Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Margins and spacing, check.

Chapter headings, check.

Sub-headings, check.

Reviewing rules of grammar regarding dialog... checking.

I had no idea about all the new grammar rules that are out now. Well, considering that my last writing / English / typing class was back in high school (which was, well, a long time ago) I guess many of these "new" rules could have been around for a long time.

For example, in 1994, when writing a list that contained three items or more, a comma followed each item up to the last:

Item one, two, and three.

Now, apparently, that is incorrect - the last two items on the list do not have a comma between them:

Item one, two and three.

The use of quotations and some punctuation have also changed. Has it really been that long for me? As I continue to stumble through this manuscript looking for these unknown errors I'm starting to question, for the first time really, whether or not I am truly cut out for even writing such a project.

I wish I could blame society... Believe me, I wish that. That I could say that this mightn't be happening if we could settle on proper language and grammar rules and stick with them.

That maybe so many people out there have refused to learn proper grammar and so we caved to the mediocre and changed the rules to accomodate them.

But, of course, it's not society's fault. Not the mediocre or the lazy... It's a sign that I am rusty; that hobby writing alone is not quite enough to keep up your skills and stay up to date with changing trends and rules.

That I should have been trying harder to stay on top of my game. Trust me, it will be a lesson I'll not soon forget.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I don't really know when I started to realize that the American Dream is, in fact, overrated. Or perhaps overrated is the wrong word? I don't know - you tell me.

I do know that as a little girl, I was filled with hope... Hope that all stemmed from what has become "The American Dream". Work hard and you can get anything you want. Study hard and you can be anything you want to be. Of course, this is only if what you want coincides with what your parents and teachers want you to be.

I know what you're thinking... No, that can't be. But it is.

You see, when I was little I went through many of the same phases that other little girls go through. I wanted to be an astronaut, a baker, a famous chef... I wanted to learn to play the piano, become a novelist, and be the next great singer / actress. And while I was little, these plans and aspirations were, for the most part, met with enthusiasm from my parents and teachers. Everyone said I could do it. Everyone said I would achieve my dreams.

But that's because at the time these dreams fell in line with what their dreams were for me. For some of them, they knew I would eventually change my mind... For others they thought, eh, I was young and still had all the time in the world to get working on them. But then I started to grow up and my dreams began to change. Not all of them; but enough of them to make everyone realize that if they didn't start to tell me the truth - that you can't have everything you want no matter how hard you work or study - that I was going to pick the "wrong" dream.

The earliest example that I can recall on this was when I was a teenager. Of course, there are two laws that govern the lives of all teenagers. The first required that I rebel against everyone of authority (especially my parents), keep secrets and most especially stop "working up to my potential".

The other law that governs all teenagers is that you have to find yourself. Finding out the type of person you really are, what you like or dislike, what your role is and what you want it to be. What cruel timing on Mother Nature's part to force us to go through such an important growth and learning period while we're still awkward from pimples, crushes, and bodies that just don't fit, hormones that are being held hostage by every emotion and - to top it all off as though that just wasn't enough - adults don't understand what you're going through and so they can't help you.

And believe me, even as a teenager I knew that most adults wanted to help me... they just couldn't. And it's not completely their fault. As a teenager - we all like to think we have the world by the shorties - but in reality we don't have a clue even about our own bodies. We don't know how to say what we feel. All we know is that every nerve at every point in our brain is on fire - we laugh hard, we party hard, we get pissed off at the smallest things, we hurt hard and we fall in love hard. Teenager do everything hard - they are the extreme human beings and they don't know any other way to be.

Wait... Where was I again?

That's right... The American Dream.

So, in class today, we had to run through some introductions and tell a little about ourselves. The session was great because I got to hear about so many different stories from so many wonderfully diverse people.

And then it was my turn. And my story was met with disdain and contempt. "You're planning to write a novel and practice therapy? Isn't that expensive and selfish? You're planning to work with children? Are you crazy?"

"Is all this just an afterthought for you? Or was working in psychology always your dream?"

Well, okay class. You caught me. Psychology was not always my dream. But sometimes the best dreams are not the dreams that you planned and worked for all your life. Sometimes the best dreams just find you.

And if that makes me selfish - well then, I guess I did get a part of the American Dream after all.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yet Another Dream For Me

So, here we are, and I'm doing it again... Launching off on another long-awaited dream.

No, this one is not of publication...

 At least, not quite publication.

 No, this one is of finally getting to finish my Master's Degree.

 That's right. as of today - I am rejoining the ranks of "Student" ... I start my first day of the rest of my life today.

 Well, to be more specific, I start my graduate studies as a psychology student.

 I know, I know what you're thinking.

What does this have to do with writing? And will clients be able to take me seriously if they see that I write fantasy / sci-fi novels?

 Well... I look at it this way. Perhaps my work as a therapist will help me develop deeper, more profound characters that my readers will fall in love with.

Or perhaps my writing will inspire me to help my clients in a way that no "traditional" therapist might think of. Either way, my vocabulary is bound to benefit, right?

And with all the research papers and writing that I will need to do while I'm in school... I doubt that I'll fall out of practice.

 There are still a lot of decisions to be made, like which population would I want to work with and where do I find an internship. What type of therapist do I want to be? (I had no idea that there were so many!). So - yes... Another day, another dream. Why settle for just one?