2017 Recap and 2018 Plans

2017. Politically…bleh. But, on a personal and professional note it had a lot of highlights.

  • I went to Yellowstone National Park for the first time and experienced -25F temps…
  • I went to both the Arctic and the Antarctic. I saw polar bears and penguins and lots and lots of beautiful ice…
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  • I went to beautiful Assiniboine Provincial Park and photographed in weather from overcast and snowing to blue skies and dry…
  • I turned thirty…
  • I got published! Multiple nonfiction pieces, and my first short story sale: linkies here
  • I finished my novel…
  • I pitched my novel at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference to two fabulous agents, and they asked for pages!…

I’m probably forgetting some things, and there are others that I can’t quite share yet, but overall, a big year for me.

Going forward…

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Week 1- Open Posting. A shot of Lake Magog and the mountains surrounding it. Taken in September 2017, a few days after the featured photo up top.

I’m going to focus on only one photography challenge, the Bob Noble one (not sure how well that link will work as it’s a closed facebook group, but I think people are still welcome to join?). I made it a about 2/3 of the way through the 2017 challenge. The schedule is more relaxed this year, which will hopefully help me get all the way through it.

This year, a personal photography goal is to get through processing photos from my trips. I have a woefully neglected smugmug site where I’ll be putting some photos, as well as some on my facebook page. I haven’t been on flickr much so I’m hesitant to point people there to see my photos.

2017 was the year I devoted to the Tempest Challenge, where you “take One Year off from reading fiction by straight, white, cisgender male authors and instead read fiction by authors who come from minority or marginalized groups.” I very much enjoyed this challenge and could/should devote a post to my picks from the last year. I highly recommend it.

This year, I’m doing two reading challenges that somewhat overlap. The Book Riot 2018 Read Harder challenge, and the #BadAssReadingChallenge2018 (facebook group). A tentative plan for the blog is to do monthly recaps of what I’ve read. I got back into comics/graphic novels during the Tempest Challenge, and am happy to see a few themes in the Book Riot challenge devoted to them.

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Onward into 2018!

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This is 30

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I said goodbye to my twenties today. The last decade holds some of the best moments thus far in my life, and hopefully what will prove to be the worst.

I went to undergrad. Got married. Went to law school, and while it’s not a secret that I ended up hating most of the experience, I can never fully regret it because of the wonderful friends I made through going. I decided to pursue a career in writing, and saw my first pro-sale at twenty-nine. I’ve done two things that would have my mother throwing up her hands in (good) exasperation because they’re things she tried so hard to interest me in when I was younger: music (violin for the last four years, piano sporadically for the last year), and making baby steps in seeking out other Asian American adoptees. I’ve taken up photography as my latest hobby, and it’s led me to amazing places and people.

Those are the good things. I’m probably forgetting some, but I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far.

But, the (hopefully) worst moment of my life also happened in my twenties. It’s hard to describe in a way that conveys all of the meaning it holds for me. December 21, 2012, a tree fell on my family’s car while we were driving on the highway. My parents were killed. My family was broken. It’s the day that changed the way I look at my life. That last is a bit dramatic, but they’re all true. The accident changed the way I see my life—it’s all either pre- or post- accident now. In some ways, my brain is still stuck in time. I default to thinking we’re all the same age as we were that day.

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Another low point of my twenties was losing Beth. It was inevitable—she wasn’t going to live forever and eighteen years is a good run for a cat. She died two years after the accident, and it’s hard for me to separate the two simply because she was the only thing that didn’t change, the only crossover from my “old” life into the post-accident days. The accident changed everything else about our family—the house, certainly the people, even the dogs, and that’s understandable. The dogs were taken in by our beloved neighbors who welcomed them as a part of their families, but it hurt to see them change and view someone else as “their people.” A long-time friend of mine and her family took Beth in after the accident and both Steve and I were jealous-scared that she’d forget us. She didn’t. Old Beth the Iron Kitty moved something like three times in three months without batting an eye, and when we were finally reunited she moved back into our apartment like it was no big deal. She bridged the gap after the accident, unchanging, constant, and for that I am grateful.

I hope my thirties go well, but if they want to be a bit less eventful I’m quite all right with that too.

Thoughts on Disability

Header image is my submission for Week 15- Hard, in the Dogwood52 Advanced challenge. Seemed fitting for this post.

I’m currently finishing the final season of Bones, and have a few thoughts on how it handles the disability of one of the main characters, so hopefully a blog post on that soon.

In the meantime, here’s a Storify of some thoughts I had on twitter about an article on ableism in writing and my able–>disabled perspective on one of the points.

Storify Link

Erm…ignore all the misuses of your instead of “you’re” *hangs head in shame*.

Able to Disabled: My Thoughts on Bones Season 11

It should be apparent from the title that there are going to be some spoilers. Here’s my SPOILER ALERT warning. Also apparent from the title—I use the term “disabled.” That’s what works for me. You do you.

The eleventh season of Bones recently came to Netflix, and I was surprised by the show’s decision to severely injure one of the main characters—and even more so by how it was handled. To quote the Netflix description: “A forensic anthropologist teams up with an FBI agent to investigate crimes that have left scant evidence behind: namely the bones of the deceased.” I’ve also heard it called forensics porn because the show doesn’t shy away from showing gross-out, grisly bits. Not particularly violent, but it does like to show dead bodies, bugs, all that goodness.

I love this show. It has a decently diverse ensemble cast (I freaking love Camille Saroyan), has great humor given the subject matter, and generally has good singular/episodic plots interwoven with a season-long problem. My thoughts on the disabled character and that arc only pertain to what happens during season 11.

To give the spoiler-free crowd a chance to depart, I’ll go into a little bit of a background bio to shed some light on why I’m blogging about this. Near the end of 2012, my family was involved in a car accident that resulted in the death of my parents and left myself, my husband, and my older sister with a varying degree of disabling injuries. My younger brother escaped with minor physical injuries. I’m being deliberately short here, but I presume readers can imagine the emotional trauma involved.

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It’s usually easiest to sum up that I broke most of my lower half from the ribs down: multiple ribs, pelvis (I think in two spots), both femurs, right knee, right ankle, left wrist, surface abrasions, plus internal injuries. I was fortunate in that of the three of us, my injuries had the largest margin for recovery. Today I can walk without an aid, though I still keep my cane in my car. To the casual observer I probably don’t “look disabled,” because I can walk unassisted and usually without a limp. My husband and I had eerily similar breaks, though he had several in addition to mine. He lives with chronic nerve pain that will most likely be a continuous battle to manage, and he walks with a forearm crutch. My sister is a quadriplegic, and blogs about her experiences at Jessie Thinks.

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Almost hallway through season 11 of Bones, the character Dr. Jack Hodgins is injured at a crime scene and ends up a paraplegic. When we find out at the end of episode 10 that he’s paralyzed, I inwardly cringed. I adore this show and was not optimistic about how it would handle disability in a primary character. Were they going to turn him into this morose recluse who can’t possibly have a meaningful life? Have him magically cured after one episode?

Neither. For the next 5 episodes, we see Hodgins’ arc of dealing with becoming disabled. Based on my experience, on so many levels the show nailed it. Not perfectly; I have some qualms with where the season ends that I’ll address in a bit. The grieving process is sped up a bit more than I think is realistic, but honestly I was amazed at how much time the character and his injury received.

I related so hard to some of the things Hodgins goes through/does/feels. The first episode after we find out he’s been paralyzed, he’s actually really upbeat. But, we find out it’s because he thought his nerves were re-growing, and at the end of that episode he finds out that he was experiencing phantom pain and that in fact his MRI shows nerve decay. The next 3 episodes show him going through an intense grieving process, and the rest of the season follows his journey to come to terms with where he’s at.

What Hodgins goes through—that was my family’s life. I’ve never related to a show so much; where I watched and could say “that was me,” or “that was us.” The scenes where Hodgins is looking around his workplace and noting all the ways it isn’t ADA-friendly. How he enviously stares at people as they trot up and down the stairs. Easily. Carelessly.

I’ve been there. I remember sitting in the ambulance, then the cabulance, then finally a regular car while at the James Street exit, watching people rushing up or down Capitol Hill to catch a bus. Glaring at strangers as they hurried along, blindly trusting their knees to hold them. I remember staring at people as they ran down the road, or jumped over a puddle, thinking to myself, “yea, don’t take that for granted, motherf*cker. You don’t know what you have.” I remember being so jealous and angry and knowing that it wasn’t logical but I DON’T CARE BECAUSE I’M BROKEN. I rode horses and played recreational soccer for 10+ years. I ran on my high school cross country team. I played IM flag football in undergrad, and screw modesty: I was pretty damned good at it. So that sense of loss, and the anger, and the desperation/desire to find a way to be unbroken again—I get that.

I went from able to disabled to now somewhere in between. I can’t run anymore. I can’t jump. Kneeling and crouching are slow, painful, and usually inconvenient. I can climb stairs but can’t remember what it felt like to do it with ease even though I know I used to be able to take them three at a time. It wasn’t even that long ago, but I’ve no memory of what effortlessness feels like. But, I can walk. I’m no longer stuck in a bed, ticking off the days, weeks, months until my doctor removes the “non-weight bearing” restriction from my whiteboard. As freeing as the wheelchair was, I’ve graduated from it, the walker, the crutches, and even the cane. For now, anyway. It took a long time, but I don’t stare, green with envy, when runners go by.

The arc Hodgins goes through rang true to me. The desperate hope that he was getting better; the anger and jealousy and grief over his loss—and how that affects everyone around him; how he tries to get into experimental programs, something, anything that will bring his legs back. And, eventually to how he grows to accept that being disabled is who he now is, but also how he’s more than just a guy in a wheelchair. He has to find what the “new normal” is for him, and thankfully the show does that well too. We get to see a once able-bodied man now in a wheelchair, and his life ultimately doesn’t change. He’s able to continue at his job, and though there are certain limitations due to being in the chair, for the most part he’s able to do everything he did before—AND the show doesn’t make a huge deal of it. Yes, he gets a motorized lift so he can join the team on the examination platform, but the last quarter of the season he just zips around and goes about his business. We see how he gets to keep his normal life—wheelchair and all. I love this.

Now, there’s a bit at the end that I don’t like, because after all that time showing the realistic struggle (to me) of an able-bodied person becoming disabled and still managing to figure out their life, the show decides to hint that Hodgins might “get better.” He starts to get nerve flares and muscle spasms in his legs in the second-to-last episode. I have problems with this. It looks dangerously like the show’s going to fall into the whole “disability is bad” deal by making Hodgins able-bodied again, because omg we can’t have someone disabled on the show. It also doesn’t really make sense since we were told that his nerve ends had already begun decaying, and he didn’t end up putting himself into any experimental programs—they claim it’s just the result of all that PT. That’s also a bit of a slap in the face to spinal cord injured people who know that not all the PT in the world can undo their damage. Whatever. It’s unclear by the finale if he’ll fully regain his legs or not. I’m hoping not. I know, it’s a TV show. The Hodgins character is also very wealthy and has access to therapy and aids that most people don’t. Overall, I think the process of able to disabled and coming to terms with life are handled well.

I have serious misgivings about the finale unrelated to Hodgins, but that has nothing to do with disability.

Photography Fun

A bit of a photo-heavy post here recapping some of my recent photography adventures. Currently mulling over a writing-related post so that will come in the next weekish or two. The novel is finally underway (yay), if also a bit slow-going. First chapter down!

But, on to photography fun: Things I Learned…

Things I Learned Pretending to be a Wedding Photographer

A dear friend of mine had a small courthouse ceremony the other day and asked if I’d take photos during it. Of course, I said. Ermagurd what do I do? I thought. Fortunately, there are plenty of tutorials, tips, and blogs full of advice and “## Things Every Amateur Should Know About Wedding Photography.” So I did some reading, though not a ton of it was relevant since this was a small, informal ceremony. It helped that Dear Friend is very understanding and it’s not like I had a contract with a bridezilla to deliver perfect wedding memories.

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The main thing I learned pretending to be a wedding photographer is that…I’m not cut out to be a wedding photographer. Based on the experience of my own wedding, plus ones that I’ve attended, a good wedding photographer is unobtrusive. They crouch, kneel, climb up high—whatever it takes to get the good shot, without getting in people’s way. The good ones can slip up to the aisle, quietly kneel down next to a row of chairs, get the shot, and back away. The bad ones go into the middle of the aisle and block the guests’ view. Or get in people’s way. Basically, they’re not unobtrusive. Then, there’s me. “Quietly” doing anything like “kneeling” or “crouching” doesn’t happen anymore post-car accident. I’m working on being able to go down on one knee, but it’s one thing to kneel on a yoga mat that’s on top of carpet, and another to try and do it on hardwood floors. I’m also not comfortable being, shall we say politely pushy, to get the shot. Good thing this wasn’t a “real” shoot because I wasn’t in position to get the first kiss. Also a good thing that the couple was happy to kiss again 😉

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All in all, a fun event and a happy one, but not something I’d want to do “for real.” I much prefer candid shots over poses, and think we got some good ones.

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Things I Learned Climbing a Mountain

Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit—we only climbed partway up the mountain. Elevation was around 1850ft on West Tiger Mountain. Dear Friend and I have been meaning to go on the Poo Poo Point-Chirico Trail hike for a while now, but between the weather and random things coming up we kept getting delayed. Last week we finally made it out, and it was a hike full of the glorious and the awful. Glorious: the weather was great—I think it hit the low 60s toward the end of the hike, nice breeze, beautiful views. Not a crowded hike, but we saw many other hikers and there’s a friendly sort of, as Dear Friend put it, hiker solidarity that happens on the trail.

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The not-so-great: well, Dear Friend is a few months pregnant now and this wasn’t the best trail for a couple of noob hikers to attempt. We made it up, but it’s a gain of 1700ft within just short of 2 miles. As we neared the first launch point (paragliders tend to hike this trail often in the spring-fall), the breeze picked up, and it’s a bit unnerving to see the trees swaying and hear the branches cracking as they bump each other. I’ve already had a tree fall on me, don’t need to repeat that experience. None came down while we were there, though there were plenty of fallen trees on either side of the trail.

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The views from both launch points are awesome.

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The awful part: for me, going up the trail was fine, whereas Dear Friend thought it was torture. We were switched for the hike back down. Thankfully I had trekking poles because otherwise I’d still be inching my way down. The trail is mostly rocky, some are wider, flatter, step-like things that aren’t too bad, but other parts of the trail are an uneven nightmare. Descending was really hard on my ankles in particular, followed by the knees. So, I learned that I’ll need to evaluate future hikes’ elevation gain and assess accordingly because even though the length roundtrip and the ascent weren’t a problem, getting back down was sucky.

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Things I Learned Attending the Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Ok, that title’s a stretch, but anywho. Well, first thing I learned was don’t go to the garden show two hours after a monster hike, ugh. However, it was a nice show, though I thought the theme, America the Beautiful, was a bit…I don’t know, I guess vague would suffice. I’m not saying America’s not beautiful, but it’s a big place. Most of the exhibitors went with Pac Northwest themes, which I like because 1) I live here for a reason, & 2) I like green.

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Really, what I learned from the garden show is that it’s an awesome place to see cute ideas for the dream writer’s cottage/shack/retreat. Sadly, I don’t have the pictures I took from last year’s show (they were less-than-great phone shots anyway) because there were some really cool standalone shed-type structures, but this year had some gems too.

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I love the idea of the dedicated writing space. It’s a sort of romantic, dreamy ideal that I love to pieces. The notion of it, anyway. Thing is, I’m enamored with the idea of being spirited away for weeks or months to do nothing but write. I mean, that sounds so awesome, right? Nothing else distracting me but writing, I’d-get-so-much-done. The words would just flow.

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Then I wake up and, you know, remind myself that I’m an adult and know myself well enough that there’s a reason I say that I like the idea of it. I do, it sounds great, but in reality it’s something where the fun factor would wear off really fast—for me. I’m a homebody. I pretty much already have a dedicated writing space…my desk. And, yea, I get distracted sitting at it, but here’s the thing—as much as I like to think that I need a big block of time to get into the groove during a writing session, say 4 hours, I’ve learned that realistically I write in bursts. I’m way more productive if I have a focused 30-45min session (sometimes longer depending on the situation) instead of sitting down with 4 hours of “free time.” If I sit down thinking I have 4 glorious hours, other stuff finds a way to come up. I’ll fall into a social media time suck, or the cats will need snuggling, or maybe I should go practice the violin, or I need to catch up on some reading, or…you get it.

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Actually, this one is probably more along the lines of a writer’s budget.IMG_2316-HDR

There were a lot of cute small spaces that could work as writing spaces, and I adore them. But, at least when I’m in the first draft phase, they’re just an idea that I have to like from afar. In the revision stage, well, now we might be getting somewhere. But, let’s not put the cart before the horse.

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The Dogwood 52 challenge is in its 8th week! Still going strong. Had a quick family vacation in Vegas last weekend and got my Week 8 shot- Landscape: Wide Angle/Panorama. This is a 3 picture stitch of the Colorado River during a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon the husbeast and I went on. Taking off in a helicopter is way more fun than in an airplane. Just sayin’. More photos are on my flickr page.

Week 8- Wide Angle or Panorama

January: New Year, New Goals

Here we are, nearly halfway through January and I’m finally getting around to my New Year’s post with resolutions/goals and all that jazz. Well, one of my resolution/goals for this year is to blog more regularly…so there’s that. I’m trying to set what I consider realistic goals that I’ll actually attain with a little effort, rather than setting myself up for failure. So, my goals for 2016:

  • Blog at least once a month. I’ve been puttering around trying to think about content and figure out what I want this blog to be, getting hung up on “oh but it’s not writing-related enough.” I do plan on putting writing bits on here, but the blog is going to branch out a bit more to encompass my other hobbies. I’ve been getting more into photography, so expect to see more pictures on the blog. I’m also participating in the Dogwood 52 Challenge which is open to all, and it’s ok if you join late as there is no “start” date. It’s a weekly themed challenge with a ginormous facebook group, and several splinter groups also on facebook, flickr, twitter, etc.

Here’s my submission for the Week 2 theme: Traditional Landscape. Found a short, flat loop to hike near my house that goes around this little lake. It hasn’t been super cold here, so I was surprised to find the lake was frozen all the way across.

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  • Have at least two works on submission at all times. When the flurry of New Year posts came out, I saw a lot of writers setting high submission goals (like, 10 pieces on sub), which was awe inspiring and depressing. Then I slapped myself and remembered rule #, I don’t know, it’s usually in the top 5 depending on who you ask: “Don’t compare yourself to others.” Two pieces isn’t a lot, but I think it’s a good goal for me that is achievable with a little effort. The number also fits with some of my other goals for the year.
  • In an ideal world, start, finish, and get the novel out for querying. I’d really like to have a rough draft done by summer so I can pitch it at PNWA this July. We’ll see. I’m finishing up the outline and trying out plotting using the index card system. I’m liking it more than my previous traditional format. Law school left me with a nervous twitch upon seeing traditional outlines.
  • Write some flash fiction. I’m considering flash anything less than 1500 words, with less than 1k the ideal. All last year I kept meaning to write some, even took a class with the fabulous Cat Rambo, but didn’t write any flash. The only short piece ended up being 2700 words (doing well, making the rounds and receiving some encouraging personal rejections).
  • Read more. And probably review more too. I probably won’t be doing reviews on the blog, but rather over on Goodreads. I go through phases of reading a lot, and then tailing off where I read more magazines and stuff rather than books. Actually, this really should be a goal aimed at curbing the book buying. Something like “must read x books before can buy a new one.” Bought a lot of books this year, especially at cons, but only read 4 or 5 new ones. I tend to reread a lot. I’m thinking that 3:1 is a good starting point.
  • Get back to my pre-accident weight. What New Year post would be complete without a weight loss goal? I’ve been holding steady at about 4-5 pounds heavier than I was before the car accident at the end of 2012. Some of that is me having more metal in my body than before, some (hopefully) is more muscle in my upper body since I’ve varied my workouts more than I did pre-accident, and definitely that I’m more sedentary. I think this might be the hardest goal to get done.

Week 1 theme: Self-portrait! Found out that what feels like a nice smile on my face I don’t like the look of on camera. Took 15-20 shots, settled on this.Week 1- Headshot self timer1-5-16

Onward and upward! Oh, and a sort of post-LASIK update. Very happy with the results overall, but I’m finding that I’m more sensitive to light, whether that’s the sun, interior lights, or the computer screen. I wear my Gunnar glasses a lot more at the computer. Not unexpected or uncommon, and I’m still so glad I decided to go through with the LASIK.

Attending a Book Launch Party

Went to my first book launch party last Friday. Not my book’s launch. I mentioned hearing Raven Oak read a passage from her recently released novella, Class-M Exile, last month at the Cascade Writers info session. Raven’s novella is “officially” launched (it was a sneak peek at the CW event), and I attended a launch party at the University Bookstore in Bellevue.

A small gathering, maybe a dozen or so in attendance. Not bad for 6:30pm on a Friday. Apparently some people complained about the venue being in Bellevue? Pfff. Parked in two seconds with plenty of space around and didn’t need to pay. Seattle’s hard-pressed to equal that in most places.

I’ve never been to that U Bookstore location before, and it was nice inside—café, UW themed stuff, large art supply selection, nice space by a fireplace (not that we needed it in June) for the reading/signing, and of course, a good selection of books. Considering that the floor space pales in comparison to a giant like B&N, I was pleasantly surprised by how many science fiction and fantasy books the U Bookstore had. Also had a long signing table with plenty of space, and a mix of folding plastic chairs and the more permanent comfy ones.

The U Bookstore staff were good hosts, and it was a nice gathering with wine and cheese. I liked how small it was because it was more intimate, not loud, not much in the way of a line, and conversations flowed more easily.

I’ve mentioned before that Raven’s reading with the southern accent is great. I’ll be hearing her voice when I read it. This is good, because otherwise I’m not sure how well the writing would come across for me, as it’s written to reflect the accent. Ex. “Hell, you could even buy yerself a gen-u-ine religion if you were so inclined.”

Aside from the usual reading and signing, Raven also had a short trivia game for us. She spent 20+ years in Texas before coming to the Pac Northwest, so we had fun playing a game of guessing headlines: Texas or The Onion. The number of times you wished the headline was from the Onion…

For swag, Raven had these cute stickers that are a nod to a line in the book. If you’re looking for fun ideas for a book launch or promotions, these were a nice alternative to bookplates. Cat tail not included.

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Had a chance to chat with her while she signed my book, and spelled my name right! This sounds like a no-brainer, but the number of times someone has asked how to spell my name and still spells it incorrectly…*facepalm. Same thing where I point out how to spell it, or have it written/typed down in view. I hear people with unconventional spellings or ethnic spellings complain and I’m like, dude, people can’t spell my name right—y’all don’t have a chance. However, I do think there are instances where people consciously take better care if they see a name that they’re not familiar with. I need to start saying, “Jaime, like Jaime Lannister.” That presumes the person in question has read the book as opposed to only watching the show, but I’ll try it.

Signed Class M

Also chatted with Raven about some upcoming cons/events and the dilemma of selecting which stories to submit to writers’ workshops. More on that in future posts once I see the results of how it all worked out, but the gist of it was that it’s a tricky line between wanting to represent yourself well but also submit the piece that needs more work since you’re paying for a critique. Constructive criticism is a lot more useful than the ego-boosting of a line of comments just saying they liked it. We’ll see. I have two separate pieces with one going to a CW workshop in July and the other to Sasquan in August.

Closing thoughts on book launches: having snacks is nice. The trivia game was fun, but I can see that being harder to engage in if there are a lot of people in attendance. Small gatherings are nice for more intimate chats. Swag is cool.

How Law School Affected My Writing

When I started law school I was worried it would kill my creativity. No more beautiful prose (ha! Like I had that to begin with) because bland and formulaic writing would take over. I’d forget how to be a writer, or a reader for that matter, because I’d be bogged down reading nothing but case law. Well, yea, you have to read a lot in law school, and it’s not the same as the reading I had to do at my liberal arts undergrad, but there’s still time for non-law reading. I think law school in conjunction with outside creative writing classes changed the way I read and write, in ways both good and less good.

Legal writing did change my writing in a negative-for-creative-writing way because it strove to teach me to be succinct and to the point. No showy language, no artistry, focus on facts and plain language. That’s not to say that lawyers aren’t creative (um have you seen some of the arguments they can come up with?), but the creativity is channeled in a different way than what I need as a fiction writer. I’d read short stories then look at my own work and think, mine doesn’t sound like this. I don’t write like this. Had to go back to the basics and Creative Writing 101—punchier verbs. Finding my writerly voice will likely be an ongoing process, but it was weird to put conscious effort into rebuilding that tone. I read older stories I’d written pre-law school, and after the cringing subsided (apparently I like to shift POVs. A lot. Often within the same paragraph) I had an idea of where I’d been and the direction I wanted to go in order to hit my stride. Part of that meant accepting that law school had affected my writing. Livening up some dead prose probably occurs more often for me than others. But, it does make those moments when I get a sentence of word-gold especially fulfilling. Unless I have to cut it later. Some darlings I cannot kill.

I’ll never be an artsy writer, one who picks up the pen and Shakespeare falls out. Flowery language and sentences that you need to re-read a few times to fully appreciate the word use—not me. The opposite tends to happen in that I get too plain trying to state the point. Finding the happy middle has been/is an odd journey, but an entertaining one. It’s an interesting position to be in, writing and wondering “who am I?” without any of the teenage angst.

As a consequence of law school and the almost tunnel vision approach it imparted, how I read and the books I enjoy have changed a bit. Of course, this isn’t all law school’s “fault,” as some of it comes from me studying the craft of writing and learning to be more critical. But, I do find that I don’t enjoy wordy, flowery prose anymore, or intense worldbuilding.

If I have to do math/charts/whatever to figure out monetary systems or the calendar, I’ll just substitute in something from reality.

I like pacing to be quicker and to the point. I’m tired of the mega-novel, dawdling behemoth works that are super popular in fantasy, my genre of choice, right now. It feels wrong to say that I want “simpler” books, but in a sense, I do. Not bad or boring writing, but a story that can be told without spending X number of pages detailing the interior of the room. So, really, I guess law school made me a boring writer with the attention span of a ferret.