02 September 2017

Here We Go Again.

From Big Hero 6 via Writer's Relief
Lord love a duck, it's been ages since I've last posted! Some of it had to do with the crazy technology issues I've had (internet has been such a struggle for me over here, along with a super-fritzy laptop). Most of it has to do with my number-one life problem, time management. 

I have to admit, I've been consistently busy since I started working in Japan. Contrary to what a lot of stuff floating around on the internet says, my job as an assistant language teacher requires a lot of work on my part. I am just as busy as I was back in the USA as an adjunct prof at NCSC, but the nature of my work has changed significantly. 

I have a lot of creative control with what I decide to teach. I plan all of my lessons myself and pretty much run my own classes with my JTEs assisting me. I spend most of my downtime at my schools making the things we need for the next class (I pretty much live at the laminating machine at school). I am also wrapping up TEFL certification and other online courses, on top of sneaking in some travel and relaxation where I can.  

I am always planning, making, and doing...but I'm having such a great time with it. Teaching over here has forced me to tap even further into my creativity and I find myself coming up with things I never would have imagined to try when I was a teacher back home.  On top of that, it forces me to be creative on the fly. It's been a very long time since I was able to come up with an idea on the spot, and the ability to improvise is very much needed for this line of work. 

I've been writing again, and more regularly than I have in a long, long time. (Just not on this website. Oops.) I find that when I am unhappy with my life and under a great deal of stress, writing becomes insanely difficult and I stop making time for it. For a couple years now (!!!) my work was like an equation I couldn't solve. I felt like I was on the edge of coming to some sort of understanding about it, and I vaguely knew what I needed to do, but just couldn't figure out how. 

Because my creative gears are whirring again, I'm tackling a lot of problems in my earlier works. I also started worldbuilding my novels from scratch, and abandoned some major ideas I'd been working with for a long time with my thesis novel and its sequels. Some of what I've abandoned had been a core part of my personal beliefs around writing in the fantasy genre, so it's like a shock to my system. That's long enough to be its own post. 

Since coming to Japan I've rewritten chunks of my books, and now I've  recently taken a pause from them to create what I'd like to call a World Book. I actually never wanted to do something like this, because I was of the mindset that if it wasn't necessary to the story, you just don't include it (I have earlier posts on this site railing against appendices and maps as a requirement for the fantasy genre). It is fun to worldbuild but if you get lost in the excitement of it, a lot of that will leak onto the page in the form of info-dumping. 

I've always believed that when I write, the world should be secondary to character and plot. And yet, I'm making this massive worldbuilding portfolio of things that will likely never make it into the books. But I think I just need to pour it all out of my head, and the understanding that comes from it will continue to help me figure out what my books are missing, and where the stories will go. 

I'm happy to continue my writing adventures, and I hope to slowly kick this site back into gear. Please look forward to it! o(*>ω<*)o

28 January 2017

"Coppelius" is published in Synaeresis!

Synaeresis issue one now available!
Read "Coppelius" here.
I am pleased to announce that my poem "Coppelius" is a part of a new online poetry and arts journal, Synaeresis. I am so happy to be in the company of talented artists and writers and am thankful to see my poem in print.

The first issue is available now! You can find it on Scribd, Archive.Org (which lets you send to Kindle or Nook), and Issuu

There is also a call for submissions for their second issue is you wish to submit your poetry or art for publication. 

About Synaeresis

From the journal: "Synaeresis is an online journal showcasing literary and artistic talent from London Ontario, Canada, United States, and from around the world. Though poetry is predominant, there is also flash fiction, photography, and original artwork. Published by Harmonia Press of London, Ontario." It is edited by Andreas Gripp.

About "Coppelius"

"Coppelius" is inspired by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman," which is a short story you can read here. "The Sandman" dates from 1816 and is arguably one of the earliest works of macabre fantasy to feature elements of modern science fiction (automata), along with works such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

The contributors to issue one of Synaeresis.
"The Sandman" is also famous in Sigmund Freud's essay on "The Uncanny;" in fact Freud writes, "Hoffmann is in literature the unrivalled master of conjuring up the uncanny" (9).  Freud explains that the uncanny "derives its terror not from something externally alien or unknown but--on the contrary--from something strangely familiar" (Morris). It's the feeling of something being not quite right, of something being off-kilter. This feeling, in a nutshell, is cognitive dissonance, and Hoffmann is a master of taking something familiar to us and warping it enough that it no longer represents what we know it to be.

My poem is the personal narrative of Dr. Coppelius, and while he mentions the automaton Olimpia, the real genius of the invention is, of course, the "eyes." And as I write in my poem, "eyes are not a window, but a mirror."

Please enjoy, and thank you so much for your support!

Works Cited

Freud, Sigmund. "The Uncanny." The “Uncanny” (1919): 1-21. MIT.edu. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Web.

Morris, David. "The Uncanny and the Fantastic." The Uncanny and the Fantastic. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.