Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts

I both admire and am bewildered by the authors who can spend the majority of their careers writing stories in the same world.  They may span continents and periods of history, or they may concentrate on one extended family, but the underlying laws of nature and magic are the same.  This creates a great deal of depth and the ability to explore the same world through the eyes of different cultures or time periods - and the latter isn't done nearly often enough.

I just can't hold myself to writing in a single setting.  I'm too often thinking of ideas and story-sparkers that need an alteration to the underlying assumptions of the world to work.  If I tried to impose this on the same setting, well ... I'd have a cast of very cross and confused characters.

This is part of the reason why I want to get back to my Ishene and Kemel stories at some point, though they definitely lend themselves more to the episodic than to the concentrated arc of a novel.  Ishene is a time mage, allowing her to travel to different historical periods and places within her own world.  Her magic also slows down her aging drastically, so there's the potential for there to be cultural / technological shift during her lifetime.  One of the free-writes I have yet to finish is written from the POV of her apprentice, when Ishene herself is quite old, and it mentions factories and industrial technology.

Of course, another possibility would be to develop this setting from the impromptu scraps I've created in the four or five short stories I've written thus far, but I'll be honest:  I'm not sure there's enough meat in their setting to hold my attention for long enough to do that much detailed groundwork and development.  Still, fantasy time travel is a fun conceit that allows me to dip into the ebbs and flows of imaginary history.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts

There are times, when I try to explain what I do for living - and this comes up a lot, you might imagine - that I feel rather judged.  This is probably more a reflection on my insecurities than upon the person(s) I'm talking to:  I know that realistically, no one is expending that much thought about my life.  But I can hear the mental monologue in the back of my head:  impractically artsy; scatterbrained; can't she make up her mind?

So I answer, silently, with something like this.

I have always been a writer.  From a young age, I knew I wanted to have novels in print.  From not quite such a young age, but relatively early on, I also knew I wasn't going to be a full-time writer:  not only is this very rare and difficult to pull off, but as someone who creates by incubation, I needed something else to do to get away from it and let my ideas mature.  I went through a few possibilities before at sixteen, I discovered the harp.

My adoration for the instrument was near-instantaneous.  It only took a few months of playing before I knew I wanted to do it professionally.  I had hopes at the beginning that I would be able to make a living from it ... but whether it's the opportunities in the area, my weakness as a self-promoter, or a combination of factors, that never materialized.  I took on part-time office work to stabilize my financial situation.

As this developed, I also began to experiment with cooking.  Unlike an ordinary, sane person, I started with Indian cuisine and complex recipes.  I was fearless.  I also set off the smoke alarm more than once.  But as time passed, I discovered how much I loved these culinary excursions.  I began to joke about culinary school - some day, down the road, eventually.

Then, finally, I hit a turning point.  My part-time work was stressing and overwhelming me; I felt stuck in a rut.  I met with a career counselor and floated the culinary school idea past her just to feel it out.  She helped me map out that option, but also focused me on several ways to improve my current situation.  Yet the more I came up with ways to increase my satisfaction with where I was, the more I felt the pull towards the culinary.

I finally decided to pull the trigger.  I'm at a point in my life where I have the freedom and circumstances to take on new adventures.  Let's do this thing.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts

"The streets are crawling with Romans!"

Humor is a funny thing.  (Pun intended.)  Sometimes, jokes that are perfectly constructed just glance off us ... but other times, a particular line, scene or situation strikes us as hilarious and continues to amuse through innumerable repetitions.  Sometimes, that bit of "perfect" humor isn't all that funny, objectively speaking - but it always makes us grin.

Here are a few of mine.

Since I couldn't find the above bit - from History of the World Part 1 - I include another classic snippet of Mel Brooks visual punnery:

Comb the Desert!

Also on the classical movie front, saying "Surely you jest" or anything of that ilk in my family is only at your peril:  the inevitable response is, "I am, and don't call me Shirley."  Back to History of the World Part I, my family also says, "It's good to be the king" at random times ...

This cartoon, from the Far Side, comes to mind almost every time a nasty storm starts to blow in:

Then, of course, there's my favorite response to any discussion of the grammatical importance of commas:

I go to look at this picture when I'm in a bad mood, that's how hard it makes me laugh.

I risk losing part of my audience here, so skip over this one if you're not a watcher of AMC's The Walking Dead.  This definitely falls into the category of "I'm not even sure why this is so funny to me."  It's from the Bad Lip Reading take on the show, which is so-so until you hit this.  Should anyone venture to listen without context, let me preface by saying that in the show, this is an extremely tense face-to-face negotiation:

The Governor's Song

More generally, something that never fails to make me smile, from the wonderful folks over at Improv Anywhere.  Imagine going to your local mall and encountering this:

Food Court Musical

Finally, my favorite one-liner joke:

Q:  What do you get when a midget psychic escapes from prison?

A:  A small medium at large.

If any of these tickled your funny bone, enjoy!  If none of these strike you, well ... humor is a funny thing.