Week Five – The Worlds I Haven’t Visited Yet

As finals season looms upon me, I’m placing my personal goals on hold as I prepare to deal with my final assignments. That, however, does not include these weekly entries, which after only five weeks, I’ve grown somewhat attached to. In the meantime, however, I’d like to discuss the stories I intend to tell in the future over the next few weeks. This also serves as an introductory freewrite as I begin telling the stories themselves.

  1. In a divided nation, when the close friend of a journalist is murdered, the journalist sets off across the five city states of her nation and becomes embroiled in a national conspiracy. I’m most excited to see the personal journey of this character and to see how she emerges from the story irrevocably different from where she began.
  2. A world of deep magic, where smoky black waves of nausea co-exist with pastel pink pocket universes. Two friends gain these ancient powers and clash in a personal conflict. One of the most grievous flaws in some of my previous stories was poorly created conflict between the characters, and this story is meant to address that flaw and to work on it. Both characters should have equal footing in their fight, and have an equal amount of development and looks into their perspectives, and I’m also interested in the conceit of interfering outside forces in this conflict – because they’re not exactly fighting in a vacuum but in a larger world.

I’m excited to dive into these concepts, and turn them into realities once finals season ends. As finals season trudges on, I hope you’ll tune in for more personal meditations as my third year of university draws to a close and the curtain rises on my final year.

Week Four- Fourth Anniversary and the Future

Four years ago, I posted my first short story to this blog.

It was a small beginning. My writing style was bloated, the plot was flat and hackneyed, the pacing nonexistent, but it didn’t matter. I was enjoying myself. And it was this joy that motivated me to keep writing, to allow The Oddity Writer to grow beyond its initial life as a portfolio into something that was more personally important to me. I was able to become a better poet, and to find enjoyment in writing journalism. Thanks to the blog, and your encouragement, I have been to grow enormously as a writer and as a person. I can only hope that the blog reflects that growth. But to everyone who has stopped to take a moment to read my work, thank you so much. It really means the world to me, and I don’t think I could have made it here without you.

I know that I’ve been absent for a large amount of time as I’ve struggled with personal issues. Previously, I would use my writing and create in order to release all the tension within me, but I came to acknowledge that my creative endeavors could not rest on this foundation and these negative emotions alone. While I may not post as often as I should, I promise you that I will never stop attempting to develop my skills and never stop working to create something as worthwhile as what I have created with your support. And I promise that all the work I create will go towards creating a positive impact on the readers and people around me.

Now, as for more concrete goals- I’m currently working on cleaning up my style and taking stock on the characters I’ve created so far in order to work on creating fresh, better ones while rehabilitating the old ones that I’ve come to love. But the biggest thing on my to-do list is to wrap up existing projects – (the one that I have my sights on now has approximately five chapters remaining in its 10 chapter arc) before moving onto new ones.

So that’s my future – my way forward. Thank you all so much for paving this way for me.

Week Three – You’re Gonna Be Okay (and other stuff that I try to believe)

QOTD: “Your mission is to replace your destiny.”

Another week gone, and I’m so damn tired. I’m in the middle of this pretty bad depressive episode and it’s been really restrictive on what I can and can’t do. Because of the more negative mindset that I might be trapped in, this feels a lot more like a week of failures than anything else, but I’m damn determined to carry on and do better this week.

I also have hope. Because for the first time in a long time, activity comes with a positive connotation- that stuff can be fun and enjoyable and that I just need to try. I want to believe, for once, that I’m going to be okay. Even in a fog of thoughts about the disposability of human lives as a result of an unforgiving society, I want to believe that I’m going to be okay.

It’s now more than ever that I’m grateful for the small support system that I know I have if or when I need it. After the fallout with my abuser, no one in those circles has reached out to say anything. So when it comes to actual friends, I would say those people I do stay in contact with are the only support system that I have left, and I cannot thank them enough for putting up with me.

What I Want To Achieve This Week

  • 1. I will complete creative work this week if it’s the last thing I do. I’ve been writing in my journal for the past fewI have so many thoughts to express through verse and prose, and a couple of fiction ideas in my head. They’re going to get out.
    • An idea that I’ve been mulling over in my head is an idea for practice in private, in order to cultivate my style. I’ve been thinking about rewriting the episodes of television I watch in a short story or novel form for me to evaluate what I’m doing right and wrong and what I can do better personally without having to rely on my own narrative. I don’t know if it would actually work, but I’d like to try.
  • 2. I’m going to exercise everyday and work on making my diet healthier with my cooking.
  • 3. I’m going to keep working on being kinder to myself and on continuing to build constructive habits in my personal and public lives.

Achievements Unlocked

  • I’ve been looking at a lot of housing listings, and my parents have given me the all-clear to make my final choice out of all the candidates.
  • I’m more motivated to complete my schoolwork and I think the quality’s increasing accordingly. Time management is still a major issue that makes everything hella difficult, but I’ll work on that for next week.
  • While I only completed one internship application this week, it was for a position I’m really passionate about and I’m really happy with how the application turned out.

Things I Haven’t Reached Yet

  • I still haven’t gotten an internship. (And now I have a ton of catch-up to do.)

 

And that is my weekly update. Hopefully, I’ll be back soon. Take care, everyone.

  • Daniel

Week Two – The Second Chapter is the Worst

So, this past week has really flown by.

While I’ve had a couple of successes and achieved a couple of goals, I still know that I have a long way to go. One of my biggest problems is impatience, and I’m constantly pushing myself or something to go faster, or to accomplish something faster because I feel like I’m moving too slowly otherwise. The hardest part of this whole thing has been accepting that I have to slow down and that I’m not going to get everything right all the time.

I’m still trying to decide if that’s a good or a bad thing, haha. But while I still try to decide, here’s a look back at what I’ve done (and what I haven’t) this week!

Achievements Unlocked

    • I completed one of my biggest To-Dos, and I’m officially free from university housing. Because of the unprofessional nature of the University, it took a lot of standing up to employees and confrontation that is pretty far outside of my comfort zone (and a lot of encouragement and advice from my friends), but I’m very relieved to have accomplished this goal. Now comes the slightly less difficult part of finding a place to live.
    • I’ve started cooking for myself! While I’m nowhere near skilled enough to make huge batches of food like some of my friends to with their weekly meal prep, I was able to make a really nice pasta modified from a baked ziti recipe and to marinate and pan grill some salmon. They’re very small steps forward, but I can’t wait to try again and to keep experimenting.

 

  • This is much more of an uncertain victory than anything else because it’s based much more on emotions and hormones and stuff outside of holistic measurement (please don’t take that as an invitation to stick me with an IV and try to measure my hormones or whatever thank lmao) But I felt really happy yesterday. It was the first time in awhile where I felt good all day, looked back at the end of it, and went, “Well, that was pretty cool. Let’s do it again.”

 

Goals I Haven’t Reached Yet

  • I still haven’t gotten an internship. I have a lot of applications to write.
  • This is one of the goals that I completely failed this week- I didn’t write anything creative.
  • Schoolwork is still feeling like a hell of a struggle. (I can’t tell if that’s because the work is actually hard or if that’s just my fault yet though, lmaoooo.)

What I’m Changing For This Week

  • The thing about this second week was that I moved waaaay too quickly. I gave myself like four or five goals a day and that really didn’t work out very well for me. I stumbled and fell a good amount. I’m going to bring things down to about one or two goals a day for awhile. So for this week, I will:
    • 1. write some more internship applications and just pump out as many as I can.
    • 2. catch up on university readings and other homework
    • 3. finally finish something creative.
    • 4. find a place that I can call my own.
    • 5. exercise everyday.
    • 6. keep cooking.
    • 7. try to be happy again.

I’ll keep you guys posted on how that goes.

Happy Trans Day of Visibility, and happy Easter, everyone.

-Daniel

Week One – Closing the Book on Abuse

(Author’s Note: It’s been 84 years since I last posted.)

Hello again, everyone.

It’s been around four and a half months since I last posted. You have my sincerest apologies for the radio silence since my last poem and status update, and the growingly larger absences I’ve had since I stopped regularly posting on The Oddity Writer awhile back.

The truth is that this blog was started as a portfolio site to help showcase my works and to help me get into college, but it quickly grew into something much more personal than that. During and in the years since the college application process, this blog gained a small following that I never thought was possible, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

Ultimately, I stopped posting here because I began to not have enough time to balance both the blog and my university work, and because writing as a whole stopped being fun and became much more like a chore. I was also growing dissatisfied with the quality of the material that I put on here (although, in retrospect, perhaps none of it was as FANTASTIC as I remember). As I started applying for internships and jobs, I also cringed at the prospect of employers or someone else finding and judging the writing and very intimate personal thoughts I put on here and grew afraid that it might limit my employment opportunities. I also still have and struggle with a lot of depression and social anxiety, that have also contributed to my lack of productivity, as well as some impostor syndrome. One really cool fellow writer, Ruben actually wrote an excellent post about impostor syndrome that I’ll post here if you’d like to learn more. 

I’ve also been grappling with a lot of crap in my personal life. Over the past two years, I’ve been trying to confront my many flaws and to work on correcting them, and I like to think that I’ve emerged a much better person when I started. However, because of my shitty mental health, although my problems are far less severe than those of others, life still isn’t exactly a cake walk.

So here’s what I’ve been trying to do recently.

I recently came across a creator by the name of Dottie James who’s been trying to change her life in 365 days, and I’ve been trying to follow her model of change.

https://youtu.be/qlhtued3OEw

I’ve set myself up with Big To-Dos (fixing my sleep schedule, writing regularly and finishing my current works-in-progress, finding a place to live that is my own, taking time for my mental health), Weekly To-Dos (primarily to do with cooking and writing regularly), and Daily To-Dos (i.e. exercising regularly and keeping up and getting ahead with my schoolwork).

And in going back to my roots, I’ve decided to use my blog again to provide myself with a record of my journey through life and to keep myself accountable as I embark on this regimen.

And with that, here’s your progress report, ladies, gentlemen and other configurations of being.

On my first week, while it was a struggle, I completed my schoolwork at the time that I set for myself, I spent less time in the library and I went to bed earlier than I often have this year, and took time to take care of myself.

Most importantly, I finally severed what was a very unhealthy and abusive relationship. After six years of excusing physical abuse (like when I was held up against a wall as my own property was deface) and verbal abuse (being told to my face that my opinion was completely wrong, and that I should not have argued for it), it’s finally over. And despite still struggling with a lot of other issues, I’m proud to have finally let go of this toxic relationship.

However, I failed to write something or to complete creative activities like I wanted to, and I failed to be as productive as I wanted to. And in this coming week, my efforts will go towards being more productive on the creative front and on doing more with my day to make the most of it without stressing myself too far.

Wish me luck.

The Engine

The engine chugs, sputters and dies.
an idea, an idea, my kingdom for an idea-
just one last ride, where the words
roar to life and spill out onto the page-
flows naturally like a rapid splashing river,
salmon leaping out the water, footsteps
dashing forward, freeing, pushing.

I want life to unfold one more time.
But maybe that’s my problem.
I remember something perfect,
but it was never that.

Push then, engine. Your belts may be frayed,
your pistons rusted, but
Throw me a draft that makes your bones ache
and let my words live.

Patch Notes: The Restoration

Hello! This is just a brief site update before we return to our regularly scheduled content.

In the months that have passed since my last post, I’ve been thinking and considering a lot about what to do regarding my writing in the future, and I think I’ve finally come to a decision.

Because I’d like to spread my work around and establish a presence that I lost when I stopped posting regularly, I’m going to be posting my works across all my socials when I return in March. This is just so I can get a good sense of where I’d like to be, and once I’ve established that, I intend to pull back so I’m not spamming everywhere.

And finally, I’ve also decided to restore all my old Oddity Writer blog posts, simply to remember where I came from and what I’ve done with this blog thus far.

That’s all! Hope you all enjoy what’s coming next! (And please let me know how you’ve been in the midst of my hiatus in the comments)

-Daniel

Honest Poem – Moral Boy

(A/N: an attempt to compose a poem out of dialogue. Quotes are taken from an actual person that I know.)

“I want a girlfriend so badly.”
A void of loneliness will never fade.
“Is it worth talking to this girl if you’re not going to date them?”
It is not worth talking to them. Because you are not worth talking to.
“Don’t you look at every woman and just choose whether or not you’d date them?”
I do not dare to assume anything. I have my flaws, and I do not judge theirs.

“You shouldn’t disrespect the Bible. Every Adam has an Eve, and you shouldn’t be alone.”
If I had to choose between perpetual solitude and your company, I would be lonely.
“Ohhh shit! You need to sabotage their relationship, bro, you totally have a chance.”
Do Christians not believe in loyalty and trust? Or is that just you?

“You’re not thinking like a father.”
I pray you will never be a father.
“I’m not transphobic, but I do not want those people in the bathroom with my daughter.”
She’s in more danger with you than she is with one of them.
“That’s just my point of view, as a Christian.

Thoughts on Podcasting [VEDA #1]

Context: I got to write and host on a class podcast titled The Web We Weave in an episode centering around Tony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting. This is a reflection on what I learned from this experience.

Preparing for this podcast was definitely one of the more nerve-wracking parts of my life. I felt as if I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of being in charge of such an episode, of being able to take the stage with my voice after hiding behind the written word for so long.

Photo credit to: https://singingmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/stage-fright.jpg

When looking for material to address Every Frame a Painting, I went through first some of the series entries before poking around Vimeo to find every episode of the series uploaded there, before turning to Tony Zhou’s Patreon for EFAP, which offers alternate versions of the episodes for educational use (at a price), and then to Twitter and Reddit, both forums that I used quite often. Showing these different resources to my partner, we both made our own observations. As I watched Zhou interact with his followers and advise them on how to critique the works that had impacted them, I saw how viewer-audience participation worked its way into Zhou’s new media and how it allowed him to continue participating himself despite how long it had been since the series had updated.

I was not initially exceedingly familiar with Every Frame a Painting, nor was my partner Kevin. However, I was familiar with the YouTube scene and personalities like the Nerdwriter, so when we sat down to plan out the episode, we each brought our own impressions on the series and our own contexts (Kevin had previous experience with the Soul Pancake episode of The Web We Weave). Kevin pitched questions to me while I did my best to answer them, and I would then in turn bring up different topics of conversation (such as the Reddit AMA mentioned in the episode and the idea of Tony Zhou perpetuating the participatory culture with his work). Collaboration was more than integral in making this episode what it was. It was also more than reassuring to have someone who was so confident on board and had faith in my work. We worked on applying Every Frame a Painting to the terminology we had covered in class and we put it all into one Google Doc entry.

The document was interesting because it was far more fragmentary and incomplete- when writing for another mode, because it relied much more on my voice and the natural chemistry I had with the co-producer, I found that it was both challenging to not fall back and write out whole monologues or answers to questions without stifling the conversation, and recording became difficult because I found myself worrying that my co-host would feel cramped or cut off. It was difficult to not be overwhelmingly self-aware of everything. This did help my rhetorical composition in the end and I think it’s made me more adaptable than I was before.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Rubber_bands.jpg
Flexible like a rubber band!

The process also felt much faster and immediate than writing, say, this reflection or another blog post or article, which takes me a lot more time. It also felt natural to go faster than with my previous work. While structuring the argument and conversation was both very much the same, it also felt different because I had someone else to bounce off and interact with. In a way, it was like having another person alternating the argument paragraphs- similar arguments that still differed in subtle ways.

I’ve learned that I need to work on my timing- we went over by a lot and editing involved cutting out a lot of material and it was a struggle to finish the episode in time while balancing other obligations. I need to work on my self-confidence as I was exceedingly nervous during the episode, and I think that it is evident that while I eased up as time went along, I still have a long way to go.

But given the chance to work on a similar project? I’d jump at the opportunity.

Honest Poem – Retrospect

You remember a time
when the second hands moved too slowly
There was a time
when the bell could not have rung any later
And you loved the time
where you could run in the green grass
with a smile in your wind-tossed hair
and a song stuck on repeat.

She remembers a time
when she saw the most beautiful births
There was a time
when she saw your face dawn as the circuit clicked
And she loved the time
with the boat surfing the waves of your imagination
on the open sea, entirely free.

I remember the time
when this was all still real.
There was a time
when there were twenty different open doors
And I long for the time
when we could all choose one to walk through
Together.