Monday, July 27, 2015


Let me start with how I ended up reading this book.

I am attending CampNaNoWriMo (I'll have more to say about that next week). The WordNerds have been providing short videos to campers. The WordNerds are a group of six women who write. The videos they post talk about writing, publication, and books in general. I like them. They have good things to say, but more importantly, they seem like people that I would like in real life. Which makes me want to read the things they write.

So I hunted down Erica Crouch's first book. Erica is a young author (early 20s), so this book is a snapshot of the birth of a writing career. I have been known to read the complete works of an author, in chronological order. I like to watch an author grow. To watch them develop their voice and style through the stories they tell. I like to think that watching this growth and development will benefit my own writing. After reading this early book of Erica's, I am very interested to see where she goes.

The story she tells in this book is an interesting one. The basic question revolves around polarity. We live in a polar society: black vs. white, light vs. dark, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil. In a world where the majority tie themselves to a pole, what do you do when you realize you can't? What do you do when you realize you can't choose between good and evil? This book does not answer this question, but it is book one of a trilogy. I will be reading the rest of the story to see where Erica takes this!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mansfield Park

I just finished Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.

Every girl loves Jane Austen, and wants to be a character in one of her books, right?

I definitely do not want to be a character in this one. None of the female ones, at least.

In Mansfield Park, Austen gives us a cast loaded with females that I don't think even Austen intended for us to like very much. We have Fanny's mother, who gives her to her sister, as she has children to spare. Even when Fanny comes "home" to visit years later, there isn't much maternal love to be had.

We have Fanny's aunts. One of whom will not let Fanny forget her place (beneath them all), and another who either can't think for herself, or just won't. She asks her husbands to make all of her decisions, even asking which game she will enjoy playing after dinner. I wanted to reach into the book and smack her.

Fanny's cousins might be slightly better. One marries a man that she doesn't love, perhaps out of a sense of duty, then leaves him for a tryst with the womanizing man she favors (this does not end well). The other wisely elopes and removes herself from the story entirely.

We are left with Fanny, the "heroine" of the story. I think we are supposed to like her. She refuses to marry a man she does not love. She does everything she can to make her family's lives easier. She asks for nothing.

I don't like her.

Fanny does not seem to do anything in this story. She moves through her life, going where she is told, doing what she is asked. And nothing more. She sits back and waits to see what life will give her, rather than going out and getting what she wants. This is not my kind of woman.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Oresteia

I have a confession to make.

I tried to make myself read Aeschylus' The Oresteia (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides). I couldn't do it.

I know there is a great story in there. There's war. Sacrificial virgins. Prophecies. More war. Cassandra (my all time favorite bit of mythology) is in there. But I just couldn't do it.

I hate reading Greek Dramas.

I have another confession. I hate reading Shakespeare, too.

Don't get me wrong. I love Shakespeare. I love watching his plays. I love acting in his plays. But I can't make myself sit down and read one.

Maybe this makes sense. Greek dramas and Shakespeare weren't written for someone to read off the page. They were written to be performed. To live on the stage.

Does anyone want to act out The Oresteia for me?

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

I have been working my way through all of Stephen King's books. Again. I finished The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon last night.

Image result for the girl who loved tom gordonIt's a story about a girl who gets lost in the woods and is saved by baseball.

Really. That's it.

But like all of us, Trisha (the heroine of the tale) has that little part of the brain that I like to call the What If Generator. You know, that part of your brain that is most active in the dark of the night. The part of your brain that takes the innocent creak of a house settling and asks "What if it's a giant, hairy monster that is coming to eat you, starting with your toes?" Imagine what this part of your brain would do if you were nine years old and lost in the woods. That's the story.

That little part of your brain is why Stephen King is a genius. He has taken his What If Generator and allowed it to grow. If you can do that as a writer, then your job becomes just writing down everything your What If Generator comes up with.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Last Words

            Your last moment with someone is important. It should carry some weight. Some emotional significance.
            My last moment with my mom before she died was just horrifically average. On my way out the door to school, “Bye Mom, see you this afternoon.”
            “Have a good day,” her reply.
            No sense that that was the last moment.
            I would have preferred to have an argument. Nasty, spiteful words would have been better than what we actually said. A fight would have proven that we mattered to each other- we cared enough to try and change the other.
            From what we did say, we could have been strangers.
            I wish we had chosen that moment to have one of our ritualistic arguments over my holey jeans and the fact that it was cold outside and I should be wearing a jacket. Even though those arguments were usually filled with mean, hurtful words, they proved that we cared enough to fight.