Suburban Rhapsody!

Picture: headphones vocaloid hatsune miku.I hesitate to write about my love for my new hometown in Minnesota, because it’s so very awesome and I fear selling it too much. It’s my little hidden haven on earth, a completely opposite experience of where I grew up in Philadelphia, and I hope it will stay that way for many decades to come. I have the Minnesota pride, don’t you know! ^o^v

When I first announced that I would be moving to Minnesota, almost two years ago, the response of everyone was, “Why? Who the hell moves to Minnesota!?”. And this was proceeded by “What’s there to do in Minnesota?”. I guess the questions aren’t too odd being that Minnesota doesn’t get the PR like New York, Philadelphia, California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and so on.

I moved to Minnesota because the crime rate of Philadelphia was just too much for me to bare. I was forced to live with and among various dangerous criminals and drug addicts. After my nephew was murdered in 2012, I was at my breaking point and I had to leave that place, otherwise I wouldn’t continue to survive for very long. My sister is in Minnesota and offered me a place to stay with her, as no one else offered at all.

I enjoyed my flights to Minnesota and it was my first time traveling by air. I left the airport with my little wheel suitcase that’s covered in hippie peace signs and stepped into a totally different world. I felt overwhelmed by the culture shock, lost and terribly anxious! It took me a few months to adjust to the new environment.

Picture: Anime-girl-winter-msyugioh.My first experience of a Minnesota winter was that of complete shock and exclamation, “How do people live here!?”. It was my first time experiencing 1 Fahrenheit degree temperature, no that’s not a typo! My face was stuck in an expression of a smacked baby and I moved like a wooden plank, trying to reach the nearest warm building in order to not, well, die! o_o

Oddly enough, everyone else around me saw the weather as no big deal. They moved normally among the huge banks of snow and didn’t seem to be too much in a rush to seek shelter from the frigid temperatures. I would later understand why 1F was not a big deal to them and why it’s actually considered a “mild winter temperature”.

The average winter in my town is minus thirty-five Fahrenheit and it’s much colder in other parts of Minnesota. 1F is very kind in comparison. A “warm day” is forty degrees and it carries a bit of sun, so you may see a lot of pale Minnesotans sunbathing on their front decks during the start of spring, where as I’m still wearing my hoodie to keep warm in any temperature sixty or below.

Rarely does the summer weather reach the high of seventy to ninety, and during that time many Minnesotans are screaming, “Oh, my god! The world is on fire! What’s going on!?”. In Philadelphia, it’s common for summer to reach past one-hundred Fahrenheit with high humidity on top of that, meaning that the city feels like a sauna no matter where you turn to hide. I enjoy the summers of Minnesota very much, because they are so mild and comfortable! The winters are…. they are brutal. I don’t think I’ll ever get use to them. ;^_^>

Besides the weather, I live in a beautiful suburban town, which I will not name for the sake of privacy. There are many throughout Minnesota and I’ve visited a few others. Everyone I’ve come across in Minnesota seem very polite, kind, sometimes a little shy, but friendly. Most have the Minnesotan accent, which is close to the Canadian accent, and that’s not a surprise as the state is pretty close to the Canadian border.

The Mississippi River runs through the state and this land is covered in over 12,000 lakes. Minnesota is rich with woodlands and wildlife as well. Fishing and boating is a common pastime here, along with hunting, so it’s not uncommon that people carry legal firearms in this town. Ammo is sold openly in WalMart and any other stores. And yet the gun crime rate in Minnesota doesn’t come close to what can be found every day on the streets of Philadelphia. Interesting. o_O

Picture: bunny in yard.As for the wild life, my small town is covered with bunnies! Yes, cute fuzzy rabbits often hop the well manicured lawns and roam the parking lots of various establishments. The photo on the left is one of a cute bun-bun on my lawn. There are chipmunks, tiny frogs, and further north there are moose wandering about.

However, it’s not uncommon to see coyotes wandering the neighborhoods in my small suburban town as well! O_O

Well, for the most part the coyotes do not bother you, if you don’t bother them. Or so, that’s what the local law enforcement has assured everyone. As a close relative to wolves, these animals had their cubs in the woods and decided to come into town to seek more food. It is warned that all small pets shouldn’t be left to wander, because the coyotes will cart them off as meals.

I’m happy that my pets are indoor types., but I think it’s safe to say that you won’t find me taking a nighttime stroll anytime soon. ^_^

The biggest attraction in Minnesota is the Mall Of America, which has over four hundred stores and a roller coaster. You could ignore using a map to navigate this massive palace of consumerism, but I don’t recommend it, as you’ll find yourself lost within that place for days! Or so I’ve heard, as this is a place for people who love to shop. I haven’t had the interest to visit the mall, I prefer online shopping, if I can help it.

Another reason that people flock to Minnesota is The University Of Minnesota, attended by people all over this country and the world for its excellent world-class degrees and career opportunities. In my honest opinion. their science campus is beyond top-notch, and it’s THE place to enroll for anyone in or around Minnesota wishing to get into a STEM field successfully.

Picture: animehugs.Another benefit to living in Minnesota is that many take to heart the state motto of “Minnesota nice.”. It is a very progressive state, especially towards the LGBT community, as no one really cares about who anyone loves and same sex marriage is legal.

I guess when people live in harsh weather elements, have to coexist with nature, and only get to enjoy a short season of sunny weather (winter starts during October, by the way!), it’s easy for most to have their priorities in order and not fall apart over arbitrary differences like sexual orientation. That’s not to say there are no bad apples in the conservative-political arena, but they’re few and far in between, unlike in Philadelphia.

For the most part, a person can live their life in peace within my town, no matter who they are. The only worry is a coyote wandering through one’s yard. =p

I enjoy my life in Minnesota so very much, more than I had ever experienced in my thirty-two years in Philadelphia. I wish to stay in my nice suburban Minnesotan town for many decades to come! Its friendly bunch of folks, who enjoys barbecue cookouts on the summer decks or a small party on a boat in the lake, is a perfect environment for me to write in. It’s a perfect place for me to heal, grow, and learn as well.

As always, thanks for reading. ^_^v

-D

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My View Of Writing!

Picture: anime girl writing.I’ve written a lot of posts here about my style of writing, my addiction to it, and I’ve mentioned my endless devotion to writing. I haven’t yet shared a post about how I view my habit of writing. Maybe I have, on some other blog, long ago. Anyway, I have the time to ramble, so I may as well complete the set! ^o^/

In one of my favorite movies, “Catch Me If You Can”, there is a line that sums up the excitement of my writing process. In the scene, Leonardo DiCaprio plays the character of “Frank Abagnale Jr” the youngest con artist in America’s history, and he’s meeting with his father in a restaurant. Frank is desperately trying to impress his father as a Pan Am pilot, while trying to convince his father to win back his mother and undo the divorce.

Frank’s father, played by Christopher Walken, isn’t buying that his son is legitimately a pilot and he knows that Frank is a con artist. He smiles at his son, a bit of pride and worry in his eyes, and says to him, “Where are you going tonight, Frank? Someplace exotic? Just tell me where you’re going.”.

Every time I sit in front of the blank screen of a writing program, I find myself thinking, “Where are you going tonight, Dani? Someplace exotic?”. Writing, for me, is traveling the world, to new places, new planets, new dimensions in time. It’s always an adventure, where I get to meet new people and experience exotic places within my imagination.

And it cost me relatively next to nothing to do, the cost of electricity to power my laptop and internet connection to do research. I’ve been more places within my mind that I ever had in physical reality, starting at age six until currently.

My usual first step, before I began writing, is simply dreaming of a character’s face and the environment that he or she will start out in. I don’t dream of anything else, just the character and place for a few days.  Later I dream about what I wish for his or her story conclusion to be; Do they die in the end? How? Why? Do they live? How? Why? What are the circumstances of their death or survival?

Once I have those answers, that’s when I open my writing program and try to think up a name for this character, their overall personality, hobbies, career, and interests. Then I began building the background characters or people that was once within the life of my main character that will shape their overall personality, wants and desires throughout the story. Each of these background characters have their own stories and purpose.

Picture: Ed And Al.Some of the characters will follow my main protagonist or antagonist in his or her journey towards death or survival, others will only appear for a short while or will become a mere key to the puzzle of my main character’s behaviors within the story. For example, an abusive uncle that helps sow the seeds of a villain’s scorn towards society or spurred the rigid righteousness of a hero’s quest to protecting others.

I then write about the relationship between the characters, painting a picture of how they compliment each other or don’t fit together at all. I enjoy writing opposite contrasts, either as friends or enemies, exploring how two such individuals could possibly cross paths in real life situations.

I do heavy research on concepts or careers that I’m not one hundred percent knowledgeable in or experienced, as I always want my stories to be accurate to the real-world subjects that are sometimes peppered into my fantasy tales. The rule of writing is to “write what you know”, handy advice that I was told back in the 80’s, before the internet was a real thing.

I believe that it’s still good advice, but I would be amiss if I didn’t take advantage of the massive amount of data available to me at my fingertips today. I may not have known about the finer details of space travel and what it takes to become an astronaut, or what zero-gravity is like before, but with our modern technology and a few months researching information on the NASA and Space-X websites, I can write a fairly accurate account of my characters traveling through space.

If I get it wrong and my book becomes a success on the market, I’m sure Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson will call me out on it.  I would actually consider it an honor. ^w^

After research and building my characters, the really fun part begins! I get to write the actual story towards the ending I had dreamed up, some weeks ago. I am mindful that every new twist or turn in the story will affect how close I land on the target I’ve drawn ahead of me.

Picture: Anne Stokes DragonGirl.Sometimes, I miss the target altogether and the ending is rewritten drastically. I don’t mind when this happens, it just adds to the excitement of the adventure. Imagine getting on a plane for Tahiti, but through a series of unplanned events, you wind up in a dragon’s lair full of gold located in New Zealand. It’s not what you were first aiming for, but maybe this adventure is a tad more fun. For a dragon lover, it is for me, to be honest! ^o^v

Every time I began a story, I’m always going someplace exotic, someplace extraordinary, someplace personal. And yes, I view myself a “con artist”, as writing requires that I play the part of my characters, to trick the reader into believing (if only for a second) that this a real person with real emotions, experiences, and that these characters are actually going through interesting and sometimes horrifying fictional situations I’ve dreamed up.

I’m selling  stories of people I’ve never met and may not exist in reality or of places I’ve never physically been to. I’m conning emotional responses and attachment to characters that aren’t real. Like Frank, I’m am that doctor, lawyer, and Pan Am pilot. every time I open my writing program. Unlike Frank, I’m not stealing from American banks to play my roles. Heh, heh. *shifty eyes* >_>

As always, thanks for reading! ^_^v

-D

Celebrate Your Gift!

Picture: Night-Stars-Anime-Girl.My mind has been on a long journey through space and time, this past month. I’m completely in love with physics! The things I’ve learned have widen my perception about life on this planet and the perception of time in new profound ways that I’ve never could imagine before! ^_^v

However, for a week now I’ve fallen into binge writing, armed with new ideas and concepts. It always comes back to writing for me, no matter how much I try other paths in life or try to put it down as a childish whimsy.

I can easily spend nine hours in front of a screen, every day, and let my imagination play out in paragraphs. I write very interesting and quirky characters, based on the people I know or have met within my life, with story plots that sometimes lead to a great punchline at the end.

I can (and often do) write a lucid 90.000 word manuscripts, with ease. That’s around 250 or more pages, to put it in perspective, The writing and my personal editing/rewrites are done within a span of four or five months in total. Whether my scripts are any good or not, it depends on the audience’s view or critics that come across my little humble writings.  To be honest, I haven’t any critics yet and a handful of appreciation for some of my manuscripts or blog posts. I’m a very hidden kind of writer, it seems.

Picture: anime writing writing.The thing is, I see myself honestly as a “hack writer”, because I don’t have the motivation to write for a specific audience or to cater to a specific crowd. Genres be dammed, as I feel too claustrophobic if I can’t skip around (or “free-style”) within a story to reflect a combination of themes. I write for story sake, because I feel like sharing some weird thought or personal tale, in my usual style of mindless ramblings and long winded grandiose speeches that are spoken by my characters. This is my true writing style, so most likely I’ll never be famous or remembered in the literature world, nor do I find myself aiming for such.

I like to tell stories, in my own honest way, and that is all.

However, being a storyteller doesn’t pay very well. It means that I can’t afford my eye surgery. Or to buy a home for myself and my elderly mother, so that I may care for her in Minnesota. I can’t afford my much needed dental work or any other medical bills that may show up for me in the future

Even so, I’m find myself wanting to juggle my writing and learning science as much as possible, to take this journey as far as I can. When you have a passion for something, it’s not wise to let it go, even if the odds are against you!

I realized that I shouldn’t take my talent of writing for granted. Sure, I may not be a popular writer someday, but I can do something that a lot of people cannot, that others struggle to do on their own. I realize this fact, every time I wow people with the numerical amount of manuscripts, short stories, and personal blog posts I’ve scribbled over the many decades.

If I was asked to write an entire novel about a tree, I could meet that request and I’ll have the manuscript sitting on a publisher’s desk in a few months! I promise that it will be well entertaining and a publisher will enjoy my scribbles, even if they ultimately decide not to publish it for marketing reasons. However, for most others this is a crazy hard request to pull off, no matter if they’re a hack writer or a seasoned professional.

Picture animeg lotushugs.I believe that everyone has a talent for something in life, even if that something  doesn’t pay the bills or will not be noted in history, it is worthy! Your talent is extraordinary, no matter what it is, as not many others possess it! It is your gift to keep or to share with others. What you decide to do with your gift is purely up to you.

I don’t care if a person decides to attribute their gift to a god, or many gods, to happenstance, to the universe or cosmos, to their own genius, or whatnot. You may attribute your gift to anything that you want to, as long as you take the time to acknowledge that your talent does exist, that it is special, and that it is unique to who you are as a person. It’s your gift, so work it! ^o^/

And don’t let anyone tell you that your gift is never good enough., not even yourself. Appreciate and celebrate your gift, because there’s always going to be someone else who will admire and will become inspired by it. Please trust me on that one.

Okay, now I will end this post with a pretty song for the day: Orbital – Halcyon On and On. As always, thanks for reading! ^_^v

-D