Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm no good at titles.

Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint102 SOLUTIONS TO COMMON WRITING MISTAKESToday I've eaten nothing but junk.  I've listened to music that I've loved for a long time.  I've had a latte and a half.  I've outlined tarot readings and learned to use some new astrology software.  I've downloaded an eBook that's pretty excellent (found half of it online a while back and loved it...ended up paying for the whole thing).  I haven't finished reading it, but will before the day's out.  I've also started reading another eBook about writing, and this one kind of makes me laugh.  Not because of the content, but because of the author.  I've been wanting to read Enders Game, and as it turns out, the author, Orson Scott Card, is the author of the writing book.  I've got to admit that it isn't teaching me nearly as much as Mayer's book, but it's entertaining.  He talks about developing characters in a real-life way...asking questions.  There's a lot of questioning motivations in it.  The Mayer book is a lot more textbook.  It's very straight-forward.  There's a problem, a reason it's a problem, and a solution.  The formatting makes it easy - and as someone who typically reads nonfiction, it's comfortable.  I probably haven't said that before...but yeah, I usually read nonfiction.  This summer excursion into the YA hall of fame (or at least the shelves at the county libraries) is branching out.  I love YA, but during the semester, I don't often have time to read anything with a story.  Sadly, I'm not capable of remembering what's going on, especially when it may take more than a week for me to find the time to read.  That's kind, actually... I usually give up after about a month of trying to read fiction during the school year.  Oh the trials and tribulations of the perpetual student... #firstworldpains?  I think so.

Also, #youknowyou'reoldwhen... you start to look at pictures of peoples' kids to figure out who the hell they are and why they sent a friend request on Facebook.  Maybe seeing a teenage child will spark some remembrance...some familiarity.  Sadly, it's usually not the case.  Usually, I end up feeling much older because I genuinely forget who people are....lots of people.  I mean no offense by it.

There's a huge storm and I am distracted and must go outside.  :)

That was the most intense storm at my house in the last couple years... wow!  My yard is flooded.  There's a river running through the back yard.  I have 2 lakes!  The power flickered.  :)  It was awesome!  I just wish my kid was here, though.  He could play in the puddles and use his new umbrella.  Then he'd cuddle up with me all cold and wet and wrapped in a towel, smelling like deet... :)

Since I have nothing left to say...that's of any consequence, anyway... I'll retire to the couch and watch The Simpsons.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two books to talk about...

Well, other than my own, that is.  :)  Mine's coming along as well as it can at this phase... it's mostly planning and research.  I'm getting to know my characters, getting to know their motivations and how to push them to grow.


I was eagerly anticipating The Magicians... it had great reviews, and c'mon, what HP fan doesn't salivate at the mere thought of reading a book about magic?!  Too bad the book was so terrible.  I'm not sure it's fair of me to say the whole thing is terrible, since I only managed to read around 150 pages.  I really tried, though.  Giving up on a book is difficult for me, but this book was just...awful.  The author holds degrees in comparative literature from both Harvard and Yale...yet can't tell an engaging story.  Nothing really happened in the bit that I read, and years had gone by in the book.  The language was uncomfortable, and there were numerous continuity errors (if the sun doesn't set, how the hell does it rise!?).  It just felt that he was trying too hard to assert his masculinity with unnecessary vulgarity.  The book felt unclean.   There was one sex scene, but it was so gross... it was a very explicit scene of two of the students having sex while transformed into arctic foxes.  If you're writing about magic, ANYTHING can happen... and that's what the author chose.  I don't get it.  Maybe guys would like the book.  Or Furries.  Whatever the case, it's on its way back to the Douglas library.  It isn't getting a link or a picture... scroll down if you're desperate.

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)Now that that's out of the way... here's the good.  Had I broken down and purchased Divergent, rather than waiting for the library to get it, I would have been satisfied.  I finished the book today...and it was so good.  I love reading amazing first novels.  This is a typical dystopia book...with the typical romance.  The love triangle never exists, which I like...gotta stray from the norm a little.  The politics REALLY show, near the end especially.  The last 50 or 60 pages were a pretty big shock...lots of drama and excitement...some sad moments, but oddly, I didn't cry.  The main character is a smart girl - something I like.  She wasn't just pretty and brainless...which is, sadly, pretty common in YA.  Not a good message to send to girls.  Anyway.  This book is the 5th book I've actually really liked this summer.  The Hunger Games trilogy, Before I Fall, and this.

I hate writing when I'm exhausted... and when it's really humid... and when I've been bitten by a few too many mosquitoes.  Oliver has a couple new bites, and now I'm wondering if the mosquitoes at his dad's house are mutants... the bites tonight are pretty big for what they are, but they're nothing like what he had Tuesday.  Sounds like it might rain, though...and Oliver is still awake and literally climbing all over me.  Clearly I have better things to do... <3

Monday, July 25, 2011

Odd dream.

You'd think at nearly 30 years old, I wouldn't have dreams about showing up to class without my homework.  Or being at a new school and wandering around lost, completely incapable of finding a classroom or even asking anyone to help.  My dream schools are pretty awesome, though...and I think that at least in some of the classes I was supposed to be the teacher this time - that's a plus.  I was still totally unprepared, though.  One of the classes was elementary school science, and there were giant table sandboxes everywhere, and plastic dinosaurs and other dino-era things in bags on all the walls.  The walls looked like rocks, and there were palm trees.  It looked a lot like a gift shop, but the sandbox tables were surrounded by stools.  The school was Pre-K through grad school, it seemed.  The student union was this immense mall with crazy architecture.  I've been there before in another dream, except I think then it was just a mall.  It was partially underground, and the lighting was a bit off - some natural, coming in from huge intentional cracks in the walls, most of which had waterfalls, too.... and some coming from dim lights hanging from the ceiling.  It was like an industrial cave, but cozy.  The constant freak out of going to classes late, unprepared, and in some cases not sure if I was the student or the teacher, made it tough to really enjoy the scenery though.  And at one point I almost fell off a ledge into a pond while walking above the union.  It was kinda nice to wake up from that, though :)  Even with the stress, it was a nice dream.  I do blame my mom, though...this was her first day back at work.

And that bothers me.  Year-round school is a good idea in a lot of ways... but it feels wrong.  The first day of school CAN'T be in July.  It doesn't feel right.  It doesn't smell right... there's no back-to-school feel out there!  I was outside yesterday thinking that it's just not the right time of year for this.  Mid-August has a better educational feeling it...July is still summer.  I wonder if there'll be a noticeable difference in the kids... this being their first year of year-round, and being that it's July, I'm guessing they're still mentally on vacation.

If I wonder about the lottery numbers, think I might get a lottery number dream??

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Where the &$%# is the RAIN!?

My skin is crawling with anticipation - yet I have a feeling there won't be a storm.  This whole monsoon season has been weak.  Today I got in the car after my shower - mostly because my favorite way to dry my hair is to drive around with the windows down - and I drove around in circles so that I could drive toward the storms as much as possible.  There's just no point in hoping anymore... The big storms aren't coming.

Last night I had a very real dream.  It was evening, and I was walking around the UA campus with Oliver.  Everything was yellow-tinted, like fall, but it was still summer.  It was sprinkling just a little.  Everything smelled like wet pavement and wet was so calming.  I felt at home.  I woke up to Oliver...and the shadow of the dream hung over me for a few minutes.  It was a nice dream :)

Anyway... I came here with a point that had nothing to do with a failed monsoon season or my yellow dream.  For the second time this summer I have read something that was REALLY good.  And I mean...kind of genius.  If you're at all a fan of YA (and you'd need to be, because it's just a day in the life of a sort of shallow teenage girl), you NEED to read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.  It was a stretch for me to stray from fantasy/sci-fi/dystopia...I'm usually terribly disappointed by "normal" books.  I'm so glad I took the risk, though...this book is really well-written and really touching.  At first, I really hated all the characters, because they were such teenage girls.  They were mean and shallow and thoughtless and just...teenage girls.  I didn't even like teenage girls when I was one.  It took a while for them to become people, but the writing was just so good that I started to get absorbed in their little world.  I had read a review or 10, and there was just so much praise that I had to read the book, but by the time I got it, I'd forgotten what it was about.  It's about a dead girl reliving her last day over and over...some parts of it are so unbelievably sad, and some funny, and some loving...most bittersweet, though.  I hoped all the way through for some kind of change.  Every day did change, sometimes good...sometimes not.  It was just a purely genius idea... a whole novel of one day.  It was pretty great.  I remembered from the inside of the book jacket of the author's second book that this book was supposed to have a shocking end.  It didn't.  For a long time I knew where it was going, but it was didn't hurt the story at all.  In the context of the characters and the expectations they'd have, the end would have been a shock... and I suppose if I was 16 it might have been a shock (but when I was 16 I was obsessing over 1984 and Anthem and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test...even if I didn't understand it).  Anyway... if you like YA, read the book.  :)
Before I Fall

Friday, July 15, 2011

Despite all the good...

No matter what happens today, I can't shake the bad mood.  I really feel like a cartoon character with the permanent rain cloud overhead...following me everywhere.

I watched Harry Potter...and it was great...REALLY great.  I loved it all.  It was a near-perfect goodbye.  I only cried for about half of it...Ron and Hermione's first kiss, everything having to do with Snape (I always trusted him!!), all the Weasleys crying, Tonks and Lupin...nearly everything in the forest and the train station...and the epilogue, of course...little Albus Severus was adorable.  It was so respectfully done...   Maybe the goodbye aspect is why I'm feeling so down...

It's probably more than likely that I'm feeling like crap because I have gotten my hopes up twice this week... about potential-work-related things... only to have them completely crushed.  Or mostly.  It's just really hard to stay motivated and positive when continually running into a wall.

The book I'm reading is decent.  That's something to be happy about.

I've written more in the last week than I have in the last 5 years, and I'm unbelievably proud...and really hoping that the disenchantment I'm feeling doesn't seep into this area.  

Guess I should really just focus on the good today... and it's mostly been found through my mistakes.  

Being that this is HP7pt2 day, I clicked on a link that said "Harry Potter Uncut!!!"  It was a completely accurate title... but I really wasn't expecting an extremely naked Daniel Radcliff standing next to a horse.  It was from a play he did, and he was legal when it was taken, but still...  That was just so much more of him than I'd ever anticipated seeing.  I am uncomfortable admitting that I lingered on that page for more than a split-second...and that the image of Harry permanently burned into the backs of my eyelids.

I'm also realizing that, while it's only 8:25PM, I should probably go to bed.  Oliver is sitting beside me, playing with trucks and drinking juice, and I've been flipping through a parenting magazine.  There's an article on fruits and vegetables, and which are cleanest when purchased from the store.  I read through the lists and got really stuck on grapefruit.  I couldn't for the life of me remember what a grapefruit was.  I thought, "grapefruit" for at least 30 seconds before an image popped into my head... a medium-sized yellow and brown skinned fruit with a bunch of spiky green leaves on top...all of it a bit poky.  The "grapefruit grapefruit grapefruit" came out in my head, very confidently, looking a lot like this:
The really sad thing is that it took a little while for me to realize I was thinking of a pineapple.  And I love grapefruits AND pineapples.

Oliver just informed me that there's a moff in the hall...maybe THAT'S why I have issues with remembering what things are.... I know what a moff is.  I'm mostly fluent in 2yr old, and it's sapped my ability to identify common fruits.

Think I'll go take care of the moff.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guess what's awesome!?

YAY FOR THE LIBRARY!!!  The county finally got Divergent... I put a hold on it, so eventually I should get to read it :)  I've been salivating for this book for way too long.  I also got Before I Fall today, which I was just planning to change the hold status of, but things worked out in my favor.  I like Lauren Oliver, but can't help but hate her, too... she's younger than me and super successful...and her fiance is pretty hot.  I also put a hold on The Magicians (which NPR claims is like Harry Potter: The College Years).  NPR is also suggesting that Hogwarts grads read Ender's Game...which has been on my list forever, and I've been putting it off.  Here are some pics...because now I feel like a cheater if I don't post book pics.

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)Before I FallThe Magicians: A NovelEnder's Game (Ender, Book 1)

The later it gets today, the more near-regret I feel for staying home tonight.  There's no way I could stay up until midnight anyway, but staying home really makes me feel like less of a fan.  I'll be there in spirit, in full Ravenclaw robes...clutching my box of kleenex...sitting in line for hours (and LOVING IT).  I mean that, too.  I really enjoy being in line for HP movies.  I also enjoyed the LOTR lines.  There's a good energy...lots of anticipation :)

Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll be watching.  We'll see how far I make it before dissolving into a sniveling mess (I'm guessing less than 5 minutes).  For now, <3 all you HP fans... gonna have pizza with my little one and watch some more Family Guy...then curl up with books.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm only doing this out of obligation.

I've read a couple blogs today and now I feel guilty for not having written in mine.

Oliver had a great swimming lesson last night, and a not so great one this morning.  He cried a little last night, but ended up floating around like a champ :)  I was so proud!  This morning he seemed interested, but the water was really cold.  He just cried whenever we were in the water.  The other little boy who was there this morning (yeah, only one other kid made it) is a total daredevil.  I wish some of his fearlessness would rub off on Oliver.  He'll actually jump off the edge into the water.  Oliver says "no."

Oliver also had a pretty rough learning experience this evening.  I took a pan out of the oven, and he said "hot"... but that didn't stop him from touching it... with his chin.  :(  I think a couple of his fingertips are a bit burnt, too.  Poor kid.  I'd hoped this would be something he'd continue to take my word for, but I guess he's a learn through experience type.  He cried even more when I tried to put aloe on it, but was perfectly fine with polysporin.  I just hope it doesn't scar... there's a big raised white line all across his chin :(

Also, I'm either getting sick or allergic to dogs.  I'd prefer to be sick, honestly...but not sure that's what it is.  Oh well.  Oliver didn't nap today, so at least we'll be able to go to bed early.

Anyway... I didn't have anything to say to begin with, so I'm going to go away now.  :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm nearly out of words.

Inspiration came... and I wrote the first chapter to what will one day be book one.  It's short, yet I feel that it says too much.  The last paragraph works...and I'm sure I'll keep it after revisions.  For this I owe T.S. Eliot a debt of gratitude...but instead I'll just open with his words.  Now all I have to do is keep writing, with or without the almighty inspiration.

My brain is so done.

For today, at least.  :)

Waiting for the Storm...

This monsoon season is all about the wait.  It gets dark and cloudy all of a gets unbearably humid...there's thunder and lightning... the temperature drops 10 degrees in a matter of minutes... but then it's gone as fast as it arrived, leaving the ground completely dry.  Leaving me dissatisfied.  Swimming lessons were cancelled last week, due to the weather, but no rain came.  The only REALLY substantial rain we've had was on the 4th of July (like always).  It was pretty awesome :)  I just want that every day.  It's not too much to ask, really...

Like, right now I can hear thunder.  I've heard thunder on and off since this morning.  No rain, though.  I don't even want to get my hopes up for any lounging on the back porch in rain.

It reminds me of a bad kiss after an amazing first date.  All the electricity builds up...the excitement...only to be left with nothing.  Worse than nothing, really.  Disappointment is so much worse than nothing.

Anyway... I haven't been reading much.  I've been trying, but nothing's caught my attention.  I have 2 more books sitting by the couch that I may or may not start today.  One is the "companion book" to The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  While I didn't much care for that, I'm bored and really willing to give most anything a try.  I have read one thing that I've liked...just finished a little bit ago, actually.
This book was pretty depressing...but also pretty good.  I'd read a bit about it before checking it out, and was actually more interested in the author's other book, but I take what I can get.  This book felt intentionally unfinished...and when I had about 20 pages left to go, I started worrying that it was part of a series.  I didn't realize until the end, and after checking online to confirm my suspicions, that I was reading book one of a trilogy.  One that won't be completed until February of 2013.  At least Pandemonium is worth the wait.

And as I look to the right, there's another reminder of a book that I've been wanting to read for a while.  Those of you who have Amazon Associates know about the product search/list...the groupings of like products... and there's Divergent.
Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)
It's actually at the top of my list now.  And thanks to the Amazon thing, I may wait a while... because it's called Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)...and it just came out.

Dystopia really is in right now... and I'm so glad.  :)

Anyway... other than mothering, reading, and the perpetual job hunt, I've been working on laying out my own novel ideas.  I currently have 2 that are fighting inside me...they want to be one, but can't.  They're completely unrelated, and it's sad because they're both rather unique.  In one, I've managed a simple way into another world and back again...That's the easy story.  The easy trilogy.  The one I have an ending to least to the first gets a little complicated after that.  The other is a story within a story...about maps, mostly...and it's mostly surreal.  I just need to create some 'world' for it to exist in...just one.  I've already written a part of its end...or maybe beginning.  I've got Rumi to thank for that...odd, right?  Poetry really pisses me off most of the time.

I've also been putting together a shop on etsy... it's not up and running because I'd like to get it all online at once, and for that I need planning :)  I'll be doing tarot readings and astrology charts, individual or relationship-related things.  I figure with 16 years of tarot and at least 10 of astrology, I may as well turn hobbies into something that generates an income.  Besides, I'm not creepy.  I don't look like what you'd expect a tarot reader to look like...nor do I act all mystical...or spooky.  Maybe that'll be a comfort for people who are curious, but who also think 'psychics' are creepy and weird.  (and for the record, I don't even believe in psychics...)

I wish it would rain.

Maybe I'll do a rain dance.  Or a rain mile-run on my stepper while listening to Pink...or watching Harry Potter.

Speaking of Harry Potter... I can't believe it's almost over.  Granted, I didn't become aware of HP until 9 or 10 years ago, I still can't really remember a time when the series wasn't important to me.  The first 5 movies were on tv this weekend, and I watched them all.  It was unbelievably bittersweet.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione were all so little and cute when this started...still so innocent.  I (stupidly) read an interview with spoilers the other day...I didn't realize they were going to do the epilogue.  That was what sealed my decision to watch online before going to the theater.  I won't make it through the first few notes of Hedwig's Theme withing dissolving into a sobbing mess...but I wasn't even able to say Albus Severus for months after reading the book without getting teary.  Before finding out about the epilogue, Snape would have been the worst of it...well, that and Harry going out to the forest.  Or the train station... Or Tonks and Lupin... seriously there's just no way I could see this in public.  I've gotten all teary-eyed just thinking about it now.  I do HAVE to see it in the theater, though.  Eventually.  When I can make it with as few tears as I can wear contacts and 3D glasses.  :)  Dear Russia, dear Sweden...move swiftly this week... :)

I really want rain.  And coffee.... so I'm gonna go take care of the one of those things over which I have some control.