Friday, April 12, 2013

Direction (and why writing about gay rights can get you fired)

Direction - noun

2. the line along which anything lies, faces, moves, etc., with reference to the point or region toward which it is directed
3. the point or region itself
8. management; control; guidance; supervision
15. a purpose or orientation toward a goal that serves to guide or motivate; focus

Dearest internet.

A little while ago I wrote a (slightly sneak) post about why homosexuals shouldn't raise their voice. I admit that I did choose the title and the way I wrote the article to trick readers into reading it all, regardless of which side of the fence they cling to.

I received a couple of very sweet e-mails and comments, and two of them actually brought grateful tears to my eye. This is, after all, why I write - to make a difference (big or small) in someone's day. Now... the gay entry might have done a little harder for a certain Mr. X from one of those small and slow states in the US. He didn't like being tricked to think I was on 'his side' at all, and he actually found my post so provoking, he decided I should die for this heinous trickery. So, ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I received my first death threat.

It greeted me with "You whore" and went on to tell me in quite some detail how I would get to experience the treatment of "real men" (I'm guessing he thought I was a lesbian), I would then die a quite horrible death and burn for my depravity. There were in general a nice selection of the not-so-creative-threats people of the internet's underbelly tend to deal in, and quite a lot of idiocy about gay rights and such. It was signed "Someone who will get you."

Now, internet, I don't know much about death threats, but I know this - If you're going to show muscle and threaten someone's life - you should probably not include the auto signature from your e-mail software.
Mr. X forgot this simple rule, and gave me both name and (even better) workplace.

So I did a quick Google-search, and then e-mailed his boss. I wrote a very nice and polite letter, giving him a copy of the e-mail I received from Mr. X, and asked if these were the official company views on homosexuality and equality. I made it clear that it was fine by me if they were, but that it was something the public might want to know.

Turned out it wasn't. It wasn't the company's views at all. Oh, Mr. X. I wish you all the best in life, seriously. I suggest you start from any side of any library, and read until you see the light. Based on spelling, grammar and intelligence, may I suggest you start with Dr. Seuss. The Sneetches will be good for you.

An illustration I did for an article about French idioms. It has no relevance for this post what so ever. I just like it.

In other news:

1. I've started using Pinterest. I keep inspiration boards there for my novel, and I post random things that make me happy or make me feel creative. If you're on, give me a shout. You find me here 

2. My brain is struggling. I am now 27, and should by all standards approach a point where I know what I'm doing with my life. I'm not. I study for a translation degree, I write a couple of blogs, I've finished one novel that I'm trying to get to a send-to-agents-ready point, I'm writing the sequel, I'm writing a young adult's book at the same time, I illustrate for a magazine, I own a yoga web shop, I am starting a new company, I am involved with two different game projects and I am planning a large  mountain project. There is a vague red thread in all of this, in all projects there are elements of writing and communicating. That's what I do. But how do you figure out which project to focus on, and turn into the thing you want to do with your life? I don't want to carry each and every project with me into the next phase, but I don't know where I'm going, so I don't know what to leave behind.

How did you figure out where you were going?
How did you end up where you are?
Or, if you're not there yet, what's your plan to figure it out?

Any suggestions will be gratefully appreciated.
Oh, and Mr. X. I'm sorry about your job.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

NaNoWriMo (Why picking the right metaphor will always win an argument)

NaNoWriMo - abr, noun, verbable noun, lifestyle.

National Novel Writing Month
Project each November in which hundreds of thousands of aspiring writers slowly lose their mind as they try to write a 50 000 words (or longer) novel in 30 days. Great fun.
Accepted forms: WriMo, WriMoing, WriMoer, WriMoes, NaNo- as adjective form. 

This month is not NaNaNoWriMo. It is in fact April, as the clever ones of you might already have noticed. And April means Camp NaNoWriMo! NaNoWriMo's chubby little cousin. The concept is the same - write a set number of words in 30 days, but the setting is more relaxed, you're grouped together with other writing campers in your digital cabin, and you set your own word count goal. Some take the opportunity to go for a lower, more easily achievable number. Some aim for the stars and do triple or quadruple word-counts. I, once again, run for 50K. An average of 1667 words a day for 30 days.

Now, the intention is always that you should write one continuous text, but WriMo has always been relaxed in it's rules. If you do anything outside the intended function, you're not a cheater - you're a rebel! This year, I'm rebelling. I'm writing two different novels at once.

One of them is the sequel to my NaNoWriMo victory (i.e. the novel I wrote in November, if you need the less gloaty terms). It is easy and fun to write, I know the characters well, I play with words and references and have a blast.

The second project is a text I've been trying and retrying for years, but finally think I found a voice for. It's much more serious, more realistic, less word play, more feelings, more thinking - just a harder write. Now, to begin with I just wrote out a few pages of this one because the thought of it was clouding my Book 1-time, but the switching back and forth worked much better than I thought it would, and I've kept going.
It feels a little like writing out a split personality disorder, but it works.

However, well meaning friends have offered input, and taught me something important about metaphors and similes - it's all about choosing the right one. Also, it has taught me that I should be forever grateful I communicate so much via e-mail and chat, so I have proper time to think out obnoxious ways to 'win' discussions. Even good girls should be allowed some fun.

Well meaning friend: It's like being on a train journey with two different end stations, at some point you'll have to choose which part of the train you're going to stay on.
My response: No, the train is going to station 50 000 words. I'm just enjoying the view from both sides of the train.

Well meaning friend: If you are to give equal attention to two projects, your focus and creativity will be thinner on both sides. Why not do one at a time, spread your brilliance thick, and then do the other later?
My response: I've divided my creativity and focus equally and spread it thick on two half pieces of toast. I'll butter the other halves later. It's like economic breakfast.

Well meaning friend: It's not like these two writing projects are the only thing you're trying to do though. You have school and work and all those other projects too. You're making a huge garden, with tons of flower beds but you only have so much water and fertilizer or whatever. Makes your flowers all weak and pouty.
My response: No no, I only have one flower bed, but instead of filling it with like two types of flowers, I put in 10! Makes it look a little more like a wild field or something.

Well meaning friend: You're just arguing for the sake of it now, aren't you?
My response: Yeah, pretty much, but I still won.

They're probably right. But I'll deal with it when I've written 50 000 words. This post is technically on the procrastination station, so I should get back to work.

Also, this made me laugh: