After nearly an 8-month break I’m jumping back on the original-fiction-writing! (alongside fanfiction of course)
Winter and Summer.
Academia and Creativity.
There seem to be two seasons. At least currently in my life.
I’m not just talking about the whole ‘summer-winter’ ordeal. Where the heck is spring and fall/autumn? Who knows. Winter hasn’t ended (look outside, there’s snow) yet it’s supposedly spring. By the time summer-time comes it will jump from winter to summer. Of course summer will only give us a small wave before the chilliness comes. But the chilliness will mostly come as snow, hence winter. Don’t get me wrong, winter is probably my favourite season. Just saying. The places I come from there are supposed to be four, not two, seasons. Anywho.
One season is university season (a.k.a. mostly winter). Other season is non-university season. It’s two completely different worlds. Possibly different dimensions? Rules seem to be different. The brain has to change gears.
I love the academia. I love learning. I love that season. But it has its downsides. For example, I seem to be incapable of reading anything that isn’t for school. And I love reading. But there’s really only time to read the mountain of books necessary for classes. Nothing else. Not unless I want to not sleep and to feel guilty.
But I love season number two because I can read books and write. I can write!!! Throughout the academic season I write a sentence or two here and there when I find a minuscule amount of time (somehow – mostly as procrastination from papers and exams). But season two. Ah, yes. I get to write the fan fiction that has been brewing in me. I get to update the fan fiction that should have been updated ages ago (I apologize to all). I get to open Scrivener and dust off (not literally) all that I had written for my beloved worlds and characters, and write and imagine more. I get to lose myself in books. It’s glorious.
But it’s a difficult transition. One that I’m currently undergoing as classes, exams and papers are done. I’m staring at a tall pile of books that I want to read for fun (fun? what is that?!?) not for taking notes. I’m staring at spreadsheets and Scrivener with names I had nearly forgotten. AO3 and ff.net tabs are open and I stare. But it’s like I’ve forgotten how all this works. Time to find that switch that turns off the academic brain (at least partially because if I want to read about Emotional Intelligence I may need that brain) and turns on full power of the imaginative brain.
I look out into California’s sun and wonder where this summer (i.e. spring+summer) will take me. Not just physical travels but creative and imaginary travels. Magical never-ending, light bags are packed and fingers tingling with magical power.
Exams ended on Wednesday. Most people left. My flight was on Friday. I should be thinking: Aw, I wish my flight was on Wednesday or Thursday. What am I thinking? Damn, I wish it was later. Guilty as charged. I love my family to bits. I haven’t seen them in months. I love skiing and snowboarding (not good at it). I think I dream of it too. I love Christmas. But damn, I wish that flight was later.
Why, you ask? Easy. During the semester I take on so many responsibilities: 6 courses (regular average is 4-5), 2 choirs (why do 1 when you can do 2), academic coordinator of a student-led psychology association (’cause why not?), a play (I obviously have nothing else to do), a job (and currently applying for a second). Basically, that leaves no time for me. When I allow myself to have some time I’m too exhausted to be social, so all I want to do is read/listen to a book or watch a movie/tv show. But I always feel guilty because shouldn’t I be doing research? Writing a paper? Preparing for an exam? Oh but these past couple of days have been glorious. I am serious, glorious. Barely anyone on residence to bother me (I know, I’m bad), nothing to study for or write for university (strange feeling).
But couldn’t I do this back with my family? Pffff. Of course not. Going back home equals a thousand questions and “do-this-do-thats”, all with love of course. So yes, these couple of days have been glorious. Now come to an end, but glorious nonetheless. I have updated some of my fanfics, I have listened to some audiobooks, I have ignored people, I have slept, and just generally didn’t feel stress. Now, off I go, get on that plane and land to be surrounded by people again. I love them but…well…:)
Ladies and Gentleman the week has come. That week in the semester where you just…just can’t. How else to describe it? I write stories yet my descriptive vocabulary has disappeared. Those academic papers stole them.
One paper down yet more blank pages loom ahead. The calendar clock ticks as finals approach.
Where on earth did the time go? Seriously. I’m pretty sure moments ago it was September and I blinked. Boom. More than halfway through November. I should avoid blinking.
November, the word that rhymes with NaNoWriMo. Except this year. So sad. I got so swamped that I had no chance to even think about my story or any others. I crave that moment that I walk out of my last final and I can breathe. Properly. And open my mind up to those shenanigans my characters like to get themselves into.
But right now? Force myself to write letter after letter, word after word, sentence after sentence, and hope that the editing process can be skipped. Oh, and avoid thinking about anything exam related (no one has time for that)….Possibly glare at people on residence who do seem to have time. (I think they stole it from me).
The semester’s nearly done…yet I can’t see the end.
Cheery, I know.
And I’m off!
Are you ready for more university? When will I write my stories?
It’s almost here.
Yes, the new school year is here.
Fall semester, 3rd year, here I come.
I get excited by reading all the various syllabi from my professors (still waiting for my last one). I get excited by planning out my reading schedule (because there is so much, too much, to read!) and when to start on my papers (not that I stick to that schedule, but a girl can try). I get excited by buying textbooks (hopefully used ones for low prices). I get excited by seeing office supply stores and back-to-school posters. I get excited by talking to my friend (who is equally as excited as me) about the upcoming courses. I countdown the days. Of course, I know that a couple weeks in I will be wishing for more holidays.
This semester will be particularly hectic (I feel like I say that every semester but it’s true this time!). I got a Tutoring job at the Academic Excellence Centre at the University. I sing in a small chamber choir that does worship every other week. I sing in a large community choir that has major concerts. I am the Academic Coordinator of the Psychology Association at the University. I am taking the full course load (5 courses/15 credits) plus an extra credit (new instrument: guitar), and, well, the courses aren’t getting any easier the higher you go. I volunteer every other week at my church with he kids. I might be volunteering for worship once a month at church which includes many rehearsals. I am auditioning for a school play. I’m getting a gym membership, so going to the gym more often.
Therefore, the big question is (drumroll): When am I going to write anything?
And I don’t mean writing papers for school. Believe me, there will be lots of that. I mean, my novel, my short stories, my fan fiction, anything in that realm. When?
It’s going to be a shock coming out of the summer when I had no job and hence had time for it to the school year where time will be precious to say the least (and mostly spent on sleep…and food…(and Netflix…I didn’t say this last bit)…).
I wish anyone else that’s working on stories and going back to university all the luck in the world. You will need it!…I know I do.
Why do I read textbooks when I don’t need to?
I don’t consider myself to be of high IQ (probably because I’m not). I don’t consider myself to be of low IQ. I don’t consider myself to be over-average in intelligence or under-average. Unlike some people I know whose minds are brilliant (and secretly I want to steal or poke at their brains), I have to work hard to do well academically. However, because I do work hard I get good results.
This summer (late April-end of August) I decided to take a break. No summer school. No real work. Partially because we are moving houses, partially because I was so exhausted after my second year at uni that I needed it, and partially because I didn’t see any good opportunities work wise. However, I have found that not long after school ended (maybe two weeks?) I needed some kind of academic stimulation, such as ridiculously hard-to-understand dusty books where each sentence must be read at least three times or language-learning challenges.
It seemed weird to do school work when not in school but I couldn’t help it. I started reading a theology book we must read during the semester (September-December) to write a paper. I started learning the basics of a few languages in order to decide with which ones I want to go further (I decided for French and German, but I will dearly miss the others like Irish). I am using Spanish textbooks and videos/movies to not lose my good level of Spanish. I brought back my World History textbook (1099 pages!) to read…for fun (I used to hate history but this textbook is well written). I bought a book on Counselling and Psychotherapy (my dream job) to read…for fun. I have a long list of books I want to read (some include contemporary books, some include classical literature from all eras). I am working on writing my two books. I have written a dozen short stories. I’ve been reading articles and watching videos related to linguistics. This thirst for knowledge is never-ending.
Someone asked me why I would read a textbook when I’m not getting any credits for it. Why I am using Spanish workbooks when I’m not getting a diploma at the end of the day. Why I am reading the theology book now when I will have plenty of time during the semester (btw: there’s never plenty of time during the semester, no such thing). Why I am reading a Counselling and Psychotherapy book when I can barely understand it yet (I’m only 3rd year psych). Why I am starting two more languages. Why I am reading a history book when I’m not even studying history. Why I am reading classical books when I no longer have to (not in high school anymore, nor am I an english major). Why am I watching linguistics videos instead of the newest movies (let me tell you, I do both. Netflix is a very dear friend of mine).
I am always on the lookout to learn more. Sometimes I understand, sometimes it’s beyond me. But I thirst for it, no matter if the end result is a certificate or not. I am lucky enough to have time to do all this. Next summer I won’t (internships, jobs, etc.). I am taking this wonderful opportunity to absorb the beauty of the knowledge around me. And I let it affect my view on life.
…Or is it spring cleaning?
I walk through the labyrinth of suitcases and watch the boxes overflow. The sweat on my brow is there. I am more conscious of stepping into each room as I realize these are my last days in this house. I’ve moved A LOT in my life and this house wasn’t special, it was in the middle of the invisible scale of places I’ve lived in. Maybe helped along by the ‘meh’ experience at school during my one year here. I would say that the two years after when I no longer lived here but my family did were more interesting. I warmed up to the house, to the town, to the way of life.
Now I watch my family and myself pack up yet another house ready to move on to the next adventure. It might be the least adventurous for me because I’ve already partially moved out two years ago for university. But fully moving everything out of this tiny room, finding all the lost objects, deciding what to throw away…it’s different.
It’s a nice sort of spring cleaning! Going through everything and deciding what must go to charity, garbage, storage, suitcase…On one hand I want everything to stay as it is, on the other it’s liberating.
Goodbye Teddington, London, United Kingdom. Hello next chapter.