Tag Archives: Musings

Longing for the Good Old Days

Recently I’ve been talking with someone about Star Catcher and it’s been great getting to hear the thoughts that have gone through their head while reading the story.  I love hearing what people have to say about my stories, how they view the characters, if they like them or hate them, are drawn in by one aspect or another of the story.  But lately it’s gotten me thinking about how I wrote Star Catcher, the style that I used, the wording, the description, the emotion, everything.  Thinking back on when I first wrote the story during NaNoWriMo, I remember pounding out as many words as possible to meet the count for that day and nothing else, but I when I go back and read the story, the level of immersion that I feel with the characters, with the universe, boggles my mind.

Over the last year or so I’ve been working on two more novel length stories that follow after Star Catcher and as I think about how I’m writing them, the wording that I’m using, the description, the emotion that I’m trying to convey in them, it feels forced.  The characters have changed and it feels as if they are only partly there, like I’m missing some aspect of them that I somehow included in Star Catcher but seem to have lost in the preceding time between the stories.

I guess in that time between stories, I’ve changed as well.  I find myself rarely thinking about the universe Star Catcher is set in.  Granted there have been times that I have had spurts of inspiration to write and post some random scene from that universe to here, but even in those, they don’t feel the same as Star Catcher does when I reread it.  So, what’s missing?  Is it the forced creativity brought forth in the rush of NaNoWriMo?  The innocence of a freshman college student?  The lack of stress during those days?  The new-found freedom of being on my own?

I also find myself reading less and less these days.  I have not had the drive to search out or pick up a new book to read.  I attribute this mostly to financial and college stresses.  There were days when I would give anything to stay lost in a bookstore for hours on end and spend my wallet dry.  I find the same thing happening with video games.  My list of unfinished games is growing and though I have some initial elation from getting new games I barely make time to pick them up, instead turning to mindless internet surfing to fill my down-time.  Granted, Minecraft has been an addiction that has helped to fill my time as well and I enjoy playing with family and friends, but even that has suffered from this lack of drive that I seem to have acquired.

I would like to attribute this all to the stresses of college and working to obtain an engineering degree, but I feel there’s more to it.  I have lost habits that I have had in the past and have developed new ones to replace them that I feel are less productive in some sense of the word.  While anime has sufficed to provide me with the level of story immersion that I recall experiencing from books, I do long to return to my paper-bound roots, as it were.

While my thoughts these days reside with financial, career, and future choices, as well as food and house-hold chores, in my late night introspective musings, as I write this, I find myself considering all the changes that have happened in my life to bring me to this point in my writing.  I started this blog as a way to promote myself, Star Catcher, and any future writing.  I have long since fallen off with updating it regularly, much to my own disappointment and possibly that of others.  Since going a second year in the dorms, obtaining roommates, and having lived in two different apartment arrangements, I feel I have lost that sense of freedom that I once had when I first was left to my own devices at college.

Now, I know I’ve rambled completely off topic I’m sure from my original intent for this post, but let me come full circle.  Rereading sections of Star Catcher, Jayko’s character, while reserved and not without troubles, is happy and care-free.  While I tried to capture some of that in the second story, I find he is less of the character he was, without depth and missing that extra energy.  The setting of the story doesn’t help this in any way I suppose as I decided to start crumbling his world around him, but even with that, he should still be able to achieve that depth of character.  I feel this is worse in the third story, where I have thrown him into the military war-machine in an attempt to mold him into the future character that I had set up so long ago.  But I feel he’s losing that happy, care-free side of himself in all of this and that part of him needs to survive if I want to keep that depth for him.  And truth be told, I’m probably describing my thoughts on this in the most side-ways way possible and this could all be attributed to random, delusional, late-night, caffeine-induced, introspective musings.

But, and I stress that ‘but’… I have gained several things that I know I need to do:

  1. I need to pick up a book again.  Maybe a past book, one that I loved, get myself back into the series, reread it to bring back the enjoyment that I once felt when I first cracked it open.
  2. I need to reread Star Catcher.  I need to get that feeling of the original story back in my brain.  Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up on my old writing style and merge it back into my current stories, improve upon it, etc.
  3. Revisit character bios and get a feel for who my characters are again.  I’ve lost touch with them, that much I can feel.  I need to do more character spotlights and develop them, build upon old bios and flesh them out to get a feel of who they are in the current stories while retaining certain aspects from past stories.
  4. I need to write.  Doesn’t matter what, I just need to start writing again.  Not bi-monthly, not bi-weekly.  I need to do some sort of writing at least every other day to pick up the pieces of my shattered creativity.  (We’ll see how well I stick to this one.  It is something I need to do however.)

I guess as the days march along I will find out if I will stick to any of these goals or if they are just random, delusional, late-night, caffeine-induced, introspective musings that won’t amount to more than another blog post.  Here’s that I will.




Filed under Characters, Uncategorized, Writing

Introspective Musings About Life, Engineering, and Writing

I know I say this almost every post that’s not a short story post or another scene for Black-Heart, but boy it’s been a while since I’ve actually put anything on here.  And as you probably guessed it from the title, this post is going to be a little philosophical.  Just a bit.  There will be stuff about writing too, hopefully.  Don’t worry.

You know how in high school how the advisers and teachers and everyone else is asking what we want do or be when we grow up?  How they start pushing all us young students to choose a career path and decide who we are and want to be?  I remember it.  And call me a late bloomer, I’m still thinking about it.  But, I have a feeling we all are still asking ourselves that deep down.

For most they push those questions of careers and future onto us around senior year of high school.  Currently, it’s my senior year of college, so I’ve already made my decision in that regard.  I thought I knew what I wanted to do.  And I remember saying, “I’m going to go into Aerospace Engineering so I can go to space!”  Then things changed.  I missed the deadline for applying to University of Washington and instead got accepted to Oregon State University and University of Nevada, Reno.  Both good engineering colleges, but not for Aerospace.

Ok, so maybe Mechanical Engineering is where I would want to start.  It provides a good base for me to head into Aerospace.  Sounds good to me, I’ll start with Mechanical, get a Bachelors, and then head up to UW to get a Masters in Aerospace.  Good, I have a plan for the future.

Well, through the ups and downs of college.  The hard work, long nights and repeated struggle to keep my GPA above water, mindset’s change and with them goals.  Which keeps bringing me back to the question of what I want to be when I grow up.

It’s difficult to keep your goals and the reasons you started off with in sight when faced with repeated challenges that can seem rather daunting.  I wanted to design and build spaceships.  I wanted to be able to sit down at the drawing board and pull from my experience and knowledge the design for a ship that would best the space shuttle and bring the future of space travel into the now.  That was my reason for starting into Mechanical and wanting to head for Aerospace.

Reality hits hard however and a decent dose of it can open eyes and turn heads.  I learned that we’ve hit a bit of a wall with space travel.  Monetary wise and technology wise.  NASA no longer gets the funding it needs to put some of it’s far reaching ideas to work, and the technology to get us out there hasn’t changed in a while.  We’ve optimized it down to the best of our current knowledge.  Granted, SpaceX and the rest of the private industry are working their magic to take the next step and figure out how to go above and beyond what we currently have.

Where does that leave me however?  Sitting at the library studying my ass off in hopes I don’t fail my next test completely.  And it’s the fact that I’ve been doing that for several years now that’s gotten me thinking:  Am I cut out for Engineering?  I’ve made it this far, so why not?  Am I going to ever get to go to space, to experience the worlds that I write about?  Probably not in this lifetime– unless I want to become an astronaut and be a part of the crew on the International Space Station.  Granted, that would be cool, but I want to go farther.  But then, if I do want to go into Aerospace and try to get with a company like SpaceX, do I have the drive and dedication to stick it out for several more years to get my Masters?  Even then will I still be able to get in with SpaceX?  Do I even want to go to Grad School?  What would I research if I did?  Am I even interested in a specific area of Mechanical, or Aerospace Engineering to even want to get that in-depth with it?

That seems to be the one thing that’s been plaguing me the most.  Am I interested enough in my chosen major or even specific aspects of that major that I want to work with it the rest of my life?  So far I’ve encountered many things in engineering that have been “neat” and “cool” and “interesting”, but I haven’t found anything that stands out enough to me where I could say, “This is the coolest thing ever!  I want to learn everything I can about this one thing and I would be happy doing this for the rest of my life!”  And that troubles me.  I look at everyone else around me and the majority of them have something that they want to do in engineering, some goal that they are working toward.

And this brings me full circle:  What is my goal?  What do I want to do with my life, with my degree?  Well, I know the reason I got into engineering in the first place: to head up into space.  Maybe that’s all well and good, but what’s the core of that want?

Let’s refine it a little bit:  Ever since I can remember I’ve been obsessed (I guess you could call it that maybe) with science fiction, mainly the space opera genre.  I love seeing the amazing star-ship concepts that people come up with to traverse the vast darkness of space and all the little technical details of those ships.

Ok, that’s a start.  Let’s refine it some more:  Well, I want to see those ships and everything that makes them work become a reality.

Good.  Superb.  That’s a helluva good reason to get into engineering.  And that takes into account more than just Aerospace, right?

Sure, let’s follow that train of thought for a moment and make it a slightly more general statement, something to build off of:  The reason I’m working to become a Mechanical Engineer is to see science fiction become a reality.

Let’s get building then.

When I see others’ goals in engineering, I feel they’re more geared toward the industry.  “We’re going to revolutionize it and make it better, faster, more efficient with this component or gizmo.”  This seems to be the driving statement behind everything in engineering.

That’s cool.  But I’m not sold, completely.  How about this?  Let’s take this ridiculous, fantasmical concept that everyone thinks is fantasy and make it a reality.  Screw optimization, lets get our hands dirty.  Trial and error!  Let’s build something from science fiction!

Now that I can get behind.  Maybe that statement was there at the beginning when I started out in Engineering, but as the end of college nears, it’s all “specialize in this”, “learn how to do that”, “you’ll need it in the industry.”  What if sitting behind a desk isn’t what I want?  What if the reason I’m learning all this stuff isn’t to go out and be “successful” in life?  Frankly I could care less about being successful in the industry.  As long as I can build myself a ship that will traverse the stars, I could be the poorest man on the Earth and still be happy when I woke up every day.

Next question:  How I am I going to go about achieving that?

Well, back to square one, I guess.  At least I’ve determined a goal I can get behind.  Maybe this is why I like writing so much.  I get to create all this fantasmical tech and then put it into a universe where I can play with it.

I guess as long as I can write and keep making up crazy ideas for technology that I would like to see happen, I would be alright with living a mild-mannered life as long as I have someone to share it with, and a decent pay rate to keep myself elbow deep in my random hobbies and entertainment.

Well, that makes for an uplifting and slightly depressing blog post.  At least, for me that is.  Even being back at square one, I guess it helps that I can start somewhere with a better idea of what I want.

And the tl;dr version:  Bit of an existential crisis.  I’m a writer trying to be an engineer and an engineer trying to be a writer and it’s not doing me any favors with the choices that I’ve made.


Filed under Uncategorized