Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

Tag: Sunshine Award

ROW80: Sunny Days Are Here!

Happy Sunday, folks! The sun is shining in my part of California, and that always leaves me feeling upbeat and excited. I feel like I’ve got a lot to look forward to. My parents will be in town for a couple of nights at the end of the week, as they’ll be moving my sister out of her apartment in LA for the summer. And I’m getting my 1st tattoo on Friday! I’m filled with all sorts of nervous anticipation (mostly about the pain, ugh), but I really can’t wait.

Before I get to my goals, I want to take a minute to hand out the fantabulous Sunshine award. I posted my response to the requisite 10 questions on Friday (you can find them here). I’m passing it on to the following bloggers:

Now, onto the check-in!

Day Job: The dissertation reading continues. Some days, the reading is hampered by anxiety: I am all too aware that my time in Santa Barbara, and therefore the time I have to figure out my research topic, is rapidly dwindling. I’ll hopefully be meeting with my committee members in the week to come. Their insights and suggestions are always valuable, and hopefully they’ll give me some ideas for wrangling my many ideas into something that makes sense.

Writing: Another slow week with writing. Most of the brainstorming I’ve been doing has taken place during undergrad lectures — lots of scrawled scribbles in the margins of my notebook. I really wanted to treat the first few weeks of this round like my own personal NaNoWriMo, and boy, am I failing miserably. I suppose the goal for the coming week will be the same as last week: to figure out exactly what I am capable of achieving in terms of fiction.

Slightly off-topic, I shared 7 random facts about my writing on Friday. For those of you who expressed an interest in Pierce, I will have you know that it has gone completely to his head, and he is almost too smug to bear at the moment. He would like me to thank you all, as he thinks that maybe now he’ll get bumped up in the in-progress queue (and he is quite compelling, so perhaps he will succeed in convincing me). And, yes, I realize how completely crazy this makes me sound, which is why I’m glad that I am not the only writer who admits to having conversations with make-believe characters.

Exercise: I’m still holding strong here, with 4 workout days this week. I wake up each morning looking forward to my walk, though I think my enthusiasm has been improved by the sunny weather and the fact that my clothes are fitting better. :D

Social Media: I was only able to write 1 blog post last week, but I have 2 scheduled for the week to come.  I’m getting back into the groove to blog reading, which has been so much fun.  I think I made it to 12 ROWers last Sunday, and another 8 or 9 blogs during the week.

Finally, for fun, I thought I’d include a bit about what I’m watching and reading this week:

Films: I saw The Five-Year Engagement on Friday, starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segal on Friday, and it was absolutely brilliant… if you ignore the fact that it basically sums up my biggest fears about my professional life in academia: having to relocate somewhere very cold, dealing with “trailing spouse” syndrome, etc.

Outside of all that, I totally recommend the movie. There are lots of awesome shots of San Francisco (enough to make me crazy homesick, and very happy that I’m moving back in 2 months), many moments of hilarity, and a great ending.

Fiction: I finished His Good Opinion, Nancy Kelley’s lovely retelling of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s perspective. For those of you who ever wondered why Darcy falls for Elizabeth, and what’s going on in his head that leads him to make such a lovely transformation by the end of the novel, you should definitely check it out.

Non-Fiction: I’m working my way through Beyond Slavery: Overcoming Its Religious and Sexual Legacies for the course I’m taking on gender and religion. The book is a collection of wide-ranging essays that

examine why Roman Catholicism and other branches of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam accepted slavery for so many centuries, and they consider how slavery shaped gender and sexual ethics in these three religious traditions. They also consider how Jews, Christians, and Muslims can draw upon the compassionate values of their traditions to overcome the lingering effects of slavery.

The essays are incredibly thought-provoking and fascinating, and raise lots of important implications for modern-day issues like marriage, employment and labor, the criminal justice system, welfare, and many other social institutions.

So that’s my life at the moment! Be sure to swing by and cheer on the other ROWers this week.

How are things going for the rest of you? Anything fun to look forward to in the weeks to come?

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The Sunshine Award, and 7 Random Writing Facts

It’s been ages since I’ve written a post for Fiction Fridays, but I have an awesome excuse to do so this week: I’ve been given the lovely Sunshine Award from a few of my wonderful writing friends, and I’ve been tagged to take part in the “7 Facts” meme. Somewhere along the way, the latter morphed into the 7 Writing Facts meme, and that’s what I’m doing with it today.

First up, the Sunshine Award. Lynette Conroy, Em, and Shah Wharton were all gracious enough to pass this cheery award along to me. Many thanks, ladies!

The award requires that I answer the following 10 questions, and pass the award onto 10 more recipients. I’ll be passing the award along on Sunday as part of my ROW80 check-in. In the meantime, here’s the required Q&A:

  1. Favorite color: It has, and always will be, deep, dark royal purple.
  2. Favorite Animal: One word: SLOTHS. I know, you are shocked.
  3. Favorite number: I rather like the number 9.
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Tea. More on that in the 7 Facts below.
  5. Facebook or Twitter: This is a toughy, ’cause I use them both but in very different ways. Facebook is where I find out about babies being born and childhood friends getting married. Twitter is where #teamsprinty gets into trouble and I catch up with my online buddies. Let’s call it a draw.
  6. My passion: Letting my imagination run wild and creating stories out of the wreakage. Also, submersing myself in research, teaching college kids how to hone their critical thinking skills, and working towards social justice.
  7. Getting or giving presents: Oh, very well, I’ll be honest — I LOVE getting gifts. So much fun. :D
  8. Favorite Pattern: I have a serious “thing” for art nouveau patterns of all kind, especially if they involve peacock feathers. The print below, taken from Eugène Grasset’s L’animal dans la décoration (1897), is a good example.
  9. Favorite day of week: Friday, because there is an entire weekend that stretches before me, filled with all sorts of wonderful possibilities for relaxation, merry-making, and potentially-disastrous fun.
  10. Favorite flower: Orchids, most specifically the phalaenopsis.

-oOo-

Next up, the Seven (Writing) Facts. 

Because I am feeling silly, these are numbered in Tagalog, or as I like to call it, the “Father-tongue” (my dad’s from the Philippines). Enjoy!

Isa. When I was younger, writing was like a grown-up version of playing pretend. It gave me the chance to explore different careers and life paths, and to envision a world beyond the mind-numbing dullness of middle school and high school (oh, the joys of being way more mature than everyone else). As a result, almost everything I wrote between the ages of 12 and 22 were self-insert fics. Now that I’m more or less a grown-up person, self-insert fics are unnecessary, and all of my characters are original. Each of my female protags, however, have a teeny bit of me in them.

Dalawa. I have a soft spot in my heart for fan fiction. My earliest stories revolved around 90s boy bands. This includes the only story I have ever finished, the creatively-titled “Fan Fiction #3,” where my 3 best friends and I (the multi-platinum selling girl band, Eclypse) go on tour with ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys only to have hilarity and chaos ensue. These days, I’m more likely to read fan fiction than write it — the Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and X-Men fandoms are my favorites — but I will admit to having recently penned a couple of DA stories. I will also admit that TELL ME NO LIES began as a fan fiction, but has been considerably revamped over the last few years. :P

Tatlo. Music drives my writing. I have playlists for every story, for individual characters, for relationships, and for specific scenes. There’s something really visceral about music that helps me to tap into emotion, and allows me to envision characters and their respective worlds. TELL ME NO LIES features an odd blend of late 90s alternative rock, Americana/folk, and country; PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE is all about Celtic music of the Loreena McKennitt/Cara Dillon variety; and STRANGE BEDFELLOWS is driven by ancient Mediterranean-inspired music, especially the Gladiator soundtrack and anything by Lisa Gerrard/Dead Can Dance.

Apat. In addition to music, my muse requires copious amounts of tea. Black Currant-flavored black tea is my absolute favorite, but I also love Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Jasmine Green, and Ginger teas. After 5 pm, however, it’s all about cocktails. Here, I defer to Hemingway’s advice.

Source: tumblr

Lima. Growing up, it always bothered me that I rarely found books with characters who looked like me or shared my background. As a result, most of my characters are people of color, and I try to create worlds (especially in my fantasy novel) that aren’t based on a western European model. I think a lot about the social location of my characters as well. Some occupy positions of relative privilege (Liandre from PPT and Alaia from SB, both royalty, fit here), while others, like Tempest from TMNL, find themselves on the margins of society. So social inequality, in whatever form, is something that’s always in the back of my mind when I write, along with the creative ways in which I can challenge those inequalities. Above all, I am deeply interested in the ways in which my characters draw upon their own strengths and agency to navigate worlds that attempt to constrict their freedom (that’s the feminist studies scholar in me, I think).

Anim. I used to think that my training as a social scientist, with all of its emphasis on method and theory, rationality and objectivity, was a roadblock to my endeavors in creative writing, but I’ve found that the exact opposite is true. The sociological imagination, as we call it, is really useful, especially when it comes to world-building. It allows me to look my characters and their personal problems, and understand how those problems are related to the larger social issues within their worlds. I am constantly thinking about the social institutions, practices, norms and values that structure their lives. Even better, those theoretical paradigms that I once dismissed are actually really handy. Marxist theories of conflict, along with issues of social location and position that emerge in feminist theory, are particularly relevant in TMNL; Emile Durkheim’s work on the “elementary forms of religious life,” as well as queer and feminist critiques of marriage, are instrumental in PPT.

Hugh Jackman, the man behind the character.

Pito. I’ve been obsessing over abusing writing the same character, Pierce, for the last ten years. He is an amalgamation of Hugh Jackman, the various characters that Hugh has portrayed, and my own devious imagination.

Pierce has been everything from an 18th-century Scottish warrior, modern day English duke, divine and omnipotent ruler of the universe, criminal profiler, brooding dom, sexy submissive, gentle painter and gardener, semi-perfect husband/father of five, and countless other things that I have doubtlessly forgotten. He is the (fictional) love of my life, and is currently more than a little put out that I have decided to place two other novels before his. But one of these days I will get to STRANGE BEDFELLOWS, where he is a rebel prince turned plaything to the imperial princess, and he will have his time in the spotlight.

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