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Losing Your Self Means You Can Find It Again

So I’ve been gone for a while and not just in the literal sense that I haven’t made very many blog posts. I mean that, for a few months there, I was losing who I was. Granted, that concept of identity has always been a bit vague for me, I’m just a little bit everywhere all the time. I’ve never felt like I’m a cohesive person, but fortunately I’ve got enough of a through line that I can cling to the fact that I love to learn things and I love solving puzzles.

Anyway, current issues first. Heres the tl;dr.

  • I was laid off in November.
  • I finished my creative thesis.
  • I put together an anthology of work from my classmates.
  • I won an award for being an important part of the Stonecoast Community.
  • I wound up mind-locked during my thesis presentation and failed that.
  • I did further research on my third-semester project to make up my presentation. Will likely post it up here in part.
  • I interviewed for a job in Maine and was offered a position, but I couldn’t accept.
  • I started going to therapy.
  • I got jerked around by at least four job opportunities in DC.
  • Same with Richmond.
  • I turned in my make-up paper and was sent my MFA. I’ve not written anything since then.
  • I moved in with my in-laws. I am looking for work in Wilmington/Philly.
  • I helped launch a ASCII-based rogue-like game.
  • I went to GPPhilly.
  • I started on the path to being an Level 1 DCI Judge
  • I started work on a comprehensive calendar for Magic events.

I will write a follow up to this at a later time, I want to unpack things a bit more.

Where Things Are and The Fear of Soapboxing

It’s been nearly two weeks since I was let go. In that time I’ve:1212sketch

  • Finished my master’s Thesis.
    • There’s just one signature and some time in the mail between it and the 12/20 deadline.
    • I still need to reread my 3rd semester project to figure out my presentation and figure out where from my thesis I’ll be reading
  • Been to two interviews.
    • One for a position I was working on before I got laid off and the other at my LGS.
  • Applied all over the place
    • Seriously, I’ve got apps in places I’ve wanted to work at in all parts of the country. Haven’t heard anything back yet though…
  • Played some games of Magic with Steam Goblin an Izzet tempo build which is pretty close to the Izzet Fae I’m playing in modern.
  • Started a fresh run through Dark Souls as a Tanky Knight with an eye on PVE.

Even so, I don’t feel like I’m making any headway.

The job search still feels like I’m just shouting into the internet and hoping to be heard. I think it’s because I don’t look all that outstanding on paper and in an interview setting I’m a terrible bundle of nerves. Although I’m sure not updating this or forgetting about my other outlets/platforms/what have you isn’t helping. I’ve just never really been a huge social person and social media doesn’t really improve that. I don’t feel that I am any more worth listening to now than when I didn’t have a blog, or an MFA, or when I was employed. To me, I’m not living a life that will provide some massive insight to others. I suffer and scrape by, just like any other college grad that’s looking for work.

And, sure, I realize there’s a chicken/egg paradox about becoming someone that has a reason for people to  listen to them, but it’s hard to get past the cynicism that wells up when I see people who have no idea what they’re talking about get up in front of millions and spout nonsense. I might have smaller, perhaps even non-existent, audience…but I don’t want to be that kind of person. When dealing with strangers, it’s far more in my nature to listen, to observe, and maybe ask some questions to better understand, but I’ll typically just move along–especially on the internet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed out what might as well be the introduction of a ten page research paper as a comment only to say to myself, ‘Nah, not worth it.’

Maybe the realization that, in some small aspect, I’ve got a set of things I can talk about with authority will sink in once I’ve given my presentation. Which I need to go work on.

[Wednesday Ramblings] Bleh…

So this post is late, but there are things to talk about!Check out all my Ramblings

Actually, not really. I’ve not gotten much done in the last week besides reading through Carrie and about half of The Magicians–along with my Manga fix for the week. I don’t even know what to talk about in the annotations either. Well…I was kind of sad Carrie wasn’t what I expected, but that’s likely due to me coming from paranormal romance after my last semester with Nancy. I expected something far more character focused, but knowing (thanks to stonecoast) that horror is about evoking an emotion the set up makes sense. It’s probably why I can’t write horror, I’m more focused on the story and less on the effect I’m trying to get out of the reader. Which might be why I don’t feel like my work has any meaning beyond being a neat idea–and anyone will tell you that ideas are cheep.

Speaking of my own work, after starting revisions on Curse, I’m thinking of tearing out the third, fourth, and fifth chapters and combining them down into one. It’s what I need to do to tighten up the narrative, but I’m not really that happy about having to rewrite most of the story. Sad as it makes me, Curse is really fun to work on. What was once a sex-every-scene porn has slowly, surely become something more. In a very real sense, its emblematic of my own evolution as a writer. Every time I get better I realize just how weak it is, where I myself could improve. I do want to get it done, but I’ll miss working on it.

Anyway, gonna get back to it. Catch ya’ll tomorrow with a [Strongly Jaded Gamer] post.

[Wednesday Ramblings] Pop Fic MFA: Semester 2

Check out all my RamblingsSo then, I’m back from Stonecoast and, aside from a small emotional hiccup, I feel pretty good about how the residency went. There’s a lot of talent coming in this semester and while that bothered me at first, that “I’m a fraud” feeling really getting to me. Yet, I realize it’s actually kind of a good thing. It lets me know, in a roundabout way, that the staff at the program believe in me–that I too can be that awesome. Which is just what I’m gonna do.

That said, I’m happy to say people seemed, overall, to like Rex, Ly, and crew, which has gotten me excited about FourFold again. I was pretty meh about it for a long while. I felt it’s roots in my much more anime-centric high school days made it a bit too weak and it didn’t help that my outlet in undergrad didn’t really care about humans, if you catch my meaning. So when I submitted a piece of it to my first workshop and no one seemed to dig it, that felt like the final nail in coffin for my adventures in high fantasy land. Thanks to my first semester mentor however, I got my confidence in the story back and I’m glad I did–now to just figure out what to do with it and get going. I’ll probably do that as a post later this month. I want this story to be the first book, but people at the workshop said the part they read felt more like Act 2 of Book 2 and that’s not really what I had in mind–but who knows, right?

Beyond FourFold, I got a interesting divergence of opinion on Kao and Tess’ mystery adventures which has led me to cut that anthromorphic aspect of Curse, since it wasn’t really all that important that Llynna had cat ears. Kao and Tess, however, I will make work. I had a number of conversations with people about how to explain the hybrid thing in a way that made sense and still have it shake out to carry the subtext I want.

  1. There are no humans–or if there are, they’ve come into being as the children of two very slight hybrids (That’s actually an interesting angle to use for WWII).
  2. Race is a Predator/Prey split, though there are a few exceptions I need to work out
  3. To mimic our world, the status quo (subject to subversion) is based on male predatory animals of Western Europe–Hawks, Bears, Wolves, Hounds–and in small numbers those of Northern Africa and Eastern Europe, thanks to the influence of the Roman Empire.

Even with these “rules” I still have some hurdles to over come so that people don’t get caught up in the curtains instead of watching the sunset through the window.

Other than that, I’ve got a lot of reading to do and I need to step up my game on talking about my hobby. I’ve got a rare chance in a couple of months and I need to get into a position where I can be confident about my “talking about video games” skills. I’m also trying to get a couple weeks or so worth of script done and give the comic another go. I know, I say that every month and stick to it for about a week before I get distracted/interrupted/out of the groove/what have you and loose momentum, but I need to comic.

Anyway, signing off for now. Gonna get the last of my residency paperwork done today and then get Curse reworked so I can send it off to my new mentor. Catch ya’ll ’round!

[Wednesday Rambling] Stonecoast Rising

Check out all my Ramblings

I am now less than two months out from my second residency at Stonecoast. Something about that statement, that realization, has been an immense jump start to my writing. Knowing that I’m going back, that it wasn’t just a fever dream, is starting to dispel my funk.

Granted, its not a cure all–Work is still draining and a source of endless frustration and the prep for the wedding borders on exasperating–but it’s helping so much. In the last two weeks I’ve had a host of new story ideas and I’ve even gotten the first part of a manuscript into respectable shape. I’m on the fourth draft of the second part of said manuscript now, working on applying what I’ve learned to turn what was a rather limp section in the plot into a more viable start to Act 2. Even so, I feel that I perhaps haven’t capitalized on the the semester. Aside from one piece, everything was something I had worked one prior to coming to Stonecoast. Yet, when I think about that in a more holistic way, that makes sense. I;m trying to gauge where I am and get a feel for where I want to go–and is perhaps a reason that working on Curse feels so good.

Well, Imma get back to work. Thinking about starting up a second weekly segment for gaming, might get that done tonight and up tomorrow.

Suddenly Stonecoast!

Back from my first residency up at USM’s Stonecoast MFA and I’ve got some stories to tell.

First though, some pitching. I just want to say that for anyone who writes and wants to get better (in the pursuit of being published) an MFA program is a good step to take. Not necessarily because it will magically make you a better writer (only writing can do that), but because interacting with others, both in and outside of your genre, gives you a new perspective on your work. The deadlines don’t hurt either.

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