Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sleepy Sunday near the end of June



Time //  5:13 (late I know)
Eating // Tuna and noodles, which I hate. 
Drinking // the usual
Weather // More June rain.
READING // Some Luck ~ Jane Smiley

I almost done with this!! woot! I don't know why I'm having such a hard time with it. I mean, I do know, because I"ve discussed that before (what with the characters and plot being a whole lot like a whole lot of people and stories I actually KNOW as an Iowan). but you'd think for the love of the writing I'd be thrilled to go on.

LISTENING TO // Wool 

I'm not commuting anymore so I'm not listening as often. I've also decided I seriously do not like the person reading. Not a prudent choice IMHO. 
Watching // Midnight In Paris 
It was a total fluke that I chose this film. Even though it came out back in 2011, I hadn't even heard of this movie and I had no idea it was about a writer! Or about the Iconic masters that this particular writer came into contact with.  I picked it up because I simply haven't seen that much Woody Allen and I'm put off enough by him to not want to watch one he's actually in, so when I was shelving this during my shift at the library Saturday, I opted to check it out. 
 While maybe not 5 starts, it is up there on my list of movies I'm now totally enamored with! The ensemble cast is fantastic and the plot is a fun frolic through the 'grass is always greener' thinking we can all go through. If you're a fan of anyone from Dali to Hemingway to the struggling screen writer who want to write something worthy, this is a fun film and I highly recommend it.
Music // I'm enjoying some acoustical while I'm working. I'm finding I like that very much. This week I went through the Lord of the Rings soundtrack...about 5 times.
Blogging // Soooo, whaddya think of the blog? I did it myself :) and a couple ACTUAL posts! I'm getting there!
Acquisitions // I was sent a review copy of a fun looking book!! I should be starting it in a couple days now.
I did a little preview reading when it arrived and I didn't want to put it down!
Hating  // This is easy today... having this summer cold. I just got it. all in the chest and a tickle cough. I'm not big on tons of meds, anyone have a great kitchen cupboard remedy to a cough?
Loving // Working at the library. I can't say enough. I just LOVE it!!
isn't she gorgeous!!!!

Writing // I've been doing quite a bit of writing and revising. I've also done some reading lately that practically scares me off wanting to try!
There's a local literary magazine that I pick up from time to time that has just blown me out of the water. I'm going to devote an entire blogpost to it. It's worth it and there's so much more to discuss than the amazing quality of work they have to offer. 
When I read from the Almanac, I'm not picking up a hacked out piece done by someone for freshman english, no these are MFA grads, teachers, poets, published authors...this is a hidden gem!! Glimmertrain has nothing on these guys!
Avoiding //  Posting some new items to my Etsy shop. For one the weather hasn't given me a good picture day when I could utilize it. I have books and vintage goodies going up.

GENERAL STUFF //

An A and a B so far on exams for summer session. My daughters get mad at me if I stress over the B. They tell me not to be one of THOSE students. 

My daughter is off as one of the leaders for our church youth mission trip. They went out to S.D. to Pine Ridge. I'm anxious to hear her impressions. I've read it's the poorest place in the United States. I wish there was a way to do more than patch it up but to actually give them an economy. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Follow Friday!! More Nostalgia :)

Since I waxed nostalgically poetic in my last piece, I began thinking about other things that used to make my heart smile, that used to soothe my soul, and I remembered my favorite blogging meme. 

I used to participate much more often in Follow Friday here with Parajunkie and since I sort of slipped away from it I feel much more out of touch with the best trends of the bookish blogosphere.

And then I get back here today to see I get to FURTHER continue my trip down memory lane with today's question. (you can actually follow however you'd like)

http://www.parajunkee.com/2015/06/25/ff-feature-follow-time-get-your-hop-on-19/
Today's question:
Is there a book that you were required to read in school that you actually loved? – Suggested by Natalie Hearts Books.

WELL!! Let me tell you! 
First of all, I went to the coolest High School EVER! (Rah Rah for Central High! Rah for the Gold & Brown!! ~ Evansville Indiana).
We had this wonderful little thing called electives and instead of the rote English, Sophomore English, English for College prep type classes we had. Science Fiction in Literature. Which I signed up for as fast as I could. It also boasted the best teacher on the planet. Seriously, I think that's an award he won.

The books I was "required" to read? Oh well just a few little tomes like


Farenheit 451


On The Beach


1984

and ....

DUNE!

(yes all in one semester)
I LOVED them all but was totally 100% captured by Dune. To say I devoured that book is like saying John Green is pretty good at the teen angst story. I mean I woofed that book down. I'm not sure it was my actual first trip into a world completely author built like that... I may have read The Hobbit before, but I"m not sure, and I'd already begun reading King...

What I do know is that AFTER reading Dune, I signed up for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club. ..And I was pretty sure I'd found a little piece of heaven. 

It's still one of my favorite genres I just don't get there as often as I'd like these days.  

From Ishiguro to (the book I'm listening to right now) Howey, I've alway relished diving into the genre... for me it's been like coming home and putting on sweats after a day in heels and hose.




And all because of books I was REQUIRED to read for class


Oh and the class? yeah ... I got an A+


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Joy of Joys

I had the best evening! I have just started my job as a Librarian at our local library and tonight was the first time I got to work the children's library by myself. It was late on a Thursday night so I only had a couple of patrons through (albeit a couple of the cutest patrons EVER).

And I got to reacquaint myself with one of my favorite places on the face of the planet!! The children's stacks.

From my own youth (even though at a different library), to my kids' youth, to even some of my friends' grandkids, strolling through the the categories of books is like opening a book of magic spells that transports me through time...

PICTURE BOOKS!!!
I wandered through picture books land or, as it's known in our library, easy readers, searching out that glorious spine sticker that proclaimed Caldacott Award winner! Does anyone else do this?

I found my first, most beloved, Caldacott

I found the book that never ceases to move me to awe at the beauty of the pictures. Over and over. AND I personally own 3 copies of this...

I have Caldi's that I've only recently learned of, but that I long to be able to sit before an audience of 4 year olds and read...

And I even have a one degree of separation from a Caldacott winner in PERSON!!


These memories.... They are a tangible thing. I can smell my youth, I can feel it, I can recall emotion surrounding it. All at the initiation of a book. On a shelf.

But these stunning award winners didn't catch my entire time.. I found one of the books I adored reading over and over to my kids, and my niece and nephew, and the neighbor kids... you get it. I like this book!

I've always quoted the Robin... Cheerio, cheerup, cheerily!

The nostalgia was so over powering it hurt!! It was physical!

And I"ve not even started on the readers! Wasn't it the coolest when you moved on to CHAPTER BOOKS!! I ran my fingertips over the perfectly flush rows of spines until I happened upon the book I checked out every summer to kick off my vacation...




























The Black Stallion




















Misty of Chincoteague

















Bright of the Grand Canyon

(yes there was a pattern there)

Until I progressed later in the break to such pieces as


Little Women

And the indulgence of Beverly Cleary




















So many many more too!! And I came away with two big realizations...
One.. Seeing these books on a screen, a computer, tablet, tv or whatever has no where near the power of in person!! Being face to face with them was super-sensory!! And nearly happy tear-jerking!

And.. I WANT TO SHARE THEM!! I want to help someone else discover the magic of a young boy befriending a huge rouge horse on a shipwreck island, I want someone else to find a place in their house to set up a writing area to pretend to be Jo, and I want someone else to see the bedraggled dog slinking across the street and wonder is THAT Ribsy?.. I'll share them with anyone, I'm not picky!

My job simply rules... no doubt about it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Writing Right

This spring ( and now summer) I have put my writing at the forefront of my life. I am finally getting around to revising the project I began for NANOWRIMO and I'm happy with the way things are going.

I have 18 other projects in my binder.
  
Which makes organization and work flow suddenly exceptionally important to me. My writing software has been a godsend in that respect. But even though I was completely happy with the platform I was using, the buzz words and lauded products made me wonder if I was using the best I could be using. To satisfy my curiosity, I decided to try a few others out and see what I thought. Please keep in mind that I'll be trying the 'free trial' versions as I'm poor and will not be plunking down 100's and 50's just for an experiment. I'll by NO means be trying them ALL out either. So if you have a favorite, feel free to let me know.
What comes to mind first when people talk about writing software: 
Word, (or the super free version LibreOffice) Scrivener, and the one I use WriteItNow























Word or the free LibreOffice version
This is fine if that's what you have. You just have to be diligent about project folders. If you write different docs for chapters then compiling is more cumbersome but not overly difficult. It's WAY harder to jump around and there are NO features for place, notes, characters worksheets etc. So while it will suffice, it's certainly nowhere near on my radar of choices.


Scrivener
Here's the powerhouse it seems everyone talks about. I downloaded the trial version and have been working on navigating the nuances. It's actually shockingly similar to the one I'm using. What I DO like about it...
It's less expensive
The templates are a little bit more user friendly
There are a lot of tutorials out there

WriteItNow
I love this program. It's super easy to move from one computer to another when I get a new machine, the interface is easy to learn and it's a cinch to navigate. It has great prompts and character sheets. About the only thing it can't do for me is draw my maps! Although, as with Scrivener, I can upload pictures.
The downfalls are: it's more expensive than Scrivener.
But I can't help it. I love it. And I'll stay with it. 

So here's the skinny on these 3. If you're flat broke.. Word. Between Scrivener and WriteItNow, honestly if I had to it to do over I'd choose Scrivener. It's got a faster response time and sleeker look. but mostly because it's less money.


Winner:


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Business is a blessing...

Time //  10:49
Eating // made some pancakes and a couple sausage patties
Drinking // at least I added french vanilla creamer to it..
Weather // Rained this morning but overcast and humid now. (same weather as last week)
READING // One Small Barking Dog ~ Ed Gungor

I've been slowly reading this book for a couple weeks. I love this book. It's full of gems applicable to daily life, to a life of growth, quiet, daily growth. And while, as a book snob, Christian self-help books haven't been high on my literary list, this one is pretty sweetly written! It speaks to me. And hopefully I can go back through it and mark some of the pieces that really move me. Making my life meaningful in a day by day, like this "courage is an amazing thing because it helps us deal with whatever life throws at us... it helps us keep an even keel through it all. It emboldens us with fortitude to work through failure as well as helping us hold on the personal integrity required to prevent compromise when we experience success. Courage helps us live well." It helps me to be reminded it takes effort, this life, even when it's going well. I'm used to fighting through the tough times, but I want to be prepared for the good times too. 




Made a little more progress. I'm still totally not impressed by this. I'm disheartened that it's been picked up for a movie. Ms. Kubica has wonderful ideas, interesting characters (the bare bone character description that is), and a sense of story pace, but she would benefit from an editor that pushed her to tighten her writing. Or it's just me. And trust me...these are HUGE fears I have about the nature of my own writing, so I'm really rooting for her to grow and improve!!

LISTENING TO // Wool 

Almost finished with this. Just when I'm all acquainted with a character...bam! change! so that's fun :)
Watching // Orange is the New Black - season 3

So how, exactly, do I go from Christian non-fiction to ONB? I got caught up in the story line, and my daughters are huge fans so i started watching with. We'll be done with the newly released season 3 today. It does get both funny and poignant. Not my favorite. But it's ok. 

Music // Nothing much really.
Blogging // As was pointed out last week by one of my blogosphere friends, at least I'm consistent :)
Acquisitions // I did order a couple text books!! 
Hating  // Not having enough time in the day to do all I want to do!!

Loving // Moving forward with my goals... more on this in a sec.

Writing // Working on a couple things. The most significant being revision of my NANOWRIMO piece. more on THIS, too, in a sec.
Avoiding //  Posting to Etsy. I've got quite a few pieces to put up and I'm just not getting to it.

Last week I bemoaned the fact that, despite my advanced state of Non-traditional-student-hood, I'm still after my Bachelors. I shouldn't be like that. The point is... I"M BACK IN SCHOOL!! I'm still pursing my education! I'm getting my bachelors and then applying to the Master's program in Library Science. 
In the meantime I've taken a huge step with my other pursuit...
by time and by money I could only afford a weekend workshop. But I'm signed up for a WEEKEND WORKSHOP!!!! I extremely excited to be taking this step.


I figured out, through years of navel gazing and tossing around the tired intention 'oh yeah I like to write, someday I'd like to be published, I'm working on a novel' that writing has been my Ace in the Hole. It's been my Light of Earendil, My most Beloved Star, a light for me when all other light goes out. (Lord of the Rings, for anyone unfamiliar).In other words, if I fail in all aspects of my life, I still had the hope that my success, my purpose, my God Given Gift, is my writing. BUT...if I ever put that out there and failed in that too...well, you can see where a big ole dose of fear has kept me from playing this card. 



My first paper I turned in at 18 at University in Freshman English came back with an A++ You Can Write written on it. I dropped out not long after that, like about a week. What does that say? Volumes? Dr. Rivers, this effort is for you. I hope I can live up to the ability you thought you saw in me. 

I WAS published once. Just sayin... Non-fiction piece. Buckmaster Magazine. 2002. So it's been awhile. 

The saddest part is that not trying my writing as a life not treating it PROFESSIONALLY,  may have also kept me from some deeply gratifying experiences, from finding my actual niche. Regardless... I am where I am now. Stepping out. Giving something a shot. 

Trying out yet another piece of courage. I'm no stranger to culturally defined setbacks known as 'failure'. I at least keep looking and keep trying and keep hoping...

New stuff needs a new Doo, don't you think?





Sunday, June 7, 2015

Yet another week with a Salon only Post



Time //  10:11
Eating // had some YUMMY zucchini bread at coffee hour at Church! 
Drinking // crud, where'd I put my coffee (I'll check the microwave first)
Weather // Rained this morning but overcast and humid now.
READING // Some Luck ~ Jane Smiley

Haven't touched this yet. I DO intend to get back to this eventually. 

Chipping away at this one.

LISTENING TO // Wool 

I am actually LOVING this book. BUT.... there are a couple items on the agenda to discuss about it.
  • 1) can anyone say City of Ember? I'm not that far in yet, so I can't say for certain that the parallels are too close but right now they certainly stick out.          
  • 2) I'm tempted to switch over to book form, I have a feeling this reader is butchering it. If not, then I'm not as enamored with it as I could be.
Watching // American Horror Story 
My daughter conned me into watching the first episode. I'm 3/4's of the way through season 2. I hate gore I really do, but the story line is so compelling and the acting is flippin first rate! Especially the incomparable Jessica Lange!!
This is another thing to love about this show. The story totally changed for the second season. Brand new story line...yet they kept the same cast! Not the same characters, but the same actors playing the new characters in the new story and they are all so talented... IT WORKS!! 

If you are a writer or a film buff you really have to watch this show. Watch how they dole out the pertinent information, watch the character arcs, watch the acting. This, despite it's over the top depravity (and believe me it has that in spades), this is a quality show!

Music // I swore off Chris Cagle.. and in case you're curious... I'm about to swear off of Bobba  Fett too. (yes I saw that, yes I think you see this too)  Because just where was he when I needed him, huh? All the things I went through on my own, alone... yeah. about that. So I've added some T-Swift to the mixtape lineup. Maybe some White Horse.  
Blogging // Still in a lull blogging. I've named it and claimed it. x 3
Acquisitions // I was literally walking around the Goodwill store (crammed full of books in need of rescue right now by the way..) when it dawned on me... I work in a library! woohoo! 
Hating  // I chose B by the way. Now what I'm hating is not being able to reach a kid whose walking a the edge of a razor blade. She won't let me in and she won't let me help and the only way to get her attention may be to shake her world by stopping all enabling. But as a mom that is so so so hard. I may not have all the answers but I've walked that block so many times I do have some pretty solid advise. If I could just get her to open up. I keep praying....

Loving // Working at the library. I can't say enough. I just LOVE it!!
isn't she gorgeous!!!!

Writing // Nothing on the projects I should be working on, but starting this week I'm instituting a page count for my revisions. 
Avoiding //  I don't know. I'm sure it's something...Maybe I'm not avoiding so much as forgetting.

Taking two more classes this summer. I feel like I still have so far to go :(