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you and me should take some time
forget the pressures, forget the pressures baby
Twelve hour shift? You bet. Legal? Absolutely not. Below minimum wage? Of course! Not-as-good-tips-as-I-was-expecting? HAH. What shift at a restaurant is complete without bad tips?

Bah! Dear guests, I wish you would stop telling me how wonderful and pretty and smiley I am, and instead give me a bigger tip. I'm starting to get the feeling that you tell me I'm awesome just to get out of helping me pay for school. Would it help if I became grouchier, uglier, and less wonderful? Because a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Spare me the compliments, pleeeeeease -- just give me more than a typical O-ville!

Sorry about my ranting and raving. Sometimes I get so annnnngry about this, which is silly, because who needs greed and who needs money? (Me, and everybody else in the world, but yeah.) And my personal journal that is supposed to take this abuse is somewhere downstairs and really, I'm just too sleepy and broke to go down and look for it.

Speaking of greed and money (which was a couple of sentences ago, but still), I'm about halfway through Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Sometimes, I seriously want to slap her in the face, but other times (like right now) I think she's onto something -- she just hasn't carried the idea as far as it can go. All of her main characters are capitalists absolutely focused on making money and achieving their individual goals (the railroad, the metal, the whatever), to the exclusion of all else. In Atlas Shrugged, that's admirable. BUT! Why stop there? It seems to me that the focus on money is wrong, completely wrong, as is the idea that only the typically-considered money-making, practical, productive, selfish, individualistic focuses are worthy. I think any life driven by purpose is living well, living the good life, or whatever you want to call it. What if your ultimate purpose in life is giving to others? Rand so far seriously insults any of the people in her book with "good" intentions, but it seems as if she does that because they have good intentions, when (GASP) they don't have good intentions at all! -- they're just trying to hide their own selfish motivations behind this thin veneer of selflessness.

So maybe I'm reading this wrong; maybe Ayn Rand means for all of her readers to get this, or maybe she changes her tune later on in the book and everything comes clear in a brilliant revelation that will leave me shaking and breathless with joy. But right now I think this book should have broadened its scope beyond just capitalists making money -- there should be artists, and writers, and givers, and mothers and fathers. Why limit this fierce goal-hunting just to capitalists? Why can't anyone with an uncompromisable goal be included in Ayn Rand's collection of pets? Artists striving for beauty, writers for expression, givers for alleviating others' pain -- why aren't they written about?

Also... the pretention of some of the characters really bugs me, too. But that's a whole other thing. Whatever happened to universal love? IT SHOULD BE THERE. No philosophy is complete without universal love. Universal love + purpose = a life well lived.

And my purpose? My purpose in life is, so far, to find a purpose. :S Progress so far is nil but at least I'm having a hell of a good time.

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Current Music: The Beatles - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

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This isn't a personal journal (in the traditional sense, at least), so I won't go into all my ranting about the current practices of splitting up tables in the restaurant :) However! Today, I was cutting lemons (lots and lots of lemons), and I realized something very important.

Cutting lemons is the most therapeutic activity in the world.

Imagine this. You're leaning against the counter, it's around 11 am, there are no customers yet and the few people at work are still unstressed and happy. But while they're scurrying around, making coffee, setting tables, filling up the parm graters, you are just leaning against the counter, looking at about fifty luxuriously yellow lemons, and wondering how on earth you will finish cutting them all into eight pieces each to garnish water and lemon iced teas in fifteen minutes. So, you start. What other way is there to finish in time?

There's an exquisite line here between mindless activity and sharp attention: the blade of the knife you use is very, very sharp, yet the motions required are simple and repetitive. The lemons are wet and fresh and slippery and your hands are smothered in the liquid, and the scent of lemons makes the entire area smell clean, even if that may not actually be the case. You stand there, and lean against the counter, and very vaguely focus upon your task, and for fifteen minutes it's as if the whole world blurs behind you and it's just you, and the lemons, and the knife. Not even you, actually, only your hands, slick and sliding and small. There is no thought, no reason or pain. There is only a splash of pleasure on your psyche every time the knife slips through the peel and more lemon juice squirts into your fingernails and down your arms.

Honestly, despite the fact that I had only three tables and was there only three hours, it was a very excellent shift. Lemons soothe me. By the end of it I was seriously craving a slice to suck on for myself, but unfortunately the managers were hovering around us like hawks. Or hummingbirds, because I don't think hawks hover.

Mm... I'm too exhausted from last night to write a chapter today. That's forgivable, right? Right?

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Current Mood: complacent complacent
Current Music: The Concretes - Can't Hurry Love

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I wrote Chapter Three today; it's a little short compared to the first two, but I know where to pad when I go back. I still can't really believe how this is actually happening. I think having the days off really helps; if I had to do this during the school year, I'd probably explode. Then again, 1000 words a day isn't too difficult, right? Or I could work it out to be a scene a day. Or really, chunk by chunk, as much as I can manage, and it'll finish.

This whole chapter outline thing is amazing. I'm sure I've thought of this before, but now all of a sudden it's coming together in my head. This book won't be the greatest -- I like it, but I can feel already that it's not really original yet -- but the next one? Once I finish this -- hah, I love the way I can say that! -- anyway, once I finish this, I'll be free to do whatever I want. I can't wait. I can't wait to do some research, to learn about my pirates and Amazonians and crazy high sea antics. And my doctor, and the poison guy. Oh man. And the dude who always does bad stuff so that he can break out of prison! There will be so many excellent people to write about, I can just feel it. I love random ideas. Ideas always look so sketchy and weird when you first get hit by them, but then, after you just ponder for a while and let them rot, they seem to just decompose into something wonderful.

Another thing: I realize that the idea was for Saegunn to be a stand-alone, but I've already had some ideas for future stuff. Queen Thayta has turned into a really interesting character already, and what happens between, say, her and Saegunn, or her and the bandits running around could be cool. Also the end of the world thing. That'd be neat. Because Widsith and Kisa, with the Halflings, would be seriously involved in that... And Skallagrim becoming a human?! Then there's all those Alberichslaugg hints thrown in there, and I don't know what could happen with that afterwards. Who knows? There just seems to be so much potential in this world, and even though maybe these specific characters are finished with, I'd like to continue playing around with Gunnlaug. Plus the novel I'm currently working on has very little to do with the sea, and that was originally one of the major concepts. So I want to do that, too. Something about kraken, etc.

Maybe Starolf should be the one who sacrifices himself, and Kaldin then realizes she loves him or something equally mooshy and throws herself onto the pyre or something like that. I like that, but at the same time that would mean basically everyone pairs off. Ugh. I still think that Widsith and Kisa shouldn't fall in love now. I think that's a bad idea. Or gentle love? There are different kinds of love, I suppose, and... yeah. Okay. Starolf needs to die or something instead of Skallagrim. OR I DON'T KNOW. Maybe Skallagrim should be the one who dies, because that's a lot more tragic and I love him -- giving his life for Saegunn? That'd be really sweet. Mm. That's a long way away, so I suppose no decisions need to be made now.

The tone is also really different from what I was intending. I'll probably go back and fix it, but it looks like I'm just incapable of writing anything that's not light-hearted. I'm not a serious person! Jokes and smiles come too easily to me. And I suppose I could accept that, etc, move on, write what I love, but... Wait. 

There is no "but."

Get that out of your head!

Okay, no but, just write what I love and what comes naturally and deal with it later. It'll be done by the end of the summer though, I know that much is true. And then I can start ordering my pirate books and figure the rest out. I want to map out some characters for this next book, too, but I'm afraid if I do that before I've got my research down, I'll end up with a bunch of nutties. I suppose I can do the character maps in my ideas notebook, and then I can just pull them out if they suit whatever research I end up doing.

Yeah, I'll do that. I've definitely learned my lesson though: no more pretty notebooks for journals! I need ugly Hilroy scrappy notebooks, otherwise I won't be able to doodle, and doodling is apparently essential for my creative process. So yeah. Finish the one I've got now, but then, I'm on to something new! And UGLY!

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Current Music: The Concretes - Seems Fine

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I have two great joys in life. I call them great joys because what I mean is that they are my ULTIMATE HAPPINESSES. There are extreme highs, of course, blissful crushes and a few brief minutes in the car when my favourite song comes on and I have my sunglasses perched on my nose and I am looking hot and unavailable, and times when I get amazing tips just for having gone to the same middle school as somebody's kids. Those are all pretty good times.

However! There are two ULTIMATE HAPPINESSES in my life, and they seem to me to be mutually exclusive. If I'm experiencing one, I can't experience the other. I think heaven would be experiencing both, somehow, but I don't think it's possible. Then again, if God is omnipotent and is living up there in heaven along with me, I don't see why he couldn't make my life a little better by making it possible.

Onto the ULTIMATE HAPPINESSES:

1) Living hard. Parties, drugs, drinking and promiscuous sex (or just kisses, sometimes). Huge adventures that involve my humiliation of others and of myself, that involve illegal activities and running away from the authority, that involve big messes that I won't have to clean up the next day. I love meeting new people in wild circumstances and running with it, running with that experience, enjoying it and living in it and living fiercely, psychotically, brilliantly, as one with that one moment in time as I'm capable of. I love danger and adventure and psychedelic experiences and trying new things, new dares, toeing that line, crossing that line and finding completely new planes to explore. I love challenging myself. I love to push myself beyond my limit, because my limit's always farther than I thought and chasing it is much more fun than obeying it.

2) Writing. I never feel so complete and at peace when I am in the middle of a scene in someone else's life and writing it all down. I never feel so myself when I'm doing so. As I've said before, my definition is "writer." That's what I am at the bottom of things. And I've been told by others that maybe that's not the healthiest way to see yourself -- that maybe you should not just rely on one identity, in case that identity should fail -- but really, what's the point? I am a writer. Take away the writer, and you take away me. I become someone else. At all other times, I feel disconnected, disjointed, isolated, masked, hidden -- I feel like a liar -- and all that changes when I'm writing. By writing, I become myself again. Sometimes I think that "living hard" is my way of forgetting that separation that occurs at all other times, that separation between what I am & what I should be doing, and what I pretend to be and what I am doing. When I write, I feel like I'm doing what I've been put in this world to do.

See how they're incompatible? Maybe the "living hard" is what gives me something to write about, so that they're connected and essential to each other. Writing gives me a reason to live hard, and living hard gives me a reason to write. I guess that works. I don't know. I just suddenly realized today that there are only two things, and two things only, that give me absolute peace and confidence in my being. 

THIS IS WHO I AM.

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Current Location: bedroom
Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Current Music: Boards of Canada - In a Beautiful Place out in the Country

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I guess I'm going to try to... explain the purpose of this journal.

I want to write a book.

All the other details of my life aren't going to be the focus here. Or at least not the main focus. I'm actually going to AVOID my real-life friends on LJ (because I know a few of them have accounts here), just because showing my work to anyone who I'd actually have to face again in a social setting is strangely very unsettling to me. Instead, I've made this LJ account to hopefully connect with other writers at around my level, who I'll never actually have to meet in person :), and we can kick each other into gear and discuss fantasy and literature and genres and publication and how to make money and just be easygoing friends and motivators.

I should probably put this in my userinfo, too.

Hmm... So yeah! About what I write: I write fantasy. It's not generally sword-and-sorcery stuff, and I usually put a different kind of spin on it or something, and after I finish what I'm working on now I'd really like to dabble in "historical fantasy" or something of that nature, but! Don't be alarmed. An excellent sword-and-sorcery novel always puts me in a good mood. I just find that novels like that, for me, tend to run into each other all blurry and the same. But if you write annnnything else, or even if you just like books and poetry and all that, feel free to add me :)

Fantasy authors I like:
Guy Gavriel Kay
Philip Pullman
George R. R. Martin
Joan Aiken

I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones that I am still madly in love with and gobble up anything by them that I can get my hands on. Although I'll be honest, Kay's first works (The Tapestry of Fionavar series) and his latest, Ysabel, didn't really appeal to me. I can't really pinpoint why; I've just never really been a fan.

Okay! Done. Hope to get this thing hopping soon. :)

Current Location: home
Current Music: Paul James - You Don't Love Me

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Dear a_novelidea community mods,

I was stalking NaNoWriMo forums and noticed your thread for starting a writing group. I know that was a while ago, and I also noticed that you said you had enough members near the end of the thread.

HOWEVER! Since that post was a while ago, I'm hoping maybe you've changed your mind? Come on, I joined LJ just for this :)

This'll be a big waste of time if you don't even check the journal though. I really hope you do. Seriously. I wrote this post just for you guys, so I hope you check this out. :P

Hope to see you soon!

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