Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Trouble With Essays, Gaming Breakup, Miscellany from a Week

Yesterday, I struggled through about the thirtieth draft of my essay for the grant. The problem is that there is no possible way to write an essay about “how your work exhibits excellence in storytelling” without sounding like a pretentious gasbag. In this latest incarnation, I’m taking the earnest, heartfelt approach, and it still somehow manages to sound stilted and arrogant. But I’m not ready to admit defeat yet. I’ll be damned if some silly 350-word essay comes between me and 10,000 clams.

In gaming news, I finally broke up with "The Secret World" for good. My on-again, off-again affair with this game is like, totally over--for reals this time. There is so much about it that I love (conspiracy theories, elaborate storylines, the clothes), but it was frustratingly crash-prone, and most of the players are European, so none of my guild mates were ever around when I was on. So, we’re done. I wish it well, and I’ll always have the memories. I’m back to playing the latest incarnation of “Neverwinter”, which is like video game crack—scientifically designed to stimulate the reward centers of your brain in such a way that you stay up until one in the morning so you can invoke the goddess just one more time and get more shiny blue diamonds.

I met with a good friend of mine this week who read my novel and offered to copy-edit it! I’m really excited about this, since copy editing is not my thing and I’ve been dreading that part of the process. I’m also excited because she liked the book, and she’s someone whose opinion I respect immensely. My goal is to get the book in front of an agent before the end of the year, and that seems like a distant but real possibility now. If I can get this thing published, I’ll have achieved a major writing and life goal. It’s a dream I hang onto when it’s hard to keep soldiering on. In the meantime, I’ve been playing around with some flash-fiction pieces, and thinking about ideas for my next big project. I have a feeling it will involve my anachronistic cowboy.

I’m wrapping this up early because I am off to buy shoes. I bought shoes last week, but they didn’t work out. My problem is that I have both a low frustration tolerance and an irrational faith in the idea that shoes will “stretch”. After trying on nine pairs at Big 5 Sports last weekend, I finally gave in and settled on a pair which I knew in my heart were too tight. But I was tired of trying on shoes, so I just convinced myself that if I bought them, they would somehow magically transform into the right shoes, through the sheer power of being chosen, or something. Well, all they did was give me blisters and almost make me trip again, and avoiding tripping is the whole reason I bought them in the first place. So they are going to the Goodwill, and I'm going to try to be a grown up and sustain the patience needed to buy a decent pair of well-fitting shoes. Wish me luck!

 --Kristen McHenry


Frank Moraes said...

I've been editing the text of these things that are going to become infographics. And basically, I'm the editor because my editor is just pushing it all on me. The main thing is that I have to be nice because apparently, I'm ruthless and hurt feelings. What I've found is if I don't write down the really horrible stuff that I'm thinking, I can't get on with the job. So I just write all the horrible stuff and then I go back later and take it out. I'm say this with the thought that maybe if you embrace the pretentious gasbag, you can finesse it into something acceptable. Although I'm afraid that what they are having you do is by its nature impossible. They are asking you to write about yourself what other people should be writing about you.

I have no idea what this game is you are talking about. But I once had a two week romance (because I was house sitting) with the game Uninvited. I can't deal with games that require reflexes. But I just learned that there is a plugin for my blogging software to allow users to play asteroids, which sounds very cool.

Good luck with the novel. Maybe you can make part of your grant proposal work for part of your book proposal. But otherwise, I'm terrible at that kind of stuff. And since I am a man, I don't understand anything about shoes. Except that my sister gave me a really great pair of black tennis shoes. That is the second set of shoes people have given to me. I am hoping to get through the rest of my life never having purchased another pair of shoes!

Kristen McHenry said...

Oh, I haven't heard of "Uninvited", but it sounds intriguing. I'm always on the lookout for a good game.

You're right; it's kind of an impossible task to write an essay about how great you are as writer. I have no doubt that there are plenty of writers out with enough swagger and confidence to pull this off, regardless of talent, but most of us are cringing, timid, insecure types who abhor talking about ourselves.

I don't understand anything about shoes, either, which is why I am in this predicament. I have exactly three pairs--no, four. Sandals that are 16 years old now, a pair of brown shoes and a pair of black shoes for work, and the bad tennis shoes I bought for my two-mile walk from downtown to my job. I just need a good pair of runners for walking on concrete for four miles a day. Not too much to ask, I would think. :(