Tag Archives: Personal

Kat’s Misadventures: Kitty Crisis

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I would like to start off this post with a little apology. I decided to take a week (I guess technically two weeks) off from blogging to adjust to life back at home. I thought I was going to be struggling to find a job, but I ended up finding one my first day back at home. So for the past few weeks, my life has consisted of cleaning through my stuff, working the closing shift at a restaurant/cafe, and playing video games. I also began a writing project, and I’m very proud of myself for powering through this first draft. I’m really enjoying myself.

Apologies aside, now I need to overcome my own laziness and make sure I blog at least once a week. Summer seems to kill my productivity for some reason. My next Japanese adventure is coming up soon, so I’ll be getting a ton of new material as I prepare for it. But before I get there, I wanted to write an anecdote related to how it feels to have finally graduated from undergrad.

I think the pinnacle of my “adulting career” was Thanksgiving break of my junior year. One of my professors had asked me to cat-sit for a few days while he and his wife visited children and grandchild. I thought to myself, “If I can babysit, I can cat-sit.” All I needed to do was feed the cat twice a day, let her outside to do her business, and collect the mail. My reward was a healthy stipend, full use of my professor’s beautiful kitchen, and a private place to stay and work on my homework over the break. For a college student not going home for Thanksgiving for the first time, it sounded like a great deal.

After a single night there, I had successfully kept the ancient tabby alive, cooked myself curry and rice, and watched an entire season of one of my Netflix shows. Yes, I thought. This is adult life at its finest. I’m sooo good at this. My years of babysitting experience had taught me a few important rules, the most important of which is this: Don’t watch Batman vs. Dracula by yourself. You will force yourself to believe that vampires are coming to get you.

However, despite my expertise, Fate wouldn’t allow me a few short days of peace.

I didn’t leave my comfortable guest room the afternoon of my second day of cat sitting. I began the strenuous task of mentally preparing to begin an essay about the role of bushido in samurai culture. I watched anime and occasionally thought about my essay. Around 7:00 PM, I decided I was rather hungry, so I climbed upstairs to feed the kitty as well as myself. That’s when I noticed that the door to the music room was open. Huh? I thought. Now that’s peculiar. So I went to close it, but that wasn’t the only door that was open.

The door leading to the garage was open as well. …and so was the garage.

Like any level-headed adult, I calmly proceeded to select a knife from the kitchen, grab the cat, and lock myself in the basement while sobbing like a baby. Oddly enough, I was more worried about a thief than a murderer at this point; I couldn’t afford to replace anything!! After calling every person I knew in my tiny college town, I finally sobbed my last will and testament to a friend over the phone. She convinced me to do a walk through in the house, purple knife in hand, and shut all of the doors that were open. (Why didn’t I do that in the first place?) However at this point, I noticed that several of the lights in the house were now on…and I didn’t remember turning them on…so I locked myself in the basement again and contemplated calling the police.

An hour passed. I still wasn’t dead. But I still hadn’t let the cat out for the evening. Finally, the ancient cat’s whining won me over, and I let her outside…

…for a few seconds before I started to freak out because you know as well as I know that that shadow I saw moving out of the corner of my eye was actually a serial killer rapist vampire human trafficker/catnapper. I grabbed that cat and ran to the basement yet again.

Finally, the youth director from a church I had visited a few times called me back and told me that he would send the ex-choir director of said church to come and check up on me. Fifteen minutes later, an elderly man hobbled up the front steps of the porch to see me, still sobbing but no longer holding my knife. He walked through the house, watched me let the cat outside to do her business, and gave me the pep-talk of the century. Now, I’m fairly certain that most of that pep-talk was sarcastically sympathetic.

I slept with my purple knife underneath my pillow that night and didn’t write a single word of my paper until two days before it was due.

It was at that point in my life that I decided I would never live alone. Ever. Now you’re probably thinking, “That’s a fun story, but what’s the point? How does this relate to graduating?” I’m getting there, dear reader. Hold your horses. A year and a half later, I’m still known as the girl that fabricated a ghost murderer thief. In fact, I see that ex-choir director at least once a year, and every time, he comes up, places a hand on my shoulder, and smiles at me and then he turns to the person I’m talking to and says something along the lines of, “Let me tell you what this girl did Thanksgiving weekend two years ago…”

But looking back, that year I had overcome a lot. I was working close to 20 or 30 hours a week to help pay off my own schooling. I had a ton of leadership positions in many of my groups on campus. I was taking some of my hardest classes ever (I’m looking at you Critical Theory and Advanced Comp!!!!), and I was surviving in them. On top of all that, I had managed to finish acting in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream…and if there are any theatre kids out there, you know that theatre consumes your life. I learned a couple of arias from Handel’s Messiah. I lived 14 hours away from my family.

I bet you that everyone in town talks about how incapable I am at cat-sitting (in fact, I was not invited back…probably for obvious reasons). But being an adult isn’t about having your life together or always knowing how to handle a situation. It isn’t about graduating or not graduating. It isn’t about having a family or staying single and traveling the world. Frankly, I still don’t know what it’s about. I’m technically an adult in the eyes of the law. I sob in my choir professor’s office because Benjamin Britten stresses me out. I consume my weight in cookie dough ice cream every week. I work hard from 8AM to 12:00AM so I can reward myself with two hours of video games, and six hours of sleep. I do just about anything for a free meal. Sometimes, I’m in a hurry, so I use my purse as a to-go container for sweet potato fries.

But I’m also a planner. I spend hours thinking of routes for travel and making packing lists. I run errands to the grocery store and bank. I cook dinner for my family or sometimes for my friends. I earn my own money. I take care of my cats. I go on adventures. I stay home and read.

But no matter what I do, I grow. I’m not the same frightened child watching Batman vs. Dracula and sobbing into a couch cushion. I’m not the same paranoid teen skulking through a professor’s house with a knife. I’m not even the same person I was yesterday, and yesterday, I wasn’t anything particularly grand. I was just a tired cashier-in-training who screwed up at least two orders.

Graduating doesn’t change what kind of person I am. It helps me grow little by little. I’m not where I want to be in life yet. Things like my “kitty crisis” (look at me name dropping the title) keep me grounded and remind me that I’ve come a long way, and I still have a long way to go.

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Z is for Zilver

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

This is my very last post for this challenge, and I must say…I’M BEYOND RELIEVED. Well…first, I’m proud of myself. I kept up with this challenge. I never posted something late, and I came up with a lot of nice ideas. (I’m going to have a busy summer, and I think I’m going to have plenty of personal projects to keep me busy.) I hope I inspired a few others as well. After I finish finals, I’m going to have time to go through and actually look at blogs besides my own. (To be honest, I’m sick of looking at my own words!) I may try to post more than once a week now, but we’ll see. I have a lot of adventures ahead of me.

Warning: this post will contain a lot of pictures.

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(2011)

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Zilver. Yes Zilver. I had wanted her name to be Silver, but one day my finger slipped and mixed up a few letters, and Zilver stuck. It was different and interesting to say the least. She started out as everything I wanted to be. She was loud and brave and interesting. She didn’t fight with her friends. She got to go on adventures. She was smart and talented…definitely not athletic, but I’m sure you get the picture. She had her flaws of course. She was helplessly clumsy. She was also very naive, and she still thought the world was a good place. Outside of her circle of friends, she had a difficult time connecting.

 

 

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Zilver and Finn, drawn by lilmissprine (2016)

She fell in love with a young knight named Finn. He thought she was genuine and real, and that made her feel really good about herself.

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Zilver and Jordahn, colored by lilmissprine (2012)

But for a little while, she was in love with a troll named Jordahn. Yes. Jordahn…there’s a little emphasis on the “ahn.” But that story never really got completed. It just sort of ended. Zilver ended up marrying Finn, and they had twins named Benji and Angela. (More fraternal twins!) And of course Zilver went on all sorts of adventures that were just lovely and great. She found her long-lost twin brother. She got captured by some bad people. She rescued a few friends.

Are you tired of this post yet? I am. Zilver is my greatest enemy, the monster I probably should I have never created. She started out as a way to express myself when I was a teenager. Things were unstable at home. I switched schools a lot. My internet life was really the only thing that kept me rooted, and roleplaying/writing was really the only way I could feel good about myself. I wanted to have an exciting, confident, endearingly lovable personality like Zilver. But I couldn’t. I tried time and time again to “be like Zilver.” Why could I be a confident person online but not in real life? So I wrote about her instead. At least I could pretend.

And you know what happened? I got sick of her. I tried to salvage her several times after about four years, to make her less…annoying, but I couldn’t do it. I never really had the will to use her much after I got out of high school, and do you know why that happened? I think I became a better person. I’m quite happy with who I am now. I’m awkward. I’m a little bit quirky. I go on adventures. Sure, there isn’t a boy, but does there need to be one? In a way, I surpassed every expectation I ever had for Zilver.

As a result, Zilver ended up becoming an embodiment of all the things I disliked about myself; I projected all of my self-esteem issues onto her. She moped around. She didn’t see her strength. She lost her humor and intelligence. Basically, she was a caricature of my inner-demons. So I stopped using her. There’s a part of me that wants to love her still. Zilver Hawk will always be my username for most forums. She’s part of my identity, but my original character just isn’t me anymore. And I’m happy with that.

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(2012)

I still use her in the occasional roleplay…usually for nostalgia’s sake. I hope someday I’ll be able to revisit her, but today is not that day. I suppose until then, she’ll just be a pleasant memory.

 

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Zilver, drawn by Astrid Johannson (my bff) (2009)

L is for Lance

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

I had a lot of L options, but I decided to work with Lance because he was a special character for me once upon a time; unfortunately, that love for a character is incredibly dangerous. He started off as a medieval fantasy version of my dad when I decided to write about the legendary mercenary-turned-priest, R.L. Hawk.

R.L. Hawk was a man of the world and the leader of a ruthless band of men known only as Lux. One day, he captured a young female knight, but he was so taken by her beauty that he thought twice about torturing and/or executing her. He ended up letting her go, and the two met in secret several times after that, and the rest is history! But not really. Despite how cliche the love story is, I somehow managed to weave in a plot involving cultists and betrayal. Lance and his sweetheart started a family, but they had to disband the group to escape all of the trouble that was brewing.

This was actually one of my favorite plots to play with for a time. But as I got older, it got more and more difficult to write for Lance.

You see, I recognized a fundamental flaw in creating characters based off of people I know. I’m not sure if other writers have this issue, but it has actually become a huge issue for me. I recently got to listen to author, Danny Woodrell speak about his experiences with drawing inspiration directly from real life. Real people are great, but they also complicate things. Thankfully, Woodrell has mastered the art of disguising his characters even though he lives in a tiny Ozark town.  (I don’t think any riots have broken out because his novels reveal a little too much about his next door neighbors. Thank goodness.)

As for Lance, the association with my father is super obvious, and no matter how much I’ve tried to mold him into something else, it never works. He somehow morphs back into my father no matter how hard I try. I realized that I have a tendency to demonize people when I shift into one of my foul moods. (It was even worse when I was a petty teenager.)Lance will probably be one of those characters I retire permanently simply because he’s part of my father’s story, and I think that it’s his story to tell. Not mine.

But then again, who knows? Does anyone have advice for creating characters like this?

K is for Kitrin

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

We’re going back. Way back. Forever back. To the beginning. A dark beginning. Thankfully it’s further back than my angsty early teenage years. (For now.)

I don’t remember how old I was when I started writing. If I had to hazard a guess…I’d say I was about 7 or 8. But I do remember what that first burst of inspiration was like. Believe it or not, I was at an Applebee’s with my family. Suddenly, I was struck with an arrow of brilliance, and BOOM. I jotted down the first few paragraphs of my first novel (that I would never finish) onto a napkin. Yes. Today, we’re going to talk about my very first original character, and I’m going to approach the topic a little bit differently.

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Kitrin Silverspelle. I’m not going to lie. She was basically a self-insert. I wasn’t even creative enough to give her a name too different from my own, but we all have to have our starting places, right? (Katheryn…Kitrin. Clearly I was trying to use my special brand of subtleties.) But I’ll cut myself some slack. I was a little girl, a pudgy little girl with boring, pin straight hair, thick glasses, and a clumsy, unathletic nature. I made good grades, but what did that matter to a small child? Kitrin was beautiful and powerful and everything I wanted to be and couldn’t be. Looking back, writing was a way to escape reality in my own little world where I could be an elven messenger cavorting with princes and knights.

I actually don’t remember much about Kitrin’s character. If I was a more motivated person, I’d read through the manuscript I have (but I just read 90 pages of All the Pretty Horses, so perhaps you’ll forgive me for being lazy). But I remember immersing myself in Kitrin’s world. She became my life. I was obsessed with every detail, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so thorough with my writing before. It’s ironic. I’ve grown up and managed to complicate things.

Is Kitrin a perfect character? No. She’s mostly a vague concept, but it might do me some good to return to her. My writing has been lacking the same passion that little Kat had when she was building worlds, writing languages, scribbling notes on the back of Applebee’s napkins…

Originally, I had another post drafted, but I found all of my old manuscripts and decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to display my brilliant concept art.

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A Personal Writing Update

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March was a pretty good month for writing. That isn’t really saying much considering the fact that I spend very little time writing for pleasure. I wanted to take the time to actually brag about myself for once in my life. I rarely do that, and I always feel a little bit better after I look at my successes instead of my failures.

I started a creative writing group on my campus. We’ve had three meetings so far, and I know that means very little to me since I’m a senior, and this is my last semester, but I’m hoping this lasts for a little while. At least right now, it means that I have an hour out of my week where I can write. That’s an hour more than before! Who knows? Maybe one of the people at my meetings will decide to continue it?

I’ve consistently received good grades on my poetry in my class. Right now, I think what I need is different feedback. Instead of hearing from only my professor, I think I’d benefit from hearing from a number of different opinions rather than just one. When we do group discussion, my peers often have vastly different opinions and hearing a variety critiques is great. I may look into finding more readers…quite possibly starting with my mom. (Lame. I know. But my mom is actually a GREAT resource. So I’m going to use her.)

I’ve kept up with my blog. Now that doesn’t mean much, but I took up the A to Z challenge, and so far I’ve kept up with it. I tend to fall behind, but so far I’ve kept up everything. I’m going to give myself a pat on the back.

Now…in addition to my bragging, I’ve been digging through some older stuff (from…quite possibly elementary school to junior high–I never throw anything away). It was humbling to see all my older work, but it was also horrifying. I suppose as a little bit of a silly post, I wanted to post some of my original work from when I was…eight or so. Maybe how dreadful some of it is might encourage a few of my #IWSG readers? Nevertheless, I’ve been enjoying every bit of it. Typos and all. It makes me happy to know that I’ve always loved to write.

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From “The Return of Arther” – Intotra (2003)
Once upon a time in the land of Excalaber lived a brother and sister. They were both about 11 years old. They looked so alike that they could be twins except for the birth mark on the girls neck that was in the shape of a heart. The girls name was Cara and the boys name was Mark. One day they were sleeping in their house when they woke up with a start for they had heard a loud scream from a dragon. Dragons were usually peaceful unless you messed with them. 

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From “Revolution” (2008)
“Master Vaughn!” muttered Derek after he finally managed to gather the nerves to speak. He bowed quickly and stood at attention. “I apologize, sir. I didn’t hear you come in.”

“I’ve been here for quite some time now.” The Master arose from his chair and set his glass down on the table. “You seem quite enammered with my niece.” 

Derek couldn’t reply. He swallowed hard. Beads of sweat began to form on his forehead and his hands began to shake.

His master strode slowly up to the fireplace and took the picture off of the mantle. His smile softened as he gazed at the young girl sitting on a bench in a garden surrounded by blossoming flowers. “It really is a lovely picture, don’t you agree, Mr. Splendor?”

Derek nodded. “Y-yes, Sir.”

His master ventured a question further. “You wish to court her, do you not?”

The young man didn’t reply. His eyes widened and his breath quickened. Once again, the rebellious strands of hair fell over his right eye.

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From “Rain and Fire: A Romantic Tragedy Part 1: Lovesick Villain Fugue” (2008)
Claves: He sounded cute. Could I meet him some time?
Ocarina: No you cannot!
Claves: Why not?
Ocarina: He’s kind of…well…(looks down)
Falsetto: Spit it out!
Ocarina: He’s our mortal enemy
Falsetto: (angrily) You’re in love with the enemy
Jazz: You didn’t know?
Falsetto: And you did?
Jazz: Yes. Where do you think Ocarina’s been getting her information.
Claves: So there’s no romance.
Ocarina: Actually………..(looks down again)

 

E is for Elektra

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It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.

Remember how I said that I was obsessed with mythological creatures? Well, this combines my terrible naming abilities and that obsession to create…a character that never got any love. I was fiddling with some characters to establish my world’s mythos, and Elektra was one of them. I have a decent sized profile written for her, but it basically just says, “She’s a djinn. She got captured and is stuck in a mortal form.”

Unlike Robin Williams’ lovable Genie, she was meant to be very dismissive of mortals. So I suppose there’s some sort of cruel irony in Elektra’s position–since she’s…you know trapped in a mortal form. However, I never went anywhere with her. I don’t believe I ever even wrote a little drabble with her. She’s completely unexplored material. I do think she would work out better as a historical figure in my world’s mythos than as an actual character.

Who knows? This process has already been fairly therapeutic.

But once again…naming… Whoops.

Home Sweet H-…where am I again?

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We’ve established that I have a terrible sense of direction, right? Right. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have this blog. Well…I might, but it would probably be named something entirely different, and I’m sure I would have run out of stories to talk about a long time ago. But for the first time in a long time, I’ve decided to talk about an actual “lost” story. Sit back and relax. Feel free to skim over the angsty quote from my poetry, but it seemed appropriate.

“I am terror, the dripping cold sweat down the back of your neck;
you imagine the worst, and you should. Can’t turn back. Not now. Ring
the doom-ridden device once more. I’m there. Still waiting for you
and your cumbersome smile that hides that unspeakable thing.”
-from “Home(less)” an original poem

A little known fact about myself: I didn’t get my driver’s license until the day I left for college. I had planned to get it earlier that week, but I erm…well failed that test which was deceptively easy. The driving instructor pitied my existence after I failed it the first time, so she let me retake it after a few days (even though I think I was supposed to wait a month), and I passed it the morning I left for college. My first road trip involved weaving through the construction outside of Little Rock and my father yelling at me, saying that driving under the speed limit was not acceptable. I lasted about an hour before I lost all feeling in my hands from gripping the steering wheel.

That was part of the reason I traveled home infrequently. I. Hated. Driving. My first semester away at college, I think I visited home a handful of times. I returned for holidays, of course, but I never wanted to drive back for the weekends. I wanted to hide in my room, sleep for 16 hours straight, and “catch up on homework.” (Note: I’m fairly certain I never caught up. I might still be behind.) But I remember traveling home for the first time, not very well, but the memory’s up there in my noggin. I wanted to go see my friends at a football game at my old high school.

My old high school terrified me at the time; actually, it still terrifies me. I returned there recently, and I was too scared to go to the bathroom because the little high school Kat in my head was saying, “Just hold it. You don’t wanna’ sign for detention. It’s not worth it.” (Note: If we wanted to use the restroom at my high school, we had to sign for detention.) But it was just a football game. My father drove me to that school five days a week for two years. I figured I could get there without much trouble. Eight minutes of driving. Right?

Wrong. I left with thirty “just in case” minutes to spare, and I was still half an hour late. I must have taken a wrong turn in Albuquerque or something, but I ended up in quite possibly the scariest neighborhood I had ever seen. As my car slid past a few beat up houses, people came out to stare at me. I finally turned into a gas station, activated my GPS, and let it do the navigating for me, but I’m still ashamed of that moment. How in the world could I get lost in my hometown, a place I had lived for a few years?

Maybe I’m unobservant (or selectively observant). Maybe I could blame my bad sense of direction. Maybe it’s because I was seeing my hometown through the eyes of a driver for the first time. Or maybe it’s not home.

My family doesn’t live there anymore, and I doubt we’ll ever return. I left behind a few good friends, but after I graduate from college, part of me doubts I’ll ever live in Arkansas again. (I’ll probably regret writing this statement sooner or later.) It’s weird how a home can feel as though it isn’t one. My dorm room (even though it changes every year) has almost always felt like a home to me.

It’s weird thinking that in a few months, I’ll technically be homeless. But here’s to hoping that I’ll find a new one, a better one.

Anyone else ever feel lost when you’re at home?