Raven's Pen

Writing, Reading, and Ruminating

Month: October 2016

Pre-NaNo Panic

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What do you mean? There is still a little bit of time… well, there was, that time is going to be gone awfully fast.

The blink of an eye; a swish of a wand; the amount of time it takes to learn to make a good bread.

All right, maybe not that last one.

It’s time to panic my friends. At least, in my tiny sliver of the world.

Luckily, panic is something that we have in abundance. But let’s not get over excited. Unprepared is still slightly prepared in some ways. Right? I sure hope so.

To actually be prepared, I am going to follow the tried and true method of slowly drawing my attention closer and closer to NaNo… Actually, that sounds kind of creepy.

Let’s start with a NaNoWriMo survival kit:

  • My computer, Yuily
  • A notebook
  • Flashdrives/backup
  • Microsoft Word
  • Earbuds
  • Empty flashcards– for notes and character information.
  • Pens and at least one pencil
  • Music (Pandora and 8tracks)
  • Writing rock
  • Lots and lots of determination
  • The ability to chase after motivation
  • Magic

Non-essential, but definitively helpful:

  • Random prompt box
  • Fuzzy socks and generally comfortable clothing
  • Tea, hot chocolate, and, occasionally, coffee
  • Internet (for research and– you know what– procrastination)
  • Furry friends of four legs
  • Other humans in the family to commiserate with

Things that would be beneficial, but probably won’t exist before NaNo:

  • A temporary book cover
  • A plot

I think my list gets bigger every year. (An illusion, my friends. An illusion.) Truly, only a few things are key.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, what is in your survival kit?

Passion is What Holds Us Up

Gentlepoeples, a good morning and welcome to the show. I may have spent *some* time procrastinating by looking up forms of address. It could technically be research. Kinda. Every character needs a good greeting.


Time to get to a topic, eh folks?

We live our lives, however they may be, by each day– it is easy to wonder where our our sides of the world are turning. There is a great philosophy joke in Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein’s Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar:

“A seeker has heard that the wisest guru in all of India lives atop India’s highest mountain. So the seeker treks over hill and Delhi until he reaches the fabled mountain. It’s incredibly steep, and more than once he slips and falls. By the time he reaches the top, he is full of cuts and bruises, but there is the guru, sitting cross-legged in front of his cave.

“”O, wise guru,” the seeker says, “I have come to you to ask what the secret of life is.”

“”Ah, yes, the secret of life,” the guru says, “The secret of life is a teacup.”

“”A teacup? I came all the way up here to find the meaning of life, and you tell me that it’s a teacup!”

“”The guru shrugs, “So maybe it isn’t a teacup.””

The meaning of such a joke could be construed in a thousand ways, of course, but I think one is this: no one knows the meaning of life; and, therefore, a meaning must be created.

If the meaning of life must be created: it seems that passion should be a part of it-  as a source of pleasure as well as usefulness. In a previous post, I mentioned passion in conjunction with living the way that you want to live, and I would like to keep that as an underlying theme.

There seems to be a secret sort of pressure in the world– at least, in certain places among certain people– that says that everyone should be the same. The truth is the no one is the same, we are all individual people with our own beliefs and life experiences. Someone who is good at math is not necessarily a good painter, and a painter is not necessarily a good mathematician. We each have our strengths and our weaknesses; and, I think, we need to acknowledge them.

This is where passion comes in: while what someone is passionate about is not necessarily something that they are good at, it is usually something that they are willing to work for. As my dad says, ‘talent can only take you so far.’ You have to work for what you want, and you have to work passionately.

Passion can foster so much; it is, to look at things is a slightly narrow prospective, a immense driving force in the world. Just think about the invention of cars or electricity. Sure, someone might have said ‘we really need some sort of illuminating system that doesn’t rely on candles,’ but I think that it is more realistic to wonder if electricity was created because someone was passionate. They probably didn’t even know that they were creating something that would spread across the world and usher in a modernity that could not exist without it; at least, not until they took a step back and wondered what the newfangled thing that they had created could be used for.

We would not have the works of Picasso, Stephan King, Galileo, Plato, Pina Bausch, Tamara Pierce– well… you get the point.

Sure, we can work without passion; we can create things without passion, but determination is needed and what is a better conveyor of determination than passion? As well, things that are created with passion are often so much more beautiful than something created out of rote determination. Both are good of course, but… surely, passion is something that we look for.

Without passion, life would be dry.

So… how do we find passion? In my still-not-20-years-old opinion, I think finding passion is a matter of trial and error. Look around yourself and try a few things out.

Let me tell a bit of a story: I have always wanted to write stories, but the idea of writing anything longer than a page seemed crazy for many, many years; it was an ‘eventually.’ You know, the eventually where you’re not entirely serious but want to think you are. I had no idea that I would be completely swallowed by writing, I had no idea that I would have a passion for it– no matter how terrible my first drafts are. Now, I don’t just want to write, I need to write.

Enough about me though; I think the gist of this post is this: everyone has a passion for something, you just have to find it. So go out and do just that, try something for awhile (long enough to truly know if you like it or hate it– jump into the pool, don’t just stick one toe in and say ‘oh, it’s too deep.’).

And once you have found it: work. Follow your passion to the ends of the earth with fanatic determination. It might not be easy, but you just have to go for it.

Don’t give up, and, most importantly, do not let fear lock you into place.

So, my friends, a question offered to you: what do you think is the most important part of passion?

I will gladly read your responses if you wish to share!

Until next time…

Welcome to October!

Happy Autumn everyone!

Are you pulling out the sweaters (or light jackets if you live in the desert? Has the hot chocolate, cappuccino, and soup bug bitten you yet? A sudden wish to make chocolate-chip cookies? How about one-month-away-from-NaNoWriMo-panic? All of them jumped onto my desk a few days ago, and they are still refusing to move.

All right, in traditional beginning of the month fashion, a quote has been released from the closet:

“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.” ~ Ray Bradbury

I hope to see all of you around!

‘Till next time!

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