It’s All Him

Somewhere in March of this year I fell for a boy.

I remember the moment perfectly. After our first kiss, I looked into his eyes and he smiled. That smile. That’s all it took. I fell hard, all at once.

He wasn’t the usual kind of boy, the kind who is inconsistent and shadowy. The kind who plays with your feelings just because he knows he has the power to. And trust, this guy had the power to play with mine.

No, he was nothing like that.

He reverberated life off him, gave everything and everyone he came into contact with more vigor and vitality rather than pulling them down like most people do these days.

But this guy, he was so different and it made me want him, so badly. He’s been mine for a while now but I still want him. Every. Single. Day.

He’s made such an impact on me, he’s changed my life and I doubt he even knows it.

I don’t think he realizes what he does to me.

If you see me walking around with an extra bounce in my step, if you catch me in a moment of silence where it looks like I’m pondering and I smile to myself, if you notice that I am genuinely happier now then I ever was… it’s all his doing. It’s all him.

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Going Public – Writing Goals 2013

As writers, it’s important to set ourselves some realistic, reasonable, and achievable goals and deadlines. It’s also really important for us to go public with our goals. To find out why I’m doing this, check out Scott Myer’s blog here: http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/2012/12/writing-goals-2013-part-5-going-public.html

“Why go public?

Because if we just think about our goals, they are nothing more than illusions, hazy, half-baked phantasms in our heads, here and potentially gone like all the other zillion thoughts that spurt through our consciousness each day.

Because if you don’t formalize your writing goals, you may forget them.

Because having some sort of tangible, physical list gives you a touchstone to remind you what you need be focusing on throughout the year.

Because by proclaiming your goals to the Universe, they become real.

And the biggest reason of all: That simple act of courage — declaring your goals publicly — engenders positive energy, recalling the line by the Rev. Basil King who said, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”” – Scott Myers

So, what are my writing goals for 2013?

I have plenty.

I want to continue writing short stories, insights, thoughts, opinion pieces, poems, and picture prompts on my Insights and Thoughts writing blog. It’s the best way I have of expressing myself, and through this blog I am able to better myself as a writer and better my world view.

I will continue writing film reviews on my film blog (kimberlyviv.wordpress.com). I always seem to have something to say on a whole bunch of different films, and I just simply find complete enjoyment writing about movies. And someone once told me, “You’re doing it right by being on twitter and with your movie review blog thing. Shows you have a passion and expertise. Some tangible evidence you know your stuff… You’re pretty mature in terms of your social media approach to all this. That’s impressive.”

I plan on continuing what I’m doing with this whole social networking thing… Twitter has helped me a WHOLE lot this year. I don’t think anyone can really understand just how much except for me. Finding other aspiring and successful screenwriters in the world has really boosted my confidence in being able to make it. I’ve created a great writing support system on twitter. Strangers have been messaging, emailing, and tweeting screenwriting advice, tips, and have honestly been a great help in finding a practical approach to following my dreams and getting shit DONE. This little blurb just does NOT do justice to the amazing group of people I’ve found online who have helped me through a lot (For instance, some people literally send me paragraphs upon paragraphs of screenwriting advice sometimes, and it just makes me so happy to be part of such a strong writing support system). Plus, networking is key for writers in terms of getting their stuff out there.

Last but DEFINITELY not least…

I plan on completing at least one script, with revisions and all. In other words, have my first FINAL draft manuscript printed out and binded by the end of this year. (I even have a set date to finish my first draft – May 10, the day before my birthday. Kind of like a birthday gift to myself I guess). I really have to push myself to get some scripts written down if I’m going to apply to Vancouver Film School for their Screenwriting program in a couple of years.

To make sure I actually achieve my goals this year, I’ve already started writing down on a calendar my weekly writing deadlines. For example, for the month of January, I plan on writing at least 10 pages of my script each week. For next month, seeing as things might get busier with school and midterms and all, I will probably only aim for 5 pages a week.

I’m also printing out the pages of my first draft as I go along, and I’m posting it up on my “movie board” so whenever I see it, it will not only remind me to keep going, but also it will get me excited to get it finished and keep on writing.

Photo on 13-01-10 at 2.13 PM

I also have future plans on submitting my scripts to http://blcklst.com/, and maybe even to some film festivals such as Sundance Film Festival. It’s a long shot, but eh, at least I can say I tried and am putting myself out there. How else am I supposed to get my work noticed?

“The Black List is where moviemakers find great scripts to make and scripts find moviemakers to make them.”

Inner Struggles of Growing Up (and coming into my skin)

             This is a piece I’ve felt like I needed to write for a while now. It’s something I’ve needed to do, as a way of expressing myself and exploring or analyzing my struggles with growing up in my teenage years. I’ve been reminiscing about my high school years, and also wondering about how I got to where I am now, maturity-wise. Recognizing that it takes years and years to mature (and we never stop maturing as people) I decided to really look into my past on a deeper level.

            This is a story about a road to self-discovery.

Guess I should start briefly with my childhood years. As a kid you never really think about the future. Sure, you think about maybe having your own family, and having your own kids (because that’s what your life revolves around, a family unit) but you never really think about what you will actually be doing for a living. At least, that was me when I was a kid. I never thought about my future career, I just played pretend and make-belief with my friends everyday, all day. Life was blissful.

The stress came after, as you’ll see if you keep reading.

There was a point in my life where I really started taking an interest in movies. I think it came around at about the age of ten. I wanted to become an actress. See, back then I wasn’t shy as a kid… at least that’s how I remember it and that’s what my mom says. Looking back on it, that was the first “career” choice that I actively started making decisions on how I was going to achieve it. I started planning my future in a sense, saying that I would take part in acting classes, find an acting agent, and start doing commercials when I was in high school. That clearly didn’t work out as my mother tried knocking some sense into me, as most parents would in similar situations, and told me I should think more practically. Acting was a dream, and ‘dreams don’t come true’ is the motto I was taught early on in life.

So in high school I started planning my future more practically. I liked learning and school in general so I thought maybe a career in teaching was something I would be good at. At first I said I wanted to become a high school teacher. But I’m an extremist, and always want to reach for the highest possible position in a certain area so I eventually changed my mind and said I wanted to become an English Lit. Professor. It was the most peculiar thing I had ever decided on. Sometimes I was forced into teaching my little sister and helping her with her homework and I’d grow so impatient. I hated teaching. But I said I wanted to become a teacher? I hated rituals or set schedules, and even in high school I would hate how every single day was the same shit over and over again, starting at the same time and ending at the same time. But I said I wanted to go into a career with the exact same set schedule? And there were plenty of times where I would imagine myself as a professor, envision myself doing research and going to lecture classes for three hours straight… and I would cringe at the thought of it. I detested the idea. Yet, I was pursuing a career path that would lead me to something I would eventually hate for the rest of my life??? I kept all this to myself because I thought something was wrong with me.

Even though I was thinking practically about my future, that did not stop me from being engrossed or completely immersed in the culture of film. I loved watching movies. I looked forward to movie night on Fridays with my family. I watched movies over and over again in an attempt to analyze them or look deeper into their message/theme. I had this thing where I would watch movies over and over again because I loved analyzing different actors, or just simply loved watching them act (esp. Johnny Depp). And I loved going to movie theatres – everyone in high school knew I went like twice a week if I could manage it. I loved and appreciated the art of film. Simple. But it never really dawned on me that I could pursue some sort of career in the film industry. I was forced at a very young age to believe that it was impossible and I needed to be “practical” about my future.

So this is how it all started. The stress I mean. I kept going back and forth from my “practical” career choice to my love of movies. This will all make sense soon, just bear with me here. (I know this is a really long passage, but trust, it’s taking longer for me to write this then it is for you to read this.)

In grade 11 and 12 I had insomnia. And I’m not referring to the typical “teenage insomnia”. All teenagers stay up late and have to wake up early for school. It happens. It’s normal. But when I mean insomnia, I mean it was the most frustrating thing in the world. I never slept. I would try so hard to go to sleep, I tried every trick in the book but I couldn’t. I would most times fall asleep around 5am and have to wake up at 7:30. Most times I was late for my first period classes ‘cause I would sleep in. I’m sure there are other teenagers who have had serious cases of insomnia. But for me, I just didn’t know what was really bothering me. I went to the doctor and she had asked me to think hard on what was going on inside of my head, what was troubling me. I didn’t know. She suggested maybe I had lost a childhood friend. And that was true. So I thought maybe that was what was subconsciously nagging at me. The fact that I had drifted apart from my childhood best friend of 13 years did hurt me, so for the next couple of years I thought that that was the reason I couldn’t sleep.

Looking back on it now, as a second year university student, I see it differently.

I used to have mental, emotional, and physical breakdowns in grades 11 and 12. They would come right out of left field. And when they came, they controlled me. I remember vividly the day I came home from school and literally just started crying out of nowhere. There was no particular event that caused me to cry. No particular emotion I was feeling that had initiated my act of crying. And I couldn’t stop crying. It sounds really weird, I know. I would think about why I was crying, didn’t know why, would stop for a couple of moments, but then start to cry again. Sounds pathetic. But I couldn’t help it. My mom thought I was depressed. She called my work for me and told them I was sick so I couldn’t come in that day. That’s how serious it was.

From my point of view, looking back on it almost two years later, I can definitely say that it wasn’t just the fact that I lost my childhood best friend. It may have been an accumulation of that, and maybe even the confusion of losing my faith in religion. But now I can say that the main reason for my random breakdowns was the stress, frustration, and confusion of being lost. Being lost about who I was, and who I was to become.

I never felt like I was in my skin. I was insecure in high school, and crazy shy (hence why I stopped taking drama classes after grade 9 even though I secretly loved it).  I kept going back and forth in choosing the kinds of courses I would take, kept going back and forth from taking creative courses to math courses and science courses, etc. I never felt like I could truly be myself in high school.

Now that I can see all of this in a new light, I can see what was inside my head that caused my insomnia. It was the fact that I was being forced into something I wasn’t. It’s weird as fuck. As a kid, all the grown ups are telling you “Dream big! You can do anything you set your mind to!” and then when you start going through the toughest years of your life as a teenager (in terms of figuring out what you’re going to do in life) they turn around on you and do a complete 180 and say “Sorry, no. You’re dreaming too big, come back to reality and think more “practical.” Excuse me, WHAT!? I hate that with a passion, because it caused me a lot of havoc growing up.

I don’t get it. People praise the kids who take the “practical” approach on education. You know what I mean. You know a kid who says he/she wants to become a psychologist, a doctor, a surgeon, an accountant, a mathematician, a lawyer, or who wants to take marketing or business or advertising or architecture in school. They’re all praised for it, they’re all thinking ‘practically.’ Hell, let’s all give them a cookie for being such good boys and girls. Realistically, half of them haven’t even done their research in their field of career choice. In Canada, I read somewhere that to become a psychologist is the hardest thing to do because there aren’t a lot of jobs in Canada for psychologists, it’s like you’re falling into the statistics of the highest unemployment rate in Canada but these kids are thinking “practically???” And just in general, the list of career choices I’ve listed here are really hard to obtain. It’s not easy, and not everyone can be a surgeon or a lawyer or a successful architect. It takes just as much of luck for these “practical” careers as any other creative careers.

So why do adults give such a hard time to the creative kids out there who say they want to go to school for film studies, for dramatic arts, for fashion, for music, etc.? I’m pretty sure other creative people have gone through similar experiences like mine. For example, I’m sure we know at least one person who took school for something that we immediately thought, “Really? THAT? You’re going to school for that? It just doesn’t seem like you’d be into that.” And then when we finally see them change their major into something that is TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY who they are and what they are interested in albeit being super creative and risk-taking, you see many adults question if they’re doing the right and “practical” thing.

The greatest example I can think of is my cousin Kayla. She’s a true inspiration. At one point she was going to school for funeral services and I remember when some people were like “But Kayla is such a fun personality, so lively and outgoing… why is she going to school for that?” But she finally found the courage to do what she truly loves and that is fashion. And now she’s the happiest person I know. She has big dreams and huge plans for her life, and she’s not afraid to do a little risk-taking in order to obtain it all. I enjoy watching her talk about her education in fashion and about her future plans, and her shutting down anyone who tells her she can’t make it. She’s my hero, and it’s a huge comfort knowing I’m not alone in this.

I’m not hating on people who take programs in school that are considered practical, nor am I belittling them or promoting the idea that they don’t have big dreams. Because they most definitely do, and you have to admire the hustle of a college kid. What I’m trying to say is that some people don’t realize the amount of hard work, effort, strategic planning, and luck needed in succeeding in this world,  no matter what career path you take. YOU CAN HAVE JUST AS PRACTICAL AN APPROACH to a creative career path as any other medicinal, political, or business career path. I’m hating on the adults who praise certain career or educational paths and demote others.

Actually no, scratch that.

I don’t hate my mom for shooting down the very first dream I had about becoming an actress. She raised me the only way she knew how, and I’m sure that’s just how she was raised – to think practically. Society has had some contribution in telling her how to raise her kids, I’m sure. But I’m proud of her. Because although she started out as someone who was telling me to think “realistically” about my future, and she was the person who’s opinions I valued the most and ultimately and consequently caused my stress, frustration and confusion over finding myself, her mind was open and she learned quickly. Now she is my biggest supporter, and encourages me to follow my dreams no matter what.

I’m extremely lucky to have her as my mother and biggest supporter. It gives me great comfort in knowing that if I ever decide to take a risk and move to LA and everything turns to shot and I fail miserably, I can come back to my parents and they’ll accept me back with open arms. That is what you call a true support system. I can fail, but they will continue to support me even when everything goes wrong. And in this way, I know no matter what happens I will be able to pick myself back up. And try again. It’s a whole trial and error process until you get your major breakthrough.

My final words on this topic… guess I’m just trying to say it’s not easy. Nothing is. This life is one big struggle. I think more parents need to sit back and watch their kids grow, let them do their own thing. Trust that they will find their paths in life on their own. If you start controlling them too much, it can only cause destruction and it slows down their development as young adults.

Some food for thought: Why should some kids have to go through what I had to go through and be told that their chosen path isn’t realistic enough while other kids are praised for choosing theirs?

Was looking through my journal and came across a passage that got me thinking

Excerpt from my journal:

August 13, 2012

“And I felt a huge sense of  relief when it was over. I think it’s because I realized I was looking for something he could never give me. And he was never a man I could see myself falling in love with. There was always something about him that threw me off. He just wasn’t for me.”

This passage from my journal means a lot to me. And if you keep reading, I promise this isn’t all lovey dovey shit.

Long story short, I was seeing this guy for about 3 months over the summer. As you can see, our summer romance ended short. But unlike most girls infatuated with a handsome guy, I took the breakup better than most. That’s because I always felt like something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. He was great. A respectful and admirable young man. We rarely fought, and things seemed to be going well. Nonetheless our relationship was subtly off-putting.

Reflecting on it now, I realize why.  He never inspired me. And although he did encourage my writing and push me in the direction towards conquering my fears, which I will forever be thankful for, he never let me do the things he spoke about. He dominated my time, he demanded attention, and in a metaphorical sense sucked the creativity out of me. It’s a really hard concept to explain, but I promise you it makes sense in my head. During the time I was with him, I never wrote. Not one single piece of writing (minus my journal entries, which was ridiculously mostly about him and the times we had, so it wasn’t all that creative).

When it was all over, I instantly felt better. I felt a sense of independence.

OK, OK. Before it was officially over, there was the fight, and that got me depressed, I can’t lie. He told me he was seeing another girl and that he didn’t know who he liked better, me or this girl. In a roundabout way, he was telling me he kept us both around for his convenience until he could decide. Either way, he wins, and one or both of us would lose out when he made his decision to be with one of us or remain single. The son of a bitch dominated my thoughts for the next few days. I kept thinking, “what does this girl have over me?” After a while, it dawned on me how stupid and immature I was being.

The guy barely knew me. We were seeing each other for little over 3 months, not giving either of us enough time to get to know each other truly. So, I stopped being so insecure, realized my great qualities, and moved on. Just like that. I knew I didn’t deserve to be just another option for this selfish guy, so I took myself out of the situation. I told him I was making his life easier by making his decision for him. He could either be with the other girl, or stay single, because I needed to start focusing on improving myself as a person and as a writer. I needed to move on to bigger and better things, and direct my attention towards things that mattered – my education, writing, and future.

I was proud of myself for doing what was best for me, and not giving into infatuation and irrational decisions based purely on emotions that wouldn’t last.

Romance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe I’m being cynical, but it’s my opinion. That being said I haven’t given up hope about finding love. It’ll happen eventually, I know it. For right now though, it’s not all that necessary. I’m still young, and I personally find the road to success much more exciting.

Inspired Writing vs Forced Writing (and why we writers should do both)

For a very long time, ever since I’ve come to terms that I wanted to be a writer, I’ve always thought it was better to be an inspired writer, rather than a writer who forces themselves to write. And I still believe in my theory to a certain degree, but I’ve been enlightened with another thought.

Let me explain to you what I mean by “inspired writing” and “forced writing.” Inspired writing is when something happens to you in life, and you want to write about it. Or when you hear snippets of interesting, witty, clever dialogue in everyday conversations (yours, or in some cases when you eavesdrop on other people’s conversations), and you come up with a great story from it. Or when you are taught amazing life lessons from people close to you, and you want to share this newly found wisdom with others through your writing. Forced writing is when you’re not inspired. Forced writing is when you sit yourself down, and don’t know what to write about, so you end up writing things that aren’t all that powerful, or quite frankly, not well written. I always found that my forced writing was bland.

However, I’ve always heard that writers absolutely need to write every single day, that they need to force themselves to write through writing exercises, dream journals, diaries, picture prompts, etc. But I never really thought they were entirely right. I had my own opinions, they had theirs. I preferred my inspired writing over their forced writing.

Then, someone on twitter told me “If I could give my past self advice, it would be to force myself to write everyday.” And then it suddenly dawned on me. I don’t entirely know why this guy got through to me the way he did, it wasn’t like it was the first time I’ve heard this before. I guess it was because he was telling me this directly, someone took the time out of their day to actually write me a personal message and tell me that he regretted that he didn’t write everyday, that I should start writing everyday while I’m young because it will benefit me greatly in the future.

Obviously it wasn’t like I figured this all out at the exact moment he told me this – I had to run this through my head for  a while. Eventually, I realized that it is extremely important for writers to write everyday, even if it’s forced writing. We have to exercise our writing muscle, like an everyday ritual – like going to the gym, like brushing your teeth, etc. If we don’t practice our writing everyday, we won’t get any better at it.

The way I view it now, is that writers should practice writing everyday, whether it’s forced or not, to prepare themselves. Because one day, you’ll get inspired, and you’ll be inspired to write the greatest piece you’ve ever written. And when that moment comes, you best be prepared for it.

My Professor, the modern Dumbledore

Today, I met up with my Children’s Lit. prof. to discuss my essay. 

And all I could think of is how much he looked and talked like Professor Dumbledore, and how much I wished I was at Hogwarts.

But besides that, this man likes to talk. And I mean he likes to talk a lot. Often, when he’s giving lectures in class, he likes to wander off into whichever way his mind takes him to. He loses much of his audience by ranting on about completely different stories that seem to have nothing to do with the lecture topics. And then the problem with this is that a lot of students don’t completely grasp the fact that he’s actually brilliant. This man says what he says – albeit the fact that he wanders off in his lectures – for a reason. Everything he says ties together, and relates to what we’re talking about, and in the end actually brings something new to the table.

People don’t realize this though. I’ve heard plenty of students say he’s just a crazy old man and he likes to tell stories or that they don’t really learn anything from him.

They’re obviously wrong. The trick is simply to listen. But listen WELL. While he is story telling, you have to decipher what the true message of his whole rant is. You have to analyze everything he is saying, right down to the minuscule details, and try to relate it back to the first topic he was lecturing about.

He’s too clever of a man to hand it out to you. You have to earn what he’s giving. 

I guess it paid off for me to be a great listener. (It’s actually what I always do, I’m the listener in my group of friends – sometimes people ask me why I’m so quiet. And more importantly, as a writer I’m always listening in for great snippets of dialogue, and I’m always trying to memorize them in my head, taking note of interesting discussions so I can write about them later… just as I am doing now.)

One thing really stood out to me. At one point he was trying to tell me something, and I couldn’t figure out what and immediately thought he was just giving constructive criticism so I assumed, “Oh, you just want me to stick to the point and shorten that part up a bit, right?” And he responds, “No! Actually, on the contrary, I like it just the way it is. I was wrestling in my head whether or not to change it, because my first instinct was to do so, but then now that I’ve read it over again I really like your style of writing. I say keep it just the way you’ve put it there. You’re winning these battles in my head already Ms. Viveiros, that’s a good sign!”

I thoroughly liked the conversations I had with him today. See, after this magnificently long story – about how he wasn’t able to form a fully functional argument until his 4th year in university, and he’d always try and try and try but never really got it right because his god damn professors were useless, and how he had to figure it out all by himself, and that he found it interesting to see a 2nd year student write so effortlessly and how she at such a early stage in her writing career could already foresee what she was doing wrong with her essay – I realized what he was really trying to say…

He was pretty much trying to tell me that I’m brilliant. No big deal. 😉