Thursday, February 25, 2010

City Mouse, Country Mouse (meep)

Highlights from NYC
- D met me in the city on Tuesday after her long train ride from upstate NY. (Is it strange to admit that I miss it up there? The mountains, the air...!) She somehow won over the security guard in our lobby. Nigh impossible! He let her onto our floor without having her sign her life away. Or her kidney. Dude usually takes his job way too seriously.
- The bums of NYC made a frightening display that Tuesday, just for D I think. She was scared. I've never seen so much craziness in one hike to Penn Station.
- Someone decided it'd be a great idea to do construction on our floor in the middle of the day. The only way I could work through the drilling and the hammering was to blast the music on my iPod, but it made human interaction incredibly difficult.

Highlights from Home

- Came home on Wednesday evening to a lovely home cooked meal. Sure it had shrimp in it. Sure I'm allergic to that. Nothing that taking a Benadryl a half hour before ingesting said shrimp couldn't cure! And so I got to eat my favorite food ever for the first time in almost a year! Weee!
- Ate a late lunchSLASHearly dinner at my sister's restaurant and was treated like a princess by all of sister's lovely restaurant friends. It felt fun and important to say, "D, this is L. He's the chef."
- Shower is broken. Can't shower. Uh oh. I'll just be one of those dirty people, I guess. (Update: It's fixed and now better than before!)
- Friday Snow Day!!!

Reading List

I've been sleeping a lot on the train lately. so not a lot of reading done.

A.H.W.O.S.G. - Dave Eggers
From Eternity to Here - Sean Carroll

Read These
Battle of the Kids Books 2010
Kate Spade Book Bags!
Monsters, Monsters, Monsters
Bad Classics?
B&N News
Check out the Lolita Covers

Anyway. Was this any good?

Days Filled with Rabbit Hearts and Meows

It's always nice to have visitors. It's even better when it's a lovely literary lady who has a warm dinner ready on the table when you get home from work. The best when she's had glorious adventures through Scotland and England!

That helps, you know.

Oh! And! She figured out how to hook up my printer. So I can print! I can print!

I was reading her blog and wishing that I had some sort of weekly feature. She has her Things I Love Thursdays, which I think is so fancy. I want one! Except different. A different one. So what can I do? I'm a commuter - can I make that work for me? Train musings? Or a city life/country life - highlights of the week, including fun things I've read, crazy people I've seen on the streets, fun and fancy drinks with colleagues, how good it feels to come home to Long Island each and every day. I like that! Fridays.

And I should choose one other day to do an exercise with LitDrift's daily prompts. Monday or Wednesday.

Yay! I have a blog!

Chapter 1 (The House) - 3488
Chapter 2 (The Lot) - 2436

Haven't written much since last time. Chapter 2 still needs a bonfire. (Bonfire!) In which Paul shows Anabel the lot and Charlie might be there drinking and being awkward.

I'm going to go print Chapter 1. Because I can!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Good Stuff From the Webs

From this which I found here.

The first guy was a little pretentious and I was sort of hating him and everything he is about in life. But this! This was amazing!

Margaret Atwood

1 Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can't sharpen it on the plane, because you can't take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.

2 If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.

3 Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.

4 If you're using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.

5 Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

6 Hold the reader's attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don't know who the reader is, so it's like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What ­fascinates A will bore the pants off B.

7 You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there's no free lunch. Writing is work. It's also gambling. You don't get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you're on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don't whine.

8 You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You've been backstage. You've seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.

9 Don't sit down in the middle of the woods. If you're lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.

10 Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visual­isation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

One Beautiful April Morning

They'd take their separate paths, perhaps reluctant at first but eventually learning to embrace the challenges. They would grow. Change. Shift. One gaining control of life, the other finally learning how to let go. They would think of each other often at first, but time would soon make them forget. Forget everything but a tiny piece of themselves that didn't quite feel whole. That longed for something even though they couldn't quite place what it was they missed at all.

It'd probably be years before they saw each other again. Five. Ten. Maybe fifteen. They'd look at each other from across a crowded room and it'd be as an answer to long forgotten question.

Or, they could have both grown so far beyond the other that they hardly recognized each other at all. One would turn to a friend, the other to a new lover. Nothing would be remembered so that nothing more could be forgotten.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult

Rating: 2 stars
Shelf: Now Reading

I have never plowed through a book this fast just to get it over with. It was so incredibly dissappointing, from start to finish. The more I read, the more I disliked it. I'm not really sure why I even felt the need to finish, except to say that it's rare I don't finish a book.

I thought the writing was pretty awful. I see a lot of reviews defending Jodi's strong writing, but I don't see it. Her charactization skills are awful. If you are going to write a book in which each chapter showcases the thoughts and feelings of a different character, you better make damn well sure you know who each character is. Jesse, for example, would never use the word 'palatable'. I'm fairly certain, anyway. In my copy of the book the way the author differentiates each character is by giving each one a different font. Not only was this distracting, but it was a clear indication that she couldn't individualize these characters through her writing alone. I read this book with a friend and although she loves it, she said to me, "Sometimes I get confused about who is speaking." If this was written well (Like, say, Poisonwood Bible??), the reader would never be confused.

Then there is the oh so "shocking" horrible suprise twist ending! What the --- .... I can't. The "It's Raining." chapters were so artsy (see, attempt at artsy = annoying and pompous) I wanted to throw the book out the train I was reading it in.

I shed not one tear. And I wanted to. Because what a cool concept! I wish someone else had written this book. With a better ending.

Purchase Now from Amazon:  My Sister's Keeper: A Novel

The Giver - Lois Lowry

Rating: 5 stars
Shelf: Now Reading

Absolutely amazing book. I can't believe I never read it before now. It moved me so deeply - I only wish that it wasn't such a short novel so that I could have experienced it longer.

Purchase Now from Amazon: The Giver 

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

Remember when I promised myself that I would post all reviews here?

Rating: 5 stars
Shelf: Now Reading

Little Women was even better than I remembered it being.

The best review I can give it is to compare book to movie. I've long been in love with the movie, it's one I watch many times throughout the year and several times in a row around Christmas time. My feelings on it are always the same - Beth is always a little too righteous, Amy incredibly annoying (how DARE she steal Laurie from Jo and then ask her sister after the wedding is already done if it's okay?) and I always hope that when Laurie asks Jo to marry him, the outcome will somehow change and she'll say yes (even though I love the Professor), and why does Laurie go off to Europe and become a creeper?

The book was so different. So much better. The characters were more realistic and each changed drastically throughout the course of the book, but in keeping true with the lessons they've been taught and in such a way that you feel you are growing with the characters. When Jo says no to Laurie, it's obvious these two people have a relationship that is beyond marriage, that should never be ruined by marriage. And when Laurie and Amy fall in love it is something sweeter, something they are not both quick to realize, but when they do it is because they realize they need eachother and the reader knows just how happy they will be. (Also - Laurie doesn't traipse around Europe hitting on hot French ladies. In fact - he forswears all women. Good boy! Not a creeper at all!)

I LOVED this book.

Purchase Now from Amazon: Little Women

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Hate Counting Words

Goal - 5000 words per chapter

Chapter 1 (The House) - 3488
Chapter 2 (The Lot) - 1467

Chapter 2 still has much more to go, but I don't know how else to expand Chapter 1. I wish I could figure out how to hook up my printer so I could actually make notes. But, yeah. No idea how to do that with this computer.

Anyway, that's my update. It isn't much. I lost the drive and so I just keep going over Chapter 1 and the bits of Chapter 2 that I've written to fix and expand. It's boring work, but I guess the point is that I'm working. Blah. Blah. I love doing it and have a need for it, but gosh. Writing sucks sometimes.

Oh, I started keeping record of the characters as well. I'll share the beginning of Charlie's as he's the least important of the main characters.

Charlie Walsh
  • Anabel Pace's brother; Paul Pace's best friend and brother-in-law
  • 3 years older than Anabel; 1 year younger than Paul
  • Extremely clumsy - has suffered many broken bones growing up from trying to keep up with Paul.
  • Pushed to the side by Anabel and Paul and resents it, but is still loving and loyal. He is the black sheep of the family. He is (very dorkily) inspired by Charlie Pace from LOST, and like him is struggling to find his own place.

I haven't written a physical description of him yet, but as Anabel is blonde, I'm guessing Charlie will be as well.

Oh man - I'm watching Season 2 of the Tudors and Henry was just informed Anne had a baby girl. Shit son!

Back to writing.

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