Dec 28, 2010

Guess Who's Back, Back Again

Jonny's back, tell a friend.

I loved Eminem in high school, along with Avril Lavigne, Good Charlotte, and Ludacris. That was back when I thought their songs actually had a deeper meaning. I've grown up a little since then, but every once in a while I pull out those records and relive the days of teenage angst and desperation.

I really haven't made that much progress since then.

I am still desperate for change. Something. Anything.

For the longest time, I thought that meant I needed a drastic change. I thought I wanted to end my life. I thought other people wanted me to end my life. Yeah, wtf?

I've made it past that by jumping off a different type of ledge. I dared myself to live.

I'm not going to lie: a lot of you played a major role in keeping me here. For that, I am so, so, so thankful.

And so, here I am, still desperate for change.

In 2010 I learned many lessons, but one seems to say it best: stop trying to define the change and just go with it.

That's really hard for me. I am compulsive and like routine. I like labels. I am a professional self-saboteur. I am a million levels of Angry Birds, a flimsy structure meant to cave from the start.

One thing I know how to do is fall apart. In the last year, I learned to let that happen. Stop trying to keep things together. It was like opening a closet that's fill top to bottom and holding the doors closed until finally they ruptured and all the contents came spilling out; dirty laundry, skeletons, and all.

That will not be happening in 2011. Well, at least not as often. I don't have time for holding it all together. I have five classes (perhaps four, if I drop one, like I want to) this coming semester. I have a new job. Long story, got fired from the last one and was really, really lucky to find a new one within a week. This is Michigan peeps. Yeah, the one state that declined in population from 2000. We are cool here. And unattractive, apparently.

New job, school, fitness, and who knows what else will come up. I intend to be so busy in 2011, that breaking down is out of the question.

Am I setting myself up for failure? Probably. BUT, more importantly, I am setting myself up to have accomplished a few things before the inevitable FAIL. That way, I have those successes to fall back on and I am expecting them to bounce me back into pushing forward again. Two steps forward, one step back is fine by me.

Perhaps this makes no sense and I am contriving something that will never pan out. I am willing to take that risk. I am willing to jump off this ledge because as far as I see if there are two ledges to fall off. One has a certain end, the other opens to more and more ledges. I am still desperate for change, but I see change in a different light. Roses and rainbows may not be in the future, but I'll take anything of doom and gloom.

I think I could get used to jumping.

Thankfully, no trailer park girls were going round the outside, round the outside, round the outside back then.

Nov 17, 2010

What to call this... (In the interim: A Farewell)

a funk?

a rut?

the doldrums?

It's definitely all of the above.

I am posting today to tell you that I am not going to be around for a while. I totally fell off the wagon at the beginning of NaNo and writing with literary abandon turned into abandoning all things in my life. Do not mistake that as me saying NaNo was going well. It was not. I got to 7,000 words and died.

Like, literally.

It all happened the moment I said this, "Maybe I'm not meant to be a writer."

Now, I know this happens to everyone. We all question our aspirations on a regular basis for various reasons. That sentence was totally the nail in my coffin because I'd already been deeply questioning my decision to become a writer since summer. As soon as the words came out my mouth, I deflated like a hot air balloon collapsing on the ground. It was over. My book was over. I still obsessed over it, staring at its demeaning blank pages for hours at a time, but it was over.

This probably all sounds silly and naive, but the truth is I have been too impressionable this past year and without many things to celebrate, I have gone into a deep... ugh. Yeah, ugh. It's a medical term.

I miss my friends from home and I feel no sense of satisfaction from my job. I've been a horrible critique partner. My BFF is in an infatuated relationship with her boyfriend and it kinda makes me sick. I haven't been running regularly and my car has been out of commission for two months since I cannot afford the repairs. I feel stranded on an island and I totally didn't get to take my one thing with me.

All of this has culminated to into one massive ball of crap that is tied to me by an unbreakable tether. It's the epitome of ball-and-chain. I feel like I am at the edge of a precipice and the ball is inches away from going over. I have no fight left. I'd let the ball roll right over that edge and take me with it. In fact, I kind of want it to.

Maybe Wonderland is at the bottom.

That'd be better than here.

Where is here?

That's another part of the problem. Wtf is here? I am so totally lost.

I'm in No Man's Land.

It's a foggy, gray place with eerie noises in the foreground and white noise in the background.

I am strapping up and setting off on a new adventure (think lederhosen and suspenders).

Next semester I have five classes, sixteen credits. That makes me nervous, but it's time to kick my education into high gear. I am taking the next two months and pumping myself back up. This time I am avoiding the hot air and going for something more solid.

Thank you so much for the support you have given me over the last year. It means the world to me and it helped me to get through so much already. I still have lots of work to do, but know that you helped build the basis from which I will conquer the world.

Thanks again and good luck.

Oct 31, 2010

NaNo is less than twelve hours away!

Alright. Today has the potential to majorly suck. I work three to midnight. I am anticipating hours upon hours of over-caffeinated children and parents asking if we have free candy for the kids (which they've been doing since Thursday, even though we are a GD gas station). I can do this. At least that's what I keep telling myself. I am bringing my NaNo workbook. I doubt I'll have much time to work on it, but if the opportunity arises, I want to take advantage of it. 

Yeah, so the optimism is totally a front. I'm not looking forward to today one bit. But that's okay because I'll get home shortly after midnight, log online, and head to Tina's NaNo Kick-Off Extravaganza Party Thing (not the official title). Don't wait for me to show up because the fun starts at 11pm ET. Binge on candy and get ready for the gates to open at midnight (unless you live in the frontier and have to wait as we "Easterners" unlock our brains and pour them out onto our desks (think Cadbury Egg)). <---what are the rules re: multi-layered parentheses?

Even if you're not doing NaNo, come by and haggle (or encourage) us. I'd love to see what you are doing with your November (perhaps growing a beard).

Oh, and 

Oct 29, 2010

NaNo is three days away-o!

My NaNo has been feeling neglected this week. Empty food and water dishes are not the way to win your NaNo over. This weekend, NaNo and I are spending lots of QT together and it will for sure involve lots of Reese's PB cups, Scrivenering, and rearranging the cork board for maximum visibility from my bed and my desk. 

The weekend is sure to go out with a bang. Not because of Halloween (I work 3-midnight, ugh), but because of Tina's NaNo kick-off partay! There's sure to be lots of encouragement and virtual snacks in the form of anecdotes oh and a new look!).

NaNo playlist, Song 1:

"Pa Pa Power" Dead Man's Bones
(not the music video, but this is the shortest video I could find)

Oct 26, 2010

The Candle and the Pumpkin (A Very Halloweeny Blogfest)

I am taking part in a blogfest for the first time. Generally, I am a scaredy-cat with such things*, but I decided to rise to the challenge and join my friend Mia Hayson's Halloween Blogfest. Read my brief entry and head on over to her blog for her Vampiriffic tale and a listing of the other participants. Also, I have one more blogpost before NaNo officially begins. Check out Tina's blog for an awesome invitation.

* Which is because I am a procrastinator and wait until the last minute to do things, this not being an exception. *tsk tsk*

the candle: You’re smothering me!

the pumpkin: I’m sorry, but you’re drying out my skin.

the candle: Let me see if I can dim my flame.

the pumpkin: Yes, that may help.

the candle: I that any better?

the pumpkin: Not really. Would a little air help?

the candle: We can try it.

the pumpkin: I’ll lift my lid a little.

the candle: I can feel a difference already.

the pumpkin: So can I! Let’s try a little more air.

the candle: Oh no! Not that much, it’ll blow me out!

the pumpkin: I’m sorry, but the relief is too great.

the candle: No! Please, put your lid back!

the pumpkin: Why should I? If you go out, then I have nothing to worry about.

the candle: Oh please, I’ll be as dim as possible.

the pumpkin: Alright, fine.

the candle: Thank you so much!

the pumpkin: Hey, your flame is bigger than ever.

the candle: I know, I cannot be extinguished!

the pumpkin: Oo-oo-oo, ow, hey!

the candle: Muahahaha!!!

the pumpkin: You’re smoldering meeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

Oct 24, 2010

NaNo Plan-o: Time-o

Inspired by the NaNo University Guide to Life (for students), I am making myself a loose schedule. I am doing this in an effort to find every fifteen or thirty minute opportunity and take advantage of it. I believe knowing my opportunities ahead of time will allow me to stay focused  instead of looking back at a missed opportunity and feeling regret.

I know I operate well with seven hours of sleep. On October 31, I work 3-midnight, as soon as I get home I am checking in with my TPR peeps for a pep talk and then leaving the CentralTim-, MT- and PT-ers behind so I can make the most of it finally being November 1. It's reasonable to assume that I will have Monday, Nov 2, off since I'll be on my eighth day of work at that point. This means I can stay up as late as possible getting in my 1,666. So, with Monday off, I need to get another 1,666 before I go to sleep. I am not sure what Tuesday holds, but I'll probably work 5am to 1pm. Then I'll come home, take a nap, get up, write for an hour, go to class (where I plan to write some more), come home and fulfill my 1,666(+).

As you can see, this plan is full of a lot of tentatives, but I think of NaNo as a living thing, my pet for November. I've discovered it's best to have a routine for pets. Take them for their morning jog, afternoon run, and evening jog at the same time each day. Just like their exercises, potty-time and dinner should be at the same day after day. They like it, so will NaNo. Deviation is certainly acceptable and it's those extra 15 or 30 min windows I intend to use as make-up (or get-ahead) time.

Come here, NaNo.





Play dead.

Okay, now we can snuggle.

Good, NaNo. Have a Swedish Fish.

Oh hey, NaNo wanted me to tell you that I made a vlog the other day. I made a NaNo-on-the-go kit, for when you take your NaNo on a walk.

Oct 19, 2010

Why I Write or I Like to Babble (About Myself)

Yesterday, I totally had a why-do-I-write moment. This one was different than the others. In the past, it's always been about not having enough talent, skills, and know-how to be a writer. This time, however, it was simply why do I write. Why do I love it so much? What compels me to pursue a career as an author when it seems like I am perpetually one step forward, two steps back. Let me tell you that I am way too good at justificationfests. I can spin things anyway I want them, my subconscious suppressed into silence.

Fortunately, my subconscious would not succumb to the oppression. There was a full-blown rebellion in my brain. My basket-case conscious can no longer be a tyrant and my subconscious has to have its say.

And a say it has had.

I write because I have a voice. I like my voice and I want others to hear my voice. It's not necessarily opinions I want to share with my writing, but views. Ways of looking at things. When someone finishes a book of mine, I want them to have the feeling they just walked in someone else's shoes. Perspective.

Hm... why else do I write.

I write because I am surrounded by the likes of Elana Johnson and Dianne Salerni and after one convo with those two, you cannot help but want to write.

I write because Tina, Heather, Marisa, and Dena build me up. They are the first people to support me and get me. The first in my entire life. Yeah, that sounds overly dramatic, but it's true. Some folks have given me blind support when they do not understand what it is that I want to do (parents, sibs, friends) but these gals have given me direction, companionship, and, most importantly, a future.

I write because it feels right.

I write because I'm sometimes good at it.

I write because pen to paper brings on passion unlike anything else in my life.

I write because of you.

I write for me.

Oct 16, 2010

Oct 14, 2010

Hello NaNo Plan-o


I am doing it. Add me as a buddy!!

Yes, NaNo.


I need infrastructure. Ooo, I love that word.

Goals for October:
1. Develop the two main characters, Violet and Cain (siblings), and a few secondary characters (friends, sidekicks, early enemies).
2. Think about that thing called plot. (What will happen to my two sibs? FYI, there's a major twist)
3. Evaluate the number of hours I spend on Twitter, Facebook, Gmail chat, and...wherever else. Recycle 90% of that time for writing.
(Tina posted about these links too. Read her insights here.)

Goals for November:
1. Write a book, 50-thou-holy-cow
2. Validate those 50 thou and receive 50% off the upcoming Windows version of Scriveners!! (Yes, all you mac users are snickering. Good for you.)

So, there you have it. Rails and roads are being laid and the power company is about to give the go ahead. My light-bulb is already burning bright, thanks to the generator.

NaNoWriMo is not my bitch. NaNo is my friend. NaNo is my partner in crime, my sidekick, my everything.
Thanks Paul and Tina for the great ideas!

You had me at hello, NaNo.

November will be my bitch.

Oct 4, 2010

Give Up or Live Up, the Follow-Through

Many of you joined my rally cry the other week and proclaimed "Live up!" with me. I have been living up a little more than usual, but I need to take it to the next level. I am going to use the motto to define my goals each week.

-I have been meaning to track hours spent writing, online, being happy, etc., but I just don't have time. Uh, give up.
-I will start tracking the things mentioned above today. Yay, live up!

-I have not defined a WiP and I am sucking at writing right now, so I'm just gonna quit for the week. Give up.
-Between sixteen different projects, I wrote 21,500 words in September, I will be proud of that, even if it's not defined. Holla! Live up!

-I am getting fat. Give up.
-I am getting my ass on that bike. Live up!

I am so totes going to live it up this week. You two?

My sis took this pic at the marina, totally had to share it with you.

Oct 3, 2010

I am so excited! The SuperSiblings Unite Edition

I moved to Ludington a year ago. I moved to the same town two of my sisters live in, but away from where my other sister lived. Well, yesterday she officially moved to where I live and now we're all in the same area!! Finally, I have someone I can hang out with! Yay!! I am sure to write less now, but I am okay with that.

Sep 23, 2010

new motto, new direction, same old me

Lately, I feel like I have been deciding between two options, give up or live up to everyone else's expectations. Well, I realized the other day that there's a third option: live up to my own expectations. So, I have adopted a new motto. Of course, I could be setting myself up for failure if I have unrealistic expectations of myself. But there are my options: give up or live up.

I am opting out of nano again this year. I don't think I have the drive to attempt it. Give up.
I am grabbing my novel by the balls and writing fifty thou in one month. Live up.

There's no way I could crit ten books by the end of the year. Give up.
There's no way I'd miss the opportunity to learn from the brilliance around me. Live up.

I could never successfully complete a novel in second-person, it's an amateur mistake. Give up.
You are writing an awesome novel in second-person and you love it. Live up.

I hate my classes. Give up.
I love that I am still working hard in my classes. Live up.


which will you choose?

and of course, we need a theme song

Sep 18, 2010

Knock it off! AKA optimistic updates

Earlier this week, I read YOU by Charles Benoit. Uh...holy crap, amazing book. Amazing. I am so not over how amazing it was. It's so simple and cuts to the chase. Oh yeah, it's in SECOND PERSON! I know, like whoa. Have I mentioned how amazing it is? I loved the second person because you're in the book. You are right there, in the middle of it all. There's no setting the scene and no 'I did this and I did that'. Reading YOU has lead me to experiment with second person. I am kind of knocking off Benoit at this point. It's in the name of research, however, and not for profit. If I write a full on book, it'll be purely my own, but studying the way Benoit captures his audience should be made into a college course.

The experimenting has allowed my creative side to tell my internal editor to "shut the hell up!" And it's felt good. If you're unfamiliar with, or afraid of a tense start using that tense and see why you don't care for it. Maybe you'll discover a fresh new way of using it that will catapult you into a writing frenzy like second-person has done for me.

Also, I am collabing on a project with one of my CP's. It's starting to pick up steam and I am uber-excited about it.

I have a few more ministories in the wings. As long as people like them, I'll continue to post them. Thanks for you shiny support, guys.

More old music faves:

Sep 14, 2010

Reminiscing: The Musical

This has been one hell of a week! (and it's only Tuesday)

Fingers crossed that it gets better.

Anywho, check out this dictionary-type resource one of my profs shared. (Make sure when you click it, you watch the way the image forms, it's like watching evolution.) link

Due to the week's frustrations, I have been delving into the past of my life, music-wise that is. When I feel 'on the verge' I listen to my old faves and feel so much better. Here's an uplifter from a few years ago:

"You! Me! Dancing!" Los Campesinos
(long video, soooo worth it. There might be swear words, I dunno, those things don't show up on my radar, Anita will have to let us know)

Sep 10, 2010

The Artist Date: Episode 1

I found myself bored after an awesome video chat with my friend Heather, so I decided to take a break. I am (re)starting The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, this week and one of the tasks she assigns her students is the artist date. An artist date is time you take to yourself to nurture your creative consciousness, usually about two hours a week. It's basically a playdate with yourself. Most of my artist dates are trips to the cafe, but today I decided to switch it up and go on a walk. I chose the North Pierhead, which is the site of the latest drowning. I thought maybe there'd be divers out, but there were none. When I got home, the paper confirmed the body had been recovered earlier in the day. It's odd to think that huge waves washed the victim off the pier the other day, but today the water was placid as can be. The beach was deserted and being readied for winter. 

It was an excellent walk and my soul is grateful. What artist date have you enjoyed lately? If you haven't been on one, what's keeping you?

oopsies on the upsided-downdedness

Since you all love my music suggs, but this song has no video, follow this link for aural perfection then make it a priority goal to systematically buy their albums before the end of the year.

Sep 8, 2010

i ♥ u

Summer's over? Probably. It hasn't gotten over seventy here in ten days. It's been cold and damp. Emergency crews are lauding the end. We've had over sixty drownings this summer, including a plane crash and a few boating accidents. Local resources are greatly depleted and the tourists left behind a lot of trash (non-refundable bottles and the like*). It's been an ominous few weeks.

Schools in Michigan cannot start until after labor day, unless they're private (never ask my opinion on private schools) and so the streets were clogged with buses yesterday. So much fun. Ten points for a kindergartener.

On a brighter note. I have started classes. Reading and Writing. Very invigorating , but haphazard, thus far. Both classes are remedial, but I am taking them for perspective and, well, just cuz. I'll be watching my professors with an analytical eye, since teaching English is 'The Backup Plan'. Beside refreshing my grammatical skill set, I do not believe I will learn a ton. I look at these classes as review, but I welcome epiphanies. After all, that concluding paragraph and I have never understood each other.

*If you plan to visit Michigan and are unfamiliar** with the concept of the bottle deposit, read this (PLEASE!).

**By unfamiliar, I mean smug, resistant, clueless, ignorant, or just plain mean about the whole thing, even though I am just a lowly gas station attendant and you are a sophisticated jet-setter who landed on the shores of Ludington, Michigan via Milawaukee or Chicago and think you're just too far above the bottle deposit to adhere to its goals, leaving the bottles for me to clean up. No, I am not bitter.

On yet an even brighter note, I am calling this song my chapter one song, I love the aesthetic and it fits perfectly into my "WiP"'s beginning.
"Generator 1st Floor" Freelance Whales

I've missed all my besties! I hope you had a great Labor Day. What's new with you???

Sep 2, 2010

Boredom and it's side effects.

School starts tonight. Writing on Thursdays and Reading on Tuesdays.

I have been trying to chose a story to post here, but none of them feel right. I am sure something will come along soon. In the meantime, I have been playing:

Oh, and I am obsessed with pirates:

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend, friends!

(I listened to "Mariner's Revenge Song" while I created these and ten other nautical spectacles.)

Aug 25, 2010

From the Mind of Jonathon Arntson: free writing piece #1

Dear Readers,
This is an unprecedented moment here at Jon's Life. I am posting, for the first time, a story of mine. 
I have been writing short stories and flash fiction all month and experimenting with all sorts of media. The following is a short story I wrote in a cafe. I had no direction. It took five minutes and I was not excited about it. I got home, typed it into Word and then decided to try something. I chose to post this particular story for two reasons. I adore it's simplicity and it's the shortest story I have written. 
(I believe clicking the image will make it large enough to comfortably read. 
If not PLEASE let me know, since in reality I have no idea what I am doing.)
Thank you, all of you, for the unadulterated support you continue to give me. That support has inspired persistence and now I feel accomplished.

Aug 21, 2010

One of the best writing prompts

I have read that putting music on your blog is a Cardinal Sin, but I use music every time I write. Music shapes my mood, my characters, and my dialogue. Music can set the scene and music can relieve you when you have written crap. Essentially, I'd be an entirely different writer without music. I am not sure if I'd be a better writer or not, but I can tell you that there's no going back.

Here's a song that has inspired more than one story. Without this song, I would have 14,000 fewer words under my belt.

"Weighty Ghost" Wintersleep

What songs prompt your muse to give back?

Aug 15, 2010

Goals and Plans

The other day, I blogged about finding my muse at the tail end of my accidental blog hiatus. Neither were planned. Most of you know that I have been in a writing slump for about four months and so writing a thousand words in one week has felt like a huge victory for me. Beside school, a social life, and work, I have one other major distraction in my life: you. Okay, it's not you. It's me. It's how I am around you: enthralled. I am enthralled with your every word. Whether it's a comment on my blog or a post at your blog. I'll be in the middle of an awesome scene, but somehow, the urge to check my blog pulls me away and my train of thought is lost forever. It's frustrating because it's as though two loves are fighting over me. I think it's fair to say that my virtual life has been given preferential treatment over the summer and spring. 

Until I can find a balance, I have decided to give autumn and winter to my writing life. My new BFFs will be my characters. Of course this does not mean I'll be completely MIA. I am going the Anita route and leaving insightful anecdotes when I feel like it and checking in on you guys when my muse and I are in a fight (which may happen a lot at first).

I think the fact that I am itching to finish this post so I can get an hour of writing in before I go to work is a good sign of things to come. I am always avail through email.

I am free writing right now. No WiP. No bounds. Here's a song from my unofficial playlist:
"Little Secrets" Passion Pit

Finish PB rewrite in early Sept.
Query PB in late Sept.
Prepare one WiP for Nano

See you on the flip side.

Aug 13, 2010


I may have found my muse, and to think, it's been there all along.

(per Anita's comment--swearing ensues)
Aiding in the recovery is this prolific song. I bought their album as my b-day gift to myself:
'Little Lion Man' Mumford and Sons:

Jul 28, 2010


The sunset just before I began my run this evening. The sand was perfect for running and the waves kept me cool. As soon as I was tired, I jumped right in the eighty degree water. Life is so worth living. Why did I ever question that?

Jul 24, 2010

John Green, will you marry me? the good grammar is hot edition

Don't miss Thursday's post in which I ride flies around my life and sound smart a few times.

i could be a fly on that wall right behind John


Jul 22, 2010

Fly on the wall (and the desk, the ceiling, the window, etc.)

"Follow that writing bug. For some it flies straight. For others of us the writing bug might fly like an actual fly, in 10,000 different directions, stopping, starting, changing direction... But it gets where it needs to go."
I am sharing words from my friend Robert. I think many of you are familiar with his thought provoking blog.

I think comparing myself to a fly is disturbingly perfect. I have been described as buzzing on more than one occasion by coworkers, bosses, and friends. In the blogosphere, I am often described as here, there, and everywhere. And then, poof, just like that I am gone for a while. Probably reincarnating in the pantry, above the raspberry jam.

You see, we flies only live for a few days and somehow we make it our lives to cover as much territory as possible. I have gone to school for interior design, urban planning, business, and now I am in for education. Some may boil my frequent change in direction down to the inability to commit. Others might relate it to the fear of getting in too deep. But Robert's words put it into perspective: I like to create. In order to create, I need to move around from project to project and keep things in motion. I am not sure if my ADHD aids in this or ultimately brings the demise of 90% of my projects, but it doesn't really matter. The sheer bliss I feel in the beginning of an endeavor is worth the utter collapse I feel when I drop the ball.

I shared my own wise words at Robert's the other day when I urged him to forgive himself for spending all his time on one thing while he ignored a list of many other important things. As creators, we have to forgive ourselves for choosing one thing over the other. Sometimes people get hurt and projects sit collecting dust in our minds and eventually end up in the haunted attic. But in the end, we are on a shared path where a sense of self is perhaps the most important indulgence we need.

And so, it is without further ado that I allow myself the missed opportunities that this blog may or may not have provided and grab the reins of my own life, again. Imagine me, six millimeters tall, on a fly with a harness. Because after all, I am not the fly, but I am riding the fly. The ups and downs. Life is the fly and how else can we deal with it but to go along for the ride. 

I just hope I don't throw up every time we land.