Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Water Memories Part 1

Photo Journal Entry #7

Peace...silent except for the low murmuring of voices in the distance. The loudest sound is the creek rushing by on its merry way down the mountain. I listen and think while seated on the rock. Its bulk divides the creek below into two, staying the water's progress with its immensity. It's a pleasant feeling to be still and watch the water flowing past. The miniature waterfall at the foot of the rock chatters the loudest as the deep water speeds over its small height. I can be at peace here and let my mind wander.

Until next time!

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Memories Part 4

Photo Journal Entry #6

The first time I went ever went walking along the path to the gate I saw these steps and wondered where they led. I like following paths all over the place, and the more secretive and grown over the more it piques my curiosity. I eventually did follow this path. It merely led to the Montreat Conference Center, but it was still fun to follow it. I love how much stone is used around Montreat and that's part of what gives this staircase a secretive, grown over air.

Until next time!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

First Memories Part 3

Photo Journal Entry #5

A shot of the chapel of the prodigal's cross against the sky is something I've always wanted to get. However, the mountains are in the way if one tries to take a picture from the front, so I didn't figure out how to achieve this until last week when I was walking back from my statistics class in the Science building. I looked up as I walked out and saw the cross silhouetted against the blue, cloud filled sky. It was the perfect shot and I actually had my camera with me.

The Chapel is a major building for me because of my involvement in the music department. I've practiced and performed on the piano inside. I've gone to countless concerts. I've even seen a wedding being held there (I distinctly remember that it was a cold windy day and the bride, for some strange reason, had a strapless dress on. I remember thinking that she must be freezing!).

The Chapel draws my eyes every time I walk by the library or the dorms. It's very beautiful and of course the Prodigal son fresco inside is an attraction that draws people from all over. I love just being inside because it's so quiet. I can be alone with my thoughts inside.

Until next time!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Forcast for Lookout: Cloudy!

My Place Journal
Entry #2

Clouds again are the fascination today. They slide in quick succession over the mountain ridges like children sliding down a playground slide. I wish they would engulf us in their misty veil but, alas, the wind blows in an ill direction for that to occur. Instead they continue sliding down faster and dissolve into nothingness at the bottom.

It rained earlier today, drenching the trail with a deluge of water. The muddy puddles lay in our path like obstacles on an obstacle course, forcing us to hop and jump to cross them. I do not mind them, for without the rain there would be no low hanging clouds sliding down the range opposite to amuse me. Because of the water, many more fungi have sprouted up. The red-capped mushroom I found last time has appeared elsewhere along the trail, not in so large a form, however, but all still bear the red cap.

My roommate, Lynsi, came with me this time, and we had a pleasant walk up. It was she who thought to bring water and I am most grateful that she did. I forgot to do so last time. Now she lies below me on a rock plateau jutting out from the rocky top, reading a book I lent her—The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley—which is one of my favorite books from my childhood. I must have read it and its partner when I was 11 or 12. I still love it to this day and I am most happy to pass along my love to her.

Still the clouds keep rolling past, stemming, it seems, from an endless supply, and endlessly dissolving into nothing.

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Curiosity Killed the Swan?

An interesting event happened today while I was journaling by Lake Susan this afternoon during class. Here is an excerpt from my journal detailing the event.

"On a funny side note, the swans just came up a minute or two ago and one of them attempted to take a bite out of this journal. It got the pages opposite damp from the water on its beak. I've never had them do that before. I again took pictures of them when they were in such close proximity to me."

The swan on the left is the one that bit my journal several times. The other came up and was nice enough to chase the first off.

Until next time!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First Memories Part 2

Photo Journal Entry #4

The library is a main attraction on campus. The building is rather centrally located and its lawn serves as the study room for many when the weather holds. Up until last semester, the front lawn was composed of grassy areas and cracked, pitted concrete sidewalks. Several huge trees towered over the lawn providing shade. Now the lawn is changed. Due to the zealous landscaping effort over the summer, two of the huge trees are gone. Only one remains along with a younger, smaller tree. The creviced concrete is gone as well, replaced by a curving path set with large pieces of slate and smaller pebbles. The effect is certainly prettier, but a lot less direct which annoys many, including myself. The best feature though, is the new flower beds. This beautiful cone flower is one of the many flowers that decorate the beds. The new rocking chairs on the front porch are the perfect spot to watch bees buzzing around the flowers and admire the new lawn.

Until next time!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Memories Part 1

Photo Journal Entry #3

A mossy, grass covered, stone bridge with a seat midway was the first thing I remember liking at Montreat. After first sighting, it took me a while to find it again, tucked away in the woody area beyond McGregor. I thought at first that it would be a good place to study, but I actually have never gone there to study. I went once and ventured beyond to explore the woody area, but I didn't stay on the bridge. The setting is just beautiful at first glance and seems to speak of peace and stillness. A quiet pulsed with the steady stream of the creek under the bridge. This may be misleading because many cars pass by but it's still a little place unto itself.

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Frozen Memories Part 2

Photo Journal Entry #2

Again, I love the water when it is frozen. The creek also partially froze last winter when the lake froze. The thing is, the swans and the ducks were forced to retreat to the creek for sanctuary because it alone was unfrozen. The running water kept the ice thin or non existent. It was amusing to watch the swans attempting to walk on the ice. They kept slipping and cracking it. It was here that I wrote my poem about the swans struggling with the ice:

“Cracking, breaking,
The ice gives way beneath me,
I glide away through frigid water”

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nature or My Place Journal (complete with pictures!)

Another project, this time to write a weekly journal about "my place". I think I've decided to do the top of Lookout Mountain and here is the result from my hike today.

Clouds shrouded the mountains this morning in a thick vapor. Mountaintops obscured by low hanging clouds gave the impression of mystery, helped along, of course, by the thinner mists blurring ground level walkways. It was one moment where I sorely wished to have my camera on hand to capture the beauty.

However, now as I sit atop lookout, the skies have cleared. Clouds scurrying along higher in the atmosphere not troubling the mountaintops with their veils. The only remnants are the shadows which turn the mountainsides into patchwork quilts of green and yellow hues.

Even though the clouds remain, the sun burns fiercely when allowed a chance. However the same wind which carries the clouds swiftly along, gently dries the sweat on my body, cooling my hot skin. I do wish it would blow more constantly, but I am grateful for what I can have. These are the last few days of warmer weather. Even now, mornings hint of colder weather to come. So I shall enjoy this time while may. Perhaps I can again come when snow lies draped across this stony seat where I sit. In all my two years of living here, I have never troubled to make the hike when there was snow. Ah, there are too many ideas and events that revolve around snowtime in the mountains! How shall I ever try them all? It's no use, I must try, or I'll regret not doing so.

The hike up passed pleasantly and contained several surprises. Upon starting my ascent, a brilliant, red capped mushroom stretched up from the earth.

A purple, spiky pinecone in the early stages of development pricked my head from its leafy perch.

Fungi of many colors bloomed along the muddy trail, delighting in the cloudbursts of the past several days.

Close to the top, a small toad lept out from its cover to sit beside my foot. The mountains are alive with color. A last hurrah before the bareness of late autumn and later winter sets in.

However, it is time to return to the pinpoint valley of Montreat. At the beginning descent, I shall have to hobble for my entire right leg has fallen asleep! T'isn't the first time that this has occurred, but the sensation is still strange

Until next time!

A New Year and New Projects

"Fairytales are not written to tell children that dragons exist. Children know full well that dragons exist. Fairytales are written to show children that sometimes dragons can be
defeated." - G. K. Chesterton

Again I come back when school has begun. It's a new year with new faces. I've felt the loss of those whose graduated. The empty feeling is still there, but it was most pronounced on the first day of school. I wandered around in a daze, missing friends and wondering what in the world to do with myself. I was completely unsettled. Here it is the 2nd week of school and the figurative dust has settled almost. Though the literal dust is currently being stirred up quite a bit. The road outside of the dorm has been torn apart down to the dirt for repaving. However the rain has kept the dust clouds at bay, without arriving at the extremity of mud.

With the start of the new school also comes the flurry of new writing projects. I hardly touched anything over the summer, but now I must write for school and to gear up for NaNoWriMo. This year I again have a creative writing course--Outdoor and Nature Writing. And so I have more projects to share here. The first of such is my photo journal entitled "My Montreat". It is a collection of 10 photos and entries illustrating memories I've made around Montreat. So here is the first entry.

Frozen Memories
Entry #1

Lake Susan, a favorite spot among Montreatians. Many do their homework under these trees as they stare across the lake watching the swans. I myself have never done this, in fact, I don't visit the lake much. However, last winter I was drawn to it because of one simple reason--it was frozen over. I haven't seen a frozen lake since I was little so the sight was fascinating. Still it took me until the next day to actually walk down the lake's edge and by that time it was already melting. But, curious as I can be, I still walked on the ice. I and my friend (who was with me at the time) weren't foolish enough to venture onto the sun bathed portion of the ice which was already melting, but we stayed in the shade under these trees. Here the lake was shallow enough for the water to be frozen solid. It was fun attempting to skate on the lumpy ice. I did my best not to go sprawling. However, our fun ended when a man across the street at the conference center told us to get off. We were obedient and left. I do hope, though, that the lake freezes over again this winter. If it does, I'll be sure to visit immediately for another bout of "ice skating".

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Frozen Over

The area my school is in has been experiencing some very cold weather due to that arctic air mass that has come our way. Temperatures have been below freezing, even during the day, and the lake has been frozen over for two or more days! I know it's very solid because I went for a walk on it today, though I wasn't stupid enough to walk out to the middle where the sun had been shining on it all day. And what do I think of all this? I love it! Bring the cold weather on! All I want in return is snow and we've gotten some accumulation, but nowhere near enough in my opinion. I shall try to upload a picture of the lake as soon as possible, that is, if the lake remains frozen till I have a chance to walk down there with camera in hand. The rising temperatures have me worried that the lake might deice itself soon.

Anyways, my walk on the lake coincided with my first day of classes. Yes, the break is finally over and we have to do homework again. However, it is good to be back with my friends even though I don't much like the homework aspect of it. Today was nice though because all my classes didn't meet so I had most of the day to myself. Of course, most of that time was spent convincing myself to start working on the homework I've already been assigned. I can't wait till tomorrow though because that is when my poetry class starts. Both my English classes are on the same days. That is going to make things interesting when exam time rolls around.

I am pleased to announce that my dana did wonderfully during classes today when I used it to take notes and keep track of my schedule. It most certainly lightens my load when it comes to all the things I stuff into my backpack.

Until next time!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Polling time!

Yes, it's time to try something new around here. I've been wondering lately about novels, in particular what length is appropriate for a novel; namely, is the optimal length for a novel short or long? My general research has turned up a preference for short novels, especially in the science fiction genre, but I was also wondering about the fantasy genre which boasts the biggest supposed liking for long, well fleshed out books.

My question to you readers is in two parts. Firstly, do you, as a reader, prefer short books over long books and why?

Secondly, from which genre are you most likely to select and/or buy short novels?

To make things easier on you, you'll find two polls to the left of this post. Please vote in them and then comment on this post with your further thoughts on this matter. I look forward to hearing from all of you!

By the way, for those of you who are wondering, I define a short novel as one that has a maximum of 200-250 pages and a long novel as anything over that.

Until next time!

Monday, January 5, 2009

100 words: A story or a paragraph?

According to 100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest, 100 words is most definitely long enough for a story and is long enough to win up to $500 in prize money. Yes, this is another contest. For a $15 entry fee you can have a shot at winning either $500, $200, or $100 in prize money. All you have to do is write a story in 100 words or less. Will I attempt it? I don't know right now. It depends on when they post their new contest.

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine is my next target for the Old Has Passed Away and The New Has Come to Stay. I've finally got some feedback on it and that has been extremely helpful. Maybe I can polish it up in February and send it off once I get the first draft of Dream of a Dream done.

Dream of a Dream is progressing, though at a snail's pace. I have not had much time to myself, thus I have only written 1k of it, enough to cover the background information of the main character.

More updates later. Remember to sign up for the newsletter!

Until next time!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What are your New Year Resolutions? Here's mine!

Happy New Year! Welcome to the year 2009! Many of you, as I did, stayed up till midnight to ring in the new year. This post is a reward for you staying up all that time. Anyways, I've decided to join in the popular custom of making resolutions for the new year. Or at least, I have a few writing goals I'd like to accomplish. And here they are:
  • First and foremost, my biggest goal by far is to write, edit and self-publish Dream of a Dream, the allegorical novel about NaNo. Since this goal is so large, I have divided it up into monthly goals which are as follows:
January - Write the first draft.
February - Send the manuscript out to readers to get feedback and also finish writing Lwyn: A Space Trader's Daughter Book 1 and 2.
March - Edit second draft of Dream of a Dream.
April - Send second draft out to readers for feedback. Also create a cover for the proof copy and layout the text.
May - Get CreateSpace to approve the documents for the proof copy and print it. Edit the third draft of the novel.
June - Send out third draft of novel to readers for the last time.
July - Make the final changes to the novel. Start laying out the text and alter the cover for the second proof copy.
August - Finalize the proof copy and order it. Finalize the layout, design, and content for my new authors website, Sittybus. Make the graphics for marketing Dream of a Dream.
September - Launch website on the first of the month. Change and order another proof copy if necessary. Launch marketing for Dream of a Dream.
October - Release Dream of a Dream on the first and continue the marketing campaign. Try to get book into a bookstore and arrange a book signing.
November - Continue marketing and hold book signing if arranged.
December - Continue marketing but relax otherwise.
  • As I said, that's a big goal and it's all divided up. Also mentioned in that goal are my other goals to finish Book 1 and 2 of the Lwyn: A Space Trader's Daughter Series.

  • I will also be participating for the first time in Script Frenzy in April of this year. So I'd also like to win that by writing the 100 pages of script.

  • I have already started writing a film script adaptation for Prince Caspian and I'd like to finish that in the new year. I know, a new film has already been made of it, but I feel that I need to work it out myself so I'll feel better, especially if it turns out to be the last Narnia movie made.

  • Finish my short story Erlkonig and submit it somewhere.

  • Finish The Old has Passed Away... and submit it somewhere.

  • Work on my novel with my friend via the letter game and maybe finish it

  • Write poems for school and, if any are good enough to publish, try to submit one somewhere, maybe the Q.

  • Enter some sort of writing contest.

And I think that covers it! I know, I've got a lot on my plate and some are rather vague, but I think they are reasonable. Enjoy the new year and I hope many things come true! Just remember, your new year's resolutions and goals won't come true unless you work on them, step by step.

Oh, one last thing. This new year I will launch a monthly newsletter that will contain updates about my writing and upcoming events. Sign up by clicking on the button below or the button in the sidebar. The first mailing will go out on January 31st.

Until next time!

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