to teach me. Tap into that.

Items I plan to obtain eventually, when I am not broke:

  • hand-held tape recorder, perhaps one of these:

http://www.shopping.com/xPO-Panasonic_RN_305
http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/vModelDetail?displayTab=O&storeId=11251&catalogId=11005&itemId=63331&catGroupId=17002&modelNo=RN-4053&surfModel=RN-4053
http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&langid=EN&dept=20003&sku_id=0926INGFS10014191&catid=&newdeptid=20001
http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/vModelDetail?displayTab=O&storeId=11251&catalogId=11005&itemId=68038&catGroupId=17002&modelNo=RR-US360&surfModel=RR-US360
http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_BrowseCatalog-Start;sid=sBW1GEDp4Vi1DAELaBO_Ew_5Tptq-fJe5mc=?CategoryName=pa_VoiceRecorders&Dept=pa

  • various books on writing (grammar, character, technique, plot, style)
  • complete works of: Shakespeare, Plath, Sexton.
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