Now that my work schedule has changed, I’ve started to miss what I have come to call my “short story Saturdays.” This past year I was more busy than usual with writing, trying to keep up with my usual daily writing while adding on the challenge of a part-time masters program for creative writing through distance education. I started to wonder, with so many actual deadlines and two novels I was going back and forth between, how I was going to start writing the short stories I was being challenged to write through my studies.
Usually by Saturday, I was pretty zombie-fied. I had my only morning class of the week, and being used to an evening teaching schedule most of the week, I never seemed to get more than four or five hours of sleep the night before. This proved to my advantage, however, as this state of tiredness meant if I went home, I’d do nothing but zone out on the internet, which I simply did not have time for. Instead, I found my “magic writing spot,” an astronomy museum here in Taipei, and for one of the first times in years I wrote by hand, using glossy notebooks acquired from a Japanese Stationary Store. From those writing times came my first short stories in years, some of which I was able to use as part of my course work.
Even though it seems my short story Saturdays may be on hold until further notice, those glossy notebooks have kept their power, and I now take any opportunity I have when alone in public to start, or if I’m lucky, complete, a story with nothing but pen and paper. I’ve found that some of my best stories and ideas come from this time away from internet and technology.
Top: My mom insisted on seeing me at work in my “writing spot”. Bottom: My writing view.
I have had my own blogs online, with photographs of myself, for several years now. Therefore, I was surprised at the rise in my stress levels when it was suggested I get a Gravatar profile. Gravatar is a “Globally Recognized Avatar”. Gravatar as a fantastic tool to help people streamline their online information for a number of different services. For me, this tool comes loaded with a weighty question:
Who is this writer version of me and how does it connect to the rest of my life?
Getting a Gravatar profile has meant a couple of big things:
1. I’ve had to stand on my own two feet, with a photo devoid of the family I usually lean on or hide behind. As THE WRITER, I am alone in my decisions – and my photos.
2. I’ve had to make a name choice and be done with it. No more of this tinkering with an author name. Katrina A. Brown. It’s not apart from me. It is a part of me.
3. I’ve had to truly commit to authorship. After all, there is not much point posting an avatar of myself claiming I write, if I don’t actually publish anything.
Who knew one little hovering box would cause so much anxiety?
I had Saturday wide open and did one of my favorite things. Spent it at the library.
About two months ago, I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed and came across a post in one of the writers groups I follow (this one specifically for writers of fantasy and sci-fi) and saw a call for a science fiction novel collaboration.
PICK ME! was my first thought, and sure enough, I was accepted, along with 26 other hopeful writers, and then watched as a science fiction world was formed on a Facebook page while writers from around the world discussed and bounced ideas based on the story concept of a single writer.
Now, I have to admit, there were doubts at first about whether or not the project would pull through, but now here we are, two months later, and I have been handed the first five chapters while I await my task of writing chapter seven. And seriously…these chapters. Good stuff. Not to mention one amazing writer pulled together a document full of the accumulated details that bounced around (with admittedly, very little contribution from me other than “likes” and cries for robots).
What will happen with this project, I wonder? In my opinion, if it keeps going the way it is, I think I might see my name in flashing amazon self-published lights along with 20 something other authors from around the world. Either way, I’m glad to be part of this project.