Saturday, September 29, 2012

Christian and Alex

Don't give off too much personal information on the internet is a rule that deserves to be broken right now. He went to my school.

The plan was not to make a post about this. I feel like in the wake of Christian's disappearance, everyone at the school has been struggling not to turn this around into their own tragedy. Making a blog entry about it would just be disrespectful, for I didn't know Christian that well and people go missing every day. Yet it feels like I should document it. Should write it all down from the way I saw it.

On Monday morning, as I got off the bus, I stole a glance at one of the girls who sat towards the very front. Her phone was open to a news page with the picture of a boy or man (I couldn't see) against a blue background. I figured she was reading about a fugitive or something.

In the front of the school there were vans moving around. Channel something something news.

In the cafeteria, my classmates told me of the news. It still hadn't sunk in, and I just rolled my eyes at their idiotic comments about Pandora's Box and shit happens and everything's possible. I feel like telling them he's a human being in a terrible situation, not some stand in for their pathetic philosophical musings, but I'm not really angry. I'm annoyed because it's just another piece of information floating around. Ren and I have to worry about AP Environmental.

In first period my teacher is missing. He went up state to be in the search parties. They're looking for him. At this stage, I hear about the attacker. Pedro Bravo is being questioned, but he's made threats against his own life. No charges.

I'm getting all these little pieces of information throughout the day. There's a debate meeting right after school, but the teacher needs to go to a presentation. They're going to talk about Christian.

On the wall of last year's graduates, people are pining post it notes underneath his frame that say, "come back safe." As the days pass, the picture is overcrowded with notes. Every time I pass by, I try to scan the wall for Pedro's picture. I can't tell if it never was there or if they took it down.

Tuesday and Wednesday we hear more about the crime. No blood at the scene, but Pedro bought a shovel and duct tape a day or so prior to the disappearance  He's being charged with denying medical attention to Chris. I wonder why "attempted manslaughter" is not mentioned, but I don't understand the law system enough to make good judgement.

Twitter is exploding. #helpfindchris. Every two seconds there's a new tweet. At school there's a Jean Day (pay $2 to come in jeans), bake sales, concert, and candlelit ceremony either to honor Chris or to raise money. My mom gives me a check of $30 for the Aguilar family. They need money to send search parties up there. It's bad, the area is large and dangerous, there's crocodiles, and they're only allowed to search with police up to 5 p.m. 

Chris's father breaks down crying on television, but he's not going to give up. He says his son is still alive.

On Thursday and Friday my first period teacher makes us write letters to the family and the police and mayor. I write a long letter to the family, but I can't decide if it's right or not. I tell them that though I've never met them, I know that they love their son, and they always will, no matter what happens. And I'm certain Chris knows that too.

Friday, midday, I haven't done the required reading for AP English Language. After I squeeze it in while stuffing lettuce in my face the whole 30 minutes we have of lunch, I come back to class. My teacher has posted up a letter our principle sent. We crowd around the projector to read it, but I just want to scan it. Is there news about him? Did they find him? No. It's almost a page long, but it's pretty standard. Our principle is proud of those who are searching, but nothing's been found. I turn away pretty quickly. My teacher is silent for some time. She asks everyone about his brother, Alex. They talk about him, but I barely listen for I'm certain I've never met him. Then she says when he comes back to class, we shouldn't crowd around him, we shouldn't ask him questions. We need to be the class that helps him. I turn to ask a girl who sits behind me if Alex is really in our class. She doesn't seem fazed by the question, even though she nods and says, "Yes, he sits right there," and points at the empty desk not far from me--two seats over, on the row beside me. And then I remember. I know who Alex is.

Friday night I'm reading tweets again and my eyes are blurring out important words. I keep reading "body has been found," and I have to force myself to see it correctly. There's still hope. Why are my eyes rejecting it? Some girl, probably from my school, says God has a plan and always had a plan for Chris. I want to punch something.

Pedro is being charged with his murder, the tweets say. I wonder how exactly the death penalty works in Florida. My extent of knowledge about it only revolves around serial killers.

Right now, in the Starbucks I'm sitting in because my mom needed to come in for work with her classmates, there's pictures of him in the bulletin board. Missing from Gainesville, Florida, Christian Aguilar, #Helpfindchris.

Whenever I close my eyes, I start to imagine Christian, his present and his past, and maybe hints of his imminent future. I imagine the woods. Imagine stumbling around, going somewhere, completely disoriented. I imagine the fight with Pedro and the hour leading up to that moment. But I also imagine last year, his prom, his friends, everyday interactions with his teachers. Getting accepted to the University of Florida, and how happy he must have felt.

And ever since Friday I've started to imagine Alex too. I don't try to visualize his past, just his present. Hearing the news. Going up north. Searching every day. Has he lost hope yet? Will he read the letters we wrote? And I imagine his future a lot more clearly than Christian's. Going to school after the fact. Catching up with Dual Enrollment work. Feeling all the eyes around him. Will he be distant? Angry? I think he had a girlfriend, so, is he going to be able to speak to her? What will she say to him? I think he's going to know what we're all thinking. Or maybe he just won't give a fuck and the thought of others will never enter his mind.

I'll never approach him, we don't know each other at all, but now I can't stop thinking about the two of them.

I want them to be okay.
~Becky

P.S: I realize this post is all over the place. I just don't know how else to write about it all.
Also, I guess if anyone read this, here's a link to donate.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oh man...

Yesterday I played Heavy Rain then finished editing the thing at like 8 p.m, then went to watch Chronicle with my family. Then when I went to bed, I still had sentences running through my head, like, "Damn! I should have changed that!"

I just double checked, and only about half the things I was thinking about in bed are actually in the manuscript. Oh-hoh, how odd.

Also, right now, I just checked back to some of the things I was ranting about when I posted about the college applications thing.

New to add though, because I want to say this: I actually trying to get really healthy. Eat better, do exercise, sleep a lotttt more. I want to live till I'm at least 100, but with good health and stuff. Maybe even be a supercentenarian! 8D (yeah, yeah, how impossible).

I've just been kind of lamenting the shortness of human lifespans. Like so much happened between this time and five hundred years ago, and all those poor people of the 1500s didn't get to see it. I would love to be immortal and 100 years is the closest I'm gonna get to that. I know so many people are against living long or being immortal. Just like, oddly, if given the chance to go to Mars for ten years and then come back, people wouldn't do it. Why not? Why not leave this planet--do the thing no one has managed to do--and see another one! Chart the constellations from Mars, scale Mount Olympus, I bet I could even read science fiction books from there under a red sky, and at nighttime! Two moons and there's no way there's light pollution there, so it'd be perfect.

I mean, granted, I'd be totally worthless to NASA or any other space program if they wasted thousands of dollars to send me there because I'm not an awesome scientist, but this is just an impossible little dream. Like being immortal!

I suppose the reason people would be against both those things is loved ones. "No, I don't want to be immortal because everyone you love will die." or "No, I wouldn't go to Mars because it'd be boring and I'd miss my family/friends in those 10 years."

Pfffft. Those are just little pests in the grand scale of things.

Or I don't know. Maybe I'd answer differently if I was, like, a mom or something.

Oh man, getting off topic...erm...okay, yesterday, I managed to cut at least 90 something words from the excerpt. Now, I shall continue writing the rest of the novella and hopefully get through with Antigone's short story.

Away I go!
~Becky

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nervous or Panic?

Turns out the deadline for YoungArts is just barely within a month, and though I really wanted to finish Enkindled With Chains before picking out the best twenty pages, I am writing this little novella way too slowly. Checking the file, I've been on this project since May 22, and I've only gotten to 24k words. How slow am I?!

I think I'll be able to pop out another 20k (or even just 10k, depending how long the rest turns out to be) by the Alliance of Young Artists and Writers' deadline. But for now, I do think I'm gonna need a good couple of weeks to edit. Plus, in October I'll have the ACT and college applications to worry about, added with all my college classes, so it might be better I do the slightly more manageable thing that is editing.

Or at least it should be and yet it might not be so BECAUSE IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY.

Why do I keep using words like explode when very few things are exploding!?

Why do I keep pointing out that my characters are walking/stalking/flying/leaping forwards/towards/etc?!

Why, for the love of Batman, are my action scenes sucking so much?!

How is it that Dream is doing all these stuff WHILE GETTING HORRIBLY INJURED and then forgetting about it?! Woman YOU HAD A BRUISE THE SIZE OF MY GOVERNMENT TEXTBOOK ON YOUR CHEST, STOP PRESSING YOUR DOLL AGAINST IT!!!!!!

And the line I want to cut off the twenty pages has a few problems:

  1. I can't tell if it's too confusing. Is it clear that as soon as she lands on the ground and shields Muñequita, Kangjŏn shields her? She sees the blue scales surrounding her but...argh, my wording.
  2. The starting point I have for the twenty pages--which is already confusing enough--makes that last paragraph that I want to include in the excerpt breach into 21 pages. I know I should edit, but when I edit and rewrite I do so with MORE words. Gha!

Also, why is the word orange so ugly?! I wanted my second dragon to be named Ilaria and be an Italian dragon colored orange but...that bloody word. It throws off my whole diction! >.< It's like looking at a crowd of business men and women, properly dressed and calm, and then one random bloody clown, right smack in the middle of everything, doing backflips and laughing at you because there's no way to replace him. SCREW YOU CLOWN. I LIKE GREEN JUST AS MUCH.

^As you can see, I'm suffering from major editorial panic. And this is probably Level 1 Editorial Panic. It's certainly no "CUT DOWN 30,000 WORDS FROM YOUR NOVEL AND WE'LL GET BACK TO YOU!"
Dx

Well if I can struggle through it, I'm sending the twenty pages excerpt and under-200-word summary to a test audience and see how they respond. I'm mostly nervous about what my friend Silvia will say since my book has some major no-nos.

I mean, as much as I love Enkindled, even I can tell color coding, stupid descriptive character names, and the standard Alice's Adventures in Wonderland story line is more than overdone. If Silvia can't find good in the excerpt to think my writing makes up for the cliches, then...yeh, I'm not gonna have a chance in YoungArts.

On some lighter news, though, I've decided to start a new science fiction short story! (Or well...I mean, after I'm done editing). The concept is really simple, but I think this could be fun, even if it doesn't go anywhere. Here's a basic hint of what it's about:

Antigone: 31 years old, computer programmer, born in a moon (not specified).
Hamlet: 40 years old, molecular physicist, born in Mars.
Cyrano: 2 years old, artificial intelligence, developed by Antigone and Hamlet, likes chess and origami (when moved to a platform with fingers, that is).

Those two top ones are usernames, by the way, not their real names...
Man, I have got to stop doing this.
~Becky

P.S: I just realized...do I give off too much information over the internet? Yesterday my blogger was full of alarmed posts about the attack on literary agent Pam van Hylckama Vlieg. Since then, she said in an interview she's going to try to be more careful about posting information online, and though she's fine, it's making me really paranoid for all of us >.< Especially after what happened to Laci Green.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Feeling Better

Alright, turns out finally managing to write my way in and out the dragon battle lifted up my spirits. I've figured out some things. One, I'm running for historian/secretary of the Debate Team and joining the National Honors Society. Two, I'll also start volunteering at the Writing Center and local nonprofit organizations. All this should go on my college application.
Then hopefully I get into a university where I can major in Creative Writing/English (general) and minor in Film Studies (or film production).

WOO~

Also, I talked to this guy I know yesterday, and he kept trying to convince me that my way of viewing life and death is a bit selfish. Because...I...really, I didn't get it. I'm going to try to speak to him again about it, because I sincerely have no idea why he thinks my belief that life is fragile is selfish. He gave me a reason, but I can't remember what it was. I'm trying to beat my brain until it confesses and gives me the information, but it won't. I swear he had a reason for thinking it was selfish. It's so contradictory to what I've always believed that I think I accidentally threw it away from my memory banks since it sounded so irrelevant. And stupid. I mean, I'm the one who thinks that it's important to give sources and opportunities to less fortunate people so they can actually live good lives since THIS IS ALL THEY HAVE. If someone miserable dies and we did not help them be freed of the pain, there's a lot to grieve there, because that someone only had one shot at happiness.

Now granted, the other thing we briefly discussed was the death of loved ones. When Neil Armstrong died, I broke down crying for a good few hours, simply because he's gone. He doesn't get to see human expansion across the solar system, or at least to Mars, he doesn't get to ever know if we find life outside this planet--there's so much he won't see because his existence is no more.

When I spoke to this guy about it, he got really defensive. Yesterday he was asking me what I would do if a child of mine died, or if I were to die and leave children behind, and if so, I would really wish for them to imagine my existence and self was gone forever. I realize a lot of people who lose loved ones and are religious can find comfort in believing there is something more than this, and that those people are not gone forever. I'm glad they believe in something that lessens the pain of losing someone, but that doesn't mean I agree with it. Life doesn't have to be just, and not everything has a silver lining. Losing a child would probably wreck me to pieces, but I can't imagine there being anything that could make it immediately better, let alone something I believe to be an imaginary scenario. I realize it's human nature to always try to find hope in the darkest of moments, but sometimes pain is there and it needs to be felt and things will only become better through a long and horrifyingly painful road.

And why would I chose a set of beliefs just because they're comforting when there's no evidence that they are in any way truthful?
~Becky

P.S: Also this -
http://youtu.be/P9wKVjWKHdo
I love what he said about his "film school."

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Plan

  • Finish Enkindled With Chains
    • Send to contests and stuff
    • Plan possible sequel/prequel/spin-off, where the antagonist of EwC is the lead protagonist of new story.
  • Write Spin-off
    • Different genre?
    • Characters
      • Rhyme and Reason - dealer
      • Legion - demon
      • Storm - demon
      • Uh...possible fallen angel...wait, nope. Gotta plan Archangel better.
    • Different feeling.
  • Rewrite The Night Kingdom and/or the pirate story.
  • Slowly apply to UF, USF, FSU, UNF, UCF, University of Iowa*, University of New York*, and FIU.
    • Get rejected out of all because...
      • I never joined any clubs till...this year.
      • My grades have been dropping from As and Bs to all Bs and two I don't want to name
      • My GPA is bleh, in the B pile.
      • Therefore, my weighted GPA is also bleh, probably at four point something rather than the 5.0 I used to have.
      • My SAT is horrible--or at least, my math one is. Or at least, NOT GOOD ENOUGH to outshine everything else.
      • My ACT will surely suck
      • All my teachers hate me/don't care for me/know and think I'm lazy, therefore I'll get crap recommendation letters.
      • I only have one good thing to my name: the silver key award from The Gift.
        • Bitches, it wasn't even Gold key.
  • Not sleep well for the rest of the year. Die when I'm fifty.
  • Never finish the stories, go to FIU because no one else wants me but at least I'm good enough for that one, get a job teaching, curl up and cry.
Balls.
~Becky

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When A Guy Can't Take A Hint

C: Saw you in that dress, you looked cute.

Me: I think I gave my dad my phone and he accidentally read that text message ._.

C: Hmmmm.......

Context: I wore an orange dress to the senior meeting tonight. Actually, I'm always wearing dresses with boots. How is it a surprise anymore?

Right now: watching Obama at the democratic convention. Trying to form coherent opinion, and not be mindlessly drawn to the strong words and charming speech, but the republican convention just burned me up so much, and this one pumps me up like mad. I'm so easy to influence.

Further updates later. Or...hopefully.
~Becky

P.S: Hannibal demands I make it clear he made this post possible.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Goddammit, you guys...

I'm a comma splicer.

GHAAAAAAAAA

News:
  • I sent Our Silent Legacy (a short story I wrote after the passing of Ray Bradbury) to the magazine Cicada...and afterwards I found they had a specific way to format the manuscript.
    • In short: I'm dead.
      • I didn't even use the correct font.
      • TIMES NEW ROMAN!!! HOW COULD I FORGETTTT?!?!?
  • I'm right at the dragon battle for Enkindle With Chains. I've been looking forward to this for months now, and I wanted it to be one of the twenty pages that I was going to send to YoungArts. Needless to say...it's not turning out that epic.
    • Curses! If I was a better writer it'd be almost as good as it is in my head >.<
  • Writing a short science fiction story on Redemption's Nikki and Vlad. Tis about their childhood and days as training soldiers.
    • The voice feels...off. I'm (sadly) writing in first person because Nicole doesn't have a name yet for a good first half of the short story. In fact, when I have unnamed narrators, the first person is the easiest to write, as the narrator of Our Silent Legacy is also unnamed. It's easier, but I dun like it. I can never get the narrative to sound unique to the character's voice! So I don't like how her voice sounds like it. And I need to write more descriptions.
    • Dun even know what to name it Dx
    • I feel like it's too...vague. Like...am I writing correctly from the perspective of a nine-ten and thirteen-twelve year old? Am I writing correctly from the eyes of a girl who grew up in a military base, trained and disciplined since she was a toddler? Is the background descriptive enough? Is it so vague Nikki is an unreliable narrator?
    • Needless to say, I really need to fix it. But this one's also for a magazine, so I can get past the 3,000 word count to 5,000.

Oh, I guess I'm also currently watching the Democratic convention. But no comment yet, gotta finish it all.
~Becky
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.