Thursday, December 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo 22: DONE and monthaversary

Prompt: What did you learn from doing NaBloPoMo?

Relatively little. At least if we're just talking about what I learned from writing these blog posts.

In the past month, however, I've learned quite a bit.

I've learned how to say right, left, straight, here, and thank you in Korean. I've learned how to use chopsticks better, and how to order shabu shabu at a Korean restaurant (and to cook it at the table). I've learned how to get home and downtown and how to stand in line at the movies. I've learned where to find food and where to shop for shoes. I've learned how to play a new song on the guitar, and I've learned how to do a load of laundry when the washing machine is all in Korean. I've learned which days foreigners drink and where.

I've learned how to plan for classes and what to do if there's extra time. I've learned how my students respond to shouting, laughter, and fake tears in class. I've learned which students are the most belligerent, which have the most skills with sarcasm, and which ones like Harry Potter enough to tolerate my constant references.

Mostly I've learned that I know nothing here in this strange yet familiar place. But I have learned a lot about being alone, despite the fact that I am almost never by myself. I love the new people, but dear god it's hard to live day after day without being able to turn to one of my best mates and tell an inside joke.

NaBloPoMo 21: Bedtime Rituals

Prompt: What is the last thing you do before bed?

Easy. I daydream about things to write about. I always hope those will turn into lucid dreams. I love lucid dreams. When I was little I could lucid dream all day, but when I hit twelve or thirteen, I lost control. Yes, that's probably a metaphor for some insecurity or another.

I also listen to music. A lot of it. I have a special mix for falling asleep. There's a lot of Enya, a bit of chill-out stuff. Some people fall asleep to TV. I fall asleep to music. Whatever works, right?

NaBloPoMo 20: Heirlooms

Prompt: Describe an heirloom that has been passed down through generations of your family.

Other than insanity and a knack for divorce, I can't really think of anything.

Taught one class about Haikus, so let's write one to explain my current emotions:

Hiking trip cancelled,
Lonely for cheesy romance,
I need to write more.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaBloPoMo 19: Presents and Giving Thanks

Prompt: Do you like to buy presents ahead of time, or right when you need to give them?

Eh. I'm the type who sucks at secrets, and I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I've gotten someone a really good present, I'm not good at hiding it for long. So even if I may have intended to save the present for a while, I usually give it to the person early. Womp.

Also, this was a foolish prompt, so let's talk about Thanksgiving:

I've always taken the holiday for granted, but despite its less than familial origin, Thanksgiving is about family. And food, and abusing our bank accounts and digestive systems and football. But mostly family. My family is flawed and quirky, but they're mine, and I miss them. I also miss my second family (you know, those people I call friends. Love you guys), and so being gone for this Thanksgiving wasn't the easiest thing. Working on Thanksgiving was pure torture. Eating squid soup on Thanksgiving was the end of the world.

I do love Korea, but November 24 was the catalyst for premature homesickness. Time goes fast here, and I'm learning a lot. Every day is a surprise, and it's usually a good one. But one thing I've learned here is how much I've taken for granted. Not only in terms of cultural differences (though I could write a post on American showers, or why kimchi really doesn't need to be eaten every meal including breakfast). I guess I've always harbored a secret hatred for familiarity. Anything that I knew well enough, like the route to school, or the inside of my freshman dorm, was the focus of my scorn. Now I'm nostalgic to walk through the arch on the way to class, or trudge up the hill to my old high school. I'm worried this is a sign I'm getting old, or maybe I'm just old enough to have accrued enough memories to truly understand what nostalgia means.

Anyways, my bad mood was conquered today, not through booze, but through food. Much healthier, right? A group of foreigners put together a Thanksgiving potluck. After a few weeks of rice, soup, kimchi, and ramen, my senses went into overdrive at the sight and smell of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, turkey, pie, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, and broccoli casserole. My stomach tried to quit before my taste buds were sated, but I conquered the food. Guys, be proud. So Thanksgiving happened, finally. Even if it wasn't a lazy Thursday afternoon with the people I love driving me up the wall, it happened. Enough.

Wait. Did I mention the amazing company? There was amazing company. I found a lot of people who love Love Actually, and I even found a few Doctor Who fans! WIN.

So Happy Belated Thanksgiving, and may your Black Friday endeavors not end in bruises, broken bones, or credit card debt.

NaBloPoMo 18: Isolation

Prompt: Do you enjoy being alone? Would you rather be alone or with people?

Easy. People. Any day. I'm a Leo, an only child, an extrovert, a Gryffindor. Long story short, I crave attention the way a vampire craves blood.

But I think I set high standards for my friends. No, I'm not that pretentious ass who claims to meet those standards, but I do set them. I love people, and I love meeting people, but I'm so judgmental. It also takes quite some time for me to feel comfortable around someone. Months, years even. That doesn't mean I won't ham it up within moments of meeting someone (because I have, do, and will continue to act like an idiot in public). It just means that given the choice between a large group of strangers, and two or three friends, I'll choose the friends. Any day of the week.

Speaking of, I know a lot of my friends are probably reading this back home in the states (or wherever you are), so here's a message for you:

And this:

But mostly, this:

Much love.

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaBloPoMo 17: Life-changing Music

Prompt: Write about a piece of music that changed your life forever. 

I can think of two artists, in general, that made a huge impact on my life. But let me say (as if I haven't said it enough) that music changes my life on a daily basis. Er, what I mean to say is that music is a consistent source of positivity. I wake up to it. I fall asleep to it. I write to it. I write it, read it, study it. Of course, I don't love it enough to play guitar four hours a day, but I do love it enough to listen to it for at least four hours a day. And I don't just mean on the radio, or in the stores downtown. I mean purposeful, headphones or at-home listening.

Ok. Back to answering the prompt.

1) Once starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

These two artists are made of pure genius. Glen is from Ireland, and Marketa is from the Czech Republic, I believe. Glen is in another band, but (correct me if I'm wrong, world) when the two started collaborating/dating, they were asked to star in their friend's movie. It was no big deal. Shot on a camcorder. No one was a professional actor. Won an Emmy.

Changed my life. I went to see it with a friend the summer after I finished high school. It was showing in the theatre downtown reserved for indie movies, and everything about the movie blew me away. It wasn't melodramatic, but it made me cry. The two main characters were never even named. I remember the exact moment I fell in love with the movie. Right here:

This song is amazing, but it's even better watching it within the context of the movie. The scene never fails to give me shivers. My friend and I left the theater and immediately headed to the nearest store to purchase the soundtrack, which was co-written and performed by Glen and Marketa. Then we spent the night talking about life and listening to the CD on repeat.

Some of my best memories are belting it out to this song in harmony with my platonic other half as we road trip. Good times. I started getting into alternative music as a result of this movie, and I can say it's one of the best decisions I ever made. Iron and Wine, Fine Frenzy, Ingrid Michaelson, etc. Oh, they're all amazing.

2) Julia Nunes, YouTube sensation

I stumbled on her after watching a clip of her guest appearance on College Humor. It was funny, and they sang Chumbawumba, so I obviously had to watch. Then I listened to some of her covers. I thought she was ok. Then I heard this song:

Oh my god, I can't even explain how wonderful this song is. It connected to what I was writing at the time, which was creepy in the best way possible. But more than that, it felt right. Everything from the lyrics to the melody to the rhythm amazing. Her voice is so unique and lovely. The song above is my favorite by her, and in a tie with Ingrid Michaelson's "The Chain" and Ghost's "Welcome Home" for my favorite song ever. I love how deceptively cheerful it is.

Anyways, Julia also led me into a shift in my music preferences. I started listening to Amanda Palmer, Anais Mitchell, and other people, especially YouTube artists. I also learned the song on guitar. It's my absolute favorite song to sing, even though I know I'll never do it as well as her. Her unabashed singing helped me to gain confidence in my own voice, and I also felt enabled to write original music after listening to her beautiful lyrics.

Anyways, yeah. Julia Nunes and Once. Check 'em out.

NaBloPoMo 16: Luck

Prompt: What is the luckiest thing that ever happened to you?

I feel like I have to be careful answering this question, because I might seem self-deprecating if I say something like "getting into NU." Of course I feel like I deserved that admission letter, but I still feel lucky as hell.

Luckiest thing that ever happened to me?


In the recent past, I was lucky to get an invitation to go to a middle school concert. Hear me out. See, I was visiting my dad in Texas, and his coworker, who is insanely awesome, invited me to her son's concert. I shrugged and said sure, and we left. Afterwards, she introduced me to her coworker, who was an English professor. This coworker asked me what my post-college plans were, and I mentioned the teaching abroad idea that I'd just discovered the day before. Turns out one of her students was already here in Korea on her third year. She hooked us up over facebook, and that's all she wrote.

So, I'm here in Korea because I got invited to a middle school band concert.

Lucky as hell.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Drinking in Korea

It seems that NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, and No Shave November are not the only things going on this month. 30 Days of Indie Travel is happening too. The prompt for today struck me as appropriate, considering my recent adventures, so here goes:

Just as the cuisine of a place reveals clues about its culture and history, so does its signature local drink. What’s the best drink you had on the road, and did the drink have any connection to the place where you drank it or the people you drank with?

I've been in the midst of a marathon I never intended to do, and it just finished last night. My tolerance, as most of my friends know, is low. Like, super low. If I drink on Friday, I usually won't drink on Saturday. Once a week is enough for me, so right now I feel like hell. Why? 


The culture is such that drinking during dinner is normal, so when I go out with large groups of people, we automatically order a few bottles of soju. Soju, for those of you who don't know, is a kind of rice vodka. It is extremely cheap, as in, a dollar a bottle. The bottles are about the size of a twenty ounce bottle of soda from the states, and the liquor is a little less potent than vodka, but still. Still, that's cheap as hell. 

Let's recap the insanity, shall we?

On Wednesday of last week, I went out with two of my three fellow teachers, and we got quite inebriated. It wasn't intentional, but it happened. I'm not proud of it. After the bar, we stumbled upon some guitar teachers jamming out drunkenly in the park, and they let me play a song. I'm quite proud that I managed to not drop the guitar, but for some reason, they were impressed. We scheduled a sober-ish jam session on Sunday night.

On Thursday, I ventured out to a Billiard Bar for pool night to meet some new people, and ended up drinking a few beers and a Long Island Ice Tea. Friday night was Karaoke, so you can bet the majority of the group had at least one shot of soju. 

Saturday I planned to stay in, but was coaxed out of isolation by my coteacher, who wanted to show the other foreign teacher and I a traditional Korean pub. It was divine, by the way. We drank a sort of creamy beer, which actually tasted like ambrosia. For appetizers we had some sort of sea food fried batter pancake thing, which was crispy and yummy. Also we had a soup with sliced beef and vegetables. It was mildly spicy, and equally delicious. The company was great, too. 

I'd like to point out that I did not get hammered each night. But putting any alcohol in my system triggers the guilt complex, and makes me sluggish as hell in the mornings.

Sunday was the jam session, which paired with traditional Korean BBQ, ended up being the opposite of sober. But it was still fun, and I got to play my favorite song, which ended up earning a dollar in change! The other foreign teacher and I mostly attempted to sing along to their awesome guitar skillz, but my lyrical knowledge of non-angry-female singers is almost nonexistent. 

Tonight I had to stay in. I can't keep up with all of the adventure, and I know if I don't slow down soon, I'll drop. At least I have a solid supply of Excedrin.

NaBloPoMo 15: Passion Project?

Prompt: Are you pursuing a passion project?

Answer: Yes.

New topic: Teaching

I'm starting to settle into my schedule as a teacher, even though I've yet to receive my alien card or get a foreign bank account. Planning is becoming MUCH easier, which is great considering how much I stressed out over it initially. I get along well with most of my students, and I think they understand that I mean business. Unfortunately, today I had to yell at one of my younger students, and I hated it. He later told the co-teacher that another student wasn't acting mature enough in class (he said "baby" for the record), but I can't help but feel that his excuse wasn't good enough. I was really upset by his complete lack of respect and awareness in class, especially considering how respectful my worst students are.

I do love teaching, despite that rant. My job has its pros and cons, but at the end of the day I've got a pretty sweet deal. I'll feel better once I have my first paycheck, though. Right now I feel like I'm on a glorified vacation (though I'm sure some haters would agree with that title). Once I have a steady income, then I know I'll have that grown up, independent feeling.

Also I'm craving Chipotle.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NaBloPoMo 14: Happiness

Prompt: What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?

I'm really starting to hate these prompts, for the record.

When I read the third Harry Potter book and I realized there was a spell that required you to use a strong, happy memory, I thought very hard about this. My mind drew a blank. Ever since then, I've been on the lookout for happy moments, and I've taken the liberty of posting them below:

1) When I got accepted into my dream school.
2) The morning I finished the rough draft of my first book.
3) The day I performed at state for solo ensemble.
4) My first time reading each Harry Potter book.
5) Road tripping to Wisconsin with two of my best friends.
6) Graduating from my dream school, and seeing Stephen Colbert speak at my graduation. Also singing I'm Yours with my friend while we lined up before graduation.
7) Hearing certain music for the first time (I know, this sounds super ambiguous, but the feeling I get listening to certain songs for the first time is inexplicably wonderful.)

I can't narrow it down, and I'm missing some, I'm sure. But these memories are the best I can think of right now, and trust me, they're pretty great.

Whatever. I answered the dumbass prompt.

NaBloPoMo 13: Crush

Oh. My. God.

I do not want to do this post. I don't. But I promised to do every prompt this month, so Kira's gonna put on some big girl pants and suck it up.

Prompt: Make a list of everyone you've had a crush on in your life, then choose one and describe him or her in great detail.

Erm, let's not push our luck, prompt. I'm not making a list on this blog, because this shit's on the internet, and I don't want anyone hunting me down. But I just made one in my head. It's not overly short, but not too long (that's what she said). Let's pick a guy. And....

I'm still too paranoid to even say his name here, so let's just call him...


Cool, right?

Ok, I just don't have the cojones to talk about anyone I had (have?) a crush on. Sorry. Arg.

NaBloPoMo 12: Adulthood

Prompt: When is the moment you leave childhood and enter adulthood?

Gratuitous quote: And that is the story of how Tristan became a boy. But this is not the story of how Tristan became a boy. This is the story of how Tristan became a man, a different task altogether.

Neil Gaiman wrote that better, and the actor who played Magneto (whose name I shamefully don't remember) said it better. Still, the fact remains that becoming an adult is tough business.

But I don't necessarily buy into "becoming an adult." The word adult fills my mind with horrific notions of a life without laughter, a life burdened with too many responsibilities, of sweating every day to fit into a mold you may or may not buy into. You know the mold I'm talking about. 2.5 kids, steady job in a *gulp* cubicle, husband or wife that you mildly like, expensive house and car to show off to your neighbors. A poofy poodle skirt and dinner on the table at six.

Anyways, that all gives me the heeby-jeebies, so let's listen to a song:

Man, I love that song.

Oh. Adults? What?

I guess I'm still trying to figure out if I ever want to be an adult. Shrug.

NaBloPoMo 11: Favorite Place

Prompt: Describe a favorite place.

I could use this post to talk more about Korea, but I won't.

Maybe it's the late hour, but I'm having trouble describe my favorite place. Ah. Got it. I'll try a snippet of narrative:

I wake up early. Too early. It's cold, but part of my brain refuses to believe it, since it's impossible. The sky outside is dark, and for just a few minutes, there is silence. Then I start to hear birds chirp as the coquis fall asleep for the day, and my roommate begins to toss and turn in her bed. Once I'm ready, I go downstairs where there is anything but silence. People laugh and joke as the old caretaker walks in and out with more papaya, pineapple, and eggs. An old, off-white cat hobbles in, and I can tell she's seen better days. Still, her bright blue eyes are wary as she waits patiently for a scrap of food to fall to the floor. The scent of coffee and baking pastries permeates the air, and even though I'm nocturnal, for once I am in love with the morning.

Alright, I've written better, but for some reason, Hawaii is just the best. I realize that it's a complete tourist trap, but I probably had the most fun on that trip. We hiked three miles to a green sand beach, walked through botanical gardens, and ate the best breakfasts I've had in my life. I loved most everything about Hawaii, and I hope to go back there someday.

NaBloPoMo 10: Facing Fears

It seems I've fallen off the map once again, and for that I apologize. But life in Korea is a constant adventure, and, well, you can just call me Frodo.

It's appropriate, though, that on the two week marker I'm writing a blog based on facing your fears, as I've been facing quite a few of mine lately. The question asks, "Have you faced fears and overcome them?"

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer:

One thing I've noticed in Korea is how much they covet youth. Men will dye their hair so no one can tell they've gone grey. Women will wear mountains of make up to look younger. Yes, I know this trend exists in America, and probably everywhere else on earth. However, it feels more prevalent here. Maybe it's just the culture shock talking, but nonetheless, I made a conclusion about youth that seemed really deep. The more I think about it though, the more obvious it seems.

Youth is not coveted because of wrinkle free skin or thick, luscious locks. On the surface, yeah, youth is all about the sexy looks. But underneath it all, I think youth is held on a pedestal due to the endless possibilities. Anything can happen. You can change your entire identity, go anywhere, do anything if you only put your mind to it. There are so many choices to be made and adventures to have. There's a world of information to learn, and for the young, there is a whole life to learn it.

I think half the reason people end up so old and bitter is because they don't take risks. To me, taking risks means facing your fears, head on. Now that I'm done with the scheduled part of life (high school, college), I'm more terrified than I've ever been. So in that cop-out respect, you could say I'm facing my worst fears by just living day by day.

But I digress. I have faced fears by taking a lot of risks. Applying to Northwestern, auditioning for choirs, joining comedy forum and performing on stage, all of that put me in a sorry state, but it was completely worth it.

The biggest risk I took was choosing to live alone, on the other side of the world. Far from my friends and family, and nearly everything else familiar. But that was only the beginning. Each day here I face my fears. Not in the melodramatic, ohmylifeisterrible kind of way. Just the knowledge that I could easily fail in a lot of new ways.

Stephen Colbert gave an amazing speech at Commencement a few years back. After a solid few minutes of jokes, he mentioned that in improv classes, you learned to say yes to everything. Otherwise, the scene won't move forward. The same goes for life, he said. Say yes to everything. And sometimes you'll fall flat on your face, but most of the time you'll discover new, amazing things about the world and yourself (he obviously said it better).

So that's what I'm trying to do here. Say yes, seize opportunities, take risks, and get messy! Magic School Bus, anyone? No?


Anyways, I try to face my fears about the language barrier, getting lost, making a fool of myself, etc.

My conclusions thus far support Colbert's advice. The more I say yes, the more people I meet, the more I learn, and the more I enjoy life.

I guess this post was a bit disjointed, so let's go back to the short answer. Have I faced fears lately?

Hell yes. But I'd rather travel to Mordor than stay in the Shire all my life.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaBloPoMo 9: Make a Wish

A few days back was 11:11 on 11/11/11, and the world went nuts. I'm one of those suckers who loves making wishes on 11:11, not only because I think that if there's even the slightest chance it could work, why not try it? I also believe that if you spend two minutes a day concentrating on what you want, what you really want, and focusing on it and how wonderful it would be if those things were to happen, well then those two minutes weren't really wasted.

Granted, if you just wish to win the lottery all the time, you probably won't get much out of it.

But focusing on dreams and goals is always a good thing, and keeping them in the forefront of your mind helps keep you motivated and always aware of your true desires.

Once I realized I wanted to go to Korea, I wished for that. Sometimes I wish for other people, depending on how they're doing. Sometimes I whisper my 11:11 wish as fast as I can, to cram as much in as possible. Mostly I wish to get published, to write full time and live a long, fulfilling life as a traveller. A lot of the time I also wish to find that soulmate type who will love me and who I love back.

Typical wishes, I think. The desire to find someone to love, something to do, and aspirations to reach is part of the human condition, I think. So is the hope, even if it's silly, that wishing on a star, or a certain time of day, will help us fulfill our dreams.

NaBloPoMo 8: Passion

What is your passion, be it secret or otherwise?

Well if it's a secret, I'm not going to tell you know, am I?

Luckily, my passions aren't really a secret.

I love writing. I love forming words in ways they have or haven't been put together before, to form ideas and stories and people.

I love discovering new worlds and characters through reading.

I love singing songs and plucking clumsily at my guitar to create sounds that may or may not be passable.

I love laughing so hard that my stomach hurts, and making people laugh.

I love traveling to different places and learning about different people and how they live their lives.

I love learning new things about literature, people, history, philosophy, science, and so many other subjects. I never want to stop learning.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop after one more: I think, even only after a week, I may love teaching.

NaBloPoMo 7: Childhood Home

When was the first time you realized your childhood home was not like other homes?

I realized this fairly early, because for the first seven years of my life I lived in a house/barbershop. The barbershop was in the front, and if you walked through the main office, there would be a living room, two bedrooms, and a kitchen. The set up was untraditional, but very fun. I had great hair during that time, too. Awkwardly, the building was also a bar. It went like this: bottom floor/basement, bar. Top floor, barbershop and house. My mother's boyfriend at the time owned the entire complex, and did a combination of bar tending and haircutting. Never at the same time though.

NaBloPoMo 6: Trauma

Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding the event.

Wow. How inclined am I to not answer this? Sigh. Alright, here goes. When I finally gathered up the cojones to start my first book, Animus, my computer was stolen when I was about a quarter of the way through. I was devastated and cried, not because I'd lost an expensive piece of technology, but because I'd lost over fifty pages of writing. I rewrote it all, though, and replaced my dell with a mac. So even though it was traumatic, I ended up stronger, a better writer, and the owner of a much more sophisticated computer.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaBloPoMo 5: Healthy Balance

How do you balance family time, relationship time, and your work life?

I don't. I really don't. Sometimes I get very absorbed in what I'm writing and I forget to come up for air. I hope that when I'm in a relationship, he'll understand, or have things to do while I work. If he has ambitions and hobbies of his own, it'll work.

My friends are awesome, and sometimes we multitask bonding time with work time by having writing dates. That way we're supporting each other as well as our writing. It all works out in the end.

NaBloPoMo 4: Pen vs Computer

Sorry for the long absence. Turns out life in Korea takes some major adjustments. But more on that later. Right now I'm churning out some belated NaBloPoMo posts. Prompt number four asks:

When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

Computer, hands down. It's faster and easier to get to multiple writing projects. I type way faster than I write, and as a leftie, my handwriting has never been anything more than chicken scratch.

Also my computer can serenade me as I write. Double whammy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaBloPoMo 3: Writing and Music

I'm drained. I'm done. No, it's not this posting every day thing. It's packing. I'll be whining considerably until it's over (tomorrow night or Friday in the wee hours of the morning), so I'll make this post as quick and painless as possible.

Today's prompt is all about music. Do you write with music? What have you listened to lately?

This subject is very near and dear to my heart because I started out as a music major in college. I've written music related to my characters (though not as conspicuously book-ish as wizard wrock), and I sing and play guitar. I'm addicted to music like a lot of women are addicted to chocolate. Trust me, guys. That's saying something.

So yes, I write with music. I had a playlist for chapter 13-15 of Animus when I was writing it, because it was exponentially darker and emotional than the rest of the book. I had so much hard rock and depressing music, it's unbelievable. Not that I don't normally love hard rock. It was just a bit of an overdose.

My favorite artists are probably Ingrid Michaelson, Julia Nunes, Florence and the Machine, and Linkin Park. Mind you, I also love Regina Spektor, Glen Hansard, Incubus, Owl City, Death Cab for Cutie, and Amanda Palmer. I just know the aforementioned bands much better. If they have a new CD, I'm committed to it, just because I'm usually sure I'll like it.

Anyways, I'm starting to rant. Here's a music video of one of my newer loves, Laura Marling. I can't stop listening to this, so I hope you enjoy it:

My favorite line is, "I want to be held by those arms." This song begs a short story. I swear it does.

Also, my fourth post will probably late, and from Asia. Apologies ahead of time. Wish me luck.

NaBloPoMo 2: Last Meal

As most of my faithful readers know, I'm heading to South Korea for a year. This means I'm quite prepared to answer today's prompt: If you knew whatever you ate would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?

No, I'm not equating this move to death. It's going to rock. But I know I'm going to miss my American food favorites, so in the past few months I've been making sure to hit up the food I love most so I don't get too depressed when I can't find it in Korea.

But, as I wrote yesterday, I can never narrow it down. So let's do top three meals:

1) Chocolate Oreo Shake, dipped Italian beef sandwich with hot peppers, and blue cheese fries. Don't knock it till you try it.

2) Mofongo, fried pork, and a Malta India. Last summer (2010), I spent a month eating this, and I never once got sick of it. It's plantains smashed up with garlic and pig skin. It's a little crispy, a little savory, and a teensy bit sweet. The fried pork is super crispy, but sooo good. Malta India tastes like a mix between a coke and a beer. It took me a while to warm up to it, but then I got addicted. Definitely an acquired taste, but worth the effort of acquiring.

3) This is tough. I think fajitas could trump pizza, especially if there's guac and they're well made. But the deliciousness of a deep dish pesto pizza from Edwardos must not be underrated. We'll call it a tie.

Alright. I'm off to pack, which is turning out to be an impossible task. I think I'd rather eat black olives and pickles (two of my least favorite foods). Arg.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo 1: Favorite Thing About Writing

I'm doing NaBloPoMo, or as us normal people call it, "National Blog Posting Month." It's supposed to be in lieu of NaNoWriMo, which would be a ludicrous project for me to undertake as I'm moving my entire life across the globe this month. Yes, I know I'm a day late. I'm still posting 30 times. Now, they may be late, or more than one per day, but I'm claiming immunity to any scorn with the excuse of new teacher, culture shock, and life relocation. So you can forgive me ahead of time.

 Prompt #1: What is your favorite thing about writing?

When people ask me what my favorite movie is, I list off five. I'm not good at isolating my absolute favorite, but I'll go ahead and narrow it down to three.

1) The people. The writing world is full of unexpected friends. I've met so many wonderful people through writing groups at school, book festivals, random encounters, and classes about writing. Even on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, there is support and words of kindness to be found. Writing love <3

2) The "Aha!" moments. They're amazing and they creep up on you without warning. Sometimes they're about a character, dialogue, or a plot hole easily fixed. The biggest moment I had was in Texas, during winter break of my senior year in college. I stayed up all night to write a short story, something I'd never done outside of class. To this day I'm most proud of that story, and that night I realized that I not only enjoyed writing more than anything, but that I was proud of the final products.

3) The every day toil. Inch by inch, word by word, page by page. It's amazing to create something out of nothing, to coax my mind to imagine the next scene, and the next. There's nothing like it.

Alright. Post one, over.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The one with a plane ticket

Official. It's a word I've been throwing around for months now with a smile and a shrug. "Oh yeah, I'm going to spend a year in Korea. No big deal." When I stumbled on the idea that I could teach and travel, it seemed too wonderfully adventurous to be true. Get paid? To travel and teach?


And yet, yesterday I picked up my visa, the last step after six months of arduous paperwork.

 Me, elated but terrified on the elevator ride down:

So what am I inclined to say now? It's official. I have my plane ticket, my visa, my wardrobe, and everything else I won't be able to find in Korea for a year (plus some pencils/stickers for my students). I have approximately ten days to cram my life into two suitcases, and shove as much knowledge of the Korean language as I can into my memory. I can already tell my first few months aren't going to be overly eloquent in the way of linguistic exchange.

Whether I feel ready or not, it's almost time to travel 6500 miles in fourteen hours, and immerse myself in a culture very, very different from my own.

 I quit my job at Chipotle over a month ago now, and I am more than ready to get back to work. I feel like I've been stuck in an interminable summer vacation that has long since lost its shine. But as official as everything is, I still can't believe it's happening. I think traveling is a tricky beast, in that it doesn't feel real until you're there. I've been blessed in my life to travel to a fair amount of places. I still feel completely unprepared, even though I've been to South Korea (and the town I'll be staying in) before.

 It comes in waves, this knowledge of how strange my life is about to become. Sometimes I feel elated about it. After all, I've always been the type to get antsy after a few years of living in the same place. I like change, crave it the way I crave autumn after summer. I'm excited to actually be using my degree as well. So many people have told me stories of having to settle for jobs they didn't really want, or careers that led them away from their passion and/or what they studied in college. I love English, both language and literature. I've had fun during the few experiences I've had teaching. I basically won the lottery of jobs, as far as I'm concerned.

 Sometimes though, I feel terror, heavy and dark in my stomach. I barely know a few words of the language, the culture barrier is intimidating, and I like my friends. It takes years to make the kind of relationships I'm lucky enough to have, and I'm terrified that it'll take less than a year to ruin them. Also I don't like being alone.

As a Gryffindor, a Leo, and extrovert, I prefer to have people around, people I can connect to. As crowded as South Korea is, I'm sure I'll get lonely. Even if I'm prepared. Even if I'm having the best time of my life. Even if I make wonderful friends there (which I totally plan to do). I have made minor preparations for that inevitability with my DVD collection: Lilo and Stitch. It's a movie that makes me feel happy whenever I watch it, and (added bonus) it's a crier, so I won't feel guilty bursting into tears in the middle of it! I'll also have pictures of all the fine, lovely people in my life. And a stuffed animal (it'll fit in my suitcase if it's the last thing I do). Music is probably going to be what saves me, in the end. As long as I have the perfect song to start my day, life is generally good. 

This post wasn't meant to sound so pessimistic. I'm excited to travel. I want my life to be one big adventure. I want to learn new things and meet new people. This will be good. This will be wonderful and amazing, and yes, perhaps frustrating at times. But it will be good.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Announcement of Sorts

It’s official. After at least seven months of daydreaming, five months of paperwork, four months of (sort of) studying Korean, and three months working in fast food to save up a bit of dough, I’m going to Korea. I have a little over a month left, but no more time to deliberate. If there ever was an option to back out, that option has left the building.

Which is not to say that I want to back out. I don’t. But to say that all I feel is elation and excitement would be a complete and utter lie.

I can’t honestly tell you how I feel about it, mostly because I don’t know. It’s hard to pin down the exact emotions running through me. Some days I’m terrified. My skin crawls at the degree of unfamiliarity and the plethora of awkward moments that surely await me. Traveling fourteen hours away to a country whose language I am not that familiar with is going to be difficult. Add on the fact that I’ll be completely alone, and yes, I may be quivering in my boots.


The idea of going somewhere new, meeting new people, teaching English and trying new things is absolutely intoxicating. As many risks as I’m taking, they’re nothing compared to everything good that can happen. I’m beyond excited about this. And I can’t believe I was lucky enough to stumble into this career.

The Details: I’ll be teaching English as a foreign language in Cheonan, South Korea from around the 15 of October, 2011 to the 14 of October, 2012. So I’ll get home a few months before the world is due to end, I guess. I’ll be one of two foreign teachers at the school. My students’ ages range from 7-15, though I’ll only have one class of high school kids. I will teach five classes a day, starting at 4pm.

Yes, I’ll be able to stay on my creepy nocturnal schedule (win).

The Plan: I’m leaving for Texas on the 19 of September for two weeks. Then I’ll be back in Milwaukee for a few days. After that, I’ll be in Chicago on my friend’s couch until I leave from O’Hare. Then the work starts. Don't worry. I'm ready. I bought enough motivational stickers for the next decade of teachers.

I will be blogging regularly, though the posts no doubt will focus more on my crazy new life than writing. I will still write. Of course.

If you want to keep in touch, make sure and get a Skype account, since it’s free and convenient and such. My Skype ID is: kirabell1989, in case you’re wondering.

And now, music! I got to see these guys live at summerfest, and they were absolutely amazing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I'm in limbo right now. It's terrible, and confusing. I'm not a college student (finished last week. WOO!), but I don't graduate until this Saturday. I have one job (in publishing. What?) secured, while another depends on a mountain of red tape and paperwork. My wardrobe is half college, half high school, no business. That last one is just a matter of my obstinate avoidance of slacks and button up tops, but still. Limbo. Population: me.

It's one of those turning points in life, except now nothing is certain. For my whole life, I've had a plan: learn to walk, figure out how to ride my bike, wait for the next Harry Potter book, get to high school, write, get to college, write.

For the first time in my life, I don't have a plan for the next four or so years of my life. It's terrifying, but exhilarating. I know that it's dangerous to write about "real life" beginning, because when does real life begin? I've been living real life in its various stages for 21 years, so this certainly isn't a plunge into real life. It's no more solid than anything else I've lived. But maybe, maybe it's a matter of throwing away the map. Having no GPS, so to speak. Just staring down the road with a vague idea of where I want to go, and a hope that I can drive myself there with my own sense of direction.

Wow. That metaphor fails. Who drives without a map? Ok. Let's say my sense of direction is the North Star. How about that? That makes it a little better.

But I digress.

I suppose I can't complain about monotony. In all likelihood, by September I'll be on another continent, speaking another language, typing madly away at query letters and blogs, working to better the world through promoting literacy in its various forms.

Which is my major epiphany of the past few months, by the way.

I want to spend my life bettering the world through promoting literacy! I've sort of known this for a while, but all of my career aspirations have honed in on it in a way my brain never did: teaching English, working in publishing, writing novels.

Brain: "Duh, Kira. Duh."

Me: "Don't be mean. College ruined my common sense."

There is so much I could write about right now, so I apologize for this vague, rant-filled post. Upcoming blog posts include (but are not limited to):

1) My epic road trip to House on the Rock (and how Neil Gaiman completely inspired it).

2) Printer's Row, Sears Tower (No, NOT Willis Tower), and Divergent.

3) Editing my baby (and how I'm still in love with it after all this time).

4) Stephen Colbert's epic commencement speech of epicness. I just picked up my cap and gown today, so I feel a little awestruck at the moment.

5) The benefits and downfalls of fanfiction.

6) Titles of books (why they change, and why they matter).

7) Why no one should live with their parents after graduating college unless they're willing to suffer the consequences (whoops. Not a blog post topic. Just a frustrating rant you should pray I don't put here).

So there's some goodness coming up. I hope. I think.

In the meantime, here's some jam music to keep you busy. If you've read Morgantown (or as it's called now, ANIMUS), this is what someone recently told me is Derrick's themesong. So clearly that makes me happy:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Neil Gaiman!

Guys. I saw Neil Gaiman. THE Neil Gaiman. In Person. It was awesome.

If you don't know who he is, get in your car, drive to the nearest bookstore, and pick up Neverwhere. Read it. I'll wait. Done yet? Good.

Or check out The Graveyard Book, one of his other wonderful works:

Also, check out his story, "Bitter Grounds." It's one of about a thousand short stories he's written. I know, approximations and such.

And look! He's in Arthur!


I saw him at the Chicago Public Library for a talk on his book, Neverwhere, which was chosen for this year's One Book One Chicago selection. Pretty sweet. Met some awesome people, including a British physics know-how (or some other intense science. I get them confused), and two amazing NU students intent on figuring out what Neil Gaiman was doing in their falafal (watch the Arthur episode. Just do it). Anyways, this was on April 12, and as you can see, it's May. What happened? you may ask. Why did it take so long to write this?

Add one part lazy and two parts senior year. You'll have an excuse cocktail, straight from me to you. Drink it down.

Anyways, he had a lot to say, and once I'd calmed down after shaking his hand, I figured that I should try to share a few gems.

First of all, here are some Instructions, just in case you ever need them:

Now that you know what to do, let's do some quotes:

"Good fantasy novels always begin with a map." In the beginning of Neverwhere, there's a cool map of the London Underground, complete with tunnels that have been shut down for years.

When asked about having his books taught in college classes:

"You should have safely been dead a long time before people start teaching you in University."

On Writing:

"Collaboration creates a palpable audience." He was talking about Good Omens, which he co-authored with Terry Pratchett. It's about the apocalypse.

"I see things in my head and try to describe the things I'm seeing." I think this really helps to explain the wide range of art he's done. Neil Gaiman has written movies, music, episodes of TV shows, books, graphic novels, and picture books. It's pretty inspiring to see the different mediums other writers have delved into.

"Embrace your typos." This was probably the most interesting writing-related thing he said. Apparently, he was writing a letter to his friend, Caroline, and he accidentally wrote Coraline. This name sparked the idea for his book (and the movie adaption, of course), Coraline. If you haven't seen it- well, you know the drill.

Neil Gaiman also doesn't believe in writers block. "Writers claim writers block, but mostly we're just stuck, which is different from writers block." He says to stop writing when this happens, put it away for a while (like a week), then print it out. One important aspect of writing is being able to read your work like a reader. There are bad writing days for every writer, though. Days when you sit down to write, but "the little gods of writing hate you." Neil says to trudge onwards. It's easy to fix the bad stuff.

The conversation eventually took a turn towards American Gods:

"In England, you can find whatever you're looking for. You just need to go back far enough. In America, you can find whatever you're looking for. You just have to drive long enough."

He's wise. No joke, I'm heading to House on the Rock in a few weeks (google it. It's a riot), which as you fans out there, is the core location for another famous novel of his, American Gods.

He went into further detail about House on the Rock, saying, "it's like being handed a giant crosswaord puzzle, with all the clues in a foreign language." It's a pretty trippy place, from what I've seen thus far. He said he asked, "Dear God Why?" And that's where the book started, trying to answer that question.

Be warned, though. American Gods is not a book for kids. "Maybe the extreme violence and peculiar sex will keep kids reading, but mostly I think it'll bore them." Ha.

Anyways, I was floored by the whole talk. I got to shake his hand, and (through hours of slave labor on his part) I bought one of the many signed books sold outside. I got The Graveyard Book, in case you're curious. Haven't been able to read it yet, though. Senior year and all. But come summer, I am going to finish each and every book in my... three to-be-read piles. Don't judge, guys.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Here's to Hoping

I have a good reason for not posting in a while, guys.


No, I don't.

BUT, there have been some life plan changes, so let's have a chat. Pull up a chair. Can I offer you some tea? Lovely haircut, by the way.

I stumbled on a new career idea over break, and it took hold of me. So now I'm possessed. Completely. I love it. But this is the middle of the story, so let me start at the beginning.

As a Senior in college, I've been interrogated this year. INTERROGATED. By everyone around me. My parents, grandparents, my friends' parents, my parents' friends, every member of my family I talk to. EVERYONE. Which is to be expected. Not that I like it, but they really do just want to know about what I'm doing, and I appreciate that they care. But.


I didn't know. I had NO IDEA what I was going to do. Sure, I had some awesome desire to sail a ship across the seas, but I didn't get into the training program. I wanted to hang out in New York and try my hand at publishing. But my casual approach to the career is a clear enough indication that it's not for me. Obviously, I want to be a writer, and while I've been writing like a fiend (come this Friday I will have three polished short stories, one of which will be in a contest), it's not something I can support myself with. At least, not yet.

Cut to spring break, the plentiful time of much internet surfing. I stumbled on a travel website, and on that website I stumbled on a blog. A girl from Canada just picked up and left to teach English in Thailand.


She just packed her things, no certificate, no experience (ok, I'm not sure on this one, but let's just assume?), and LOVED IT. Then she went to Istanbul. Then she went to South Korea.

So I researched. Oh lord, did I research. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (or TEFL/TESL, as the insiders call it) is actually growing as a career lately. With an English major, I'm kind of primed for this line of work. And I fell in love with the idea. Unfortunately, I have so many student loans that I'm limited to a precious few countries who see fit to pay a generous amount. South Korea and Thailand (not sure on that second one). But still. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?

Too amazing. That's how.

So now I'm changing my resume to reflect my few experiences with teaching, and writing a cover letter to appeal to the good employers of South Korea. Then it's off to Asia, if all goes well. Obviously there are steps I have to take, things I must learn, but holycrapI'msoexcitedIcan'tevenexplainit.

This is perfect.

So if I go, this blog will still happen. But it won't just be about writing any more. It'll be a travel blog as well. So. I hope you guys are up for that. I know I am.

Just a little eye candy:

And a few travel quotes to rev up the excitement!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stolen from Dybek: Words are Important!

No but really, they are.

We spent a long time in class talking about words, and Professor Dybek brought up something that may or may not be a fairly obvious point:

"A writer should always want every word he or she writes to be important."

True. While the comment has its merit, and we all know that sometimes we must kill our darlings if they aren't absolutely essential to our story, it's a bit... obvious, no?

But then he went on to talk about the focus points, which I believe are less obvious. Let's talk about them, shall we?

1) First line

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Come now, dear reader. I haven't actually read A Tale of Two Cities, but I'm painfully aware of this first line. It's good. Like, really good. And distinctive. A first line can hook your reader in, or turn them off completely to the idea of your book. A first line can make a reader forgive a slow beginning. A first line, in other words, can work wonders.

I think this also connects to the idea of first impressions. You never get a second chance, do you? Think of your first line as introducing your book to your reader. Don't worry, though. Your betas/critique group will let you know whether or not it works.

If only our friends could fix first impressions in real life...

2) Last line

Less important than the first line, I think, but that's just me. It is still important though. If written correctly, it will resonate with your reader. It will help your story stick with them long after they've set it down.

"All was well."

Whether or not you liked the controversial epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I'm pretty sure this last line is the epic punchline of the entire series. It sure as hell stuck with me.

If you mess up your last line, it might not do much to hinder your story. But (and this goes especially to short stories) it could throw off the entire thing. Be careful.

3) The Big Kahuna: Titles

See what I did there? That may not be a shining example of a GOOD title, but it's the first thing a reader will see when surveying your book, and it is often the deciding factor (along with the font, and cover design. Let's face it, we all judge books by their covers).

Titles are both ridiculously fun and ridiculously frustrating. Sometimes I have a lot of fun playing around with them, trying out the effect they have on the story's overall mood. Dybek said "The title of a story has a direct effect on the author and how they write it." Agreed, Professor. Agreed. A story needs a title, and even if you prefer to wait until it's done to name it, the title NEEDS to be there, on the cover or at the top.

Which is where coming up with a title can turn into a horrific mess. Did you know that Stephanie Meyer wanted to call her vampire book "Forks" for a long time? Yeah. Bad idea. My first Book is still titled for the city it takes place in. Also lame. It can be hard to come up with a good title so here are some tips:

a) Look around for main themes or recurring words (besides I, And, and It) in your manuscript. If it's not good enough for a title, it can at least be a starting point.

b) Do some free writing. List words even minutely related to your book. They can be characters' names, major plot points, etc.

c) Ask your beta readers for help! Sometimes all it takes for a good title is another mind in the mix. Bounce ideas around. Wine helps (but only if you're 21!). Trust me.

That's all, folks!

Remember: Words are important. Some more than others.

Why Not Make Out?

In my writing class, we just read a short story that ended with two characters making out in midair. Plot aside, some people took issue with it. Why were they in midair? Why didn't they care more that they were floating? What prompted the floating? What prompted the kissing, and the touching, and the feeling?

My teacher had a gem of an explanation:

"If you're gonna float, you might as well make out."

I have to agree. I think this quote lends itself more to writing advice than one might think. It ties into non-realistic fiction more so than literary fiction, though. Despite the tireless care a writer must take in making every word, every comma, every gesture count towards the story, sometimes it's just fun to think about a heavy make out session in midair.

There are so many bits of fiction that, while not exactly imperative to the story, add to the fun and feeling. Was most of the Quidditch in Harry Potter imperative to Rowling's overall narrative? No. But it was hella fun, and it dragged us further into her world. Was it really important for Collins to describe the endless clothes and dresses Cinna forced Kat into in The Hunger Games? Absolutely not, but it DID help, in some non-official way.

I don't think this will be in a lot of writing manuals, I think, but sometimes it's completely called for to have a scene in which your characters float and make out at the same time. Or something like it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What is your dream place to live?

Yesterday at NSTF (the writing group I'm in here on campus), we had a writing prompt that didn't quite work out: write 400 words on your ideal place.

Today, at my work meeting (that I'm still in. Don't judge me) our "once-around" was to tell everyone our dream place to live.

I think the universe is sending me a bit of a message.

As a college senior, I am supposed to know what I want to do, and where I want to do it. It's no secret that I want to writewritewrite for the rest of my life, but the dilemma arises whenever I try to imagine where I'd like to live.

I know where I'd like to travel; Europe (Denmark, Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Italy, Greece, and Russia, those are just a few, for the sake of specificity), Japan, Israel, Iceland, Canada, Egypt, India, and various places in my homeland (Hawaii, Alaska, California, Florida, Colorado, Washington, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Maine, just to start the list. I kind of want to see all of the USA).

I know where I might like to spend a few years of my life: New York, somewhere in Europe, California...

But when it comes to LIVING? As in, spending a fair amount of years in one place? It just seems preposterous to me. While I live with some fantasies of being a nomad for the rest of my life, I know that the chances are slim to none of actually doing that. Still, though, the idea of planting my life in one place for more than five or ten years grates on my skin like sandpaper. I don't know if I can do it. I don't even know if it's worth worrying about. But it's scary as hell.

I guess things will work themselves out, something that tends to happen (though I'm quick to forget it) no matter how much I stress about it.

But I digress. What is your dream place to live (in 400 words or less)?

I think this is close to what mine would look like:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who Wrote Morgantown? (DFTBA)

Sometimes (and by sometimes, I mean often), I daydream about my life post-publication. I imagine it would turn into something like Oz compared to Kansas for Dorothy. Minus the Witch. Ok, so the analogy isn't quite perfect. Still, I think about how much I would travel, how many new cafes I'd write in, which would coincidentally be in France, or Ghana, or Israel, or Ireland. Or all of the above.

I think about the acceptance speeches I'd say when they tell me my book won the best-book-ever-how-did-this-not-get-published-sooner award. But if the unthinkable does happen, and I get my dream contract with my dream agent, etc. I'll have to fess up that I was not the only writer of Morgantown.

In the video below, John Green (Nerdfighter extraordinaire. Oh. He writes too) talks about his first novel, Looking For Alaska, and who REALLY wrote it (hint: it's a long list). Also? Please go read Looking For Alaska. I'm in the middle, and in love. In fact, watch all of the vlogbrother videos, because John and his brother Hank are smart, funny, and entertaining. You might even learn something from their stuff. It's pretty awesome.

If you have a completed manuscript in the world, or even just lurking around your computer, who wrote it? Besides you, I mean.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stolen from Dybek: Scene

First, a good song:

Now, a little something I'd like to call, "Stolen from Dybek."

My writing class has been particularly interesting this quarter, and though oftentimes advice on writing is common sense, or at least repeated enough that it feels like it, I thought he had a lot of great things to say on writing. So I'm going to paraphrase the gems and hope that his original advice remains intent. I'll try to keep a basic topic with each post, since I'm taking an entire class on writing with him. Without further ado, here is Part 1:


1) Writing Necessitates showing. Showing necessitates scene.

Which leads to...

2) Writers think in scenes. Readers think in narrative.

I'm not sure if I agree completely with this one. Let me tweak it: When you're writing, don't think in terms of a reader. Concentrate on scene. If you just SAY what happens next, you won't necessarily be able to reel a reader into your story. But if a character does something to push the plot forward, then you'll get the reader hooked.

This could be boiled down to the tried and true basic writing advice:



3) Dialogue is the most powerful action in a scene. It's the fastest way to move in fiction.

I think he said this because when you're writing pure exposition, it's easy to get lost in "and then this happened," but dialogue forces you to stay in scene. Dialogue is a tricky thing, and the best writers have screwed it up.

Pop culture reference: I saw a free preview of NO STRINGS ATTACHED last night with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. It was funny, witty, and fairly well done. It's not Inception, but I liked it. However, there is a line in there (and I won't tell you where) when a character says: If you come any closer, I'll never let you go.


Now it's not that this dialogue is bad (though let's be honest: It's seriously cheesy) but it's COMPLETELY out of character! It ruined the scene! It made me sad. And it's only partially related to my overall point. But please. Make sure your dialogue is in character, and not like Cheetos (dangerously cheesy).


Agree? Disagree? Advice is always subjective, and there are exceptions to every rule. But you probably shouldn't break a rule until you know how to follow it, so go write! Now!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Writing Exercise: Fairy Tale Retold


These days, she lives in a small hotel about twelve miles from nowhere. It reeks of the mundane, and she rarely gets visitors, but it’s home. Sometimes when the summer wind creeps in, she walks through the trees with her animals, dreaming of cool marble halls and the salty ocean air. Sometimes it comforts her.

Sometimes she dreams of fair Odysseus, and his body warming her bed. But that mostly reminds her of her loneliness. After all, her servants have gone, her sons are all dead, and visitors are few and far between. All she has now is her little hotel, and her pets.

Tigers and wolves roam her property, along with the occasional pig from an era long since lost. There are lions, but their teeth have decayed. There are bears, but it’s been centuries since the last time one bothered to hunt. She’s contemplated turning them back, just to have someone to talk to, but despite the years she’s spent alone, she hasn’t lost her cruel tongue or sharp temper.

At night, she sways her hips to music that crackles from an old, battered radio. She cooks herself breaded mushrooms for dinner, and falls asleep on frayed sheets.

She does get the odd visitor, though. He finds his way to her with stories of a broken car, or an unreliable map. On those nights, she cooks a feast and they dance to her old radio. On those nights, she does not go to her bed alone. On those nights, she lives again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's been a month

And my, have things changed.

This quarter I'm taking two writing classes, as opposed to last quarter, when the most writing I got was procrastinating for papers. My favorite class is Writing 307: Fabulous Fiction (which really means non-realistic fiction). I love everything about it, except maybe the lack of happy happy times between my classmates. I want to be friends with the other writers in this class, something I haven't had since Writing 301.

In 301 I made some amazing friends, friends that I hang out with a lot today. It makes me think of the writing community at large, and how supportive and wonderful it is. Despite the apparent competition, people still help each other with tips, editing, and moral support. I love it.

But I digress. I want to actually write in this blog, but my neglect is becoming intolerable. I'm going to post more often (promise!) with more misadventures, tales from writing 307, the Publishing Job hunt (which I'm about to embark on), and of course, writing stuff. Also, check out my other blog if you want to hear about my crazy dreams (and dreams in general). For my 307 class, we've been asked to keep a dream journal, so I'll definitely be posting there more frequently.

I suppose that's all in the name of updates, but here's a video (creepy, just so you know) that I got from one of my other classes (Psychology of Human Sex. Yes, it's awesome). If the video gets to you, just listen to the song, because it rocks: