Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Selling a romantic on a fantasy/romance novel

I'd been all kinds of up and down on my writer's blog. I don't think a lot of it is going to go on to its intended purpose, making me look bad instead of good.
This place was meant for self-promotion and all it tends to do is bring me down.

But I've got a twisted way to putting a twist on an attempt to get this story across to more people.

I have someone in mind that one day, I might send this pitch to, just to get her thoughts on the whole idea. I wrote this way back when during a time when I believed in love, wanted love and went out of my way to write about it coming true. I'd had my fair share of unrequited love in high school.

As far as Jonas is concerned, the only part of him that belonged to that unrequited love was his eyes. For maybe, let's see September to March, about 6-7 months, I sat lunch across from this guy I had the hugest crush on. He wasn't your typical guy that any girl would find herself attracted to. His kindness, I interpreted as being something else entirely. But again, in the words of Justin Long "if a guy wants a girl, he will make it happen."
"David" never made it happen. I thought there was a reason why he insisted he and his gang hung out at my lunch table. He didn't want to hurt my feelings, assuming I'd interpret them moving to another table as something to do with me. Instead, the bunch of them stuck around. I hardly got a word out, nor did I really want to. I was too preoccupied with the hilarity of boys being boys.
But with "David," his eyes stood out for me and for the longest time, they were all I could think about. I wrote dozens of poems about what I saw when I looked into them. They were a pale blue unlike anything I'd ever seen.

At the same time, I was trying to get a story together. I entertained the idea of this fantastic epic where elements like fire, lightning, wind and water had importance, where there was this ancient tale of good verus evil, where there were mystical creatures. I wanted to combine all of that into this story, but nothing quite came together.
A few elements started to make their mark on me. Things I was experiencing, things I saw. The good versus evil was something that Harry Potter was the final thing to start to impress on my head. A lot of fantasy-driven stories had that struggle because good vs. evil goes back to the very beginning of time.

Then there was the romance of it all. I didn't expect any of that to come about. I think what started to do it for me was the Miyazaki film "Spirited Away." Initially, I was pissed off that it won the Oscar for Best Animated Picture when I had seen and heard of every other nominees. I had to see what the fuss was about and perhaps wanted to disprove it was worthy of winning the prestigious award.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
That movie presented an entirely different world, something I scarcely imagine in my dizziest daydreams. A few things that hit home for me were the characters, how memorable a couple of them were. One of them turned out to be the finishing piece to the puzzle of my hero

So that afternoon after watching the movie, I wrote the prologue. An angel comes down from heaven to defeat this being of evil and the elements manifest in mythical creatures that reincarnate him into his next life. You always have to leave that pretense: in the even that evil should return.

I started to have a little something to go on after that, but I didn't plan any of it to come together the way it did. I was writing and it all happened the way that it did. Bits and pieces of details showed what was in my mind at that time. High school was a nature setting for a lot of it to take place. One of the characters, she was in my head from another show I was watching at the time. And the name Nina was just a name I loved. I didn't have much in my head except that she was the new girl, and she was blonde with brown eyes.

The last thing I thought I'd put in the story was a love story, or what would become a love story. I didn't know what Jonas was going to be like until I started writing. An undeniable impression I had in the movie was that the boy who befriends Chihiro is good, even though he has this reputation and a girl that takes her under her wing says he's bad news. I didn't doubt it for a second. Maybe it's because I'm a little too trusting of people or rely a lot on first impressions. He went out of his way to help Chihiro get into the bath house, how could he possibly be bad? As it turned out, Haku was under a spell made easier because he couldn't remember his name.

I started writing about love a year ago today. I'd been doing it ever since. Strange as it may seem, I've never been in love. Not actual love. I don't believe love is true unless it is returned and made equal between two people. When I was 13, I saw love a lot differently than I do now. A lot of other elements are in my head these days and the thing about finding a place in this world is among the biggest themes I'd worked with lately. No matter how tiring and pointless it is, it's the truth for me right now.

I drew on love from an unconventional source in a time of isolation. I was recovering from surgery and wouldn't return to school for a couple months. Not that I needed to be around people to thrive, that year I made a couple of good friends I got very close with. But the theme became that deep down, I wanted love and that love to be felt on both sides, so I wrote about having an imaginary boyfriend who loved in another world. Long story.

I used to think I needed love to feel complete, to just feel normal. If someone loved me for me, thought I was prettier than all the other girls, that justified that I was worth something to somebody. It's a complicated thing to explain when you don't have any experience with it in real life and without making it sound like you're living out a Greek tragedy. I always worry about saying the wrong thing and having someone interpret it to the point they look at me differently, as if there's something wrong with me or they don't want to provoke me.

I felt like there was something missing in my life that kept me from feeling whole. I thought that missing thing was love or having someone see me as more than I saw myself. It was often the case that the prettiest girls got the cute guys and popularity, both things that anyone would want in high school.

What began between Jonas and Nina was friendship. He chose to spend his days alone because he didn't want certain things about him becoming well known by his peers. It was easier to cut himself off from everyone else than to risk being cut off for being himself.
If whoever reads this wonders what Nina was like before Jonas... What were her hopes and dreams? What did she and her friends like to do together? I never gave full thought to putting her together as a character. She was just a person whose eyes we saw Jonas through. She saw him as being a good person that was misunderstood and there was more than meets the eye. She's good-natured and likes to believe the best in people. This is shown a little bit when she turns down a guy who expresses his interest in her because she's interested in someone else.

I didn't even imagine it becoming a love story. It was just a friendship Jonas really needed in his life. He might deny it, but for years, he'd wanted acceptence from at least one of his peers. As luck should have it, it was the new girl who could have a fresh opinion on him without being influenced by the gossip. She sticks by her convictions and beliefs. Even after hearing her new friends going on about why Jonas isn't normal, that doesn't deter her from wanting to get to know him. He did, after all, save her from a world of embarassment after she bumps into him, an incident that leaves her temporarily blind and uncoordinated.

When it comes to love, it's always going to be the thing I dream about having come true, something to strive for. But these days, I don't care whether or not I find it right away. I just don't want it to be in control of my life. I don't want to feel like I did in high school, that I needed a boyfriend's acceptence for me to be cool with myself.

The love that blossoms between Nina and Jonas is like this. He has been alone for a long time, never felt he needed anybody. But when he meets Nina, so much changes in him. He feels more confident with his peers, able to make friends and relate to people more than he ever had. With that confidence, he starts to rediscover his past life, a destiny he must fulfill later on in the story. Nina knows that Jonas is extraordinary and begins to discover why she got that vibe from him. In Nina, he finds acceptence, someone he considers his equal and someone he would give his life for. A little melodramatic for a 14-year old boy, but what the hell, it's a fantasy/romance... I'm a sucker for that sort of thing.

But what does she get out of his friendship? It's hard to really say at this point. I never really thought about it. She gets the satisfication about helping someone overcome their hindrances, their fears. She knows he has a lot to offer and wants him to feel free to live the life he wants to.
In a twisted sort of way, his story is something like my own, but I didn't go to such extremes to avoid people the way he did. All it takes is the trust and friendship of another person and so many doors can open.

I'm not sure if this came out right, but that's somewhat of the angle I was going for.

As far as the idea of the relationship goes, my mind is dwelling on unknown territory these days, having more to do with what happens behind closed bedroom doors. It took me a long time, but my 25-year old mind started to get curious. I don't think I'd be comfortable with anyone seeing what I'd written about THAT yet, but it isn't super obscene or profane to that extreme, promise.
But with love, I see it as one person meeting another and they recognize a piece of themselves in that other person. They were a complete person before them, but after they meet, they can't imagine being apart, as if something inside clicked. As if you were put on this earth specifically for that other person. And certainly I don't believe love is something you need to have in your life to fill a hole within yourself. If you go into things with that in mind, you're going to end up getting hurt. You have love yourself first before you can let anyone else in.

My story kinda disproves that case, but whatever, my characters in high school, real-life details don't apply.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sparks fly whenever you smile, Taylor Swift

Last night was interesting to say the least. I went upstairs after watching the Giants beat the Cowboys in stunning fashion. Watched some animé and wrote 2 sentences for my story that I'll either call "Back to December" or "Blue Christmas." I've been adding a chapter every day this month until Saturday night when I was simply too tired (and then some thanks to a Christmas party we were at) I could have stayed up for ages working the next chapter when mentally, I wasn't up for it.

I like to believe sometimes that things happen for a reason and wouldn't break the same way if even the slightest detail changed.

I'm a big dreamer and that is also relevant to nighttime in dreamland. I write the more intriguing dreams down, the ones that beg for interpretation. But I have an entire document devoted to celebrity encounters. They got so frequent with specific individuals that they all have their own sections (roman numerals).
Although "encounters" might be too broad a denomination, I'm not always in these dreams.

The best of them come out of nowhere, are unexpected (well that's kinda the same thing really), and to the last detail, they are finite and so realistic that it felt like it was actually happening to me.

To the best of my knowledge, as it's been at least a good 2-3 hours since I woke up from the dream, this is a recollection of it. I figured it needed a blogger's touch and a lot more room to spin the yarn than just my Facebook status.

"Sparks fly whenever you smile, [Taylor Swift]."

I'm going with my mom and a couple relatives to a mall. They're holding auditions for The X-Factor and we wanted to come watch. We go into this large room. When you first enter, you see rows and rows of chairs for the people waiting. At the front of the these chairs is a table lined against the way with doors behind it, which I suspect go backstage or into individual dressing rooms. I believe I got wind that Taylor Swift was going to be there and that's why I came. No sign of her as of yet.
Little by little, rows of people are called a bit at a time to audition. I think the tables in the front are for registeration. After they're told to go, they go to the other end of the room, which is south-east from the waiting chairs (facing forward).

[already, I already kinda know that some things aren't exactly in order as they should be. First of all, who goes to X-factor auditions just to watch?]
I'm not sure why I was there, really. I was asked once or twice by people near me and my folks if I wanted to audition for the groups category. A bundle of nerves, I decide not to audition, but all the while, I keep telling myself, even demanding to myself that there's nothing to be nervous about, I don't need to be nervous.

[also wanted to clarify... these are "X-Factor" auditions? They look like American Idol auditions where they are doing the pre-lims... you know, like how they weed out people to see who's good enough (or bad enough) to make the live shows... and with "X-Factor", auditions are in a huge arena with a stage & audience.]
Most likely, there are at least 4-5 stands/set-ups for people to sing to judges before they're allowed to continue with the auditon process.

I'm not sure how much time passes, but I believe it's 2-3 hours later.

Flash-foward, we're in the parking lot, heading back to the car. I say aloud that I didn't get a chance to see Taylor . Someone in our party then asks if I want to go back to see if I can catch a glimpse of her. I agree and we start to rush back

[again, I kinda wonder why Taylor was there in the first place. Was she a guest judge, was she performing or just around the area?]

We go back to first room. Everyone's packing it in, a lot of the chairs are gone and the only people around are the stage crew. I take a deep breath and head to the registeration table. I don't know what came over me. My mind thought that this was something that could work very well. It happens in all the movies, moments like these.

I go see the people by the table. They all look at me, maybe 2-3 people. Then I start singing in an almost flawless imitation of Taylor Swift's song "Sparks Fly" which I had actually recorded myself singing to post on YouTube. I go through the first verse, everyone's looking my way, almost in shock. I think they think I sound really good or a lot like her. [I think earlier on in the dream, I was thinking about maybe an audition song, should I ever get the guts to try out for the shows in real life... although I consider Maroon 5 and that I sing to blend in to the records, this is the song I ended up picking]

As the chorus starts to kick in, a door behind the tables open. Taylor Swift emerges with her hair straightened, in civvy-like clothes. They're sweats, definitely not what she would wear onstage for her concerts. She's holding a few items, books.
She turns my way as I start singing "cuz I see sparks fly whenever you smile." I point at her on "you" and make my hands form a heart the way she often does in her shows (something she frequently does along with writing 13 on her hand every night). I change the one lyric from "green eyes" to her "blue eyes."

She smiles back at me, almost overcome with happiness and before I can finish that line, she throws her arms around me and I have to stop singing.
I believe she said that she was really touched by what I sang to her.

[but seriously, it was like something out of a movie. I start singing and that gets her attention and she emerges out of nowhere just to hear me sing... and to think, this would have been like several dreams before this where I'm elsewhere and don't return to the scene to see the celebrity I know is hovering around my subconscious... this time, I turn back and it pays off BIG time]

I ask her to sign an autograph, but it takes a while to find a random piece of paper. Then I ask to have a few pictures. She poses, but for whatever reason, she's kinda goofing around a bit and they don't come out very still or very clear. I ask my mom to take a picture of the two of us and all of these mascots come out of nowhere (kinda similar to the mascots from the KIA commericals, she called them in) and I don't think any of the pictures come out.

I think this is definitely something I could write a short story about to really give this the extra oomph that it needs. But all I can just say is WOW...

and all those interested, here's the YouTube video of me singing that song that I posted a good 2-3 monthsa go. It isn't the greatest rendition, but whatever. It seemed like a good idea at the time

the funniest thing is that I had this dream that day before her birthday... which is December 13th. I didn't even realize/remember that right away until I looked on my Facebook newsfeed this morning

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I want to "marry the night"

To subsidize lyrics from Lady Gaga, one of my many mentors and influences,

I want to marry the night
don't wanna give up on my life

I want to marry the night
I don't wanna cry anymore
leave nothing on these streets to explore

In an recent interview, she told Katie Couric that her song (and subject of her latest music video) is about giving herself entirely to her music, making it the number 1 thing in her life.

I wish nothing more right now than to bring forth advice handed down to the troubled students of Room 203 by Erin Gruwell (played by Hilary Swank in "Freedom Writers")...

every voice that says that 'you can't' is silenced

I wish I could silence all the voices of doubt in my head and the seeds planted by the people whose opinions I heed most of all.

I didn't grow up in a troubled household, troubled neighborhood. I have a lot of things others don't have. Someone once misinterprted me when I said that stories/movies about teachers influencing their students are something I get warm & fuzzy about, that I relate to...
they said that I don't need to be inspired because I sent a little time painting myself as "the golden child" in my household

Fine, that was my mistake to undermine my situation. I've said that being the oldest and showing that I can do great things if I put my mind to it, there's more pressure on me than my younger sister. It infuriates me that she isn't pushed nearly as much as I am to succeed.
I spent the first couple years of my education in special ed. I progressed, found my way out of it, and since then, I'd been mainstreamed into regular classes with everyone else.

There's pressure on me because I succeeded in college and brought home a B.S. degree with a 3.76 grade point average.
I am only as good as my grades. School is where I thrive, but in the real world, I never had a clue as to what my goals were, my lot in life. These are all things that I'd doubted, thought about over this year long period of unemployment

It really sucks feeling like you don't belong anywhere because nobody wants to hire you, no position caters to your skill-set (which isn't much more than the fact I know a lot about a variety of subjects, I'm good at math and I can write exceedingly well).
Whatever is out there, I have no experience to get into much of anything. And anything that doesn't require experience, I don't have the skill-set for. I don't have great conversation skills, I don't want to have to be phony in showing how pleasureable I am because who wants a reserved person serving them in the real world. The fact I have a college degree has a lot of people turning me down without so much as a phone call to say I'm not what they're looking for.

Writing was the only thing I'd really wanted to do, that I felt I could excel in since I was maybe 17... whenever I started writing original stories.
But as much as my family is in my corner, supports what I do and appreciates what I do in my writing, when it comes to going beyond the walls of my bedroom, it's all about what I can't do. I know my limitations in the real world because, let's face it, I'm not a great conversationalist. When my parents talk about me and occasionally show me off to their friends 'my daughter the marine biologist, the college graduate,' it makes me sick because that's not all that I am.

Again and again, I have been oppressed into believing I can't do what I love to do. 'There's no money in it.' Now, given my position, living at home and all that, that's not the big issue at the moment... but right now, all I really need is just to be given a chance to succeed doing what I love.
I need to somehow start forming connections in the writers' community. People to look at what I've written over the years and tell me what works and what doesn't. A second opinion is something I never really got from anyone with any pull in that area. And I know it's competitive. All of the agents that have rejected me tell me that in their rejection letters "as you are probably aware, this industry is very competitive."

It makes me really want to pull off some obscene gesture to show my disgust and that's not my personality at all. I'm not very argumentative and I try to avoid confrontation when at at all possible. Unless I'm writing my statement, I can't argue my way out of a paper bag. I fall apart because I'm just so overwhelmed by the opposition.

I want nothing more than for those voices of 'I can't' to be silenced. I want nothing more than my family to support my writing and actually going out of their way to say that I like to write and I write very well. Enough of being introduced as the college graduate or the marine biologist. I was told that I had to go to college to give myself a chance in this crazy world.
I was told to major in a scientific displicine because that's where the money is, that's where job security is. I was literally disbarred from even considering a creative writing major. It'd be the equalivant of "throwing my life away" in my parents' eyes. I know that's what they think even though they haven't exactly said those words.

My greatest fear at the moment is that... even if someone I applied to takes notice and gives me a paycheck on a regular basis, that's not going to be enough for me. I'm never going to be happy unless I'm doing what I love.
It sounds like a cop-out or that I'm crying out for help by saying this... but today of all days, my mind is getting into a pretty dark place. It's not exactly to the point of Martin Riggs from "Lethal Weapon," but I'm getting highly doubtful about my ability to succeed in the real world. I visit this place once every couple months. Ironically, this might be as a result of the winter/Christmas blues... the feelings are more intense this time of year for a reason. What's keeping me relatively sane is immersing myself in non-reality, bits and pieces of pop culture.

It's even stranger saying that Robert Downey Jr., perhaps not the greatest role model in the world given his rocky past, is both the reason I'm keeping sane and why I've been confronting my doubts on a regular basis. He got honest about himself and reached out to the point where it allowed him to heal and become the rare Hollywood success story that he is now.
More and more, I've embraced Lady Gaga as a life coach, mentor and role model. Her "Born this way" album has a couple of songs that I could identity with where they speak of creeds I could live by.

I should be happy with myself because I was "born this way."
I just want to be free, I just want to be me... I don't wanna change, I don't wanna be ashamed ("Hair")

a lot of her songs on this album, she wrote for her little monsters, a little something to give them strength because their support has given her strength

I know what I am through my writing. My characters occasionally get the opportunity to showcase my insecurities, my doubts. In times of trial, they question if they have skill or the power to accomplish their goals, which often includes keeping a loved one safe. However cliché that might be, it works for me.

I would write about this, about my non-activity, my non-believing in myself, but I wouldn't even know where to start.

As hard as it might be to believe, it's true:

I'm straight, I'm white, I have a great family that is comfortable in the middle-class and a lot of their resources have gone into my education, I'm a college graduate.

Even though I have all of that going for me, I'm still unhappy with myself and my situation.
It is possible to have everything and nothing at the same time.

I don't have to write it down a million times for me to truly believe that what I want more this year for Christmas is self-confidence, self-assurance and support from more people who are in a position to help me achieve goals. If not that, then people who have my back and help me towards a brighter future.