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The Writings, Scribblings, and Daydreams of a Shadowed Soul

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For like, a month there, I was on a bit of a writing kick. Got my one story over that 50K hurdle, and that was awesome! I now have over 100K towards that series (I've been jumping around from book to book, a bit), which feels like a rather huge accomplishment. Now, though, my writing kick is waning, and final exams are coming up, and all I really want to do is just.............nothing.

The week after school lets out I'm going hiking in the Smokey Mountains with my roommate, my sister, and a couple other people. We're going on a trail that should take us about a week to complete, walking seven miles each day. At one point, we're going to be above clouds! I'm really excited for the view. :) I'm really hoping I can keep up with that pace! I have two more weeks of school--one more weeks of actual classes. I can make it! (Or so I keep telling myself...)

I'm really hoping that the hike through the woods does some good things for me, in terms of inspiration. I have this vague idea that it might improve my fiction, since I tend to write fantasy (tend to? It's basically all I write!), and so a lot of what that entails is traveling from one place to another, and by non-modern means. Having to hike seven miles a day will definitely get me into my characters' heads, I think, and better understand how they would feel after a long day's travel.

Here are some writing-related concerns I have:

1. I have a really hard time keeping my world-details straight in my head, not to mention keeping my characters straight in my head. There are a lot of both details and characters, and I'm...less than organized? So I'm gonna have to bring my notebook of details with me, right? Only, a lot of the details are only on my computer, not yet transferred to a hard copy, so I should do that soonish, I guess.

2. I have a really detailed timeline that I've been using as a writing guide when I get writer's block. I want to bring that with me, but right now it's nine pages long, and I haven't even put in spaces to write notes down, which I would have to do if I were to print it and bring it with me. But it's definitely one of those things that's way too long to transcribe into my journal by hand. lol.

3. I keep a copy of my writing in a Cloud so that I can access the story and update it from my phone, if I don't have paper handy. I would love to make use of this while hiking, but part of the point is to separate myself from technology for a while--meaning, my phone's going to be off except for emergencies. So now I'm faced with wanting to go back and check on some little detail or other, and not being able to, because that does not constitute an emergency, much as I might argue (at the time) that it does.

4. I need a new notebook. I know, this one looks like an easy fix, right? But I'm flat broke. Haven't even paid my phone bill this month, and though I have plenty of food bought and saved for the trip already, I am quickly running out of other food in my apartment...and if I can't even afford to buy food, how on earth am I going to justify a new notebook, right? Both my little notebooks (the "Five Star Fat Lil' Notebook" style, by Mead) are both just about full, and so bringing them would take up valuable space in my backpack, and they'd serve very little purpose. But I have every intention of bringing at least ONE notebook with me, because on top of wanting to write fiction, I want to also keep a bit of a journal of my experience, the sensation of having to carry everything on my back, the way my feet hurt at the end of the day...all that stuff, so that I can keep those memories fresh for future writing. (I realize I have a bit of a one-track mind where writing is concerned...lol.)

So, yeah, there you have it. My recent thoughts on things. :)
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(Also posted here: www.blame-my-muses.tumblr.com)

I realize my blog is a bit scattered, and mostly fandom based, and probably no small amount of ridiculous, but I’m going to share a fandom-related story with you lovely followers. ^___^ What follows is a ramble-y account of my love affair with the Young Wizards Series.

I went to NYC for a choir trip during my senior year of high school (which was a lot longer ago than I feel like it should be…), and while we were there we visited a few museums…as one does on field trips, you know? Well, the highlight of our trip, for me, was definitely getting to weigh myself on all the planets, because of the scene in High Wizardry by Diane Duane. And, yes, I checked to make sure the ladies’ didn’t lead to Mars…I was disappointed to find just toilets, I’ll admit. (Just kidding! …well, mostly.)

It’s weird to realize the impact a book series can have on you, the ways in which the written word can influence you. But I’ve been reading the Young Wizards Series for so long now (and that’s a story in and of itself, which I’ll probably share at some point), that in many, many ways I feel as if the characters know me as well as I know them. I sometimes imagine that maybe, somewhere out there, there’s a universe where literary characters are all real, and are reading about our universe’s fantastical adventures. If the universe is infinite, and if there are an infinite number of universes, then who’s to say there isn’t a world like that, after all? Maybe in some place, Nita and Kit are reading about my Ordeal, or my little sister running off all over the universe (she does run off to Europe on occasion…the rest of the galaxy isn’t such a far stretch, at that…).

But back to my point. I stood there, my hand on the same asteroid that Kit and Nita discuss as having come such a long way, and for me the moment was beautifully surreal. I don’t think any of my classmates had such a profound experience as I did on that trip, because I finally had arrived at a place that I had been reading about since I first got into fantasy, and it was a real place, not something unattainable like The Leaky Cauldron, or a magical wardrobe to Narnia.

It was real, and I could touch it.

I think that’s the real power of words, right there; the real magic in our universe. That one person’s words can leave such a lasting impression on another human being is remarkable and powerful, and has the same chance of being misused as the magic I so dearly love to read about. Because as surely as words can heal and inform and touch, they can just as surely be used to hurt and twist and maim.

And I think, maybe, much of my fascination with words and languages comes from Diane Duane’s books, too, as surely as my fascination with that asteroid came from her books.

I’ve been called childish and ridiculous—been told that no one can take me seriously. I’ve been bullied, and was pushed off swing sets when I was little, and I’ve been called all sorts of unpleasant names like “nerd” and “loser”, among others, and been told I read too much (as if there is such a thing!). Maybe these things are why I empathized so totally with Nita, that very first time I read So You Want to be a Wizard, but she kind of became something of a guiding light to me. At first it was just that Nita had a profound impact on me, as a character with whom I shared so much, but later, as I grew older and continued to reread the series, it became less Nita, and more the entire feel of the series. There is so much good in this series, so many “words to live by” and the characters are so unconsciously good that to the reader it becomes second nature, too. Kit and Nita are like two bright standard bearers in a world that seems progressively darker, that more and more places emphasis on characters who do bad things for the right reasons, instead of character who do good things because that is the right reason.

I don’t even know if I can still call the impact these books had on me “subtle” because I feel like I’ve embraced the philosophies of the characters with every fiber of my being.

I’m going into anthropology, probably with an emphasis on archaeology, which is all about understanding other peoples, and in some cases preserving those cultures which are rapidly losing themselves to “modernization”. Maybe this makes me silly, but whenever I think about what I’ll be doing later in my life, working to understand and write about cultures unlike my own, I can’t help but also hear the words of the Oath in the back of my mind. I live by those words. I think they are perfect, and important, and I still read them out loud every time I get to that page, because whether or not they can make me a wizard, they are still a promise that I made to myself when I was eleven, and I intend to keep that promise—magic or not.
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Which video game character would you like to have as your real-life BFF? One random response will win a $60 Amazon gift card! [Full contest rules here.] Don't forget to share your favorite gamer moments on at 3 p.m. PST for Free For All Friday (FFAF).

Link for sure. He's been my tried-and-true friend since forever. I'm pretty sure Ocarina of Time was among the first games I ever played. Only the original Super Mario Bros/Duckhunt Combo cartridge would have been before it, and I don't like Mario nearly as much as the Legend of Zelda franchise.

I'm replaying Ocarina of Time for the first time in something like twelve years, right now, in fact. :)
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Originally posted by cantarina1 at post
Originally posted by electricdruid at The fiasco continues

ACTA in a Nutshell –

What is ACTA?  ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.

Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”

What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.

Essential ACTA Resources

  • Read more about ACTA here: ACTA Fact Sheet
  • Read the authentic version of the ACTA text as of 15 April 2011, as finalized by participating countries here: ACTA Finalized Text
  • Follow the history of the treaty’s formation here: ACTA history
  • Read letters from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden wherein he challenges the constitutionality of ACTA: Letter 1 | Letter 2 | Read the Administration’s Response to Wyden’s First Letter here: Response
  • Watch a short informative video on ACTA: ACTA Video
  • Watch a lulzy video on ACTA: Lulzy Video

Say NO to ACTA. It is essential to spread awareness and get the word out on ACTA.

Via Tumblr

This entry was also posted at http://cantarina.dreamwidth.org/131889.html. (comments: comment count unavailable)
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"My mom and her...I'm not sure what to call her boyfriend."

Overheard this in the hall while waiting for class to start. Generally, I refer to my mom's boyfriend as "him" or "her fuckbuddy." "Pimp" or "sugar daddy" might also be applicable. Stupid fucked up life.

My Heart Beats Thusly:
annoyed Pissy
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So, we were just about to put in a movie, when Craig's mom showed up...and that woman is crazy. Like, the stereotype of paranoid delusional pot head. And we can't possibly watch our movie now, because she makes the most obnoxious comments about movies, and has the most skewed perspective on everything.

For example, trolling through metapicture, and there was a photo captioned "He asked for his father to come home" and a picture of a kid approaching a Mall Santa, and behind the curtain you could see a dude in camo, presumably the kid's soldier father. Her reaction is to assume that such a thing, where the father then comes around the corner to surprise his kid for Christmas, would have a negative reaction! I just seriously don't get her.

Right now the end of the first Narnia movie, and she just keeps making all these ridiculous comments about how funny the talking animals are, everything other thing is a question like, "They're not really going to kill the lion, right? This is a children's movie, they won't really kill him?" and how scary the whole movie is, and how awful it is...

"Those kids aren't going to let her kill him?"

I'm like, "Yes, they are."

She's a super nice lady, a total softie, but it is unbearably annoying. I told her I saw the original BBC version when I was in first or second grade, and she just gasps, and is all horrified again. *sigh*

I'm just waiting for her to leave, now. Aaaaaany time now. Please?
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The following is not intended to offend, merely express a personal opinion.

Every time I turn around I feel as if I see another Facebook status, or another news article about how everyone is trying to "take the Christ out of Christmas." That’s upsetting to me, because of my own beliefs, but the responses to these posts have ranged from a misplaced sort of "pagan superiority complex" to a "burn ALL the witches!" response from other Christians, and both of these reactions are equally ridiculous.

Now, let’s just get something out there. "Christmas" is not in fact of Christian origin. Nothing about it is Christian, from the time of year at which it is celebrated, to the supposed "traditions" of it. That said, the modern traditions don’t much resemble their pagan roots, either. Originally the festival celebrated at the end of December was one that occurred around the time of the winter solstice (generally around the 21st), as an expression of joy and thankfulness that the shorter days were at their end, a celebration of the return of the sun, in many cultures. Some of those cultures deified the sun, and viewed him as a consort of the Goddess.

Yule, Modranect, Winter Solstice, Pancha Ganapati--all are holidays that take place between the 21st and the 25th. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_winter_festivals is a really decent list for many other "winter" holidays, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Solstice#Observances has a nice section on how the solstice is observed in various parts of the world.)

Furthermore, Jesus wasn’t even born in December (nor was it a "Christian" thing, to celebrate birthdays--that’s also of pagan origin), making a "celebration of the birth of Christ" a fallacy in the strictest sense (though I think it is more than acceptable to share this time of year with others--that’s kind of the point of it all). Some research suggests that he was born in August or September, but not December. Now, someone who was born in late December and to a virgin mother was the god Mithra, an ancient Iranian god of light, truth, and goodness. (The academic and anthropologist in me finds the parallels between this god and Jesus highly intriguing, especially considering the origin, since that same part of the world later gave rise to Christianity, but I’ll spare you the tangent...)

One theory regarding where we probably get the date of December 25th from, ties the celebration back to Sol Invictus, a Roman sun god (yes, I know--shocking that they had their own gods, too, not just the Greek transplants!). The Philocalian Calendar, from 354 AD, gives the 25th as the date for a festival called Natalis Invicti--The Birth of Invictus. After all, the Romans are largely responsible for the spread of Christianity, so it is only common sense that some of their other, older, traditions might have melded with the new ones. In fact, most customs (religious or otherwise) were spread through the conquering of cultures, and then supplanting them with the victor’s own beliefs and customs, so there is nothing special or unique about the transfer of one religion’s feast day with another’s.

The point of this post, in the end, is that this "high point" in the middle of the dark months is a global celebration, regardless of religion. Christians, Wiccans, Hindus, etc., all rejoice in the fact that "finally!" the days are getting longer again! What individual spins they put on the traditions of their own faith is irrelevant, and ultimately pointless to argue about. We all love celebrating with our families, we all enjoy the sudden uprising of "community" that inevitably occurs at this time of year. It doesn’t do anyone any sort of kindness to come down on their personal beliefs--t is, in fact, injurious and a form of bullying. This is not the time of year for such behavior; there is never a time of year for that behavior.

I’m not saying do celebrate Christmas or do not celebrate it. I’m only asking that you know what it is you’re celebrating.
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I think writers can find inspiration just about anywhere, in any form...but there's no denying that nothing has quite the raw magic, the glory, of the Northern Lights.

The Aurora from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

My Heart Beats Thusly:
peaceful Awed
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What’s your favorite kind of weather?
Thunderstorms! The heavier the rain, the better. The more lighting, the happier I am.

There's something inherently inspiring about moody weather, and what's moodier than rain and thunder and high winds? It's like the weather is throwing a tantrum, and I LOVE it. I always open the curtains extra wide on rainy days. And, when it isn't actually raining outside, I go to rainymood.com, because it makes everything better. ^..^

Also, it's the perfect excuse (not that I really need one) to curl up in bed all day with coffee or tea or hot chocolate, and a good book. Nothing beats that.
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