Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In Which I am Really Very Lucky

So it’s reading week right now at my uni, and even though it’s named like it should be taken more seriously it actually looks a lot like the American ‘Spring Break Woo Hoo.’ At least for most people.

Last year, in my first year of my undergrad, I went to Montreal for reading week. Going to Montreal for reading week is the Canadian equivalent of going to Florida or California, except colder and more legal. At the time all of my friends were under aged at 18 and so Quebec was this beautiful place only 4 hours away where they could exchange their disposable income for alcohol without having to worry about losing their fakes.

(Possible economic solution: Lowering the drinking age to stimulate the economy.)

Anways, I was legal to drink everywhere in Canada at the time, being a year older than most of my friends so this trip didn’t have quite the same novelty for me that it did to them. Mostly I just wanted to be with my friends.

And as awesome as that trip was because I got to do a lot of things I had never done before like get a boys number and eat poutine with bacon and push a guy off my friend in the middle of the club, I am very glad that I did not try to recreate that trip this year.

Most of my friends are gone for reading week- my girlfriend flew home, my roommate went to Florida, the Down Undies (my old floor) are skiing and shopping and eating home cooked food and my one unfortunate friend on co-op is working.

This seems like it's going to be a long post so I'm going to add a picture. Here is my set up in the library yesterday:

That is my very first Roll up the Rim coffee by the way. It is a beautiful beginning of a really unattractive overcaffienated couple weeks.

Back to the post: I had to stay on campus this year because I am a Don (or an R.A. depending on what uni you go to) and being on an empty campus is a singularly meditative experience. Being able to walk across campus without seeing a single person, only geese and squirrels, makes the campus seem like a different place. And when I walk past 5 closed Tim Hortons on campus it almost feels like I am the last person here.

So basically I’ve spent a lot of time reading for school and for pleasure and walking further than I normally do for coffee. But this quiet, this total focus on school, is something that has made me think.

Having to do readings and papers and labs and etc. While your friends are around usually involves a lot of complaining. We complain about course load and due dates and the format of the tests and how long marking is taking and how completely unfair it is to have participation marks.

And in all that complaining you can forget the unique and incredible experience you are having.

One of my required courses is called Social Research and for the last two weeks it has been the bane of my existence. In that time we have had to read 10 journal articles and write a literature review. Then we had to identify an area that was lacking and research it, creating a survey for our class to fill out while we filled out theirs. We just got our surveys back on the last day before reading week and now we need to write a code book and collect all our data.

And I’m staring at this stack of surveys that are bigger than my textbook and it is terrifying. Coding data is not particularly fun to see or have described to you, but it is weirdly fun in a satisfying kind of way. I don’t know if I ever would have had that thought if I didn’t have this week off and away from everyone.

Because when we get caught up in complaining we forget that we are so incredibly lucky. We are lucky to have these exams and readings and assignments that challenge us. We are lucky that we can discuss the metaphor of fat in Fight Club and how group psychology affects us and calculate Pearson’s coefficient.

We are so lucky we can learn how to code data.

We- I- am so incredibly lucky to be at university, and that’s a feeling we should hold onto more often.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In Which I am Bad at Blogging but Good at Nerdfighting

So what have I been up to over the past month? Well:

Also, you know, school.

But back to the The Fault in our Stars (which I frequently mistype as the Fault in our Stairs which would, I'm guessing, be an entirely different novel). It was amazing, stick in your head, screw with your head amazing. John Green was at his absolute best, and I can only hope that one day I will be half the writer he is.

I finished tfios at 3 in the morning, and I wasn't sure if my red eyes ached from staying up or from sobbing. I couldn't fall asleep after. I just kept thinking.

You see, I'm terrified of death. I always have been. Ever since I was little the idea of dying would give me panic attacks. The idea that one day I will die, that I will stop existing, that I won't feel anything again, terrifies me.

It would be easier to deal with if I thought there was something after, but I don't know what I believe. It's easier not to think about it most of the time.

The Fault in our Stars made me think. And cry. And imagine.

And that is the best things books can do.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

In which I am known to Germans

The first week of classes in 2012 has consisted of three things for me: video games, syllabi and thinking about writing (but not writing).

Now obviously if we start with the most interesting one we are going to talk about video games. In the past week Yoshi and I have gotten back on animated bike and are kicking ass. I also received the new Zelda game for Christmas so writing took a bit of a back seat this week. It is important to note that in the last ten years my basic strategy for playing Zelda games has not changed: I used to mash buttons and random and now I flail my wii remote at, well, random.

(Taking a second out to explain the title of this post: Someone in Germany has somehow found this blog. Kudos to you Germany! I write this blog, and I can barely find it.)

As for syllabi: I get one in every class. My calendar is full again. Sigh.

The third thing, of course, is thinking about writing. Not actually writing. That would be ridiculous. No what I do is I put in a good solid effort in thinking.

To fill you in on some back story, I write young adult fantasy they way a lot of people write young adult contemporary. That is to say that there is very little world saving on a macro universe wide scale and more world saving on a mirco personal scale. Essentially, I think about what is a normal day in the life of a [insert magical creature here], and then I ruin that day for them.

So I figured I could give you a little breakdown of what I just finished/ am currently working on:

1. I just finished another draft of Blackbird, which involves witches, shape shifting, creepy clans, music and keeping secrets. I really hoping to start querying with this one soon. :)

2. I've just started researching for Same as the First. I'm not really sure what it's about yet other than London (England, not Ontario), amnesia, serial killers and lists. I know, I know. A YA novel with lists.

I've also written down a handful of scenes that could one day turn into a Blackbird sequel but... well...

I'm going to think about it some more.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In Which I Procrastinate Resolutions by Resolving

It has recently occurred to me that I am a procrastinator. This shouldn't really come as a surprise since the thought came to me while I was sitting in my disgustingly messy, half packed bedroom contemplating how tomorrow I'm moving back into my disgustingly messy, half packed dorm room.

Okay that's actually a lie. I've always known I am a procrastinator. I just always thought that I saved my procrastinating for the really important things like exams and whether or not I want the panini or the wrap for lunch.

Sadly, I am forced to admit this is not the case. I have sunk so low that I am not just procrastinating achieving things. I've actually started to procrastinate goals.

Procrastinate doesn't even look like a word anymore, let me tell you, so from now on I will be replacing it with the phrase Monkey Bopping.

So I was sitting in bed monkeybopping my new years resolutions when I realized that for the past five years or so my resolutions have always looked something like this:

1. Write something of (debatable) measurable talent
2. Sell novel, then take over world. I was never quite sure how this step would work but for some reason I am assured that one will lead to the other.
3. Stay in school, don't do drugs.
4. Stave of death by caffeine addiction.
5. Somehow obtain more money without working any harder or longer.
And finally:
5. Lose [blank] pounds.

Well NO LONGER. I am shaking off this resolution slump and trying new and better resolutions to fail!

At the very least I should lose [blank] kg. I am Canadian, after all.

Honestly, though, I still want all those things, but that's the problem. They are things I want. They are goals. I resolve to have solutions.

I resolve to blog.

And that's all I got right now because I accidentally opened stumble upon and now I am Monkey Bopping again.