Classic Number Five: The Stranger

I’m falling behind on the classic challenge. I started and finished my May pick, The Stranger by Albert Camus, late. I bought this book at The Last Bookstore while I was on vacation and I’m so glad I did. What a great read although like many classic it is not a fairy tale. There is no happily ever after. Many may find the first person narrative boring since the main character, Meursault, is indifferent to all that is happening around him. The book starts with Meursault at his mother’s funeral. He express no remorse, and returns home. I had trouble with this scene. I felt it exhibit the expectation of certain emotions from others in different situations. But as the story goes on he is unaffected by the neighbor who abuses his dog, or a woman. The day after the funeral he meets, Marie. They go swimming, go to a comedy film, and he lives the appearance of a normal life. He expresses no issue with helping write a letter for his other neighbor, Raymond, to a girl who did him wrong. This indirectly gets him involved with the girl’s Arab brother. After a confrontation where Raymond is cut with a knife they return to the house. Meursault goes back out for a walk and ends up killing the Arab.

Part two of the novel follows Meursault’s thoughts during the trail and sentencing. He is prosecuted more for his moral character than the murder. After the trail Meursault finally has a moment of clarity when a priest comes to help him find solace and save his soul but Meursault sees “the benign indifference of the universe” like himself. Neither he or the world doesn’t pass judgement. Everyone will die and he finds a kind of freedom in this fact.

I can see this being a tough read for some. It is hard to follow Meursault and his lack of emotions. Readers will forever try to figure him out. This read will help you understand existentialism and make you think about life and how you relate to everything around you.

A Visit to The Last Bookstore

My resent vacation had me traveling through Los Angeles and we had just enough time to visit The Last Bookstore. It is a great bookstore with used and new copies of almost any book on any topic. The main floor has a comic book, children’s, teen, classic, history, and vinyl section. I loved the bank vault door leading to the room of rare books.

I loved the art piece at the top of the stairs, a bookcase surrounded by flying books. I believe it gave off a very Harry Potter essence. There is an art gallery, yarn shop and more books upstairs. Wish I had more time to search though the dollar books in The Labyrinth but there were just too many. I was able to walk through the book covered bridge into the horror room. There was a photo-shoot taking place and a really nice group a people allowing customers to shop while they worked. I didn’t realized until I was looking through the science fiction/fantasy section that I missed taking a picture at the porthole made of books since the shoot was using it. Guess I’l have to return one day and fix that error especially since there are so many books and little time to really explore the changing collection.

When it was time to leave I bought a few books. I loved the counter was made of stacked books. I took a picture of my book stash and I can’t wait to start reading them.

Comic Books!
View from upstairs and this is only half of the bottom floor.
Only three. I held back.
Vault to Rare Books.

        

Then You Come Back From Vacation

I’m back! Didn’t think it was long enough where a reader would believe I abandoned this blog but could understand if you started second guessing my presence here. I was not posting for a bit because I was on vacation traveling. I’ve grown into an untrusting New Yorker and didn’t want to become a silly statistic. For very safe reasons I never posted my far far away-ness on this blog since this is open to anyone and anyone can be mean stealing jerk. I keep a travel journal and though I always fall a day or two behind it’s not because I don’t write everyday. I am the best writer while traveling because I can find scraps of time anywhere on the move to write. I do have some writing material since I’m the most diligent writer away and I hope to use that fire in the future.

Now here is where I beg for patience from you, my reader (if you’re still with me). I have a post I’m working on about a place I visited along my travels but it may take some time to write. Here is my sob story. On the last day of my vacation I hurt my ankle. I don’t know if it’s a sprain. I iced and rested it. It has been five days since the painful klutz move of missing a step and I can walk on it with very little discomfort so I must have lucked out.

The second fun thing to happen back from my trip is I woke up Thursday morning to water dripping from my study’s ceiling. Good news no computers were harmed in the disaster above and the leak (which ended up being little but chaotic) is fixed but computers are disconnected and the apartment is a disaster. Thank invention for laptops. I am sitting in the least crazy room (the bedroom that is stacked high with boardgames, monitors, and desk parts) typing this little blog post. I’m trying not to think about the holes in the next room’s ceiling and the contractors that will need to be contacted so everything can feel less anxious again. I can look on the bright side and say at least I’m writing.

Also, I’m upset because I’m behind on the one classic a month challenge. I have no excuse other than when I travel I write more and read less. I plan on starting my May classic in a few days (still between books) and gracing my reader on my amazing half-ass review. I hope you can forgive the delay. (Is this where I hash-tag my emotions.)

Now, I will enjoy a glass of wine, say good night, and sweet dreams.

Classic Number Four: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I decided to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum as my fourth classic after seeing the Supernatural: Slumber Party. While watching the episode and their darker take on this classic I realized I have never read the book. The episode does reference the books as well as the movie. I think it was when the character, Charlie played by Felicia Day, was gushing and defending this childhood classic that I decided I needed to read it.

I was delighted with the differences between the book and movie. The movie will forever be a classic in it’s own right but the book is a bigger adventure with Dorothy meeting and making even more friends. The flying monkeys aren’t as scary but become a companion. All the characters grow and while they are all on the same adventure they grow individually finding they had what they seek all along but needed some encouragement along the way. The difference I loved between the movie and book are the passage of time is in both worlds and that the shoes are silver in the book. Maybe because the movie made red shoes such a set thing in the Oz culture and made it appear in the movie that Dorothy’s adventure was just a dream.

I think what will always make this a classic is the need others will feel to use it in their own work, reinvent, and keep it fresh.  I would recommend this to anyone looking for a book to read to their child or looking to give them something to start their reading love. It wasn’t a difficult read. The writing was straight to the point in any character’s motivation or description. A magical read.

2015 And Beyond

It’s a new year and I want to start off wishing everyone a happy and healthy one. This is the time we set goals, maybe new or we failed at before, and try to achieve them. Before I mention what I hope to improve, I will say I’m disappointed in myself. It has been a month since I wrote anything for this blog. I don’t want to blame my new job but with its always changing schedule I am having trouble finding time to write. Also, I thought I would have more to talk about which, hasn’t happen. Once thing is for sure, I refuse to let this blog die.
With the new year come goals. I will try to keep writing this blog weekly. I don’t think it’s an impossible task. The holidays are over which means work will slow down. I’m thinking less hours, and stress. Plus, I kept up the schedule before I can do it again.
I hope to write with more focus. More story building and novel/short story writing and increase time on editing my children’s book. If all goes well and I feel the book doesn’t need anymore work, I hope to find an agent or publisher.
I’m making these writing goals my primary focus. If I don’t no one else will and nothing will get done. I don’t want to talk about being a writer, instead I want to be one. I am not going to downgrade the goals I accomplished last year. There was a wrench thrown into the gears with this new job and it’s crazy schedule but I will not have a part-time permanent job mess up my forward writing motion.

Work Halloween Costume

I am allowed to dress up for work. I thought this was some freshman prank like the pool on the roof but more co-workers have been talking about their costume and ask if I plan to dress up. I wasn’t originally. I thought since it is a store with a business causal type of dress code I would be festive with some orange, black, and some themed earrings. I am nervous about going all out in a costume. I purchased this Doctor Who dress about two weeks ago but it is back-ordered. I’m disappointed because I was excited about this dress. It’s the 10th Doctor’s suit as an image on the dress. I thought I could looked dressed up without being uncomfortable. I think I should have bought the 9th Doctor’s dress. Maybe he wouldn’t have been back-ordered. So my other option is pirate gear. I could wear a dress shirt under my corset, black dress pants or my ruffled black skirt, maybe a few scarfs and black eyeliner. I don’t feel this will fit in with the business casual dress code. The other’s talk about being mimes, and Arthur characters. I wish I knew sooner so I could plan another costume. Maybe a book/author themed costumed like Jane Austen, Belle, or Some childhood character. Wish I still had my Wednesday Addams’ costume. I rocked that back in the day. Why couldn’t I do Wednesday Addams now. I have checked my closet and I have a black dress. It won’t be a completely Wednesday dress because it has short shelves and I don’t have a white collar. I’ve been thinking I could make one before tomorrow. How authentic do I have to be? I can have the pale skin, red nail polish, and braided hair tomorrow but most important I’ll be comfortable. Will people see Wednesday without the collar? I’ll be sarcastic and if people don’t like it I’ll blame it on the character. (Wink, wink.) Do you get to dress up at work on Halloween? If so what do you plan to be?

Happy Halloween!

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Wednesday Addams

So, You’re a Writer

“You’re a writer? What do you plan on writing?” The dreaded question almost every writer hates. This line of questioning usually starts with the fact that I majored in Creative Writing in college but strangers really expect a detailed answer. Leave out how many people tell me what a useless degree I got, I have recently taken up the belief that I will not talk about the stories I’m writing. I find some people want the outline to the story you’re writing and to know the publishers release date. Just talking about my story can lead me to doubts or hesitations. If you don’t like the genre I’m writing than say I don’t read that genre but good luck. Don’t say something negative that is based on only your taste. There are many people in this world, you may not like it but the woman sitting across from you on the train may think it’s just the piece of fiction she needed to shake off her hardships of work or life. Also, your suggestions on how I can write my story doesn’t help. If you think you can take my idea and direct me how it should be written you’re wrong. Thanks for the help but I didn’t ask for help. Remember you asked me what I was writing. If you don’t like what I’m doing with my idea then write it yourself. One of my favorite lesson in fiction class was when the teacher would tell everyone to write a page story based on a topic, theme, genre, or scene. No one wrote the same story.

I’m not saying I don’t mind talking to strangers all the time. I’ve met some really interesting people from some friendly, polite conversation. I’ve just learned to expect the questioning but I don’t take everything said to me to heart. Since I’ve been insulted, and praised I will just keep quiet on my future writing plans. I know some will try their best to pry answers out of me but I don’t know you and I owe you nothing.

Series Finale Feels

It’s hard to accept when a show you enjoyed watching announces it’s coming to an end. It’s sad when characters and a world you loved will no longer play out in front of you weekly. Like books, you have laughed and cried with these character’s world. Begged characters not to make a certain choice or cheered at their successes. You’re not expecting them to hear you and change their minds but you know what comes can mean so much from story-line characters development, or the chow crumbling from it’s authenticity. Even clique narratives can have viewers running. Even the ending can have us disappointed. How many series had a build up that ruined everything with the last episode?

As a writer I see many benefits to wrapping up a series on their own terms. No characters are left with cliffhangers unlike most canceled shows. Maybe it can even leave before it becomes stagnate, silly, or “jumps the shark”. I’m sure all of us can name a dozen shows we watched that ended to soon and frustrated you thinking about the closure that never happened. Even when we are later given closure in a movie feature we can feel cheated, angry, or satisfied. Although, there have been few shows that have left me satisfied, I have felt cheated with some series knowing I could never have more time with some characters. I remember a past show I thought destroyed the past series and left me angry. It was as if the writers never watched the show. They threw away rules build into the world over the years making the theme of the show obsolete. For me, it almost ruined the reruns.

I guess I’m trying to say it’s unfortunate to say goodbye but silver lining, there is always fan fiction or spin offs. Maybe.

Just A Drive By Insult

I’m wearing shorts, tank top, and these boots today. Nothing fancy. An outfit I thought was low-key. They’re my new boots and I love them. I already have a plan to wear them not only with jeans but shorts and dresses. Seriously, they are bad ass.

Walking home from the store today and crossing a street a car stops at that street’s stop sign. The man is maybe in his late fifties. He waves the fingers on both hands while his thumbs stay rapped around the steering wheel. I guess this is him waving me on so I walk with a slight wave of thanks. I hit the corner and keep walking. I hear the man’s car roll up to the pedestrian cross walk just before turning on to the intersection and he says snarky, “Boots in Summer! Really. Okay.”

I didn’t turn around, just kept walking and ignored him as he drove away but I did think, “The better to kick your ass.” Maybe I should have delivered the burn but I don’t think I would feel less annoyed. Tired of rude people that don’t know me and feel the need to make comments. Why is it important to yell at a total stranger not bothering you? You can say it put a damper on my mood but I’m letting it go. I do think his momma should have taught him better manners.

 

White Mountain Fido Boots

 

Trials Over Social Anxiety

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day I stood up a lab partner. Why would I do such a mean thing? Anxiety, nerves, and fear. I can still picture him sitting in the Hunter Library at a table against the window. He had his book out and he would glance out the window while he waited for me to show. I hid behind a library stack. I would pace away and walk back ready to show. The moment before I would reach his line of sight I would stop and take my stand back behind the bookcase. If others walk by I would stare at the shelves of books. I can’t tell you what books that section held because I never read the bindings. I just thought about how I would walk up to him, sit down, and study.
I thought about making some silly slip up. It was a study section which meant I would have to talk about a subject we took together. Talking meant he may find out he was partnered with a mute, limited vocabulary, or studding spaz. What happens if we started studying and he realized I was just a dumb broad who didn’t really belong in college. I panic at the though of what if he liked me. It’s amazing how the brain can just keep thinking of situations. The situations become more outlandish and anxiety becomes bigger. This kid just wanted to study with his lab partner and in that library I was making up fictitious scenarios psyching myself out.
I forgot the lame excuse I gave him the next time we met in class but we never rescheduled that section (probably my doing). I am not in touch with that lab partner anymore but sometimes I wish I was. I would explain and give him a proper apology. I’m not over my social anxieties but I never did this again. Just have to learn to grow up and get over the fact meeting people is not a big deal. Actually, it can be a lot of fun.