March 1, 2010

750 Word March challenge

There's a website that promotes daily journaling with all sorts of incentives like the challenge this month of writing 750 words every day.  It gives you badges, tracks the time it took you to write it, and lets you earn points etc for each day that you complete the 750 words.  March seems like a good self-development month to me, I think because it's the start of spring weather and everything gets a fresh start.  So, let's see where this goes.

(This is also a HIGHLY effective procrastination tool for things like senior theses.)

This weekend was so unbelievable.  Staam performed so well on Saturday! and I have never been prouder of our performance.  We seriously nailed it, and I was still feeling the music high the next afternoon.  Even without an after party, the get-together at one member's apartment was the perfect group ending to the night.  However, there was definitely a price to be paid.  Last week we had rehearsal or a performance every night, for seven days straight, and my voice was destroyed yesterday.  I had also been fighting off the infections of everyone around me all week as one after another our members fell victim to colds and fevers and aches and pains.  I took Rachel to the airport yesterday morning and when I came back, slept for two and a half hours.  Somehow, my body knew what it needed and took it forcefully.  Then, today I also slept in, waking up at 12:15 for my noon class--oops!  I may not have been very productive but I do feel a lot better--way more rested and definitely more awake and ready to go (I even feel less sick, which is great).

Okay, so it turns out that 750 words is a lot.  As in, at the end of that last paragraph I had 286 words.  The real thing, though, is that I think the entries are supposed to be somewhat stream of consciousness.  (Too bad stream of consciousness is a bit revealing to be publishing directly.  I think I'll be a bit more circumspect.)

I was reading two stories for my fiction class today--one that I expected to be good and one I expected to be mediocre--and I was surprised by both of them.  The allegedly mediocre one was a slap in the face for being judgmental: the story was raw and visceral even as it was very true to the author's voice.  The allegedly good story was good, but it it did not startle me the way the other one had.

When I read short stories, they all seem to strike me as having the same tone: a bit flat, monotone, melancholic; I don't know if that reflects the uniform struggle to find ordinary things beautiful, or the natural strange, or the unnatural warm and reassuring, or whether it's not a reflection of any of those things but instead the descriptive quality of them, the way the authors craft pithy, excellent descriptions and sentences and intense metaphors for a single moment of literary bliss.  I can't tell if I approve of this, or if I like it or not.  On the one hand, the well-written ones evoke a sadness in my heart, an ache that makes me want to read more of them; on the other hand, after too many short stories I feel like I need to watch something peppy and happy, or at the very least beautiful and not dingy and dark.  But some stories evoke the beautiful, the joyful, the sadness paired with the uplifting.  I don't know exactly what it is, but somehow all of these short stories: the disheartening ones, the uplifting ones, the strange ethereal ones, all leave me with the same sensation.

Maybe it's that I've forgotten how it used to feel when I would finish a book and want to immediately read it again, or that sense of loss because the rest of the story can only exist marginally in your mind, whereas before it existed truly before you, played out in the ether in front of your mind's eye.

I'm nervous to have my story read by my peers.  I was rereading some of it today and I had forgotten I had put some of the developments in--the ending still surprised me a little, I had forgotten the degree to which I had introduced madness into the plot.  I can't tell if what I wrote is crafted well--I think the essential story is interesting (if I dare say so myself), but I don't know that I worked hard enough to make the imagery pop and the rhythm fluid.

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