Wednesday, 30 April 2008

First assignments

I'm really enjoying my study lately.

I've received two marks back so far: a C+ for my Advanced Fiction story, which tore me to shreds; and a C+ for my Life Writing story, which encouraged me again. The weird thing here is that the first story was terrible, and the second story I really enjoyed; so really, my reactions should have been vice versa.

However, both feelings related to the comments I got on both stories; and the Life Writing tutor explained that the reason for the low grade was that my story didn't focus enough on character development, but that it was still "good" and "I can tell an effective story".

I was reasonably happy then, but now I feel so much better. My history lecturer told me after class that my last essay was much better than my essays in my third-year summer school paper (in which I got an A and a B+); and my Fiction lecturer, who hated my first story with every facet of his being (my words, not his), said that my second story was much better than my first. I'm reasonably happy with the draft I handed in today, although it still needs reworking.

I store all of my best pieces in a folder entitled WIP. I'm starting to understand that a story never does finish. The only time it's not a WIP is when it has no essence, no spirit to continue.

I'm really, really happy with this. I'm learning so much, not by being taught but by reading more and writing more, by seeing what works and what doesn't. I feel like, now, I'm getting somewhere.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Writing letters

I wrote a letter to my grandparents yesterday — something I've been meaning to do for a while.

I told them about how I'm getting more organised in my study habits, and how I'm selling my motorbike, which I've been meaning to do since February 2007 (when I bought my car). I told them about how I'm buying a laptop today, and how it will help me take faster notes in class and write stories and assignments away from home, when I'm waiting at Starbucks, in the car, at Massey.

I told them how I'm finally doing a Russian course, and how I'm slowly teaching Dan Russian as well; and how Dan's finally decided to do some study himself, how in his first assignment he got 90%.

I told them about the scholarship I applied for, and the competition that I'm getting a story ready for — despite the fact that entries aren't even accepted for a month. I told them about the regular column I write for CHAFF, and the article I wrote for The Guardian.

And by the end of my letter, I realised that, finally, I'm getting my act together. Finally, I'm studying well and writing regularly, and just doing things I've been meaning to do (including writing to my grandparents!). I've been taking opportunities like the scholarship, even though I've no expectation of winning — the point is, I gave it my best shot. I've been missing others, like entering the Six Pack, which I'm still annoyed at. But I've looked into the next competition coming up this year, and I've got a story I want to submit; it's not ready yet, but it's written, and all I need to do is revise and edit it.

I'm taking opportunities, and I'm starting to live life the way I feel I should be living it.

It's a good feeling.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Birthday wish list

So, I've decided what I want for my birthday.

I know this is a bit premature, considering my birthday's in May, but nonetheless. I know what I want you to get me.

I want you to go here and buy me anything — anything at all — offered on this site. The only problem, of course, is that you need a credit card. If you don't, then please, borrow one off someone that does have one, it's easy enough to pay them back for it.

Don't think you can get me anything else. Don't get me a clever book, or a store voucher, or some deeply personal item. I don't want it. I mean, I love the books and other presents my friends have given me over the years, but just this year, I don't want or need it. I have everything I need, everything I even want: food, shelter, power, water, friends, family, my boyfriend, a new monitor, shoes, clothes, skincare products, makeup, books, bookcases, everything.

I only ask that you get the physical card, so I can see what you bought. It'll give me a really good feeling, which is an excellent gift.

For myself, I have no real wants; I have no needs. I have no desire to accumulate extra property for myself, while children are dying.

I know this is too early for my birthday, but you could get it now anyway and just give me the card when my birthday rolls around.

And for yourself, imagine being the person who helps children be able to read, who helps prevent deadly diseases, who helps build a playground. Wouldn't that be a wonderful feeling? Gifts start from $8, and everyone can afford an $8 present.

Think about it. You'll be a wonderful person if you do it.