Holy crap, I’m doing NaNo again (and I did a guest blog!)

The NaNoWriMo crest…which makes me think of writing as a viking-esque pursuit.

If you’ve been following my exploits for many years now, you’ll know that when I first started this blog, I did this crazy thing called NaNoWriMo (it started like this and ended like this). The main thing I learned from it is that it’s a really amazing experience, where you just have to write. It’s not about the editing, or even the cohesion of the story – or even finishing a story. It’s about getting 50,000 words on the page (or screen) and doing it in 30 days. This may sound redundant or pedantic, or some other long-ish word that my tired brain is pulling out of a hat, but that’s really what it is. It completely took over my life, and that’s when I was in school specifically to write creatively. My life is different now. Now I am a PhD student who has academic and critical things to write. Some of these things are due very soon. But I’ve realized that my passion is all-things fiction, both in analyzing it and writing it. I’ve really missed writing it. And what’s amazing is that I’ve looked back at some of the stuff I’ve written and I’ve liked it. This is completely bizarre and jarring, but very uplifting and inspiring. It makes me feel like this time, that this NaNo will maybe be more than just a word count and a bragging tool. This time, I will produce something that I will continue to work on after November, that I will edit and polish and finish. That I will actually write a novel.

Look, it's me as a viking! This picture is proof that I can write like a viking and conquer NaNoWriMo.
Look, it’s me as a viking! This picture is proof that I can write like a viking and conquer NaNoWriMo.


Not enough coffee. Always the answer. Must to get more of the coffee stuff and to drink it lots and lots.

On a slightly different note, but really one that is just further proving my love of all things young-adult fiction-y, I wrote a guest blog post! In fact, I am going to be a contributor on said blog, where I will write even more posts! It’s this great children’s literature site called The Book Wars and it’s written by some other awesome academic people who also happen to study children’s literature. What a crazy random happenstance! My first post was about Tamora Pierce and essentially how everything she’s written is bad-ass and feminist and is full of life lessons. You can check it out here if you are so inclined.

Some of the glorious publications from the magical Tamora Pierce.

Well okay kids, as you can see, I have a lot of writing in my future. For example, I need to go write another 517 words to reach my 1,667 daily word count goal. Don’t worry – I’m sure to use this blog as a sounding board and procrastination tool. And let’s not forget shameless promoter of myself! But really, aren’t you all glad that I’m using wordpress and writing a blog like this, as opposed to writing a livejournal? Oh, the sappy and emo posts I used to make…Moral of the story: be glad and dance in the streets that I am no longer an angst-ridden teenager. I make a much better and less-public-sadness-inflicting angst-ridden grown-up.

Season seven of Buffy vs. season seven of Gilmore Girls

I am currently writing my PhD thesis outline. Naturally, this means it’s time to crack open the figurative book that is this blog. It’s like doing a warmup before a big sports game. At least, that’s what I assume one does before playing sports. It’s been so long since I put on a jersey (or team-themed t-shirt), maybe the protocol has changed. In any case, this is not procrastination. Nope, nope, nope. Warming up my fingers.

In the vein of not-procrastination, I definitely did not recently re-watch ALL of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wrote fiction and researched stuff and other productive, smart sounding things. C’mon – I had just turned in my MPhil thesis and had lots of stress to relieve! And if you’re going to delve into the land of vampires, Buffy  is totes the way to go. Joss Whedon is my hero – PLUS, it’s got some rocking feminist characters, which is a huge part of my PhD. So it was sort of research. Yay!

Now, I love Buffy. Even season six, which many people will say is only worth it for the musical episode. (Which, if you somehow haven’t seen, go watch now.) I can get past the depressing fast-food job, largely because of the Spike-boinking. But oh man. Season seven. I can’t even. Before I re-watched it, all I could really remember was Nathan Fillion as creepy preacher guy. Because I clearly blocked the rest of it out, since it. Is. So. So. Bad. It’s all speechifying by Buffy, with “some of us aren’t going to survive” and “doom doom gloom” and “don’t kill Spike” and “why don’t any of you like me?” and “did I mention the impending death that will inevitably happen to some, if not most of us?” Joss Whedon was clearly off doing other things, because there is NO WAY he would have let the writing get so terrible unless he had stopped watching the show altogether.

When I finally slogged to the end of season seven (I won’t even get into how pointless and terribly done Anya’s death was), I needed something to fill the void. I mean, besides all the PhD-ing I was planning. (Give me a break – term only just started.) Magically, all of Gilmore Girls came to Netflix!

Like with Buffy, I couldn’t really remember the seventh season. Something about Rory living in a terrible apartment and Lorelei and Luke not being together…but that was it. So, for some reason, I started GG at the end. Maybe some masochistic part of me wanted to get the worst out of the way in the beginning, so I wouldn’t have a bitter, dreams-dashed, burnt-coffee aftertaste at the end. But then something amazing happened.

Season seven of Gilmore Girls isn’t that bad!

Again, this could just be because I haven’t seen all of the good episodes first, but I remember thinking that the writing this season was horrendous. But compared to Buffy? It’s like watching Shakespeare! Well, it’s like watching a modern retelling of Shakespeare that I really enjoy, like 10 Things I Hate About You or She’s the Man (when you’re a camp counsellor to a bunch of 8 year-old girls, She’s the Man becomes one of the better cinematic offerings, believe me). Yes, some of the stuff that happens is kind of dumb (who marries someone two months after breaking off a previous engagement?) and some of the writing is kind of cliche (I keep waiting for Paris to say something that isn’t a rant about having been ousted as Yale’s newspaper editor, or about how she’s clawing her way up the corporate/journalistic ladder), but at least each episode is different. The plot changes, the characters have different goals, and the minor characters have big, life-changing stuff happen to them! It’s not a constant influx of new characters stepping all over the old and beloved characters’ screen time(blergh, I hated the potentials), AND it’s not the same “I hope we don’t die, so let’s take all of the humour out of this show, which is part of what made it awesome to begin with.” GG has the funny and the drama. It has led me to conclude that…

…season seven of Gilmore Girls kicks the ass of season seven of Buffy. 

While you ruminate on that, I return to the glamorous world of thesis outlining. I feel very warmed up.

I never feel more like a Floridian than when…

I never feel more like a Floridian than when I’m not here. I find myself defending my state, and being proud of all of the weird crap that happens here. And believe you me, there is a LOT of weird stuff that occurs in this phallic-shaped state of mine. Don’t take my word for it? Here are just a couple articles Buzzfeed has written about us: The 40 Most Insane Things That Happened in Florida in 2012 and 52 Examples Why Florida Is Still the Craziest State. I could spend a lot of time telling you about my parents’ antics (dancing in public, general shennanigans) but I don’t have the time. Here’s a quiz you can take to see if you’re from Florida (to be fair, I answered no to all of these questions, but maybe that’s because I was born in California). And while I could go on and on about how there are about a bajillion alligators that live here, I’d actually like to draw your attention to some other of our megafauna: AFRICAN LAND SNAILS. As in, SNAILS AS BIG AS RATS THAT CAN EAT THROUGH WALLS. LOOK AT THESE SUCKERS:


Ridiculous, right? Thanks to Buzzfeed for this other great picture (and the article about them in general):

A snail the size of Florida…

Right? Pretty ridiculous. BUT, my point is, I kind of love my bizarre state. I don’t spend a lot of time here anymore, and haven’t lived here full time in about seven years. The longer I’m away from it the more I forget the terrible heat and the even worse humidity. Disney World becomes a place of joy and laughter, where dreams really do come true, as opposed to that terribly overpriced place where all you really do is stand in line and sweat out buckets and buckets. At least you get rid of some of your body’s toxins? The only perfume here is sunscreen and it is completely permissible to go to a fancy restaurant wearing flip flops. (I’m sitting in a café right now and literally everyone is wearing some type of sandal. To be fair, I’m about 300 feet from the beach.) It’s one of the only places where people spend more time inside when it’s a sunny day, because if you don’t stay in the air conditioning you will immediately die of heatstroke. Cold for us is 60F and you’ll find people wearing long pants and sweaters because they can’t take it. And there are poisonous spiders and snakes, fire ants, crab grass, crabs, RAT SNAILS, and the ubiquitous gator. All the land is really either swamp or beach, and it is completely acceptable for large large people to wear hardly any clothing. It is a dangerous, dangerous place. I’m so glad I’m home.

Halfway to Half of a Century: Katy Day Day

OH MAN! IT IS KATY DAY DAY! And no, you did not read that incorrectly. It’s a bonus for having the last name day–every birthday becomes your day…day….you know what I mean.

For people who know me, they know I have weird issues with birthdays. I had a vague Peter Pan syndrome for a while, and have both looked forward to and dreaded birthdays since I turned 18. Some part of me must’ve thought that I had to grow up. Clearly that is not the case. Because even though I found my first gray hair last week, I am far FAR from being an adult. In most ways. In that I love my narwhal stuffed animal but pay my rent on-time. See? And, for the first time in 8 years, I’m genuinely happy to have had a birthday. My office celebrated with champagne, I got delicious Pinkberry frozen yogurt with some friends, and I go to Scotland tomorrow! But know what the best part is about birthdays??

EATING CAKE WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY!!! And my mom sent secret cake to me from my absolute favorite (favourite?) London bakery, Gail’s. I think their box sums it up:

IMAG0443   IMAG0444

Papercuts and Crosswords

Well oh man it’s 2013 and my blog didn’t even know it. Hey there, new year. Figured I should get one post in the books for January, so here I come screeching, in under the wire, tail ablaze. So much has happened I’m not even going to go into it.

I LIED. I am going to go into it. But FIRST, the thing that weighs most heavily on my mind–my propensity to acquire papercuts without my knowledge is growing wildly. Just now, I felt a twinge in my index finger, looked down, and there it was. A papercut. Now one of these on its own would not be so odd–I work in a literary agency where one of my main jobs is to read the slush pile (and oh the tales I could tell you…and might later, once I’m done working there) and thus I’m around paper a lot. A lot of emails, too, but you don’t get so many electronic cuts.* But in the past four days I have counted THREE papercuts, two of which are on the same index finger. And what’s the most worrying about that (besides my obvious clumsiness and/or unconscious literary masochist tendencies) is that I haven’t even noticed cutting myself. Usually a papercut is a sharp, noticeable thing. You get one and immediately have to suck on it, hoping you haven’t eaten anything citrusy recently. But not so me. Am I sleeping through my days? Deaf to my pain sensors? Or am I so in love with paper that I’m willing to forgive any little fault, even one that breaks the skin? You see: worrisome.

Also cause for concern is my recent obsession with crosswords. I’ve subscribed to the New York Times crossword section, which gives me unlimited access to the whole of their crossword archive. When I was home for Christmas, there were days when I was getting through five, six, eleven of these things a day. The sweet Florida sunshine beckoned and I said no, go away, vitamin D, for I am stuck on “Having only the foreleg showing, as a beast in heraldry” and “quark/antiquark pairs.” I’m starting to think in grid patterns and try to come up with pithy clues for everyday objects. For example, before I didn’t say “go away sun” but instead said “go away vitamin D.” I would not put it past Will Shortz to have a clue that simply read “Vitamin D” and the answer would be “sunlight.” Because he is a power-hungry man who will stop at nothing until I’m weeping under my desk, shouting “What’s a five-letter word for “heavyweight at the zoo, perhaps,”** and tearing out my “strands of growing epidermal.”

In real world news, I’m still in London and will be until the next season of Doctor Who starts. I don’t mean that as some kind of geeky protest–my visa expires on March 30th, which is also the day that the Doctor Who premier airs. But fear not, sweet Brits! For I shall return! I start studying at the University of Cambridge in the beginning of October, so will be back on these fair shores soon enough. In the interim, I am planning a plethora of precariousness. I was going to write adventure, but I do love me some alliteration. If all goes as it should, I shall be visiting Italy, Ireland, and roadtripping across the western US! AND MORE!*** I’m hoping on doing as many awesome things as possible and being the least stressed I can be before I start Cambridge, because that is some intimidating academia to face up to, guys.

Well, that wasn’t so hard. Hello, January! I’ll try to blog more often. We’ll see how that goes.


*What if, one day, we have holographs of emails that look like paper? Paper that you can hold? And then, potentially, get cut on it! But then I think it would be a lasercut instead of a papercut. They’d probably have to work those kinks out first, since ostensibly lasers can cut deeper than your average piece of A4.

**It’s hippo.

***I don’t actually know if it’ll be more.