Pages

Monday, February 28, 2011

Size Matters, and Sometimes it's Just Too Long!

First of all, get your minds out of the gutter, you dirty dirty bloggers!

(Now that that's over with), I have a problem. I just happen to be one of those girls that's having length issues. That's right, my manuscript is too long.

It never occured to me that it was too long, mind you. It seemed the perfect length. A wonderful, strong, delightful length. And then...I participated in a live chat on http://www.writeoncon.com/ (a site all writers should check out) with Maria Gomez, associate editor at Harper Collins, and agent Suzie Townsend.

They said: Anything 50k-60k or less is really hard to sell. It's just too short.
So I thought: Phew. I'm definately set in that department.
THEN they said: Anything greater than 80k-90k is really just too long for YA novels.
And THAT's when I thought: Holy shit.

Guess how long my novel is, ladies and gentlemen? Approximately 119k. Yeah. Nearly 30k above the max of the maximums. (Who ever thought that having a well endowed novel would be such a problem?) Not to mention, for those of you who missed it on my twitter, I recently edited my novel for a 4th time and shedded 2,000 words. I was proud of myself. So proud! Guess there'll be a lot more of that happening soon.

Have any of you experienced this problem? How long was your novel? What did you end up doing? (I'm sorry if these questions are too intimate for you. :-) )

Sunday, February 27, 2011

For My Fellow Bloggers!

I have been nominated for two Stylish Blogger Awards, so I have decided to give one list of facts and SBA winners today and one on wednesday. (This will give you all something to luck forward to and me some time to visit other people's blogs.)

Also, Pablo REALLY wanted to present the SBA's, and since he asked so nicely, I decided to let him. (Isn't he just the CUTEST PENGUIN EVER! And so incredibly stylish.)

First, I need to thank the amazing blogger who awarded me with my first SBA, Laura J Moss. She's super sweet and funny, and you all should definately check out her blog.

Now for my seven random facts:

1) I have a Springer Spaniel, Nutmeg, and a beautiful, 14 year old calico cat, Lisa. I love them both, particularly my kitty!

2)I have addictions to chocolate, loose tea, cheese and crackers, chips and salsa, sushi, and thai food.

3) I am watching the Oscars right now. (What? It's a random fact, isn't it?)

4) I love racial and cultural differences and all things that represent them, whether clothing, names, music, skin tones, food, dancing, etc.

5) When I was in second grade, my best friend and I wrote a picture book for our teacher. This was my first piece of recreational writing, and I haven't looked back since then.

6) I enjoy writing different genres and for different ages, and I sometimes wonder how that will work for me in the long run.

7) I play guitar and piano, and I sing as well. I have two guitars, my acoustic Ovation Celebrity, Rhiannon, and my electric Squire Fat Strat, Dorian. I also write my own music.

Now, to give away the Stylish Blogger Awards to 15 super stylin bloggers!

1) Sarah Ketley aka Constance (The Precocious Scribe)
2) Trisha Leaver
3) Alexis Fittinger (Kore Averna)
4) PK Hrezo
5) Erin (Quitting My Day Job)
6) Lisa M. Potts
7) Alyssa Udall
8) Madeleine (Scribble and Edit)
9) Lola Sharp (Sharp Pen/Dull Sword)
10) The Bookanistas
11) E.J. Wesley (The Open Vein)
12) Madeline Bartos (Capricious Existence)
13) Donna Hole
14) Elizabeth Mueller
15) Will Burke (Fatherhood & Other Common Terrors)

Thanks again to all of my amazing followers and a big round of applause for those wonderful, stylish folks that won the award tonight.

I mean, look at it folks, isn't it gorgeous? And so SHINY!

Be sure to stay tuned for more awesome posts and more awards!

<3 Gina Blechman

Friday, February 25, 2011

All You Need is Love (do do do do do)

I've always said that even if I never got published, I would always continue to write. That if no one ever saw my work, I would keep at it anyway, because I'm doing what I love. It's true. Like most of you writers out there, the presence or absence of an audience does not effect my motivation to write. However, as I'm sure you'd all agree, it's with the help of others that I become a better writer and learn to love what I do even more.

As of this moment, I have 108 follows. Sure, many of them may not have had the chance to look at my blog and others just added me to be part of Crusade contests, but still...that's 108 followers in three weeks! I never would have imagined that could happen.

Therefore, I want to thank you. All of you. And for those who regularly check my posts and leave comments, I appreciate you even more. Just the idea that there are people out there who care what I do and are excited about it is inspiring to me, not to mention all of the ways that the advice you have already given and will continue to give.

So once again, thank you everyone. You make it a pleasure to blog each day, and whether or not I have the chance to check out every post of yours, you are all talented and wonderful writers and people. Have a great weekend everyone!

<3 Gina Blechman

P.S. Yesterday I received a Stylish Blog Award, and I will be announcing who I am passing it on to in my post tomorrow. So stay tuned!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Evil Minion Takeover

Like most writers, I believe that my story is genius. It's new and refreshing. It's something the world needs to see. Society as we know it will compeletly evolve just by peeking inside. It might even bring world peace. (Do these thoughts sound familiar? Yea, I though so.)

Last night, as I was online looking up more dystopian novels, I decided to look at the reviews for a book that had been recommended to me. I had heard that the writer was a forerunner of dystopian YA novels, and wanted to know what people we're saying about it.

"She should give half of her salary to Lois Lowry for stealing her story."
"How original. A totalitarian society where people all look and act the same."
"The character's relationships seemed totally fake and the plot was predictable of the dystopian genre."

These were the first things I read.

My heart started racing.
I started to panic.
"But I write dystopian novels," I said to myself.
"My story takes place in a, (you guessed it), totalitarian society.
Maybe it was too inspired by The Giver after all.
Oh my gosh!
My story's horrible!
This is horrible.
They having been saying the dystopian market is at it's peak.
Maybe it's ending!
Maybe it's too late!
It's the end of the world!
Stupid evil minions taking over my brain!
Noooooooooooooooo!

End scene.

This, ladies and gentlemen, was my first ever moment of self-doubt. It was terrifying. I felt like my world was caving in around me. But then I took a deep breath and thought about this.

1) The circumstances of my society are different than one I have yet read.
2) Though much of the laws are similar to other novels, the government system is unique to my book.
3) The main focus of my book is the growth and questions that they discover as they turn against the society. Making it more about relationships and self-discovery than dystopia.
4) It discusses updated issues relevent to today.
5) Every book is unique. Every writer has his/her own voice and every setting and every character is different.

My life began to recover. My world was suddenly ok. The evil minion takeover subsided. I was breathing. Life was good.

I post this, because I know that we all have those moments when we doubt ourself. Whether the doubt comes from a critique (of our own book or someone else's) from rejection (from an agent or editor) or just from general paranoia, the little minions sometimes get the best of it. But I'm here to tell you, it's all going to be ok. Breathe it out. Work through it. And you'll have more faith in yourself in the end

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feed by M. T. Anderson: Review

This is one of those books where you really have to hold out for the ending, because even though it might not seem worth it at the start, it's worth it by the end.

For the first 140 pages, it took most of my willpower not to put the book down, write a scathing review, and forget about it. The main character, Titus, has absolutely no redeeming factors. He's crude. He's ignorant. He's selfish and pretty much everything else that would give me a reason to dislike him. When he hangs out with his friends, he acts like an ass. When he meets a girl that might actually be good for him, he barely seems to care about her. And to top it all off, there's all of this odd, technological, feed-world lingo that isn't explained, leaving readers feeling like outsiders. Why would anyone want to read a book in a language that's difficult to understand with unfeeling characters, and, at least initially, not much blot This is why-

Because after those first 140 pages or so, everything comes together. The story focuses less on the individual characters and more on their interactions and relationships. Then, within the last 20 pages, all of the harsh words and ignorance and random scenes start to make sense. Bam. And guess what? You feel like an idiot for ever doubting the novel. In fact, the last few pages are so powerful that you start to question if the beginning was really as bad as you once thought it of.

Now, I wouldn't say that the ending completely makes up for the beginning, but it did make the difference between a bad and a good review. In my opinion, it's not that the book was written poorly, it's just that the beginning could have been written better. There could have been more tie-ins. More suspense. (That was another issue. Unlike many stories that make you want to figure out how it all ties together in the end, this didn't give you much of a reason to for the first half of the story.) There could have been more explanations of some of the terms that even now I still have no idea what they mean.

I feel like Anderson really understood his Feed-world. He managed to completely transport his readers there, and since it all made sense to him, he didn't give them as much of an understanding as he could have. His Feed jargon is brilliant...i just wish it could be brilliant and decipherable.

If you want to know if I would go as far as telling you all not to read it, the answer is no, certainly not. Feed was definately a good book and your opinions may turn out to be different than mine. Would I highly recommend it? If you're lacking things to read, yes. However, I think there are plenty of more current things that I'd probably suggest first.

But hey, the book was a national book award finalist, so maybe I'm wrong. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pre-Agent Mania

Dear blogworld, I think I'm going crazy. No, not because of my blogging addiction, because of my desire to find an agent. I finished my novel last June. I did one immediate edit of it, then waiting a few months to give myself some space from the project, and then edited through it again. Then, I printed out four copies and gave them to friends and mentors.

Finally, I have the first edited manuscript back. Finally, I'm in the middle of editing it for the last time before I send it off to agents. Finally, I'm looking up agents and researching query letters and every bit of research that I possibly can. But now that I'm so close, it's so hard to wait. I read successful query letters, and I want to write and send mine. I look up agents, and I feel the need to submit to them. It's all I can think about.

But alas, I have to wait. I have to wait, I tell myself, until I finish editing the novel a final time. Until I finish making my list of agents and ordering them. I can't rush into it. I want to. But I cant.

Tell me, fellow blogites, is this something you go through or have gone through? How did you deal with it?

Someone Get Dr. Drew, I Think I'm Addicted

Dear every-"guide-to-entering-the-writing-world"-that I've ever read,

Why on EARTH did you have to go and suggest social networking to me? First of all, I got a blog, per YOUR request, which caused me to stumble across this crazy chick, Rachael Harrie. Now, Rachel thought that it would be a fantastic idea to have two-hundred-and-fucking-sixteen people all friend each other and follow each others blogs. Does anyone understand how crazy that is? 216 people? Who has the time? Not me. But, apparently, now I'm finding the time, because I. Cant. Stop.

I have a blogging addiction. I think about it all day. I check my e-mail constantly. I can't even tell you how many times I've checked my dashboard to see how many new followers I have. It's not the I have the time, it's just that I, well, care. I love reading other peoples' blogs. I love knowing how they're doing, what they're doing, what they think I should be doing. (Even though I don't really have the time to be doing it, but hey, I might as well do it anyway!) I want. I need. I crave. I. Just. Can't. Quit.

And then, all of these lovely bloggers said "Hey, you should get a twitter." So I did. And then I began stalking. (I mean, following. The terminology is so strange these days. It's like asking for a "small" instread of a "tall" at starbucks. Following, stalking, same difference.) So I began stalking and tweeting and following writers and crusaders and agents and editors and publishers and publishing magazines and... yea, the list goes on.

It goes without saying, (though I'll say it anyway), that I'm also, as any good writer should, following five or six e-newsletters via e-mail. I'm stalking agents like no tomorrow and making lists that would make even the Stepford wives gain an inferiority complex.

WHAT IS THIS?! I'm already a chocolatoholic. I already have a growing collection of loose tea in my closet, and god knows that those stupid FlipSide pretzel crackers (which will make you see Jesus) will be the death of me. Now social networking?

Oh look, I have another bright, shiny follower...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Getting Down With Your Writing Self: Foreplay, Braingasms, And Their Place In Writing

Foreplay. What's not to love? It adds heat and suspense, flirtation and intensity. It teases you and gets you leaves you wanting more. If you were starting a relationship and your date just whipped it out-no explanation, no foreplay, no sweetness-just started trying to mount you while you were sipping your soda--well, I'd HOPE you'd be a little alarmed. No, people want to feel special. We want to feel sexy and loved. Well, so do our inner writers.

If your inner writer is just chillin out, going about her business and you try to ambush her into writing, she might get a little pissed off at you. Why should she write for you? Because your literary tits are larger than her ex's? Because you've got a big, bad, needy writer dick? I don't think so.

You have to initiate foreplay. This is how:

1) Mood
Remember the years of taking standardized tests? Sitting in overly bright rooms, watching the light glare against the too white walls? Yeah...that's really not sexy. Your inner writer does not want to feel like you're trying to make love to her in the middle of a mental hospital. You have to get her in the mood. Make an area just for the two of you. Dim the lights. Clean up a bit. Maybe light some candles. If she likes the sun, take her outside and set up a blanket or lounge chair or sit at a picnic table.

Put on something comfy, or sexy, or smart. Take everything off and wear nothing at all. Whatever works for you.

2) Music
It doesn't matter what you listen to. Loud and fast, slow and sweet. Maybe just a nature tape of some waterfalls. Create a place that your inner writer would want to be.

Another option is playing something to inspire your characters. Play music that fits your characters' moods for the scene you're currently on. It will not only coax them to come out and play, but will help you get more in touch with them.

3) Find inner homeostasis
Sometimes, your inner writer needs something before you begin. Whether it's meditation, talking with a friend, rockin' out, drawing, playing with your kids...maybe it's a really BIG piece of chocolate cake. Maybe, it actually is sexual. Maybe, your inner writer has an intense need to masturbate. (I say masturbate instead of sex, because unless your partner is a writer or you're going for a true one night stand, usually the whole "Hey, can we just do it real quick, so that I can then leave you immediately to go write." thing doesn't fly...
The hardest one is when your inner writer can't be happy until you get other things done. You have to really know yourself if this happens, and either realize that your writing is also important and try to get it done or create a time management schedule. Whatever it is, make sure your inner writer is at peace before you start.

4) Literary Masturbation
I know that a bunch of you busy people or parents (aren't they the same thing?) are saying, "when will I ever have the time to do all that." Of course, there's always the option of scheduling it in to make sure it happens. However, here's another option: literary masturbation. Get it all out without a laptop or even a pen.

If you can, put on some headphones; if not, just go into your own little world. It doesn't matter if you're in line at the supermarket or waiting at the doctor's office, just let yourself go to your story. Imagine the scenes. See them vividly. What are your characters saying? Sometimes it helps to always keep things with you to aid the process: an mp3 player, a stress ball, a pocket notebook. If you can coax yourself there, into your safe place, into yourself, and take yourself to your story, then you will be more willing to go back to it later, will know exactly what you want to write, and will be able to write in less time when you finally have the time.

Follow these four simple steps and you'll be sure to be braingasming in no time. :-)

<3 Gina Blechman

Hush Hush

It didn't matter how many times the fighting occured. It didn't matter over what, or with whom, or when. In fact, it seemed that whenever the shouting did start, everything else in the world faded away. It was just--you. The two or three or sometimes only just one of you screaming. Filling your lungs with the world's frustration just to blast it back out with twice the fury.

"You lying, schemeing bitch!" you'd shout, and I would wonder what was meant for me.
"You don't know what it's like!" you'd scream, and I would wonder if your devils heard you.

But I knew. I watched and I knew and I felt, firsthand all that it was like. You just didn't see. I could never get myself to let you.

When your words hit like gravel against my skin and left pockmarks across my heart, I didn't shed a tear. I pretended that it didn't hurt watching the shadows of your demons dance behind the lids of your eyes. Watching the tower fall. Witnessing the death of an angel to a devil called insanity.

You fell into yourself and I, I fell in with you and claimed that it was to keep you company. But we all knew that you dragged me down there. We all knew, but we couldn't say.

Because no house in which God lived could let a girl fall so far. No house in which God lived could forsake quite so many.

No, we all wanted to believe we were doing the right thing. Patching our addictions with duct tape and adhesive so overused that the stick had worn clear off, leaving us to lick it and cleave the damp onto the open wounds. And we said that we chose to be there. We chose to ache together.  To ache as family. A sick, broken, struggling family.

"We did the best we could," father would say, his voice full of sorry overtones to cover the anxiety from his uncertainty.

Blaming the demons-the favorite thing to do. Abstract devils keep responsibility at bay.

But not for me. It is too late for me. I have already felt the heat of your hands meld with the anger rising in my cheeks. I have counted how many times the battles raged, and what was said, and who said what and when. I remember every acid word to cross your lips and touch my heart and fuck my head.

I never told the whole story. I never gave the whole truth. But this time, I am letting it out. Just this once, I have to do it for me...if just to never become you.

(potential story)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

End Violence Against Women....and while you're at it, find out more about my novel

I just want to thank all of my amazing blog followers for paying attention to my blog. I'm sorry that my blog today will be short, but that is because I have spent the entire day in classes, entertaining my mother who has coming to visit, or being part of the Vagina Monologues.

The Vagina Monologues, for those who do not know, is a play constructed from a string of monologues, each told by different actors. The Monologues were collected and created by Eve Ensler and are based on the true stories of women from around the world. Some monologues are funny and some are serious, but all are about women's experiences with their vaginas. The goal of the Vagina Monologues is to counteract female genital mutilation, rape, and all types of abuse against women. I bring this up here, because the message that it spreads is one that all should hear.
Go to http://www.vday.org/home to learn more about the global movement to end violence against women.

Also, a brief sidenote, if you're interested in learning more about my latest novel, feel free to check out my "My Novel: Synesthesis" tab. Currently, the tab only features the back cover page, but it will certainly contain more fun facts, tid bits, and frustrations as time goes on.

<3 Gina Blechman

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Other Sites

In addition to writing novels, I also write a variety of other things, including music and poetry. Below are the links to my music myspace and to my allpoetry site.

Allpoetry:
Feel free to browse through some of my poems and lyrics, though do keep the dates in mind. The older I get, the less that I post online, which also means that a lot of my better stuff is stored away in Word files and most of my older stuff is out for the world to see. (Ironic, I know.) However, there's still some pretty awesome stuff on there, so if you're into poetry, go on and check it out. (And if you do, let me know, and I'll make sure to keep it better updated!)
www.allpoetry.com/the existentialist

Myspace:
I try to keep this as updated as possible. Should be adding some new stuff soon. I write nearly everything that I play and music is very important to me, so feel free to take a look.
www.myspace.com/ginablechman

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Crying Problem

For those of you who don't know, I am currently looking for an agent. I have done a few rounds of editing on my novel, Synesthesis, have passed it around to friends, and am now doing a major research project on everything involving getting agented and eventually getting published.

Now, last night, as I was looking through various agent finding sites, I started to realize something: tears. Every once and a while...I just started crying and could barely stop myself. Does this sound strange? Has this happened to anyone, because, personally, I think it's strange. Lol.

Let me explain further... As I was making my long list of potential agents to eventually be ordered and ranked and all sorts of fun stuff, I often find myself really getting into their bios and stories. What inspired them inspired me. It seemed that everything they wanted was something that I had been dying to hear. They would say "we want gritty, cutting edge dystopian novels with strong male characters that can potentially break the boundaries between YA and adult." And I would say to myself, "Oh my god! That's what I have." And then they would talk about their passion and dreams and how they've spent their  entire lives, since they were children, reading books, and I'd be like "Oh my god, I'm in love!"

Try telling my tear ducts that half these people may reject me and that they're all just regular folks trying to get by and do what they love. Try telling my tear ducts that I've still got a month or so before I'll be fully confident in sending out query letters and I need to slow down. I mean, they were going all out listening-to-Snow-Patrol-while-eating-dark-chocolate-and-watching-Grey's-Anatomy style. (Speaking of which, I found Grey's Anatomy particularly heart wrenching tonight.)

I've always been the emotional type. I'm that girl that cries at commercials and movie previews and cute children in K-Mart and random acts of kindness. I'm that girl.  But if my tear ducts are acting up at this, I can't imagine what the rest of the process is going to be like. (Note to self: buy more loose tea and dark chocolate)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: Review

My mentor recently brought to my attention that I have not read many, or any really, recent, dytopian novels. My solution: reading and reviewing at least one dystopian novel every week. My first read, as is pretty blatantly obvious, is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

As Presenting Lenore mentioned in her recent review of this book, Never Let Me Go is beautifully subtle. It's not overly wordy or overly emotional. It just...is.

You find yourself connecting with the characters, though barely knowing why. They're not physically described in great detail. They're not touchy-feely at all. In fact, the narration is mostly very matter-of-fact. But despite all of this, there's an underlying pull that keeps you going. An understated and disconcerting thread that you just keep trying (and usually failing) to grasp.

This isn't one of those dystopian novels where you know the situation almost immediately--know who the good and bad guys are and what the issue is. For the first third of the novel, I could barely figure out what the problem or point of the novel was to begin with.

Kazuo does a stunning job of slowly unveiling the truths and stories of the characters. He gives you just enough to keep you reading, but never too much that you feel like you know exactly what's going to happen. You find that, as the reader, you feel the emotions that the characters can't or don't yet realize that they feel. And if you don't cry by the end (out of happiness or not, I will not say), you probably need go to the doctor for some sort of chemical supplement.

I have difficulty giving "star" ratings, because I feel it's nearly impossible to rate all books on the same scale; however, it's definately a must-read for dystopian writers and readers and, well, pretty much everyone else.

P.S.
Now, there have been some reviews pondering why the characters did not escape. I did question this towards the end of the novel, but I think most who have read this book eventually realize that it's really just wishful thinking. Deep down, it seems clear that the world that the characters live in is all that they know, and they could never possibly imagine going against it. Yes, they probably could of escaped successfully, but they'd never heard it done before, so why should they to rebel? This is not a novel focused on rebellion, it's focused on innocence and relationships and ethics.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

About Me!

Now that I'm getting more followers (mwahaha), I decided I should let you all get a better idea of exactly what you're getting in to. Who is this strange woman whose blog you're following? Well, now you'll know!

What I write: In addition to writing novels, I also write poetry, lyrics, music (for guitar and occassionally piano), and short stories. The genre of the novel I finished months ago and am now deeply editing and soon, hopefully, agenting is dystopian young adult fiction, with an intended audience of 13-20 year olds. The novel that I've recently started that I work on in my spare time, (or, the little of it that I do have, anymore), is lesbian/bisexual romantic realistic fiction, geared towards an adult audience. *Please don't confuse this for erotica, however. People jump to that conclusion entirely too much.*

All of my writing is very character-centric. I believe that the plot should be as much about the characters and their journeys as it is the actual events. Their as much journeys into the human psyche as they are novels.

What I do: I'm a freshman in college. A psychology major and a creative Writing minor. When I'm not in class or doing writing related activities, I'm singing, playing guitar, watching lots of movies (particularly dramas and indie, foreign, and glbt films) or watching way too much television.

Who I am: A writer, lover, dreamer, hopeless romantic, friend, comic, musician, free spirit, flower child, wiccan, baker, and many more things too amorphous for standard titles.

This blog: This blog is pretty much what it says it is. It's bits and pieces of all of the above. I try to alternate between posting short stories and poems/lyrics and rants/questions/opinions so that you'll have something different every day. If there's something you'd like me to talk about...let me know! I'm also working on reading a dystopian novel every week. As I finish those, there will be weekly critiques on here to let you know what I think.

Thank you for following me! Have a lovely day!

Love and cookies,
Gina Blechman

Interconnectedness

So just to update you all, I am blogging to you in a darkened room, my roommate sleeping on the bed across from me, me-barely awake, at 12:12 in the morning. Yes, 12:12 AM. I am wretched tired and barely able to keep my eyes open, but my college internet has been on the fritz all day and I have been thinking about what to write in my blog all day. So, here I am. Surviving on sheer will and the very loud Tori Amos music blasting through my headphones. Just for you. FEEL SPECIAL!

Alright, so out of all of the things that passed through my mind today, the thoughts that interested me the most were the ones that came to me as I was watching A Single Man on showtime. I don't know if you've ever seen this subtle and magnificent movie, but if you haven't you need to. Colin Firth and Julianne Moore are divine. (Not that this is anything out of the ordinary for the two of them. Both of them starred in (also fabulous) movies that are up for an oscar this year.)

The gist of the story, in case you're one of the poor folk who have not seen it, is this: After he learns that his lover has died, the main character spends the entire day trying to figure out whether life is worth living or not. During the course of the day, he (Colin Firth) teaches his college class, nearly has a fling with a few different men, almost kills himself a few times, and visits his old friend (Julianne Moore), and, as is typical with these sorts of movies, drinks large quantities of alcohol.

What interested me the most about this lovely choice of a Valentines Day movie, *sarcasm,* was the fantastic yet believeable emotional roller coaster that the actors took me through. All of those abstract emotions and events-love, pain, death, joy, heartache, loneliness, nostalgia-that occured over the course of 114 minutes.

We call these emotiona "abstract," but not because they are foreign. In fact, all of these emotions are ones that we are all more than guarrenteed to feel over the course of our lifetimes.

We call these emotions "abstract," because though we all experience them, and experience them often at that, we all experience them differently. Not only differently from one another, but differently each time we go through them ourselves.

And yet, we love to feel them all. Even the bitter ones. We're so fascinated by them. It's as though we can't feel them enough. We read novels, watch movies, listen to music all so that we can feel them some more.

I have decided, over just the past few hours, that this is because of our human desire for interconnectedness. We know that we all experience these emotions, but we want to know how. How do others experience it? How does that compare to us? What's different? Why does it happen? We want to feel what they feel. See what they see. It's our attempt to step outside ourselves and experience the world through another's eyes. Because, if we can do that, if we can feel through others, then maybe we can understand them better. Connect with them on a deeper level.

With every generation, I think we're become even more bold with our inter-experiences, as well. What we watch, read, and listen to has evolved from the cookie-cutter, socially acceptable spectrums to a whole plethora of new scenarios.

 As I watched this movie, I was captivated by the relationships and the emotions of the characters: gay and straight, old and young, ethical and...well...not so much. I found that I wasn't so concerned with right and wrong, wasn't concerned with gender or race or anything really. (Not that I believe that latter two matter in relationships platonic, romantic, or otherwise.)

I made a post a couple days ago about the oversexualization of women and of the American culture in general, and to branch off of that, I would like to add that I feel like society is split. There's a part of us that's being stunted. That in trying so hard to all actively be individuals, we're becoming more and more the same. We're also becoming more self-focused and, many of us, more sex focused and status focused, than ever before.

However, I think there's another side, as well. I feel that, because of all of this, there are even more of us that are starved to know more. Starved to connect. Curious why. We're not so concerned that we're watching a movie in which a male teacher may potentially be about to begin a sexual relationship with his male student, we're interested in the dynamic of how it works and feels and the whys and internalizations. We want to connect with anyone, anyway we can, for whatever limited amount of time that we have in our daily schedules.

I must say, I find this comforting. At least, even if they don't know how, there are some that want to be part of the great of the picture, part of the whole, part of the interconnectedness that is humanity.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just in time for Valentine's Day

It wasn't that we didn't know. We all knew it. You, me, them. From the very first glance to the very last kiss.

Did we really think we were better than our destinies?

"We can trick fate. We can bend reality." So foolish as to see ourselves as more than fools.

We were each other's gods. Living and breathing by the bible of each others touches and kisses and words. Even after disappointment had drowned our kingdom, we swam through the floods hoping for the next shower of brimstone to burn away the fear. The hidden terrors of loneliness. The truth that, in fact, two broken halves did not always make a whole.

Sitting on your back porch swing, we planned our futures with our eyes closed--face towards the stars but hearts never quite reaching them. We counted future children. Mapped out gardens and playgrounds and lazy afternoons. Filled our moments with the currently unnattainable and the pasts we'd dreamed we'd had.

We were just passing time, but it felt like living free. It felt like stepping out. Like breathing in dew drops or swallowing rain. Inhaling crispness as though freshness was a place  to live and be.

It didn't matter, then. It didn't matter any of those times. We could barely speak, barely look at each other, barely relate on the day to day issues. Your emotions were too tender. My walls too low.

We kidded ourselves into believing that we were the exception to it all. That if we could be, then perhaps all the other lies that we'd been told would be less true in our shadow. Your mother would be less heartless, my sister less cold. And we would live. Happily. Ever. After.

It was a perfect theory: the fairytale. You, the manic Snow White and I the depressive cinderella, hating each other on alternating days.

But as long as the lining remained silver and the sky remained blue, as long as death was not ahead and our lives were left far behind...

Well, let's just say, we were unprepared to care about the consequences of fate.


(Dedicated to my ex.....)

Music Videos + Sex = ....

As a dystopian writer, I think it's super important to be constantly observing the world around you. I mean, it's a major theme in what I write. Question everything. Think outside the box. So, as I was watching music videos, earlier today, I decided to ask some questions. Of the many that came up, some of my favorites were:

1) Why is she wearing entirely too much make-up and stroking that strange guy's leg?
2) Why is she practically making out with a statue?
3) Better yet, why is she half naked in an elevator?
4) Why is she wearing that under a waterfall in a...fountain??
5) Why are they humping a large mammel?

Alright, I think you get the picture.

What you may notice about all of these questions are that they all involve female pronouns. Regardless of the singer or group or their gender, putting women in strange clothes and in stranger locations, and having them commit some very strange acts to some very interesting people/things/animals(?) seems to be the in thing to do.

Now, I guess, maybe it's wrong for me to judge. As a fan of 80's hair metal, (yes, that lovely old relic), it has been pointed out to me that my statements may sound slightly hypocritical. However, there was something about that phase of music (the too tight pants, the poofy hair, the choreographed headbanging, the cheesy stunts, the tawny kitaen's doing splits on hoods of cars) that I could just never take seriously. It was "just for fun" music. It was guys being guys. It was the music you listened to if you wanted to have "nothin' but a good time."

But the problem I find with the videos today is that the sex is EVERYWHERE. Instead of growing into adults, teens are growing into sex kittens. Sure, a song may be about war or politics, but if the singer is a girl, then she better be both angry and sexy. Even the so-called role models for the younger kids, Miley Cyrus, for example, are tarting it up for the cameras.

Being part of the generation that saw Hilary Duff and Britney Spear's transformation, it makes me wonder, what is the fate of our young female talents? (If, I guess, you can really call them that, these days. ....Though Hilary Duff wrote a novel...so as a fellow writer, maybe I shouldn't...never mind...) It seems that the track for young female stars is to start with kids' television, then move to music or the bigscreen, and finally, most importantly, to become grown up sexual wonders. Of course, those who choose not to follow this track are hardly publicised enough.

The other thing that brought more questions to my mind is the names that women have adopted for themselves and that singers and bands of both genders feel comfortable slinging around. Slut, ho, bitch, whore. I'm certainly not conservative, but there has to be better words than that to describe the "fairer sex."

I  guess the truth is that I am worried. I am worried that "growing up cultured," as one of the main characters from my book would call it, may be worse for women and girls' self-esteem than if they just stayed inside and listened to some classic Beatles records and watched some Rocky and Bullwinkle, all while innocently dipping the chocolate chip cookies that (hopefully, to make this image even better, their father made) into their nearly full glases of milk. Is rewinding better than letting this whole mess unfold? I don't quite know anymore. What do you think?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Write?

As I was searching through blog world today, looking at the sites of various writers and attempting-to-get-published hopefuls, I found myself wondering: what is it that makes all of us so obsessed with writing. I mean, there's no way getting around it--it's an obsession.  Who else but a true writer would craze about query letters the way that we do? What logical, nonwriting person would spend an hour or more on one simple f*cking sentence, because it's not worded right? And then when you change it, it doesn't flow. And then when you reword the paragraph to make it flow...well then you've changed what you were originally trying to say, and there was a reason that you were originally trying to say it, so now you've got to change it all over again. I know, it might be shocking to hear this, but nonwriters don't really care if they're working on a project and don't meet their word quota for the day. They'll get around to it sometime...eventually. Because their lives, don't revolve around it like ours do.

Now, I have been writing stories (good or otherwise) since I was in second grade and made a picture book for my teacher. I've been writing since I got my first not-for-school composition notebook and was able to put in it whatever I wanted. Rants. Poems. Stories. Even the beginnings of books, eventually. It never occurred to me as a little second grader the OCD that laid ahead of me, if I continued my path as a writer. It didn't occur to me that if I wanted to get published, then I would probably have to get an agent, which would mean that I'd have to make myself marketable, which would mean that there had to be something special about me, a niche, that I would have to find, and how hard that that would turn out to be. Even now, when I write, I do it in hopes of getting published one day, sure, but I also do it because I love it. Because I can't imagine my life without it. Because the written word is one of the most wonderful things that this world has to offer....

But why? Why obsess? Why spend hours on pieces of writing that people may never get to see? I think it's because, as writers, we see the world differently. We see what others don't. In people. In the environment In the possibilities that life offers.

But how do we explain this? There's no set way in our culture to talk about it. People don't understand what we do, and perhaps we don't even understand what it is that we do understand. So we put it into words. We work it out in our subconscious by working it out through stories, through characters, through consequences and actions and tears and laughter and beauty that people can read and be touched by and then hopefully understand what it is that we saw in the first place.

Maybe there's just something-inherently or from experience-within us, that has left us incapable of silence. We need to be heard. And this is how. And at least, if no one else will see it or read it, the things that we write, we will know that they exist. We can read them. We can share them with our friends, collegues, and fellow writers, and we can always know the stories that others cannot see.

Second Writers’ Platform-Building Crusade

So, bloggers, get EXCITED! As of write now (yes, it's a pun) I have joined the Second Writers’ Platform-Building Crusade. The purpose of of this group is for novel writers to network with other novel writers. The group separates writers by genre and helps them to meet each other, so that they will have more bloggers and friends to review their work on, and potentially off, of their blogs. There will also be spiffy prompts and challenges, and it should pretty much be super-duper fun. The Crusade goes from now until April 1st, and I encourage any interested parties to join. What's the worst that could happen: you could get out of your angsty-writer bubble and smile for once? Oh My GOD! So, anyway, no this does not count as my official once-a-day post. I just wanted to make sure that y'all were informed of this interesting opportunity that I am now taking part of. :-)

Junkie

Paranoia
sang the lullabies
that Momma got too old to sing.
Clinging to my chest
She the soul and I the body.
"Don't you worry bout a thing."
she said,
and she took me cross the streets
took me
took
me
to a place I fear to name....





"I need a FIX!" she screams, two steps past desperation. Again, she calls. She swears she screams-"I need a FIX!-" she swears...it seems...so loud?

Loud? Silence. She sits. Contemplating. Feeling the reverberations of her internal proclamation. Shivering at the waves as though each will knock her out of her misery. Each will knock her out of what she's known and back...back to...where, exactly?

She sits, eyes open, full faith  in their passing, the traces of moments, echoes, and souls, sliding, salty, down her throat. She swallows.
She contemplates.

"I need a...a fix?" she asks. She's not uncertain, just unaware of who is listening. Who of those not meeting her eyes, not speaking her pain, is feeling her call? She knows--they hear her.

Scratching unwashed skin, the grit of memories lies so far beneath  her fingernails that it aches. Tearing back layers in hope and fear that she will know the why. Know the truth. See the reasoning behind the stench of failure and abuse...and overworn clothes.

"I need a f-!" she cries. But her throat has caught her screaming. She needn't bother with the people, always moving way too fast. Who could care if they were watching? They don't see her as they pass. They don't know her. They don't want her. They don't hear what she could say. Understand. Why she takes the needle. Takes the knife. Takes the pain. And

drags

it across her skin.

The calm exhaled every time she takes a hit.
The cage she locks with every inch,  each scar that lines her skin.
But at least...as least the past,
the past can't get in....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wanderer (Lyrics)

She’s heading out on the road.
Destination: far away.
Doesn’t matter where she goes.
As long as they don’t know her name.

Cuz her dreams have lost their shine.
Aint no way to buy it back.
So she’s heading out on the road.
Don’t know if she’s coming back.

So tell me, what do you think 
that you're going to find?
Is it worth throwing it away,
just to put it all behind?
Cuz you can tell them all they’re wrong,
and still never know what’s right.
Is it worth throwing it away,
just for a little piece of mind.

Bought herself some fancy clothes,
and a fella for her arm.
And she smiles all the day,
but the smiling’s lost its charm.
And her dreams seem far away,
but at least she’s not back home-
where they’re all cheering for her downfall,
No, here she’s all alone.

So tell me, what do you think
that you're going to find?
Is it worth throwing it away,
just to put it all behind?
Cuz you can tell them all they’re wrong,
and still never know what’s right.
Is it worth throwing it away,
just for a little piece of mind?

Saw a friend the other day,
or, at least, one from another time.
Had to do a double take-
Boy, she was looking fine.
She said she knew she knew your face,
But you just kept denying.
Anything from that place,
and the day you left it all behind.

What are you looking for?
What are you looking for?
What are you looking for?
What are you
looking
for?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Momma Said

Short story #1:

Talkin Momma outta anything was about as worthwhile as talkin Sissy into anything, which, if you know any of us folks, aint not worth nothin at all. You don't just go up to Momma and tell her how it is. In all honesty, you'd get a whoopin just for lookin at her like you were about to go up to 'er and tell 'er how it is. No, Momma was a proud, upstanding kind a woman. When she had sumthin to say, she got to her feet, puffed out her chest, rose her voice and, by God, she said it. And we ALL listened. And EVERYBODY agreed. You didn't disagree with Momma, nooo sir!

If she said, "ya knooow gurl-"she always drew out her words like that-"ya knoooow gurl...what they're sayin about the Earth, that it's round? I just can't believe that. They've got their heads up those asses of theirs, that's what's wrong with them. Momma knows the truth and Momma knooows gurl, this earth is about as round as my booty is flat, and that's not at all." Well, if Momma said that, I doubt there'd be a soul that would stand up and try to tell her otherwise. It just didn't go that way. Nu-uh. No, sir.

Momma liked to talk, too. All the time. Especially about men. Those "slippin and slidin no good rascals." They were never gentlemen. No, sir, not to Momma.

 "If any man so much as touches you near your whosey-whats-it, you just scream your head off and run as far away and fast as you can. And you go and call them police, that's what you do." She'd be rocking in her chair on the porch as she said it. Nodding her head as though she could say it from some sort of first hand knowin of things. Momma didn't talk about her experience much though, just about ours. Or, at least, the ones she thought we'd have.

"I don't want none of that hanky-panky, none of that foolin around. Last thing we need is for ma gurl to get erself pregnant-like, like those little harlequins you see on the tv."

Don't get me wrong now, I don't mean no wrong bout my momma. I love 'er and everything she said, and God shoot me down, I listened to e'ry word she said. Even lived ma life by it most times. I never let no "slipin sliding no good rascals so much as touch me near my whosey-whats it." Didn't fool around none. Certainly didn't get myself pregnant like no harlequin girl.

But still, there was just some things that I didn't quite git.  I mean, I listened to what Momma said. I did. And I obeyed her good and well. And when I found myself a man that at least I didn't think was a "no good rascal," I was sure to take it nice and slow. He would kiss me all soft and wrap his arms around me, kind of tight, but just loose enough so I could lean back an' look at 'im.

"You know, I'm waiting for you?" he'd say. And I knew it. I did.

He didn't beat me, none. Didn't lay a finger on me, less it was to cuddle up close on the couch. I listened to what Momma said. I did. I went over and over it in my head, and my God, I swear I did it all by her word. But Momma never told me about the sweet, slippery kind-a men. She never told me bout the ones that love you. The one's that make your world like sunshine and fine, fancy chocolate. The ones that tell you what you want to hear...until...the day they don't.

And they don't hurt you none. At least, they don't touch you. But they twist you up all in your head. They rip all your guts out. Tear at your heart all nasty-like. They say them things like "If only you wasn't so..." and "Why'd you always have to be like...", "It's your fault, that...", and "You really can't blame me for..." And they still caress you when you're wanting, and they still love you when you're really down and broken-up about it.

I thought, I thought, maybe, if I let 'im touch me...touch me near my whosey-what's it, then...well...maybe he wouldn't say all those harsh things. Maybe he wouldn't be so cruel. If I showed im, ya know, that I loved him. That I could give him everythin'. Risk everythin'. Momma said it first didn't she?

"That's all a man wants is to get in yur knickers."

I didn't let 'im though. They were just thoughts. Lots of thoughts. But I kept 'em in...cuz I KNEW what Momma would say. She'd said it so much before, she didn't ever need to say it again. I mean, I'm not sayin I didn't get close to it. Probably would've gotten there even, if he didn't break it off. Went and broke my heart he did, and I hated him, that son of a bitch. But hatin im didn't make my heart hurt any less. Didn't make the shiverin stop or the thoughts go an hide off nowheres.

Guess it wasn't his leavin really, as much as his bein gone. That feeling, ya know, of being...free...which, to be free, meant that I had to've been trapped...and, well, then thinkin about all-a that happenin...I just couldn't stand that. Momma never said anything about that! I listened to her, I did. I didn't have no hankpanky. I didn't let him touch me there. I didn't let him hit me none. But she never told me....she never told me that there are some men, some men that leave you achin without ever touchin you at all.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hello Blog World!

Hello blog world! I know that you don't know me very well, but my name is Gina Blechman. I am a college student, psychology major, budding novelist, musician, and now, with the birth of this very post, blogger. Like many college students, I am fueled by a mix of knowledge, perserverence, chocolate, junk food, and the large variety of loose tea that's currently in my closet. (ok, maybe the last part's not so universal....and I certainly hope that there isn't a worlds worth of college students snooping around my closet.)

 This blog begins a new project and journey for me. I have recently finished writing a novel that I will soon be trying to get published, and have decided that it's time to get (even more) serious about my writing. With this blog, I am putting myself out there. I will be writing everyday in hopes of improving my skills and maybe catching the interest of some of you out in blog world. I will also be researching more on the publishing process and updating you, blog world, on what I find.

Now, because I don't want to leave you hanging, and becuase I don't want to introduce TOO much to you on this very first day, I will leave you with one last thing, the back cover story to my novel.

“See. Speak. Hear.
KNOW EVIL.”

When Jade arrives at Sunny View Estates, it is clear that her mission will be far harder than she had first perceived. The small community—one of the last societies on earth—is full of rules and restrictions, so constraining that it is a wonder how any of the people have survived. Their minds and bodies have been severely altered with the intention of preventing the independence that could lead one to start another nuclear war.
Getting into the community is an ordeal, but with the help of Peter and Brigid Lawrence, the only two subjects on which the brainwashing had failed, the task becomes a bit easier. Jade takes refuge with the Lawrence family and eventually becomes a part of it, herself. By her mere presence as an outsider, Jade leads those she comes in contact with into a new way of thinking, an event that Peter later names “synesthesis.”
Those who join Jade’s rebellion are faced not only with the task of changing their society, but with facing the endless questions, answers, and unexplored emotions that Sunny View has taught them to ignore. If they do not act, the future of the world will be as dim and lifeless as the present.
The question is: can Jade and Peter make their mission the mission of the rest of the society? Is there something within each of us that causes us to fight back?
So, bloggers, that's all I've got for today. Thank you for providing such a lovely place for my first time. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me. ;-)