Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Word Count Wednesday!

What am I working on? 

I started working on a new screenplay/play that's doubling as my assignment for class. It's the weirdly controversial one about the terrorist and his (or her) roots. 

How do I feel about the process? 

It's a little difficult to really get the message of the story across without also spreading a message that condones terrorism? I want it to reflect the roles the general "west" has on these people without naming countries. I want to express what a day in the life of one of these innocents was before western occupation, then what happened to forge them into the spiteful people we seem them as, (at least how the media portrays them). It's not really meant to be a sympathy piece, or a message of accusation. It's supposed to just be an unbiased reflection of the other side of the story, what we don't hear in media outlets. I'm not really sure how or if it will come together, but it's been interesting doing the amount of research that I have.

What am I reading? 

Lots of articles from the past few years regarding the subject. I bet the CIA is suspiciously monitoring my google searches, now. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Creative Writing Experiment 6

A world exactly like our own, except...

  1.  A world exactly like our own, except when someone does a terrible parking job, they lose their rights to drive an automobile forever 
  2. A world exactly like our own, except you are fined every time you utter a curse word. 
  3. A world exactly like our own, except intellectuals are revered over entertainers. 
  4. A world exactly like our own, except gender does not exist. 
  5. A world exactly like our own, except Pangea never split up. 
  6. A world exactly like our own, except colleges PAY YOU to attend. 
  7. A world exactly like our own, except the need for food and water is gone. 
  8. A world exactly like our own, except you can purchase knowledge. 
  9. A world exactly like our own, except the government is pure and uncorrupted. 
  10. A world exactly like our own, except space has been colonized. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Word Count Wednesday!

What am I working on? 

I found an old journal of mine from when I was 8-10 years old, and I'm trying to polish it and also make an online copy of it for...posterity.  

How do I feel about the process? 

It's hilarious to read how naive and excited I was about everything back then. It's riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, and it's just...innocent. I can see myself trying to be funny, and failing miserably. (I must have thought it was damn great at the time). I'm working on transferring it to my computer, but I want to preserve the errors. Also the smudges. It really puts things into perspective for me. I mean, if anyone told me I was going to aspire to be a writer later on, I think I would've died laughing. It's terrible. 

What am I reading? 

Just my journal, at the moment. I have a to-read list I'd like to pick up, but there's not a lot of spare time at the moment. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Word Count...Thursday

What am I working on? 

STILL working on polishing that screenplay! 

How do I feel about the process? 

I'm proud of it but I also hate it at the same time, if that makes any sense?  

What am I reading? 

Just our Stephen King text.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Narrative Project (Pt.1)

This was originally adapted for a screenplay for a film project I’m working on:

“You know, it takes a lot out of you.” The words crackled to the young marine over the less than ideal internet connection, the figure of her sister an amalgamation of grainy seeds on a screen, formed vaguely in the shape of her face.
A face etched with concern.
“I like to think that sometimes, it’s going to be okay.” Her sister went on, the telltale lilt of her tone suggesting that it was anything but okay. “I think we’re all entitled to that hope, right?”
The marine nodded, wondering if her sister could even see the movement, the doubt reinforced doubly by the grainy quality of the video chat, or the fact that she was so wrapped up in the words that spilled out of her own lips, a quiet sense of piercing emotion behind every syllable.
“But then again, I’m reminded of what’s at stake.” Her sister blew out a breath, almost laughing in a sort of melancholy, hopeless tone. “What happens if things don’t go our way? What happens when I’m not there?”
“You’re overthinking this.” The marine assured softly, her hands resting just under the table upon which the monitor sat, in the darkened communication room on her base. She didn’t have too much time, she knew she was required elsewhere, but this conversation was so...dire.
She’d never seen her sister- her older sister, her tough, gritty, icon that she grew up admiring- broken to such a shell of the woman she normally was.
She felt guilty, like the weight of an anvil was pressed upon her shoulders, and she couldn’t meet her sister’s gaze. Part of this was her fault. Part of this was due to the fact that she was out in the badlands of some country that didn’t ask to be ransacked the way it was. Part of this was due to the fact that she wasn’t home.
“Sleepless nights.” Her sister continued, as if she’d added nothing at all to the conversation, (and maybe she hadn’t). “Do you know what sleep deprivation does to the body?”
The marine nodded her head.
It was part of her profession to know.
“You don’t notice it at first, but pretty soon you’re sleeping maybe...two hours a night, at best. And it kills your routine, the next morning.” Her sister pressed on, as if getting closer and closer to the tip of the spear that she was intent on driving into the heart of the conversation.
Soft whirrs of the nearby computers and flickering lights of the sleeping monitors gave the marine little peace.
“The cries.” Her sister continued. “They tear a little piece of your soul out, every time. Every cut, every scrape, every bruise is a reminder of mortality, a nick in your coat of armor, a cautionary tale. It’s enough to drive someone crazy.”
The marine swallowed the lump in her throat, nodding slowly, knowing that it was enough acknowledgement for her sister to continue.
“And I think the worst part of it is knowing that you can’t stop every bruise, and every fall, and every cut. And you can’t stop it because….well, you’re not enough. You’re one person, and despite all the training, and the classes, and the lessons from mom and dad….you’re alone. And being alone is the worst, because not only are you prone to failure, but you have to accept that they’re your failures, and only yours.”
The marine felt her lips dry, licking them with apprehension as her sister sighed, her blurry hand moving to pinch the bridge of her nose (as far as her sister could make out on the grainy display).
“It’s harrowing.” Her sister finished softly, an echo of her rising tone just moments before. “And I know that no one said being a single mother was going to be easy, but…” She trailed off, a gentle crease in her brow as the connection cleared up momentarily, enough for the marine to see the tears pooling in her sister’s eyes, glazing her own vision as she felt herself react.  “No one said it was going to hurt this badly, either, you know?”
The marine woke up startled, reliving the last conversation she’d had with her sister. Before she’d been killed a day later, in a car accident, leaving behind her son of only six years.

In Media Res Assignment 4

I tend to enjoy writing personal narratives in the comedic style- I hope it can be applicable to this assignment! 

"You look like a starfish." My sister couldn't have been more brutal at the tender age 12, where she'd just learned that she could insult me, so long as her insult didn't bear any curse words, and get away with it.

I felt a little like the kid from A Christmas Story, you know, the little brother who couldn't move his limbs from the layers upon layers of winter outerwear. Technically, I was wearing a ski suit. A mocha colored ski suit. What kind of cruel parents would do that to their own children? What kind of parents would condone their two daughters to go skiing at one of the most prestigious resorts in Colorado, looking like two caramel macchiatos flying down the mountain. (Or, in our case, falling down the mountain).

Actually, my parents hadn't even purchased the suits. Rather, they were a gift from my eclectic Austrian uncle, who wore a hot pink suit to his own wedding, and thought Polo shirts were the epitome of fashion.

"Shut up." I growled back, meekly, but I was only ten, and the plethora of curse words at my disposal were at bay, due to my parents' presence behind us.

"You two are going to have so much fun!" my dad exclaimed, excitedly. "This is your first time skiing. The class we enrolled you in is great, lots of kids your age will be there. You'll be pros by the end of today."

What father dearest failed to mention was that he stranded my sister and I, helpless valley girls, in a room full of dudebros employed by the resort to teach idiotic, snot nosed children, how to make "pizzas" and "french fries" with their skis.

And then, without checking to see if these future prodigies knew how to employ the pizza, and the french fries, they would toss their sorry asses down the mountain, like some barbarian blood sport.

My parents had opted for a day at the cafe, at the foot the mountain, where they could watch the children tumble to their deaths, while sipping a nice twelve dollar cappuccino.

"Alright, little dudes." The main instructor, whom we will now refer to as Brody, spoke in his totally sick drawl. "You're gonna line up by this chair lift, and it's gonna take you to the top!"

What a concept.

"Now remember, wait for my signal, and then we're all gonna go down together."

Right, yeah. I could do that.

So, we lined up, every single other pairing before myself, and my sister. In fact, even the instructors went before us.

I remember watching the mountain as we ascended, wondering what would happen if I fell. Oh, if only I knew. Truth be told, it was a mere bunny slope, something they'd designed for children, and the lesser coordinated. That didn't mean it didn't look daunting. I mean, I had never even seen snow until the day prior.

I watched, as the students got off, sliding off the miniature ramp, and waiting attentively by the side of the chair lift operating station, a small building on the side of the mountain, terraced so it was flat.

My sister and I were last, and the whole group was waiting for us to get off the chairlift, so they could show off their newly learned fast food sounding moves.

But hey, the chairlift was slow, and there was nothing my sister and I could do to pass the time.

So, naturally, we started kicking each other.

Maybe it was revenge for the comments we exchanged earlier, but that didn't really matter. In the midst of our kicking, we both managed to get our skis off, just in time for our exit.

The door to the chairlift popped open, and out came my sister and I, with no skis.

It must have been entertaining, to watch the two caramel colored starfish looking girls fall out of the chair with no skis, completely disoriented as they hit the snow, face first. I remember my sister's ski fell and already began it's descent down the hill without her, accompanied by a chorus of laughter from our "bros" in the kids program.

I was luckier, my skis remained nearby, and as I struggled to grab them, I noticed my sister lifting her head up, a face full of powdery snow, just to be met with the back of the chair, still moving in it's rotation, shoving her face back into the ground.

A fresh chorus of applause, because truly, it was a performance.

I mean, something this bad had to be coordinated. Right?

And then, at the age of ten, I learned about the cruel nature of mankind. I remember glancing up, about to reach out to my ski instructor, Brody, for his hand, for his mercy- and I remember the way he ushered the rest of the children down the mountain, as if I weren't part of his group.

In retrospect, if I were Brody, I too wouldn't have wanted to claim my sister and I as part of his group. I forgive you, Brody.

But that left my sister and I smack in the middle of the ramp, with a fresh group coming straight for us.

If I'd listened to the operators, who were moving to halt the lift so we could be assisted, this story probably wouldn't have been as entertaining.

I remember the rush of adrenaline as I heaved, yanking my sister, ski on only one foot, rolling off the ramp. And, subsequently, off the terrace.

When I imagined going down the snow blanketed mountain for the first time, I  had imagined it with skis. Or with a snowboard. Or a tube. Or a sled. Just not on my ass, and not with sister tumbling straight behind me.

And you're probably thinking, "Well, she couldn't have tumbled the whole way, right?" 

You're wrong. I defied the forces of nature. I defied physics. I rolled like no one had rolled before. My skis ejected, my goggles fogged, my admiration for the sport- destroyed.

(Yes, it was actually a fairly short tumble, as I mentioned this was a hill for toddlers, probably, felt like a black diamond).

I remember rolling to a stop in front of the rails of the cafe, (oh the irony of it all), and my parents were waving proudly as they took their pictures.

I remember Brody skiing over, offering to help us up, in front of my parents. 

My sister and I did three more slopes, after that. We did get better, contrary to popular belief. The lift operators actually learned to slow it down whenever they saw our telltale, ugly, caramel colored suits in display.

But the damage was done.

That evening, my sister and I had retired our skis (for good), and had opted to visit the cafe for some hard earned hot chocolate. Because, dammit, we earned it.

It was there that another man, elderly, this time- Not a Brody, perhaps a...Eugene? An Earl? He was guiding his group of students, younger than us by a few years, out of the cafe.

The words out of his mouth haunt me still.

"Oh, looky here." He drawled (seriously, why does everyone drawl?). His class of kids was at full attention. "It's the crash and burn twins."

The crash and burn twins.

I wanted to argue, but...we did crash and burn. And we did look like twins in those horrendous suits.

I wonder if we've become something of a legend, there, a cautionary tale to all those who were not born with Shaun White's skills, who still dream of trying to ski at least once in their lives.

All I know for certain is that I can never, ever go back to Colorado.

Map: Activity 2

A guide to my brain: (Illustrated by yours truly):

Welcome to my brain! I know it can be a bit terrifying to navigate (not in the dark, edgy way), but in the sense that there's just too much going on. Since you're a tourist, I've outlined a map of sorts for you, so you can get around.

First, you'll start at Social Anxiety Station. It is the staple of my behavior. Here, you'll witness thoughts such as: Is my stomach gurgling too loud in class? Why did I just tell the waiter "you too" when he told me to enjoy my meal? Has this stain been on my shirt all day? Am I really wanted in this group or do they just tolerate me? And so much more! Note that it is one of the larger lobes of the brain, meaning it has more impact on my day to day life! Isn't that fascinating?

You'll now come to a fork in the road. On the left, you'll be visiting Smartass Central.  Note that this is the largest and most prestigious lobe my brain has to offer- that means I've been honing it for years! Here you can witness engaging thoughts such as: Why don't you watch your tone, I'll come down when I'm good and ready!, Duh, No shit, sherlock, and so much more! This lobe, as diverse and large as it is, also features the largest number of delinquents and incarcerations, as I usually get in trouble when I'm a smartass.

To the other side, you'll notice Hunger Highway. True to it's name, it is fast, brutal, and constant. Hunger highway is always there. In class? It's there. At night? It's there. After you just ate? It's there. With hunger highway, you'll notice that you'll be thinking about what you're going to eat for dinner, rather than that statistics quiz- oh, look, you just failed. Nice.

Moving along, you'll see Procrastination Place, the second largest lobe. We'll tell you about it later.

Then, you'll come across Irrational Interstate. This interstate is home to thoughts like, "Why didn't the mailman wave back today? Does he hate me? Did I do something? Or others like, "What if I accidentally type the word bomb while I'm texting and the CIA arrests me? What if this isn't real life and this is like the Truman show? Am I being watched right now? Such classics.

Further along, you'll see Regret Road. Kind of what I feel right now after thinking this would be a good idea to make.

Below that is the famed Math Memorial. Kindly treat it with the utmost respect and silence, as we mourn the loss of math skills that could have been. Famous massacres here include the SAT math portion, the ACT math portion, High school Algebra and Geometry, and recently college Statistics. Rest in peace.

Finally, you'll find the glamorous Stupid Song Studios, where the best of the best songs are broadcast to the rest of the brain! That Call me Maybe chorus you hate so much? There. That one Britney song, except she only says "It's britney, bitch" over and over again? Sure. And, for a limited time only, you can sometimes find yourself singing these stupid tunes out loud! In public! Subconsciously!