MIA Recently: The Good, The Bad, and the University

MIA Recently: The Good, The Bad, and the University

The Good:  I have had a bit of time to read lately, so I’m nearly done with Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Princess from the Infernal Devices series.  Also, I went into town this last Saturday to the bookstore with my sister and bought 5 new books:  Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest, V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shake of Magic, William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Shanker and Zekas’ These Vicious Masks, and last but not least, Cassandra Clare’s Lady Midnight!  Also, we went into the comic book store and I got the next couple issues of “Invader Zim” for my man.  Besides the tad bit of reading and the book shopping, I have reached 78,000+ words in the first draft of my novel!  I’m nearly at the end of the first book and I’m really excited about editing (as lame as that sounds).

The Bad:  I got a job; this should probably be listed under the “good” except for the fact that it takes away time from my other priorities.  When I do have free time now, I try to spend as much of it as I can with others, so there isn’t much time for reading or writing.  On top of this, the person whom I spend all of my time with moved an extra 20 minutes further, so driving time has increased substantially.  It’s just a whole mess, but it’s good for them so it’s good for me, I guess.  That’s more of a personal thing, but the point is that I don’t have as much time as I used to for various reasons.

The University:  I visited the university campus that I’ll be attending come Autumn.  I loved the campus and the library took my breath away.  Four stories (only two open to students), a basement as a study lounge, private study rooms and comfortable open areas on each floor, thousands of motorized bookshelves for easy access, and so much more.  There’s an old printing press on display on the bottom floor.  A printing press!  I kept trying to casually take a photo without anyone else seeing, but my attempts weren’t successful.  Hopefully when I start up in August I’ll be able to get a picture.  It was beautiful.  Also, the entire library, despite having thousands beyond thousands of old books, smells exactly like a bookstore.  It was amazing.  It was seriously like walking into a silent Barnes & Noble.  So there’s that.  Then, there’s the fact that the school I’m transferring from didn’t offer one of the English prerequisites that I need in order to register for any upper-division English courses, so I’m pretty much screwed into taking GE classes for at least the first semester.  I’m extremely upset about that…  I may now have to stay another semester, even with summer courses, which means that plans will have to be changed.  That’s another whole mess that has made things pretty difficult.

So this is why my blog posts have been cut back significantly.  I haven’t finished a book yet for another reader reaction and I haven’t had the time to write.  This is just to reassure you that I’m still active!  I want to have more time to read and write, but other things have been popping up that can’t be ignored.  Thank you all, and I apologize for my absence.  Ideally, I’ll finish reading Clockwork Princess sometime this week and post a reaction along with another writing update.

[Note:  The photo is one that my friend took of me holding my canned coffee at the university’s preview day for freshmen and transfer students.  That “seat” is a window in the stairwell of the library when we went exploring.]

Hello, Coffee – my new friend.

Hello, Coffee – my new friend.

I hated all coffee until I was about eighteen.

Now?

I’m twenty-one and I have to have coffee on writing days.

I don’t handle the caffeine very well, though.  Let me put things into perspective for you: after waking up in someone else’s house and drinking two small cups of coffee without breakfast, I was so jittery that I couldn’t type on my phone without making errors from not being able to move my thumbs smoothly.  It was terrible.  Yesterday, I had a bottled cappuccino (very good) and a Starbucks vanilla double-shot (even better) and ended up typing up an entire 5000+ word chapter.  It was 2 am when I was finally satisfied with my progress and sure that I’d seen every post of interest on Instagram.

For the last several Sundays, I get a regular cappuccino from Starbucks early in the morning and help my sister study for her weekly exam in his college anatomy class.  I sip and stumble on my tongue, trying to pronounce the names correctly.  It’s fun.  Coffee has become a part of my life in a way that I never would have expected.

People always said that it’s practically a requirement for writers to drink coffee.  To be perfectly honest, I’d thought they were ridiculous.  Why, I didn’t need anything but my own imagination and a means of writing it out!  As I get older and my dream of being published looms somewhere closer than it had just three years ago, though, I realize how helpful a cup of caffeine is.  It’s how I stay awake when inspiration strikes at midnight; it’s how I am able to get up in the morning after 4-5 hours of sleep after a particularly good reading/writing night.  Coffee is just a blessing.  Yes, that’s a bit extreme, but that’s honestly how I see it now.  How had I ever gone without the stuff?  I used to prefer hot cocoa in the mornings because it was warm and it settled the hoarseness of my voice but never the grogginess.

Coffee and I have come to an understanding:  I still prefer the cheap stuff and it can’t get me to drink it every day.  But I see it in a much more flattering light than I had before.  That’s all there is to it.

This wasn’t directly related to writing or reading, but it was, in an odd way.  It seems like coffee is something that all lovers of books also share a love for (unless they like tea, which I would prefer not to discuss, thank you very much!).  I guess I’d better finish off my canned Starbucks now before I close up my novel for the night.

Random Experience: “Follow your dreams.”

Random Experience: “Follow your dreams.”

This isn’t very book-related, but it does relate to writing in a far more obvious way.

Today, I had an interview.  It wasn’t just any interview: it was the first interview I’ve had in months, the first that was not directly related to tutoring in a year, and the first ever that was not related to writing in any way.  The odd thing about it was that I wasn’t very nervous.

Let me explain:  I’m taking a semester off from college since I’m going to be transferring to a university.  My original plans had been to get a job immediately at the beginning of the year and save up money.  What actually happened, as those who have been following my blog posts about reading and writing endlessly already know, was quite a bit different.

The interview was more to satisfy the people around me who are saying that I must find a job as soon as possible.  Because of that, the interview went extremely well.  I wasn’t nervous; I was able to make eye-contact without mumbling; I spoke more eloquently to strangers than I ever have in my entire life; I was very honest about my goals.  (To be completely honest, I wish I hadn’t cared as much about all of my previous interviews if that’s all it took to act like a normal human instead of someone who lurks in their dark room nearly 24/7.)

My point?  As stated, I was more comfortable speaking about myself, my hobbies, and my ambitions.  I said that I spend a lot of my free time reading and writing.  They asked what I wrote, so I mentioned that I’m working on a novel.  The interviewer seemed quite impressed and asked a bit more about it (though it relates in no way to the job description).  Somehow, letting them know that my dream career wasn’t to work in that particular store seemed to be a surprisingly good idea – something I wouldn’t have dared to say had I not particularly been low-key okay with the idea of not getting the position.

Suddenly, the interviewer just paused and said that I should be following my dreams and doing what I love, even if there may be no money in it.  Of course I was a little shocked by the response.  From the slightly regretful tone to the short story about what they’d originally wanted to do with their life, I just sat there in shock.  Never had I expected to go in for a practical job interview that I had pictured as a dream-oppressing giant and leave with a newly restored drive to pursue my goals to be a published novelist.  I said that I would keep writing no matter what, even if I did take on a job in the meantime for stability, but there was this unspoken admiration that I had for the interviewer as they continued the questions.

I’m so thankful that there are still people from older generations that look at the younger ones and see potential.  Even if their dream hadn’t come true, they hadn’t become bitter; instead, they stressed the importance of doing what you love.

It may sound like they said this as a way of telling me that I didn’t get the job.  Let me reassure you, that wasn’t the case.  The conversation did not go in that direction and there were no hints of the interviewer telling me that it was better to just pursue my goals than to waste time looking for jobs that I may or may not be qualified for.  They said it earnestly and sincerely – more so than I would have imagined possible had I not heard the words and tone myself.  There really are people who look at the world and all the dreamers in it with kind eyes.  Even if I don’t get the job (which, as said, I would be fine with), the interview was an eye-opener on many levels.  If I do get the job, I’ll be lucky to be working under someone who understands becoming more and never settling.