Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Me

Two years ago today I arrived in Japan, wide-eyed and bewildered. Today I sit at my desk at the office, refreshing the Missed Connections page on Tulsa Craigslist every hour, letting my backside rot as I write down every single item I'll pack for my trip to Trinidad. I leave on Thursday, and Lord willing I will arrive in Port of Spain on the 30th. It will feel like a three-day journey, but the calendar will say that is was just two. I am excited out of my pants to see my family, friends, and eat good food. In the meantime I will thank God for bringing me through some of the most tumultuous and stressful and wonderful years of my short life. As Lina Lamont would say, bless you all!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


We The Kameokans filmed a little silent movie last year and have been anticipating its release ever since. Well, guess what, nerds. It's here. It's HERE! Please go to YouTube to comment and rate and tell all of your friends and neighbors! Thanks a million times over to Liz Brent, who filmed and edited, and to my dear brother Barron for the fantastic soundtrack.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Truth About The Future

Truth bombs is 'bout to be dropped!
I've complained countless times that I have no idea what I want to do in the future. Sure, my dream career is that of a lazy housewife with maids to do all the unsavory tasks and the time and money to indulge in my favorite hobbies and charity work, just like Mrs. Bridge. However, given that I'm dating no one and have no current prospects, there's no real way for me to pursue this career as a means of income within the near future. Also not included in this dream in the guilt from being lazy while my husband works, but I'm sure I'll find ways to suppress that. Still, I have to find something to do in the meantime.

I am trying to set myself up for independence, by which I mean a life of leisure. Therefore my goal is to do something amazing that provides me with royalties for years. Things that would enable this lifestyle include starring in a Hollywood box office hit, marrying an oil baron or whatever the new equivalent of that is (bamboo baron? Ecologically friendly wealth), or writing the next big franchise-able bestseller like J. K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer. The first two take a considerable amount of effort on my part, mostly involving exercise, getting into parties with rich people, probably some nudity, and the success would result in scrutiny from the press.

The bestseller, on the other hand - no, don't look at your other hand; it's just a figure of speech - just requires an imagination, a word processor, and to not step on anyone's copyright toes. The great thing about being a famous author is that oftentimes readers would rather not know what the author looks like, so no paparazzi follow authors around. You may have heard of Tom Clancy, read a few books and watched some movies based thereon, but would you recognize him if you bumped into him on the street? Don't lie to me. You wouldn't. So therefore shall I also be rich and famous yet unrecognizable.

I feel that the fight to get published is largely about balancing originality with mass appeal. Since wizards and vampires are already done, I can either write about vampire wizards and top them both, or find some new fantasy creature that could kill you and probably wants to but that everyone still finds sexy. Mrs. Meyer also cornered the werewolves, a pox on her head. At first I thought of Frankenstein's monster, but a guy made from other dead guys doesn't hold that much sex appeal. 

I've also debated combining elements of the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Peter Pan to appeal to the younger crowd whose parents buy them whatever the heck they want. I thought about borrowing bits from The Golden Compass, but the movie version didn't do so well,* so scratch that. Basically, my idea is that a band of adolescent lost girl pirates fall through a treasure chest into a new world where they have to throw a bracelet (read: not a ring) into a volcano, and a wizard dwarf fairy guide helps them along and occasionally makes them fly. And then they get attacked by elves, and have to sail somewhere with a long lost prince (potential for romance? Donezo) in a boat called the Dusk Meanderer, and when they complete their task they fall back out of the treasure chest, only they haven't aged at all and Jack Sparrow is trying to steal their rum. Good idea? Look for it in your local bookstore in 200Never.

End tangent.

I had said in a previous post that I was writing a book, but that I didn't ever want to talk about it. Someone, however, ignored my request to never speak of my shame (you know who you are), and now I feel the need to explain why I even bothered to write something that I didn't really want people knowing about. The truth, kids, is that it's part of this independence scheme. Considering that I have no five-year plan, not even a two-year plan, I need to do something now that could earn me money in the future. You know, when I stop teaching in Japan and spend a year looking for a job because the U.S. economy doesn't want to support me. My ultimate goal of lazy housewifery seems like a pipe dream, only slightly less realistic than becoming a published author, and the longer I work for other people the more I realize I am not suited for it. Fluorescent lights, name tags, dress codes, getting out of bed before 8 a.m. every day and wasting the best part of the day indoors is not for me. I'm an untameable mustang, like that horse in the animated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron which I never saw.

So what to do? Call upon the rusty skills of creative writing which I so carefully honed in high school. I won a contest, dangit, and got third place for that poetry entry I didn't even like writing. I should be able to make a living off of words. Why write about it and tell people to never bring it up? I'm the type who is easily excited about the idea of a goal, declaring "I will do this or perish in the noble attempt" with fire in my eyes. Then I give up because it's hot, or cold, or I'm tired, or it never was that realistic of a goal, anyway. I needed some accountability for this goal of Book, and I figured that declaring my intent on this blog meant that at least a few people would know. Knowing that someone else knows is motivation, of the shame kind. It's like this - writing is an activity that requires nothing but a little free time and imagination. There are few excuses to not write. So, how ashamed would I be if someone were to ever ask me, "Oh, hey, how's that book writing coming along?" and all I could say was, "Er, yeah, I never finished that." Motivation, that.
Plus, if I start writing now while I still have a steady job with a good salary, I can start hawking my paltry wares as soon as I get back to the good old U.S. of A. Inevitably my opus, Teenage Pirates and the Vampire Wizards: The Journey of the Bracelet with Prince Darien on the Dusk Meanderer will be a bestseller and opted for a movie. After a couple of hectic years making special appearances and doing book signings and looking fabulous at my movie premiers I can slow down, put my feet up on a pile of money, and live off of royalties.

I know, I know. Getting published is darn difficult. There are letters to write, agents to find, negotiations to make, and sure rejection to face. Looking at the Google Analytics report of number of visitors to my blog, I'm missing something when it comes to attracting readers. There are blogs like http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ about nothing that get the same readership in a day that I get in a year. Okay, yes, I don't have badly-draw-yet-hilariously-apropos pictures. I'm not sure I've ever made a stranger have to hide his or her laughter snorts when reading my blog at the office. Nevertheless, I question my ability to write something that the general public, not just friends and family, will want to read.

 And don't worry; I understand that writing itself isn't just a stroll down Easy Street. When I look at the successful authors I know (one: Dr. Jan Dargatz, auntie extraordinaire) I see that writing is constant work. It's my kind of work, though - work that can be done anywhere and at anytime, and while wearing any amount of clothing, the ideal of which is zero. I'd be doing something at which the Tulsa County Library and my high school A.P. English teacher said I'm skilled. I don't have to go back to school to do it (I'm mean mugging you, Music). And best of all, it's something I can totally use an excuse when people ask me in the future why I'm still sleeping on friends' couches instead of getting a real job. "I just need that time to write," I'll say, and scratch my unwashed body thoughtfully.

And the people will watch me shuffle into my friend's kitchen to eat some potato chips that I didn't buy, shake their heads, and think, What a douche.
The moral of this story is that I only wince a little at admitting the pursuit of authorship as a means of income. I will not be discussing the subject matter. If you ask, I will make something terrible up about wampire wizards and the Dusk Meanderer. Don't test me.

*By "so well," I mean that it seems a sequel is unlikely. The film was reported to under-perform both in the U.S. and abroad. In my opinion, that just shows that people don't like being hammered with anti-religion messages throughout a film any more than with pro-religion ones, and not just in societies that still have strong ties to Christianity. Suck it, proud atheist Philip Pullman. When watching the film I personally started rolling my eyes. Okay, I get it, you hate religion. Get to the exciting stuff. Holy Fart that polar bear just knocked the other polar bear's jaw off how is this a good movie for children!?

Next up on my list of posts: Why I associate creative writing with pretension and d-baggery. It's almost as complicated as carrying or not carrying a collapsible umbrella.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I spent much of my morning and part of the afternoon writing a post about that thing that I said I didn't want to talk about. Before I pontificate on truths that will blow your mind, let me make three unrelated points. 1) I am currently suffering from a massive headache. It feels like my head is that one impassable evil mountain in the Fellowship of the Rings, you know, where the dwarves used to live before all the goblins killed them, but my head is before they even lived there, and the dwarves looked at my head/the mountain and said, "Hey, let's use our sledgehammers and pickaxes to hollow this place out. Then we'll tramp through it with our sturdy boots and set up our home. Then we'll have raucous parties and dance on the heavy oak tables in drunken revelry. Don't forget to hang many pictures and tapestries on the walls, which means we'll need to drive many sharp nails into our rocky abode with our powerful dwarf forearms. Yo ho ho!" Right now the dwarves are about halfway through the excavation process. Also, I am very tired.

 2) The rainy season isn't over yet. The constant threat of rain should mean that I carry around a collapsible umbrella at all times, but I don't. Having an umbrella with me brings on either great pride or extreme irritation. If I leave the house with an umbrella in my purse and then it starts to rain, I pull out my umbrella with a smile and think, I am the most genius of all the geniuses. Look at my foresight. However, if the clouds overhead never follow through on their threat of rain, I look at the passersby with their hands free of the burden of umbrella weight, and think, I am stupid. And if I get caught in the rain without an umbrella, I think, Don't judge me, you fools. I thought the clouds were being fakers again. It's a complicated set of emotions.

 3) The JET Programme is potentially in danger. According to this article the government has considered cutting down on the number of participants or doing away with the program altogether as part of an effort to address excess government spending. As someone who is not at all politically minded nor prone to researching the subject, all I can say is that I really hope the government finds out just how valuable it is to have native speakers in the classrooms. Sure, they might consider making future applicants take the TEFL to make sure that they're getting people who at least know the principles of teaching (which would rule me out. Oops I hate tests). Just don't shut the program down, mkay guys? Thx. It's kind of great for your economy.

 I'll give you a day or two to mull this over, then I'll post that other thing. So comment away, faithful readers three.