Friday, August 31, 2012

Smexxxy Friday (Amélie)

No words necessary. :) 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Register to vote, dummy!

After I hit "publish" on this blog post, what am I doing? Yeah. Gonna walk to the mailbox and slip my boyfriends's and I's voting application inside. Why? Because I'm an American citizen first. A black woman second. And a bisexual young person third. People have literally DIED for MY right to vote. How can I make a mockery of that sacrifice by being complacent and apathetic? This is MY  country. I have a voice. Yes, it is small and perhaps insignificant to many. But the naysayers can't stop me from voting.  

I'm voting for a future for you and me. People like me.  People like you. We have the power to flex our vocal muscles and be heard. So let's use it, shall we? I don't care if you're republican, democrat, independent, libertarian, whatever-the-fuck-ever, just vote! Register to vote! Have your say! As citizens, it is the ONLY power we have. So let's use it. 

And that concludes my self-righteous post of the week. Over and out, minions.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Gangnam Style

More K-Pop viral videos coming at ya! Thank you little brother for introducing me to this stupidly hilarious song. Freakin Gangnam Style! 60+million views and growing! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Smexxxy Friday: Toxic Girl (Kings of Convenience)

Don't we all know at least ONE girl like this? That toxic, unattainable bitch who plays with our emotions and then stomps all over our self-control when you try to pull from her web? Yeah. Makes me think of that movie, 500 Days of Summer. 
It was recently brought to my attention that um......yeah, I might've been that "toxic unattainable bitch" in high school/freshman year of college. *insert self-loathing and latent teenage angst* Why can't men and women be PLATONIC? Why why WHY does one party always have to develop feelings for the other??? Anyway...lyrics. Enjoy your weekend. 

In the sky the birds are pulling rain,
In your life a curse has got a name, 
Makes you lie awake all through the night
That's why. 
She's intoxicated by herself, 
Everyday she's seen with someone else, 
And every night she kisses someone new
Never you. 
[ Lyrics from: ]
You're waiting in the shadows for a chance 
Because you believe at heart, that if you can, 
Show to her what love is all about
She'll change. 
She'll talk to you with no one else around, 
But only if you're able to entertain her, 
The moment conversation stops she's gone

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Epistolary Narration

You're probably scratching your head at the word "epistolary," so let's get Wiki'd first before we begin discussing this. 

Some popular examples of "epistolary novels" are: Bram Stoker's "Dracula," Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein, Alice Walker's "The Color Purple," Anne Frank's "Diary of Anne Frank," and any novel where the narration is told exclusively through journal entries, newspaper articles, and other forms of written media.  

I've never written a story with this narration style before. Good lord, the epistolary literary device is a tricky business! Because I can't go into "real-time" to bring my reader into the story, I am forced to really think outside the box to paint a scene and also characterize my characters (without info-dumping!!!!) It is deceptively challenging to pull off. However, I'm having fun playing with this narration style.

Yes, I was mostly inspired by Z for Zachariah, but also by this novella I read recently by an indie author, Steven Katriel's The Portrait of Alatiel Salazar.  If you're into "old skool" gothic horror, give dear old Steven Katriel a read. The book is reminiscent of Bram Stoker and Charles Dickens. 

What I like about "journal-narration" is how "personal" it is. Since the reader knows the narrator is a "real person" and not some omniscient figure, there's a greater sense of urgency, I think. What are your thoughts on epistolary narration? Have you ever written it before? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Capgras + Phantom Limb + Synesthesia

Fascinating lecture by the great Vilayanur Ramachandran. Psychology nerds and other weirdos will enjoy! Thought I'd share. :) 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Smexxxy Friday (tentacles)

This Smexxxy Friday, I pose a question for you. What do you think about tentacles? Lesbians? Nuns? Nazis? And uh...body-snatching? Is that an erotica you would want to read? (I can hear you cringing already) But yes, that's is exactly the project I'm working on at the moment! 
I personally think tentacles are hysterical. Gosh, those tender hentai days of my youth are coming back to haunt me, LOL! Hentai is funny. I don't watch hentai for sexual pleasure...I watch it for comedy. Yeah. Schoolgirls sprouting penises? Tentacles attacking squealing, pink-haired, G-cupped 14yrolds? Really? REALLY? How can you fap to that while keeping a straight face??? The angry queer black feminist in me can't even get upset over something that STUPIDLY ridiculous! *giggle* Over and out, minions!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mahler + House of Flying Daggers

I loooooooove Mahler's symphonies! I've kinda sorta been going nuts on Amazon (just ask my boyfriend, lol) wracking up his credit card on classical music. Rachmaninov is next. I guess there are worse things I could be buying... *let's imagination wander for just a bit*, I don't need new torture kits to dismember small children. Bad, cannibal. Bad. 

I fell in love with Mahler when I fell in love with Nathaniel Hawthorne. Odd, yes, I know. I was reading the Scarlet Letter while simultaneously listening to Mahler's 4th symphony (III. Ruevello) and found myself blubbering quite foolishly at the end of the piece. Might I add, Kathleen Battle sings an excellent EXCELLENT "Sehr behaglich." Most operatic sopranos grate my eardrums, but Ms. Battle is just lovely. And she's black! (Shameless I had to throw that in there but...when my whole family listens to rap and I'm the only one listening to opera, I can at least point to Kathleen Battle and say: "See?! See?! We can sing opera toooooooo!") 
Anyway I digress. I think my boyfriend might kill me if I buy all 10 symphonies. He may just have to deal with it. *snicker* Since we're on the topic of Kathleen Battle, let me share another song with you. If you watched the movie House of Flying Daggers, you'll be familiar with this. *swoon* God dammit, I love you, Kathleen! Happy hump day! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Myers-Briggs: INFJ

I've known I was an INFJ since I was 14. I'm a frickin' unicorn, apparently, since INFJs make up less than 1-3% of the world population. What is being an INFJ like? means we stay indoors a lot. We do a lot of reading. A lot of thinking. A lot of artsy creative expression. We are often politically/spiritually active (Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, etc. are all INFJs) and we try (when we're not wallowing in despair) to make the world a better place. 

I am very sensitive to feelings and so I have to distance myself from other people. When I'm around people, their emotions glue onto my skin and force me to take notice. Does that sound strange? Slightly freakish? Improbable? Insane? Absolutely, it does! And at times I question this thing myself...which is why I avoid people. I am easily incapacitated by negative/overwhelming environments. Large crowds drain me. I have to "recharge" after talking to people.   

So by default, INFJs keeps people at a distance--even friends and family. We're assholes. And we know it. But we create this distance for a reason. Honestly, you guys are just too overwhelming to us. You freak us out. Your noise. Your physical expressions. Your sights and smells. You can throw an INFJ into sensory overload just by sitting still and doing nothing. Our brains are primed to "absorb" you. We're figuring you out--swallowing your feelings, thinking and investigating. And yet we don't tell you what we're doing when we're observing you in silence. Yet our minds are racing the whole time.

You see, INFJs have a ridiculous capacity to care for others. It's sickening. We actually care about world peace. We actually care about saving the whales and all that crap. We take up "missions" or "crusades." We get involved in politics, church, community outreach, teaching, nursing, volunteer work, social work, psychotherapy, etc. etc. etc. We are 100% serious about changing the world and when we realize we can't, when that hard reality crashes upon us, we get depressed. 

The only salvation an INFJ has from this depression is our relationships. If an INFJ wants to be friends with you, expect a lifelong commitment. If an INFJ wants to date you, expect marriage. We expect a lot from the folks we allow into our inner circle because what we offer in return is 100% love. We will lavish you with a seemingly endless supply of affection. We will NEVER give up on you so long as you inspire us to keep going. It makes us stupidly happy to love you. We want to express it--we want to drown you in it. The love of an INFJ is an unwavering and intense experience. All we ask in return is that you love us just as passionately. A tall order, we know. Which is why we refrain, hold back, keep a distance, bite our tongue, keep silent, etc. until the moment we sense you are safe enough and we can finally unleash all of our feelings upon you at once! 

While growing up, I've been told I have a very "intense gaze." Supposedly this is an INFJ trait. I didn't know the power of it until I looked into the eyes of a fellow INFJ. An INFJ male in particular. My sociology professor. He rooted me in place with one gaze, forcing me to gasp. Perhaps probing would be a better word for that look. When he looked at me that intensely, my pained reaction struck him, and he became motionless and transfixed. Then I got angry. How rude of him to do that without my permission! I wanted to "read" him just as he had "read" me, and so I looked right back at him. My professor seemed fascinated and somewhat terrified by it. This happened in a hallway with crowds of people walking all around us--but neither of us moved. I do not know if anyone else noticed, perhaps they did, because we were just standing there like two silent statues, disrupting the flow of traffic. I was "feeling" him out just as he was "feeling" me. I will admit, he was arousing me. And when it became too intense, he RAN off! Haha...literally, he turned and fled the opposite direction. It was strange--watching a grown man run away as he did. I think I scared him. And maybe he was embarrassed because I was his student and we were in a crowded hallway and the two of us were behaving in such a peculiar manner. In fact, another student I didn't even know came up behind me and asked: "What the hell was that?" after he had rushed off, and I was speechless, unable to answer her. It still gives me shivers. Because I know what he was doing. Whatever he saw on my face had startled him. And what I "felt" from him was uncertainty and restraint. He was holding back from doing something--saying something. Perhaps he was attracted to me. I can't really tell. Either way, he didn't want to show me what it was, and so he had run off. It really was a powerful and sexy experience! 

The only similar experience I can think like that was in the summer before 9th grade. Another intense INFJ male experience. He sat in front of me in science class but never acknowledged my existence. He doodled in the margins of his notebook paper. Poetry novels and sketchpads always filled his backpack. If he wasn't reading, he was drawing. Always, completely oblivious to my presence as I peeked over his shoulder. He had a girlfriend, so I never said anything. But I liked him and I "felt" a kinship to him, I guess.

Finally some time during summer break I happened upon him as I was jogging by the school. He was hanging out with a couple of his friends. I greeted him and used his full name. He seemed stunned by that and asked who the hell I was. Without telling him my name, I told him I sat behind him all those months in science class. I told him I admired his last name--Nickel, like the coin. I told him I knew all the titles of the poetry books in his backpack. I told him I enjoyed watching him doodle in the margins of his notebook paper. I told him I thought he was interesting and that he never once looked behind his desk to notice me. I told him I wished he had, so I could've spoken to him sooner before I had to move away. He seemed even more stunned than before, but now I had his full attention and he was looking at me--really looking at me for the first time. It was the same gaze that the professor gave me, I suppose. 

He seemed to be thinking very carefully, and after a moment, he said he wished he had turned around and noticed me too. As I moved to leave, he asked for my name. But his friends were laughing and hooting and I was extremely embarrassed. His expression was unreadable and I felt stupid. So I said my name did not matter and turned to jog away when he suddenly sprang forward and grabbed my wrist. His intensity hit me so hard I could not move or breathe. I actually trembled. He said in a low, hard voice: "Your name matters to me and I want to know who you are!" He never wavered, his passionate expression almost frightened me. His hand did not feel possessive or aggressive around my wrist--it felt insistent, determined. I realized he had only grabbed it to stop me from running away. The irritation I sensed was aimed at his stupid friends--not me. And now his friends were deathly quiet behind us. They did not speak. In fact, they seemed to be holding their breath in shock. Even if they had teased us, I'm sure he would have ignored it. He was "feeling" me now. And as he wordlessly searched my face, the mood between us changed. 

My heart was pounding and I was still trembling, but I did not pull away and he did not let go of my wrist. He made me vulnerable in his gaze, all the while, thinking without uttering a word to me. I thought he was going to kiss me. Had he kissed me, it would have been my first. I was only 14. "Please tell me your name," he said, much quieter this time, and released my wrist. After catching my breath, I told him. He repeated my name aloud and smiled as if he liked the mouth-feel of it. He promised to remember it. He watched me jog away without saying anything else. That was the last time I saw him, but the memory will stick with me. The chemistry between us had been immediate and electric, and yet, we only had that ONE conversation. He had no clue who I was before that summer day, but somehow I had "sensed" an intuitive connection was possible long before I worked up the nerve to talk to him. I can't really describe it any more than that. I get "feelings" about people I like. And apparently when I stare at people, I can make them feel as vulnerable as the boy made me feel after he had grabbed my hand. 

What was the point of this blog post? Nothing, I guess. Maybe someone in the vast, lonely sea of undisturbed cyberspace will understand and relate to this story. I'm a writer and an INFJ. Yeah. That's all. Over and out, minions. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Smexxxy Friday

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Options & Feedback

I mentioned my book at a party a few months back and an English professor took interest and asked to see it. He teaches at a respected university, and so I was surprised to receive his offer. Not expecting to hear back from him, I sent it along and went about my merry way. Now I recently discover that not only did he enjoy my book but wants/has passed it to his agented friends. I didn't even know he had author friends! His enthusiasm and detailed suggestions have made me so incredibly hopeful! I only met him once--so he has no personal interest or obligations, and yet he is endorsing my book and using his connections to help me! He thinks middle-school kids should read it...

It's such a weird feeling. Nothing may come of it, of course, but my options have doubled and it makes me feel that much more determined to find publication. If I can make one person that excited about my book, surely I can find another, right? 

This professor brought up some good points. I have to think long and hard about the demographic I want to target. For example, Z for Zachariah is a YA book, but the themes in it are very sophisticated. Engaging YA has great cross-over appeal. Some of my betas have mentioned I should make my book more YA-friendly (less sex, gore, etc.) to broaden market appeal, and now with my most recent full rejection I'm starting to agree. 

Writing young adult fiction was NEVER something I intended to do when I first sat down to write Witching Tree. I was inspired by gorey YA books like Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games and I wanted to write something similarly dark...but I wasn't sold on YA. I'm still a little unsure. I wonder if I can still be a "cannibal" and write YA fiction? Maybe the more mature thing is to let that persona go? Damn. I'm 23 and epitomizing "delayed adolescence." Existential crisis overload! Over and out, minions. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

8/12 Media of the Month: Z for Zachariah

I adore this novel. Truly and passionately love it. Z for Zachariah is one of those books that will sit forever in my permanent collection. I will buy a hardcover soon (I borrowed it from the library 2 weeks ago and read it in one day) Some of you may be more familiar with Robert C. O'Brien's popular 1971 children's novel, "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH." (aka Secrets of NIMH) 

Z for Zachariah was published posthumously in 1974. Robert C. O'Brien is brilliant. His scenes are so TIGHT. He weaves so much tension into this story and his characterization is perfect! I respect good writing and this novel is masterfully done. 

Z for Zachariah is a YA dystopian about the last two humans on Earth. Sort of a twisted reinterpretation of the Adam and Eve idea. The whole novel is told in a series of journal entries written by the main character, 16-yr-old Ann Burden. She believes she is the last person on Earth until a man arrives on her farm in a green radiation suit. Mr. Loomis, the controlling 30-something scientist is so perfectly characterized. Ann Burden is appropriately vulnerable but not helpless to Mr. Loomis' force. His paranoid need to conquer Ann is what wracks up the tension in this book. Ann's terror is palpable in each chapter. I was glued to the edge of my seat, shivering with excitement, as I turned the pages. The conclusion is stunning. I'm still haunted by it. It will perhaps linger in my brain forever. Doomed and or ambiguous endings are my favorite! 

Religion vs. Science and Femininity vs. Masculinity are the main political themes here. Even the title of the book is a Biblical reference. Robert C. O'Brien shows his skill in the way he delivers his message. He does not preach. He does not lecture. He presents both characters in an uncomplicated, sympathetic and mature way. I am always awed by male writers who "get it" when it comes to feminism. Z for Zachariah is brilliant. I wish Robert C. O'Brien had written more before his untimely death. At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will probably read it more than 5 times before the summer is done. Hands-down, the best book I've read this year. Engaging YA is always a joy to find! Adults and middle-school kids will enjoy this book! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Smexxxy Friday (Enigma)

Macabre eroticism. I dig it. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Going for gold

Have you guys been watching the Olympics? Gosh, I always cry when I watch these athletes. I guess I'm just an over inflated bag of estrogen and sentimentalism. I was so impressed by little Gabby Douglas! She and the Fab 5 won gold for USA! Hurray! 

The Olympics shows everyone what we all can strive to be. It's about doing amazing things and accomplishing greatness. It's inspiring. I feel some of that can-do spirit has brushed off on me. Got a full request in my inbox. Go USA!
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