Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Protagonist Club: End of Summer Shenanigans

As I have mentioned, my best friend Lieutenant Sarcasm and I are working on the story Protagonist Club. To summarize: Justine Fischer and Serenity Fontaine, two freshmen who have learned magic, go around having adventures and saving the world (or at least, the neighborhood).

But why should they get all the fun?

Since last weekend was the last one before school starts (tomorrow, yay…) and also the weekend after my birthday, the honorable Lieutenant and I decided to have a lot of fun.

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First: we watched Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Oh, man. So much potential. But what did they do to my Annabeth? Clarisse kicked ass, but who says there’s a maximum of one kick-ass girl per movie? Shame, shame.

Next, we wandered around the mall. I was reminded strongly of freshman and sophomore years, when I cared about what clothes I wore and was trying to acquire things in order to create a personal style. Silly girl. Creativity is subtraction, and I don’t have time to care about clothes (watch me swallow my words later).

At the Lieutenant’s house, we watched the first season of Sherlock. To anyone who might have tried unsuccessfully to get me to watch it before: don’t say “I told you so”. I knew I’d like the series, I just was unwilling to take time away from something else to watch it. The time has to be built in for me to justify spending time watching a TV show, no matter how superb.

Make no mistake, it was superb. For the people who live under bigger rocks than I do: the BBC show Sherlock is Sherlock Holmes in modern London with the same deductive processes and many of the same characters and spliced-together plotlines. Also, shipping.

Sunday afternoon we’d had enough time in front of a screen watching stuff (I practically never watch TV at home since I’m too busy wasting time on the computer to waste time watching shows) so we walked to the nearby canyon.

That’s right, canyon.

It’s not a particularly big canyon, but a canyon it is, with trails and trees and rocks and a creek. The Lieutenant knows all about plants and wildlife and I learned what an oak tree looks like, that bay leaves are a natural mosquito repellent, that squirrels make a weird chirping noise, that trees can grow through rock, and that my climbing skills have atrophied considerably since I was eight.

We wandered off the trail, climbing over stuff, hiking through grass, dodging other people. How fun would it be to hold capture the flag in such a place? A public park/canyon, with plenty of opportunity for ambush and hiding.

After an hour of hiking around it was time for ice cream and funny Youtube videos, and then I went home in infamy for not having called home right away when I woke up. But it was worth it.

NB: not my canyon, but similar
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So. I don’t usually do day-in-the-life-of posts like this, so I thought I should explain a little more why.

Two levels: 1) why have days like this? 2) why write about them on a blog?

1) Fun. Spending time with awesome friends. Story fodder.

I’m going to write a post later on about all the movie-like things I’ve watched this summer and how they’ve influenced me, so I’ll be brief on this point. Essentially: watching movies and TV shows with long episodes are another way of consuming stories, with lessons to extract on structure, characterization, etc.

Walking in the canyon: raw knowledge, adding to the storehouse of experiences. Being out of doors has a way of heightening senses. Being out of doors with a friend who knows more about nature than you do keeps you alert to all the ways in which you are ignorant and causes an urge to greater curiosity and observation of details.

2) As usual, I have selfish and general reasons. General reason: others might find this post useful somehow. The codification of “everything you do can feed your creative work” and “relaxed input days are necessary” may help someone, somewhere.

Selfish reason: school starts tomorrow. I’m going to be crazy busy (I only have five classes this year since, alas, there’s no way I can get AP Comp Sci) and won’t have time for long writing sessions, much less sleepovers and movie nights. So I’m writing this post for myself, so I can remember from what I am scaling down my leisure.

Thus, for future reference, a recipe for productive down time (oxymoron? I think not):
  • consume stories
  • get fresh air
  • spend time with friends.

Wish me luck.

-

Music for today courtesy of Lieutenant Sarcasm's good taste:


A Good Day (Morning Song) - Priscilla Ahn

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