Archive for August 2007

Writing Challenge   Leave a comment

I’m in my final year of college, which means I can either go ape-crazy trying to lure gullible freshmen back to my lair of love, or really plan for the near future and set myself up to actually use my degree. So far things are going well, my classes and the whole registration process went smoothly. Howard Univeristy historically has notoreity for bad administration, but this time I had no issues. I logged onto Bisonweb, added my classes and I’m good to go. Add one semi-painful shot in the arm courtesy of the University Health center and I have what I consider a full day. I took a trip to Georgetown today, just to walk around and checkout a sale at Urban Outfitters. I do a little graphic design on the side, and I’m always inspired by seeing graphic tees that remind me how possible it is to break into the logo-tee fashion niche. I also saw some Chuck Klosterman books, which reminds me of my current project, “3 weeks” which is written in that self-effacing narrative.
I think the near future will hold good things, and I’ll detail the processes of my writing. This semester i’m taking a scriptwriting class, which is interesting, because I’ve already penned two full length scripts and a treatment. I’ll get the technical breakdown of the writing process that will take me from amateur to professional. I’ll be doing some more writing for “3 weeks”, which is
pretty much a non-fiction narrative about a guy (moi) who wants to find out what to do with his life in a month stay at home (Jamaica) during this period (unbeknownst to me when I started the book ) I end up partying hard, meeting interesting foreign women (and old flames), go through a hurricane, lose touch with a girl I love and make interesting observations on Jamaican culture and how they relate to my perception of myself and life on a whole… Either way, the project is a departure from my fiction writing, where I like to say I write: “…Like Dean Koontz, but not really.” I was reading On Writing by Stephen King, and he made mention of “in between” writing projects, which allow a writer to breathe before hitting a heavy topic. So, “3 weeks” (or soon to be ‘4 weeks’) was my breather project. A little bit about me, where I’m from and how Jamaica is cool/weird all at the same time. Its a little scary to write it, because it speaks a lot about my personal life, and i’ve always been a little gaurded about my “man-secrets”. Its fun though, and  almost written in the fashion of this blog, albeit with more random references and a coherent story flow. I have to say writing that project (I hit 85 pages after two weeks) was fun, because I had to pace it based on things I was doing. If I wasn’t doing anything, I didn’t write, so it was literally a ‘work in progress’. I took a break for a week, partied hard and had at least another twenty pages of material type up. Then Hurricane Dean hit, and that night I added 6 more pages. My goal is almost achieved. I wanted to type no more than 120 pages for the entire project, and I’m at 91 page now. I belive the story can end after another 29 pages. To balance my effforts, I will try to punch out most of those pages this weekend in my school lab (free paper!) and then do the preliminary editing myself.

I’m planning on creating a group called “10 readers” which is a writing pool of ten people that are set to read one project, give thoughts, observations on errors and writing style, with the intention of polishing the project as best as possible. With ten people, I think opinions and error spotting would be well spread and a project can be fixed up much faster. Plus, a person could brag that they had “over ten people” read their book (they would be number 11). A work in progress.

Time for me to watch some television or continue plotting for my cribs-esque house.

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Posted August 27, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Back in DC :p   Leave a comment

I’m back in Washington DC after a grueling 24-hour journey through an unpowered airport, a stop by a friend in Miami, and then multiple planes, crappy food and a slight headache. I’m back on terra-firma, my academic stomping ground. Its interesting coming back. I had so much fun at home that DC almost feels unfamiliar, as if I haven’t spent the better part of seven years here. My room looks like it normally does, a little rough around the edges, but everything works. I turn the A/C on and it hums a little too loudly, my internet connection is up and running and the sky looks like it normally does, a little too gray for my liking.

Trips to the states have taught me how to be calm. The first thing I learned about traveling to America as as student: They do not care where you come from. It doesn’t matter if your flight is connecting in forty-five minutes, or if your father owns all the land in Tunisia. If you aren’t American, you can be bullied, threatened and quite easily delayed. As an international student, I occassionally get put in “the room”, which is a cramped space in the corner of the Immigrations Floor in the Miami airport. To verify my documents and my sutdent status, took over two and a half hours. Half a novel and a grumbling stomach later, I was sent on my merry way, not before the person attending to my case said “Damn” after asking me to take my hat off. I was exhausted and not amused. But I wasn’t the most ill-treated person in that room. I saw a man with his family face disgrace when he asked one of the officers a question. All he received was a shrug and the statement “You aren’t American.” Then another officer, with a large gut, military buzz cut and a piggish-nose told them to sit down. Many times he walked around, threating people about their cell phone use, demanding they sit down. I almost laughed when he came near to me to reprimand a man trying to sneak a call. “I cart criminals for my job dude.” He said in his i’m-a-bad-mofo voice. Either way, I ended up missing all the flights leaving for DC last night and ended up going into Miami to chill with a family friend. I believe this was meant to be. I stayed with my “aunt” (we call everyone Aunt in Jamaica) and she had an amazing house. At every turn I half-expected to see at MTV cribs crew lurking in the shadows, snapping footage. It was a beautiful house, with high ceilings, great tiling complete with “big room with flat screen TV”. Being a pair of doctors in America really has its benefits. I was happy to spend the night there, because in some ways, going into that house gave me a glimpse into the future, when I too might walk into my nice Villa-esque house and laugh wiht my neighbours about how my prize horse has a case of the runs.

The hurricane seems to almost be a distant memory now as I write this. The night of the hurricane was challenging in some ways, with flooding issues in the house, a missing window and and an onslaught of mosquitoes. Even though I spent the entire day attending to all things house involved, at the end of the night I wrote six pages chronicling the entire saga, which is currently on my sister’s laptop. Whenever I get access to that document i’ll put some of it in this blog. I’m tired an hungry, but I feel like i’ve achieved a few interesting things recently. I planned to write a book while I was in Jamaica, and currently, I’m almost there. I’ve acheived “basic novel length” which is 50,000 words (50,091 to be exact), I made a few interesting contactws regarding doing some magazine writing and I’ve made some goals for the near future. School isn’t even looking that bad. Two classes in particular i’m looking forward to are, Screenwriting and Cinematography. These classes and a few others will make me decide whether or not i’m interested in doing a masters in something related to film. I still feel a tad light-headed, so until I blog again, ciao.

Posted August 22, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

HURRICANE DAY   Leave a comment

celly.jpgI’m sitting in my computer room, looking outside at sheets of rain that are rippling in the air like wind blowing a towel in the breeze. Its Sunday, August19, and right now I’m waiting on the arrival of Hurricane Dean. So far, I haven’t been watching the weather channel, because they seem to be on a scare campaign worse than the U.S. They keep making references to “Katrina” and Dean, as well as projecting several worst case scenarios. When posted yesterday, I didn’t have any fear in my system, until I saw that should the storm fall and grow into a category 5, then we’d be in BIG trouble. Category 5 storms eat homes and people for breakfast. Yesterda, the Prime Minister issued a nationwide message, noting that power would be shut off in the entire Ilsand by 10 a.m (soon!) and then water would be cut off soon after. So i’m here, hoping for the best, but that’s probably all wishful thinking. We work on a system of phone credit here in Jamaica, and I checked my balance today. In the usual message that pops up on screen, which has the balance of my account, they also have a message. “Prepare for Hurricane Dean and move to higher ground

if necessary.”

You know a storm is bad when the phone company starts wishing you well. My mother informs me the hurricane is moving south, meaning the eye is probably not going to pass over the island. Its still going to be bad, she says, and I think about when the Eye of a hurricane passes over and island. Its like the anteater pushing his snout into a terminte colony.

I made a lot of phone calls last night, and I’m waiting for the power to go out. I wanted a hug yesterday but now I don’t know…I think I need something else, something I can’t have: Security.

See you after the storm.

Posted August 19, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Hurricanes Suck… Hug me   Leave a comment

impending doomWow.

I haven’t been in a Hurricane since 1988, when Hurricane Gilbert hit the island. It hit on September 12, 1988 as a Category 4 hurrican on the Saffir-Simpson scale. I was young then, and I remember hearing the winds howling over head, and bits and pieces of my house flying away like so many trees and pieces of Zinc fences. The last major hurrican to hit Jamaica was hurrican Ivan…. and I heard the horror stories. My sister told me how the house was flooded and they were marooned in a particular section of the house, having to stay there for no less than two months because of water accumulation everywhere else. Bad roofing caused leaks and even more flooding in other parts of the house, and it was a nightmare. I was at school in the states when Ivan hit in 2004 and now, three days before my scheduled flight to leave the Island i’m smack dab in the path of an oncoming monster. Only four days ago it was a tropical storm, but now its churning up the seas and gearing up to becoming a category five if its strength holds. Regardless of what happens, such hurricanes are quite devastating and very dangerous. My father is going out to buy some books to read, food and various other supplies to deal with the aftermath of the storm. (i.e No power, limited transportation, no gas, no internet, no nothing!). My take on the whole thing? I mean it sucks that I have to be here when it happens of course, but there isn’t anything I can do. A hurrican doens’t sit and watch Airline schedules or read horoscopes with the hopes that it coincides with your month of bad luck.

Anthropomorphism aside, I’ll be in the blackness of radio silence for at least a few days, probably more, so I wanted to put this post up before the storm hits. Today is a beautiful day. There isn’ t a cloud in the sky. Its a shimmering blue ceiling of nothingness, with bright sun rays shining down on everything especially bright. To most it would seem like any other day, but to me right now it seems like a warning, scary and foreboding. I hope it all works out.

My basic plan of operation is to grab a few books to pass the time. Possibly a personal flashlight and some candy for those long dark nights. I’m going to charge up my Ipod (a paltry 16 hour behemoth) and watch a few movies before Monday. I’ll stock up on some of my favourite snacks, like Bun & Cheese and a lot of Ting soda and then prepare myself mentally by doing some deep breathing. I have no idea if I’ll be going out tonight. In preparation for my departure back to school, I’ve been going out almost every night, and i’m sure the streets will be packed with people trying to get in one last drink or a dutty wine before their houses are awash with water and leaves, but i’ll probably be holed up in my house, watching the sky.

A day go a friend of mine told me to look on the bright side, “At least”, she said, “I’ll be able to get some great pictures.” I chuckled when I heard this at first (I like a lot of people, still though the storm was on its way elsewhere) but when I saw her again the day before the storm, there was no more laughter in her eyes. A storm of this magnitude is real. It rips trees from their roots, sends them hurtling through the air and it takes lives. The Electoral process will have to be postponed indefinitely, the fragile technological and economic infrastructure will be turned upside down for a few weeks, and productivity will come to a screeching halt for a while. Its a sad state of affairs when these things happen, but such is life they say. After hearing about this storm I’m realizing a few things. The first thing is that i’m guessing most of my friends don’t know a Hurricane is going to hit Jamaica, because I haven’t had a flurry of facebook messages telling me to “pack up some food” and “be safe”, etcetera. My friends are probably chilling in the states, drinking and watching reruns of the Colbert Report on Youtube. It doesn’t matter.

The second thing I realize is that its pointless to even want well wishes in the face of an inevitability. Its just try and get as comfortable as possible, prepare for extreme radio silence and the disappearance of all things technological, and figure out how to call American Airlines when all the phone lines and cell towers are down. Like this post said, Hurricanes suck, and I need a hug.

Posted August 18, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Good Will Hunting   Leave a comment

I’m watching this movie for maybe the fifth time, and chills run through me again as I see the amazing scene between Minnie Driver and Matt Damon, where their characters, Skylar and Will have that tense, expertly worded scene about love. Personally, that scene (along with the inevitable reconciliatoin with Will’s psychiatrist, played by Robin Williams) always gives me a rush. Minnie is so believable in this role, I can see why it affects me. Like most of the audiences who watch these films, I almost genuinely believe these characters could be in love. Maybe people can teach monkeys to do sign language, and rats to hop throug hoops, but I can’t imagine learning how to cry like that. Either way, I’m watching this film to feel a touch of life again. Next to Contact, starring another startlet of mine, Jodie Foster,

this movie reminds me of a man’s search for his own meaning. Ewill24.jpgEven a super-genius with love issues needs to find himself. So maybe a average

joe like moi can find himself too. Emoticon time… :p

Posted August 17, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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