Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Playlist

This is a playlist (obviously). It's the unofficial soundtrack to the book I'm currently working on; I'll list the song, a relevant lyric, and a youtube link (if I have one). This won't really be interesting to most people, it's just here to link to if I want to show it to someone.

If this list seems a little bipolar at times, don't worry. I haven't lost it. The book is about a relationship, at its base, and this relationship is based heavily on sex even as it starts to get more serious. So there are a lot of party and good time songs along with the more melancholy songs, because these are two damaged, deeply hurt people using sex to connect. Along that theme, there are a few party-sounding songs on this list which have quite melancholy lyrics, which seems fitting: covering up their melancholy with the party motions.

The first part actually roughly alternates between the protagonists, which I think is fun (It kinda breaks down somewhere in the middle and becomes random). The female is an extremely tragic character, in a somewhat interesting way because usually if I'm going for tragedy I will beat you over the head with it, but it ended up being more subtle. Her past is sad in a pretty obvious way, but it takes some time spent in her head to realize that she is never going to get a happy ending, no matter how patiently she waits or hard she works. That's what the separation is, sad characters can still get happy endings, but tragic characters don't. She does get the best possible ending (it's not just "good enough," it's the absolute best case scenario), but it's still not a happy ending in the sense that it solves her problems.

Robin Thicke Glee Cast - When I Get You Alone
Because you walk city
Because you talk city
Cause you make me sick
And I'm not leaving
Til you're leaving

When Joy and Alex first meet, the attraction is immediate. The scene happens from Joy's perspective, but all Alex was thinking about was getting Joy alone and learning more about her.

The Presets - Are You The One?
I've got a secret
No one can know
If you wanna find out
Come to the show
We got the music
You've got to go
Temperature's hot, babe
It's ready to blow

Meanwhile, Joy is wondering if this is the guy who might be worth it -- she's never had a real connection last more than a week. She doesn't really realize she's thinking beyond "holy shit, fuck me," but she is. Also, Joy's a cage fighter and something of a performer.

Coldplay - Fix You
And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Alex realizes, after a few nights together, that Joy is very vulnerable and sensitive, and gets the urge to help her.

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - You Better Pray
It's not a threat or a curse, it's a promise
I'm gonna make you let go of what you tried to withhold
I can promise it won't be long, yes I can promise
Boy, you better pray

This is a more general song. When Joy really gets pissed, it's formidable, and you better start praying.

Maroon 5 - Misery
It's not that I didn't care, it's that I didn't know
It's not what I didn't feel, it's what I didn't show

I'll be honest, this is here more for the video. In the video, the girl keeps beating up the guy and he keeps coming back for more, determined to tame her. That's really the only way for a relationship with Joy to play out.

Savage Garden - To The Moon And Back
Mama never loved her much and
Daddy never keeps in touch
That's why she shies away from human affection but
Somewhere in a private place
She packs a bag for outer space
And now she's waiting for the right kind of pilot to come

This could basically be Joy's theme song. The archetype I had in mind for her was the Broken Bird, and this song is a broken bird's life, from her perspective, and an insight into her mind.

Darren Hayes - Words
I am so afraid of breaking what we've made
It is delicate and lovely
But it's a weight above me

Joy and Alex are both pretty damaged, though, and at the very base, way below what they're consciously feeling, they're both very afraid of messing things up. At the same time, at least half of what Joy says is designed to drive Alex away before he gets close enough to hurt her, and he senses it.

Darren Hayes - I Just Want You To Love Me
I don't want someone telling me what to do
I don't wanna find out my temper grew wings and flew to you
Don't want somebody telling me what's not right
But I just want you to love me

All Joy really wants is to be loved. Inside, she's a hurt, scared, abandoned little girl who just wants to be loved and saved, but she never really will be.

Rammstein - Sonne
Die Sonne scheint mir aus den Händen
kann verbrennen, kann euch blenden
wenn sie aus den Fäusten bricht
legt sich heiß auf das Gesicht
sie wird heut Nacht nicht untergehen
und die Welt zählt laut bis zehn

This is a weird mix of metaphor and literal. This song talks a lot about hands as powerful, which rings true, and you can also take it as a statement about the moon. Joy is a werewolf who hates powerfully what she is, and she'll pray and tell herself that tonight, this night, the sun won't set and there will be no full, but it still gets darker and she can feel it like a countdown, finding the moon more oppressive than the hottest sun. Also, it's got a heavy and industrial but visceral sound that fits the tone of the book.

P!nk - Sober
I don't wanna be the girl that has to fill the silence
The quiet scares me cause it screams the truth
Please don't tell me that we had that conversation
I won't remember, save your breath, cause what's the use?

Joy is an alcoholic. Everyone around her knows it and tried to help her, but she refuses to hear and all it really does is chip at her self-esteem.

Ludacris ft. Nicki Minaj - My Chick Bad
Now your girl might be sick but my girl sicker
She rides that dick and she handles her liquor
She knock a bitch out and fight
Coming out swinging like Tiger Woods wife
I fill her up, balloons!
Test her and guns get drawn like cartoons
Doh, but I ain't talkin bout homer
Chick so bad the whole crew wanna bone her

For all her faults, let's face it: if badass is your type, you really can't beat Joy. Badass is definitely Alex's type.

Rihanna - Shut Up and Drive
I've been looking for a driver who's qualified
So if you think that you're the one step into my ride
I'm a fine-tuned supersonic speed machine
With a sun roof top and a gangster lean

Essentially the same thing from the other side. Joy knows she's a badass.

3OH!3 ft. Ke$ha - My First Kiss
In the back of the car
On the way to the bar
I got you on my lips
I got you on my lips
At the foot of the stairs
With my fingers in your hair
Baby this is it

The relationship is very sex-fueled.

Far East Movement ft. The Cataracs - Like A G6
Poppin bottles in the ice, like a blizzard
When we drink we do it right gettin slizzard
Sippin sizzurp in my ride, in my ride, like Three 6
Now I'm feelin so fly like a G6

This song is a good atmospheric fit for how Joy feels when she's really drunk, and how she feels when she fights.

Darren Hayes - Void
I've seen so many faces
These hands have lied before
I've kissed so many lips it's blocked my mind
I've whispered bullshit nothings
I've cried alone at night
I thought I found the one a million times

This song is a lot more melancholy than Alex really feels about it, but most of his dating life until Joy has been entirely artifice.

Shiny Toy Guns - Stripped
Let me see you stripped down to the bone
Let me hear you speaking just for me
Let me see you stripped down to the bone
Let me hear you crying just for me
Let me hear you make decisions
Without your television
Let me hear you speaking just for me

They're both pretty possessive, and Alex wants to get through all the layers of crap to see her as she really is, not caring whether he's going to like what he finds.

Jack Off Jill - Strawberry Gashes
Hex me, told her
I dreamt of a devil that knew her
Pale white skin with
Strawberry gashes all over, all over
Watch me fault her
You're living like a disaster
She says kill me faster
With strawberry gashes all over

Joy does not like herself and honestly, near the full moon she's basically suicidal. She scratches and bites herself all night, waking up bruised and bloodied from throwing herself against the bars of the cage she stays in.

Jason Mraz - If It Kills Me
If I should be so bold
I'd ask you to hold my heart in your hands
Tell you from the start how I long to be your man
But I never said the words, I guess I'm gonna miss my chance again
And all I really want to do is love you
A kind much closer than friends use
But I still can't say it after all we've been through
And all I really want from you is to feel me
As the feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me

Alex has to pursue Joy, whatever it might end up meaning.

Jet - Cold Hard Bitch
Cold hard bitch
Just a kiss of the lips
And I was on my knees

This is a good first impression song of Joy. She comes off this way until you talk to her. I think the woman in the song is a lot more in control than Joy.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Crimson and Clover
I don't hardly know her
But I think I could love her
Crimson and clover
Over and over

An atmospheric song for the more sedate moments.

Ke$ha ft. 3OH!3 - Blah Blah Blah
Come on, get my rocks off
Come put a little love in my glovebox
Wanna dance with no pants on
Meet me in the back with a Jack at the jukebox
Let's cut to the chase, kid
Cause I know you don't care what my middle name is

Again, the relationship is very sex-fueled, and Joy puts up a front of only being interested in the sex rather than admit she's falling in love.

Ke$ha - Cannibal
Use your finger to stir my tea
And for dessert I'll suck your teeth
Be too sweet and you'll be a goner
Yep, I'll pull a Jeffrey Dahmer

Joy threatens to bite people when she gets angry a lot. She'd also like to think of herself as a maneater, which is hilariously inaccurate.

The Killers - Romeo and Juliet
Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start
And I bet and you exploded in my heart

This is mostly just for the allegory; the entire plot is actually very loosely based on another Shakespeare play, Taming of the Shrew. The timing might have been better for Alex and Joy, but you get a sense they were really always destined for each other.

The Kills - Sour Cherry
Shout when you wanna get off the ride
Cause you cross my mind, crossed my mind
Make my blood thump, 7, 8, 9
Make my heart beat double time
Now I'm the only sour cherry on the fruit stand, right?
Am I the only sour cherry on your fruit stand?

I just like the metaphor of a sour cherry for Joy. Has a kick and is even a little repellent at first, but essentially sweet.

Matchbook Romance - Tiger Lily
Tie flies by with the sound of your voice
It's close to paradise but the end is surely near
And if I could only stop the car and hold onto you
And never let go
I'd never let go
As we round the corner to your house you turned to me and said
"I'll be going through withdrawal of you
For this one night we have spent"

Joy and Alex start to miss each other when they're apart, even though their relationship has been apparently superficial and meaningless.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge
Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner
Sometimes I feel like my only friend
Is the city I live in
The City of Angels
Lonely as I am, together we cry

Joy is an addict, and this song captures very well how lonely and isolating that can be.

P!nk - Glitter In The Air
There you are
sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee
Calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Joy is slowly learning to appreciate little things, the longer she's with Alex, which is what this song is basically about.

Steven Strait - This Is Living
You're my flavor
You look good hanging on my arm
Oh, hold on, I'll give it all my all
Stay in my favor, stay in my favor

Another party song to round us out.

Living Colour - Love Rears Its Ugly Head
My friends are frightened, they don't know what's going on
They think you've put a spell on me and now my mind is gone
Oh, no, please, not that again
Love rears up its ugly head

And a fitting note to end the list on, for the most dysfunctional relationship this side of Newt Gingrich.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A non-writing post! Let's talk about Amelia Rivera.

A friend of mine posted on her blog (which is wonderful and thought-provoking) about Amelia Rivera. This story's been going around for the last few days, largely on the blogosphere but USA Today and ABC News picked up the story too. However, in case this is the first you're hearing of it, here's the basics: Amelia Rivera is a three-year-old girl suffering from Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. Her kidneys are in decline, and within the next six months to a year, she will lose all function and need* a transplant. Her hospital declined to give her a transplant, and cited mental retardation as the only reason.

That * doesn't go to a footnote because this post will be long, but I'm using it to distinguish "will die without this" and "will die without this or the alternative treatment." Sometimes, you need a blood transfusion, because you don't have enough of your own blood left. There's no alternative. Sometimes, you need* a blood transfusion or a platelet transfusion or some medicine that will make you clot faster, because you're losing blood. There's a couple of options to take, some better than others.

Now, assuming that the mother's account of the conversation is basically accurate, it was handled incredibly badly by the hospital. To deny care because of mental retardation? That's absurd. It's been pointed out that English doesn't seem to be the doctor's first language, but that it was the social worker's first language, and that's what supports, in my mind, that yes, the mental retardation was the reason the team decided to give her. Regardless, this woman clearly has a reputation for being Dragon Mom, so why would you send that doctor? It seems like common sense to me, when you know you're going up against a fighter, that you would make yourself as airtight and criticism-proof as possible, starting with sending in people who can communicate clearly. But...(there's always a but).

But I don't think it's an outrage not to give Amelia a transplant. This is not the popular reaction, but there are several reasons for this.

The fact is, child organs are in huge, huge demand. Children can't be living donors, and very few children die in such a way as to leave usable organs. You think the transplant list for adults is a mile long? Jesus. I'm seeing a lot of "Amelia may not have an optimal life, but she deserves the life she has." all those other children not deserve their lives? I understand the sentiment and I sympathize deeply with Amelia's mother. But I also sympathize with all those other mothers whose children need transplants. It was messed up that the doctor didn't say all of this, because you definitely should explain everything in a situation like this, but I'm kindof baffled at how NO ONE is bringing this up. I can only guess that there's a huge misunderstanding of how transplants work and the realities of needing a transplant.

There's also a lot of "it's murder not to do this transplant" (mostly in the comments on Mrs. Rivera's post) which is just...rude. Absurd. Wrong. Damaging. I mean, can we not throw around words like "murder" when dealing with an already-distraught mother? Can we get some fucking facts straight before we lose our brains? Does Chrissy Rivera need to have the words "your child is being murdered" planted in her head right now? Honestly, I'm a proponent of unconditional free speech, but some days...

I don't really want to get into a conversation about how we assess who gets organs in this country; it's a complicated formula combining many factors. The conversation I want to have is about the reaction to this case and how it could have been handled better both within the system and by the public. Now, as I said before, to deny an organ based on mental retardation is absurd. If a kid with Downs needed a heart or a severely autistic kid needed a kidney, yes, put them on the list and give them the medical treatment they need. But...

To deny a transplant based on Amelia's diagnosis is understandable. Deciding who gets what is a tough, tough decision, especially in children when there is such a vanishingly small number of usable organs at any given time and so very many patients in need. The life expectancy of people with Amelia's diagnosis is unknown, but a lot of patients don't survive childhood. Also, babies and children with WHS have seizures. These go away as the child ages and comes into adulthood, but a sufficiently strong seizure can kill you dead all on its own -- there's a perception I've encountered (my dad has epilepsy) that the only way to die from a seizure is from outside force like hitting your head or choking on your tongue/saliva/vomit, but that's not true. Also, people with WHS have weak muscles, which leads to a poor cough (and resultant higher risk of respiratory problems), difficulty moving normally, and reduced ability to handle a major surgery like transplant operation. We can't speak authoritatively on Amelia without knowing the details of her case, but it is possible that any transplant operation for her would be a hail-mary, when there are thousands of other kids out there -- not necessarily more deserving, but without the risks Amelia has -- who need a kidney too. Assuming we're right, Amelia can't go on the transplant list. But...

Maybe we're wrong. In fact, it's quite likely that we're wrong. However, what we're not wrong about is that kids with WHS have seizures. Even if Amelia has never had a seizure, she is likely to have one at any time -- seizures/epilepsy can lie dormant for years before striking. The first time I saw my dad have a seizure, he hadn't had one for three or four years before. The more likely (here meaning "pretty much necessary") scenario is that she's had seizures, and she's on medication to suppress them. A transplant means she has to be on antirejection drugs for the life of her new kidney (between ten and fifteen years -- so best case scenario she needs a new kidney by age 20, which is fine, because she'll be much better able to tolerate surgery by then and have a larger pool of donors she can receive from). These drugs are meant to suppress your immune system (rejection is when a transplanted organ is attacked by the immune system of the recipient and loses function or dies; the only way to prevent it is to shut down the immune system, using antibiotics and antivirals as a poor substitute), and Amelia is already at risk for chest infections, so that's a problem on its own. If that weren't enough (and it's not for me), a risk of them is seizures. They aren't compatible with any anti-seizure medication. If Amelia gets a kidney, she is going to have seizures with an attendant risk of dying from one, not to mention what effect a seizure might have on the very delicate new transplant. Amelia can't go on the transplant list. But...

Amelia's family offered to donate an organ for her. That's fabulous and they get all the props in the world for that. To give of your own flesh to save another's life is an incredibly selfless and sacred act. But Amelia is three. Putting an adult organ in a child body, let alone a toddler, is incredibly problematic -- a child's heart doesn't have the capacity to get all the blood it needs into the transplanted kidney, so blood pools and clots and the organ eventually dies. So that cuts out the vast majority of her family. Does Amelia have toddler-age cousins? Probably, but donating an organ in toddlerhood causes lifelong complications. You really can't be a living donor without massive problems until you've mostly matured physically and they don't even allow living donors younger than fourteen, ever. There is just no ethical way for a three-year-old to donate an organ (which assumes that any of those cousins are a match, which is by no means a guarantee. There are lots of siblings and parents who are not matches for their siblings or children, and cousins just gets dicier). So, that rules out the rest of Amelia's family. She would have to go on the transplant list. But she can't go on the transplant list for the above reasons. The conclusion we must come to is that there is no viable way for Amelia to get a transplant. that it? Amelia just dies? No. Not in the slightest, and that's what's irritating me about this. If that were the case, trust me, I would not be making this argument -- I'd grieve for Amelia with everyone else and focus my anger on the poor handling.

Dialysis. That's the word I keep looking for and not seeing. Dialysis is a process where they basically hook you up to a machine which does the blood cleaning job for you. They put a tube into a blood vessel and run the blood over one side of a membrane. The other side contains dialysate, which is saline with some other stuff in it. The toxins your kidneys would normally filter pass by osmosis into the dialysate, and the dislysate can be disposed of basically any way you'd dispose of urine. It's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than dying from kidney failure, and there are people alive today who have been living on dialysis for decades. Children at the age of three or four can be dialyzed without much problem. (It gets more complicated for an infant or similar, but we can even dialyze the youngest preemies and have it go fine.) There is no absolute contraindication for dialysis, not one. Is it a bigger pain in the ass? Yes. But it beats death, don't you think?

"We can't give her a transplant" is not a death sentence.

Now, there are two ways to read Chrissy Rivera from her account. The first way, and the way I initially read her and find more likely, is that she's intelligent, informed, and engaged in her daughter's treatment, getting all the information from all the sources she can to give her daughter the best chance. The second way is an overly defensive, histrionic brat who heard something she didn't like and went to write a mean blog post, villainizing the perfectly reasonable doctors. I feel sortof dirty even typing that out, because I definitely think she's the first, but if that is true, there is something that doesn't add up.

Why doesn't Chrissy Rivera know about dialysis?

The doctor clearly didn't offer it, and that's fucked up, but a doctor is not the only source to learn from. I have heard not a whisper about dialysis from any of the sources on this story. You would think it would be an important detail to bring up at some point if there was a reason why dialysis wasn't realistic for Amelia. I would have expected something -- if Mrs. Rivera's account is full, I'd find it most likely for there to be a line in there where she tries to explain why Amelia can't have dialysis (or just refers to it, if the doctor already knows it). If not that, then a brief explanation at the start of why no transplant really is a death sentence for Amelia.

If Chrissy Rivera is active in her daughter's treatment, how has she not discovered dialysis? Does she know she's not "fighting for her daughter's life" so much as "fighting for the more convenient treatment?" Would it give her some comfort to know that all hope is not lost? Is it maybe something she would like to hear that people live for decades on dialysis, and that Amelia can survive and even thrive with zero kidney function until she's reached adulthood and family donation is realistic?

Is it okay that another (well-meaning, but factless) parent started a petition (I'm choosing not to link to it because I don't support it) to try and force the hospital to do the transplant? In my opinion, no. Apparently, the hospital has had the Riveras back into the hospital to discuss the transplant and it sounds an awful lot to me like they're caving to public pressure and giving Amelia a kidney that may not last long. Amelia deserves her life, yes. But who is going to die so that she can live? Mrs. Rivera certainly finds it worth it, but does that other mother? Then again, can't that other child live on dialysis? But what if that child does die where dialysis could have saved her, and what if Amelia might have lived without the kidney?

The truth is, it does come down to a completely unquantifiable measure: worthiness. Amelia is not unworthy because she has special needs, but she's not more worthy either. Isn't the point of this whole thing to get equal treatment, or do we want preferential treatment? The hospital handled it badly, yes, but what is their position? Impossible is what it is. Why are we demonizing a hospital for awkward handling of a bad situation? Why do we accuse them of playing god for the simple act of choosing who gets care? If you can't care for everyone, you have to choose who gets care. The alternative is that no one gets care, and I don't think that's any better.

It's messed up that no one told Mrs. Rivera about dialysis, but once we've agreed on that, I think we need to suspend judgment until this plays out.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gay Actors

So I read about how SHOCKING it always is when a gay actor plays straight, and how actors don't want to come out for fear audiences won't buy them trying to play straight because that's the vast majority of the roles out there (which is problematic enough of itself -- straight people outnumber gay people by about 10 to 1, but mainstream straight movies outnumber mainstream gay movies by...I don't even know. 1000 to 1? -- but we'll come back to this). I find it ridiculous, because what if I don't buy a straight actor playing gay? Does anyone give a shit about that? Based on Brokeback Mountain, I doubt it.

Which brings me to the other point: name two mainstream gay movies in the last ten years. I can only think of Brokeback Mountain, a movie my stepfather still refuses to be in the same room with while it's playing. Black Swan doesn't count -- both of the characters involved were otherwise straight, and the entire scene was basically a hallucination the schizophrenic main character was having that symbolized "embracing her dark side." I've made plenty of arguments why this is not homophobic, because it's not, but it doesn't make Black Swan a legitimate gay movie either. I'm going to do an experiment right now and check all the movies in the past 10 years that have a TVTropes page. I would say probably 95% of mainstream movies and a good percentage of significant cult/indie movies have a page on that site, so it should be a fairly good sample. We'll see how many are gay movies.

Friday, December 16, 2011



So, I've heard about this "collective consciousness" of pop culture. It's what causes things like multiple movies coming out at the same time that are basically the same film but had nothing to do with each other in production. This is the first time I've ever been a victim of it in an obvious way.

I mean, my problem isn't that extreme. I didn't write a whole novel and realize it had been written already. And in fact, my problem may seem pretty superficial. I have a children's book I wrote called the Clockwork Prince. It's about 500 words, enough to fill a 32-page picture book.

There is a young adult fantasy novel, the second in a trilogy, called Clockwork Prince.

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Fuck you, Cassandra Clare. You're fat and ginger and you ruined Jace Wayland*.

My fiancee suggested changing the title. I don't really like this because there's...honestly nothing else to call my book. It is about a prince made of glass and wax and silver clockwork. I'm not gonna say any more than that because this isn't like a novel where I can tell you the plot and there's no consequences, if I tell you the plot you can basically write the book yourself and sell it, and I don't want you to. But everyone who's read it has really liked it and said it's touching with some cool imagery. So, there's that.

Ugh. Fuck my life.

*Only one of these insults is meant with earnestness, and even then only a little, because I only read the one book. Stop googling yourself, Cassandra Clare, and please don't blacklist me from the publishing industry. I don't know what kind of voodoo powers Real Writers get.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Dad Will Never Be A Writer

My dad thinks it's possible to write an entire novel in your head, edit it, and have the novel finished before you put a word on a page, and that if he ever wrote a novel his first draft would be the final product. He's never tried to write a novel and he never intends to, but he's sure he could do it anyway. He does not understand writing in a serious, long-range way. You can't work out 80,000 words all in your head and have them come out perfect. You can't even picture 80,000 as a number. Try to picture 80,000 of something. See? You can't do it. I suppose you could argue that maybe he's smarter than I am, but he's not. I got my brain from him. We have the exact same level of intelligence and he's had thirty more years to kill his with pot, alcohol, cigarettes, and sundry other drugs. If the man is smarter than me in any word-related subject (I'm kindof hopeless with math) I will eat this remote.

Personally, I top out on numbers I can picture around 20. After that I start losing count and the picture keeps fluctuating. I learned this when I watched a video when I was like 15 about Rwanda, at an academic summer camp I went to. I was taking Geopolitics, and I was taking it solely because I'd signed up two weeks before camp started and that was one of like three things with spots available that I was allowed to take*. We saw this video and were told the number of people who died in the course of a couple of months in Rwanda (I can't remember the exact number now, but it's six digits. For some reason I think it's either 150,000 or 800,000). The video we saw was edited for maximum impact, but you know, we were all 15 and 16 years old, so the TA sat some of us down to talk to us about it and somehow, this led to me trying to picture that many people in my head and I realized I couldn't even get close.

The thing about writing is most of the time, at least when you're starting, you do it in a vacuum. You may have read a lot of what's in your genre, or you may not, and you've got encouragement from family and friends, but soon enough it will become extremely clear (if you're any good) that most of them aren't giving you much in the way of useful advice, and they're mostly just telling you you're the best ever. Some of them just don't think you can take real crit, but some of them think this is useful. It's not. I'm all for positive reinforcement and it works, but it takes a lot longer than "cut this shit out posthaste." Sometimes, you need someone telling you "this here? This is bad. Seriously. Fix it, right now, because it destroys the whole book." I had a flaw like that in the book I just wrote. Someone told me, I fixed it, and what looked like a derivative piece of trash is now much, much better.

Still, you're usually not getting any professional advice. You don't know what publishing really looks like from the inside. You're just a lonely writer, possibly drunk, sitting at your keyboard day after day, pounding away down a road with no idea what's at the end or whether it will give you money. I know, if you're not a writer you're now asking "who the fuck would subject themselves to this? Who does that? Are you crazy?"

...Probably. But I have to do it anyway.

*You had to qualify for this camp by taking the SAT in seventh grade and getting a score higher than the average college-bound high school senior. This is not as hardcore as it sounds, since that average senior is probably dumber than you think. I did this easily on the verbal portion, but never got the score for math, so I was only allowed to take the liberal arts sort of courses and no math or science. For the four years (and five sessions -- I went for 6 weeks one year instead of 3), I took Existentialism, Topics In Psychology, Latin 1, Geopolitics, and Etymology (study of words, specifically how they develop). This got a lot longer than I thought it would and actually feels too long to even be a footnote anymore. But you know what, I'm a rebel.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Warwick Davis Is The Only Little Person In England

So it's Thanksgiving and I'm sitting in the living room watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, instead of writing like I should be, because a) I've been terrible at writing the last few days and b) I'm pretending to participate in Thanksgiving like a real person, and I'm noticing how Warwick Davis is clearly the only little person in the United Kingdom.

Has anyone noticed how Warwick Davis has like three roles in these movies? He plays Flitwick, Griphook, and some other goblin we saw in one of the middle movies I think. Maybe not, but whatever. I understand that he's the only little person who's a big star (pun ABSOLUTELY INTENDED) but I don't think it's necessary to cast stars in EVERY SINGLE ROLE, is it? I mean, the kids obviously weren't stars, which, okay, that's a different thing. But I know there's more LP actors out there, and who the hell was Domhnall Gleeson before these movies? That's definitely a much bigger role, too. (I'm trying really hard to minimize my little person jokes. I don't think I've really said anything offensive or hateful, though. I have allergies, you have a bone disorder. Sortof. I guess that varies based on the type of dawrfism. Little-person-ism?)

Let's not even get really started on my confusion over the term. I understand that it's the politically correct term right now, and that's fine -- lesbian is the politically correct term for me even though I really find it unnecessary to name a sexuality after a geographical location. But really, is this the best we can come up with? Doesn't calling someone a "little person" sound a little...diminutive? That actually wasn't a pun (mostly), I mean diminutive in the language sense where it carries a connotation of the thing referred to being very young or cute. Like, "awww, lookit the little person!" That's what the term sounds like to me. I am sure we can come up with something better.

You know that whole "don't eat until dinner" rule on Thanksgiving? Do gummy worms count as breaking the rule? They're not really food, and I really want some sugar...

Thursday, November 17, 2011


So. Blog. Um.

Well, hi. I'm Carley. I'm 22, unemployed, living with my mom and stepdad in rural Central Florida (Clermont, if you plan to stalk me -- I'm easy to find, there's only like 8 people). I'm writing this from a bed in an RV laying next to my dad, who is asleep and has flopped so his arm is on me. It's his birthday...well, it's after midnight, so today, so I'm staying with him and my Gramma for the week and there's only two beds and the other would barely be big enough for me alone, so here we are. He's also starting to snore. yay.

I'm a writer. It's National Novel Writing Month right now, and I'm doing that, but I've written novels outside nano. Nothing published, yet, but that's part of the point of the blog I guess. Apparently it's easier to get a book deal with a popular blog or big fanfiction following. I am not going back to writing fanfiction, although I'm not convinced this is the way to go either. I think to have a popular blog, you need one or more of:

a) unique opinions
b) an interesting life
c) opinions or life that center on some kind of special interest thing (my fiancee follows a lot of parenting blogs, for example, especially ones with special needs kids)
d) incredible amounts of being funny.

I think my opinions are interesting, but I'm really not politically-minded enough to get by on that. I definitely don't have b or c and I don't think I have d either. I mean, people tell me I'm funny sometimes, but it's usually people like my mom and my fiancee. People who are contractually obligated to compliment me, basically, and decided they couldn't say I was pretty or smart in good conscience.

I have a teddy bear. His name is Oliver. I'd take a picture, but my webcam isn't cooperating. I'll fix it and make this happen if anyone asks me to.

UPDATE: Fiancee pointed out that I also live on one of like three hills in Florida, making me super stalkable. She also said "I was going to make a sarcastic remark about how it was good but needed more babies with Down Syndrome, and then I read the line about my obsession with parenting blogs and realized you had my number."