So, I have tried and tried and tried and TRIED to make this blog interesting and a place I want to post. I have tried so hard, and it is just not working for me. At all.
I just can’t relax into it. So I’m going back to my roots. From now on, I’m going to be posting back at my old blog, which I’ve had for over 13 years. I don’t want to lose touch with anyone who is reading/following me here, so please follow me at my (new) old space:
1. From Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
I’m really trying not to hate people for being pretty.
2. From The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Life is meant to be an artist date.
3. From The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Weeping is not bad. It clears out the heart so there is room in it for growth.
4. From The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
“Modesty. Respect. Humility.” This was Ms. Broadcheck’s mantra for Lucas. They’d been working on it all year, but he didn’t seem to get it. Once he told her that he just didn’t feel comfortable lying, even if it made people feel better.
5. From As If!: The Oral History of Clueless… by Jen Chaney
Donald Faison: That was my go-to when I wanted to be with a girl. I’d say, “Come over and let’s watch Clueless.” Absolutely. Clueless was the ultimate wingman. They love the movie. They didn’t give a shit about me being in the movie, they just loved the movie, period. I didn’t start getting girlfriends until Clueless came out. It worked well for me. It’s true. It’s because I kept it real. That’s exactly right. Because I was keepin’ it real.
6. From Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
The thing about Mum is, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just, no adults do. They’re totally ignorant, but they’re in control. It’s nuts.
7. From Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
A life of loneliness is an awful punishment for one bad decision.
8. From Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot
I’m very open to all faiths, except yoga, as you know.
9. From Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
I’m just so tired of this. Of him being everything.
10. From The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
She had waited all these years for a place of her own, and here it was, in an elegant building where rich people lived. But she wanted a lake view.
I was telling my friend how neurotic working on my screenplay draft was making me revealing me to be, and she said I should blog about it. So. Here we go.
To recap: I did The Artist’s Way. I discovered that maybe I was blocked because I don’t want to write books but want to write TV. I decided to use NaNoWriMo to work on a pilot script even though that’s for novel writing. I discovered Zero Draft Thirty and pledged to do that instead.
Now that that’s out of the way: my neuroses. I have been working on my script almost every single day. It is terrible–as it bloody well should be. It’s a zero draft (or, as I teach my students, a shitty first draft). I have silenced the inner critic! I have let go of resistance!
Well, kind of.
See, the thing is I get really distracted by What Happens When I Finished.
For example, I’m listening to Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? (which is fantastic) and as she describes her life in L.A. and being a writer, I think, “I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to move to L.A. and start over and uproot my life.” I mean, it sounds great for her but also really and truly horrifying. Because I have stability! I like my job! But if I do what I set out to do with this writing then MY WHOLE LIFE MIGHT CHANGE.
It might change for the better, granted. But it could change.
The problem with this is that I haven’t actually finished anything yet. Please note that nowhere in this scenario does the idea of failing present itself. Only because I have worked through that. I used to be too scared to start anything because WHAT IF I DON’T FINISH? Now I have moved onto WHAT IF I FINISH AND IT IS AS BELOVED AS I EXPECT IT TO BE? So I also have a huge ego problem along with my fear of change/success. But at least I have gotten over my fear of failure.
Also, I started thinking that maybe I made the wrong choice and I should be thinking about writing books. I mean, I do love books more than TV, don’t I? I never imagined myself as a TV writer, really, but almost always as a book writer. Why am I wasting my time doing this script if really I want to write books? WHY CAN’T I MAKE A DECISION? Also, don’t forget about your love of short stories, Akilah!
But, really, the issue there is that I suffer from all or nothing/black and white thinking.
Today, while doing my morning pages, I realized that deciding to work on a script right now doesn’t mean I can’t work on a book or other writing project later. But it takes a lot of work for me to have these realizations. Because I always go straight for the “I can have x or y, and those are the only options.” Everything is either/or and never both/and with me.
So where does that leave me? Today, it left me finishing my pilot draft and giving myself permission to work on some other types of writing. It also reminded me that I need to stop thinking so much of everything I do as a product that must be sold. At this point in my life, I need to be writing because if I don’t write, I am miserable. If I do write, as shown above, I am also miserable, but not as miserable as when I’m not. Because it’s a very different kind of misery to constantly wonder why I’m not doing something I think I want to do versus wondering if I’m doing it right. (Did I also mention I’m a perfectionist? Yeah, so that’s a thing.) At least if I’m doing it wrong, I can tell myself to relax and just enjoy the process whereas if I’m not doing it at all, I hate myself every day.
So, in conclusion: I am neurotic. The end. Wait, I should end on an up note. The plus is that today I recognize how neurotic I am and know how to work through it. There. The real end.
Reading this book was almost like being home again. I mean, yes, it’s set in Atlanta and not the DC area, but all the black people in this book. Ah, I was just rolling around in blackness. Granted a bit more militant blackness than I usually rolled with back in the day, but a lot of blackness nonetheless. Yes, I miss that on occasion. It was nice to get right into it is what I’m saying.
Miss Iona may be one of my new favorite characters. She is so awesome. I love her. Love, love, love, love.
On the other hand, there is Wes, my new most hated character. I think he is worse than Dolores Umbridge. I mean, the hate I have for him is deep and abiding. The book mentions that he’s amoral more than once, and I think that’s pretty apt. He is the worst. THE WORST.
I hate him a lot is what I’m saying.
So, yes, anyway, I need to read more African-American fiction, obviously. That is the conclusion I’ve come to.
Oh, right, the book! So I think the beginning is slow, probably a little too slow. One of the benefits (and drawbacks) of listening to an audiobook is that they all seem kind of slow and my listening is kind of disjointed, so I can’t always tell if it’s slow because it’s slow or it’s slow because of how I’m listening to the book. But, no, the opening of the book is slow. It spends way too much time on Ida and how she doesn’t have a job but is going back to Atlanta because her dad has lost it blah blah blah Wes is the worst blah blah blah we get it. I was well over the 30% mark before Ida and Wes even got close to each other’s orbits. That is absurd. And Ida was mostly just walking around West End talking to people. Which…slice of life or whatever but come on.
However, once they both got into Atlanta, the plot and pace picked up considerably and I was hooked. I had to know what would happen. I was waiting for the bus, and my co-worker stopped and offered me a ride, and I almost declined because I wanted to be into the book. Also, I went from listening only during my bus commute to also listening in the car when I was doing errands. So, yeah. I was into it.
The ending, however, was disappointing. Sigh. Too rushed and rather preachy. Oh well.
I thought both narrators were pretty good. (This was my second Bahni Turpin in a row and not on purpose. However, that she was one of the narrators didn’t deter me from the book. Obviously.) However, I liked the way Turpin narrated men better than Willis narrated women. All of his women sounded the same, which may have been a deliberate choice, honestly. Wes is the kind of guy who probably thinks all women sound the same or would make all the women in his life sound the same. In contrast, Turpin’s Rev and Mr. Eddie (as well as some others) were all pretty distinctive.
Turpin’s Miss Iona is brilliant, of course, but Miss Iona >>>>>>>>>>>>>> everybody else in all ways, so it would’ve been pretty hard to make her terrible.
3.5 stars may be a bit high, but the stuff I liked, I really liked and the audiobook made it past commuter status, so.
Also, the book’s title comes from a song by Duke Ellington, and here is Ella Fitzgerald singing it. That’s worth at least a half-star, I think.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (children’s lit, chapter book) – super cute and not as dark as the movie
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (YA) – started out strong but the ending annoyed me so so so so so so so much
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova (middle grade, graphic novel) – extra super cute with the best newspaper reporter ever
As If!: The Oral History of Clueless…by Jen Chaney (adult, non-fiction) – FINALLY.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (adult) – this one will stay with me for a while, in a good way
That puts my total books read for the month at 13. I am back in business, y’all. The school year has finally gotten its foot off my neck.
Other books read this month:
Till You Hear from Me by Pearl Cleage (adult, audiobook)
Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri (middle grade)
Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia (middle grade)
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall (children’s picture book)
The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry (middle grade, audiobook)
I Love You, I Hate You, Get Lost by Ellen Conford (YA, short stories)
The Artist’s Wayby Julia Cameron (adult non-fiction, self-help)
Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger (adult non-fiction)
This month, I posted:
[wrap-up-posts date=”October 2015″ listtype=”ul”]
I did get a bunch of posts written (11 total!), three of which haven’t even gone live as I’m writing this. Hint: this is one of the three. So I’m calling it a success, especially since my goal was to, you know, just write something. Success!
Typically, I would say what I have started reading, but November is NaNoWriMo. I had decided when I finished up The Artist’s Way that I was going to participate by using the month to write a script, which, obviously, is not a novel but a different type of writing challenge. Apparently, there used to be a thing called Script Frenzy that ran concurrent to NaNo, but NaNo stopped supporting it. However! There is now a thing called Zero Draft Thirty for screenwriting, so I am doing that.
So that’s a really long-winded way of saying that I’m probably not going to update during November because I’ll be participating in Zero Draft Thirty, which means I have no idea what I’ll actually start and finish. But! Here’s what I have out from the library:
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Monster: A Graphic Novel by Guy Sims (an adaptation of Walter Dean Myers’ book)
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Not to mention Winter by Marissa Meyer also comes out this month.
Of course, I have no idea where my reading whim and fancy will take me throughout the month. But I do look forward to finding out.
Anybody else participating in any of the month’s writing challenges? If so, I’d love to hear which ones!