You know, if I were a smarter person, I’d learn to love Chinese food. And Thai food. Asian restaurants in general. You get a lot of food for a fair price, and I’m pretty sure it’s not terrible for you or anything like that. It’s not that I mind it, but I just can’t eat it very often (Out of Asian foods, sushi might be the one exception to this).
I bring this up because I had Thai for dinner yesterday. Noodles and rolls, not bad at all; on the contrary, it tasted quite good, but right now the thought of eating Thai is repellent to me. It’s a weird phenomenon, to be sure…
In any case, my first chapter is finished, and while it still needs some serious revisiting before I’ll really move onward, I’m pretty happy with it overall. I tend to write pretty slow, or at least I think I write slow; I don’t really have any point of reference for how fast one should be writing. I also tend to be pretty sporadic with it; some days I’ll write a paragraph or even just a sentence, and other days I’ll write page after page after page.
Recently, I haven’t been writing much at all.
I’d love to conveniently blame it on my newly acquired foray into the realm of Japanese, but I can’t really do that. There’s an underlying problem.
Allow me to explain. In the novel I’m currently writing, there are two perspectives that I write from. A fifteen year old boy is one, and a seventeen year old girl is the second. Now this first chapter takes place entirely from the boy’s perspective, and that went by pretty much without a hitch. Getting inside that guy’s head? Simple as pie. This girl, on the other hand… well, she’s a different story.
The prologue I wrote for this particular piece is a couple pages from the perspective of a six year old girl, and I must say I’m very proud of it. The character was really vivid and clear in my mind as I typed it out. The trouble with the seventeen year old (who is actually the same character) is that, being older, her opinions and perspectives as a person have been expanded and refined, therefore separating her from the (relatively) simpler mindset of a child.
I’ll stop calling her “the seventeen year old”. The girl’s name is Emily, and the boy is Jason (I could see naming my daughter Emily, it’s a great name. Jason was chosen because it created a nice synergy. The names fit well together, don’t you think?).
I imagine that while a lot about the way the two genders think is much the same, there are also differences, and it’s pinpointing those differences that is the tricky part. And yes, I know, I am generalizing. I know every individual is fundamentally different (though I sometimes think that there are a set number of character archetypes that just sort of come together in different patterns for each person. I mean, a lot about a lot of people is the exact same in certain areas of their lives, and different in others. Maybe I have something there…), but there ARE gender-specific methods of thinking. Or at least, I’d say there are.
For example, say Emily is walking down the street. What sort of things is she noticing, and how is she perceiving those things based on her gender? I can tell you she’s very cynical and distrustful of people, so she probably has a lot of anxiety when she is out and about (but that wouldn’t be limited to women, so it doesn’t really apply. I mean, I can get that way too).
As a point of contrast, the male character, Jason, would probably be noticing the women on the street and sort of ranking them based on their attractiveness. He’s a pretty blatantly stereotypical horny guy, and I’d say that’s fairly gender specific. I’m not saying there aren’t women that do that as well, but in general it’s a trait more common in men, and that’s the sort of thing I’m looking for, but from a woman’s perspective.
Is it sexist to be thinking of stuff like this? I’ve always thought that sexism requires malicious intent, and I’m just trying to understand here. There’s so much to understand in the world, and it’s all so difficult it sometimes seems overwhelming. And eventually, I’ll just have to make a decision and get writing no matter what.
I just hope that this all turns out well, and my characters seem intricate and real!
Brendon “Overthinker” Regier
P.S. Here’s another song I tend to listen to while writing. The video isn’t anything to write home about, but I love the music! It’s got a little Celtic twist to it, and it’s really ethereal. Give it a listen!
Do you ever feel like all you have is normal dreams? Like dreaming about just doing the laundry or surfing the web? Honestly, sometimes I just want to sit down with my subconscious and teach him how to use my imagination correctly. Such a vast plethora of images and scenes to choose from, and I always end up dreaming about mundane tasks? Maybe I just don’t remember the kickass dreams where I grow really tall and kickbox with Godzilla or stuff like that.
You know what’s even worse than about dreaming about ordinary things? When you have something you need to do, like say an essay to write (this acutally happened to me back in high school), and you DREAM you did it, but you actually didn’t, so you go into class feeling confident and just have this “oh shit” moment and you curse your brain for having played such a cruel joke.
I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that having sexual dreams is a healthy thing. So where’s all my dream sex? Or maybe that just applies to teenagers in puberty… or maybe I’m just wrong about that whole thing…
And while we’re on the topic of dreams, I remember the most unsettling experience I had concerning them. So here’s the dream: I was lying down and I noticed my camera lying on the ground next to my bed. So I casually flip it open, and check the review… and it was the most disturbing series of images I have ever seen. It was torture pretty much all the way through. I have absolutely no idea where my brain got those images from, but holy crap was I scared out of my mind. I have no intention of attempting to remember exactly what the pictures depicted, all I know is that it was horrifying.
I jolted awake, and was so disturbed I immediately went to grab my camera and checked the review. Obviously, there was nothing there, but I was on edge the rest of that day. I don’t even want to hear what Freud would have said about that dream. Maybe it’s better I just have mundane dreams after all!
Anyway, so I’m learning Japanese (as you may have guessed from the title AND the category this post is in) and it is AMAZING. I cannot describe how much I am in love with this language. Almost every phrase that has lost all meaning to me in English sounds beautiful and fresh in Japanese. I know most people say stuff like that about French or other such languages, but honestly, I’ve never really cared for French. It’s probably due to the fact that being Canadian, I had that language firmly shoved down my throat in elementary school, and thus developed a loathing for the sound of it (screw you Canadian school system! You’ve ruined French for me!).
I’m using the Rosetta Stone software for most the spoken aspects and an app for my iPod Touch to help with learning the Hiragana and Katakana. I’ve never been good at memorization, so getting those symbols to stick in my head is tough going! The words, on the other hand, come pretty easy. That’s probably because I enjoy watching anime, so I had already absorbed a lot of Japanese words beforehand.
The going is sort of slow at the moment. The program just sort of throws you into several words and phrases and repeats them until they are so trapped in your head only an mental earthquake could vacate them. It’s a good way to learn, but it does feel like a grind after a while. I’m also not sure if I should learn with the words displayed in hiragana/katakana to help me learn the symbols better or in romanji (the roman alphabet) so I can understand the words better. Decisions, decisions!
So far, constructing sentences is a little out of reach, but I’ve learned plenty of words, albeit some ones I doubt I’ll use much. I can say stuff like, “I’m eating an red apple” (boku-wa akai ringo o tabete imasu… I think…), but not much else. However, if I suddenly find myself in Japan and the entire well-being of our planet’s existence depends on me being able to communicate that I’m riding a bicycle or eating rice, then I’m set!
I know it’s a process and it’ll take a lot of time for me to be able to carry on a conversation in Japanese, but there is that burning desire for instant results, you know? The more I learn, the more excited I am to reach that end goal of fluency. Sure the going is tough at times, but that’ll just make the end result all the more worth it!
Brendon “I’m turning Japanese” Regier
First off, I wake up this morning and lo and behold, my blog has had some views! I got to check out some other posters today, and I must say, wordpress has quite the interesting community. It’s always reassuring to know you are being seen; after all, isn’t that part of the reason we are all posting? We just want to share, to understand and be understood, and it’s great to do that.
Alright, back on the topic that the title pertains to. Music. So this video above is from a Korean pop group called 2ne1 (I can only assume that’s pronounced twenty-one), and while it’s not by any stretch “good” music, meaning music that is inspiring or thought provoking or well composed, it IS a very… endearing song. This sort of music, you must realize, isn’t about the quality of the composition or the lyrical aptitude, but rather solely focused on the spectacle. It just gets in your face and throws cool images at you (at least in the context of this music video). You needn’t bother looking up the lyrics to this song, aside from the main phrase being tossed around (which is the same as the title of the song, “I Am The Best”) it’s pretty much all posturing about how amazing they all are. And hell, why not? Are you seeing them? They are all wearing the most bizarre outfits, but that’s part of what makes this so interesting and awesome. I mean, YOU’D feel really cool wearing a chainmail hood wouldn’t you? Come on, admit it. No, don’t ask me to explain the weird hat that looks like it has ice cream cones sticking out of it, or the wrestling belt she’s holding in the first shot. It’s just spectacle.
Then again, maybe it’s something more… maybe there’s a subtle message here that’s subversively affecting how we view the world. The belt? A symbol of accomplishment, obviously. The fact that her face is shadowed indicates that she is enigmatic and dangerous; not someone to be trifled with. And later on, the straight-jacket clearly means that she’s trapped. She’s so great, but the world is holding her down; for what right does the world have to get in her way? She’s the best. The pyramid in the background near the end? Well, that’s a reference to ancient, powerful civilizations, and the drums likewise a nod to tribal ceremony, the pinnacle of strength in ancient times. Combine that with the metallic, brushed look of their outfits indicating their ascent into the modern era, and no one can question the powerful imagery that is present here… BAHAHAHAHAH. No. Ignore that last paragraph. I’m joking. It’s just spectacle.
I suppose the one thing you could have drawn from that bogus paragraph is that if nothing else, this video is presented well. It draws you in (well, if you let it, anyway) and holds your attention. Not to mention that the girls are quite attractive. Go to 1:34 in the video; you’re looking for the girl who has her hair dyed blonde about a second or so later, turning the chair away from you. I won’t pretend to know her name, but her stage name is Park Bom. WHOA; she REALLY knows how to look at the camera. That look nearly renders me speechless every time I see it.
And yes, I fully admit, I’m a little smitten with her. But can you blame me?
Anyway, enjoy the video. Some days, you just have to kick back and accept a little mediocrity. It’s not the greatest music ever composed, but it’s sure as hell entertaining enough to give it a shot!
This post was about my musical inclination, and this is FAR from a comprehensive view on the subject. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, and most of it depends on the headspace I wish to enter (usually related to writing, honestly). I’ll switch from haunting Celtic melodies to the progressive rock of Dream Theater to this all in a single listening. I’ll share some other varieties of stuff I listen to later on, but for now, let 2ne1 tell you how awesome they are.
Because they are.
So, not even twenty-four hours and I’m already back to writing on this thing (don’t worry, I’ll probably burn out on my enthusiasm soon enough and forget I even have a blog).
I normally would be writing in my novel right now (oh yeah, I’m writing a novel by the way, SURPRISE!) but I’ve hit a bit of a snag. Writer’s block that is. I just can’t get into my character’s heads tonight. And with a novel of this nature, that really screws me over.
So, if you are still reading this I can only assume you actually want to hear about my novel. Well lucky you, because I love talking about it! Actually, whenever someone asks what it’s about, I just tell them I’ll give them the first few pages instead of trying to summarize. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in twenty years on this planet, it’s that I am terrible at expressing myself verbally. Fortunately, there isn’t verbal communication on this blog (unless I can add audio files… I should look into that), so instead of emailing out my first few pages to every internet passers-by that somehow navigates their way here, I’ll just try to explain:
A while back, I was watching Memoirs of a Geisha (By the way, that’s an amazing movie). Now, I thought for the longest time that geishas were basically just Japanese hookers; and boy was I wrong. Giving this a really rough go from the perspective I could gather, I discovered they were a sort of hostess, an entertainer, and almost a pseudo-wife to their often infatuated clients. Sure they’d casually flirt with them, but they would keep a refined air at all times, showing their skills in conversation and various instruments and the like. However, the apprentice geishas would have to undergo a ceremony called Mizuage (yes, I had to look that up, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie) where a man paid to deflower her. This would be her coming of age, and from that point on she would no longer be an apprentice, but a fully-fledged geisha. And THAT got me thinking.
I mean, it’s not just in this trade that such things carry weight. We especially as a culture today place a lot of emphasis on our “first time”, and on our virginity, though especially that of a female. That train of thought led into how over-sexualized our culture is these days, how idolized women often are, and how so much value is placed both in being one of those “unspoilt virgins” and being sexually active. So an idea came to me. I thought, “what if there was a simple, obvious outward way to tell who was a virgin and who was not? How would that affect our society and the way we perceive things?”.
Operating on that basis, I proceeded to create the world of my novel. Every girl there is born with eyes that literally emit a glow. This glow fades when they lose their virginity. You see the insanity of that? You can walk down the street and just point out who is untouched and who is not. Your perceptions of people would (whether you think so or not) probably be a lot different if something that was normally private like this was instantly recognizable.
And let me clarify, our world basically runs on sex. I don’t just mean the reproductive aspect, but the drive. Attraction is everywhere. You take a walk down the street on a busy day and chances are you’ll at least see one or two people you find moderately attractive. Many people just live through their day with the hope of getting laid in the evening hours (alright, alright, I MIGHT be assuming that a bit. But I’m sure there’s at least a few like that around, wouldn’t you agree?). So in my fictitious world, families are competing for power; the social ladder, as it were. Arranged marriages are common to achieve this end, and a marriage won’t happen unless the bride has her virginity intact. And guess what? There’s no hiding it if she’s not. Those dark eyes tell the whole story. I hope you’re getting the picture by now. Oh yeah, and you might be wondering why I only made the girls have glowing eyes; and I say that because I’ve been asked that several times now. The answer is not very simple, but it’s a very sexist world. I mean, allegorically speaking, I’m addressing how women are idolized to such a ridiculous extent. Don’t worry; if it’s confusing to you, just imagine how confusing it is for me to try to sort out all my thoughts on the subject!
There are two main characters; Emily, and Jason. Their specific journeys I will leave to the book to tell, but they are both teenagers who have to navigate through this sort of world, and obviously, it isn’t easy.
You know what? Trying to write down really bizarre thought processes is difficult, and even now that I’ve just done it I’m not really satisfied that my point has really gotten across. I hope you understood at least some of my massive wall of text. If you are still interested in reading the book, well, you can contact me and I might just send you what I’ve got! Hopefully one day I can get this thing published.
And with that… oh crap, I promised I’d throw in more jokes this time! Yeah… humor is hard when I spend so much time just reflecting on stuff. You know, whenever I order a pizza online, they always have a space where you can type out instructions for the delivery guy, like “ring the doorbell” or something along those lines. I always put in “tell a clown joke” just to see if they will. Once when I was over at a friends place apparently the guy actually DID tell a joke, but I wasn’t at the door to hear it (just my luck). That was once in like twenty times. Just goes to show, even pizza delivery guys have a tough time coming up with jokes. And if they can’t do it well, how the hell can I be expected to?!?
Well, it’s three-o-clock in the morning, and still no progress on the novel for tonight. I should just get some sleep.
Brendon “Starving Author” Regier