Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Congratulations to the Happy Couple!

I had the honor of being a groomsman in the wedding of two friends of mine. My fiancee had the honor of being the maid of honor.
It was a truly magnificent experience that I will never forget. The energy and nerves felt during the morning of the wedding by myself, the best man, and the groom were par none. Part of that may have been because of the best man's aggressive driving, but that only added to the fun as we raced from one end of town to the other to grab a quick lunch (which took 15 minutes in the drive through), eat it back at the groom's house, and get dressed into our tuxedos as quickly as possible.
The wedding went off without a hitch, so to speak, though literally speaking the couple did end up hitched. I hate to spread the stereotype, but it really didn't hit me that it was a  real wedding until the bride was halfway down the isle. Until then it just felt like a fun thing that we were all doing together. I talked to my fiancee the day after and it turns out that it really didn't hit her until then either, so I suppose this particular stereotype has just cause for being so popular.
The photo-taking after the wedding was equally as fun as we walked around a park waiting for the photographer to get inspired by a tree or bridge and have us all pose for the camera on or near it. The flower girl even seemed to have a lot of fun, though I suspect that was because she didn't realize that nobody had told her that we weren't actually at the park to play and race (The best man and I raced her around anyway).

And then of course there was the reception. And wouldn't you know it, that was also awesome and fun! The food was delicious (if you picked the right stuff), the drinks were free to the bridal party, and the music was loud; the maid of honor's speech left the audience in tears, and the best man's speech left them in stitches.
The great thing about a reception is that as the night goes on the people that don't really matter just leave, so it only gets more awesome, until at midnight you're left with only the guests and friends that are the most fun. In laymen's terms that means the old people leave and us young people were left to hang out, have fun, and dance the night away.

On the off chance that they read this, thank you Katie and Kevin for making me a part of your special, amazing, and important day, and I wish you all the luck and love the world has to offer! Congratulations!

I'd be totally okay if you did this again (together) sometime.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Small Victory Dance

Well it's about time I accomplished something significant, don't you think?
The good news is that I finally did!
Each year I submit a little something for consideration to be published in my college annual literary magazine, and every year I hear nothing back.
Finally that has changed.
This year I submitted about five of what I thought were my best poems, because despite poetry not being my main interest, I didn't have any short stories good enough to submit. After waiting longer than I was told I would have to wait to hear back, I found out that my poem "Aim for the Head" was accepted into the magazine (you can read it here)!
Don't worry, the poem is about zombies. Not real people.
(I drew this. Copyright Ryan Matejka)

The punchline is I actually submitted that poem last year and heard nothing back.
Also it was written during my junior year at high school.
Also I haven't cared to write a poem in about a year. So here's a haiku:

My poetry sucks
I would rather write fiction
But haikus are fun

So yeah, I'm getting published. Next year I guess I'll submit some stories and hope for the best.

Cool beans.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Starting Anew

Remember this post about the long story I was writing?
Well to keep you up-to-date, I finished it at just under twenty thousand words.
Remember this post about the nice things people said about my short story?
Well to bring you up-to-speed, I went through that same workshop process for the almost twenty thousand word story.

Which meant a lot more of these.

It's hard to explain exactly what I mean, but I guess the best way to say it is that the problems that people had with it this time had more to do with the fundamentals of the story itself. The issues people had with the story, even if they liked it overall, weren't the kind of issues that could be solved with an addition or deletion of a sentence or two like they were in my short story.The response, while still a good mix of positive and negative opinions, had a very different tone to it.
As this became clear to me while listening to the students in my class discuss their opinions of the story, I didn't hesitate to decide that the best solution would be to rewrite the entire story from the beginning. So while the classroom was still telling me what they liked or thought could fix the draft of the story in front of them, I was already planning out a brand new version of the story in my head. In the span of a week I went through several ideas that would drastically affect the original concept for the story.

Seasons just seemed like a cool motif. (source of photo)

Let me explain what I mean about the concept:
The story was to cycle through various different character's perspectives, one at a time, from a third-person perspective. The story was separated into five different parts/chapters, each of which took place in the season following that of the chapter before (winter, spring, summer, fall, winter), but the story did not span a single year, instead it spanned fourteen years (originally over sixty years). The distance in time between the chapters was to increase somewhat exponentially. I also wanted to emphasize certain aspects of a lifetime, such as that you don't bring all of your friends along with you through your entire life, which meant that several characters key to the first chapter or two were completely missing in the third, fourth, and fifth chapters.

What on Earth was I thinking?
I was so wrapped up in what I thought was the "poetic" structure of the story, that I didn't focus on the characters or the story itself. The result was that the writing was boring and the characters were mostly unlikable. I quickly began brainstorming remedies, including changing the perspective of the story, forgoing the seasonal chapter format and starting the story years before the original beginning, and, of course, figuring out ways to make the characters likable.
"This time I'll try not to waste dozens of
hours screwing up." (source of photo)

I went from breaking my personal word count record by several thousand, to scrapping it all and starting over at zero. And honestly it doesn't bother me at all. For one thing I've completely scrapped then rewrote an entire story before, so this isn't the first time, and for another thing I know it's for the best and that the new direction in which I'm going feels much better than the original concept. There were a few moments that I considered the story to be a lost cause that I should forget about and put behind me, but then I reminded myself how important this particular story is to me. Not just that it's my first full-length story, but that it's something unlike anything I've written before, and I feel some sort of attachment to the characters and plot that I can't just walk away from. This is a story that means something to me.

I'm debating making the process of rewriting this story more public, as in I would reference specific parts of the story directly in the blog to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about, since I imagine it's hard to follow me at times when you know nothing about the story. I could even do some side-by-side comparisons of the original and new version.

By the way:


  • I uploaded a new comic strip of "Stupid Phrases" called "What's Up?" to the Humor tab.
  • I uploaded a new poem called "Bad Advice" to the Poems tab.
Now, if only I had a good quality story to upload...