intertribal: (balance)
i.e. Heather Havrilesky, my favorite advice columnist working today (now that Ask Barf and Dear Sugar are ended):

"If you have a big, imaginative brain and you naturally think think think in circles anyway, obsession is like coming home to mama. Only mama is more like a vengeful, unforgiving god. Mama is the fucking Heat Miser."

And when you have two people like this...
intertribal: (fuck)
"Relationship questions on this site are littered with the bones of people who believed there was a way to decide how they were going to feel later."

"If someone had figured out a way to turn off unwanted romantic feelings at will they'd be a billionaire and you'd see it sold at pharmacies across the world."

"this is one of those questions where if you have to ask the answer is no."
intertribal: (meow)
New Year's Resolution #1: Get serious about writing.  It's put up or shut up time.  Those novels are not going to write themselves.

You may have been wondering what the hell I've been doing for the past two years (aside from getting a Master's degree and working almost full-time). Well, I've been mulling.  I've been outlining.  I've been making playlists.  I've been reading (not enough).  And now, I am absolutely ready to make a serious go at a novel.  But I'm at a crossroads: where do I start?

Option #1: Novel 1 out of 3 of my "American fascism" trilogy.  Set in a contemporary city in a slightly-alternative, highly-corrupt and "materialistic" America, it's more in the vein of Lewis's It Can't Happen Here than Roth's The Plot Against America.  One of my main characters, in law enforcement, is a "winner" in the current social landscape; the other one, a journalist, is struggling.  A new religious movement, and a new political party, sweeps the nation with the promise of transformative, transcendental change.  Now I love this story.  I love the messy, desperate, self-deceiving characters.  I kind of live and breathe them, actually - I stay up late tinkering with the outline, writing random scenes.  I've spent so much time planning this story, and am so excited about this story, that I could probably write it fairly quickly.  This is, hands-down, the option with the most momentum and passion behind it.  But: it's pretty political, obviously.  No John Galt speeches, and hopefully it's not a polemic - it's way more focused on characters' inner lives than the grit of political issues - but it's political.  It might piss people off.  And I worry that a potentially "controversial" book isn't the right choice for a debut.

Option #2: A stand-alone story about young Americans studying and working abroad in a fictionalized Indonesia.  The overarching theme is self-discovery: discovering what truly matters to you, what you'd be willing to do to get it, and who you really are.  The other theme is the interaction between the (naturally) self-absorbed post-grads and the politics of the foreign country that's hosting them, which is experiencing Sukarno-style turbulence.  So we've got a few overlapping stories: an ambitious scholar falls in love with the girl of his dreams, but she's heading toward a psychotic break; a rich kid with poor grades finds his calling with the military general who knows his father; one dude turns into a prophet and starts his own (very small) religion.  Now I "know" far less about Option #2 than Option #1.  I know the contours of the plot and the way each character develops, but I haven't spent as much time processing it.  I just came up with the title today.  I don't know the characters as well, and except for the girl on the verge of a psychotic break who becomes convinced she's possessed by the mask she's studying... I'm not as enthusiastic about this story.  On the other hand, I feel like it would make more "sense" to start here - it's a stand-alone, I too just finished grad school, I don't think it would be at all controversial.

Both of these stories are concerned with the way the personal snake wraps around the political axis (or sometimes, vice versa) - it's by far my favorite thing to write about.  Both flirt with horror (psychic powers in Option #1, evil spirits in Option #2), though that's not the main focus of either.  But they otherwise feel very different.

If I had my way, I'd keep going full-speed ahead on Option #1.  But I worry that that's not the strategic choice, right now.

Thoughts?
intertribal: (everything i do i do it big)
... and still living like a 4 dollar vic.



It's been a day of near-misses, travel-wise (almost missed my train back from Bandung to Jakarta, because I left my phone at my "Tante Marjie"'s house... then, thought that I was leaving Jakarta for Bangkok/L.A. Tuesday afternoon, when really I am leaving tomorrow afternoon).  Natnari "Whan" Sihawong is officially my patron saint of travel, for forcing me to realize the correct date. Also, I can now pack a suitcase at record speed.

But: I have come to realize, just in time, that things could be a lot worse, in all aspects of my life.  So, that's a pretty good thing to realize for one's birthday, right?  And I declare that this coming year of my life will be tahun vivere pericoloso.  The year of living dangerously, as Sukarno says.  ~Ambiguities Galore~  And in the meantime...

arrgh

Aug. 16th, 2011 08:12 pm
intertribal: (black tambourine)
So the lovely room I was going to take right by the school is now not going to be available until October because Roommate I'm Replacing is being a slowpoke lazybum.  Which means I need a place to stay for the month of September.  Eff my Ell.  Oh well.  It's all good.

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