Tuesday, December 6, 2011

well aren't you pretentious.

once again, i am holed up in a study room and lo and behold, not doing my homework.

yes. i am wearing a cardigan. i am also wearing some random person's shirt from 2003 greek week and there is a walrus on my left sock.

the homework that i have to get done is not truly as terrible as it sounds, it's just rather tedious and time consuming. the main problem is that none of it is in english.

1. read this little paragraph about research paper criteria. pick out the criteria and make a list.
2. read these two introductory paragraphs and see if they fit the criteria.
3. after deciding that they DON'T fit the criteria, rewrite a list with different criteria to make it fit.
4. then go research a large amount about illiteracy in colombia.

none of this is in english. the directions or the paragraphs or the research.

i've done one and two. i just really don't see myself doing the other two for a long time. so... like, after dinner.

i did that thing where i got on tumblr. then to get myself away from tumblr, i decided that i was going to write my novel.

this was a novel  idea (haaaa i made a pun), seeing as i haven't written a word of my book in at least a month and a half. this is killing me, because i have been working on this damn book for something like eight months, and it's only 311 pages. it's also gotten a lot of leukemia twitter sites to follow me.

i really shouldn't complain about this novel. i've been writing my other one for nearly two years and that hasn't moved in at least nine months. poor eli is stuck in the moscow airport not quite sure what he's doing there until i figure out what he's there for. when i do, i'm pretty sure i will dance and sing and not surface from that book for at least three hours.

this other novel, this 311 page one, i have it open at the bottom of my screen. it's a little microsoft word tab between my sticky notes tab and my spotify tab. i'm not sure why i have spotify open because i'm listening to iron & wine on my ipod.

so the other day i had to write a creative writing reflection about my habit of art (which i never formed) and my writing process. i already blogged about my poem process; my pen just kind of vomits strange words everywhere. while i was writing my four page reflection that turned out to be like, eight pages at least, i began to feel guilty about not making my habit of art. i feel like it might make writing novels easier.

the first day of class, dr. vivian (while still clutching that sacred rose) begged us to try for just one semester to write every day. that didn't sound bad to me, i did it all the time during the summer. but i underestimated how busy i would be this semester, what with being an RA, going to chapel, being a placement teacher, being in other various organizations, and having five classes. soon it was things like "go write this spanish paper and when you're done, make sure you read these five education cases and do write ups for them" instead of "go work on your novel."

i sat there dreamily the first day of class and said, "oh yes dr. vivian, i can make a habit of art."

look how that ended up.

the other week i was thinking to myself, when i make my 100 page portfolio (which is done!) i can make it ALL poetry. i can write one hundred poems. that'll be so cool.

since that time, i have written maybe three poems. don't get me wrong, i still have a good thirty poems in my portfolio, but nowhere near one hundred. and their eccentric strangeness has me worried for my sanity.

but getting back to my creative writing reflection and discussing how i just didn't get to the habit of art, i was supposed to make a connection between my work. before i comment on that, i should describe exactly what i did to order my portfolio.

i took my six main characters that i had book chunks from.

1. clementine. an eighteen year old aspiring baker/astronaut with a boyfriend that has leukemia.
2. eli. a twenty-four year old bank investor who is abnormally tall, abnormally rich, abnormally nice, has an elderly friend named charlie who rather resembles my grandfather, and is recovering from the sudden death of his fiancee.
3. alice. an eighteen year old compulsive arsonist who gets involved with a bipolar explosives dealer. (don't ask.)
4. cameron. a seventeen year old australian kid who is still piecing his life together after his older sister died when he was ten.
5. frank. a fifty-two year genius with a secret, an estranged wife, and a missing daughter who randomly shows up to come live with him.
6. kip. well, you probably know kip, the blind kid. if not, see previous blogs.

i wrote all of these names on a chalkboard, and then i wrote major themes from their lives and their stories underneath them. i generally had about six traits and themes under each one, and there was something that fit for every single one of them.

terrible or nonexistent father.

where on EARTH did that come from?


and then i think i figured it out.

if you know anything about me, it should be that i love my family, and i love my father. i believe that my father is superman. he is nerdy and funny with a unique sense of humor. he is incredibly smart. he calls me sweetheart. he cooks me pancakes every single saturday and he can solve any problem. he does sudokus in pen and doesn't blink. he has a great taste in movies and he is the best teacher that i have ever had. i am a daddy's girl through and through.

so what i figured out was this: every single person in my novels has terrible or nonexistent dads because not having a dad or having one that's absolutely terrible is something that i find to be terrifying. i think it's one of the biggest letdowns and conflicts and terrible things i could possibly write about, and so i do.

i state this so much better in my reflection.


Perhaps all of these broken families stem from my terror of not having my father be the father that he is. Not having a father, or having one who not suited to fit the role of father, is one of the worst plights that I can possibly imagine, and my terror comes out through these people that live in my head. Perhaps they are me without a father and they live up there to remind me of everything that I have. It is their job to come out through my writing to remind me of how impossibly lucky I am to be the daughter of William Hollenberg.

yes. i think i state that much better in essay form. 


you know, this isn't really where i intended my blog to go. but my blogs never truly go where i intend them to go, and that's kind of how i write books. when i started wrting about kip's sister, i had no idea what was going to happen. the next thing i knew, i was killing people and there was an iranian cab driver.

a lot of the time i wish that i had been given some other weird talent other than writing novels. writing novels is annoying. it's a pain in the butt. it sounds pretentious, so i really don't like to talk about it. i don't like how people tell me that a terrifically painful process is "cool". i'm forced to read good works of literature for my major and realize that i'll never write that well. but i write novels anyway because i think that if i didn't, i would go absolutely insane.

more insane than i already am.

i am now going to end this blog, do some laundry, and hopefully eat pasta. and maybe, just maybe, i will continue to write about clementine. and perhaps eli.

he really needs to leave that russian airport. nine months is a long time to be in an airport.

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