Gibberish

Man, if I had stayed up and delayed taking Brody out to pee only to watch the Jays lose last night, I would have been pissed!

Happily, that was not the case.

Sadly, I am just as exhausted again today. And out of pain meds so picked up some ibuprofen on my way home last night, along with a 4TB external drive to which my computer is currently being backed up. Hopefully everything is okay. I don’t like leaving stuff like that on when I leave the apartment for the day. :/

Anyway.

Once again, there’s nothing I really feel like talking about today. Just trying to get my life together, as always.

And mostly failing, as always, but at least the ideas haven’t dried up yet!

Last night I sent the opening excerpt from my first novel in to the current Writer In Residence at the Toronto Public Library. No idea if I will make it in, as she is taking the first 35 submissions, or something, and they’ve been open for the past couple of weeks. Still, it’ll be good to talk about it again with her if I do get the chance. I was thinking about what I wanted to do with the story, and last night I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go that route anymore.

Today I though maybe I still do, but just a little different from what I was initially thinking. So we’ll see. I’ve got some time yet before I’d talk to her, if I get to at all. Maybe that’ll be the kick in the pants I need to map it out a bit more clearly in my mind, if nothing else!

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Thought Potpourri

This post will just be a hodgepodge of things – a mix – a potpourri, if you will, because there are a few things on my mind that I should probably delve into deeper at some point, but which for now I’ll just gloss over so I remember for later.

Since I got a phone with a camera, and for every phone I’ve had with a camera over the years, I stopped taking an actual camera with me in day-to-day life. Special occasions, I might take one, and the zoo I always take one, but I find that the best photo opportunities come when least expected, which is problematic, because I never have a real camera with me. I always, however, have my phone. It’s just the photos aren’t that high quality beyond sharing on social media, which is usually fine, until I want to do something more than that with them.

Take Brody, for example. I am always taking pictures of him, especially when we go for a walk, because he’s so flippin’ cute I can barely stand it. Just this morning I took this sweet shot:

Brody 2

However, I’d love to have a photo that was so awesome it ended up getting picked to be in, say, the annual Pet Valu calendar. He’s easily handsome enough, but my phone isn’t skilled enough to get a high quality snap, nor do I have a real camera handy when I am indoors. I tried over the weekend to take pictures of him with one of my actual cameras, but this was the best I could do, so I entered it on their website here.

P1080868

Not a horrible shot, but far from the attention-grabbing amazingness that he deserves.

Some day, maybe.

There are times when I feel like I am put in the position of arguing one side of a debate, simply because I can see more than one side, but whoever I’m talking to can’t. I kind of hate that, because I feel like it takes away from my ability to move past that level of comprehension and onto the next. I mean, I suppose it’s my choice, really. I could instead choose to just agree with whatever the other person is saying, because I can see their point usually, and usually even agree with some of it. But I also hate not challenging things when I can clearly see other points to be made, as well. To me, it seems like blind acceptance to not challenge something when it’s obvious that the issue is not so black and white as someone else may think. I try to push them, but for the most part, I am pushing myself, as well. Which is good, except when I get so frustrated at arguing the other side – a side I also don’t fully agree with – that I end up just playing Devil’s Advocate and lose sight of my actual thoughts involving all sides. I end up feeling angry and silently blaming the other person/people for putting me in that position, but not-so-deep down I know it was my own choice. I like to be thorough, I guess.

It’s interesting, my buddy that I hung out with over the weekend, I’d forgotten what our conversations could be like, and how much I loved them. His brain works a lot like mine does, in that we have our own thoughts and opinions, and those don’t always mesh, but our desire to talk things through from multiple angles is…rather invigorating. It really is a wonder we ever got any work done, sometimes.

Last week, a current co-worker asked one day if I had any writing projects on the go, because we hadn’t talked about any of it recently, at all. This was my response, more or less (including stuff about this blog and the possible resurrection of The Mind Reels podcast):

Carving The Light – My intent is to re-write the whole thing as a feature length screenplay. I also want to add in more unpredictable drama to flesh it all out more. The end will be the same, but the journey there will be more emotionally harrowing.

Ebon Black and the Seven Dryads – I keep toying with the idea of re-writing it in some way, skewing it for either a younger or older audience, maybe. Or turning it into a cartoon-type of format. Or maybe just shopping it around to agents and/or publishing houses to see if I can find a home for it. Regardless, it’s far back-burner at the moment!

Untitled Young Reader book about Ellie Skye – This is only a very rough first draft right now, but I really want to go back and take another pass or two at it. Eventually it’d be targeted at readers aged 9-12-ish, I think. Especially girls who need more heroes and adventure stories involving girl protagonists.

Suffer The Fury – My first attempt at a young adult novel, and would make an excellent series. I have done a few drafts, but it still needs more work before I can really try to do anything with it. I entered it in ABNA back when it was still going on, but didn’t make it far enough to get in-depth reviews of the whole manuscript. I got pretty good reviews from readers of the first 10 pages or whatever it was, though!

To Whichever Comes First – I wrote my first screenplay for a short film! I wrote it for a contest because I wanted a deadline I was forced to meet, but I also kept it super simple, so that I might actually be able to shoot it for a very low cost, if I ever get around to it! It all takes place almost completely in one room, and there are two main characters with, like, two other side characters that they interact with briefly. It could totally be done, I think! In my mind, I’ve even been casting it with people I actually know!

Sometimes I See Hearts – My first attempt at writing a picture book for children, again with a little girl as the protagonist. It even rhymes!!! Not sure if I should keep it in its current writing style or go back and Dr. Seuss it up, instead, but I’m content with the first complete draft, so far!

So there you have it. A few of the myriad of things swirling around my brain right now, in addition to finally getting approved to make an official attempt at another Guinness World Record. Got that news this morning, so still have to find time later to really go through the guidelines and see what I can sort out as far as a plan of attack goes. We shall see! More on that in the coming days, I think!

Before my alarm went off this morning, I was dreaming that I was having trouble waking up. I woke up at work, for some reason, but then everything went backwards, in a way, and I was horrifically late for work at the same time. Regardless of where I was, though, I could not keep my eyes open; couldn’t focus on anything. I think there were Muppets at one point.

So exhausted on every level today in waking life, and yet no Muppets to at least make things interesting. Geez.

Life can be so unfair.

Rambling Mind

I don’t understand what’s going on. At all. Maybe nothing. I have no idea. There is, of late, a huge disconnect between my inner and outer realities. Add a healthy dose of PMS into the mix and the confusion is overwhelming. So isolating. Perhaps I am just succumbing to my usual paranoia and uncertainty. Though it’s often been right in the past – can it still be deemed paranoia if it ends up being correct?

Meh. Questions without answers, really. Better to just keep plodding along and wait for my next break.

I have my next MRI on Sunday. While I’m technically hoping it will be a quick session, I feel it’s much more likely that it’ll be one of the long 45-minute-IV-with-contrast-material types, instead. It makes more sense, since it’s just my annual check-up type one and they’ll want to get as much detail and cover as much territory in the scans as possible. I just really hate those ones, and am running out of ways to entertain myself while in the tube for that long. However, at least it’ll be over with, and since Monday is a holiday, I’ll be able to just relax and do nothing, if I want, the whole next day. That’ll help. Usually I feel more than a little off once I come out of the machine. I know it doesn’t do anything to me physically, but my mind feels cloudy, anyway. Maybe from focusing on remaining still while not letting claustrophobia set in.

There should be a law against cologne – or artificial scents of any kind – that I can smell even if I am not near you. Seriously people. What kind of nastiness are you trying to cover up by dousing yourself so completely in something else?

Anyway.

I’m frustrated at this whole not working Saturdays thing. I know, sounds weird, but there are several reasons why I’m feeling this way. Aside from the fact that it’s a shorter work day, and earns a longer weekday off, which is sometimes enough. But it would give me the opportunity to do other things I want to do sometimes. Like go to the zoo. I hate going on weekends, through the summer at least, because of the hoards of sweaty hairless apes in my way, ruining my Zen thing. But if I want to go on a weekday, I have to burn a vacation or sick day to do it. I got turned down for volunteering at the Wildlife Centre because the weekend shifts are first to go, and those are the only ones I could do. I probably wouldn’t be a Big Sister again anyway, but that’s another thing I can’t do. Not the in-school mentor program, at least. I can see my therapist if I book an appointment first thing and then head to work after, which doesn’t always have me in the greatest headspace for the rest of the work day. Sometimes it’d be better if I could just go home after and process. But I can’t, unless I am willing to burn a sick day, o vacation day, if I know far enough in advance that I won’t feel up to coming in that day.

Overall, it’s fine. I’ve just been feeling lately like I am having to give up a lot of the things that I’d enjoy or look forward to or benefit from in some way in order to continue receiving a paycheque. That is, of course, the most important thing, because without that I’d have far less opportunity than I do now. I guess I’m just sad that this seems to be all there is, and I am struggling to make even that much balance out. It’s depressing sometimes.

In other news, Mr. Brodykins has an appointment with the groomer on Saturday! He will hate every moment, except the ones where he gets to hang with Momma Kristi and ride in the car. Probably on her lap, if he gets his way. That’s his preferred mode of travel, after all. I hate leaving him there, knowing how miserable it makes him, but he does love being picked up after, and being told how utterly adorable he is. He likes to show off a bit, at that point. Maybe I’ll see about getting him some kind of little special treat for being a good boy. Because he’s always a good boy. He hates the whole grooming process with the seething fire of a thousand suns, but he doesn’t fight it. Instead, he freezes in his silent misery, and tolerates it all until it’s finally over. And then gets unnaturally excited when you put his collar back on.

Bless.

I love that little guy.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just so in my head I don’t really know what’s accurate or real anymore. Or maybe my instincts are good enough that I’m getting the hints being put out there, but am just not certain enough to react. Maybe there’s nothing to react to at all. Regardless, I feel dumb, so hopefully I can figure out at least some of it soon. It’s seeming pretty manic, really. I’m still here, though, so as much as I am trying to sort some things out, I’m also trying to, like, live day to day life. It’s all I can think to do, sometimes.

Long weekend coming up finally, and then next weekend is the first one I booked off for myself. Four days in a row! I don’t know how I’ll manage NOT to give myself so much to do that I won’t get it done and then be disappointed in myself…but I’m going to try not to give myself so much to do that I don’t get it done and feel disappointed in myself.

A co-worker just asked if it was Friday yet – it’s like he’s reading my mind. I was just thinking how far away Friday still is, but that it’s kind of a good thing because I have a lot to do in the meantime.

I was looking up screenwriting contests yesterday to see if there were any deadlines I could aim for but realistically meet. I realized that I’m not anywhere close to ready to start writing the updated adaptation of my first book, though. I need to sort out the changes that will be made and how they’ll all go together with the parts of the story that are being kept. I’ll work on a new outline first, and then consider starting the script.

Why can’t things in our heads just come out on paper automatically?

Writing Choices

I realized something this morning, or at least noticed it happening again.

I was going over in my head some of the things I’m planning to do with the story contained in my first novel, and what I’m toying with having some of the characters do. One in particular is bothering me more than I’d realized at first, because it’s the one loosely based on moi.

Now, don’t get me wrong – our lives are not at all the same. I have a brother not sisters, I am the oldest not the youngest, and I am nearly a decade older than the character is in the book. I’m not with a Sarah, both my parents are still alive, I didn’t grow up in that house, or have Trick for a dog. I don’t think I’ve ever even carved a pumpkin for Halloween. Not on my own, at least.

So really, I guess that character is just more like how I think I’d react in the situation I wrote her into. Though I guess that could be said for everyone I write, in a way, because there’s part of me in all of my creations, to a certain extent. But that one in particular was written to give myself an alternate story to exist in, just as Sarah was written to give the person she was inspired by a different imaginary path to tread upon. Neither of them are more or less real to me than the others in their story, though. I just have I guess more of an emotional attachment to one in particular. I don’t want her to do anything I don’t think I would do.

But since the screenwriting conference, I’ve been considering doing just that. I’ve been struggling with a reason for it – a believeable reason, something that felt true – and haven’t come up with one as of yet. I did come up with a plausible yet similar act for which there would be justification (at least in her mind and kind of mine), so I might very well go with that. I’m not certain it’ll make the story stronger, but I’m not sure that it won’t, either, so I am betting on at least keeping the sense of truth to it all, instead. Because truth can do wonders for the power in a story, and for real life.

The crazy thing I realized or noticed again this morning was how much it was actually bothering me to try and come up for a reason for my character to do something against my own inner traits. I felt a little nauseous, and distracted, headachey and sadder than usual. When I say it was depressing to think about – to imagine possible scenes that would lead the character down the path to making that choice – I don’t mean it in a flippant or surface way. I mean that it affected me on every level – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I felt horrible just thinking about it in detail and trying to make it work.

My imagination can be pretty strong sometimes.

I felt worse about that than I have about many actual things that have happened.

So I’ve decided that – whether it works in theory or not – it won’t work for me. As in, I won’t be able to make it work, not for that character. I could easily have a different character in the story perform the act as it started out in my head, but that would have been more believable and far less powerful than having this particular character do this particular thing, but have the scenario leading up to it be a little different from what I had originally considered. Which means I get to add power to my story, while not making myself sick, or at least not in that way.

It’s amazing how much better I felt as soon as I realized the effect even thinking about it was having on me and made the decision to literally change my story. Even just a tiny alteration made all the difference.

Breaking Ideas

And that’s a wrap for the Toronto Screenwriting Conference 2016!  I’m not sure if any other event gets me so jazzed up and yet completely drained at the same time.  My body is exhausted, but my mind is full and wired and churning.  I have so many seeds of so many ideas, and very much want to make time to work on, like, all of them.  Definitely some more than others, though.  From ways to revamp things I’ve already written, to some brand new concepts and possibilities I want to try out.  At the moment, I have no idea if anything will happen with any of it, but at the same time, I can’t stop thinking about it, and am so excited to try.

In no particular order:

  • a screenplay to turn my first novel into a feature-length film.  Same characters, same general scenario, but vastly different plot points which would hopefully make it less gentle and far less predictable.
  • develop my Ellie Skye book for young readers into an animated series (far less expensive to produce, and endless possibilities to work with in that world)
  • I haven’t quite settled on what to do with Ebon Black – I originally conceived it as a middle grade chapter book, a one-off fractured fairytale that could possibly be turned into an animated feature, or possibly an animated short…maybe a comic book.  Something visual, but I don’t know which medium would suit it best, or even if it should be animated or if live action would work.  I think it’s almost always been animated in my head, but I haven’t completely ruled out live action just yet, either.
  • Suffer The Fury could definitely be developed for a series, definitely live action, but first the whole plot would need to be re-vamped and … I don’t know.  Made better.  Stronger. Faster.  Haha
  • one new project idea that I am giddy-excited about is that I want to try writing a spec script for one of my favourite shows of all time.  It’s no longer on the air, so in a way it’d be more like fan fic, but I am okay with that because I’ve never written anything like that before, either.  However, I’d also be writing it as though it were taking place now, like re-booting the series, but 30-odd years after the original series took place.  If it were still going on, what would be happening with those characters now?  What would the world in which they existed look like after all these years?

There are some far less realized seeds germinating, too, but those are the main ones that came out of this weekend.  The two I am most focused on right now are the Carving The Light screenplay, and the spec script/ fan fic script for a new episode of an old show that I love.  I’ve been wrestling with them both for the past two days, and have broken a few obstacles on each wide open, and I’m excited by the direction each seems to be going.  There would be a boatload of work to realize even a first draft of either one, but one step at a time, right?  First I’d need to  brainstorm ideas, especially for the spec script, because I only have the barest bones of an idea for it.  A plot would be handy.  Carving The Light at least has a plot, however basic.  I just need to turn it on its head and add some more meat to it.  A lot more, but I at least know where the characters are going, as opposed to the spec script.  Right now, it’s still at the “what if” stage.

In both cases, I am thrilled at the idea of living with those characters again, though, and that’s really what’s generating my excitement and drive in their directions.  I can’t even say which I am more drawn to yet.  My mind keeps flipping back and forth between the two, asking questions and trying to answer them.

I should really write down what I have breaking thus far, but I am way too tired, I think.  Maybe tomorrow.  Or after I walk Brody and brush my teeth.

I can’t believe the weekend is over already.