College and Writing Update

I'm exactly a month in to my first semester at North Idaho College. A few observations from a first time college student:

      1. Where did all my free time go?
      2. Why is everyone younger than I am...
      3. Don't carry all your books at once or you'll be super sore by the end of the day.
      4. Don't forget your lunch and have to buy it at the cafeteria.

I haven't had a chance to sit down and write anything for my current stories.

What I have had is a lot of time to reflect, while between classes and learning, about the truth of my life and what that means for my writing.

The truth isn't pretty, but at least it's honest. A first draft isn't anything to strut about, but guess what? I strut. I'm not a complete idiot, I realize that first draft isn't close to being published. What I hadn't bothered to admit is the process about going from draft one to draft X is a mysterious and difficult process with which I am unfamiliar.

Thankfully, I have faith that I can learn some of those skills through a college education.

New Desk

Attempting to do homework in the kitchen where there are always, at any time, between 1-4 cats became an impossible task. My Boo, my lovely, bastard Tuxedo Cat, makes it his full-time cat job to disrupt me and my room mates when we study. She has the benefit of wearing headphones. I can wear headphones with my music on and still hear my cat trying to knock something off the counter.

So after a few failed attempts at doing homework in the kitchen—I decided it was time to invest in a new desk and move the homework back to my room.

$89 from Walmart got me a cute, small “L” shaped desk. It's already helped me to complete a number of homework assignments in solitude—with the few, voluntary interruptions from my cats.

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Humanities

My Humanities class continues to make my head spin. In the first month alone we've gone on a gauntlet through art, sculpture and now architecture. We have a field trip in to Spokane this next week to look at public art and architecture.

I'll have to do my first presentation in front of the class. In November. I'm terrified.

My topic—the amazing filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

I want to share a short video clip from the film “Dreams” by Akira Kurosawa. I'm choosing this as an example for two reasons: Vincent Van Gogh, and Martin Scorsese. In this short clip, a man studies the paintings of Van Gogh and is suddenly transported there. Kurosawa was able to get extreme close ups of Van Gogh's paintings—so close you can see the texture of the paint itself—as backdrops during the film. Satisfying on so many levels (even with Martin Scorsese playing a very curious version of Vincent Van Gogh himself).

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OTj5Qv153U[/embed]

My Humanities class is teaching me to look at—really look—art and the world around me. It's teaching me to be inquisitive, more than I already am, and to find new ways to interact with art and the world around me.

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I recently visited the Spirit Gallery in downtown Coeur d'Alene. We were asked to choose an exhibit and examine it, then write a response to some questions provided by the teacher. They're called Inquiry Questions, and they help examine and explain art and other aspects of the humanities. The same concept can be applied to critically looking at art, architecture, sculptures and so on.

The art I chose belonged to New Zealand artist Viky Garden and one piece in particular: Slow Moon I. I've included a link so you can view it.

English 101

I was hoping that English 101 would help shed some light on my own personal situation.

Again, this was before I had any real experience with the class and wasn't sure what the purpose was.

I wrote about English 101 in my last blog—how it was mostly the teacher speaking aloud, prodding each student to an uncomfortable edge. I was later informed by friends who were previously college students that it's more of a fundamentals class, a broad overview of the theory of writing, and not the actual writing itself.

I finally got my first writing assignment for English. I've managed to write so much about this event that I created a separate blog post for it.

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Anthropology

What can I say about this class except that I love a love-hate relationship with it? It's amazing, and extremely difficult for me to absorb. It makes me feel inadequate, like I have the brain of a smaller mammal... but it also makes me think, long and hard, about world related issues and the implications of chromosomes and DNA.

In the first month of class alone—we've gone on a kind of gauntlet through genetics, evolutionary theory, human anatomy and we've just begun primatology. I've seen a cast of a human skull—and an actual skull. I got to touch it. I got to see what I learned were suture marks, the marking on the skull where it fused together somewhere around the age of 18-20 years old.

An interesting side effect of this class? The content about human genetics, evolutionary theory, it's all very seeped in science fiction—and I've managed to jot down a few story ideas while listening to my teacher's lecture.

    • Exogamy: the custom of marrying outside a community, clan or tribe.
      • Naturally, I want to apply this to my blood mage culture as a way to—complicate things. Also from a magical stand point of bringing in new blood.
    • Genetic terrorists (no spoilers here, but I have lots of notes!)

...Did I mention the skulls?

skull1 skull2 skull3

Math 015

I realized that I don't even get credit for this math class because it is below the 100 level classes. I'm basically paying $400 because I'm an idiot about math. And I'll keep paying until I get to a level of comprehension that satisfies both myself and my degree requirements.

I do have the wonderful advantage of having the coolest old man math teacher, ever. He makes the whole class laugh and he explains math in a way that I don't want to immediately fall asleep.

I've gone from learning basic long division and multiplication—up to working with fractions and whole numbers. I've learned a lot in just the first month of school alone.

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Sometimes, however, the alphabet will appear in my equations when I've done too much math for the day. Case in point: "FUCK!"

Work Schedule

With all of the craziness of school (it's taken me over a week to finally sit down and write this blog!), I was finally given the opportunity to change my work schedule. Technically, I believe I'm part time now, working 29 hours. And I have a day off that isn't just because I have school!

Monday - 9am to 4pm Tuesday – Off Wednesday – 12noon to 4pm Thursday – Off Friday 11:30 to 8:30pm Saturday – Off Sunday – 10:00am to 8:30pm

What else I've been up to...

Went to see my Favorite Band, THE RED ELVISES.

redelvises1 redelvises2

Went to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with shadow cast from Spokane's own Absolute Pleasure group.

rhps

I saw Abney Park in concert for the first time!

abneypark1 abneypark2

Have been slowly, very slowly, playing through Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on the Xbox One...

At one point this past month--my hair perfectly matched the shade of a (clean!) mop from work.

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And then I shaved my head... (couldn't be happier, if you know me, you know I've always wanted to do this).

michelle-new

Writing? Writing? No?

No, still not writing. Ideas for writing, yes. A new system for revision, possibly. Inspiration for writing? Always. Just no actual focus yet...

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This is the hastily diagramed plan I have for revising The Trials of Blood. I have part of my manuscript printed out already and placed in a binder alongside a ream of lined paper. I just need to grab a sharpie and start killing what I don't need, highlighting what I want to keep, and jotting down notes to improve and reconstruct.