Impulse

I got a little weird earlier. Ok, not in a way that should be worried about, mind you. But just wait and hear the story, or read the story, rather, and then make the distinction of weirdness vs. good business choices.

As regular readers might have picked up on, I’m a little addicted to podcasts, especially as of recently. I mostly listen to philosophy and writing podcasts, but recently I’ve been trying to branch out, take recommendations of other people. And in doing this, I got the idea that my friend should do a podcast on tarot and that I would help her with it.

To help her design the podcast, i decided that I needed to research similar podcasts, which, of course, makes sense. I started listening to a few, but there’s on in particular that I’m fond of called “Rune Soup“, which a guy interviews authors and the like who are participants in the occult. The most recent one was interviewing a couple who started a publishing company in Northern England.

It was the weirdest thing: The more and more I listened to it, the more and more compelled I felt to get in touch with them. So I did. I just sent off the email, explaining to them exactly what I’ve explained here, and said that I was moving to Durham in less than a month, and that they should consider me for an internship. main-qimg-8fd7d9897448e44c84865aaa4dd64ee44

yep. that’s what I did. it is either weird or charming and bold. Either way, it’s an experimental first. I’ve never been so arrogant as to ask for an internship0–no, that’s not true. I asked for one when I was 14 at a local tea shop because I wanted to be an herbalist. They were rather rude about it.

Considering Poetry

As I’ve mentioned several times, I’m a podcast junkie. Especially since I drive so much for my goat cheese gig. One of the newer podcasts that I’ve come across is called Examining Ethics. I’ve only listened to about an episode and a half of it so far, and from my understanding is run by students at DePauw University in Indiana. The episode that I listened to in full was called “What Good is Poetry?” In it, they interview poet Tarfia Faizullah, who wrote a book of poetry called Seam. The poems are written about the women she interviewed in Bangladesh who were raped during their war with Pakistan in 1971.

After listening to this episode, I was completely blown away by poetry. It has never been my thing, never really been anything I’ve wanted to pursue (except when I was nine and wanted to be a singer and tried to write my own songs, but I don’t know how much that counts).  This woman told a story through her poems.

Of course, this is nothing new. I’ve taken plenty of literature classes that I’ve read old poems that were the telling of stories (“Epic of Gilgamesh”, “Beowulf”, etc). However, this was so different, so simple, so perfectly formed. I fell in love with it.

Seemingly separately, I posted on my author Facebook page that I wanted to write a page a day for August, since I failed so direly at my attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo (I think I only made it to 27k of my 50k word count goal). I sat down this morning, and decided I’d get going on that page-a-day goal. Except that I had no idea what to write. All I could think about was the half-written novels I’ve been working on, whether or not I should continue them for my page-a-day, or if I should start something new–and if something new, then what? I couldn’t really stomach working on my stories any more, not right now. I would get sucked into the editing of them rather than the continuation of them, and my most recent project is such a mess that I can’t bare to look at it.

But…

But…..

This poetry thing was kind of ringing in my ears.

I began thinking about the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2014, and my most recent project. There’s a shared theme to both of them…If I could only just tap into that….

Before I knew it there was a poem on the page.

Not a good one. Well, it might be a good one. I don’t know. I’m terrible with reading, writing and analyzing poetry. It’s never been my thing. However, I’m quite inspired by Tarfia Faizullah to try my hand at it. So my goal is to take my stories that I’m struggling with, and see if I can summarize each chapter into a poem. That’s my goal for the month.

And no, you can’t see the poems.

How to Make Your Life Revolve Around Writing

As mentioned yesterday in my Declaration of Independence, my goal is to make my life revolve around that which I aspire to do most: write. And to do this, I have devised a plan.

  1. Write Every Day
    This might seem like a no-brainer, but is more to it than simply making sure pen meets paper:
    Journaling–A personal journal is something that I think is important for anyone and everyone, even those who don’t want to be a writer. It helps to organize thought and find out what you really think or feel. It can help you become more open to what you might be ignoring, whether consciously or subconsciously.
    15 Minute Writes–What I mean by this is turning off of covering the monitor of your computer and just writing for fifteen minutes straight. This is something my English 100 teacher taught me when I attempted college the first time ten years ago. What this does is helps you to write on command. You write anything and everythign that comes to your mind, without looking, without thinking. If you don’t know what you want to write, you write over and over again “I don’t kow what to write” until you figure out something you want to write about.
    Spending at least an hour working towards fiction–This is a huge thing for me. Either I’m all into fiction, or I’m far from it. So either I’m just writing blog entries/essays/journaling, or I’m just writing fiction. Considering that I want to be a fiction writer, this is something I need to work on.
  2. Schedule Time to Write
    By wanting to be a writer and get paid for my wrods, I’m basically making this a business model. I need to be able to have scheduled time every day to write, whether  it’s creating a new project, working on an old project, editing, journalling, outlining–whatever. I need to be able to schedule a time, daily, that I am not disturbed, that all I do is write.
  3. Read Every Day
    I am a terrible reader. I don’t read fiction, hardly every. And non-fiction I basically skim over. It’s not that I’m not a strong reader–I am. But I think that with technology the way it is (smart phoens), I just don’t have the focus or discaplin to stay interested in something to read it all the way through from cover to cover. I need to fix that.
  4. Be A Better Blogger
    Aside from the fact that I’m not a regular writer any more, I need to do other things to be a better blogger. This means reading other peoples’ blogs and interacting and promoting them. We are all striving for the same goal: to make money on our writing. By reading what they have to say, I’m not only supporting them with their taletns and ambitions, but I’m learning how to strengthen my own blog as well.
  5. Be A Better Reader
    As mentioned before, I have no ability to stay focussed. I want to start making myself read articles from top to bottom, reading blog posts in their full, as well as maybe even reading magazine articles. By being a better reader, writers can gain ideas and perspectives on how to improve their own writing as well as passing the karmic buck forward.
  6. Surround Myself with Writers
    I’ve started doing this, though vaguely. I do have a confession though: other writers scare me. I have always delighted in writing being solitary work, but really, I need other writers. This goes along side of being a better reader: I need to be able to increase my skill and find out my weaknesses. The best way to do this is to network with other writers who experience similar problems and might feedback.
    This doesn’t have to mean physical people in front of you either. This can be finding networks of writers via twitter, NaNoWriMo, WordPress, Hubpages, and so on.
  7. Writing Podcasts
    No, I am not creating a podcast. I went down that road for all of four seconds and it was just not for me. However, I want to expand the podcasts that I listen to so that they are mostly about writing. I’m doing a fairly good job of this so far. I only listen to philosophy podcasts and writing podcasts. But if I’m honest with myself, I’m more into the philosophy stuff than I am the Writing Podcasts. I listen to Writing Excuses and Writers on Writing–both are amazing podcasts that I love. However, if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
  8. Find Alpha and Beta Readers
    I’m generally terrified to let people read my writing. But I am getting better at it. What I need is to find my group of supportive readers who can help me make my writing and story telling better so that I an eventually start submitting to publication. Without readers, I can’t submit anything. They will see that which I can’t see because I am too far into my own head. So I need to suck it up, and let some people read my work.

Making Independence Day About Me: A Writer’s Declaration

With all my time off, I’ve been able to focus on my writing, which has been a really productive thing. I’ve been participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, setting my own goal to be 50,000 words in July, and writing 15,000 in two days.

And today, as it is Independence Day, I’d like to celebrate not by chugging beer and barbecuing things and causing things to explode, but rather by focusing on my writing and celebrating my own Independence.

When I decided to go back to school, it was because I was tired of being laid off from jobs because I was disposable or the business flat out died. I also wanted to get out of video production, since that was just not my passion. I wanted a job that revolved around what I love: writing. So I disguised my education as something thoughtful and smart: a very useful and versatile English degree. But really, I just want to write, and have something to help me get my foot in the door of a publisher.

For two years I worked hard in school and took on two jobs outside of school. All my time went to studying and working. Sure, I wrote, and tried to participate in any of the NaNoWriMo events. But it was an activity divided between other obligations and distractions. As soon as I graduated from the community college in December, I picked up a job as well as kept my other two jobs, giving a grand total of 70 hour work weeks, leaving me too exhausted to even contemplate writing of any form.

Now I am down to two jobs again, one giving my only 4 hours a week while the other job is just on weekends. This has left me with ample time to think and discover what it is I really want. The answer to that is simple: to write.

And I have so much time to do it!

So this is my writing Independence Day. It is the day that I know my life needs to revolve around writing to get to be where I want to be. It’s the day I make sure to schedule time for my writing every day. It’s the day that I know that it is what is important for me to grow and to put that growth first. It is the day that I separate myself from the working world and the obsessive manner to which I participated in it. I am a writer, and thus my life will be about writing, from here on out.

Might Have Missed the Deadline

As it turns out, I didn’t apply correctly for my student loans. Because I’m too independent and under-educated for a PLUS loan, I had to apply for Sallie Mae, which I indicated in the weird spreadsheet Durham’s Financial Aid sent me to fill out. They also sent me a flow chart of directions, telling me to follow it to the letter. I did so. Apparently, what was left out was that I was going to have to apply for Sallie Mae loans separately, on a separate Cost of Attendance spreadsheet as well as on a different website all together.

I set to work on that. As it turns out, because it’s an international school that I’m going to, I have to apply on a special version of their website, or something of that matter. I can only get to it through Durham’s website. I followed the link, clicked the dreaded “Get Started” button, and it took me to a page which had a message pop up reading:

“Invalid Offer

The offer you’re responding to is either invalid or no longer available.

For more information about our current products, go to SallieMae.com. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
I went to the Sallie Mae website, which gave me no information whatsoever regarding what I was after.
I think that I might have actually missed the deadline. I think I missed the cut-off point for the loans. I’ve emailed the contact person for Durhams’ Financial Aid office, and since it’s a little late in the morning, I’ve got to wait until potentially tomorrow for him to get back to me.
Always a waiting game.

FAFSA Application Completed

Ugh. I just finally filled out my application for Financial Aid. I’m looking at having to pay back about $200 a month just in federal loans, and another $550 a month for Sallie Mae. I feel sick.

Kids, save up your money and pay for tuition out of pocket.

A Personal Worry About Brexit

While I sit here and wait for updates regarding the vote count and outcome of the EU Referendum which I wrote on earlier today, I can’t help but consider how this influences my unique situation.

Given that I’m a dual citizen, holding both an American and a British passport, I have the liberty of being able to live an work anywhere in the EU as well as any of the common wealth nations under the Queen’s rule (e.i. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.). If the UK succeeds in separating from the EU, then my personal dreams of living in France are done, unless I manage to go to school over there (which is just a passing whimsy since my French just ain’t that good), as well as my hopes to live on a river boat in Holland.

However, my direct situation is greatly influenced by this as well. I’m looking at taking out an extremely hefty loan from Sallie Mae, about which I literally have read pages and pages upon horrific reviews on Consumer Affairs. I’ve been terrified to take out loans with them, but they are literally my only option since they’re the only non-federal student loan company that works with Durham University.

So while I’m sitting here, trying to convince myself to bite the bullet and just send in my FAFSA application already so that I can know that I’m going to school this fall, I am suddenly struck with the horror of how this EU thing is going to possibly screw me, personally, over.

As mentioned in my previous post (which I linked further up), the decision for the UK to leave the EU has an extremely strong possibility of dropping the pound’s value. This could actually work out for me, since it would mean I have to take out less in US Dollar (USD) loans to cover my tuition. However, the bigger picture is that if the pound’s value drops, then that means the economy has dropped, and it has been suggested over and over again that a recession will follow. In 2007, a recession hit the UK, as well as the EU, and on to the US. If one has a recession, then the rest follow. That means that my likelihood of finding a job after college is less, which means I’m very much less likely to be able to pay back my very steeply interest-rated student loans.

So, I wait another day, sitting on my Financial Aid spreadsheet, hoping that I’m not waiting too long before I have the door shut on me for starting this year at Durham University. I feel like I would be silly to apply the day before I find out I’m 100% screwed with debt. This is a huge decision. I’ve never had to deal with this much money before, and the implications of what tomorrow could be like are absolutely terrifying to me.

For information of how this will influence students, I have found the following articles:
The Complete University Guide: EU Referendum – How does the European Union affect universities and students?” This is mostly about how it affects students in the UK and in the EU.
Fortune:Why U.K. Universities Are Really Worried About ‘Brexit’
Student World Online:How Will EU Decision Affect International Students in the UK?