My Hobbies!

You may have noticed I kind of have a lot going on. This is where you can see a little summary of all the things I'm interested in.

Most people who write would consider it a "hobby," so I'm putting it here, but I don't consider myself just a person who writes now and then to pass the time. I'm a writer. There's a difference.

That said, writing takes up a significant portion of my attention and time. I've got a fantasy series signed to a literary agent, and she's currently submitting to publishers trying to get me a book deal with a large publisher. I'm working on tweaking some other projects so they can be in the pipeline if this comes through. I also write nonfiction, primarily on the topic of asexuality, and my long nonfiction (also represented by a literary agent--a different one) sold to a publisher. The book was published on September 2, 2014.

Anyway, I'd say I'm primarily a novelist, and I also love writing short stories, essays, rants, poetry, and letters. Some of my articles are published. You can sample this stuff on my writing page.

This goes hand in hand with writing; I'm an editor. However, even though I do edit for money occasionally through some freelance contracts, when I talk about doing it for a hobby I mean I sometimes help other people with their work as well as editing my own.

When asked by a writer in need, I usually agree to look at a couple pages. I can normally identify writers' strengths and weaknesses based on a very small sample, and I can give recommendations.

I've also been known to "edit" signs in stores and point out typos in public places to the extent that it annoys people. But misuse of language is something that really sticks out to me, and I can spot anything from glaring typos to minor variations in form many pages apart. It's something I do well and on the side, though not really "for fun."

I've kept a daily journal since the beginning of the year 2000, and I am also a frequent blogger and obsessive documenter. I love to make lists and organize information, as you may have noticed from this page.

I've kept some semblance of a diary since childhood, though, even when it was more effective at my age to draw pictures. You might enjoy paging through my journals page if you're interested in sampling some of it. My handwritten journals are usually pretty boring as they just document what I did that day; I usually save my ranting, philosophy, and long-winded essays for the Internet.

What self-respecting author doesn't read? I've always been a voracious reader (though my creative projects have stolen my drive to take in as much as I put out), and when I was a kid I tore through books like popcorn.

I mostly like reading speculative fiction. I like science fiction and fantasy, but tend to be turned off by the most common aspects of both (space fights, aliens, robots, time travel for science fiction; swords-and-sorcery, dragons, pseudo-medieval period novels, quests for fantasy). I like realistic protagonists and character-oriented, dramatic fiction. I also like young adult and children's books, and I've got a taste for social and scientific nonfiction. I'm always in the middle of at least one book. Look at my favorites or what I've recently read.

I love to read in general, but one thing I specifically like is a certain manga: Eyeshield 21.

Other than ES21, I don't really have a collection of Japanese comics; I have some here and there but nothing I collect religiously. However, I love this comic about American football so much that I started collecting it, as well as reading translated issues fresh out of Japan when they came out every week when it was still being released.

It's hard to justify this as a "hobby" when it really only revolves around one series, but considering I read each issue loyally, belonged to a board to discuss it, and have dragged several of my friends into enjoying it with me, I have to count it.

I'm not a great artist, but I really enjoy doodling, sketching, and drawing. Usually the drawings I do are in some way related to my writing. I specialize in drawing my characters, and it helps me nail down what they look like and provides visual aids for my readers.

I've gotten a lot of practice through doing my two webcomics, but the "realistic" comic is pencil sketch, and color mostly escapes me when it comes to realism. That said, I do like to attack paper with Sharpies or Copics and come up with some interesting cartoons now and then. You can see the sorts of things I do at my doodles page.

One of my webcomics is a constant presence in my life, being that it goes up once a week and I must always have a plot made, ten or so frames drawn, and a new online issue made before the clock hits midnight on Friday.

I started my webcomic, Negative One, on May 20, 2005. It depicts the distant history of some characters created for my fantasy series, The House That Ivy Built. It's done in realistic pencil sketches which are then decorated with talk bubbles and arranged on the Internet. I never plan to publish it as I don't believe my art skills are very good. Regardless of medium, it's an important story for me, and I really enjoy sharing these characters. My other comic, So You Write, is a manga style comic full of autobiographical experiences surrounding being a writer.

This is pretty obvious, because you're reading this on my website, so I don't have to tell you that working on my website is one of my hobbies. But I do want to point out that it is a hobby and that I enjoy organizing and presenting information like this. I kind of get ribbed by people now and then for putting so much crap about myself on the Internet, but I have fun detailing all the small and large aspects of my life in this medium, and considering most of the people who say this sort of thing to me probably spend more time watching TV than I spend on this site, I don't think they can really talk.

That said, I'm self-taught as far as Web design goes, and I don't consider learning to design a very important goal--I'm not trying to do it for profit or anything. It's an avenue for content, not a work of art, in this case. I keep it very up to date and enjoy working on it.

I'm a big music lover and my musical taste is REALLY eclectic. You can check out my music page here to see exactly how varied and comprehensive it is.

I occasionally get to concerts, but usually my enjoyment of music is limited to listening in my home or on my mp3 player. I can't listen to music while I'm writing or doing anything that requires the verbal half of my brain, though, so I tend to let music accompany me when I'm baking or while I'm drawing, and I tend to like to have music on as a background for social interaction. It all works out.

I've got a decent voice and I like to use it. I've been singing since I was a little kid and I love making up harmony and singing along with anything I can. I will do pop, children's songs, folk, art songs, show tunes . . . anything I can. Once in a while I even write a song, but they're usually pretty limited and embarrassing.

I majored in music in college for a while and my instrument was voice, so I've had a little instruction, and I love singing in harmony in chorus groups or duets. I like to share my recordings with the world on YouTube and my own listening page.

Since I love to sing, it only makes sense that I'd enjoy the opportunity to perform for a willing audience.

Sometimes my friends and I go to karaoke rooms, where we have the place to ourselves and can act as silly as we want. But we do the more traditional (for America, anyway) bar-style karaoke sometimes too. It's a pain to put up with noise, bad singing, and drunk people, but it's still a great deal of fun to go out there and just get on the stage in front of random people.

You can listen to me singing on my listen page.

When I was a music major, my instrument was voice, but part of the requirement was that we all had to learn other instruments, especially piano.

I have an electronic keyboard and like to play it now and then, and my father gave me piano lessons sporadically when I was a kid. I can accompany myself badly and play a few pieces that sound decent, but I'm not much more than a musical tinkerer. I'm self-taught and pretty amateur on ukulele. I also own a violin, a guitar, a ukulele, a recorder, and a set of drumsticks, and I have some knowledge of playing the instruments I own, plus trumpet, trombone, clarinet, flute, and some percussion.

Musicals are a special sub-section of music that I enjoy, and I think the theatre crowd would agree that its fans and its performers are their own culture.

I've never participated in musical theatre myself, but I love going to see the plays and learning the songs and sometimes performing them for fun. Also, appreciation of theatre runs in my family; my grandmother was a pro and sang on Broadway several times, and we're all a little artsy. I tend to prefer musicals to opera or non-musical theatre, though I'll enjoy these from time to time too.

Anime isn't really an "activity," but for many years I used to go to a social meeting at which we'd watch an hour and a half of anime together, though now I've moved away from the city where we held those meetings. I enjoy Japanese animation with some of my other friends individually or in groups, and the whole thing kinda has its own subculture that I'm on the fringe of.

I have been known to go to the very occasional anime convention. I've dressed up for a few of them, though I don't sew well enough that I've made a costume worthy of a prize. It's fun to go to the cons, though, and check out new or obscure shows, attend the panels, and of course hit the dealer rooms. I am not a fanatic, but I am a fan!

I've been playing tennis here and there since I was a kid; I think I started taking lessons as a young teenager, but that didn't last long and I never got very good. I also used to play my dad sometimes, but he always beat me. I'm glad he didn't go easy on me.

Now I live at an apartment complex with its own tennis court, so sometimes I can play with a friend. I love the exercise and the challenge. I play pretty good for a tiny girl and I have a pretty impressive two-handed backhand. I also kill at ping-pong.

I play DDR, which if you don't know is a video game. I don't regularly play any other video games, but this is more like a physical activity because "dancing" is involved. The screen displays arrows, and the player has to step on the matching arrows on a footpad at certain times. At the faster speeds, this both looks sort of like a dance and provides great exercise.

I play on the Expert level, but I wouldn't win any contests. I can pass high-level songs, and I have the game at home so I can play for free OR in the arcade when it suits me.

I don't drive, so my bike is my primary mode of transportation. I don't really go bicycling for entertainment in and of itself, but it is good exercise, and I've been known to bike long distances just so I won't have to depend on someone else to take me somewhere they don't want to go.

I have fun with my specially decorated bike that's all my own style, and I do appreciate the fact that it affords me a way to get around without contributing to pollution--or paying for gas!

I don't do much in the way of actual cooking, but I love baking from scratch. I can make cookies, cakes, brownies, pies, bread . . . you name it!

I keep a recipes page for my favorites, and I tend to go into baking overdrive when holidays hit. Specifically, Pagan holidays are a great excuse to bake, and I've been known to go overboard trying to whip up all kinds of seasonal recipes only to have to give most of the food away.

I'm a vegetarian and I even know some vegan recipes (yes, you can make vegan muffins and cakes!), and I love to bake with friends. It's a great activity to combine with a visit.

I love arts and crafts. Though most of my craftiness sticks to the more traditional pencil art, I do like to put together collages, make flower arrangements, and pretend I can sew.

If I had more time and more drive, I'd probably learn more about decoupage, sewing, and scrapbooking, but I've got so much on my plate already that my crafting really just wiggles its way into other areas of my life as a side activity. Nevertheless, it deserved a mention!

I am by no stretch of the imagination an artistic photographer, but I use my camera frequently, and I love capturing memories. I think this runs in my family; my grandmother and I both have scads of photo albums, though most of mine are now exclusively online.

I have never studied photography and am not "serious" about it at all, but what I do like is capturing the feeling of a time and . . . of course . . . documenting. I prefer to photograph people over objects or scenery or animals. It's just my preference. You can see my photo page if you're interested in finding out more.

I'm a rather crafty person, so it stands to reason that I like to extend my creativity to my living quarters. I make flower arrangements, frame pictures, and arrange candles for particular effects . . . in association with the seasons. I redecorate eight times a year.

This is in relation to my practice of Paganism; I like the inside of my house to reflect whatever season it is, and I re-do the entire altar section of my apartment as well as replacing potpourri arrangements, seasonally appropriate scented candles, garlands in the living room, tissue boxes in the bathroom, and table runners on my entryway table. It's a nice way to be in the spirit all season long.

I guess this is kind of a weird one, but I really enjoy searching for four-leaf clovers, and I'm very good at it.

I can tell when I go into a field of clovers whether it's the type that will have four-leafed ones in it, and if it is, I'll usually find a few. Sometimes I pick them. Sometimes I just like to find them.

I've found over a hundred, I'm sure, and when I was a kid I used to press them and keep them, but my mom accidentally sold the book I stored them in at a yard sale once and I lost the drive. Heh.

I don't subscribe to any belief that I get more good luck because of this, but it is really fun to try to find them.

I love plants and being in nature, but I've lived in an apartment for a long time, so I have to be content with gardening in pots. I have in the past attempted to grow my own herbs for use in Crafting and the kitchen, but lately I haven't done much but water my plants.

Someday I'd like to have a "real" garden where I can plant these guys in the ground, but this is one of my hobbies that I've been pretty lukewarm on all along. I take care of the plants to the best of my ability but I don't go the extra mile and really study planting, nourishing, and harvesting them. It's just sort of a lukewarm interest.

The stars have always fascinated me, and I love looking at them. I don't know that much about constellations, but I do have a lot of knowledge about stars' life cycles, galaxies, planets, you name it. However, none of that seems all that important when you're just staring up at them.

I own a telescope, but I'm not very knowledgeable with using it. Sometimes I just like to be outside at night looking at the sky and thinking about all the worlds out there. The moon is also a source of inspiration and wonder. Sometimes I go moonbathing for the heck of it.

I've got an active social life and spend at least two or three (but usually more like four) days a week with friends. We get together and have pizza and watch movies, or bake together, or sometimes go to the mall or shopping or whatever.

It's also a lot of fun to just stay home and chat, which is important because a good chunk of my friends live far away and I don't get to see them that often. I'd like to note, though, that getting together with my friends isn't necesssarily traditional "partying." Many of us are not drinkers and most of us don't enjoy the usual clubbing or bar scene type thing. Sometimes I go to theme parties or art meetings with my friends and enjoy my time with them.

I'm always multitasking, so if I'm on the phone you can rest assured that I'm getting something else done too, but the telephone is one of the ways I can stay in touch with all the people I care about.

Certain friends/family and I have marathon phone conversations sometimes, which serves to fill the gap in our visits. Chatting on the phone while accomplishing household tasks, drawing, or baking is a very common activity for me.

Like most people, I find it fun to make a social event out of getting together for a meal. And most of my friends love eating out too, so it's never a problem to find a willing participant or five.

Primarily I like going to restaurants that are vegetarian-friendly, obviously, so I much appreciate places like Sweet Tomatoes. But anywhere that serves steak serves potatoes, so I can find a meal just about anywhere. I love going to breakfast-friendly places too, and I am partial to Chinese, Japanese, and Italian cuisine.



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