Hey everyone. So sorry for my absence. Time has kind of been warped since i got home!
I've been doing the low carb lifestyle and back on the wagon! Hooray! I was in Mexico for a week shooting a wedding and even lost a pound. Not bad huh? I will write more in detail next week but if u know any low carb secrets recipes or snacks i would gladly welcome them! Also-what restaurants have good low carb stuff? Help a sista out!
To catch up on Julie's story, click here.
I have a stack of notecards that sits on the bookcase in my bedroom of all of the things I hope for my book… dream agents, publishers, hearing from people that love my book…all the dream-things that dance around in my brain. I shuffle through them as often as I can remember to, hoping to imagine them/pray them into existence. I think the next time I do this whole writing business, I’ll create more notecards that have anything to do with the beginning of my journey. Imagining small habits and small things so I have more frequent stuff to celebrate would be wise.
On the other hand, we’re getting into the phase where some of these things might begin to come true. Namely, I need to start querying agents and getting my book out into the world.
Excuse me while I hyperventilate for a moment.
I’ve done as much world building as I can do for the moment—fascinating and fun, but time-consuming so I’m stopping here. As of a few days ago, I started the rewrite for the new beginning of the book and I’m already pleased. I’ve walked around this thing often enough that there’s a few things that don’t really work any more, so I’m starting in a different place and then melding it into my current draft.
I also dabbled with returning to third person, but missed Cygna’s voice too much. She’s also a lot stronger in this round simply because of the world building. It makes me excited to do book number two…I know so much more now and would love to do this again with some better planning.
Past all this, I’m feeling uprooted personally. I think it’s been making me dive towards my book, because it’s a constant. Maybe I’m a control freak but when stuff is hanging up in the air, I immerse myself in things that I control…and there’s nothing you control more than an entire world you create. Ha!
There’s an image that I try to hold in my mind as I rewrite my draft… a candle. Cygna is my candle. I have to remember that she’s a tiny little light, and I can only see what she illuminates. (Even inside an overwhelming world and culture(s). It’s more effective to have it playing in the background then to force it into the foreground. That just says “look at all the research I did!”) I also think about all the physical things she would illuminate just by being around—it’s funny because she has bioluminescent bacteria in her skin which makes her actually illuminate things. It helps me keep my scale small and focused on her.
Lexie sent me something similar to this, but I found a free version called EditMinion
with a little poking. It’s an editor. Now, admittedly, it’s little ridiculous to think freeware can replace human eyes for judging what’s needed in a story, but it catches my dummy habits like ending things with prepositions, because I am from Chicago and that’s just how we talk. Also, it nails me every time I’m using passive voice. (I ran my first draft of this blog through it, and there were seven instances of passive voice. OMGeez.) I’ve been running everything I write through this thing to train my own ability to see this stuff, and it’s working. Yay!
So. Game plan is to finish the first section, and then…send out five query letters to five agents that I think would be good fits for what’s I’m trying to do. And then repeat until I get some bites. Query letters take some work because you have to be, you know, interested
in what types of work an agent is passionate about representing. I mean, you’re looking for a partner, not just someone to shill your book around so it’s wise to do your homework.
So, I’m off and running. Wish me luck!
So, this week has been the most whacked out week to date in my SpireSpire journey. It involved taking some risks that I was less than comfortable with, jumping through several hoops, and lots of...Spanish?
So the past two weeks (because I missed a week) have been ridiculously stressful. I was more and more aware of the fact that I had wasted a massive chunk of time on Fluenz, because Fluenz was teaching me very Americanized, businessman essentials of French. And by massive I mean like, what, 5 months? Ouch. My textbook has been increasingly more helpful, but I came to the realization that I do not have the time I need to learn the material to pass a CLEP test in French. At all. Where did that put me? It put me with this scenario: Having to take French 1 in the Fall semester, taking French 2 in the Spring semester, and not starting UF's linguistics program until Fall of 2012. My little efficient brain was not able to handle that. I was not about to basically sit around on my butt for an entire year just waiting to change schools. I got to the point where I had a mini-meltdown because I knew I couldn't do it, and I felt like a complete failure (cried on the phone to my Mom for probably about an hour). I already feel like halfway of a failure because I'm 24 years old and do not have a Bachelor's degree.. Granted, many things in my life have caused me to be kind of bumped off schedule, but postponing that goal for another entire year would have been the last straw. That's just the way my brain is wired, I suppose. I even told my Mom that if I had to wait an entire year to start at UF, I didn't think I even cared to finish my degree at all. I would just walk away with my little AA, and never look back.
My Mom's advice has been to instead continue in my studies in Spanish, since I took 4 years of it in high school and aced it beyond belief. She said to get an easy B.A. in English with a concentration in Spanish, because I already know a good chunk of it. While her words are wise, and a lot less than work than what I plan to do, it wasn't what I wanted to study. I really didn't want a degree in English, so I've balked at that idea. Then all of a sudden--the solution presented itself. CLEP out of Spanish, stupid. To get into the Linguistics program at UF, you have to have 2 consecutive semesters of the same language. NO ONE SAID IT HAD TO BE FRENCH. I've been up to my eyeballs in French studies for so long, I wasn't even able to see there was another option.
So, this morning, despite not having used ANY of my Spanish in the last 6 years, I went and took the Spanish CLEP test. AND PASSED IT. There's still some discrepency over whether I tested out of just Spanish 1, or both 1 and 2 (the grading scale is...confusing, to say the least, and differs from school to school), but either way, I'm on track to apply and start UF in the Spring (so long as I get accepted).
Holy crap, do I feel relieved.-----------------------------------To read more from Kaylynn about her journey in...well, linguistics...click here.
I need exercise. I need to shave off the excess fat and get back to physical awareness I had earlier this year.
I’ve been having a difficult time writing lately, which you would know if you’ve been following this blog closely. I start up, but it just doesn’t feel right. Part of me feels like I have nothing to say, but there’s always something to say. Part of me thinks I’m too busy, but I definitely am not. And part of me thinks I just can’t focus, which might be true; but something about weight loss that is true for writing in this case is that you actually need fat to trim down to the good stuff.
My friends have been making fun of me the past couple weeks because I feel like I have gained too much weight this summer. I’m still 6’2, 140 pounds, so I get that I’m not a big guy by any means, but I just feel like I should take a leaf out of Julie’s book and try to get to my optimum weight.
The same is true for writing. I need to get to my optimum writing strength. I’m super proud of this last song I just wrote, but I’ve had trouble turning other ideas into songs. I realized that it’s just like weight loss in that in order to have a solution, you need a problem. For example,
Problem: You weigh too much
Solution: Diet and exercise
Problem: Writer’s block
Even though I know that I am by no means overweight or fat, I still feel that I could be more in shape. This is my way of twisting the problem to produce a better outcome. Understanding the reality of the situation, that I am not overweight, but taking into account a different problem, that I'm not in shape, allows me to produce a more accurate solution. I don't need to lose weight, but I should be healthier. I’ve been trying to come up with solutions to my writer's block for the past couple weeks, and as you’ve seen, there haven’t been any results. So I decided to diagnose my problem differently like I did with my physical situation; going deeper into why I have writer’s block.
Problem: You don’t know what to write about.
Solution: Write about everything
Problem: You can’t focus
Solution: Write so much that it’s habit
Now, I’ve split it into different problems, and I’ve come up with a real solution that I tested out yesterday and it’s been working much better.
Problem: Writer’s block
Solution: Write as much as you can, and don’t think about it so hard at first. Turn your base ideas and observations into something articulate and clever later. You need fat before you can slim down. Gorge yourself in words, and hone them later.
Have a great week!
I am trying to focus on my post for this week and all I can focus on is the joy and excitement I am feeling about New York being the largest state in the union to approve same sex marriage rights tonight. Which now reveals my secret, no not that I am gay, but that I type my posts on Fridays and sometimes even Thursdays for my Saturday slot. What can I say? I love to achieve a deadline. I won't give a huge political post this week, but I do want to say that this is a huge step for equality and one that is long overdue for progressive New York. So, bravo. Good for you New York.
Speaking of huge steps, tonight was my first steam room experience. In the past, I have experienced saunas. My grandmother use to work in the office for a Jewish Community Center (aka JCC) nearish to my house growing up. I have fond memories of participating in all the JCC camps as well as roaming the rec rooms and women's locker rooms. Yep looking back on it, my blonde hair blue eyed ass stuck out like a sore thumb yet I never seemed to notice. Those summers and camps I spent at the JCC taught me a mean funky chicken, a few words in Hebrew, and most importantly a love for matzoh ball soup. (For those of you who don't know, what makes this story so rich is my participation in all things Jewish while in fact I am not Jewish, neither is my grandmother who worked their for like a thousand years.)
However, it was there at the JCC when I first discovered the sauna. Saunas smell weird, like wood and hot air. Even though I haven't stepped in one in oh, I don't know, since sixth grade, I can still vividly smell what I am trying to describe. I remember visiting the sauna only to fulfill a “dare” from a “truth or dare” game or hide from a cute Jewish boy after I had schooled him in MarioKart 64 in the game room. Which, by the way, if anyone would ever like to play as long as I can can be Bowser..bring it. ANYWAY tonight I tried a steam room at the YMCA I joined here in Louisville as a perk after my evening work out session. I admit that upon first entering the steam room I was sure I was going to stop breathing completely. It was hazy and at first I didn't even see the two other large women whaling in the steam room. They quickly made their presence known and took time to sit up for a few seconds to inform me that the steam room experience was “the way Jamaica feels all the time.” Although by the end of my steam room experience I felt like a pro, I don't think I will be making any trips to Jamaica anytime soon. It was a weird sensation where parts of your body that you didn't know could sweat were sweating; like my eyeballs. My eyeballs were sweating...not crying...not tearing...but sweating. And my sweat was starting to sweat. Sweat beads riding on other sweat beads were falling from my face into the hazy fog in front of me. And it was weird, because it was almost like there was etiquette for the steam room. People spoke softly and my two other friends I was with and I all felt strange talking to each other, in fear me might intrude on the ambiance of the steam room for the other women. So, it's fair to say I was a little unsure how I felt about the steam room while I was in there. And then I exited the steam room and felt so good about my decision to participate in the steam room; my asthma felt controlled, I felt svelte. It is similar to the feelings I use to have as a kid on roller coasters. Pure terror at the start, some sort of reverent silence as you climb up the first long crank for the hill, and then a feeling of “I have totally got to do that again” after. All this to say, I will be returning to the YMCA steam room.
What does the steam room have to do with my goal? Very little. Other than the fact that it shows I am on some sort of exercise regiment again. I am sure I have mentioned, but it seems I have an extremist in my actions. I am either totally on (i.e. working on my one woman show, working out, keeping my room in a semi-neat fashion) or totally off (working out and working on my show are the furthest thing from my mind as I busy myself with smaller more achievable tasks so I can pat myself on the back INSTANTLY instead of buying into the idea of delayed gratification.) So good news, I am going to steam rooms because I am going to the gym. I am going to the gym because I seem to be ON. As a result of being ON my spirespire goal has climbed the ranks and found it's way to the top of my daily/weekly goals.
I have some exciting new places that have popped up from a friend of a friend that might be a neat little venue instead of the places I am looking. Another thought... I am thinking of developing two separate shows, one with a pianist and singing, and one without. That way, regardless I can perform my show in November. I am not sure what this means and still need to flesh this out. I am thinking maybe one is a more standup type format and the other more of a cabaret format? Just a thought that's been floating in my pretty little head and might be just the solution I need to not being 100% secure that my fantastic friends will stop working long enough to play a little diddy in my show. Still thinking it out...I might morph what I have into more of a standup. I just don't know. More to come. -----------------------------------
To hear more from Lexie about her one woman show, click here.
Happy Tuesday! I hope you all are doing well. I’m currently writing this blog next to an adorable child watching Yo Gabba Gabba, which is the trippiest show on earth. Creatures that look like dog chew toys sing about sharing, losing, and how food goes from your mouth to your tummy (which Ena did NOT believe for quite some time) and big name stars drop by to teach us a dance of the day.
This whole week has been distracting. I got some stuff done, but not nearly what I would have liked. I’m feeling the pressure too, I really am looking at only about 3 months to get my book sold to reach my goal. The week, our world altered somewhat and is currently hanging a bit crooked, so writing has been slow and laborious because my mind has been elsewhere. That and let me invite you into some stupidity of mine. So, the internet is probably one of my biggest weaknesses. If I’m stuck at all, it’s like my brain turns off and I find myself on facebook or stumbleupon or some random blog without even feeling like I consciously chose to be there. Telling myself or anyone else that I don’t have enough time to write is BS. I make choices to spend my time on unimportant, non-urgent things that do nothing for me, and don’t even really amuse me that much. (Gah, I almost did it again! I nearly just checked my facebook for NO reason! It’s a nasty little habit.)
I think the thing that I find so fascinating about SpireSpire, and is what I’m basing the next year’s round on is that EVERY person, no matter their goal goes through this same thing. SpireSpire is not about theater or art or music or language or weightloss. It’s about controlling yourself long enough to get out of your own way. It’s about letting the part of you that wants to change be stronger than the part of you that wants to stay the same.
There’s a book I read with Ena called “Growing Strong Inside.” It talks about how you can watch yourself growing strong on the outside, but there are things like sharing, cleaning up, not throwing temper tantrums, not complaining etc. that requires us to be “strong inside.” She really attached to this concept, and even just a reminder that sometimes doing things that we don’t want to do is hard, but it means we’re growing strong inside is enough to help her get over the hump of herself. But the more frequently I read this book, the more I realize that sometimes…I act exactly like a three year old. My temper gets short, I avoid doing work, I want what’s best for me without caring about someone else. It’s the adult version of being three. Only I’m bigger and should know better. But I don’t.
So, as for my own progress, I’m nearly done with the world-building that I need for the first section of writing (the 100 pages before July) and have agreed to let a well-trusted friend look at my first draft, horrid sections and all, to give me some well-needed new perspective of a fresh reader. So my goals haven’t really changes, I’m just WAY more time crunched to get them done. Arg.
THEN, whether or not I’ve reached them, I’m sending out my query letters come July 1st…so…well, let’s just say I better reach my goals.
To read more about Shay and her fantasy book, click here.
I haven’t written a ‘dark’ piece in over 3 years. I am generally a pretty content and happy guy, but there are things that haunt me that I don’t express to anyone. Things I battle with everyday, just like everyone else. I’ve said before that we can all relate to each other. I write for me but I write for you as well.
I was told via comment on my last original video, Reservation Blankets, that it was ‘‘really good, but don’t go emo on us and stop writing good songs like Powerlines’’. You see, that was a sort of surreal moment. I was writing a lot of sad stuff sophomore year, because I was an angsty teenager. But I didn’t express what I was trying to say very well, so I consciously began writing more upbeat or realization songs. Now I think I can express what I need to in such a way that people can connect to it.
It would be completely unrealistic not to address the darker side of life. As I said, if I’m writing for both of us, I’ve got to realize that sometimes life blows. I usually let it slide when it does, but I distinctly remember 3 months this winter that was probably the hardest time for me to live in. It’s about time to address this.
So I’m combining all the practice I’ve had with writing songs with direction into a darker story. Hopefully it works out better than it did 3 years ago. This song is going to focus on vices I think, but we’ll see, things change in my head a lot when I’m writing.
See you next week!
As I sit down to write this week's post the fable of the tortoise and the hare pops into my mind. Which first off, I have a problem with, because I think if we really wanted children to understand we wouldn't use such advanced terms for animals, like “tortoise” to describe a turtle, or “hare” when we could just say rabbit, or better yet bunny. However, the story goes something like the tortoise and the hare race. The hare and the hare starts out and then gets so far ahead that he convinces himself he has time to stop and eat mulberries(seriously, whatever those are, again can't we just say raspberries for the children) and then falls asleep because he is so full from the mulberries or just gets stuck in the mulberry bush, either way, the hare doesn't finish first and then the tortoise wins the race. Hints the phrase “slow and steady wins the race.” Apparently, I don't even really remember this fable. Yeah, I remember that fable so little in fact, I am contemplating deleting this entire paragraph, but instead I will leave it on the off chance someone else can relate to my disdain for uppity language in kid's stories.
To make my point clear as mud, let me explain that I have been a total “hare” my entire life. I am the one who likes to go and move. I don't want to sit around. Nothing drives me more crazy than sitting around for more than an hour with nothing to do. I like to have projects; I love assignments; I love activities. However, what I am learning as I am getting older ( I type that with a smirk on my face realizing how silly it sounds knowing I am only 23 years old), nevertheless, as I am getting older, I am starting the understand the value to a slower approach, sometimes. Somewhere I have developed this huge fear of ever allowing myself to be lazy or even being perceived as lazy. But what I am realizing is that sometimes the “tortoise” types of the world aren't lazy, they are just calculated and take more time upfront to bang out the details for later. And let's be honest, the “tortoise” crosses the finish line probably a lot less tired than the “hare” that has tried to put all of it's attention to every mulberry bush and project along the way.
However, a tortoise can't be a hare, nor a hare a tortoise. So instead I choose to be happy in what I am, which in this extremely drawn out analogy is a “hare”, but I choose to learn
from the tortoise. Sometimes these things take time, sometimes it is better to give each aspect the detail it deserves so you don't have to run in circles for the sake of running in circles.
This week I was SUCH a productive tortoise. I spent time hammering out crucial and important details to the future success of my one woman show. I called the venue that I am 90% positive will be my venue and asked specific
questions. I also checked my tour schedule of my layoff and realize that my layoff is the week of Thanksgiving. So I must figure out which day that week the most people will be in town and try to mount my show accordingly. Looks like it will be Monday before Thanksgiving, more than likely.
So I am taking a lap back around the track to try to pick up a few of the scattered pieces I left because I got distracted by other mulberry bushes and try to piece the whole thing together.
To hear more about Lexie and her one-woman show, click here
Am I the only person who doesn't understand themselves?
The older I get the more I think I'm starting to get a good grip of who Matthew Silar is... and then more questions come up. The classic example of "what you want to be when you grow up" comes to mind. Now that I am in college, I feel like I know that part of myself pretty well. I don't question my desire to pursue theatre anymore. And that is one part of me that makes sense as to why I am trying to do the 24HRMusical.
I can look back on periods of my short life so far and recall times of self discovery and self...undercovery...? Example, this past Christmas, I was very unhappy. A lot of things were going on in my life and I decided to not choose joy and instead choose to sit in my sadness. By about New Years, I couldn't take it anymore and I realized that this sadness was NOT "me". Quickly after I remembered that I am a person who will naturally choose joy over sadness. That is just "me".
However, I am realizing that I quickly become my own worst enemy. While I can choose to move past sadness quickly, the theme in my Spire posts tends to lean towards me standing my way of accomplishing things. That's a tough realization... and one I do not quite understand yet. So I will work on figuring that out and moving past that.
Well maybe this will encourage me to stop standing in my own way.... WE HAVE A LOCATION! *wait... I'm not done* WE HAVE A DATE!
The 24HRMusical will take place on August 12 into the 13 at THE CHAPEL in Barrington, IL.
This venue is also special to us because Christian was the one who got us the meeting with the pastor where he agreed to let us host the event in his space. It's a beautiful church with tons of rooms and an AWESOME auditorium.
Want another way to get myself out of the way of myself? Consider giving in our last week of KICKSTARTER fundraising! We only have a week to DOUBLE what we have. If we don't we lose everything! PLEASE consider giving to this project and PLEASE SHARE THE LINK WITH YOUR FRIENDS! Every little bit helps!CLICK HERE FOR OUR KICKSTARTER DONATION PAGE
To follow Matthew's 24HRmusical from the beginning, click here.
So I fully realize I missed 2 weeks of blogging. And I apologize to any of you out there who are still reading! I moved back to IL 2 weeks ago, and even with quitting my full-time job, life has been NON-STOP. I think I'm working as much, if not MORE, than when I was working a 9-5. Granted, it's all fun photo shoots and video shoots, but still tons of work.
I wish I came bearing GREAT news. But unfortunately, this post is going to be depressing. While I was gearing up to move home, my apartment was a wreck which meant I wasnt cooking at all. So I was eating out almost every meal. No only is this super expensive but it's so very unhealthy. So in the month and a half before I moved home, I gained about 12 lbs. Yep. Ridiculous huh? I'm still lower than I've been in a while, but what a dssappointment and deflation to my soul (dramatic) to see that number on the scale.
Am I giving up? Of course not. And I have a plan of action.....again.
My mom and sister have been doing low-carb for the past month. Not to necessarily lose weight cause they are both already small. But more because they read a book and read about how dangerous carbs are for you. Even if you're not overweight. I'm pretty sure that carbs are the one thing that are like a wall when it comes to me losing weight. I dont have a massive sweet tooth. Cookies, cake, sugary stuff, even chocolate, I dont crave a ton. What gets me are crackers, chips, bread, etc. It's like a carb monster inside me that I need to feed. UGH.
I leave for Mexico tomorrow for a week. Which means I may not be able to post next week. It all depends on if I'll have service. But my mom told me when I get back, we are going to go big or go home. This is it. It has to be. Low-carb, here I come....again. dont be mean.
Oh, I also want to do a 'post-hcg' thought. I really liked the diet for obvious reasons. The massive weight loss in such a short period of time. BUT, it messed with my head. I am finally regaining my self control after going off the drops. I cant tell if it was worth it or not. Will I do it again in the future? I dont know. maybe. But i dont see it happening any time soon. You have to have some SERIOUS discipline and self-control in place to even consider doing that HCG. ok. That's all.
Please wish me luck, and if you want to offer any encouragement, I'll take it.