Category Archives: Diary (Personal)

(Why) Do I Care About Race?

This is something I get asked a lot. For all the crap that’s going on in my part of the world, race issues aren’t one of them since basically only one race lives here. Also, due to the way things are constructed, people are more concerned about someone’s ethnicity than race. Plus, we are white. Racial issues are of no immediate concern to me. So, why do I bother? It has nothing to do with me.

It would be nice to say something like: “I am interested because this issue is something that should concern all people”, which is partly true, but it’s not the complete answer.

The thing is, it does have a lot to do with me, though in an indirect way. But since some things are too close to home to think about them straight, it’s good to think about stuff such as privilege, oppression, collective identities and various mechanisms that guide human actions through a different way they manifest themselves.

I guess this is what makes the race discussion so familiar for me even if it doesn’t have much to do with my own culture. This is what I found interesting: with all the unfamiliar stuff there were always things that I was familiar with.

It also helped me in other ways. It made me understand America (= USA) better, for good or the bad, since my previous experience was either through Hollywood, my culture’s views on it or its views on my culture. None of it speaks much about America the way it is.

Plus – and let’s not forget about it – I’ve met many great people through these websites.

That being said, I am not active on the “race” websites anymore. I guess that I got too involved at one point, and when I get involved in any sort of a political issue, I usually run away. When I start feeling it concerns me, I stop discussing it and writing about it. This is the main reason I don’t write about Balkans or my experience with it. I guess it’s too personal. So maybe that’s the reason I’m not that involved with the race discussion websites anymore? Or maybe it’s because most of my friends left?

In any case, that doesn’t change my motives for dealing with this issue.

New post ideas

I wanted to write a clever post on why I don’t update so often. It’s not like I don’t have time for my site, and it’s not like I’m not interested in jefflion.net anymore. And it’s not like I don’t have ideas: I have tons of ideas.

I just… Can’t. It happens to me when I’m depressed, or anxious, or when I worry. I become so fucking unproductive in those situations. I also suffer from insomnia. I can’t sleep at night. I just can’t.

But to make this post somewhat positive, here are some post ideas:

Race & yours truly (race blogs, racism, and what’s in it for me, because I’m white and I’m non-Westerner, so it’s not an issue that usually affects people in my part of the world. Unlike, you know, almost all the other issues you can think of).
Movie reviews (I love doing movie reviews, and I don’t even care if a movie is new or not. I’ve been planning on doing a review for In Bruges for so long, and there are also some new films I’m interested in: new Sherlock Holmes or Tin Tin, or just some little independent movie I watched and loved).
Stereotypes about Eastern Europeans (that are actually true).
Novel writing (How to and How Not To)
Vampires and the Balkans (and the way popular representations of vampires, based on stories about Dracula, were actually formed as cautionary tales about the wild Balkans, a dangerous region that can corrupt the West – yes, that’s right kids, there’s an ugly story behind this).

Anyway, this song always makes me feel better for some reason:

NaNoWriMo is here again!

There’s a reason for not blogging so long. I’ve been busy with NaNoWriMo, first outlining and doing a research, and then writing. To be honest, I’m still busy, but I felt like ignoring this blog wasn’t the best idea.

So, I present you my NaNo novel, The Demise of the Elm Trees (it’s a working title but I like it).

This novel is special for a couple of reasons. This is the first time I write in English (and yes, I’m shit scared of it, thanks for asking). My level of language self-esteem is quite low to non-existent. But if I ever think to grow as a writer I need to learn now to do this, so NaNo seemed like a good opportunity to try.

It’s also the first time I write a YA (Young Adult) novel. Consciously, at least. I believe many of my early novels (those beautiful and embarrassing and amazing and face-palm and nostalgic teen efforts) were also YA, but I was unfamiliar with the label back then. Why YA? In part, because I’m a sucker for coming of age stories, and in part because YA doesn’t require complicated style or advanced English.

I’ll share more about the story later (if there are people interested to read about it), but for now, I present you the writing rules (or you could say it’s more of a process?) I set for my NaNo novel:

1. Write now, worry about grammar later. Try to record your thoughts on the electronic paper without worrying about the grammar structure, appropriate words and idioms, and especially not about that fucking thing called “past tenses in English language”. (Or the most evil aspect of them, the Present Perfect vs Past Perfect issue). Oh no, don’t worry about it now.

2. When first draft is finished, write a second one. Fix the plot, characters and stuff.

3. Check your information Do your research again. Check every single thing, from school policies, drama classes and copyright to pop cultural references and important events. Make sure everything is plausible.

4. Speaking of which, make sure it seems like 1994. Do a double check on slang (especially regional, including, but not limited to Seattle). Do a double check on technology. Fashion. Pop culture all over again. And then, slang one more time.

5. Fix your grammar the best you can. (There’s no point in doing this before the step 5 if you need to change your sentences and write new ones).

6. Grow a pair and ask a few unsuspecting victims beta readers to read it. They will have a demanding task of checking your story/writing, your information and your grammar, but that’s what friends are for, right?

Get to know me: Some questions

I found this a while ago (not sure about the source), and I thought I might use it for the new visitors who don’t know much about me… Or when I want to make a quick blog post.

Were you considered popular in high school? Why or why not?

No way! Quite the contrary, I was the most unpopular. I mean, literally: I was voted the most unpopular person in my class when I was 16.

I have no idea why, though. I guess being socially awkward has something to do with it.

Did you have an enemy or bully when you were young?

Yes. I’ve been bullied a lots of times. Not sure if this requires more elaborate answer. It sucks because I was sometimes bullied by the adults, too.

How often do you go over the speed limit?

I don’t drive. I don’t have a driver’s license.

What was your worst dating experience?
I guess it was with a guy who did it because he lost the bet and he had to ask me out. He didn’t even try to conceal this fact during our date.

How old are you in your dreams?

My age, I guess.

Do you dance like crazy, when no one is looking?

Oh, yes! Well, I think I’m a good dancer, I have rhythm and I’m not shy to show it. But I don’t like being watched, so I do it when nobody’s around.

Do you like to sing in the shower?

No, not really. But I used to do it when I was about 8 and obsessed with the Little Mermaid. Don’t ask.

What do sing in the shower, if you do sing?

Like I said, songs from Disney’s the Little Mermaid. I don’t do it anymore, though.

What do you do when (you think) no one is looking?

I talk to myself. I can get very expressive. I sometimes talk in English. Now, technically, I don’t really talk to myself, I am trying to come up with believable dialogue for my stories.

When you were younger, did you ever drink too much and get sick?

No, but I can get drunk quickly so I just stop drinking when I realize I’m drunk.