Laughter and books make life a little easier

Things that should be published. Maybe.

Sooo… It’s still the third week of NaNoWriMo. My little colourful calendar there in the sidebar is starting to look increasingly like a game of Tetris and I’m still winning the word count. I haven’t been behind yet, except for the second day where I was technically a few hundred words behind when midnight came, but I continued writing beyond midnight and by the end of day 3 I was all caught up again. So, this is the week of the 30,000’s. And the great and scary thing at the moment? My week-threes haven’t turned up yet. You know how I said that other people suffer during week 2, they hit a block, etc., but that I suffer during week 3, because that is usually when I run out of steam? I did run out of steam a bit in week one. Well, actually I started low on steam, but now I’m pretty chilled chirpy. We’ll see what the rest of this week holds. I’m trying to study for English Lit and doing an assignment at the same time and it’s a bit stressful. I write English on Saturday (yes, Saturday, sometimes I hate my university) and I also have to hit 40,000 words that day. And the 3,000 word assignment is due next week. I just want to curl up on the couch and watch How to Train Your Dragon, but all of that will have to wait for December.

We’ll see. But that is not all that happened this week. I found a couple of things that are just yelling at me to hold on and keep writing and studying and creating. One of them was this tweet that appeared on my Twitter dashboard:

It came at the right time. I need to continue writing, even though the odds aren’t in my favour this week. Then…

Hank Green published this amazing video:

Go watch it, then come back here.

Okay, you back? Good. So, here, inspired by this video, is my story. I feel that this is something that I need to stop hiding. I need to stop pretending it isn’t true. So, here goes…

Yes, I admit it, I am terrified. Every time I create something, I am terrified to share it. It took me months to work up the courage to share some of my fandom-related graphics on Tumblr. I still don’t have the guts to share all of them. I am still scared every time I push the publish button on here. I still get nervous when checking new comments. Why? Because, you know, it is scary to reveal your heart like this on the internet. This blog, this is me, this is my heart and I am terrified that someone will laugh at it. Still, I feel that this is something that I have to do. I have to admit that I still have to fight against creating a mask for myself, that I can hide behind when blogging. I’ve told you before and I will say it again now with no more trepidations: I am painfully shy. I was extremely insecure. People made me this way. I was bullied at school. I was bullied from the first day that I started school. I was just 6 years old. By the time I was 12, I wanted to end my own life. A tad over-dramatic to put it that way, maybe, but I think it needs the impact. People broke me and left me for dead. I wanted to die, but in the end, I couldn’t do it. So, if I couldn’t die, I had to try and put myself together again, but I had hardly enough pieces left over to find me again. I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. My friends helped, of course. Heck, they probably saved my life. They introduced me to writing and accepted me for what I was: different, always different. I’ll never be normal. But you know what, I don’t want to be normal anymore! For ten years of my life, I wanted nothing more that to just be normal. Now, I fight against being normal, every single day. Three years at university has done wonders for letting me create me. It was a great environment. I became a creator of this world of my own (I really hoped you watched that video, or else this is going to sound really weird! :P) and I think I finally found most of my pieces to put me back together again. Not all of them, of course. I don’t think I will ever fully be healed. This insecurity, brought on by years of being ridiculed will probably remain forever. But… I can do something about it. Admitting that I’m terrified is a first step, but I also have to take the next step and share one my creations with the world. Before I can turn around, here is a chapter from my NaNo novel, after the break. If you’re not interested, feel free to move along, I will bear you no grudge! 😉 But please, if you read it, tell me what you honestly what you think of it. I can take it, really. I’m much stronger now. Hoping this will help break the fear…

~ A few notes before we start. Yes, the man has a very unfortunate name. I couldn’t decide what to call him, so eventually I just said, Okay, Elana, you’re calling him by the next name that pops into your head. Unfortunately it was this one (I’d been studying the classical Greek tragedies).

This chapter comes in at around 23,000 words. And I’m probably going to delete most of it when NaNo is over, which is why I’m happy with it on the internet. I like it, but it’s much too long and we need to get back to the action.

Context: the rebellion is just over and our Jazz has been elected the new ruler of the city of Orilon. She should be getting ready for her inauguration ceremony, but she’s still in her dressing gown. ~

The new day dawned crisp and bright. It was one of those mornings where the sky didn’t turn pink or yellow with the sunrise, but diamond. The entire sky was sparkling with sunlight reflected off the frost in the air. It lit up the city of Orilon where it crouched on its hilltop, turning it a welcoming chocolaty colour, instead of its usual brown.

Jazz woke up early, her head buzzing with thoughts and plans and anxieties. Eventually she got bored counting the mysterious specks of dirt on the ceiling and got up. Just as she was having breakfast in her kitchen with the sun casting pillars of light through the tiny window and onto her table, there was a knock at the door. Putting down her spoon, she went to open it. Sophocles was standing on the step with a sheaf of papers in his hand.

“It’s early,” said Jazz.

“I know. This is a very important day and it is necessary for me to be early to ensure that you are not late. I’m impressed. I came expecting that I would have to wake you up.”

“I’m not tired,” said Jazz and then immediately proved this to be a lie by yawning hugely. “Okay, I am. I just couldn’t sleep any more.”

“I never understood why you like to sleep so much,” said Sophocles, following her through the porch and into the kitchen.

“I like to sleep because I get tired, Soph,” said Jazz, sitting down to her porridge again. “That’s quite normal, you know.”

He shrugged. “If you say so. Now, to business. Do you have any questions this morning?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. How does dirt get onto the ceiling? How does it get there in the first place? Does it fly? And then, in the second place, how does it stay up there? Why doesn’t it fall down again? What about gravity? I have so many questions about this that I don’t even know where to start!”

Sophocles looked at her coldly. “I meant questions about serious matters, not these trivial things!”

“But this is important!” she mock protested. “I don’t regularly throw dirty stuff at my ceiling you know!” She saw his expression. “All right. All right. You could do with developing a sense of humour, Soph.”

“It’s Sophocles. And being serious was what has kept me safe all these years, not cracking jokes at very serious moments.”

“All right, I will be serious.”

“I hope so. Now, you have to be at Parliament at 11 o’ clock. The ceremony will be taking place at 12 o’ clock. Exactly on the noonhour, in fact.”

“What is the difference between 12 o’ clock and the noonhour?” There was a very threatening pause. “I’m just asking!”

“You have to take your vow of service to the city at exactly noon. We have timed your speech carefully and if you do not speak too slowly, you will reach the correct phrase at exactly the right moment. The noonhour makes things official, you see. This is what the people will expect and they will listen to and follow a leader who has taken the noon vows.” He handed her the sheaf of paper.

Jazz took it, riffling through the pages. “This is all just one speech?!”

“Certainly. There are many formalities that must be observed.”

She peered more closely at some of the pages. “Yes, I can see that this is very formal. It is basically a formal formality in its own right.”

“Is it something to do with a lack of sleep that has turned you into a poor wit?” Sophocles’s voice was colder than the frost on the cobbles outside.

“No, it’s just the relief of having the rebellion over that has restored me to my old personality where I don’t take things as seriously as rebellious Jazz did,” she said absent-mindedly. Because she was reading, she did not notice how Sophocles inflated like an angry bullfrog. “There are really very many sentences that start with ‘by the power vested in me’,” she continued. “Can’t we cut some of them?”

“No, all of them are necessary. They are necessary for tradition and to get the timing of the speech exactly right. You will begin reading this speech at exactly one quarter past eleven. Therefore, I suggest that you spend the hours until then learning as much of it as you can by heart.”

She looked at him disbelievingly, but this time it was Sophocles’s turn not to notice, because he had got up and was now looking out of the kitchen window at the alley beyond. “And what will you be wearing?” he asked without looking round.

“One of my dresses,” said Jazz.

“I’m glad to hear that you have the sense to forgo the trousers today. I hope it is black, to go with the traditional toga.”

“It is a dark dress and I already said I am not wearing that toga,” she said flatly.

“Yes, but it is essential.”

“Sophocles, I thought that I was elected as the ruler of this city, not you.”

Sophocles turned slowly, a terrible smile disfiguring his face. “So you were.” He bowed to her, slowly and without a trace of respect. “I wish you all the best, my lady,” he said, straightening up again. With that, he turned on his heel and left.

Jazz looked after him for a few moments, her face unreadable, before returning her attention to her porridge. As she ate, she riffled through the pages of the speech again. Now her face crinkled into an expression of distaste. “I’d much rather vow in my own words, in my own name, to protect and serve, than to use these words. But I suppose I must do it if tradition expects it of me,” she muttered. “Though, I wonder if perhaps I can add a few touches of my own to this…”

^^This means 


I’m almost too nervous to ask for thoughts…

I hope you all have a great week!

10 responses

  1. Omg, omg. I love How to Train Your Dragon…
    Normal is bad. Weird is good. I have the reputation of “weird” at school…
    I was bullied in first grade because I apparently “couldn’t-tie-my-own-hair” like the other girls…

    November 20, 2012 at 00:43

    • Aww, it’s so cute! 😀
      Oh my, yes! I was always mortally afraid that the other kids would find out that I couldn’t manage to tie my own hair! Haha! Now it sounds so silly! 😉

      November 20, 2012 at 23:05

  2. I was bullied at school too, and I am not afraid to admit there are some really stupid people at my workplace who love to bully others, and I am part of those ‘others.’ But, you know what? They’re just envious, insecure, and just plain losers. Just ignore them.

    November 20, 2012 at 06:45

    • Yeah, everyone said that to me back then as well. That is, when they took me seriously. Thing is, it is really hard to ignore the next person who comes to rub salt in your wounds when you are already psychologically broken and raw. I wouldn’t stand for it nowadays anymore, though!

      November 20, 2012 at 23:03

      • Good for you! I can’t stand it either, and it’s hard to ignore some really cruel remarks. Imagine that at your workplace, and it happens, it’s called mobbing.

        November 21, 2012 at 06:14

      • I don’t even want to imagine that this episode in my life might one day repeat in my workplace. People used to frame me for stuff I didn’t do. Or hide/break my homework or stationary. Or write love notes apparently from me and put them in other people’s bags. I don’t want to think what kind of stuff co-workers might get up to! 😮

        November 21, 2012 at 23:02

      • Once they tried to frame me but it did not work out for them and another one made fun of my clothes, but of course, she is just a jealous b___, because there is no way she can fit her refrigerator shape into my cute skirts!

        November 22, 2012 at 03:53

      • I always loved it when the framing backfired! Yeah, you’re right, a lot of the time it’s jealousy, or in my case, because my clothes didn’t conform to fashion. They should only have waited 10 years, my high-rise jeans are now finally fashionable again! 😉

        November 23, 2012 at 00:31

  3. elizabethweaver

    Great video & Bradbury quote. Thank you & keep writing.

    November 20, 2012 at 08:56

    • Ah, I’m so glad they came across my path so that I could share them with all of you! 🙂

      November 20, 2012 at 23:00

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