In which I discuss Camp NaNoWriMo craziness, the paltry few books I read, music randomness, and life.
(But honestly, have you ever read older books with chapter titles like that, and they totally spoil everything? Like In Which The Mysterious Murder is Revealed to be the Sandy-Haired Suspect and Mr. Protagonist is Found Dead to Everyone’s Surprise. Surprise indeed. This is one area where I’m glad modern books aren’t like classics. Anyway. *cue end to the random ramble*)
I read way less books this month than I did in March. I’m not entirely sure why, especially because I was less busy and even had a spring break. Maybe being busy makes me read more, like I need a respite even more? I’ll have to ponder that further.
I just have to say, guys: I love Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff. Think you don’t like non-fiction? You won’t after you try Blink or Outliers or The Tipping Point. I should probably write a post on him sometime. Also, I liked Wuthering Heights more than Jane Eyre, which was a bit of a surprise. Okay, here’s the list.
A Circle of Quiet / Madeleine L’Engle
Dragonflight / Anne McCaffrey
The Wand in the Word / ed. & compiled by Leonard S. Marcus
Troubling a Star (reread) / Madeleine L’Engle
Outliers (reread) / Malcolm Gladwell
Wuthering Heights / Emily Brontë
Camp NaNoWriMo, yo. Remember when I told you guys that I was going to work on my novel, Of Socrates and Strawberries? Well, the first day I sat down with it, I realized something:
I hate my protagonist.
Okay, hate might be a little strong, but I just don’t like her. I don’t want to root for her, I don’t understand her, I don’t really care about her. And this is the person through whose eyes I’m writing the novel. Bit of a problem. Because of that and other reasons, I knew without a doubt that I needed to put OS&S aside. I want to come back to it later, or at least use the main idea (and the title) for another book. But for now …
And that was the problem. I needed to come up with another Camp NaNo project, and I needed to do so fast. I mean, Camp NaNo had already started. I couldn’t come up with a whole new book idea and reach my goal in one month, but I didn’t want to trash Camp NaNo either. That’s when God gave me the idea to do a short story collection. Short stories are my favorite genre to write, and I’ve been itching to try some more.
I took a long walk one day (terribly helpful for brainstorming) and came up with this random short story idea. I’ve always been fascinated by the mythical creature the phoenix, and this line popped into my head: “They named me Phoenix.” I knew I had to use it as my first line. I worked out world-building and plot details during the rest of the walk, got home, and tossed out the first 1K.
Here’s the first bit:
They named me Phoenix.
We have no throughseers like the Leonidas, so we do not peer into the future and title babies according to whom they will become. Instead, we get to choose how to mark our names. We can live up to them, we can enhance them, we can change their meanings, we can degrade them.
I am not sure I want that privilege.
Two crazy things about this Phoenix gig: First, I’ve never gotten really stuck or felt uninspired. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this story. Every day, I wake up and can’t wait to get working on it. I’ve never experienced this perpetual motivation before, but I’m loving it. Second, it’s a long short story. I won Camp NaNo (*much cheering*), and I’m currently working on the last part (part 3 of 3) with 17k completed so far. It’s almost a novella.
Speaking of winning:
I’m not sure exactly exactly to do with this story, but I do want to share it with you guys in some form, sooner rather than later. I’ll keep you updated.
I didn’t discover anything new music-wise this month. I just embarked on my convert-the-family-to-Hamilton campaign (about 50% there, I’d say), confirmed my love of Starset, and enjoyed a sprinkling of Attalus, Jason Gray, Theocracy, and Jon Foreman.
Here’s Starset’s marvelous “Antigravity”:
Also Theocracy’s “Altar to the Unknown God” because it’s incredible:
For my favorite internet finds in April, I decided to highlight bloggers who have been posting their NaPoWriMo poems. I was incredibly inspired, delighted, and awed by the beauty they came up with. I was also a little intimidated, like how on earth can I hope to write anything near as beautiful and insightful?? But of course it’s not a competition. Comparisons are odious as some famous person once said. Anyway. Here are the poets I follow and my favorite (or one of my favorites; so hard to choose!) NaPo poem of theirs:
At the very beginning of April, I attended a youth conference called IFCA Cultivate. Not only do you listen to excellent speakers and play fun games (frisbee, guys. I maybe be a klutz with balls, but I adore frisbee.), but you have the opportunity to prepare an MTA (Ministry Training Area)—examples are singing, preaching, or a puppet skit—and get critiqued by judges so you can better serve your church. I taught a Bible lesson for kids and received helpful and encouraging feedback. Apparently they liked my voice, which was funny because I had been expecting more comments on my actual, you know, lesson (which, to be fair, they did talk about a lot too) and because I don’t really like my voice. But they kept going on and on about it, so I guess I’m missing something?
Besides that, I didn’t do much. I had a lovely spring break, and school and work dominated all else. One more month till summer, folks.
Oh, and those legendary April showers made their appearance last week, except that they were more than showers. I really love thunderstorms, guys. Really.
The most quotable book I read this month (besides The Wand in the Word, which I’ll discuss this Friday) was Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet. I don’t agree with everything she says, but she still has incredible, beautiful insights into writing and life.
Here are her thoughts on what being a Christian means:
I wouldn’t mind if to be a Christian were accepted as being the dangerous thing which it is; I wouldn’t mind if, when a group of Christians meet for bread and wine, we might well be interrupted and jailed for subversive activities; I wouldn’t mind if, once again, we were being thrown to the lions. I do mind, desperately, that the word “Christian” means for so many people smugness, and piosity, and holier-than-thouness. Who today can recognize a Christian because of “how those Christians love one another?
It’s a dangerous, gloriously dangerous thing. And love, too—they’ll know we are Christians by our love. How often do I need to be reminded of that.
One last thing: I’m doing NaPoWriMo this month! Yesterday’s poem went well, and I’m excited. I’ll be posting weekly poem collections, probably on Monday or Wednesday. I know several of you wanted to join me in my May NaPo-ing, and I can’t wait to read your stuff. I love that I won’t be doing this alone.
Thus concludes the miscellany.
Tell me how your April went and your thoughts about how my April went. Let’s look forward to those May flowers!