Back in October I had gone through a couple weeks of panic attacks before I figured what they were. I think they were caused by watching House all the time, because when I stopped watching that, the attacks stopped.
But now I'm obsessed with my health. Most of the time I feel fine, but at least once a day, for maybe five to twenty minutes, I worry about my health. Headaches are common, shaky hands, weird feelings in my body, dizziness, nausea. I'm perfectly fine, but you can't convince my mind that every little problem is nothing really. Even common things like getting a headache from yelling or singing too much, which I would get often before the panic attacks, are now worrying me. If I were to get a cold right now I'd probably get over worried.
I even feel like I'm going to die soon. Not all the time, but at least once a day I feel like that. Nothing suicidal, just like an impending doom sort of thing, like I shouldn't waste my time on anything. I was just thinking of all the books I need to read quickly before I die lol.
Anybody else feel the same way?
How many people like their writing voice?
I remember writing a story once for a non-fiction class. It was the first of four. I enjoyed writing it. The words just flowed out and there was not an ounce of dissonance between my Self and the writing. When workshop time came around, everybody liked my story best. But in the remaining three stories I didn't incorporate my real voice, and lo a behold they were critiqued to d.e.a.t.h. But it's okay, because I didn't like the stories either.
It's weird to be able to tell your story is good or not. There are times when I write a story and I'm not sure if someone'll like it, and the story ends up crummy. But I know of a couple of instances when I just knew the story was quality. I hate it though, because it sounds really conceited to me to 'just know' my story is good.
Sometimes I hate me voice though, because it's really sarcastic (this right now isn't my real writing voice btw =P) and I'm trying not to be a sarcastic person, because it annoys people. I guess with writing it's different though, because if you don't like it you can put the book down. But people like sarcasm, as long as it's not directed at them, so it's a-okay to write like that. Still, it unnerves me to write that way. I have to admit that I'm more productive and satisfied that way though.
Random Factoid: I like the word 'though'
I don't know what this is. I just woke up and started writing.
* * *
Written on the fly:
What does it mean to write a story? Here I am trying to come up with one without a single idea to go upon. This is ridiculous.
I could say once there was a man who was walking down a path through a forest littered with tiny flowers at his feet, and the sun pierced this forest and shone on the flowers, but as the trees huddled closer, the little trickled away into nothingness. Then he was lost in perplexity, in the basement of his mind for which the forest was being used as a metaphor. The man fell into the rabbit hole in the center of the wooded realm, falling and falling, into an endless black voided mass. There was nothing to grab to slow his fall, not a branch, not a twig, not an adventurous root. This was surely the end of this poor man's life: an endless perplexity, confusion, disembowelment of the innards of his thought-clouted mind. He might as well jump off! Jump off the fifth story somewhere and splatter over the pavement. Then at least the fall would end. When man falls enough, he wants no one to catch his fall, not a god nor an angel to keep him safe—he wishes to search for himself the crazed dimensions of the mind that was given to him. If dying is the end, then dying it is, but death is not glorious when one takes it oneself. A man drops dead without a scratch: what is one to say about that? Suicide for despair? Suicide from lack of despair? There will be no funeral for this man; by the time he dies from his condition, all form of man has been filtered from his life—it is the way it has always been.
Just do! Just write! For whom it is I don't know. For what reason is the rabbit hole: neither sad nor happy, tiresome nor easy, despised nor cherished. It is what it is.
What am I to do with all these stories inside my head? A book here, a short story there. It's a buffet and I should be happy that ideas are flowing—it's a creative time. But creativity will not move on its own; I have to push it along, jump start the creative car with my hands as cables. My hands, they reach out, stretched out, grasping for an object in the void above me. Greedy hands? Perhaps they want more than they can carry. It's okay: many people are like that at a point in their lives. It's natural to desire. The hands of desire, he-he. Hold on to your desires! Grasp them firmly and don't let go, for they are the muse for your life, the firmament and the heavens, the alpha and the omega—everything that is possible to be thought.
Now lets write a story about that and use an animal or a fictitious monster as a metaphor.
He slides around on the ooze that he forms from his bottom. His arms are elongated and bony, and always outstretched toward the sky, trying to snatch his desire that has left him. He believes his desires are stuck on the ceiling, like a spider crawling upside down. His body is a lump, without the creative form of a human or animal—only eyes and arms. Arms to grab what he sees; eyes to see only what he wants. Of course he'll never find what he wants and only grab every object that he thought might help him, and keep each object with him until the end of days, when a huge lumbering pile of trash it will be. By the way of fate, he will never understand that no one ends their search with an object. Not a woman, nor a car, not a house, or a kid. What he wants he can grasp; what he needs he can't touch. In that way, what he wants is floating up in the air, for that is how futile it is to grasp.
Writing for the sake of writing is not possible. Humans are motivated by greed—not exactly greed—but by inherent conceitedness that comes with the combo package we call humanity. Call it writing for emotional release or for fun, but however much the mind tries to disguise it, the motivation always comes back to you.
Today my monster is learning to write. He thinks his first novel will become famous—an instant hit! Don't mind the lecture all writers receive about not counting on fame and fortune, he will achieve his goal, because he is cunning and sees from an angle that will take the literary world by complete surprise: a second Beatlemania. His ideas will purge the minds of his readers and replace them with him.
* * *
The children's room of the library was quiet, except for the rumbling of the air filtration system in the ceiling exactly above me. Most people had already left. Many of them were girls scared of being assaulted after reading the pamphlets pinned to the bulletin board advising students to proceed with caution to the parking lot after dark.
My cellphone told me 10:00pm. In my hands was a paperback version of Norwegian Wood, one of the most popular novels in Japan, selling more than two million copies. The book itself was fine until I got to the part when a thirteen-year-old half-raped a thirty-one-year-old. Not the best passage in a book to be reading when you're hiding way back in the children's section. Any second one of my friends could sneak in, under the protection of the noisy fan above me, and read over my shoulder and scream pedophile. Quick way to end a friendship.
The chapters were getting long, and I flipped ahead aways to find the end of this long chapter, but it went on another twenty pages. It was at a slow point, so I dropped the bookmark inside and put the book down on the table. I leaned back on the chair and gazed out the door, through the infinite rows of perfectly-aligned shelving, to the far wall at the other side of the library. Nobody was walking through the stacks.
I should have thrown my hoodie in my backpack, I thought to myself, armed folded over, hands rubbing my upper arms for warmth. The filtration rumbling disquieted the room. If I wasn't immune to constant noise then it might bother me. I always slept easier when the air conditioning unit outside made a ruckus.
* * *
If you understand any of that, let me know.
What Is Magical Realism, Really?
by Bruce Holland Rogers
"Magical realism" has become a debased term. When it first came into use to describe the work of certain Latin American writers, and then a small number of writers from many places in the world, it had a specific meaning that made it useful for critics. If someone made a list of recent magical realist works, there were certain characteristics that works on the list would share. The term also pointed to a particular array of techniques that writers could put to specialized use. Now the words have been applied so haphazardly that to call a work "magical realism" doesn't convey a very clear sense of what the work will be like.
I found this article just now, and I believe it does a fairly good job of explaining what magical realism is and what it is not. To sum up the article and also my own views: magical realism is a form of realism--not fantasy--that allows the author to insert into his stories ideas which are not real to every human being, such as ghosts, God, or events that wouldn't happen in normality, in order to convey a message.
Magical realism is a way to express one's views using *bizarre* techniques. That's what the genre is about. It's not fantasy because fantasy deals with objective reality, whereas magical realism is a projection of the authors subjective reality. To elaborate: say a schizophrenic writes a story about John, his imaginary friend, and someone reads the story. Well the reader knows John doesn't exist, but does that mean the story is a fantasy? The schizophrenic doesn't think so.
And it's important to view the story through the author's eyes and for a second give up your interpretation of life to be in someone else's. That's what you're doing anyway when you're reading any kind of fiction, except when reading magical realism, you just have to give up a little more of your reality.
I just copied and pasted all this. I take no credit except for the five minutes to post this.
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
1. Use short sentences.
2. Use short starting paragraphs.
3. Use vigorous English.
It’s muscular, forceful. Vigorous English comes from passion, focus and intention. It’s the difference between putting in a good effort and TRYING to move a boulder… and actually sweating, grunting, straining your muscles to the point of exhaustion… and MOVING the freaking thing!
4. Use positive words.
By stating what something isn’t can be counterproductive since it is still directing the mind, albeit in the opposite way. If I told you that dental work is painless for example, you’ll still focus on the word “pain” in “painless.”
• Instead of saying “inexpensive,” say “economical,”
• Instead of saying “this procedure is painless,” say “there’s little discomfort” or “it’s relatively comfortable,”
• And instead of saying “this software is error-free” or “foolproof,” say “this software is consistent” or “stable.”
"The worst thing a writer can do is to plan everything in a short story. If you do that, it will never find its own way. In January and February I wrote five stories. Five stories in just five weeks. It was an exhaustive and a feverish time. They became Five Strange Tales from Tokyo. I used an old Japanese technique. I had one theme – strangeness and weirdness. They had to be unusual but intentionally, this time. I made a list of certain words and ideas that popped into my head, like a staircase and a female tightrope walker and kidney stones. There were twenty of them that just came to me independently. There was no apparent connection between them. I used three items for each story – fifteen items in all. The rest I threw away. I am sorry – please forgive me. Writing is a game – a tough game but a game! I have to have some fun when I write. If I don’t have any fun as a writer, it is a lonely and hard job, writing all day by myself! Writing is like a making a video game and playing it at the same time. Your left hand is playing the game and your write hand is writing the programme at the same time. There is a feeling of a split in oneself. I have never tried to write stories this way and I wasn’t confident that it would work. But I found I could write the stories more quickly. Working from these key words seemed to unlock the door to certain areas of my brain that I hadn’t used before. I was able to create something different. I am not saying that I could write stories out of any twenty ideas given by someone else. It wouldn’t work. The twenty items, though spontaneous, are linked through me. They are intertwining with each other in a deep place. They had a reason to come to the surface of my mind in the first place, and half the work was done. I just had to hold on to my horse. I knew if I held on tight, the horse would bring me to the end."
"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us."
Separate names with a comma.