Posts Tagged ‘Awesome’

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Tomorrow I start

June 1, 2011

Tomorrow, June 1st, I’m sitting down and starting the new WIP. Do I have every detail of plot as ironed out as I would like? No, not really, but looking over my old notes from Project W has made me realize how much of that story was conceived on the fly. It’s like the old saying that writing a book is like driving at night; you can only see as far as your headlights allow, but you can make the whole trip that way.

My trusty guide

As for world-building and characterization… well, a lot of the world-building still holds from Project W, as it’s set in the same universe. The characters are new, but they seem talkative and cooperative thus far. As always, I’m quietly excited to see who gets picked up along the way. It’s like the night before the first day of school- when you know, at that very moment, there is someone out there who will become one of your new friends. But at that very moment, neither of you knows the other exists yet.

I have some idea of what I’m in for. My map and bag are packed, my travelling companions are raring to go, but there’s still one or two last-minute checks to make.

The night before anything is always one of the longest and shortest nights, isn’t it?

-Arvik

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I Now Officially Write for a Living

May 21, 2011

No, I have not sold a book yet. However, I have managed to find and obtain a job which marries three of my major loves in life, those loves being…

  • Writing
  • History
  • Working with kids

Starting at the end of this month, I will be the “Theatre Programmer” at the Pioneer Village just outside of town. Essentially, I will read turn-of-the-century kids’ novels, do historical research on my own, and then write and perform monologues for kids.

Wearing Victorian clothing.

Outside.

In a Pioneer Village.

The amount of awesomeness just increased dramatically. I intend to keep serving on my days off (especially now that I’m getting the hang of it, and enjoy meeting all the interesting people we get in the restaurant), but this is really my dream job.

I’m being paid to write. Not only that, I get to introduce kids to history. And even better, I get a taste of everyday Victorian life for myself. Yes, I will admit, that my first thought after hanging up the phone (well, second, my first thought was probably “HUZZAH!!!”), was…

Imagine the steampunk I’ll be able to write after this!

-Arvik

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Endeavour is Off

May 16, 2011

Apparently, I was sadly misled. Or I missed NASA’s updates. Either way, I’m saddened.

I thought Endeavour would fly the final shuttle mission. She gets the next-to-last instead. While I have no real issue with Atlantis seeing out the shuttle age, it would have been nice to witness Endeavour’s final lift-off. As the last mission is scheduled on or around my birthday (end of June- mark your calendars), it would have been even nicer.

But life is what it is. I’ve lamented about the end of the shuttle programme before. The mood now seems akin to the last few weeks of school. There’s a sense of inevitable winding-down, the imminent closing of a chapter. I am proud of the fleet, the astronauts, and the ground-based crews. I’m nervously excited for the future (excited because who knows where we’ll go, nervous because with budget cuts and red tapes, who knows where we’ll go…).

And yes, I’m a little sad that one of the world’s most beautiful machines will be grounded.

Endeavour is “my” ship for a simple reason: as a small child, I spent a few summers at Space Camp/Camp Spatial Canada. Although probably not as cool as the American versions of Space Camp (i.e. the ones close to actual space centres), we nevertheless got to live in a space museum, test astronaut simulators, and fly missions in a full-scale mock-up of Endeavour.

She dominated the training pit, taking up most of the space in the vast hall while the simulators clustered alongside the walls. Every time you walked through the hall, the hulking space craft drew your eye. And while I did have (*cough*still have*cough*) an overactive imagination, I do remember having a moment of disorientation after one “mission,” illogically wondering how she’d landed in the training room without crashing through the walls.

And to the crew now orbiting the Earth: best of luck, and come home safely.

The Cosmodome

In the museum

 

 

 

Simulator at lower right

Arvik

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A Day in the Ideal Life…

May 14, 2011

Lately, I’ve been musing about life. More specifically, the day-to-day shape of my life, and how the future might play itself out. In job interviews, and guidance/career counsellors’ offices, people sometimes ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I’ve always found that question hard to answer. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in five years. Obviously, writing is Plan A.

But it’s notoriously difficult to get published. Harder still to make a living from writing. And my Plan B? At this point, it’s looking like academia.

Which means I could be spending my life in a pizza-box shack.

Naturally, this caused me some anxiety. However, always one to look on the bright side of life (insert obligatory whistles here, here, and here), I decided to plan out a day in my ideal life.

6:30: Wake up. Admire the sun rising over the ocean, because I’ll be living in a house beside the sea (fingers crossed).

7:00-8:00: Swim/run/bike/whatever.

8:00-9:00: Leisurely breakfast while reading the newspaper and doing the crossword.

9:00-10:00: Surfing the net and taking care of emails, etc.

10:00-11:00: Read

11:00-12:00: Read more, if I’m engrossed. Otherwise, video games.

12:00-12:30: Lunch

12:30-1:30: Casual stroll

1:30-4:30: WRITE (presumably with breaks)

4:30: Rest/run errands

5:00: Make dinner

5:30-6:30: Dinner and cleaning up dinner

6:30-7:30: Read. Or watch Dr. Who. Or Andromeda. Or Star Trek.

7:30-10:30: WRITE

11:00: Go to bed.

Of course, as I reread this, I realize this chart leaves out the spontaneous-social-fun things. Like time with friends and loved ones. Those are important too, and certainly part of an ideal life.

But I think the major stuff is all there. Lots of reading, lots of writing, a good dose of outside time (I’ve decided I’m secretly part dog- I need to be let out every day, or I start chewing the furniture), and a good dose of gaming.

What’s in your ideal life?

-Arvik

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Reliving my childhood

May 3, 2011

The desire had been gnawing at me for some time. Especially since I have a bit of free time on my hands; I need books from the library to do some research for this new novel, but they’re not going to be in for several days. I tried to ignore my urges, but my eyes kept drifting to the basement. My fingers itched, aching, longing, until at last I could stand it no more.

I descended the narrow stairs into the darkness. Dust bunnies clung to my socks; old cardboard left a musty smell on my fingers as I shifted boxes. Finally, I found what I was looking for.

Several hours later, I’m taking this break to ease my back and write this post (while I am chronologically and, evidently, emotionally young, I have the back of a ninety-year-old). Honestly, I’d forgotten just how awesome LEGO is. I’ve found a few half-broken creations that I can remould into interesting new things (mostly spaceships). I’ve remembered that feeling of designing, testing, and building that always made me feel like a ship’s engineer.

And best of all, as I unearth old ships and minifigures, the stories are coming back.

LEGO sparked so many stories for me. Sure, some of them had their roots in the “official” story LEGO was using to sell this set or that set, but an awful lot evolved into totally new stories. Example: I had Martian and Atlantis LEGO sets. I got around this apparent discrepancy by deciding that the “Atlanteans” were actually Martians who had crash-landed in the oceans and rebuilt their civilization underwater.

And remembering all this made me think: toys were better, back in the day. Yes, even in my day. I don’t want to sound too crotchety, but the old toys made you think, and imagine, and problem-solve. They made you figure out how to share, use your words, and wait your turn. They unleashed the stories waiting inside of you.

Newer toys don’t do that as much. If a puzzle piece in a real puzzle doesn’t work, you turn it over, rotate it, feel it in your hands. Maybe you work through the puzzle with a friend. If a puzzle piece in an online puzzle doesn’t work, you click a few times, and discard it. I just feel like there’s something missing there. I feel like it’s a lot easier to buy into the “official” story of whatever game you’re playing.

Now, I have a lot of faith in the power of imagination. I’ve worked with kids for years, and I’ve seen that they’re still capable of grabbing some stuffed animals and making up a story. Imagination is a huge part of being human. I don’t think it’s going away.

But I wish we allowed it more space to breathe.

-Arvik

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What are you learning?

April 30, 2011

Sometimes writing is hard.

“How hard can it be?” people ask. “You’re sitting there typing! How is that hard?”

I try to ignore those people. Singing in my head usually helps. Singing out loud helps more, but then I get weird looks.

We all know why writing is hard, but an excerpt from the list  includes:

  • Rejection
  • Self-doubt
  • Writer’s block
  • Making the committment to finish what you’ve started
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Missing out on other things
  • Guilt
  • Frightening, disturbing, and icky characters/plot threads
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Hermitage

And so forth. Luckily, the list of why writing is awesome is so long, I don’t think I can fit it here (not today anyway, but that’s an idea for the future).

Getting sidetracked. When I’m struggling, which happens fairly regularly, I find it helpful to ask, “What am I learning from this?”

Someone’s interrupting my writing time? I’m learning patience and tact.

Harsh criticism? I’m learning to take it and thicken my skin.

Feeling like I’m secretly a talentless fraud and I’m doomed to live in a pizza box shack? I’m learning persistance. Also, probably that I should think about dinner.

It works for other things too. When I look back at other writing I’ve done over the years, I can see that a lot of it is… well, let’s say, “not very good.” However, what my fledgling efforts do have going for them is that I can track what I’ve learned. It’s like tracing evolutionary trees:

With enough perspective, you can see the changes over time. Knowing how far you’ve come and realizing how much you’ve learned is hugely motivating, because it hits you: whatever rough patch you’re facing is one more step along the way. And if you can learn something from it, you’ll be back on the road that much sooner.

What are you learning?

-Arvik

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On the Origins of the Easter Bunny

April 23, 2011

Disclaimer:

I hereby absolve myself of any lost innocence that results from reading this post.

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I wasn’t sure how the Easter Bunny fit into Easter.

After all, it’s an invisible rabbit that hops around the world in a single night distributing eggs. I consulted Wikipedia, as I often do when the world confounds me. According to that highly academic source, the Easter Bunny/Hare originated in the former Holy Roman Empire, and seems to have been linked to Easter by virtue of the fact that rabbits are particularly blessed with fecundity (which makes me wonder if the Easter Bunny ever stops to… no, I can’t go on). So we have a symbol of fertility distributing more symbols of fertility (love those eggs) to innocent little boys and girls.

While this explanation was amusing, it wasn’t entirely satisfying.

I embarked on some original research. Following a hunch, I looked at the jackalope. Hey, with the Easter Bunny’s similarity to Santa, it made sense that it might be the product of a fecund rabbit and a reindeer.  Sure enough, the trail turned warm, albeit in an unexpected way: while jackalopes probably aren’t part reindeer, they might be part killer rabbit.

The most famous killer rabbit, of course, is the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.

 

Yes, that Killer Rabbit: the one slain by King Arthur and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

 

 

See a similarity?

My theory, then, is that the present-day Easter Bunny is a descendent of the original Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. The objects we’ve been interpreting as eggs of fertility, are in fact his attempts to recreate the Holy Hand Grenade, thus exacting ironic vengeance on humanity for killing his illustrious forebear.

Of course, this raises the question: why chocolate eggs? Why so colourful?

Alas, I fear it may be more mis-interpretation on our part. Doubtless, Easter Bunnies of yore used candy to lure small children near the cunningly-hidden grenades. Bright colours only added to the enticement. Placid adults, noticing this, assumed a connection between the pretty egg-shaped objects and appearance of candy (bunnies aren’t good at wiring- the grenades don’t go off very often) . There is a connection, just not the one we thought.

And so, while you’re hunting for eggs this weekend… you might want to find a long, long stick and poke them before picking them up.

-Arvik