2. Post the words/topics in your journal and write about them.
blueheronz gave me these five words: Festivals, Dreams, Writing, Literature, Original Characters
Festivals. The other F-word. It's such a fun-sounding word, but many events that are called festivals really aren't that much fun for someone like me, because they're about watching stuff (film festivals, for example), and I don't have fun watching stuff -- I like to do stuff.
Fortunately, I discovered folk festivals, which are about doing stuff. Yeah, there are plenty of opportunities for sitting passively in the audience, if you are so inclined. But for me, the best festivals have plenty of opportunities to be active -- whether it's an impromptu campground jam, an organized sing, a dance or all of the above.
I remember my first folk festival -- Old Songs, 1988. I remember the rush I got walking past a workshop stage and hearing Laurie Lewis and her band singing "Hard Times Come Again No More," and the audience *singing along.* Yep, even the sit-in-the-audience stuff involved doing stuff! It felt like coming home to find that my favorite music was happening in such an atmosphere.
I knew exactly two people in the folk community at that point, but that festival led me into the larger community, which became my family.
My favorite festival is the GottaGetGon here in Saratoga County, New York. It's very small -- only four paid acts putting on a variety of concerts and workshops during the weekend, with plenty of opportunities for making our own music. I actually like the other event our local folk club puts on -- the Labor Day weekend "Last Gasp" -- better, but it's not a true festival, just a camping out and making-our-own-music weekend.
Dreams. Hmmm, do I focus on the waking or sleeping kind? At my age, I don't have many of the former -- they've either come true or I've given up on them. So, the latter: I have a recurring theme in many of my dreams. I'm staying in a big house with a bunch of other people. (There's often a festival involved.) I have a decent room, but there's always a nicer one right near mine that's vacant. I see no reason why I can't just move into that nicer room, but I never get there.
I think this says something about things that I truly want being just out of my reach. There's no reason why I can't have them, but something keeps me from getting them. Recent introspection says this may be the deep-seated feeling that I don't deserve the best, that I must settle. This is tied up with a lot of money-related things (I feel guilty about spending X amount on something that's absolutely, positively just what I want, when I could get something that adequately meets my needs for half of X amount), as well as self-esteem issues that I don't want to get into here, lest this post be 10 times as long as it is.
Writing. Writing is a huge part of who I am. I have always been better at expressing myself in writing than orally. It's much easier for me to post on Facebook or LJ that I'm having a bad day and need support than to approach a friend and tell them that. It's much easier to pour out my feelings for someone in a letter or e-mail than in person. And even though I was one of those teenagers who spent hours on the phone with my best friend, today I am somewhat phobic about picking up the phone (what if I'm catching them at a bad time?). I'd much rather e-mail.
I did my first creative writing in fourth grade -- poems. They were dreadful, but the fact that I had an ear for rhyme and scansion made me one helluva poet, for a 9-year-old. I wrote my first fan fiction in seventh or eighth grade -- "Gilligan's Island." Also dreadful. Good thing there wasn't an Internet to post them to back then.
Today much of my job involves writing, plus correcting other people's writing. It comes very easily to me, but has also become dull. There are only so many times you can summarize a TV show or movie cleverly, or delete the excessive commas or dashes from the prose of a writer who is overly fond of them.
I got into writing "House" fanfic about three years ago. It started when I wrote a fanfic that helped me purge some demons about a bad experience I'd been through. I put House -- someone I identify with on a variety of levels -- into that situation, and somehow, when I finished that fic -- horrid though it was -- my obsession with that bad experience, and the person who caused it, was gone. I went on to write a bunch of fanfics, and they have been for the most part well-received (I think I've gotten exactly *two* bad reviews), but part of me wishes I could do better. There are a ton of writers out there whose work makes mine look about on the level of those "Gilligan's Island" fics I wrote at 12.
Literature. I don't read as much as I used to. I blame the Internet. Whereas 20 years ago I might spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon with a book, these days I spend it online. And I'm still reading, but it isn't "literature."
But I do still read, and my tastes are very eclectic. I haven't read a true "literary" novel since "The Shipping News." For fiction, I tend to return to old favorites. Edna Ferber is a favorite, because of her starry-eyed young women who live hard lives and become beautiful, strong older women. "Anne of Green Gables" I will never get tired of. I have read a ton of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels and want to read more, but they aren't in the library, and new books haven't been in my budget lately.
I tend to read a lot of nonfiction. I love social commentary -- both humorous and serious -- and true crime tales. I just finished "Asperger's From the Inside Out" by Michael John Carley, and it blew me away on a variety of levels.
Original Characters. I've gotten praise for the original characters I've inserted into my "House" fics. I tend to base them on people I know. For example, Dr. Malinowski in "When to Run" was based on a retired professor friend of mine who had recently died. The Unitarian minister in that story was based on a folk singer I know who studied at Union Theological Seminary (although she's not Unitarian).
The obstacle I can't seem to cross is creating my own universe of original characters -- i.e., writing original fiction. I've tried, but I tend to overload my characters with a lot of my own baggage, and it's hard to dig an actual plot that I think people might want to read out of all that baggage. Plot bunnies hop into my brain much more easily if the characters already exist. And the OCs in that universe don't need back stories -- they're just bit players.
Pity, because something tells me I *could* write good original fiction, and even make money at it, if I could get past that.
Thanks for the meme, blueheronz. This was fun.