Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reporterly Things

New York TimesImage via WikipediaSo I may or may not have mentioned in an earlier blog post that I am a writer for my college's paper, The Vanguard. Since I have the memory of--and I hate to use this analogy--a squirrel, I really have no clue what I've actually talked about without going back and looking. But since I am sure I've told you I'm lazy, I'm sure you can understand why I haven't done so.

As it is, I have been promoted (without my knowledge, which is kinda funny) from "Contributing Writer" to "Staff Writer" on the paper. I don't know if that means anything in the long run, but I like to think they've grown rather fond of me and my often odd story ideas. (Refer to this post to get an idea of what I mean.)

Anyway, there's all of that and my continuing dislike of actually doing the actual articles. Don't get me wrong. I love my part-time job as a "Staff Writer" and it pays the coffee bill, but I hate writing in the journalistic style. It's so boring.

That's why I'm glad they don't make me do "hard news" stories. I'm pretty free to write whatever I want so long as they like it and think people will read it. So, I do book reviews and write crazy stories about squirrels, and I spout off my opinions about various things like Egypt and other stuff while citing sources to support me, and things are cool.

Yet...the idea of being a reporter just bugs me. I'm lazy. I love writing, but I don't like interviewing people or finding sources. I have to do that for my journalism class and it drives me insane. Mostly because I have to listen to my teacher explain things so thoroughly my mind shuts down and I drift into a coma, but also because we can't write creatively in that class.

I feel like I've come to the real problem. Journalism tries to contain me in a small space that has no room for my crazy, artistic side to breathe. It gets claustrophobic in the confines of journalism. Not to say that I'm not grateful to be a paid writer, but still...Bailey don't like being put in a corner.

Does anyone else have this problem? Do you feel like you're being slowly suffocated by the constraints of certain writing styles? Or does it not bother you at all?

I'd be interested to know. And if I'm alone in this, I will need to tell myself to suck it up and be a man. Rub some dirt in it. Or something.

Until next time...happy writing!
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday, Yet Again!

Coat of arms of Hogwarts, the fictional school...Image via Wikipedia
Wednesday is by far working it's way toward becoming my favorite day of the week, and it's all thanks to the wonderful people at YA Highway for the delightful prompts they provide. Thanks y'all!

This week the prompt is: What books were you obsessed with as a kid?

Geez. What books weren't I obsessed with is a better question.

Well, the first books that come to mind is the Harry Potter series. I became hooked in the 2nd grade and since that time I have enjoyed myself immensely in my submersion into the wizarding world. To be completely honest, I still think my Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail. It has to be difficult for an owl to fly across the Atlantic, right? Right. Just agree with me.

Harry Potter wasn't my only love though, in my wee childhood days. I remember distinctly loving the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. I was big into mysteries. Still am, in a way. But other than those few collections, I was a very eclectic reader back then.

Seriously, I had some major AR points and I always won the prizes in school for reading. I'd read just about anything that I could get my hands on. I read Beowulf for the first time in the 6th grade just for the heck of it. I'd heard some seniors talking about how they had to read it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Turns out I rather liked it, although verse has never been my literary love. Same for Canterbury Tales. Very neat stuff.

Anyway, it's hard to choose just one collection or type of books that I loved to read when I was younger. I suppose the same could be said for my tastes today.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Wise Man's Fear Update

Cover of "The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller...Cover via AmazonFor some reason, I have only just now made it to the middle of The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. It's not like I don't love the book, because I do, but I think it has to do with the fact that my classes are out to get me.

Seriously. They are. And they only started overwhelming me right when I bought The Wise Man's Fear and said to myself, "Yay! Now that I have it, and I have all of this free time between classes, I will finish it in no time!"

Wrong, past me. So very wrong.

So here I am, updating you people who are reading this--and probably wondering why you are reading this or how you got here--on my current reading progress.

Maybe by next Spring I will have it finished.

Here's to hoping!

(Brief interlude while I take a sip of sweet tea.)

Okay, I'm back. As for the book itself, I'm seriously in love with Rothfuss's style. For reals. All jokes aside, his books are AMAZING. If you haven't yet got your hands and eyes on a copy of The Name of the Wind, I recommend it. Actually, I heavily recommend it. Yes. I went there.

Just imagine...
The Lord of the Rings told in first person, through song.

Okay. So it's not really in song, but that's the closest I can come to even describing how Rothfuss puts words to use. The entire book just flowed over me like water or the wind. Which is slightly magical considering the book's title. Anyway, read it.

Once you do, I can guarantee you will be hunting for The Wise Man's Fear, and who knows? You might actually finish it before I do.

Wanna race?

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Squirrels. I told you.

Evil SquirrelImage by The Michael via FlickrThe article from my college paper, and...I may or may not be the author.

So there's been this constant debate among academians (I'm of course referencing myself and Slice of the Blog Pie's Alicia Gregoire), whether or not squirrels are in fact, evil. (Click evil to read Alicia's take on squirrel conversations and to find other interesting squirrelly stories.)

We both seems to agree that, yes, squirrels are evil. I know it. She knows it. And now thanks to my newspaper's April Fools edition, the whole of my campus knows I consider squirrels to be not only a nuisance, but dastardly plotters of man's downfall.

Okay, I didn't actually say that, because I didn't want to freak people out, but I did showcase the squirrel gangs on our campus. They really do exist.

I've seen some squirrel throw-downs and it ain't pretty amigos. Fur and nuts were flying everywhere and I considered myself lucky that I could (possibly) outrun them.

Now I'm going to go check my door and make sure they haven't marked me for termination. And possibly buy a Jack Russell terrier. Because they're the natural enemies of the squirrel.
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Time for an Inheritance. (Possibly Spoilers)

“The burning questions asked by fans around the world will finally be answered in this last installment,” said Christopher Paolini. “All will be revealed!”

Finally. Paolini has teased the literary world with his trilogy that soon transformed into a quartet for almost a decade. According to the official Random House press release, “Now, both new readers and established fans can enjoy the full story without interruption for the very first time.” That was straight from the mouth of Nancy Hinkel, Vice President, Publishing Director of Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Yes. At last we can read the series and not have to wait years for the next book to come out and suffer not knowing how long it will take. Thank you Random House. I'm so relieved.

I remember when I first read ERAGON. I thought it was awesome. I waited fairly patiently for ELDEST. I was still firmly in the Harry Potter waiting mindset though, so I wasn't too bothered by how long it took for ELDEST to be released. I was too busy freaking out about what would happen to my favorite wizards next.

BRISINGR came along and Eragon finally fulfilled a promise or two and I was relieved because I was beginning to think I was wasting my time reading about Eragon's life. I was sick of hearing him complain and do things wrong, but I continued to love Saphira. She's been the thread that's kept me reading.

The little love story that may-or-may not happen between the frustrating and frustrated Eragon and the definitely out of his league Arya made me groan in dismay when NOTHING happened. But at least he didn't have that nasty scar anymore right? And he found out that he wasn't the son of Darth Vader. Wait...wrong story. He wasn't the son of Morzan, my bad.

Am I the only one who just wants something to happen in INHERITANCE? I'd just love for Paolini to resolve all of those prophecies, kill Galbatorix, and send Eragon on his little way out of Alagaesia and across the sea.


Now this is not to say that I'm not looking forward to Novemeber 8th. But please, Paolini, have mercy on me. It's been almost ten years. Let's end this merry-go-round of a series, shall we?

Anyway, I won't do any more spoilers, but if you haven't read the series, just wait until November so you don't have to suffer like the rest of us.

Despite my angst and anxiety, once again, I am impressed with John Jude Palencar's artwork. The covers for each of the books are beautiful and I'm not ashamed to admit that was part of the reason I picked ERAGON up in the first place all those years ago. Although, is it just me or does the green dragon look suspiciously like Saphira? For a minute I just thought it was Saphira flipped around and colored green. But there are some subtle differences, and I can definitely see how the green dragon is portrayed more as a "nice" dragon than Thorn, the red dragon of Murtagh.

Okay, well that's all I have to say.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Must Be Irish!

The YA Lit Six

For the first time ever, in the history of my life, I won something! And not just something, but the contest on YA Lit Six blog! And it wasn't just winning, it was first place winning!!! (Look at those exclamation points, I'm really excited.)

I won an autographed copy of RAIN by the wonderful YA Lit Six blog member Kieryn. RAIN is her debut novel, and I get an autographed copy! I need to seriously calm down. I've almost used my quota for exclamation marks for the week and I still have a few days left. I might need them...

Also part of the first prize (!) is a custom header/button designed by Katie, also blogger of YA Lit Six, and I'm thrilled about that as well. I wonder what it will look like...I hope it has a wolf on it. Or maybe a Black-eyed Susan. Or a sparrowhawk! Katie designed the YA Lit Six logo button that I'm featuring in this post. Isn't it purty?

But wait, there's more. My leprechaun ancestors that helped me win this prize among prizes wanted me to mention the full manuscript critiques that I will get from each one of them(insert exclamation mark here, and multiply by infinity.)

Needless to say, I'm not quite sure I'm awake right now. It's entirely possible this entire day has been a dream.


1. I got my hair dyed dark brown, although that isn't much of shock considering it's happened before.

2. My sister talked me (me! the girl who hates pain and needles and combinations thereof) into getting my ears re-pierced after I let them grow up four years ago. Now I have 4 mm cubic zirconium stainless steel studs in my ears. And my ears are slightly numb. Is that a good thing?

3. I won a freaking contest! And it was first prize!

Somebody pinch me. Please. Am I being punked? Did I really get my ears pierced?

Yep. I did. And I now know not to tug at them. They're tender. (Ouch.)

Okay then. This is real...

Best Day Ever!

Ms. B. Hammond
1234 Mulberry Lane
Anchovie, AL

This is a notice from the Exclamation Restriction Department regarding your exuberant usage of said punctuation in recent minutes. Due to the current balance of your punctuation account being zero, we have since fined you for overdrawing in the amount of $35. Please note that all account charges must be paid in full before the next calendar month. Thank you for your business. Have a nice six days. We'll be watching you.

Colon Parentheses, I

Exclamation Restriction Department secretary

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Heighdy Ho Neighbor

Which book character would you like most as a next door neighbor?

Happy YA Highway: Road Trip Wednesday! I didn't miss it this week, and I'm super pumped about the prompt. I mean, who doesn't wish their favorite book characters existed in real life and lived next door to them? Umm, no one!

I did, however, have a difficult time actually choosing who I would want as my neighbor. It wasn't easy. There are just sooooo many characters that I absolutely adore, but in the end, one stood out and I'm happy with my decision.

Drum roll please...

Molly Weasley.

I would have said the entire Weasley family, but wherever Molly goes, they go as well, so I really think I've covered that with my choice. My reasons for choosing the fiery mother of the redheaded wizarding family are many.

A few include:

  • She's awesome.

  • She can cook like nobody's business.

  • She killed Bellatrix Lestrange (easily something I wished someone would do.)

  • She doesn't take smack from anyone.

  • Obviously: She's in Harry Potter and I'm a sucker for that series.

  • Why didn't I just choose the man himself, Harry Potter? Well...I would, but I thought that wouldn't be nearly as fun as living next door to the Weasleys. There's always something going on at the Burrow, and I bet Harry just wants to live a nice quiet life after all that hard work of defeating evil and destroying Voldemort for good. I 'll leave him in peace.

    Besides, this way I would get to see ALL of them on a pretty regular basis and I bet Mrs. Weasley might invite me to dinner every once in a while. She's the motherly type after all. And I'm just a wee lass. I need fattening up.

    What character would you like to have as a neighbor?

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    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Progress...It's a Word

    Behold the iPad in All Its Glory.Image via WikipediaI define progress as a state of existence that eludes me.

    Why? Here are a few good reasons.

    1. Super Duper still doesn't have a new name.

    2. I haven't finished editing it either.

    3. The plot hole in the middle continues to exist despite my not-so-obvious efforts to fill it in.

    4. I'm blogging about Super Duper rather than actually working on it.

    5. My stomach is growling so I decided to feed it a double bacon cheeseburger instead of those crunchy yummy broccoli pieces.

    6. That one might actually be filed under progress.

    7. My Winter jackets are cluttering my school closet whilst my Summer clothes are at home.

    8. Sleep? What's that?

    9. I'm pretty sure I have a midterm this week.

    10. Maybe two, but I can't be sure.

    11. I'd have to dig out my syllabi to find out.

    12. And that's just a hassle.

    13. Besides, I don't even know where those pesky syllabi are.

    14. (Is it syllabi or syllabuses?)

    15. (Auto-correct seems to indicate that syllabuses is the right choice.)

    16. I hate auto-correct.

    17. But I love bacon cheeseburgers.

    18. I have class in an hour and a half and I'm too tired to go.

    19. But come an hour and half I will be there in class suffering.

    20. But maybe Dr. Strange will let me play with his iPad 2. That would make me feel good. And possibly help me make some progress.

    That list totally didn't do anything. But it was fun. I think I should leave the lists to funnier people than myself though.

    Until the next time...I'll be hacking away at the list of stuff that I need to do. Wish me luck!

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    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Spring Break, Take Two!

    Vector image of the symbol of the Deathly Hall...Image via WikipediaOh boy. Where do I start...

    It's been a long week. For starters, I missed this week's YA Highway: Road Trip Wednesday because I was working. And I've been too tired to write this post about how I missed it until today. Two days later...

    Anywho, I'm exhausted. I never realized how annoying fellow Spring breakers are to the locals running the shops and restaurants, until I was one of the locals. Sheesh. I apologize for myself and all other college students. We're pretty dumb.

    Some--let's be honest, mostly dudes--are really stupid. They border on imbecilic when in groups, because large numbers of dumb people looking to have a good time just adds to the idiocy factor.

    It's like a law that dumb people get dumber around other dumb people.

    A good thing to come of this week is that I now have a chocolate frog trading card of Godric Gryffindor thanks to a very wonderful person who I shall not name unless he wants to be named, in which case he will be named and with great gusto.

    I think I'm going to take a page from C.J. Redwine's book and do a list. It just feels like something I should do. Here I go.

    1. I do not like matchy-matchy guys in polo shirts and hats of the same color. It's just weird, so don't do it. Ever. Not even in the privacy of you rooms. I will feel the disturbance in the fashion force and a shudder will go up my spine.

    2. Please no pictures. I'm not a model, nor do I wish to be when I'm trying to check my e-mail and drink coffee through a straw so my teeth stay white.

    3. If you do take my picture and I happen to see you, do not run away into the boy's bathroom where I cannot get to you and I can't stomp your phone into tiny bits of plastic and glass.

    4. If you expect me to ever take you seriously, lose the floppy girl's hat. And stop being all matchy-matchy with your frat bros.

    5. It's not recommended to anyone that you eat silicon beads. There's a reason it says "Not for human consumption" on the packets. Just saying. Thought it was a universal no-no.

    6. When I say I'm tired. I mean I'm tired. And when I'm tired that does not mean I want to "party with you until the break of day." Especially if you're wearing a yellow polo shirt and matching hat.

    7. Or a purple polo shirt with matching hat.

    8. Or green.

    9. Or black.

    10. Or orange.

    11. Or any color of the rainbow that may or may not be visible to the human eye.

    12. Sweet tea means I want tea with sugar in it. Not tea that isn't sweet. I'm in the South for Pete's sake, you'd think it'd be obvious.

    13. I like jelly beans. So does someone else.

    14. I love my Godric Gryffindor card. He moves. Like magic.

    15. I haven't eaten the chocolate frog yet. I keep waiting for it to jump and try to escape through my window.

    16. I still haven't finished The Wise Man's Fear and it's making me irritable.

    17. It's Arts and Crafts this weekend and I still haven't gone to buy a replacement mug that my mother said, "Jumped out of the cabinet and committed pottery suicide." The toxicology report still hasn't come in and I'm doubting the suicide story. My shell cup had so much to live for.

    18. I also haven't bought my customary pina colada in a coconut this year. I don't feel whole without it.

    19. I did get my traditional henna tattoo. It's the Deathly Hallows symbol (as portrayed in the photograph above.)

    20. I spent most of my paycheck at my job buying clothes and shoes. I haven't decided yet if I should take away my own debit card or not. (There are just too many cute things for me to buy!)

    Well, that's all folks!

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    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Springing Break

    Murudeshwar Beach IndiaImage via WikipediaOf all the things college students want to do on their Spring breaks, working doesn't naturally climb to the top of the list. But I've never been one to follow lists.

    I like to be a little different. I walk on the wild side. I'm working and I like it.

    Wanna know why? Because I like money.

    Sounds pretty simple. The only problem with my current state of being has to do with the fact that I don't have as much time to be lazy. And I also really like to do NOTHING.

    It's a strange combination in a person. A lazy workaholic. That's me.

    I've never had much of a problem with who I am. Sometimes my parents do and I usually try to stave off the laziness to please them while I'm at home. Hence the working. I don't know if I would have survived just lazing around to be honest.

    They'd want me to do stuff. So I am. I just do it because I decided I want to do it.

    See how I thwarted them? I'm tricky like that. See, if they had told me to do something I would have instinctively retracted and developed an inner resistance to their parental admonitions.

    This way I beat them at their own game. Of course, I'm also doing exactly what they want me to do. But that's neither here nor there.

    I'm a winner. At least in my own eyes.

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    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Road Trip Wednesday! I'm a Fox!

    Todd from The Fox and the Hound.

    Not what you were expecting, is it? When I was a little girl, I used to pray at night before I went to bed that I would wake up as a fox.

    It sounds silly reflecting back on that childhood dream, but I really did believe that God would turn me into a fox if I prayed hard enough.

    Obviously, I'm not a fox and the prayer didn't work, but I can't say that I'm disappointed. I'm actually very happy that God decided, "Hey, she wants to be a fox, but she'll thank me for ignoring that request someday."

    I am thankful.

    1) I have opposable thumbs and I can type this post.
    2) Foxes have a bad reputation and I have a good one.
    3) Foxes can get mange and it looks really gross. I do not have mange. Nor do I anticipate having it. 

    So, thanks. But why would I want to be a fox in the first place?

    Good question. I thought that being a fox would be super cool. That's about it. Other than that early childhood fancy, I don't think I've ever wanted to be like someone else.

    Thankfully, I've always had pretty good self-worth. I also led a very sheltered life, so I was protected from some of the nastiness of society out there.

    I'm not going to say that I didn't have my share of bad times, but I somehow managed to keep my head up and push past whatever threatened my sanity.

    These days I don't want to be a fox.

    I want to be a wolf. They're much bigger and faster, and they can hunt big game. Like me.
    From 2010-12-28 Hunting 2010

    Well, that concludes this week's YA Highway: Road Trip Wednesday. Hope y'all enjoyed my little flashback to childhood innocence.

    Am I the only one who wished to be an animal?

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    My Writing Muscles

    John Thornton and BuckImage by Dunechaser via FlickrIt feels like it's been forever, but I wrote a short story today and my writing muscles are sore. I've been so out of practice that I had to sit for a few minutes and stare at my computer screen before the ideas would come.

    I joke sometimes that I don't know where my inspirations come from, and often I'm right about that. But when inspiration does strike me, it hits me hard and knocks me backwards with its intensity.

    One story that I started as kind of a random writing project to distract me from my more serious projects is called The Wild Ones. It's part dysptopian, part naturalism. I like to think that I've captured a little bit of Jack London in what I'm writing. Call of the Wild is one of my favorite books and his short story "To Build a Fire" gave me chills the first time I read it.

    I want to be able to impart some of that bleakness and utter ruthlessness of nature to what The Wild Ones embodies. I struggled with maintaining my own voice and yet still exploring the twisted nature of humanity versus extinction. I'm not what one might call a "dark" person. I'm more rainbows and bluebirds than fog and crows.

    But...somehow I can't get this story idea out of my head. I figure that I'll just have to write it out of there.

    It's frightened me a few times to see what I've come up with. I think that may be a good thing, it means I'm writing something stronger than my own rationality. If I can out-write my own logic, I think I'm on the right track to really capturing something good.

    Whatever the case, I set out to answer the siren call of the Wild and I wrote an introductory short story to The Wild Ones. The main character is a man who witnesses the end of the world as we know it. He's one of the first to return to the Wild.

    In a way, he's Adam after the exodus from Eden, except I didn't give him an Eve. He's going to have to find her on his own. Or perhaps I'll go back in and write her in.

    I haven't decided yet. I like the way the story ended, though, but I'm liable to change my mind. It happens more often than I would like.

    Until next time...stretch those writing muscles!

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    One of My Writer Friends, Jash!

    This is one of my friends from YWS (Young Writers Society) and she has a wonderful voice. I love listening to her sing, and now I'm promoting her, haha! I really hope y'all watch and listen and then love it. This song was featured on YWS and thank goodness I check the site everyday. I'm glad I found this video/song. Oh, and Jash is my niece. (It's a YWS thing.) So, she got her talent from me.

    Don't laugh.

    Okay, you can laugh. I'm not going to post a video of myself singing. And you all would do well to thank me.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Hi, My Name is Frank!

    Say hello to my newest friend.

    His name is Frank.
    He's a robot.
    He's also a magical dragon who sees out of his rear.

    Yes. He's pretty epic, and I can say with a large amount of certainty, that he is the most awesome Lego robot ever to grace the robotics lab at my school. Probably even the coolest robot to be featured on the blogosphere.

    Frank was born today at approximately 10:00 a.m. He is what happens when an art major and an English major are in a group together and want to "make their robot better."

    Just to be clear: I'm the English major and I came up with the idea of the dragon and provided the art major with necessary Lego materials. So really, I was the brains. (Sort of.)

    Once Frank was "birthed" by our creative minds, we fed him and nourished him with programs designed to make him a more well-rounded robot. He performed beautifully, I must say, and the other robots cried little digital tears as he outshone them on the obstacle course.

    Today has been a good day in robotland. A bright day. A day to remember, because it has been made a better place by the robot-dragon named Frank who can shoot a laser out of his butt, touch stuff with his sensor tail, back up, and maneuver around the obstacle, before then returning to his laser to follow a line indefinitely.

    Go Frank. Go live your programmable dreams. You deserve it.

    Until next the robot! *dances*
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    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    I Love Potentially Winning Things

    Shown is an apple pie with a single slice remo...Image via WikipediaOf my many activities involving the World Wide Web, my favorite has to be blogging and blog lurking. I'm a Blurker. That's the new term I created for my current state of existence.

    Anyway, while blurking around I tend to find wonderful things like ideas, new people to blurk on, new blogs, funny stuff, and of course, CONTESTS! No blurking session would be complete without my entering another contest and having the potential to win some free STUFF. Who doesn't love free stuff? I do! (Love free stuff, that is.)

    The contest I found today is from the blog Slice of the Blog Pie and it's a great blog that I will plan on following (blurker style!) from this point forward. To get to the point: there's a contest and I'm entering it.

    Wish me luck! Oh and my roomie has just popped popcorn and turned off the lights on her side of the room so I think she wants me to stop giggling at what I find when I'm blurking. Shoot. It's time for my second infusion of coffee anyway.

    Until next time...have fun you bunch of blurkers!
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    Invent your own mythological creature!

    Road Trip Wednesday! I haven't participated in one of these "Blog Carnivals" yet, so I decided what a perfect induction this prompt would be (look at title of post *points up*). Anyway, I enjoy reading the posts on YA Highway, so here's my first contribution!

    Thankfully, as an individual who has a rather active imagination (so active that at times I can't tell the difference between my dreams and real life), I've already given the topic of mythological creatures a great deal of thought.

    In general, I would have to say that my favorite creatures of mythology come from Narnia. Because who doesn't love a faun or a cute little minotaur child? They're just so darlin'.

    Creating my own is a centaur-of-another-color however. How does one go about creating a creature that NO ONE has ever thought about before?
    Here are my steps in creating mythological creatures that are actually plausible:

    1) List some of the well-known ones and their attributes. It helps to know what already exists, so you can eliminate those possibilities.
    Ex: (to remain consistent) Minotaur - half bull, half man, likes to charge at stuff, super strong, often given a bad rep

    2) List some of your favorite animals, since most mythical creatures are some combo of human/animal or animal/animal.
    Ex: wolf, horse, turkey

    3) List some of your least favorite animals.
    Ex: squirrel, cockroach, jack/rat terrier named Belle

    4) Decide if you want your creature to be a villain or a hero. Me? I like both, but for the purposes of this post I'm going to go with villain.

    5) Make monster!

    What should result from this little exercise is a creature of such horror inducing proportions that as soon as you see the picture I drew, you will faint or scream like a Bieber fan confronted with Bieber's new 'do.

    And without further ado, I give you...
    The Jack Rat-tler! Otherwise known as the Canis cum libra, which means something like "dog with scales."

    I know. Fearsome isn't it? Jack Rat-tlers are quite common in regions where there are many squirrels and tiny children to harass. These lesser known creatures of myth like to sneak around houses in the dead of night and leave little "presents" for the owners to find in the morning.

    Some of the species can be tamed and have been found to be useful for guarding purposes, but even when tame, the Jack Rat-tlers can turn on their masters at the smallest sign of weakness.The ancient peoples of North America used Jack Rat-tlers in their manhood ceremonies back in the time before time.

    These days, Jack Rat-tlers are in decline and have been hunted to near extinction. Although, as you can see, I managed to sketch this one while Belle was contemplating whether or not my refusal to scratch her scaly belly was an insult punishable by force.

    It is for these reasons that Jack Rat-tlers are not very well-liked, particularly by those wishing to keep their homes clean and their neighbors happy. If you ever find yourself confronted with a Jack Rat-tler obstacle, this girl advises you to retreat slowly without making any sudden movements. They are liable to strike when provoked or they perceive provocation.

    Well, now that you've met the Jack Rat-tler, go create your own mythological creatures!
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    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    On Being a Writer

    How well I could write if I were not here!Image by madamepsychosis via FlickrLike many fellow aspiring authors, I have dreamed about the day I would see my words in print. In some of my visions, I cry and clutch the bound book to my chest before thrusting it up to the sky in triumph.

    It's a lovely picture to a daydreamer.

    Reality hits as soon as I wake up, and I realize with a modest amount of recollection that my dreams won't come through wishing. I have to put in the effort, and I do. I write everyday, but just writing isn't enough.

    A writer has to be willing to expand and search out opportunities to better him or herself. Also to accept that authorial reknown can come in many forms.

    If you had asked me only a few months ago if I would be publishing articles in my college paper about standardized testing, the conflict in the Middle East, or Study Abroad to China, I would have answered a confused "Not that I know of?"

    You see, I was so focused on the Big Picture that I lost track of the process. Sometimes you have to start at the bottom. It's humbling and you get more out of it, I think, than if you have instant success and bestsellerdom. (Although I'm not going to say I wouldn't like that instant success.)

    The truth is that when you write you have to make certain concessions. For authors, you have to be willing to work with the editors and others involved in the making of the book. For unpublished, unknown, authors-in-waiting you have to be amenable to being published in a smaller way.

    For me, that constitutes writing articles about topics I may or may not be interested in just for the sake of getting my work out there to a small readership. I'm slowly but surely making a name for myself as a writer, and what I've found is that there are some people who really love what I write.

    I'm reaching those few and it makes me feel all fuzzy inside like I've swallowed some vinegar. It's a good feeling, in case you don't know what it's like to drink vinegar. (Insert your scared laughter.)

    Anyway, I'm now the official book reviewer for my college paper, The Vanguard, and I'm happy with where I am right now. I write articles for the Opinion and Etc. sections, and it's great experience.

    No, I still don't have an agent. No, I still don't have a *perfect* title for my book. (Any suggestions would be fantastic. It's about superheroes.)

    But I do have some peace. I'm in the eye of the storm right now and I can see things clearer than I have in days past. I'm not a psychic, but I feel like my future is bright.

    But then again, don't we all?

    Until next time...keep writing and wishing!
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