Monday, October 31, 2005

Where are my Virtual Smelling-Salts?

My computer, upon being turned on today, proceeded to experience a seizure, and fall down in a proverbial swoon. After a system scan that took half and hour but produced no clue as to my laptop's ill-health, I rebooted, and my laptop emerged from her fainting spell perfectly willing to be as cooperative as she had been before. I suspect it had something to do with the fact that she has become used to having her rooms regularly swept and clean by the maid Window Washer trial I acquired, and my failure to buy the program before the trail period ran out must have left her rather distressed by the amount of clutter remaining in her harddrives. Oh well.

I've been reading like mad, and, for once, exercising regularly - by combining the two (reading while peddling away on the exercise bike), it has become easier to do both. I've already finished one of the books I am supposed to review for Green Man, and the last novel I have to read for Victorian Lit (that would be Mary Barton), and am now working my way through the textbook for my Hollywood Cinema class, a book about theatre, novels, and some cinema, and how they are related to the cultural left in the 30s and 40s. Some of it's interesting, but only a very little of it really has to do with the class. At least I'm reading it - many of my classmates have admitted that they don't even bother with it.

Also, I'm keeping my desire to write alive by reading my copy of The Canadian Writer's Handbook (13th edition). It's a wonderful tome full of hundreds of articles by Canadian writers on how to write, how to research, how to find inspiration...I've desided that if I spend a few minutes reading one article a day, I can get through it without having to wait while I read through all of the others books on my list first.

Now that I've withdrawn from NaNoWriMo, I can start writing Reading the Willow King anytime I please, and I think it will be soon. First though, I'm going to try and finish "Desert Muse", and pester my mother into reading the second draft of The Shining Empress.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I'm Not Giving In, I'm Stretching Out

I took down my "NaNoWriMo" icon today. I've decided not to make a try for it this year.
The party I went to on Friday was also a big bust. I got on the wrong bus, arrived 15 minutes late and ended up sitting with people I was not comfortable with. The whole point was to just talk and hang out at a Boston Pizza, but there were adults there, too, and by adults I mean old people who brought their hyperactive screaming children. Not fun. I ordered the Stromboli sandwich with fries, chatted cordially with a young man in a Robin Hood Men in Tights outfit, and had a brief, friendly debate with a teen who identified herself as a pagan who possessed the animal spirit of a "Fairy-Cat-Dragon". She was very nice to be sure, and as a Catholic I am completely ignorant of pagan beliefs, but weren't animal spirits supposed to be, er, actual animals?

However, I didn't want to stay too long, and ended up having my mother drive me home (I had neglected to consider that the cab companies might be busy on the Friday night proceeding Halloween). I was disappointed in the whole affair - I had gone to this party instead of to the Mixed Chorus' Halloween Dance, an option that my mother evidently preferred. I wanted to get in touch with other writers, to form a network of contacts, but nearly everyone at that party seemed to be amateurs who wrote in there spare time and had no desire to be published at all.
My mother said, "Why do you feel to need to participate in NaNoWriMo? I mean, isn't this just to prove that you can write a novel, and work up your writing skills? You've already written a novel" - The Shining Empress, which I feel I have to continually nag my mother to read - "and you will be published eventually." I considered her words very carefully, and found that I agreed with her. NaNoWriMo seems to be for the hobbyists, but I'm heading for the Big Leagues, I'm in for the long haul. Besides, I have three papers due this month, not to mention finals to study for, books to review, and Christmas presents to buy. In truth, those are supposed to come first.

I might want to give the whole "50 000 words in 30 days" thing another shot when I'm out of University, but for now, I think I should focus on my getting my writing published and out there. My writing has already helped me be considered for a CBC Sketch-Comedy show that is continually being delayed due to a lack of funding and the CBC worker's strike, so maybe I should just stick to that - writing for the Gateway, the Green Man Review, and sending out my stories.

Friday, October 28, 2005

All Grown Up (?)

I'm a second-year University Student, and in two and half months I will have reached my second decade of life, but it still amazes me how young I feel and act in my own mind.

Last night, I came home late, and found my parents had gone out to dinner without me. Feeling miffed, I took some money and walked through the cold to the nearest fast-food joint to get my own supper. I would cook it myself, except, that I can't really cook anything very appetising. I can boil pyrogies, but they cool pretty quickly and once they do they're gross. When the moon is in the seventh house, and the three outer planets are aligned, I can make pancakes that are edible. There was soup in the house, and bread, and cheese - but I was cold and lazy. I didn't want to come home from a long day to eat something cold or lukewarm. So I went to McDee's.
So I left the house in a huff, feeling very irritable and out of sorts, and angry - and the most childish and cliched of thoughts turned over and over in my mind like pancakes of petulance on a griddle of self-righteousness indignation. Maybe I'll be hit by a car, I thought, Maybe I'll be kidnapped or murdered or violated or converted to Scientology and then they'll be sorry, sorry they didn't wait for me, and take me with them to supper so that they could have spared themselves this horrible tragedy.

Mother will cry, "Oh! It's all my fault! If only we had waited to take our daughter with us, then she wouldn't have had the need to leave the house and encounter the Anime Otaku Strangler in a dark alley! Woe! Woe!"

And Father will scream, "How selfish and thoughtless we are! Now that Tom Cruise has her, we'll never see her again! We're horrible parents!" And then they will rend their clothing, and beat their breasts, and tear at their hair, all while I smirk down on them from Heaven, or wherever Scientologists go after they die.

I'm too old for that, aren't I? No one in their right mind would really want to go out and get themselves assaulted in order to spite their parents. But it disturbs me that I still harbour such thoughts.

Worse, Sister #1 decided to host a Halloween party for four of her friends, and Mother and Father bought her boxes of Halloween candy and pop for the event.

Once I found out about this, I was miserable, and immediately I think : Why doesn't anybody tell me these things? Why doesn't anybody tell me Mum and Dad will buy treats so that we can hold parties? It's not fair, I want to have a party and have my parents fund it!

I then proceed to feel sorry for myself that my friends live out of town, or that I don't have their phone numbers, and that they don't know each other so I can't pretend that I always have a group of chatting acquaintances surrounding me wherever I go.

I can't believe that at my age, I feel so depressed whenever my sisters get something, because I feel cheated because I didn't get something too. I was never planning to have any kind of party - I am going to go to a party today for National Novel Writing Month, but I have to pay for my own food.

Why is it that whenever my sisters receive a special and unique and totally-out-of-the-blue gift, I can't help but be angry and jealous and self-pitying because I hadn't thought to tag along on that particular shopping trip, or thought to ask if my friends could come over, or just asked outright that I wanted something, please, please? I immediately forget everything special that was ever done for me, or else they seem to become horribly insignificant by comparison. Mum always used to tell me how hard it was to purchase Christmas gifts when we were young, because she'd always had to make sure that she and Dad spent an equal amount on all of us, and that we all had the same number of presents to open, and that no one got a gift that was just so much more special than the others. I can understand that greed when I was young, but what about now?

Even now, I can't remember anything special my parents have done for me (recently). I'm sure they have done some things, but seeing those huge cases of pop intended for Sister #1 and her friends inspires in me the belief that my parents just love Sister #1 more, that they are more willing to do things for her because she doesn't like silly cartoons and comic books and televisions shows like me, that she's the responsible one and so gets special priviledges, and that they think I'm an adult who is now responsible for getting her own presents and gifts by herself, with her own money, and shouldn't rely on her parents so much for silly things like love.

I'm sure none of that's true - I mean, when our Aunt had a new baby, did Mum say, "No fair! I could have had another baby, and then I would have been the centre of attention!" Or when my Uncle got remarried, did Dad say, "Awww....I didn't know I could get a new wife. Damn!" No. So when am I going to grow out of it?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Reading and Writing - Words and Music

As you can see, dear readers, I have been making an effort to post more frequently, due to the abnormally large amount of people who have been visiting my site! The counter has been up for less than ten days, and already more than a hundred people have stopped for a look.

Of course, with more quantity comes the threat of a lack of quality. When I post every now and then, it is usually because something extraordinary has happened, and I naturally put all of my writing skills to good use in order to transcribe the experience accurately. When I'm updating with the extraordinary (albeit to a lesser extent) somethings of every-day life, naturally I should spruce up the language a bit to keep you all interested, and to give my writing skills a good work out for the literary equivalent of a triathalon that is National Novel Writing Month. With three papers due in November, I have my doubts as to whether or not I will be able to reach the 50 000 words, but I at least want to try. I can be fairly wordy at times, so reaching the limit shouldn't be as difficult as it might be for some, but whether my ramblings will make any sense is anyone's guess.

I did rather terribly on my Classics Midterm, but the professor was very merciful in tolerating my bad spelling (I wrote Pharaoh Akhenaton's capital as Akheton, and the prof accepted it, even though the real spelling is Akhetaton). Still, I only got a 75%, and I don't want my GPA to drop any lower than where it already stands at 3.4, because I can't bear the thought of Sister #1 gloating how she has higher marks, and how a 3.4 is the equivalent of a C+ (I think it's closer to B+, but feel free to comment if you know for sure), which is nothing near as remarkable as her wonderful grades.

And my Symbolic Logic mid-term is today. It is one of those dangerous subjects where one feels that one is so very good at it, and understands each concept so clearly, that studying for it is a horribly boring task and one cannot help but do it very poorly. Of course, when the results of these subjects come back, one finds that one's work is not nearly as perfect as one fully expected it to be, but is instead riddled with dozens of tiny mistakes that one could have avoided if one had studied to the fullest extent of her abilities.


Moving onward, my rehearsals with the Mixed Chorus are going very well. With few exceptions, I have always managed to work myself up into a foul mood concerning some small inconvenience that occurs at the beginning, but I can never succeed at holding onto that black mood for long, because I am always overwhelmed by the power of the music and the general good-nature of the other members. There are two kinds of rehearsals - the ones during the week are "Full Rehearsals" - where the entire Chorus sings together. These are my favourite kinds of rehearsals, the music vibrates so strongly through the soles of my feet (with the help of the very sexy-sounding Bases and Tenors) all the way up to the top of my head (with the pixie-ish voices of the Soprano Is - I am Soprano II, and as such, am rarely called upon to extend my voice up into the quivering heights of the First Soprano Range).

I always feel very powerful when I am performing a solo, but that is nothing compared to the strength that one feels when one is singing with two hundred people behind you. It glorifies my vocal strengths and conveniently hides my mistakes. I feel the same importance that I do as a soloist, but I am no longer subjected to the pressure of having the success of the performance rest entirely on my shoulders, to know that my voice is supported by women who can reach higher notes than I can, and go for longer without breathing, and can remember the pronunciation of the German/Latin/Old English words.

The second kind of rehearsals is the "Sectional", and thankfully -- since our Christmas Concert is drawing nearer -- there are going to be far less of those. Sectionals have their uses, but they come nowhere near the glory of the Full Rehearsal. Sectional is where each section (Soprano I, Soprano II, Base, Tenor, etc...) learns their own notes individually. For someone who can't sightread music, this is incredibly helpful to me, because in the heavenly cacophony of the Full Rehearsal, it is sometimes hard to pick out what is supposed to be your note out of the host of others.

My two problems are that it sounds a lot quieter and makes my fumblings more apparent to sing in a smaller group, and that our section leader and instructor makes a frustrating amount of mistakes when teaching us the notes. We always get it right in the end, but I have lately taken to keeping a score of how many times the instructor says "Sorry" throughout the course of the Rehearsal. I realize it's petty, but since everyone has already learned their parts for all of the songs, I will have less occasion to do so.

Lastly, I am completely engrossed in Mary Barton. It truly is a marvelous work of fiction - it drew me right into the story so that I could not stop reading. All the heroes are so flawed and beautiful, and Elizabeth Gaskell is very adept at linking the scenes with the proper amount of suspence. Mary Barton, if you don't wish to be spoiled, does not go the Emily Peggotty route, I am happy to say. Her mistakes are eventually rectified, not without cost, to be sure, but the ending (I haven't quite finished) doesn't look like it's going to be as completely depressing as I suspected it would be. As I mentioned before, the book is quite realistic, although it does occasionally rely on the quaint idea that strong emotions (sorrow, a broken heart) can lead to illness, convulsions, and death. During the courtroom scene where Jem (Mary's true love) is declared "Not Guilty", Mary is so anxious and stressed that she undergoes a type of epileptic seizure, and takes a long while to recover. I think it's fairly silly, but the rest of the book seems to be quite well-researched, so I'll leave it alone for now. I highly recommend you all try reading Mary Barton, if you haven't already.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

At least I got the 'the' part right...

I made a complete ass out of myself, dear readers, during my film lab yesterday. We have to watch two films, the first of which was On the Waterfront. During the break between the two films, I phoned my mother to tell her I was going to be late (due to the films' lengths).

"Oh? And what's the second film you'll be watching?" Mum asks me.

"Into the Night," I reply, from memory. I hear the professor snort, but I can't see for what reason. I start to understand, once the movie starts - the title says Out of the Past. Eeep.
Well, it's not my fault, you see. I lent my syllabus to an acquaintance from The Gateway, because he said he'd missed the first few labs and classes. I lent it to him, he did not give it back, he does not attend any of the classes or labs afterwards anyway, and I no longer see him in The Gateway offices. This required me to ask the professor for another copy, which was embarassing, to say the least.

On the Waterfront was a fairly decent movie, I enjoyed it, and Marlon was a babe back then. I couldn't understand why, after he testifies against the Mob-run longshoreman's union, all the other longshoreman were cruel towards him, or why that annoying kid killed all of Marlon's pet pidgeons. I understood it better after I read a part in my textbook that relates how Elia Kazan portrayed Marlon's testimony in a manner that echoed his own "naming of names" during the Red Scare. I don't quite see the connection myself - getting people into trouble for supporting harmless politics seems to be quite different then exposing a union leader who resorts to murder, poor wages, and blackmail to shut people up.

Out of the Past reminded me, in the very beginning, of the plot of A History of Violence, and I thought it would turn out that way. Turns out not - it was dead boring, with endless unnecessary twists, a sardonic gumshoe (Robert Mitchum, who bears a faint resemblance to Clive Owen) and a dame (Judy Greer) who leads us all on a repetitive she's evil - she's being used - she's evil - she's being used chase. They end up dying together (Judy's character shots Robert's while they're driving towards a police barricade, and she's finished off by a cop), and the innocent towngirl that the gumshoe was hooked up with walks off with another dude. Not quite my cup of tea, I'm afraid.

Mary Barton is turning out to be quite the quick read - even when I have to go slower over the accented dialogue. It seems strangely more contemporary than the others Victorian novels I've read - Elizabeth Gaskell doesn't cushion the narrative with piles and piles of words (like Dickens, who I think I take after the most, stylistically speaking), and describes quite appalling, and appallingly realistic conditions of the poor. Mary Barton, to me, seems to be following the Emily Peggotty route of David Copperfield - she's adored by a man of her own low class, but she's aiming high for the son of a factory owner in hopes of becoming a lady. I certainly hope that Henry Carson isn't entirely like Steerforth, and won't try to marry the girl off to his butler when he's through with her.

In writing news, I was working over the plot of my NaNoWriMo novel (only in my head, you understand), and I came to realize that my ending was a tad idealistic. However, this was not a bad thing - because it gave me a wonderful idea for a sequel, while still supplying the first book with a climax and conclusive ending.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Portrait of an Artist?

I've tried reading like mad on Sunday, and managed to finish David Copperfield just in time for today, when we will be discussing it in class. I've decided (for now) to renounce listening to music, because it takes up hours of my time and is entirely unproductive, seeing as all I do when I listen to music and rock back and forth and daydream about my fame as an actor/singer/screenwriter/director/fantasy novelist/Hollywood social butterfly. I have also decided to limit my television to two hours a day (more on weekends), reading during the commericals, and staying up later to read into the night, and getting up early to read as I exercise on the bike.

David Copperfield was a good novel, and I've just finished reading it for the second time. I enjoy David's character very much, even if he does seem to be quite submissive - more an observer than an instigator. But the women in his life (with three exceptions - Betsey Trotwood, Peggoty and Agnes) are all twits. His mother is a push-over, with no self-confidence, who worries herself into an early grave instead of standing up for her son. Clara Copperfield's answer to verbal pressure is to burst into tears - which solves every type of problem, now doesn't it?
I hated the character of Mrs Strong, when I thought she was cheating on the Doctor with her idiot cousin Jack Maldon, and even in the end, when it is revealed that she never strayed, even though all circumstances contrived to make her look like an unfaithful gold-digger, I couldn't help but hold on to a bit of my dislike of her. Why didn't she come forward sooner?

Dora, while certainly good-natured, had the mental age of a six-year-old. A very cheerful, sweet six-year-old, but a child nonetheless, which disturbed me to some extent as to why, exactly, David was attracted to her in the first place. Especially since she had the nickname of his child-wife. She lives on in every girly, bubble-headed yuppie with a tiny yappy dog forever in tow - in short, she is the Paris Hilton of the Victorian Era.

I believe I felt the harshest feelings towards Emily. I know we are expected to feel more angry towards Steersforth than Emily (and he did lure her and used her, there is no doubt of that), but Emily made the conscious decision to go with him, in order to rise above her social station. I can respect that, even though it broke Ham's heart, and I would have had a great deal more fondness for her if she had stuck to her guns. But no! She insists on sending letters full of misery and self-reproach. "Oh, I hate travelling all around the world with a wealthy gentleman, gaining admiration and fame!" --This is a crude paraphrasing, "I'm a horrible, horrible, evil person, feel free to hate and forget about me!" If she feels so badly about what she is doing, why does she continue to do it? Get over yourself, woman!

What confuses me is that my English prof refers to David Copperfield as a kunstlerroman - that is, a portrait of an artist. David becomes a writer at the end, but what I disagree with is the suddenness that he turns to his craft. There is very little indication that he shows any sort of inclination towards writing - he tries things as a proctor, than a note-taker for Parliament, then suddenly "took a liking to authorship", by "writing a little something". Where did that come from? True, there was a period in his childhood where he read a great deal and loved all the adventure stories he had on his bookshelf, and in Salem house he told stories to the other boys, but once he runs away to find his aunt Trotwood, and starts living a better life, he forgets completely about this - until it resurfaces suddenly after his wedding to Dora.

It's much more obvious in books like, say, Anne of Green Gables, where everyone knows that Anne simply must become a writer, because there is no restraining her imagination and flair for the dramatic. I simply wish David would have remained more consistent, would have tried writing a little earlier while he was with the Doctor, and it would have made more sense.

I also learned today in Japanese class, that the Japanese are simply crazy for Anne of Green Gables (who is known in Japan as, translated, "Anne of the red hair"), and when a Japanese citizen says he's going to Canada, it is immediately assumed that he is going to visit Prince Edward Island. It's astonishing, really - nearly everyone in Japan has at one point, or will at one point, read Anne of Green Gables, or watch the anime adaptation (!) or read the manga adaptation (!). I can't imagine what part of the book would be so appealing to an entire nation (I enjoyed it myself, it's one of my favourite books, and my mother has always been convinced that I am Anne's twin in personality, imagination and verboseness) to such an amazing extent.

I guess admiring Canada for one literary work is similar to admiring Japan for one medium (anime). Silly me...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Drowning In Words...

I'm a very greedy person, about certain things, to the point where I find myself in awkward situations.

My family has always loved reading--my parents have a huge room in the house stocked with thousands of their books. I inherited this love from them - I love getting books.
Well, now it's getting to the point where I have too much to read. I have all those Victorian novels to read for English, I have three novels to review for Green Man Review, and another book on the way (a George R R Martin novel in a series I love, but I have to do it as an omnibus with the other previous novels - novels that are 600 pages long, or longer.)

Not to mention I have a gigantic list of books I want to read, culled from Locus and Entertainment Weekly reviews - none of them I've even come close to being able to read. I also have the Jasper FForde books, and the Neil Gaiman books, and all of my parents books which they are always insisting I read (Shogun, the Lord Peter Whimsys, Starship Troopers, etc.). And that's not even mentioning all of the classics (Dickens, Bronte, Austen, Falkner, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Revelations, Timothy, Acts of the Apostles...) that I believe I have to read if I want to have any respect at all in writers'-circles.

And yet, today, when my parents went to the bookstore, I tagged along and got them to buy me another one. Shinjuu, by Laura Joh Rowland. What is the matter with me? Well, I guess I know what's the matter. I simply can't bear to be left out of a "treat" situation, so I take what's offered without thinking about how good it is for me. I think I might even have to give up TV to finish reading all that I have to read. I might have to save up to buy another bookcase, or throw out some junk so that I can clear off another shelf to put them on. I might have to stay up later reading (and do it in a sitting position, I always fall asleep after reading one paragraph if I attempt it lying down) and wake up earlier to read (even though it annoys Sister #1, who sees my light under the door and thinks I'm staying in bed on purpose so that I don't have to go down first and empty the dishwasher - which isn't what I'm doing. I swear.) . I just don't know what to do - I never thought that I'd be in a situation when one of my favourite pasttimes has become a stressful burden to me.

By the way - my hit counter turns out to have been a good thing after all - I thought it would go up once, maybe twice a day if one of my relatives visited it - but close to ten people see it a day, even more sometimes. This also means that I must start writing in it with regularity, because I don't want to disappoint you dear readers, who, as it turns out, are most certainly NOT a figment of my imagination!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I've Added New Stuff!

Namely, a hit counter - so I can see how many dear readers I actually have. Whether this will prove, or shatter my beliefs that my blog is at least a tiny, humble, perfectly modest hit, is yet to be seen.
Currently, I'm pretty stressed. I've been lazy, and the result it that now I'm scrambling to study and read and take notes, and apply for scholarships and make the deadlines...
I can only fervently hope this is all over by November, so that I can participate in NaNoWriMo unimpeded. I've joined the forums now, so you may all go to and have a chat with me, if you like. The website is very detailed, and I've already signed up for parties and stuff with my other regional writers.

Monday, October 10, 2005

New Novel!

As you may have noticed, I've signed up for NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November.
Basically, the point of the contest is to write a 50 000 word novel from November 1st to 30th. Meanwhile, people from all over the world get together and have writing parties and participate in writing forums to prepare for the big event.
I already have a novel planned (Reading the Willow King), that I haven't started writing yet, that I will save until November to write like crazy. Wish me luck!

Check out the official website, if you dare. It sounds like a great idea, and they're raising money to build libraries in Laos.

Blogging from the Mountain Tops

‘Tis me, dear readers, about to experience a most enjoyable Thanksgiving Weekend. After my grandparents, who had previously hosted the large holiday dinners like Thanksgiving at their house, moved from said house to a luxurious condo, we’ve always had the big feasts at our house. They are worth the trouble and the effort, in the end, but really, it does take such a great deal of trouble and effort to organize the whole affair, to cook and baste and stew enough for fourteen people, to bring up the wooden leaf to extend the table, to put on three layers of tablecloths and polish the silver and assign the seats and scrub the house clean.

Not this Thanksgiving, though, thank the Lord! This year, my grandparents have whisked me and my immediate family off to an exclusive mountain resort, where they have secured an entire deluxe cabin for our lodging. We shall be having turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, but now it will not be up to us to make them, and it won’t be up to us to clean up afterwards. Joy of joys!

Everything is excellent. Mum and Dad, Nana and Papa, and my Sisters 1 and 2 all share rooms together, and I get my own (with a king-size bed!). Each room has its own adjoining bathroom, two nighttables and lamps, a phone, a TV, a closet, and a chest of drawers. Not only that, but because we have an entire cabin to ourselves, we also have a fully furnished kitchen, game room, TV room, and living room for our personal amusements.

We spent four hours in the car driving up here, which meant we spent three and half hours listening to loud music by ourselves, and half an hour rubber-necking to see all the mountains. We were warned upon checking in that it was elk mating season, and to not interfere between a bull elk and its harem of attractive elk concubines, because horny male elk tended to smash everything that moves near their pretty ladies. I figured this was to warn people who were going to take nature walks, and was most unnerved to find not one, but three bull elk and about thirteen cow elk clustered around our cabin. They were eventually chased off by a caretaker with what looked like a gigantic bright-yellow mop, but I will have to remember to be careful when I move from my cabin to the reception desk and the heated pool.
Of course, while all of this was all well and good, it was getting a bit late, and so we headed down to one of the restaurants around the resort for supper, on our grandmother's reservations. We were ushered into a dimly-lit establishment with musak (the worse kind, the kind with jazz sax and clarinet!), where we had to wait another hour to get our food, which was burnt. After alerting the staff to my fatal allergies, I was not allowed to eat bread, and the waitress mixed up our drink orders after spending ten minutes getting them. The only consolation was my dessert, which was specially made for me (the manager was actually quite helpful and accomodating), which was a large plate of fondue with pieces of cake and cookie and strawberry and melon to dip into it.

When we finally went to bed, we found the elk all sleeping around our cabin.

On Saturday, the elk were gone, and we all went our separate ways for the activities. My sisters went swimming, and I followed them after a time, eventually purchasing goggles so that I didn't have to doggie-paddle towards the the shore of the pool with my eyes tightly shut every time my head went underwater. We had a long lunch (long due to the service, because the resort was very busy for the Thanksgiving festivities), my sister #1, Mum, and Nana went on a kitchen tour, my father on a nature walk (which turned out to be intended for children), and I went back to the cabin to work on my short stories.

The dinner this time was a buffet, and since my mother had the foresight to call attention to my allergies during the kitchen tour, when we arrived at the dining hall, a very nice sous-chef named Todd came out to lead me through the whole buffet. Soup was in, bread was out. Meat was in, cheese was out. I managed very handsomely (although I limited most of my choices to meat), but could only manage some ice cream for dessert, because all of the deserts had been exposed to nuts and the kitchen was far too busy to do anything else, something I completely understand.
We have a sing-along on Saturday night (during which every family member is annoyed with at one point or another - the "young'un's" like my sisters and I because we don't know all the old Irish hymns my grandparents sing, and the older ones because they don't approve of the word "ass" in the songs that the "young'uns" choose), and then charades--which was quite hysterical during some parts of it, because we knew each other so well, one would only have to charade one word for a family to call out the eight-word movie title they were thinking off.

Sunday morning, no elk. We went to church in town, where I was reduced to pent-up hysterics by the end of it due to the creepy priest, who spoke horribly slowly with a terrible accent and a half-disgrunted, half-murderous look on his face. We finally managed to leave, and participate in the brunch, where Todd again leads me through the buffet.

I love brunch buffets--because it usually means waffles, the large, thick belgian kind, with lots of whipped cream and berries and hot syrup to go with them. I was horrified during the buffet tour because Todd told me to AVOID the waffles because they bought the batter from a company that might have exposed the batter to nuts. Without pastries or bread or cheese allowed, I began to miserably plan my meal around slices of greasy bacon, pan-fried potatoes, and bacon-potato salad, when Todd showed up again to correct his previous statement - as long I wasn't allergic to soybean oil, the waffles were fine. To my delight, they didn't just have hot syrup, they had hot MAPLE syrup, something so expensive that I rarely have it but tastes heavenly on waffles.

We go shopping afterwards, but no one gets anything after we entered a shop that actually charged about $25 more then the prices they advertised, which is illegal. We left in a huff, and alerted the front desk to their activities.

Mum and Dad and I go for a short walk to see the other Special Cabins. We saw the one that the Queen usually stays at, that actually burned down in 2001 and had to be rebuilt identical to what it had been for $3 million.

We also saw the special cabin that was reputed to be haunted (some homekeepers still refused to clean it), after a staff member in the 50s broke her neck falling down the steep stairwells.
I finished the first draft of my short story, "The Desert Muse". I'd started it a few months ago, but stopped working on it after I felt too disgusted with it to continue. Needless to say, I finished it, and while it still needs work, at least it's finished.

Dinner was a plated meal, and even with my allergies I didn't miss much - I still got to have turkey and candied yams and pumpkin tart.
After supper Mom and the girls and I watched Desperate Housewives before going to bed.

Monday (today)
The elk returned, and came so close to the cabin that we watched, in still-faced wonder, as the bull elk of the herd nibbled the hedges beneath our first-floor window. We spent most of the morning watching them, when we were not packing and getting ready to leave and discovering that I'd lost my goggles. I think it's safe to say that after such a wonderfully luxurious stay, I've been forever spoiled for other, lesser hotels/resorts.

Monday, October 03, 2005


I'm currently experiencing one of those periods where I look upon my future career as a writer with dread.

It's a hard life, being a writer, and to be honest, I've become accustomed to an upper-middle-class life of standard luxury. I don't know what other marketable skills I have other than writing, and so what will I do for a living? I mean, I belong to an online writer's group for fantasy authors, and ALL of them are hoping to be published, but some of them write like crap, only they don't know it. Here comes the tingle of self-doubt: what if I am a horrible writer, only I don't know it? My parents think my writing is great, but they are my parents. They insist they are being subjective, but as their daughter, my instinct is to disbelieve anything positive they might say about my writing.

I mean, I might want to go into teaching (that's the only other career idea I have right now - I don't have the memory capacity or stamina to be a doctor or a lawyer, and I don't have the people skills necessary to go into advertising, and the city where I live is not enough of a cultural hub to lend copywriters any great opportunities), but will I have time for writing, then?
This whole train of thought leaves me feeling depressed and self-conscious. I feel like everything's wrong with me except for my writing, and the only reason that my writing's excluded is because I don't know for sure. I'm lazy, I can't cook, I can't clean (I'm a lazy perfectionist, which means it takes about 3 hours of lacklustre work to complete a task that should only take an hour of dedicated work), I can't keep things organized and neat to save my life, I can't shop - everything I buy shrinks, so I continually believe that my clothes look horrible on me and that everyone else knows it - I think I'm ugly, or at best, "unconventionally beautiful", I can't pay attention, I can't remember things, I'm overweight with an addictive personality (I thank God I never started smoking, or else I'd never be able to quit that - I'm having a hard time quitting a bizarre habit of rocking back and forth while I listen to music, a habit I am certain is giving me brain damage), nobody likes me, I can't make friends, or if I do, I'm inconsiderate and can never bring myself to keep in touch with them for more than a few weeks before I forget about them, I want to own cats but am now certain I could never stand to own one because I'd just be compelled to wash my hands every time I'd pet her, I'm narrow-minded and habitual, I don't like travelling or trying new things, even though those things are integral to being a good writer, I limit my writing because I don't know enough about how the world works to write well about it, and I think that I'll never know enough because I watch too much TV and keep my head in the clouds or down in the sand and never read the political bits in the newspaper, and don't even know where to start with fieldwork and research, I'm selfish, I like to talk, I spend money irresponsibly and never keep up-to-date on my finances, I'm petty, I'm immature, I'm pretty sure I'm a racist, I can't tolerate mistakes in others when I make so many myself, I think I'm losing my hearing, I label myself a devout Catholic even though I daydream about cartoons in Church half the time, I like to sing but am never willing to train myself professionally and feel envious of anyone who sings better than I do, I'm vain (during the periods where I do not think I'm ugly), I'm proud, I like to flaunt all my tiny accomplishments as if I invented How to Make Chocolate Pudding All By Myself and How To Get an Encouraging Rejection Letter, I'm vengeful towards my sisters, I manipulate my mother to get angry at my father whenever he picks on me, I'm a hypochondriac, I don't want to grow up and get my own doctor and my own dentist and my own optomitrist, I can't drive, I daydream all the time, I can't keep my room clean, I can never remember which ridiculously fruity socks my sisters wear when I do the laundry so I always give them the wrong ones, I can always find an excuse for not working (like writing in my blog), I worry all the time about being poor, I rarely give to charity, I'm always wishing that my high school years had been like the ones on TV, I feel nostalgic for when I was in elementary school and didn't have to worry about all of this, I'm greedy, I think I have an eating disorder (too much food in, instead of too much food out), I love to mooch off of others while contributing as little as I can, when given essay topics I always go for the one I think is easiest, I can't help but think that every writing idea I get has been done and re-done hundreds of times, I'm convinced I'm not up-to-speed with every other student on the university campus who talks about "the postmodernist populism of post-Imperial Britian" or some such thing involving post-whachamacallits and somethingisms, I've never kissed a guy, I'm afraid I'll die a virgin, I'm tempted to become a nun just so that I don't have to think anymore, I lie and exaggerate the facts and say I saw someone do a crazy thing for laughs when it was really me and I was too embarassed to say that I did it, I talk during movies, I'm always afraid my mother is going to die, and I can't help but think that the best years of my life are over.

And I'm only 19.