Friday, November 20, 2009

This is it

I went to a conference in Morioka (the capital of my prefecture) on Monday and Tuesday. Since it was work, the Board of Education paid for my train tickets. I decided since I was already in Morioka (and I actually wasn't broke like I usually am) that I would stay the Tuesday night and watch a movie.

Since I am a movie-a-holic, a movie turned into two. I decided to see "A Christmas Carol" since we might put on a puppet show about it for the kids in town. When that was over, I went to see the Michael Jackson movie.

First off, to call it a movie is really misleading.It suggests some element of fiction, and "This is it" is anything but fiction. It was like watching a concert on tape, and yet it wasn't.

He didn't sing out, like he could have, because he was conserving his voice. And unlike the polished feel of a concert, with this documentary you could see the imperfections. It was interesting to see who an artist is behind the scenes. At the end of the film, he talked to his crew about saving the planet.

It suddenly occurred to me how many "message" songs MJ has sung over the years: Man in the Mirror, Heal the World, Earth Song, Black or White, etc. But sometimes when you package something too nicely, people get all caught up with the package and don't notice the content.

I also noticed that MJ was passionate about some good causes. But somehow being too passionate about something, even a good thing, makes you a weirdo...

It kinda made me wonder what would happen if Jesus were to come down to Earth right this minute and uphold the causes he's always stood for, how he would he be received?

As I walked back to the hotel with thoughts about the public views of people and standing up for what you stand for, I realised that I had some choices to make. I had to pick my path, and follow it; make it clear to the world where I stand. People disagree about what happens after we're gone, but one thing's for certain, we don't have forever in this life. We have to live it right, because we only get one chance. This is it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What you want?

Well, it's day 18 of my month-long challenge. I have 21,800 words, which is about 8,200 words behind or 5 days. It's still doable at this point.

I hate and love nanowrimo. For all the bad that paople have ot see about seat-of-your-pants writing, I don't think I could complete a novel without it. Not that I'm not committed to writing. It's just that I'm a post-perfectionist. I always think that anything I've done is not as good as it could be. Normally it takes long enough for this to occur, that it's after the fact (hence, POST-perfectionist), but a novel is an endeavour that requires such a large length of time, that I would give up on myself several times before I could complete it.

I can't remember how many novels I've started. Maybe 15 or so. And I only completed my first for nano last year. To be honest, I haven't edited yet. It's not that I feel like it's a piece of crap entirely. I think I'm afraid of success. Have you ever been on the brink of something you really want? What if you give it your best shot and it's not enough. What do you do then? When you only really have one dream, is anything else really good enough? Sometimes it's easier never to try, and always be able to say, "Maybe I could have", than to go for it and miss.

But then is life really worth it, if you don't live? Ask yourself, "What you want?"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Month from Hell

November's a really tough month for me. As I posted last time, I am doing nanowrimo this month. Writing a novel in 30 days is not easy. Believe me. But it might not be so bad, if it was the only major thing I had to accomplish in November.

Aside from "literary abandon" I also have two sets of Japanese study to undertake.

First is JLPT- Japanese Language Proficiency Test. It's probably the most universally recognisable Japanese exam in the world. It's like the Japanese equivalent of TOEFL. But the test date id the first Sunday in December. So, it means I should be studying in November... Should be...

Also, the CLAIR Japanese Language course starts right around this time. CLAIR (without the E :) is the organisation that does the administration for hte JET program, among other things. Each year, it offers JETs a language course which is tailored to our needs. It's a correspondence course, they send you a book every month you mail them the answer sheet. Six tests later, you get a certificate. Or something. I wouldn't really be too sure, since I didn't send in any of the tests.

Why not? Well, they've brilliantly set it up so that the deadline for the first test is always days behind the JLPT. Then I'm forced to make the choice: should I use my non-novelling time to study for the CLAIR course, or the JLPT? Considering that it really holds no weight in the outside world and the JLPT does, JLPT won out last year. I've done about half the material this year. We'll see what happens by month end.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nanowrimo- 30 days of literary abandon

November is "National Novel Writing Month". It's a writer challenge that started in America, but it's now pretty much international. The challenge: write 50, 000 words in the 30 days of November. If you want to check it out, the website is!

I participated and won last year. Since the challenge does not specify that you have to finish the novel in November, I took the rest of the year to write the remaining 2 chapters. That's because I'm a chronic procrastinator and I lose motivation easily. If it wasn't for Nano, I probably wouldn't ever be able to complete a novel to begin with!

Last year, I wrote a novel which, up to this point, I can't even categorise. I wonder if it's so all-over-the-place because I'm scatterbrained, or if it's because it's a true-to-life story. Either way, it probably needs a lot of work before I can sell it, and I intend to sell it.

Last year's story was about a promiscuous girl and her attempt to turn her life around, set against the backdrop of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks. This year, after visiting India, I was inspired to do a story about discrimination. I've gone back and forth as to whether it should be racial or religious discrimination, and even though, I've started writing, this and many other deatils, haven't been quite worked out. But God is still playing a major role in this effort, so I'm going to give him creative authority over it, and go where he pulls me.

Literary abandon, here I come.