Saturday, July 31, 2010

Questions

Golden hearts,
what do you beat for?
Honor,
how long are you worth dying for?
When are you right,
and when do the stubborn
become fools?
Where is the line between pride and apotheosis?
Principle, when do you call us to fight
and when do you call us to surrender?
Do you ever make their blood
worthy of being spilled?
Should the innocent fall willing
under the blade of the lost?
Does the reason ever justify
the sacrifice of souls?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hero

And now back to our regularly scheduled broadcast, whatever that is.

Pretend that never happened.

:D

Instead of burning my story, which I would still like to do at some point, I celebrated the end of that dreadful excuse for a novel by watching movies half the day (what? I like movies). Firstly I watched Blade Runner, because 1) it's sort of a nerd classic and 2) Ridley Scott directed it. He also directed Gladiator and the recent Robin Hood movie, two films I enjoyed very much, so I was curious about Blade Runner. It was...interesting. I would be very selective in who I recommend it to. There are a few parts I really disliked.

I wanted a change of mood so I watched Kung Fu Panda, one of my favorite animated films, and this evening put in another movie I'd never seen, Hero. I put it in our massive Netflix queue and bumped it to the top and it came in today (well, Monday, but that disk had a crack in it; the watchable disk arrived today). My family didn't think much of it. My little sister left partway through the beginning and my mom and older sister are glad they didn't pay money at a theater for it.

I, on the other hand, loved it. I completely understand if foreign films aren't your thing, but I highly appreciate it on various artistic levels. The story is excellently crafted. I wasn't impressed in the beginning but it turned out like an onion - layers were peeled back until the core of the story was revealed. You have to pay attention or you'll miss something and won't understand it. There's some beautiful cinematography and the score is stunning at times. There's a shifting of color to represent differences in the layers. A qualm people may have is with the ending, but I like sad stories. As soon as it was over I got on Amazon.com and ordered a like-new copy for five bucks from their used section. I may be watching it by myself, but I'll be watching it again.

The Ixitprise

I finished. I wrote 50,155 words. I am not sure I have ever before been so happy to finish a novel. I doubt it.

Note: The rest of this post does not make any sense. Please do not call the men in white coats. I am not a danger to anyone. If you would like to keep thinking of me as an entirely sane human being (granted, it may be too late for that already), stop here.

I finished it out by writing an epilogue about Rex and Biddy living happily ever after. But partway through I got sidetracked by the blogs.

According to the epilogue the blogs, who had never been mentioned before, "are a race of swamp creatures who live in all the swampy regions of the universe. They say a lot of things that do not mean very much at all but make other people think or laugh or pay attention to them.

"Blogs are one of the most common species in some countries. They come in many colors and have widely varying opinions. We are not sure why people take some of their opinions so seriously. For example, many of their opinions have attention called to them in the village of !Oohay. We do not know why the village leaders choose certain blogs to be attentioned in !Oohay. Perhaps because they agree with them or at least think they will be controversial enough to be interesting. We cannot say, because the village leaders of !Oohay are a strange lot who do not know what is good for them."

I don't know where this stuff comes from. It's late, I haven't slept much, and I think there may be something illegal used to replace the sugar in the sugar-free Klondike bars. Mostly the lack of sleep thing. There comes a point when you're too tired to...finish a sentence. Like this. What I meant is too tired to...to...close the door in your mind that opens in to...whatever this is. Or you could, but you're too tired to care. Anyway. Shall we get on.

Narcissistic Blog took over a neighboring kingdom, then Rex and Biddy saved it, then the machines took over, then Rex and Biddy saved it, yada yada yada.

Then Dustan became king of the White Kingdom in the icy north.

"In his kingdom there were a lot of petals. Which you do not expect because you already learned that it is in the icy north. Psych! But the petals were there, and they were mostly lavender colored, and the fairies of the deep south would come up once a year and collect a very many to take back to the deep south and sew into beautiful fairy dresses and hats and purses and billboards. In return they put advertisements for the icy north on some of the billboards. They said things like, “Wear your fur year-round!” and “It is always time for coffee!” Also, they kept the icy kingdom from being buried in petals, which fell from the sky like rain every so often like rain did in less not normal places."

Dustan had a pet ladybug.

"He hoped it did not die. Would not, that is. For a long time. He hoped it lived a long and fulfilling life. For a ladybug.

"The bug went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the medical one and the science one and the music one and the literature one. It was a very talented bug. But the president accidentally stepped on it when they got together for a meeting. Needless to say, he was not reelected.

"Life went on much as it had been in the household of the king of the icy north. He missed the ladybug some days, but he was glad he was not in the spotlight so much because of a bug. It had drawn some attention to the icy north and they got more tourists than before. He had a ladybug, one hundred times the size of a real one, statue built of ice, but some kid who lied a lot melted it by accident. The kid learned his lesson. He was put it* in detention for fifteen years. He grew up to become the captain of the Ixitprise, a space ship that went into space and explored the final frontier."

*Typo

See what I have to put up with?

I mean, a typo...seriously.

This is just what the epilogue is like. The rest of the novel is different. Badder (and contemporary sci-fi, not kingdomgs and stuff). So now I expect your support of my desire to see it go up in flames.

I am definitely returning to the fantasy and outlining route next time.

Maybe I should post one of my serious stories on here at some point.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A

A song:



A picture:

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A verse:
"All discipline seems for the moment not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." - Hebrews 12:11

A quote:

"You are not only your pain. You are not only wounds and scars. You are also better things. You are possibility and promise, hope and healing, daydreams, favorite books and favorite songs. You are the people that you love and the people who love you. You are hope and change and things worth fighting for. This is all your story and your story isn't over." - Jamie Tworkowski

A website: ThinkGeek

A book I want: Ignore Everybody

A fact:
There are definite downsides to living in a neighborhood with a homeowners association. For example, it eliminates the possibility of setting up a blacksmith forge or building a miniature Anglo-Saxon village in the backyard.

A commercial:



A book I'm reading: Hood by Stephen Lawhead

A tv show I'm watching (on Netflix, so I can watch it in order. I haven't seen any of the current season yet): Doctor Who. The Doctor is one of the best characters in all of fiction.

A place I'm going this year: Colorado

A place I wish I was going this year: DragonCon. Hopefully next year...

A photograph I took:

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A haiku I wrote:

Stoic, smacking, gray.
Please do not grow a mustache
again, Agent Gibbs.

A Truth:


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fantasy

I'm almost to 48,000 words. I finished the story as much as I wanted to so now I'm writing random short stories in it. My preferred manner of celebration for when I reach 50,000 words is to print out the novel and burn it. I haven't given up hope on this but neither have I figured out where to burn it and whether or not my parents will let me use their ink cartridge.

I think part of the problem with this story, aside from the incomplete vision and lack of predetermined structure, is that I haven't read or written enough sci-fi to be able to do it well quickly. I have both written and read much, much more fantasy. I realized this when I stuck one of my characters in a pseudo-medieval virtual reality and suddenly found myself back in my element. If I do NaNoWriMo this year (it mostly depends on whether or not a film group costuming department opportunity works out), I think I'll go back to my roots. ;)

I've liked fantasy for as long as I can remember. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Medallion were among my favorite books as a kid (The first three still are favorites, and I haven't read the other two in years...I should read them again). They were (and are) important to me. All of the books aside from the Bible that have impacted me the most over my life are fantasy, or in the case of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, at least have fantastical elements. If the stories were told, as close as possible, in a different genre, would they have affected me as much? I don't know, but they weren't.

Most of the stories I remember writing were fantasy. When I was 12 I started writing a fantasy story that ended up being 70,000 words long (It isn't finished. I haven't touched it in years. I am better at starting than finishing). My other novels and about half the stories I've written more recently are fantasy. I've liked it for so long that when someone asked me why, I couldn't really say. Why wouldn't I? But thinking on it, I suppose it is the escape from reality that attracts me so much, to worlds where anything can happen. One reason I like writing it is I don't have to do much research *innocent whistling* (though I have researched things like how to remove an arrow from a body). I can create an entirely different world with different laws and creatures and things. My hero can have wings. My heroine can go on a quest to close the Door to the North to keep the world from freezing over (no stealing :P). I can have dungeons and dragons and dwarves (spell-check says dwarfs, but that makes me think of Snow White, who is probably my least-favorite Disney princess ever).

The part of fantasy that I don't get along with well is magic. I very rarely use anything resembling it in my stories. I haven't settled on what's okay to use or approve of in fiction and what isn't because the Bible clearly states real magic is evil. In real life, when trying to find or use power, if it ain't God, it ain't good. People have a lot of different explanations for the vastly varying kinds of magic in their novels, and my opinions have slowly changed form some recently, but I'm not 100% sure on this matter. If you have any thoughts on it, I'd like to hear them.

"Some things can only be said in fiction, but that doesn't mean they aren't true." - Aaron Latham

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tonight

...was the last meeting of my church in its current format (it met on Saturday nights because it started as a little prayer meeting). I am not going to miss it. I was as good as invisible 90% of the time.

Have a song. It makes me smile. B. Reith is one of my favorite artists. His music is so...real. Yes, he is dorky. Lovably so.



It's interesting how people do the same thing they're trying to avoid through their attempts to avoid it. They want to be themselves. Something to do or say enters their mind that someone else would approve of. They realize this and because they don't want to conform to other people's opinions or expectations or change themselves to suit others, they do the opposite of the idea. But by this they're still allowing those expectations, etc. to direct their choices - it's just in a different direction. Half the time they don't know what they really want - to do, say, be. They don't stop to ask themselves.

On a lighter note, last night (Friday, I think) I saw, crawling down one of our hallways, the biggest spider I have ever met outside of a zoo. It was a couple of inches long. I'm the person my sisters call when they need a bug killed (sometimes I catch them and let them outside with my bare hands [the bugs, not my sisters] *flexes muscle...or maybe that's my humerus bone, no pun intended*), but that freaked even me out for a moment. I smashed it with a boot and then flushed it down the toilet for good measure.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Movies

It's the weekend, so I've been using it as an excuse to watch movies. My older sister and I watched The Book of Eli Thursday evening (which isn't the weekend, but whatever). I was a little apprehensive at first but am pleased to report I was not scarred for life. It has more graphic violence and foul utterances in it than the movies I usually watch. I wasn't sure just how graphic the violence would be so I held a pillow at nose-level and whenever there was a fight, I put the corner between my eyes, effectively blurring things. It was an interesting movie. I like the concept quite a bit. But it brought up something that has been on my mind off and on over the months - when, if ever, is it morally justifiable for a Christian to kill someone? I don't know the answer.

Last night I watched Bella. It 's sweet, though the pacing is a bit off (slow for a long while with a rushed ending). I even teared up once or twice. And there is a Jon Foreman song in it. Happiness.

And then, today, I watched Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events because I bought it and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen used off Amazon.com for $3 each and wanted to make sure it plays without a problem (it does). I've seen it a couple of times before. It's too dark for some people but I like it.

A fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie is being made. Please, shoot me now. I like the first. The second was worse, and the third was terrible, because they slowly turned all of the characters into villains. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley (a.k.a. Will & Elizabeth) aren't going to be in it. Jack Sparrow is the main focus. Penelope Cruz is playing his love interest. Blackbeard is the antagonist (the only thing even mildly appealing I've heard about the film). Interesting how the two characters in media I think need to die the most are both named Captain Jack - Captain Jack Sparrow of PotC and Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and its spin-off (at least he's not in very many Doctor Who episodes, and I wouldn't touch the spin-off, Torchwood, with a standard-issue ten-foot pole*). Regrettably, both seem to be immortal in their respective stories.

I'm more or less back on schedule for SuNoWriMo. I wrote 3,000 words last night and 3,000 words the night before. Whee

Now I am going to play Wii Fit (which I am laughably bad at) because I went jogging outside the other day and when I reached the top of the worst hill in our neighborhood, I almost passed out. Bothersome Georgia heat.

*Hero, Second Class reference. It's a good book. You should read it. If you like fantasy. Or making fun of fantasy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You write like...

There's a website where you can enter samples of your writing and it tells you who you, supposedly, write like. First I entered all of my blog posts, one at a time. The overwhelming majority was that

I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


The runners-up were Margaret Atwood, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King, Dan Brown, and Chuck Palahniuk. I got them multiple times each. There were others I only got once each.

I was rather amused to find the result for my review of Hero, Second Class was

I write like
Edgar Allan Poe

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


and my poem "Jousting Horse" is apparently like William Shakespeare.

I've been entering pages of my SuNo at a time now. The first result was Rudyard Kipling. I was horrified (this is an exaggeration) to find the second was Stephanie Meyer. I must print this novel and burn it when I finish. I find this proof that Meyer is not a good writer, because the quality of my SuNo is pretty awful. Further proof of the lack of quality of my SuNo is that all of the other results said I write like Dan Brown. I haven't read any of Brown's novels, but I've read excerpts that were hysterically bad. When I pasted the whole 32,000 words in, the overall result was Rudyard Kipling, but it might have just analyzed the first part, since that was my first result.

For the last decent-quality story I wrote, the result was William Gibson, and for my current work-in-progress aside from SuNo, James Joyce. For my most recent really-short story (785 words) I got Ursula K. Le Guin.

I don't know who any of them are.

I need to stop wasting time on that website.

Have a good day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blue, Inception, and Cookie Dough

I've not gotten much sleep the past several nights and it shows, in my writing, a lot. I seem to have lost most of my ability to write anything serious. I was bored/stuck in my novel, because it needed serious writing, so I had my characters transported to a place with video-game-like mountains, blue dirt, and a person pushing a cart playing The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack. I'm not sure if it's real, like another planet or a man-made place in the middle of nowhere, or if it's a virtual reality.

If I were writing a novel I was going to try to get published or let anyone read, I would wait until my head straightened out, but it's SuNo. I can't stop. So I improvise. I have 32,031 words so far.

I saw Inception this morning. I wasn't much into it until about halfway through and then I loved it. The concept is fascinating. Minds are fascinating. So my mind really liked it. It's an interesting movie. I feel like I was just rather redundant there but in case you haven't realized it, my mind isn't functioning normally right now, so please excuse me. The overdose of sugar doesn't help. It's been people's birthdays and they bought a lot of ice cream. For the record, Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream is very tasty. The cookie dough lumps are the size of a small eyeball.

Which could be many sizes depending on how small the eyeball. But they're bigger than all the cookie dough lumps in all the other brands of cookie dough ice cream I have ever eaten, so far as I recall.

And no, I don't recall how many brands I have tasted. I don't pay much attention to that sort of thing.

I'm not sure what a brand tastes like, anyway. I'd imagine sort of burnt and skinny, with a hint of metal.

I'm reading Hood. It's good.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Night

Silent night,
you give the writer
words to write.

Quiet moon
beyond the shade,
I want to see you soon.

Silent night,
you give the hurting
tears to fight.

Quiet moon,
is it dirge
or lullaby you croon?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Arkansas

I think I'm going to post every other day or so instead of every day. For one thing, I don't want to put you through boring, forced writing. For another, there's some family & friend drama going on that has left me a bit drained.

My current word count is 28,008.

I like Palladio.

The swing dance last night, by the way, was the most fun of the ones I've been to, despite the underlying drama that left me so distracted I probably scared away a number of guys by brooding in the corner. I learned some new steps and such and most of the guys I danced with were fun, talented dancers. I like the faster, more energetic dances best. The music was all played on records that night.

Speaking of dancing, the Virginia Reel is so much fun. I learnt it last month. I recommend learning it if you ever have a chance.

This post, by the way, has nothing to do with Arkansas.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Got Malk?

I'm going to a swing-dance and might not be home until after midnight, so I'm leaving you with this video.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oh yeah...

I almost forgot to blog today.

I noticed tonight that I use the left side of the keyboard significantly more than the right, or at least I did while I was word-warring tonight. My left arm is weary. I got some of the biggest numbers so far (for me) this summer tonight. Most of the word-wars were around 10 minutes long, and while I usually get approximately 320 to 480 words in that time, give or take a dozen, tonight I reached as much as 652.

My typing record is 121 words in a minute (but in normal circumstances I never type that fast).

I have a little over 26,000 words now. It's not my original 2k-a-day goal, but at least I'm on track for reaching 50k by the end of the month.

I'm so tired that for a little while, I went off on a tangent about a man named Allard the Duck and his dog, Dustan the Adventurer of Great Old Times in May in New Hampshire. Allard wanted to write a story about his dog but only managed one paragraph because he kept browsing the internet. Then I returned to my normal (if you want to call it that) story.

While in the chatroom we use for word-warring, it was pointed out that one could change their display name without changing their forum name. So we ended up with BarbaraManatee (that was me *cough*), TheMoose, PlotPoodle, SnugglyPanda, and something about a pony, while our normal usernames are Zephyr, Rivus, Legossi, Tippie, and ShatteredSerenity (this is on a Clean Place member's site, not Clean Place). :P Sadly, no one else joined the word wars after we changed our names, so there was no one to confuse.

Bass Hunter makes me happy. When I listen to his songs, I get flashbacks of the time I spent in Texas in April (staying with friends from Clean Place), where I was first introduced to his music (the lyrical quality of which is generally delightfully cheesy).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trust

I can't speak - oh, this song is so pretty. Have a listen.



Anyway, I can't speak (well, write) on trusting humans, because I don't do that much on any deep level. For one thing, I'm practically a hermit, which limits the opportunities, and for another, three of the people I trusted more than anyone else in the world betrayed that trust rather drastically at different times, so I haven't decided how much trust is wise to place in humans. But I have learned that trust in God is one of the most beautiful and freeing things in the universe.

2009 was the best year of my life thus far (2010 might give it a run for its money), in part because during it I went through the darkest period of my life in which I entirely lost hope in certain things for a while. I was just waiting to die (for various reasons I didn't consider suicide). When I made it through that, I came to trust God on a level I'd never experienced before. I'd been through a deeper valley than any in my history, and He'd led me out of it, though I was blind to His hand as I walked through (which felt more like lying in the mud at the time). After that, there's nothing I don't know He'll get me through, whether it happens the way I expect or not. I cannot express how much His trustworthiness means to me. It's my rock. It relieves worry and brings strength. Sure, I knew I could trust God before, but there's nothing like having that trust solidified and then really experiencing it through everything that happens, good and bad. It's like the difference between being told God loves you and actually experiencing that love. It's a drastic, life-changing difference.

At times we think our worry is justified, but it's not. The Bible specifically says,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6)." It sounds cliche, but we can trust God through everything, no matter how dark, 100%. Trusting God has changed our relationship every day, not just when I'm having a hard time. It's deepened my love for Him and helped me even more to see Him as a real person rather than a cloud looking down on me from afar. ;) It's not something you can be told how to do. Trust builds the more you get to know a person. It's the same with God, but unlike everyone else, He will never, ever let you down. His answers to your questions and requests may not be what you hope for, but He knows better than to do everything we think He should. Peace comes with trust, peace in accepting His answers (or lack thereof).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Teh Novel

I reached the point in my novel (like, three days ago) where that first burst of inspiration died and every other word was a struggle. So I didn't write much. Week two is always the hardest. While I was trying to figure out how to get a new burst, I decided to use a plot dare I'd kept in mind.

On Clean Place, there's a thread where people who participate in SuNo have to post at least five plot dares and choose five of other people's to incorporate into their novel (one crazy person uses every single dare posted, though I'm not sure what she does when they contradict each other, like one that says not to kill anyone and another that demands it). A plot dare is simply an element or plot twist (Examples: Make your main character mortally afraid of port-a-potties, have your characters go on a picnic in the middle of the night, have a character lose both of his/her arms; after someone lies, their pants light on fire; name a character Baltimore, etc.) We're not limited to using or posting just five, but we have to do at least five. One of them was, "Include a scene in your novel in which nothing takes place except a wild bird finds a French fry." I decided to use this and make the most of it, so I named the bird Alabaster Hermit King Crown Fish Lady Buck Androose Mormon Excalibur Santa Fe Marble Exit Home Range. I used the name four times. Instant word-count-booster.

Then I spontaneously added another character, a conflicted villain of sorts, whose name turned out to be Dustan, and sent him to kill Biddy and Simba (but I sure hope he doesn't succeed, because that would be, well, lame).

Okay, so he's not going to succeed.

My hero, Rex, wasn't turning out to have much muchness, so I had him break out of the facility he was being held captive in, but then I realized I needed him to stay there for a little while longer so he passed out.

No, I am not planning on putting this story in the public eye.

But I got going at a decent pace again, and made it to 22,092 words today...yesterday...July 12th.

In other news, my family watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tonight, which was very amusing. My dad bought it on DVD at Wal-Mart the other day, from the $5 bin, though we own both 1 and 2 on VHS. I have already mentioned on this blog that when I was a kid, I really wanted to be a ninja turtle. They were da bomb. My younger sister and I pretended to be them a lot. I was usually Raphael and she was usually Leonardo, but we switched things up every now and then. The stories we acted out generally had to do with me getting beat up (make-believe beat up). The bar in the basement that my dad put weights on was hollow, so we pretended that Splinter could look through said bar and read the minds of anyone he pointed it at. We were...imaginative children.

Boneman's Daughters

I read Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker over the weekend. I checked it out at the library. It's one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let go. The novel is about intelligence officer Ryan Evans who returns home after a mentally traumatizing experience in Iraq to find his wife in the arms of another man and the resentment of his daughter for never being there for her. Life turns into hell when Ryan's daughter is taken captive by Boneman, a serial killer who murders his victims, all teenage girls, by breaking their bones without breaking their skin. And *cringes at cliche* Ryan will stop at nothing to save her. Ultimately, it's about a father's unstoppable love for his daughter.

This story is mind-blowing. There are some amazing metaphors of God's love and Satan's hatred for us. It brought things home for me in a way that had never happened before, stirred up my mind so that I found it impossible to fall asleep until about 3 AM last night, after finishing the book five hours earlier.

The amount I relate to Ryan was surprising. It was on a mental level, not a life-experiences level, of course. He's used to making purely logical decisions but learns that emotion isn't all bad. He makes use at times of his ability to suppress emotion to do what needs to be done. He is very, very much like me in some areas, in the way he thinks, which I found interesting (now you can go read it and come to all the wrong conclusions about the way I think ;-]).

For me, part of the power of Dekker's writing is its simplicity. It's nothing fancy. When I read his books, the writing almost doesn't exist. I'm in it, living through the eyes of the characters, so I see the story, not the words, if you know what I mean. I've never read books with characters more real than his. They come alive. They could be real people you walk past on the street everyday. Dekker's writing immerses me in their minds, in their worlds (this is one reason I dislike his book Green so much - he spends a lot of time in the villains' points of view, and it's hard to distance myself because they're so lifelike. Considering how unpleasant the villains are, it's not an enjoyable read). There were a few instances where his writing tripped me up (liking repeating the same words too close to each other a couple of times). I had to laugh when he used the simile "like a bat out of hell" once. He way, way overused that phrase toward the end of my favorite of his books, Saint. I've noticed that he tends to pick up pet words or phrases per novel (like in Blessed Child, it was the word "ambiguity") and uses the life out of them, but I didn't notice him doing that in Boneman's Daughters.

Some people say the book sounds too creepy for them, but it didn't creep me out at all until I neared the end (which may be because I'm such a well-grounded person [Oh look, a birdie. I wish I could fly. Let's fly to Narnia; this world stinks]). Where was I? Oh right, creepy. Yes, I was okay with it. I didn't feel the urge to check the locks on all the doors when I finished. But I would really have to know someone's mind to say whether or not I thought this book would bother them. There are some very disturbing elements, obviously. And, as I said, it's very intense. At times, a single line felt like a slug* to the face. If you're a parent you might have an especially hard time getting through it. But I found it one of the most worthwhile reads ever. No excerpt or review can do it justice.

*I am not here referring to "any of various snail-like terrestrial gastropods having no shell or only a rudimentary one, feeding on plants and a pest of leafy garden crops."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wipe them out...all of them.

I have two pet peeves (aside from the obvious like people mistreating other people and such):

1. When people talk during movies. Sometimes, with friends, I watch a movie just to hang out, and then they can make all the comments they want, but most of the time I watch a movie to watch a movie, not to have a conversation with someone or listen to their commentary on it, however limited.

2. When people bend book covers. Bending the cover of a book is like abusing your dog, only you can't get in trouble for it (unless it belongs to me, and then your borrowing privileges will be revoked). There is a fine art to holding a paperback so that the cover doesn't pop open when you set it down. Everyone should learn it.

Just wanted to get that off my chest ;)

I changed the sounds my computer makes. When I log on, Darth Vader asks, "What is thy bidding, my master?"

When I empty the recycle bin, Darth Sidius says, "Wipe them out...all of them."

When I log off, shut down, or disconnect a device (such as my camera or flash drive), C-3PO says, "Sir, if you'll not be needing me, I'll close down for a while."

When I get a program error message, Luke says, "What a piece of junk!"

I replaced several beeps and dings with R2-D2 noises.

Not long after I changed them, I emptied the recycle bin and Darth Sidius made his comment. Having entirely forgotten about it for the moment, I was a little disconcerted.

In that vein, back on May 25th, which is Geek/Nerd Pride Day (Seriously. It has a Wikipedia page), I made a Stargate cake.

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So Cake Decorator's not on my list of Possible Future Occupations, but it was fun.

A note on coloring one's hair with a sharpie: You may wake up to find your pillow case is now the color you used.

I wrote all that this afternoon/evening, and then finished reading Boneman's Daughters. It can best be described as intense. I might write a review on it tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

11:53

3:10 PM I don't really know what to write today. Yesterday I was terribly depressed. I think I'll have to be more careful when I write from the points-of-view of psychologically disturbed characters. Biddy is a mess and it was getting to me, so I took a break from her POV and got in Simba's head. Both of them think a lot more than they talk. Very shortly after I asked for prayer on Clean Place, I felt significantly cheered and was able to reach my word goal for the day (18,000). The people on CP are my family. I'm so thankful for them. And I get to go spend a week with a number of them at a ranch in the Colorado mountains next month. Horses! Oh yeah.

Last night, a character I knew existed before I started writing entered the story.

*plays a game called Quelf, which turns out to be pretty much awesome, and then goes to church*

11:25 PM So. The character. His name is Terrence, he dresses like someone from the 1800s, and he talks a lot more than my other characters. He also likes to whap people on the head with a Bible and shout, "Repent!" even if they haven't done anything wrong.

I have about thirty minutes to finish this before it's Sunday.

I saw the movie Despicable Me this morning with my sisters and a couple of guy friends. It was very funny and loverly quirky. An animated movie I'm really looking forward to is Tangled. You can watch the trailer here:



I didn't work on my novel at all today, what with seeing a movie and playing a long board game and going to church. The board game, Quelf, was a lot of fun. I'd never played it before. It involved pulling cards and following their instructions, like pretending you're a ventriloquist, the person next to you is your dummy, and having a conversation with your dummy about the time you rescued them from a rabid pheasant. Another commands you to do an interpretive dance about a man who wakes up, goes to work, and discovers he has no pants on. It was amusing, to say the least. Someone ended up drawing a card that said no one could speak unless it was their turn, so we had an interesting time communicating in grunts and hand motions.

I'm reading Boneman's Daughter by Ted Dekker now. I started yesterday and am already halfway through it. It's good. I'm glad, considering I dislike Green so much that, though I started it last year, I still haven't gotten through it. I was a little worried all of Dekker's books might have gone downhill, but they haven't. He's one of my favorite authors.

Church tonight was interesting. I discovered that if I stand in the backish rather than stay in my chair after the meeting is sort of over, people actually come talk to me. My church (for lack of a better word, because the church is all of God's people) is going through a transition right now, which is good, because it had gotten rather stale and conformed. I'm interested in seeing where it goes.

I think, sadly, that my novel will have to stay at 18,000 words today. I need some sleep every now and then. ;) I hope you have an amazing remainder of your life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

For Every Moment

I don't think I have anything to say right now that would be edifying OR make you laugh because I've had a very strange week, so I'm going to post a poem I wrote years ago. It feels very far away now, not in that it's any less true, but that I've changed so much since I penned it. I don't even like it anymore, but maybe someone will find it helpful. It's punctuated & capitalized the way I first learned to write poetry. A few of the forced rhymes nigh make me grimace (which is one reason I don't rhyme much in poetry anymore), but it's okay.

For moments when my soul feels rubbed raw
For moments when places in my heart need to thaw
For moments when I feel I’ve lost it all
For moments when so far I fall

I need to remember You’re here with me
Even in the dark when I cannot see
I need to remember Your love for me
That binds these chains and sets me free

For moments when my hope is dim
For moments when all life seems grim
For moments when fears come in the night
For moments when I lose view of the light

I need to remember Your faithfulness
I need to remember You’ll never love me less
No matter what I do You’re at my side
And there is no darkness in which I can hide

For moments when I’m drowning in my tears
For moments when I’m haunted by old fears
For moments when I feel alone
For moments when my life seems a dry bone

I need to remember Your love never fails
And brings me back when I’m off on bunny trails
I need to remember You’re holding me
And let You open my eyes so I can see

For moments when my spirit’s in turmoil
For moments when emotions boil
For moments anguish breaks my heart
For moments when I feel apart

I need to remember Your light will never fade
And there is a reward for those who dive instead of wade
Your river of life will sustain my soul
The gift You gave is what makes me whole

For moments when I have no friend
For moments when I just want to let the enemy win
For moments when the world closes in
For moments when I’m suffocating in past sin

I need to remember You died and rose for me
I need to remember Your blood set me free
By Your strength I can overcome
So now into Your waiting arms I run.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hero, Second Class

Hero, Second Class is a fantasy spoof by Mitchell Bonds. It follows the story of hero-in-training Cyrus Solburg and the villain Voshtyr Demonkin. Voshtyr is building a powerful machine called a P.L.O.T. Device to take over the world. Bonds ingeniously makes fun of many terms and cliches used in fantasy with a story serious enough to keep a person interested.

When I first started reading the book, my inner editor had a field day. I've been on Clean Place (online writers' group) for four years and have had numerous rules of writing ingrained in me, such as show, don't tell; adverbs are evil; passive voice will steal your soul; and don't dump much description or backstory on your reader at one time. I don't think Mitchell learned any of these. So at first, the I. E. (inner editor, not Internet Explorer) was going crazy. It's not that his writing was necessarily bad, he just broke a lot of the rules I learned (which I break too at times [a lot during SuNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo], but the first rule of rule-breaking is that you have to know the rules before you can get away with breaking them*). But I got so wrapped up in the story that I stopped noticing. By the middle, I'd decided the style worked for him, and by the end, I loved it (This is not to say you should go around breaking the aforementioned rules in hopes you'll end up published. The rules are there for a reason. You have to figure out how your story should be told). The one thing about his writing that continued to bother me is that he sometimes repeats the same word too close to itself. This lifts the suspension of disbelief, knocking the reader out of the story.

The characters are very likable. I even enjoyed the romance. I am usually not a romantic person when it comes to love stories (Snow White and Prince Charming? Sleeping Beauty and Philip? Cinderella and Mr. No Personality? They probably divorced or ended up miserable because their "love" was nothing more than petty infatuation. I mean seriously, they knew each other for what, a day? I digress). Anyway, my inner cynic usually prevents me from enjoying romance, but the romance in Hero, Second Class is cute. My favorite character isn't the hero, though - he's second (no pun intended). My favorite is Serimal, despite him not having a big part. Read the book if you want to know about him.

Another thing I like is that while there are Christian elements, they don't feel forced or preachy. Mind you, I'm a Christian, but I don't like stories that are basically sermons (normal sermons, anyway. The ones that may or may not contain valuable information but make you want to fall asleep or feel patronized or are sappy or sound like someone tried too hard to make it appealing to teenagers). In Hero, Second Class they come across, for the most part, as natural and believable. I was pleasantly surprised.

It's a very long book, about six-hundred pages. But I never got bored. There are a couple of parts that dragged a bit (because I wanted to get back to the hero [or Serimal] at that point and these parts were about other characters), but they were still enjoyable. The novel far surpassed my expectations. I found it well worth the read. It made me laugh and smile more than any book I've read in a long time. Perhaps ever.

The end surprised me. I expected more resolution. But Mitchell's next book is set to be published in April next year, so I'll be looking forward to finding out what happens.

*Tongue-in-cheek

This is the Title I Decided On

You know, I like getting comments on my blog posts. So even if you don't know me and/or hate my guts (or my toes, or my ideas, or my personality) feel free to comment.

On that note, I'm one of those people who would rather have someone tell me they have a real problem with me than keep it to themselves or talk about it to other people without talking about it to me or post one of those Facebook statuses where they complain about people on their friends list without naming names. The worst ending of a friendship I went through happened because someone took some things I did entirely the wrong way and didn't talk to me about it until they'd decided not to be friends anymore (but it was ultimately for good because, while it was very difficult for a long time, God turned it around and used it to show me things I needed to see and deepen my trust in Him). Please don't do this to your friends. They deserve a chance to explain their motivations and meanings.

If you ever have serious concerns about anything I say or do, I will seriously consider them. This isn't a promise to change my ways because I'm accountable to God, not you, but I will take any concerns before Him.

Purple Alien Jellyfish

Staying up really late seemed like a better idea then than it does now. At least I don't regret deciding to sharpie part of my hair purple sometime between 2 and 3 AM (don't worry, it doesn't stay in very long).

I dreamed that aliens were attacking but I pacified them and they all turned into little girls and started braiding each other's hair, so now I'm in good standing with the queen and the chief falconer.

Oh look! Someone remixed Jellyfish (you can find the original, which is way better because of the video, on my "About" page [no particular reason], but this one sounds cool [about as cool as that song can sound, anyway]).



When you're writing a story from the point of view of a blind character, remember not to forget that he or she is blind. I did that yesterday and had to go back and change a few things, like mentioning the scientist was in a white lab coat.

I want to learn to play the ocarina. Maybe when I get paid for this dog-sitting job I can afford the one I picked out online. They're not very expensive (especially compared to most other musical instruments).

Now go help end hunger and improve your vocabulary. You can do both at the same time at the link I provided.

Bests

It's after midnight. So this counts as my Wednesday post if I want it to.

Best event listed on Facebook: Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day

Best Youtube video I watched for the first time in the past two days (what?):


Best word I invented today: Nerdialysis (Elraen: "Maybe we should stop being nerds." Me: I can't. It's a condition I have. Acute Nerdialysis. A very cute Nerdialysis, actually.")

Best thing I watched on Netflix this week: Part of Doctor Who season 3.

Best quote from said show: "There's no such thing as an ordinary human."

Best quote I read for the first time this week: "Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Best worst simile Sir Edgeron's squire posted on Facebook this week: "The little boat gently drifted across the pond, exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't."

Best thing I ordered online this year: This shirt for my brother

Best movie I've seen in a theater this year: Either How to Train Your Dragon or Robin Hood.

Best idea a friend carried out in the past week: Taking her coffee pot, with a tie on it, to her college's date night (yes, most of my friends are writers).

Best twentieth line in the novel I'm writing: with the flames’ energy. Rex shifted his grasp on the torch handles, every groove

Oh no. I have the Flintstones theme song stuck in my head.

P. S. SuNo Word Count: 12,334

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quotes by C. S. Lewis

"Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can't really get rid of it."

"For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays." (The Horse and His Boy)

"The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it."

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

"An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy."

"Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite."

"A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride."

"An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason."

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."

"Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement."

"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning."

"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair."

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this."

"Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become."

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."

"Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey people. People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war... Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest."

"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is."

"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

"We are what we believe we are."

"You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body."

My favorite: "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."

And for good measure: "It's so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Words, Simba, Holmes

I wrote over three thousand words yesterday (yesterday being Sunday, because it's now Monday, just really early on), and I didn't start until after dinner. What is my secret?

Word-warring. Mwahahahahaha. Okay, anyway, word-warring is where two or more people set a time limit, a timer is designated (well, volunteers, usually), and they "fight" to see who can write the most words in their story before the time is up. My Clean Place friends and I do this over instant-messaging or private chat rooms (previously it was usually on IM, but this year we've been using the chat room of another member's writing and role-playing site) (we write in our word processors and then report the count to the others when the time is up). This is not a good way to produce high-quality writing, but it gets you through the story and bolsters your word count. Mine is now just over 9,000.

A new character forced his way into the story. His name is Simba, he has dreadlocks, is dying of genetic engineering gone wrong, can turn invisible, is trying to find his little sister before he dies, and is odd but not insane. It's nice to have a break from writing in the heads of psychologically disturbed people.

I hope you had a merry Independence Day. My brother and his girlfriend came over and we talked and ate and watched Sherlock Holmes. Not exactly patriotic, considering it's set in London, but I like it (I'm the one who bought it). I liked it exceedingly more the third time I watched it than the first two, and this, the fourth, was better. We ate food, not Sherlock.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Feminism and Chivalry

Over the years, there's been much-ado about women proving they're equals with men. Yes, we're equals. But many women don't realize that being equals with men does not mean being the same as them. Women comment on how they don't understand men, and men on how they don't understand women. It's because we're different. God created us that way. There are things that, in general, men are better at than women, and things that women are better at than men. There's no need to attempt to prove equality by trying to do everything they do.

I don't mean we girls should all get married, have kids, and knit. I myself am definitely not ready to get married and be tied down anytime soon. I don't know what God wants me to do with my life, but there are many things out there to see and do. My independent and adventurous streaks don't want to settle down into family life just yet, if ever. Respecting men doesn't mean having to be quaint housewives. It's more along the lines of acknowledging and coming to appreciate differences in the way we think and behave and the roles we were created for.

Girls complain about the "death of chivalry," but they also complain about guys treating them as weak. Chivalry, as I see it, is men respecting the differences between them and us. When girls try to prove they can do anything guys can, when they try to run with male packs, when they take male roles to prove a point, they aren't showing guys respect. They're undermining them and their God-given authority. Girls complain about the lack of chivalry when they, in fact, helped kill it.

I don't mean guys are off the hook. They, like everyone, are responsible for their every action. A real gentleman will be a gentleman no matter how he's treated. But I'm a girl, so I'm talking to girls here, and don't feel I'm in a position to address the guys' side of the matter.

Friday, July 2, 2010

This and That

I guess I'll try to blog every day.

I started my novel sometime after midnight on July 1. It's going pretty well. I don't know if I'll ever let anyone read it, but I really like my two main characters, despite the fact they're borderline certifiable. I've written 2,508 words so far. My goal is 2k a day to give me a bit of leeway in case I end up having to skip a day.

My cell phone alarm apparently doesn't know how to tell time. I set it for 9:00 but it went off a few minutes before 8:00 (which is better than 6:34, but still).

I really can't think of much to write right now (hmm...it's not like I stayed up 'til almost 3 last night...oh wait). So here's a poem I wrote a couple of years ago, a poem about writing.

There is something inviting,
exciting,
about a blank page,
a new chapter,
an untouched Word document.
And yet while one is nearly bursting
with the mystery and excitement of words to come,
there is feeling of reluctance that often accompanies it,
a reluctance to mar that perfect serenity
of an untouched page.
And so a battle ensues within the writer's soul -
to lay that soul bare upon the paper,
or to refrain from making a mark upon it,
as if that would somehow throw the world out of balance
and send it hurtling toward that close star
that gives the writer light to write by,
where it is sure to meet a fiery death.
But the writer's muse often wins out,
and after a sentence is laid upon the page,
words flow.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jousting Horse

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Thunder,
your hooves on the sand
as you give your all.
Inspiration,
your beauty and strength
as you pass me by.
Sunlight glints
on the metal of your trappings,
set off like fire
against your bright caparison.

Steel,
your nerves
as a lance shatters.
Implicit,
the trust of your knight
in his companion.
Wind blows
through your glistening mane,
streaming behind
like the banner of your rider.

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Both the photos and the poem are mine.