NaNoWriMo is almost here!

This year I will win!

This year I will win!

NaNoWriMo starts this weekend! YAY!

With all of the emotional crap I’m dealing with in my personal life, I’m seriously looking forward to diving into an alternate reality for a while. This is the first year that I won’t be in the middle of a move, so there are *no* excuses to not participate.

I had a funny epiphany, though.I did a word count on half a dozen of my blog posts. In a little 30-45 minute jot, I often write up between 600-1000 words. That’s just by rambling into the aether!

With this event, though, I’ll be able to focus that pouring of words toward a story (which I should’ve already been doing, but I’m lazy and have bad habits). I don’t think I’ll have any issues, since I’m only looking at the length of two blog posts per day; considering the prep I’ve done, I’m sure that’ll be easy!

Speaking of prep, I still have bits I want to do. I’ve researched and built a nice little world, but I want to get a vague, one-page outline of my story (or at least one character’s arch) written out before Saturday. I’ve bounced between ideas, from a story of self-discovery to a story of two unlikely people becoming friends (corny, but it has more depth in context).

Another piece of random prep is creating a calendar. I want a physical one for my bedroom door, so I can mark off my word counts daily (and weekly) to be sure I’m on track. I’m in a mood right now where step-by-step processes are my jam. I saw a few interesting calendars online via DeviantArt, but I think I’d rather do my own and add quotes and junk. I’ll probably make it tomorrow during lunch, just to be sure it gets done before we start writing.

Of things I’ve managed to nail down for my story, I can say… I’m going to write something in third-person. It’ll probably be third-person limited, which is basically third-person from a specific person’s perspective, allowing you to keep stuff from the reader because an observer following your main character wouldn’t have been informed or witnessed your secret thing. It’s used in a ton of the books I’ve enjoyed reading, and it’s more relatable than first person for many of the people I know. It’s really hard for a male to get into the head of a female protagonist if she’s first-person (and visa versa); meanwhile, it’s relatively easy to step out of oneself and become an observer of the opposite sex without that sense of disconnect.

I’m annoyingly excited for the end of this week (and it’s only Monday).

Note: I’m snickering at myself, because I said the average length of my blog posts… and then wrote one far shorter (489 words) in about 20 minutes. I still stand by my logic, though, that it’s like blogging on a small dose of steroids.

YouTube on pause

Decisions, decisions, decisions! 

I’m trying to decide what the best course of action is for my YouTube adventures. 

On one hand, I’ve discovered I don’t like BookTube per se. Everyone’s reading the same trendy, new titles; I’ve always been a rebel, so I don’t like to read what everyone else is reading. Seriously, I’m a hipster when it comes to books! I like to read things that nobody’s heard of, undiscovered gems. The only exceptions are series I discovered early on (before their big fame), or or occasionally recommended books from trusted friends with similar tastes. 

That said, I didn’t have an issue with vlogging. My problem instead is twofold: finding focus and adjusting equipment. 

Focus is a minor issue. Kind of. I know I want to vlog the way I write; I like bouncing from topic to topic, without scripts and outlines. I want to cover various pagan and philosophical topics, but I might just babble about Guardians of the Galaxy if that’s what’s on my mind. The biggest concern is where to start, as far as pagan topics and the like. There is no real “beginning” to studying paganism, though most people jump straight at the “history” (I use that term loosely). I might have to just ramble on about the reality of Wicca vs fictionalized pagan origin stories… 

The equipment I’m using is a major issue. My laptop is crap; it’s slow and hard to edit anything on, and the sound/video quality is poor as well. I can’t make it better with a webcam or external microphone. Believe me, I’ve tried. So my options are:

  • Work with what I have. It’s lame and low-tech, but it gets the job done. My patience will be tested to its limit, and some people will skip my videos simply due to their apparent unprofessionalism. 
  • Work with what I have, amended. My phone has a decent camera, one that works better than my laptop. It’s hard to control and angle, though; I tried to use it before, when the YouTube idea first came to mind. After the frustrations of working with my laptop, I might be able to adjust; however, editing would still be an impossibility, as my phone can only directly upload to YouTube (it’s not that high-tech, after all). 
  • Get something new. I could try to find and purchase a decent camera, or a really good memory card for the cameras we have around the house. I’d want a plug for them, too, because those old-school cameras suck batteries like crazy. This option is expensive, and it doesn’t really solve the editing problem. Instead, it makes the videos easily transferred to a better (borrowed) computer, and they’d start off in a better quality in need of less editing.

I really don’t want to pump money into anything right now, especially with various events coming up that I’d like to attend. If you happen to read this and have some thoughts or suggestions, I’m all ears. 

YouTube thoughts

Now that I’m finally on YouTube, I’m finding it easier to be comfortable with myself. Maybe it’s the season, or maybe I’ve just changed since my original thoughts on vlogging. Either way, I’m here now.

So… what do I post?

I’ve started two channels, largely by accident. The first is Larissa Lee, a channel for my book reviews and random reader/writer related vlogs. It’s a way of getting myself involved in the YouTube community (BookTube, in this case) and feeling connected with people I already listen to daily. It’s weird to have a one-sided relationship, so posting my own stuff opens up a two-way street.

The second channel is for this blog, called Larissa Lee’s Scribbles (surprise… not!). I haven’t posted to it yet, because I’m working on where to begin. I want that channel to be just like this blog, pagan and open to whatever amuses or interests me at the time. Still, I have to start somewhere! I’m thinking of taking my About page and fleshing it out into a post, to give people an idea of who I am (and/or warn them that my videos won’t be their cup o’ tea).

Eventually, I’m going to finally do those pagan vlogs/lessons that I talked about so long ago. I’m done with excuses and delays!

Do you have any ideas or preferences for my posts? Do you have a channel you’d like to share?

Book Review: “Interfaced” by Emerson Doering

I vlogged my first book review! The book was Interfaced by Emerson Doering, an ebook that was on sale (i.e. free) when I found it. Pixel of Ink listed it on the daily deals post just a few weeks ago, I believe.

Rating on Goodreads: 4 stars

Would I recommend this book? Yes.

PROS: 
– I love the way the girl’s experiences are detailed, from her first experience moving toys with her mind to her eventual abilities after surgery. I also love the way we see the doctor’s issues with anger and fear. He has a legitimate panic attack while speaking in public, which we discover is largely based on a prior negative experience that included injury.

– I love the conspiracy that runs through the story.

CONS: 
– The author’s voice takes some getting used to, because he uses lots of partial sentences (like someone Southern is reading you a story). For a grammar fiend, it’s hard to get past at first. However, it’s clearly a style choice and not accidental errors.

– I dislike the epilogue; it’s too wrapped up in a bow and skips the emotions of adjusting to who’s died, what’s changed, etc. I like loose ends to be taken care of, but this epilogue just didn’t work for me.

– I absolutely hated the two boys (Pale Eyes and Adam?) that were eluded to repeatedly. I thought the main character had been raped, but it turns out to be non-sexual violence. I won’t ruin anything else, just know that they aren’t rapists.

– It was often hard to follow most action scenes visually, because too much was going at the same time. I’d lose track of who threw that thing over there, or exactly how someone was laying after falling to the ground.

YouTube: I finally did it!

So I finally did it! I sat down and filmed something for YouTube!

The original plan had been for a pagan-based channel, with videos to cover basic topics and discussion ideas. Eventually, I might do just that. My problem has been the format; I feel too boring and blocky when I read from notes, but it’s hard to talk to a camera about spirituality without feeling silly.

The solution?

I started with BookTubing (vlogging about books) instead. I’ve been in a funk, having read only half a dozen books in 2013. This year, I’ve set a goal to read 100 books by the end of 2014 AND to review them on Goodreads. I’m focusing on all of the free ebooks I’ve purchased through Pixel of Ink. I figure it’ll give smaller authors some attention and give me a chance to try out some stuff I might not read otherwise.

I only have two videos up so far, because I don’t want to go crazy and flood YouTube with junk (that no one’s watching). Over time, I’ll play with a second channel for pagan stuff; I figure I’ll get used to talking to a green dot on my computer, and then I’ll be ready.

All of that said, I’m not blogging much at the moment. I have coven classes twice a week, registration here at work, books to read for my videos, and an anime I’ve promised to watch subbed with my roomie. There are only so many hours in a day, so I’ve left off on reading the news every day and posting blogs almost daily. I’m figuring out what schedule will best suit me… hopefully it’s not too annoying here while I adjust.

Peace out!

The Spirituality of LARPing

There are spiritual aspects to everything we do. Reading, writing. Working. Dancing, singing, playing. Eating, sleeping, bathing.

And LARPing.

LARP - noun - Live Action Role Play, a game in which a person wears a persona while interacting with others and playing out a plot

I’m preparing for my first LARP in a week or so. I’ve played a bit of D&D, and I’ve led a storytelling version of Vampire: The Masquerade with half a dozen friends. The biggest change here is the addition of more strangers and less control.

My character is exactly how I like her. A neonate vampire, made just a couple of weeks before meeting, full of questions and excitement over joining a new species and society all at once. In other words, she’s me.

There’s a spirituality in being yourself in someone else’s skin.

You can explore yourself in the safety of unreality.
You can explore the dark places,
the parts that want to go bump in the night,
the parts that scare you when you think of them,
the secrets.
You can explore the limitless god within yourself,
the part that holds life and death
like they were drumsticks and
your lap the drum.
You can explore the broken pieces of you,
the parts woven into your story
into your character
as if they were fictions
you could play out and drop
on a whim.

There is a reason mankind is full of storytellers. Writers. Directors. Producers. Teachers. Politicians. Cashiers. Everyone is a storyteller in some way or another. We can’t resist the urge to spin out a tale when interacting with others.

Every character you ever play in your stories is a reflection of you.

My main characters used to yearn and reach for finding love and saving the day. When life let me find contentment and committment, I moved away from those personas. I prefer knowledge seekers, explorers, and wild ones in my stories as my life goals reflect theirs.

I nervously look forward to becoming a new me, wrapped in vampire and mythology. My tentative hope is to sink deeply into this new self and become something deeper in the process.

Who do you pretend to be?

Lost and in a Funk

I don’t know what I want out of life.

I realize this as I skim old blog posts and journal entries, making a long list of projects left undone.

First, I have to say three nice things about myself:

[1] I’ve completed the Greek mythology workbook I thought should exist. I did it alone, with little overview or assistance before publication.

[2] I’ve stood up for my reproductive rights, even when it wasn’t easy. It doesn’t make everyone comfortable, but it makes me feel good about myself.

[3] I’ve opened an online shop, and I’ve made sales. It’s more complicated than I’d imagined, but also more satisfying than I’d realized it would be.

Okay, now I can be rough. Do you know how many things I want to try/do/be when I “grow up”?

[1] I want to be a High Priestess. I want to teach others and be inspired by their journey along a path I sometimes forget I’m walking.

[2] I want to be a mother. It’s very much like being a High Priestess, but with a steeper learning curve and longer hours.

[3] I want to publish a story. Poetry and workbooks aside, I’ve avoided writing anything for years out of a sick, twisted fear of failure.

[4] I want to be a professional blogger. I’d love to make money with my words and interacting with like-minded people.

[5] I want to be a vlogger, a YouTuber for pagans. I’d be able to teach and share in ways I haven’t seen available (yet) on YouTube.

[6] I want to be a doula, maybe even a midwife if I had the patience for all the education required. I don’t do half-assed. If I’m going to be there for women in their time of need, I’m going to be the best at it (or at least the best that I can be).

[7] I want to code. I’m a rusty HTML programmer with vague memories of QBASIC in the back of my head, and I’d love to be able to write up a small program or an app for shits and giggles. I don’t even know where to begin, what language to use, or anything else like that.

[8] I want to get my spiritual shit together. My notes upon notes upon notes are piled neatly into a bin in my living room, haunting me with their reminder that I haven’t been a good little pagan. I want to write a book, but I want it to be different; I feel like our community needs something different.

I just snickered to myself as I looked at this list. My brain train went, “Oh, look! There are eight things! I could do one for each sabbat, or for time between Sabbat A and Sabbat B. Oh, but wait… could I write a book that fast? I could, but it’d be shit. And what about making a baby? Can’t force that into a schedule! Do I even want to be a vlogger? Crap… nevermind!”

Here I am, twenty-seven, and I don’t know which way to start walking.

To be fair, I’ve got bits and pieces of starts for many of these projects.

[1] I’ve rejoined my local coven, giving me access to training that will eventually lead to teachership.

[2] I’ve gotten off of birth control and currently pay the high price of too many years under the influence of fake hormones. I’m working on getting my body back into a fully-functioning state of womanhood.

[3] I’ve got ideas, and I’ve actually written them down. There are paragraphs here, an outline there. All that’s missing is an actual commitment to completing a story from start to finish.

[4] I’ve looked into blogging for pay. I’m not sure I have what it takes to write about the same stuff day in and day out without going bananas. Instead, I look toward guiding people to buy my stuff (books, Etsy goods, etc.) with my blog posts.

[5] I haven’t touched the YouTube idea. My acne flared up the minute I got off of birth control, and I haven’t had clear skin since. My pride says that’s a good enough reason to put off being on camera.

[6] I’ve done a bit of research on being a doula. I’m still undecided on this, largely because I have so many goals/plans going on right now that traveling anywhere for training is a bit much. Maybe later?

[7] I tried a couple of online code academies and got frustrated. I started with HTML, to test their teaching style. It was a joke! I’m currently ignoring this goal, but I think I might try a “For Dummies” book on one coding type or another; after all, that’s how I learned HTML in the first place!

[8] This idea of a pagan book is constantly percolating in the back of my mind. I have an outline, and I’ve actually written a few sections. I only touch it in bits and pieces, because I’m afraid of vomiting up the same 101 information without adding anything to it.

Looking at all of that, I guess I just feel lost because I lack strong focus. You know the kind, where you jump head first into a project and don’t come up for air until it’s done? I haven’t felt that in a LONG time, and I try not to push myself so hard that I lose interest.

I’ve also been in a funk. In 2013, I probably read fewer books than you have fingers. This year, I’ve read three: my partner’s first novel and two erotica novels. I don’t know what happened or why, but suddenly I’ve stopped being a reader and started being a lost girl. That said, a new e-reader and those two erotica novels are my first steps toward remedying my predicament. I’m trying to persuade myself to read at least one book a fortnight, a small number considering my previous habit of a book a day. The stories will be kindling for a dying fire of creativity within me, hopefully nurturing my creative spirit into a roaring fire once again.

We’ll see.

Have you ever felt lost like this?