Sunday, October 30, 2011

Two Days til NaNoWriMo

I have a cousin who starts getting excited for NaNoWriMo as soon as October hits. She outlines and plans and brainstorms, and her Twitter feed is full of planning updates. She is the person who first got me into National Novel Writing Month, and I am delighted she did. But I am cautious of getting excited for fear of burnout. This year I've ignored it so long that it's jumping out at me unexpectedly.

There are two days left. Really, just tomorrow and a smidge of today. I've been so busy I've only been able to accumulate worry that I won't be able to do NaNo on top of everything else. But that's part of the experience, I guess. My first year of NaNo, I gave up because I was so busy with play rehearsal. This year I'm five times as busy with the musical and myriad other things, but I know how the game is played. Sure, I've only got half an idea, but it could become a wonderful story.

The point is to write. These 30 Days and Nights of Literary Abandon are a chance to let your mind run wild, and even if it's a terrible story, good will come out of it. It is an exercise in willpower to write every day, and it's a discipline to make your imagination work hard enough to come up with a novel's worth of story material in one month. It's not easy. This November, expect to hear complaints and crazy rants from me. This will be my outlet for the craziness NaNoWriMo causes (though it's strange to think more writing will help my writing problems).

My past NaNo novels (two finished plus the one I gave up on) hold a very dear place in my heart. In the future, I plan to revise them and turn them into workable manuscripts. One of them actually wants to be a graphic novel, and that would take a lot of work (especially since I want to illustrate it). I hardly know where to begin. The problem is that these editing and revising tasks are somedays. But NaNoWriMo is for now. Seize the day! Write your story! You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Soccer for Geeks

Yesterday I played my third-ever game of soccer. I am not a sports person; though I loved the outdoors as a kid, I was much more often caught reading than kicking around a ball or playing with other children. Still, when my dorm was trying to find people for intramurals, I went "Hey! I played soccer once! That could be fun!"

My team is small and rather unpracticed, but their combined experience and understanding is much greater than mine. However, I might be able to give some information to the rest of you geeks who don't understand it either.
  • Defense means you try to stop the other team from scoring. Offense means you're supposed to try and score. (Okay, I admit I knew this from football. Being in marching band, you pick up on a few things in the game.)
  • You should not get distracted by apparently owner-less little dogs that run onto the field.
  • For our intramurals, the opposing teams wear "light-colored" shirts and "dark-colored" shirts. This is a fine idea, except some people decide to wear a sort of middling grey that they think is close enough to one side or the other. To be safe, don't pass to these people. It looks like they don't want to be on your team anyway.
  • Fate is kind to the people who go out of their way to kick the ball back to your field if it intrudes on theirs. A goalie on the field next to ours did that, and while he was so engaged someone tried to score and thankfully missed.
  • While you should practice scoring shots with your goalie to warm her up, it is not wise to kick the ball in her face 30 seconds before the game starts.
  • "Mark her!" involves no markers at all. It means you're supposed to watch the person on your side of the field who wants the people on her team to kick her the ball. (Hope that she's wearing a light-colored shirt instead of a middling grey one, just so you're sure.)
That about sums up my soccer wisdom. I understand that there are geeks who know how to play soccer -- indeed, where I come from, soccer is the sport all the homeschoolers come out to play -- but this geek is still learning. Feel free to share your wisdom!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Piano Recital

In my last post, I mentioned practicing the piano. This is not to keep in piano-playing shape or refine a particular piece. This is me muddling through a book of scales and exercises I checked out from the library because I want to be able to play real music. At the top of my bucket list is "learn to play Billy Joel's Dublinesque." I adore that song, and I will master it before I die. For now, I might try a different scale.

It is homecoming week here at Taylor, and there have been all sorts of activities and events. Tonight, I went to a piano recital. The alumnus playing was Dr. Richard Fountain, a piano professor with an impressive list of accolades. Though I love music, I am far from an expert, especially on the heavy-duty classical stuff. Still, what I heard tonight was enough to broaden my mind. At times he played so loudly I thought the keys would break. I wondered if people outside the building could hear it. And then the music would drift into silence. Sometimes I thought it was finished, but another part would come trailing around from behind the reverberations. Sometimes the song was long enough that I'd get lost in thoughts, and I'd come back and find that I was still there, in a hall of music. Later, it would occur to me to wonder how long I'd been sitting there listening to a single song. The piece would go on, and it wouldn't matter.

I am delighted that my God made music. I can't imagine any greater created system on earth. Someone sitting in that recital hall might have known more about the pieces or composers, but I could enjoy it as everyone did, because music is something all can love. Isn't that wonderful?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Busy Days

One of the greatest things about Taylor is all of the opportunities to participate in the community. On the other hand, the worst thing about Taylor is all of the opportunities to participate in the community.

Case in point: for the past two weeks I've gone to musical and dance rehearsal, set construction training, worked in the costume shop, done lots of homework, ushered for a play, worked, gone to open houses, gone to small group, worked on projects, practiced piano, and spent more of my time than is feasible being entertained by all the weird stuff people do on campus. This weekend is Homecoming, and I'm going to go to the world-famous Airband tonight, usher for another play tomorrow night, go to a piano recital the night after, help a friend with a photography project, spend time in the library navigating a contorted fortress of databases that seem devoid of information on my research topic, probably work in the set and costume shops some more,  work on a math project, practice piano again, and try intramural soccer. In the next few weeks I'll  participate in a book discussion group and write book reviews for two more books I volunteered to read. That's right, I chose two books when I could have put it off or chosen just one, and my professor wants me to finish them as soon as possible.

There are many people even more committed than I am, and there are lots of classes with much heavier homework loads. Still, I tend to feel overwhelmed. My main problem seems to be that I like things that suck up my time (like theater). I'm glad I'm in such a wonderful place as Taylor and get to be a part of all this, but even more glad that it hasn't killed me yet.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I love to crochet. It's a major stress reliever. There's little more soothing than working on something while listening to Narnia radio theater. That's what I was doing most of the time when I made these:

When my sister-in-law and I went shopping for college stuff, we stopped at Hobby Lobby. I was intending to make myself mittens with some solid purple yarn I have because it matches my winter coat, but when I saw the marbled yarn I couldn't resist. From far away the marbling may make it harder to see the basketweave pattern on the back, but I'm very happy with them. I have never made mittens before, though I have made hand warmers. Basically, I made up the method as I went and had to undo stuff and fix things as I went along. That combined with classes means these didn't get done for weeks. I can't wait until it's cold and I get to use them.