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Ancient Greek Classics Circuit

26 Jan

So, I didn’t manage to post by my midnight goal last night, because I was on a deadline for my other site.  I’m taking part in the Ancient Greek Classics Circuit this month and I’m day ONE of the tour.

My discussion of Electra is now up on Aurelia – go check it out!

Reading Electra Aloud in The Dark

Of Aliens & Ancient Greece

23 Jan

Electra Receiving the Ashes of Her Brother, Or...

Image via Wikipedia

“For centuries philosophers and theologians have debated what it means to be human. Perhaps the answer has eluded us because it is so simple. To be human is to choose.”The Outer Limits

I wouldn’t normally think of juxtaposing Sophocles with little green men, it just happened to work out that way.  I was reading Electra tonight and reflecting on how little we had changed in so much time, how still relevant his work was, marveling at how much I identified with the characters.  I had to admit too, that it did remind me for just a moment of reading science fiction.  The places and the names, the traditions – all so foreign to me, it could have taken place on an entirely different world.

I was sitting in my parent’s living room at the time, and after my dad went to bed I started reading aloud to myself, because… well I guess there’s still a bit of the drama geek forever inside me.   The TV was still on, tuned to whatever station my father had snored through before he traded his recliner in for his bed.  It wasn’t really bothering me as I was rather engaged in my reading.  But, then the sportscasters came on.  I was now annoyed.  And for some reason instead of turning the thing off, I flipped down a few stations to something less obnoxious.

I stopped on an episode of The Outer Limits, mostly because it was quiet compared to the ranting from the sportscast.  It was halfway through the show, but suddenly I found myself going back and forth between the two, watching the show, (an episode involving alien abduction) when it was on, and switching back to my performance of Electra during the breaks.  (Yes, these really are the sort of things I do, when no one is watching).

I have to say it was a rather odd and giddy experience.  The show, with its oddly compelling aliens weaved through themes of  fear, violence, pain, sacrifice and ultimately what it means to be human while the play tackled many of the same ideas.

“My acts untimely and my words unmeet.
But your hostility and treatment force me
Against my disposition to this course.” – Sophocles, Electra

Both stories culminated with dire choice. Sacrifice.  Untimely deaths.

Aliens. Ancient Greeks.  How very little we have changed, and how very much I wonder if we ever will.

Where Are the Stars?

19 Jan

night sky

Image by Dave Young via Flickr

When you’re lying in bed at night looking up at the stars, don’t panic when you suddenly wonder “Where the Hell is the ceiling?!”

This quote reminded me of a couple of really beautiful scenes in the book I finished today. The one I can’t even write about yet because I’m rendered stilled, speechless by it. Hopefully tomorrow the words will come. For tonight, I can talk about the stars.

Granted.  For me, usually it’s the other way around.  I’m boxed in my room like a caged bird, staring up at the ceiling and wondering what happened to the stars.  I have to confess to missing the late night stargazing my friends and I used to do when we were younger and had the freedom to stay out all night, and drive out to the river or the lake and just watch the endless sky – a billion stars dancing about, daring me to catch them, name them, beg them for favors.

I still find myself utterly awestruck on clear nights up at the cabin in Vernon or the odd crystalline night in the valley.  They have  the power to stop me in my tracks, hold me prisoner for a time. There’s something calming, soothing about staring at the immensity of the night sky.  And something almost magical too.  A whole universe pregnant with possibilities that I can’t even begin to comprehend.

And oddly, that doesn’t scare me even a little bit.  It just puts me back in sync with that singular question that makes me feel like I’m safe and in my place in this world: It begs me to ask “What If?”

2011 Writing Goals & (sigh) Schedule (Part 1)

15 Jan

“A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. “
~Annie Dillard

This series of posts probably should have happened about oh….14 days ago…. but I’ve been really giving it some careful consideration before committing to this.

Goals:

First of all the big rocks…

1) My main goal is to have my novel ready to send out by the year’s end.

Since January is halfway gone, that gives me 11 months to:

a) Finish the second (half?) of the first draft.
b) Edit, edit, edit, critique, edit, critique, repeat as necessary.  I’d like to have 6-9 months for this portion of the process.
c) I also need to start somewhere near the end point preparing my query, researching agents and narrowing it down to my top choices.

Considerations: Possible travel during which I can pretty much guarantee no work will get done.  NaNo again this November. Work. School.

I’m currently  sitting at around 55,000 words on the rough draft.  I’ve backtracked from NaNo and started to try to work out some plot problems before I move forward and as a result I’ve lost that momentum.  And, I have to admit, just as much, the confidence that came from sitting down and pumping out 2000 words most days.  I’m feeling like the whole thing is a mess right now and I don’t know where I’m going with it, but I think for now, it’s just something I need to write through.

I expect (and want) the editing process to be long and detailed.  Yes, I’m a perfectionist.  But, I also just think it’s sound advice for new novelists.  I absolutely loved this post by fellow Phoenician and YA novelist Aprilynne Pike.  Every word of it.  Including the part about giving it everything you can for 6 months, sending it out, and moving on.  I certainly have plenty of other stories to write.  And yes, spending a year on a project and not having it sell may sound like a hard pill to swallow, but spending a lifetime half-way committed to something and never succeeded is a much bigger problem.  And like I’ve said before, this is my novel-writing school.  As much as I love this story and these characters, I can’t allow sentimentality to something that doesn’t even exist become my guiding force here.  I would love for it to sell of course, but I don’t expect it.  I’ll still be thrilled for the experience of having completed the entire process and what I’ve learned from it that simply can’t be taught in a book or even a classroom.

Be on the lookout for wise insights from me this time next year.  As of now, I’m mostly nervous and anxious to get things underway. And confused. There’s plenty o’ confused running round in my head about now.

So rounding things off to 8 months of editing….that gives me 3  months tops to finish this rough draft.  So perfectly doable.  IF I stick to a schedule. Which has not happened thus far for the singular reason that I’ve failed to make one.  Or refused to, more precisely.  I suppose it’s because then I have something else to be accountable to myself for.  And I happen to know that Myself can be harsh and unforgiving in the accountability department. Let’s just say it’s a touchy subject for me and my natural tendency is to avoid responsibility so that there’s no chance of messing up and letting anyone down.

I’m learning how to push through that, but ya know that little devil in the cartoons that sits on your shoulder telling you all the reasons why you should join the dark side? Well mine is named Mac, he’s round and obnoxious (and quite frankly could use a shower and a shave), and at this moment he’s shouting things like: “Seriously, all you are going to do is set yourself up for failure, you really think you need another failure now?” and “Come on.  A schedule? You.”  He then falls off my shoulder in a fit of cruel laughter which doesn’t stop even when he hits his head on the tile floor.  You get the picture.

Unfortunately the lack of schedule hasn’t worked out for me so well thus far, so we are going to give it a try.  With a twist.  Prizes, punishments, competitions and shameful dares all come into play.  Wanna know more and maybe even play along?  Ahh lads and lassies, of course you do…. tune in tomorrow for Part 2  and all the gory thrilling details.

Caught my Eye: Delicious Home Libraries

9 Jan wood-bookcase-design-for-home-library

For all my friends NOT partying at ALA Midwinter in San Diego and (like me) sitting at home wishing you were… I present…some totally drool worthy home libraries.

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What? You *are* at ALA you say?  Well feel free to send me some books if you get home and find your own library suddenly a little crowded.

I Have Nothing Clever to Say Today…

7 Jan

Really Weird Elvis Poster From South America

Really Weird Elvis Poster From South America. I have no idea why it came up as a suggested photo for this post, but I thought it hilarious so it's in! (Image by joanna8555 via Flickr)

It’s after 11pm.  I’m mindlessly reading forum posts on Amazon of all places.  ( I didn’t even know Amazon had forums until tonight! Did you?)

My review of Managing Death by Trent Jamieson took much longer than I thought, but it’s done and up at Aurelia.  And I got a Wow! Thank-you! from the author.  Which of course is NOT why I write the reviews, but it’s nice to know I’ve made someone’s day anyway.  For some reason positive reviews are always more exhausting to write.  With negative reviews I go in with a list of things I didn’t like.  Sometimes there’s a list with positive ones, but I think more accurately, if the author has done a really good job, I just loved it and while enjoying myself, didn’t notice all the stuff that made it great.  I have to go back and analyze that afterwards.

At any rate.  I now have what feels like a million books I need to read and my brain is exhausted and my apartment once again a mess…. so… I know it’s pathetically un-entertaining, but that’s all you get for tonight folks. Me and my Nook are going to bed.

Happy Friday. Sweet Dreams.  See you tomorrow!

Wait, wait don’t go…..I thought of some questions for you.  Wondering what your take is on some news headlines…specifically the Borders  financial situation.  Do you think they’ll pull through?  Curious of your thoughts, and I’ll post mine tomorrow when my brain is functioning again.

Had more headlines, but I realized they are all book and publishing related. So I’ll save ‘em for my other blog.  (I really need to check out CNN or  something , huh?)

xoxo – Bex

The Sound of Silence

7 Jan

Braun HF 1, Germany, 1958

Image via Wikipedia

Last month I had my cable, which I spent most of the hot summer months, semi-addicted to, turned off. I hadn’t been watching it for the most part over the past few months and I was just paying far too much for it.   Cool on-demand features and all.   I’ve gone without TV before.  For a year on my mission, and for a time in New York.  I enjoy reading, writing, listening to podcasts and music and actually having conversations with people.

But I’m starting to feel it as a different experience this time around.  I live alone, for one.  Which wasn’t a factor on either of the other occasions. Any work I do is from home. And living far enough away from the rest of my friends and family to make popping over for a quick visit a bit unreasonable, I find myself at home, alone, a lot. Phone calls have been almost entirely replaced by texts, emails, and planning via Facebook.  I’m feeling a bit like an island that the waters of the world roll and rumble past.

I suppose I’d gotten used to at least having the background noise of voices rambling on from time to time, making the place feel a bit more…lived in.  There’s almost an eerie reluctance to sit in my living room now,  where it seems the lifeless thing should be chattering away.  But after I think about it for a while, I decide that it’s nice to have one less distraction.  One less thing camouflaging the reality of my life.  It’s good that I now notice that I spend so much time at home alone.  It makes it easier want to make plans to get out of the house and visit friends or even look forward to the social hum of grocery shopping.

I wonder when technology started being such a substitute for the human connection.  Immediately, I suppose, but it seems to have grown exponentially in the past decade at least.  We feel connected, through our networks and our updates and “knowing” what is going on with everyone we’ve ever met. But are we? And, what will the far future hold? How much is the human race really capable of changing before our nature forces a revolution of sorts? Random thoughts.  I know.

As for me and my little experiment… I’ve decided to keep the television unplugged until I no longer miss it anymore.

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