It’s not always overt when the Universe responds. Rarely is the message a blinding neon sign in the sky that says: Go this way. Or follow this path. Instead, the message is subtle. So subtle in fact that it’s easy to mistake it for a coincidence. But when you see something at just the right time you need to see it, or something/someone comes into your life at just the time you need it one can’t help but wonder, is this a mere coincidence, or something more?
Yesterday’s existential crisis had me heading towards emotional, but as I look through my usual email newsletter feed, I noticed an article from Writer Unboxed that seemed to pertain to my thought processes that had led up to this existential crisis.
The article’s crux was essentially that a lot of us have this idea of how we should be doing something, or how far we should be on a project and this creates a spiral of guilt that in many cases make our work output even less frequent.
Part of my existential dread is that because I am not currently working on a project that this somehow means I cannot reasonably call myself a writer much longer. After all, if one doesn’t write every day are you even a writer?
My boyfriend made a similar point to the article, but the main takeaway I got from all of this is that ultimately not writing, or even not blogging with any kind of frequency, doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t make me less of a writer. But if I’m only keeping up any kind of blog schedule because I should then I’m going about it all wrong. Why is it, I’ve published 3 blog posts in 2 days? Because I want to. I have a lot I want to talk/write about, and so here we are. Outside of my normal “timeline”. Because saying I’m going to blog these days and these days is tricky.
For as long as I’ve been a writer, I have had some trouble with reading on any kind of regular basis. My reasoning has always been, I’m writing, as if somehow this precludes me from needing to read in order to help fill that creative well. It isn’t that I’m not reading anything. I read tons of articles in a given week, but none of these are novels. None of these are necessarily long form stories. They’re just general articles, sometimes about writing but more often than not about things totally unrelated to writing.
Lately however, as I notice myself struggling more and more to actually write anything that isn’t either a script note for a vlog/podcast or a blog post, I can’t help but suspect my lack of consistent reading is partly to blame for this. So that’s why I’m going to be setting a reading goal for the rest of the year. Thus far I’ve read 2 books (that come to mind).
And We’re Off
I’d like to get that up somewhere to like 15 or 20 (more) by December 31st which gives me four months. Periodically I’ll update this blog post with my track record.
3. The Possessions:
In the meantime: What are you reading currently and do you struggle with reading?
I’ve been a bad reader for the last few years, and I’ve used the excuse that I am both a picky reader and constantly busy doing something as a means to sort of justify my lack of reading more often over that time. Fortunately, as of late I’ve been reading a bit more, and so I have another book review for you.
And We’re Off, by Dana Schwartz is the story of a teen artist who’s about to go on the trip of a lifetime, the catch is, her estranged mother is going to be tagging along. Along the way, Nora enjoys the sights of Europe, while vaguely getting along with/fighting with her mother most of the book. Meet’s a boy who’s basically a womanizer, but that’s okay, and then, in the end, she sees her work in her grandfather’s latest art show.
Let me preface my review by saying it’s not a bad book. It’s not really my thing. The beginning hooked me just enough to string me along to the end, which I actually really liked and honestly salvaged my feelings about the story overall but there wasn’t much to it. It’s worth noting that this is (I would guess Literary Fiction) which frankly for me is hit or miss, so take this review with a grain of salt on that front. Obviously, I finished it (which is a feat when I don’t really care for a book).
Would I recommend it? If you like literary fiction, or family drama sagas, sure.
I’m going to update my review to a: 3.5/5 stars. Not bad. Not great. Another book I have read this year. 🙂
It’s nearing one in the morning, not that I know that at the time, I’m deep in the heart of Carry On. By which I mean, it’s the climactic end and I know that I cannot possibly stop reading now. It’s somewhere around one fifteen by the time I finally finish the book and I feel a mixture of relief and sadness that I’ve completed this book in one night and there is now no more left to read.
I can’t even remember the last time I devoured a book so quickly—but there was just something about it that I couldn’t help but love… and crave more…
Carry On is the story of Simon Snow, “the worst chosen one who has ever been chosen.” Told from the view point of multiple different characters, in the last year of Simon’s school career, and his battle against the Insidious Humdrum. In between we learn that not all is as it seems, and that there is a fine line between love and hate when it comes to him and his roommate Basilton ‘Baz’ Pitch. (Who I kept reading as Bastilion). Reading like a slow-burn romantic fanfic Carry On is a Warholian revamp of the fantasy genre that I honestly could not get enough of. And it’s one of the first times I almost immediately thought, I want to read that again and again.
10 out of 10 would recommend. 5 demon glasses. It was so adorable, and just so addicting…
I had almost made it an entire month of blogging every single day when somewhere along the way I got derailed. I lost the momentum because I was struggling for ideas, and the notion of going on vacation was starting to make me perhaps a touch lazy. (This is perhaps the first vacation I can remember in which I wrote absolutely nothing– didn’t even take my laptop with me).
Now in (admittedly early) May, I’m a bit behind in multiple things. I didn’t end up recording anything of Drag Con for a vlog (as I somewhat suspected I wouldn’t), and I’m a week behind in blogs and just general writing. It seems my outline that I was so sure I was going to make my writing the sequel to my current work that much easier has not proven true as of yet and I find myself currently trying to find said outline so I might get back to work after a well needed vacation.
In 2007, I waited in line for the last time for the midnight release of a Harry Potter novel. The Deathly Hallows. It was the end of an era, and for me the end of one of the best parts of my childhood during those parties. My mother and I were to go to California immediately after picking up the book, and since it was the last one, my mother decided that she wanted to enjoy the book too. After the party we ran to Walmart and picked up a copy of the audiobook edition. The first audiobook I’d ever had. I remember Walmart had made a point to close down the store for an hour or so before midnight and brought out two huge palettes. One of the book in hardcover, and one of the audiobook. We grabbed the audiobook, and some drinks, and checked out. We had barely made it to the car before we popped in the CD and we were excitedly on our way. Listening to the story as I read along in the book.
For years the debate has raged on; ebooks or print? For many years, I would have said ebooks, I loved the convenience of them, and I hated the idea that somehow ebooks didn’t count as real books. Perhaps it’s some deep seeded desire to fight for the underdog but this idea that somehow the text in an ebook was less important than physical books became an exhausting fight. Recently however thanks in part to changing prices in hardcover books and the Book of the Month Club, I’ve found a new obsession in hardcover. I also realized something about the debate of digital versus physical books that I hadn’t considered before. With all of the handwringing over ebooks killing the paperbound book, why wasn’t there concern over audiobooks?
For as long as I can remember audiobooks have never been seen as a threat to the physical book. Audiobooks had existed for years before the ebook, and yet, when the debate came up about the danger to the end of the physical novel, the audiobook was never mentioned. I think in some ways it’s because audiobooks almost go hand in hand with physical books, and so it’s less a war of how something is devoured and more an addition to how it’s enjoyed and appreciated. It’s an extension of the book, not competition. But the question has always confused me, why is how you enjoy a book more important than that you are enjoying a book at all? If we’re really so concerned about how few people read, it might be advised not to tell them how to read, and simply to be glad that they are reading, period.
The other day I had the frankly bizarre idea that I wanted to try and color code the books on my bookshelf (a part of me wishes I’d also done so by height, but that’s another story), because it seemed like it would be fun. But I’ve also decided that as a challenge to myself I thought I would spend this year reading all of these books from start to finish. In color order as follows:
Six of Crows
Behind Her Eyes
The Cuckoo’s Calling
Becoming Steve Jobs
If I Was Your Girl
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
The Edge of Everything
Settle for More
The Sun is Also a Star
Lilian Boxfish Takes a Walk
Good as Gone
The Wangs vs. The World
The Princess Diarist
The Underground Railroad
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
The After Party
Fates and Furies
Why Not Me
I’ve technically already read If I was Your Girl earlier and I absolutely loved it, so I may replace it with another book just to make it a fair/even 33. Additionally I’ll be returning to this post with my progress and crossing things out as I go. 33 books in the year is a fairly small amount, but considering that I’ve been averaging about maybe 2 or 3 a year, I’d say 33 is a great way to play catch-up. I’d like to write periodic reviews on Fridays of my progress with whatever book I’m on, so I’ll be starting the next Fic Fri post with an update on Six of Crows.
It’s official. As of 1 Feb, 2017, phase 2 of editing is complete, leading to the final phase, getting it all typed up. You’d think this would be the easy part, and for the most part it is (if tedious), but when your body decided just after finishing edits now would be a great time to get a cold (for the second time in two months I might add) typing becomes rather difficult. I realize it’s something I should have done as I finished chapters, and originally that was my full intent, too. But if thirteen plus years of writing has taught me anything, it’s that more often than not those best laid plans never quite pan out. And so, I’m now on chapter 6 of 24 to type up. I’ve made fairly good progress and it was my intent to do about 5ish chapters a day which would have had me done by Monday, but being that (as of this writing it’s Sunday) and I’m 10 chapters behind, I seriously doubt that’s going to be possible, but maybe I’ll manage to get it together in the end. I don’t have a deadline this time (though I’d like to say maybe before March 1st?)
I’m terribly excited to have this done, (though my break that I planned to have between finishing edits and typing them up lasted all of 3 hours) and I’m excited to have a few trusted readers getting their hands on it as soon as I can finish typing up the changes and have it printed and bound (boyfriend, best friend, mother, you know challenging readers that might offer me real critiques) I’m eager to start on book 2, but I know I should take some time to read more and get myself caught up on more blog/essay stuff before I jump fully into book 2. So much to do, so little time.
You may not know this about me as yet, because I haven’t really shared that many stories. But I’m not exactly known for writing happy tales where everything works out for the best and the good guy always wins. More often than not, the stories I end up writing are pretty dark, even the ones I want so desperately to be happy end up dark. Because the story that I’m meant to tell or that I need to tell isn’t necessarily the story that I always want to tell. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike what I write by any means, but sometimes I’d like to write something happier from time to time.
Truthfully, I’m not even sure I know what a happy story would entail at this point. Certainly it would be different from what I’m known for writing but as far as how that translates into an actual story, I can’t say I know. But I do know this, what I do write, is absolutely what I’m meant to write, and I will continue writing (no matter how dark) what I have because somebody’s got to. Why not me?
For the last few months I’ve tried to make it a point to read more diversely when it comes to literature, so when I heard about If I Was Your Girl the story about a trans teenager written by a trans woman, I knew I had to pick it up.