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11/30/16 12:01 am - 185,552 words

Just barely made it in time to say I finished on the 29th--THE FIRST DRAFT IS DONE.

11/28/16 04:22 pm - Let it be known that November 28th is...

This has been such a nice day.

My roommate was out, so I left my door open for the cats to walk around free, and one of them woke me up shortly before my alarm would have gone off, so I got those drowsy moments of "I refuse to budge, and by the way, I totally don't have to." I did some laundry and read over an assignment I gave to one of my students last week, and was very proud to see that many of the other classmates worked together with her on it (I had her do it because she seemed like the only responsible one, haha! ^^;).

I took a walk out to my tea lesson, my second one since reaching Shanghai since I'm busy and my teacher is often busy breastfeeding. I got there really early so I had fifteen minutes to kill and caught a friend on a Skype chat who I've been missing lately, and then I got to very, very thoroughly enjoy my lesson. I got to drink tea from a tree that is over 500 years old, and it had a really lovely fragrance and smooth texture. My teacher had me start using some of the tools, and she's looking fired up to give me more frequent lessons next year. She gave me a little gaiwan to practice with and some nice tea to try out and see if my family might like trying that variety when I visit home in January.

After that I took a longer walk through that neighborhood and found a street where they've begun not sweeping up the leaves. This part of Shanghai, the old French Concession, has a lot of character and when the weather is nice and sunny, you often see people out on the streets taking fashion photos. Many of the people I passed by seemed to be distinctly enjoying themselves.

I was looking for a cheap lunch, but accidentally got an expensive French lunch because it had my name on the sign. Eheh. It was a tasty galette. I had the terrible little pleasure of listening in on what bits I could overhear of a table of Japanese women. They caught my attention with the unmistakable "eeeeeh?" all in unison while listening to someone's story.

Here at home, a few of the items I ordered on Saturday came in, and I was surprised by a very nice little homemade Christmas card from a family I spent many, many good times with in Yasugi, an even smaller town next to Matsue. As for my items that came in, I was prepared to be disappointed because online shopping is still a jungle to me, and but I really like the short I was give-or-take on, and the sweater than came needed some more fiddling around with, but it gave me a fun excuse to try out a bunch of accessories with it. Verdict is that it will work.

I edited my students' work, and while I don't know how it's going to work performed, it was a charming little read. That was the last of my "must do" items for today, and I still have plenty of time to work on my story. I'm fairly certain I will finish writing it tomorrow, which is exciting (a) because it will be done, and (b) because I happened to finish my 2014 novel on the same date and (c) 29 is my lucky number anyway. The climax is going really well so far; I have one more long chapter of action to write and then two chapters of wrap-up, which will probably be on the short side.

Another one of my items I ordered on Saturday just arrived, and it's my calendar for 2017. I wanted the exact same very of the one I'm using for 2016, which hangs in the perfect size and place on my desk and has exactly the right minty color I used among my other turquoise and teal items throughout my bedroom (which I worked very hard to try to get perfect--every day I regret any decisions to leave Japan, I look at my clock and remind myself what a very, very good decision that clock was). Unfortunately, this calender's border is not the minty color I thought it would be, but it's a distractingly bold shade of bold.

But I'm not throwing fits about those things now like I was a few months ago.

And hey, it matches my little Mawaru Penguindrum penguins on a couple of my desk shelves.

Anyway. Time to find a snack and then get to writing. WRRRIIIIITTTTIIIIINNNGGG~~~~!!!

11/23/16 05:32 pm - HERE IT COMES

160,281 words in a 363 page document. 44 chapters written.

My characters are about to walk right into the climax of this story.

AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA IT'S COMING I'M ALMOST DONE.

But dang it, this is going to be a long climax. The plan has to go well before it all goes wrong.

Back to plotting, then back to writing I go.

Just a little more.

Well, no, probably at least 10,000 words more. But hey, THIS IS IT, I AM ABOUT TO WRITE THE CLIMAX.

*maniacal laughter with a twinge of crazy*

EDIT: So I'm plotting and... um... this is probably gonna take a lot more than 10,000 more words.

*faceplant*

11/15/16 07:26 pm - My thoughts are one big jumbled mess and now I'm a bar of chocolate

Pretty much every facet of my life is causing some stress right now, even if it's slight. At work I'm really just trying to stay afloat, but the waves are coming from all directions--so many directions; many of which were already opposed to each other before I even came in. Sad to say it, but I'm already counting down the months left in my contract (a little over 21). I know I can do this, but I'm certainly not qualified on paper for a lot of it, and though people have been very earnestly giving me feedback, I'm still not very good at being a teacher. Every time someone says I need to put more energy into it, I want to shrink into a deeper and deeper little hole inside of myself.

I knew things were going to be harder here--I knew I was growing soft and needed the challenge--but because I'm not surprised, I feel like I have no right to complain about everything stressing me out. I knew they'd be here and I came to learn to deal with them and be a better person for the experience.

But right now I'm feeling bitter and dark and tasteless, like a good bar of chocolate that was left exposed to the elements and is now covered in sugar blooms.

I cannot say that I regret leaving Matsue, despite how much I miss it and despite how much difficulty I'm having with trying to be a happy person here (though it does come in nice doses). When it comes down to it, this was fully my choice, and I don't feel like I can complain about my stresses because I'm very lucky to be where I am (for which I'm grateful). I also feel a lot less inclined to complain when I think about refugees, the people who felt they didn't have a choice and are going through the same kinds of struggles.

My suffering is hardly even a degree of theirs, but it is still along the same lines, and frankly, I do feel I am suffering. It's been keeping them very close to my heart since June or so, and today, when I was having a very, very overwhelming day with a long list of causes, I still feel calmer when I think of them. I pray for serenity as much for them as for myself.

11/9/16 03:19 pm

I've done a lot of crying for my country today.

10/19/16 05:33 pm - It happens

I'm at 96,400 words now (probably can hit 100,000 tonight, ya~y, might even finish Part 2 of 3 soon), and I had to take a break just now to watch "For the first time in forever" from Frozen.

It's just occurred to me how my main character, Tobica... she's such an Ana. XDDDD

----

Okay, not totally like Ana, but they've got a similar level of energy which makes writing her fun. And today wasn't quite another 10,000+ words day like I hoped, but I'm at 100,450 words now, so that's accomplishment enough for the day.

Granted, I'm probably going to take out huge chunks of everything related to one of the characters who is still the most difficult for me to get a handle on, but I'm pretty happy with out some of the other scenes I wrote today are looking. Okay, well, no, a lot of them were wrapping up and defusing the high tension of the previous chapters and helped it transition to what is going to kick of the last plot arc, so while they're not the best parts, they're soft and sweet and necessary. And also I say "last plot arc," I still have flashback material and set-up to write, so I'm still on Part 2 of 3 for a while.

So anyway, yeah. Still have a ways to go. But it's going.

10/12/16 09:03 am - Pfffffthahahaha

While I know there's plenty of scientific explanation of biases, I do like to believe that some sorts of clairvoyance exist. To add to my list of examples, a certain friend of mine--whom I have known for the greater portion of my life now--and I have often had an odd link, especially in our dreams.

Yesterday she had a silly dream about me visiting Colorado again and she picked me up and then she introduced me to her new cats, I started acting like a cat and stubbornly wouldn't answer her and even climbed to the top of her closet and she had to coax me out before she could shake my shoulders and tell me to snap out of it.

Yesterday, about the time she was sleeping, I was picking out dates for my next visit to Colorado, and asking family members about if they'd be able to pick me up from further airports. I told a small handful of people what dates I was considering, and I thought about telling this particular friend, but decided I'd hold off until I firm up my plans. (And then I went home and played with some annoying cats.)

-----

Also, streaming things is basically a joke, and I'm better off working on my novel (77,806 words and hopefully a lot more than that by the end of the day). There's been some improvement since my 16 hour battle with the digital world to watch the new Tri movie; it only takes me about 2 or 3 hours to watch an episode of Thunderbolt Fantasy. Two episodes to go, and I still love it.

-----

Also, I'm dragging myself out of the "I'm still adjusting" phase and pushing myself into the "groove" of things. I had two lovely tea outings last week and two martial arts lessons so far, and I want to start private Mandarin lessons by the end of this month. As I have not set foot outside of Shanghai since arriving, I'm going to take a day trip to Hangzhou next week to finally see my beloved city in its so-called most beautiful season, especially since it's a good spot for enjoy osmanthus flowers (which I looooove).

Although my trip to Colorado in winter will take up most of my time off for the year, I've tentatively decided I want to go to Mongolia in the first week of May (because it looks like that's my only other long break this contract year), go to Sichuan next fall, and go to NZ/Australia for a potentially shorter winter break next year). So maybe it wouldn't quite be in time for my birthday to be a summer birthday, whatever. But anyway, yes, Mongolia. It might be a short trip, but I've already found some nomadic excursions that look like they're about the right length of time and price. (Now I just need travel companions. :D)

10/7/16 03:54 pm - It's like the moving process keeps going and going

First, an ode to my first laptop, Zescyl, the white one my grandmother gifted me with when I was 16 in celebration of my high school graduation a few months earlier. It didn't have WiFi but it was fairly reliable, and one autumn day during graduate school, my sister told me how she needed to replace yet another laptop due to damage they had been suffering at the hands of a small child. I started feeling thankful for how long Zes had lasted me--almost six years at that point--and then suddenly the screen went black. Zescyl had not died, but was blind. So blind by that point. Thankfully I had a monitor to borrow until I could replace it, and a few weeks later, I had Azur.

Azur was... sort of shiny at first, and since my sister happened to have a matching laptop, once we lived in the same house again we went out and got stickers for them together. But Azur gave me frustrations... so many frustrations... Azur continues to give me frustrations...

After six years of use and trying my hardest to hold out for 6.5, I could not stand it anymore, and Zebulon arrived yesterday. Although I wanted to try a different brand, it turns out the new and improved version of Azur was the choice that made the most sense. Unfortunately, Zebulon only speaks Chinese, and he thinks he's really snazzy with his Windows 10 getup. I can already tell he's a bit of a brat.

I'm trying to get Azur to share some things with Zebulon, but both are being a little frustrating, especially since I'm doing it via the internet, which is already pretty slow here. Watching something would keep things slower, so I figured I'd send myself my word doc first, but Microsoft Office tells me it's busy and that this "won't take long." Haha, right.

I'm at 75,000+ words now, by the way. It's sorted into three semi-standalone sections (not long enough to be their own parts in trilogies), and I'm in the 2nd section now. My progress has slowed down a lot, and I've not been as productive on it this week as I hoped. Still doing my best on it.

I was really tempted to make a Tumblr comeback yesterday. I drew some responses to Asks I got, and I'm really looking forward to posting the sad one because I know everyone is going to love/hate it. Buuuuuuut the scanner is not working either.

Technology really hates me lately.

For what it's worth, I can get photos off my phone.

9/29/16 08:00 pm - IKEA is a four letter word

MY FURNITURE IS ALREADY BROKEN.

I gave it a chance, I browsed the store a few times, I assembled a bunch of the furniture, I basically filled my room with it.

But let the record be clear: I hate IKEA.

9/28/16 01:53 pm - Because memes

You know the drill--Describe yourself in three fictional characters.


Bishamonten (Noragami)


Miho (Fancy Lala)


Hotohori (Fushigi Yuugi)
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