Guided Meditation

Today I used a CD by Jon Kabat-Zinn to undergo a guided meditation.  It lasted about 12 minutes and as the meditation began I was hoping to gain some ideas for my upcoming NaNo-novel.  However my thoughts turned toward my grandmother, Grace.  I have never met this woman - she's my father's mother and she died much before I was born.  However I am her namesake, in a manner of speaking.  My name is not Grace, but my name does mean "mother is home."  It is traditionally given to a daughter born after the death of one's mother, and is a blessing of sorts - a hope that the child will embody the spirit of one's mom.  Not only am I named for her, but I am designated to take her place in our village.  There is a tradition among my father's people that every person who dies must be replaced, and I have been chosen to be her replacement.  I must undergo a ceremony one day to make it "official."  All this I thought of while meditating.  I imagined Grace (idk why I always call her Grace in my head - perhaps I should start calling her grandmother) reaching out to brush my cheek; she sat beside me and held me, and I smiled at her.  Then I imagined breathing her in, that she should become one with me.  She has seen the face of God and lifted the veil of the Universe, and all that she knows will enter into me and I will be a greater being for it.  Then I became a little confused as to whether I had some purpose I was supposed to carry out for her - if she would affect my personality, or if she existed simply to enlighten myself, to show me the secrets of the dead.
happy face

NANOWRIMO 2011!!!!

Today I received an email from the NaNoWriMo coordinator in the Maryland area.  Actually the email was sent quite a few days ago, but today is when I noticed it, and I couldn't be more excited.  I can't believe I totally forgot about National Novel Writing Month!  The horror!

So obviously upon reading said email, I immediately logged into the NaNoWriMo website and went to update my profile.  Oh how things have changed.

My Bio
I'm an African-American girl living in a tiny Nebraskan town Kingston, Jamaica; with no major stores (the inhumanity!);  I'm currently going to college for journalism hoping to major in linguistics, but not in school;  my favorite place in the world is D.C. closely followed by NYC anywhere my mom is - I miss her; I have two six siblings; I LOVE coffee and being at coffee shops; I'm on a bit of a cooking vegetarian kick lately...

Wow.  I moved to a different country (only for a couple months to stay with my boyfriend); I changed majors; I discovered FOUR new siblings (and they're absolutely adorable, all of them)... I should probably add that I'm no longer on a cooking kick, but I am a vegetarian.

Also, I'm thinking maybe I should mention something about how it's been like over a year since I posted here.  But what to say... there are no words.


NaNoWriMo Underachievers

To the people who are behind: You’re not an underachiever either. You may be behind, but you have an entire month ahead of you to catch up. Take this from someone who wrote half her novel in the last five days. It’ll take some butt in chair, hands on keyboard, but you can do it. And we’ll all be cheering for you along the way. Now stop reading this and go write for 15 minutes.

This is from a blog entry by sushimustwrite.  I randomly clicked on the link to her blog from one of her posts on the NaNoWriMo forums.  Sushi is one of those people I envy and admire all at the same time, you know, the people that actually get their nanos written.

I am behind.  I am majorly behind.  And while I sincerely appreciate Sushi's advice (I really did go write for 10 minutes - I know it was supposed to be 15, but what can I say?) I believe that my problem is not that I can't find time to sit down and write, it's that I don't know what to write about.  I spend 20 minutes just thinking about stuff before I get anything written, and usually those 20 minutes of thinking resilt in like 350 typed words that have little to do with my novel.  In fact I usually spend 300 of my 350 words describing how a character is feeling about a random memory.

There's nothing going on in my book!

There's no plot.  I mean, I kinda sorta have plot ideas, but they're all too thin, and not thought out all the way.  How can I start to actually write a story, and not just a series of obscenely long descriptions?

Anyone, feel free to give advice.
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NaNoWriMo Begins!

Actually, the NaNo started on Sunday - I just haven't updated my LJ for quite some time. I did officially start writing on Sunday, but I've yet to reach my word count goal. FYI, my daily goal is the minimum 1,667 words. So far I've got 2,746 words, and it's day 4. Uh-oh my friend, uh-oh.

Anyway, I've just discovered this website called and it's filled to the gills with K-Pop. Plus, they just started adding videos! Ooh I'm so syced!

Other worthwhile updates...

1. I've made a couple new friends recently, one of which is as obsessed with Asian stuff as me, plus she's black. Finally, a kindred!

2. Hopefully by the end of today I'll have a job!

3. I have a small idea where my NaNo is going, but I'm struggling with coming up with a real plot. Plus it's stressful to have to write scenes where there's real tension. Honestly, it's almost too hard for me to read those scenes, so I'm not sure how I'm going to go about writing them myself.

4. I got all my school work caught up, and I raised my D to B in Health. Yay!

5. I still haven't gone to church. Boo.

6. My bed is a piece of crap. I'd actually prefer to stay up all night instead of sleep on that thing.

7. My sis and I finally cleaned the house. How wickity-wackity cool is that?!

8. This hot chocolate I'm drinking (courtesy of said kindred) is delicious. Yum.

Alright, well that's all I have the patience to write right now, so hasta!*

*I use too many exclamation points. I just want you, dear reader, to feel the excitement in my voice while I write these things. Even though the words on the blog say "whatever" the voice in my head says "freaking A I'm excited!" thus, the exclamation point.


Reflections on Rosetta Stone

So I'm sitting here in my dad's restaurant, watching some ghetto music videos and thinking about how much it sucks that I can't be practicing my Korean right now. See, my dad thinks Korean is a waste of time. To him the only languages worth learning are French (he's from Africa where French is widely spoken) and Chinese (since China is becoming a major world player). I think the real problem is that I love K-Pop while I've never shown an interest in the African music videos he holds so dear. He feels like I'm choosing Korea over Africa, which is not the case.

Anyway, what I really wanted to write about was Rosetta Stone, the language learning program - don't ask how I got a copy ;)

I've started using Rosetta Stone to learn Korean, and it's been rerally great so far. The first time I used it I had yet to learn the alphabet, so I couldn't read anything. That meant I had to focus on listening and repeating, which I think was good for getting a feel for pronounciation.

But now that I've learned the alphabet, I feel like the Rosetta Stone pronounciation is off from the way I learned to pronounce each letter. I learned the alphabet through ( the most awesome resource for anyone interested in learning Korean), and the biggest difference, I've noticed is that "o" seems to sound more like "u."

I've got to investigate it more, but if anyone's ever used Rosetta Stone, what has your experience been with the program?
flower in my mouth

Introductory Post - Skip to Bottom for Bulleted List of Important Points

I feel like I need a post dedicated to introducing me and my blog to any potential readers.  My online name is Nabiya (not my real name) and I created this blog because there was a thread in the NaNo forums for personal blogs and I felt left out since I didn’t have one.  Now that I have it, I will hopefully use it as a place to share my writing struggles and triumphs throughout the pre-writing in October, and the actual NaNo-ing in November. 

I imagine I’ll also add a few tidbits about myself.  Right now I’m pretty interested in the k-pop bands Big Bang and 2ne1.  A friend and I started a website for the groups, which I’ll post a link to as soon as it’s complete.  My love of Big Bang – and especially the rapper of the group, T.O.P. – has created a desire in me to learn Korean, so I’ve been working on it, and with any luck you (potential blog reader) can follow that whim and see where it goes.

Something else I’d like to note – I’m black.  Well – I’m mixed; my mom is white and my dad is black.  I think it’s important for you (hopeful blog subscriber) to know that, because I’ve always found that when I seek out others interested in what I am (learning Korean, for example) I generally find few-to-no blacks.  It’s not that I only want to share my interests or become friends with blacks – I’m quite open to all people.  It’s just that I sometimes feel insecure as a black person when I see that I’m often more interested in “white” things than “black” things.  Hopefully this blog will also be a place where those stereotypes can be broken and other kids like me can share their crazy, nothing-to-do-with-stereotypical-blackness interests. 

What stereotype problems have I encountered?  Well one of the biggest problems I’ve had is that I love fantasy novels (and the occasional science fiction), but most of the main characters are white and most of the books are inspired by traditional medieval Europe-style cultures, often times completely ignoring the rich histories in the rest of the world.  With everything in life there are exceptions, but an overwhelming majority of fantasy books are created this way.  I love the books just the same, but I want to read something that makes me feel like my culture has something to offer as well.   Because of these sentiments, one can expect to find a comment or two on race relations in this blog as well.

In summation, here is what you, dear reader, can expect from Nabiya:

·         Novel writing tips, tricks, and general helpfulness
·         The adventure that is NaNoWriMo
·         My progress learning Korean, and hopefully some helpful sites & info for anyone else out there wanting to learn along with me
·         Comments on race relations in America (and occasionally abroad)
·         Numerous mentions of Big Bang, 2ne1, and the hotness that is TOP
·         Also the occasional batch of LJ icons – I forgot to mention that earlier