Month: August 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

Chronically optimistic

My boyfriend says I’m never on time. (Well, really he says, “WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS RUNNING LATE?!”) But me, I like to say I’m chronically optimistic. Kind of like vertically challenged? Yeah, I’m that, too…

But seriously, today is a perfect example of my chronic optimism. See, I woke up 10 minutes earlier than usual so that I would be 10 minutes earlier to work. Makes sense, right? Only, while I was taking Riley on his morning walk, we ran into our neighbor and his dog, and we got to talking. (About how another dog bit off a chunk of my neighbor’s dog’s ear!!)

Chit and chat and this and that, and suddenly my extra 10 minutes are gone.

But it’s okay. I’m only 3 minutes late to work, no big deal. I get settled in, take care of some to-dos, and catch up on emails and such. This gives me 30 minutes before our Monday morning meetings, so I figure that’s 30 minutes I can write. And oh, how much I could write in 30 minutes!

Except that clients called, a delivery came, and I had to reread the stuff I wrote last night before I could get on the right track of how to move forward. Next thing I know it’s 10 AM and time to go to the conference room!

But no worries. After a late lunch, I run an errand and am back at my desk by 2 PM. That gives me plenty of time to write before the work day is over.

Until some files need updating, and a new employee needs orienting, and a service guy comes to see if he can help us with something, so my boss and I have to walk him around the whole building, asking and answering questions. Tick tock tick tock OMFG it’s 5 o’clock?!

I commute home, take care of the dog, eat dinner, wash dishes. Now it’s 6:20 PM, which leaves me 15 minutes to go to the bathroom, freshen my makeup, and oh yeah, BLOG, before I head out to my writing group. I’ll be there from 7 PM until 9 PM. Or 9:30 PM. Or heck, maybe 10?

But it’s all gravy. I can still write tonight before bed.

Right?

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Mockingjay thoughts (no spoilers)

While Amazon tortured me by withholding my (pre-ordered!) Mockingjay, Sarah sent me a little something to tide me over:

my own mockingjay

(Thanks, girl!)

Fortunately a coworker lent me her copy of the book (which she pre-ordered and then picked up from Barnes & Noble) and I read it yesterday. Folks, I was WRECKED after I finished that book.

If you want to know exactly how I felt about it, good and bad, check out JJ’s post (warning: MAJOR SPOILERS). She pretty much hit every nail on the head for me.

(There are some great discussions going on in the comments over there too.)

But if you’re not spoiler ready, or you just don’t care that much, let me talk about the book in broader terms. Truthfully, it was my least favorite of the series. I didn’t feel fully prepared by Hunger Games or Catching Fire for what Collins wrote in Mockingjay. The first 2 books were “adventure” stories; this last one was war. In Mockingjay, Collins took every good thing and broke it. She broke Katniss. And that was so, SO hard to read.

But the good kind of hard, you know?

Overall the writing in MJ was solid, and just as un-put-down-able as HG and CF. The pacing was a bit off, like she could have used 4 books instead of 3… But the twists, the characters, the way she brought things full circle from earlier books and scenes — that was all impeccable. Collins has a gift, and I hope I can reach that level of storytelling someday.

Maybe I would have done a few things differently, but as a whole, I think the trilogy is spectacular. Similar to Harry Potter, in some regards. (That’s another series I need to re-read…)

And if nothing else, Hunger Games has really opened my eyes to what a book can do. What a writer can do. What I could do. It has inspired me in so many ways for my next manuscript, Mountain Girls. (That’s a project name, not a real title.)

Now it’s just a matter of sitting down at the keyboard and making. it. happen!

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Writerly Wednesday

I am an idiot. Despite my intense, extreme, borderline-embarrassing obsession, I have yet to read Mockingjay. Apparently I chose the wrong shipping option when I pre-ordered months ago. My book might get here tomorrow.

-_-‘

While I wait (and neurotically refresh the Track My Package page) I’ve been catching up on stories that I marked to read but never did, and oh hey, writing my new book.

If you’ve already finished Mockingjay (I hate you!) or haven’t gotten your copy yet either (poor us!) then you should check out these links:

  • Second, La Vita Nuova by Allegra Goodman. An excellent story, short and (bitter)sweet. I cried, and then I felt inspired to write short fiction again. Haven’t felt that way in quite a while…
  • Last but not least, T.S. Bazelli and her buds have started up Serial Central. Each author is assigned a day, and every week they continue their story. Awesome concept, awesome folks.
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Not a rant

I don’t want to rant about this, because that won’t accomplish anything, but let me just state a couple “rules” that I think ought to be obvious but apparently are not:

  1. If you haven’t read it, watched it, listened to it, or partaken of it in some way, DO NOT JUDGE.
  2. Just because women like something does not mean it’s stupid.
  3. It’s okay not to like something that is popular. You don’t have to drink the Kool-Aid. Rock on!
  4. It’s not okay not to like something just because it is popular. That’s called ignorance. Or narrow-minded-ness. Take your pick. (Believe me, I know, because I used to do this all the time.)
  5. Stories that revolve around ethnic characters are not automatically Quality Literature, despite what some publications would have you believe. You still need an actual STORY.
  6. Stories that revolve around upper/middle class White People are not automatically lacking in value. Upper/middle class White People are STILL PEOPLE.

There are several things that spurred these all-caps thoughts of mine, but I’ll give you one recent example: Eat, Pray, Love.

People are all up in arms because this “rich” white woman who gets to “discover herself in brown countries.” They call her book self-centered and self-indulgent. They say Julia Roberts is a sh*tty actress and the movie sucks.

Hey guess what, folks? It’s a MEMOIR; of course it’s self-centered. That’s like saying, “Dang, I hate this double fudge cake; it’s too chocolatey.”

I won’t even bother discussing her finances, because it’s her money and if she wants to spend it on a year’s journey of self-discovery instead of car payments, that’s her business. As for the “brown” countries, well, last I checked Italy was European (generally considered “white”) and Indonesia is in Southeast Asia (arguably “yellow”). Also, she never thinks of these places as mere Crayola colors; her critics do. No, she explores and appreciates them for their strengths and virtues.

Now, I haven’t seen the movie, so following my own rule #1 above, I can’t judge it. But I will say this: it’s fine not to like the movie, or Julia Roberts, or even the book. (See rule #3.) Just don’t turn those specific dislikes into broad generalizations, okay? Because it’s ugly and stupid and makes the angels cry. (See rule #4.) Also, it looks a lot like jealousy.

Oy, so much for not ranting…

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Game, set, match

No nap this week, but I admit, I’m finding it harder to post on Fridays. Like my brain is checking out early for the weekend. Blargh.

Well, last night Andy and I went to ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) World Tour games in Cincinnati. It was my first time watching tennis live (okay, let’s be honest: first time watching a full tennis game that wasn’t on the Wii) and I loved it! Except for the staring into the sun part…

game set match! 013

American Andy Roddick (seeded 9) was up against Swede Robin Soderling (seeded 5) in what turned out to be an EPIC match. They played all 3 sets plus 2 tiebreakers. I got exhausted just watching them run back and forth across the court, sweating and grunting and slamming their rackets into the ball.

game set match! 018

I have to admit, I had my doubts about whether or not our guy (Roddick) would win. He has killer serves, but his returns weren’t as strong as Soderling’s. He looked tired. He missed a few key opportunities to pull ahead.

game set match! 025

But in the end, he persevered. The odds were not in his favor, but the crowd cheered him on at every opportunity, and he didn’t disappoint. Maybe the victory wasn’t quick or elegant, but it was still victory.

(And as it turns out, he defeated the #2 seed, Djokovic, today too!)

So here’s what I’m getting at: I’m Roddick.

Not actually, because that would be weird. But metaphorically, I am scrambling madly across the court, swinging at every ball I can, hoping to make them land in the right spot. And even though the odds aren’t in my favor, I’ve got y’all cheering me on, and I know that soon(er or later) I will achieve my victory too.

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