Artistic Nostalgia

IMG_7700

I’m watching Bo Burnham’s first comedy special “Words words words” on my phone and, much as I love it, it’s making me a little bit melancholy. Forgive me.

I love my fiance’. Obviously. If I didn’t then he wouldn’t be my fiance’. But he’s not entirely’ the person I would have thought I would have ended up with.

I thought I would end up with a musician. I really miss being with musicians. I shouldn’t. The musicians I dated were all selfish, narcissistic, cheaters. I try not to hold that against musicians as a whole. But there does seem to be a cliche…

What I liked though was having music in the house. Having someone playing guitar or piano or singing. Writing lyrics. I don’t have the talent to be a musician myself. I can sing and I can play piano but I’m not spectacular. Good enough for myself and that’s about it. Both of my sisters are amazing.

I’m not who I wanted to be either. I wanted to be an artist too. I used to consider myself an artist. I used to write. I could see things so vividly.

I love what I do, even if I don’t love where I do it at this moment, but it’s not my ‘dream.’ It wasn’t my plan.

I don’t miss my ex. He was horrible to me for four years and I took it because it’s what I thought I was supposed to do.

But I miss our life as artists together.  I miss having someone who’s brain worked like mine to bounce ideas off of. I’ve been trying to rework one of my novels lately and I just can’t get there. I need a sounding board.

Sometimes we would sit on our couch or at my computer desk for hours and bounce ideas off of each other. He would play me music and I would bounce ideas for stories off of him and I would be so filled with adrenaline and ideas I would literally be shaking.

I loved going to band practice and watching them collaborate and I loved being around his creative friends and listening to what they were working on.

I haven’t felt that way in a long time.

I love my life. Don’t mistake me. Steve makes me laugh all the time. He’s smart and he’s kind and he takes care of me. He puts me before himself constantly. I love him.

I just miss being an artist and I miss being around artists. I’m being nostalgic. I have a career. I love working with animals and it’s fascinating work. It doesn’t get boring as long as I can keep moving.

I’m just in a very different place then I wanted to be…I’m a very different person than I wanted to be when I turned 27.

 

Advertisements

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless

Synopsis(From Goodreads): Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

My Rating: 5/5

Warning: Some spoilers, particularly if you aren’t familiar with the synopsis from the book cover.

I loved this book so much. It starts out slow and Cath kind of bored me to begin with. When her handsome, mysterious would-be-lover Jest starts appearing regularly, however, things really pick up.

Obviously, reading the book-jacket synopsis, you know this is going to be about how the  Queen of Hearts became the Queen of Hearts. Miss “Off-with-her-head” herself is just a simple baker who wants a quiet life when Heartless begins.

Up until the final words, even knowing who she was and know what would ultimately become of her, I was hoping for a happy ending. I had even read reviews that told me exactly what was going to become of her and I still hoped they were messing with me. It is an adaption after all, right? Why can’t it end just a little differently?Marissa Meyer had me in the palm of her hand the whole time.

There are fun little nods to the original source material that come up. Some are obvious like the hatter who comes from a family of hatters who all went mad, and then there are some that are more subtle. If you are familiar with Alice in Wonderland those things make the book even more enjoyable but if you’re not nothing is lost in translation.

This made me sad that this was a stand-alone.

I would really like to see Cath redeemed somehow in a follow-up. Alice comes into wonderland and meets the Queen of Hearts of the sisters and things are able to turn around.

But it won’t and that breaks my heart because I loved her and the world so much. Even knowing the Mad Hatter would go mad-had to go mad-it was still upsetting to watch it happen and see the reasoning behind it.

All-in-all this was a fantastic book that ended far too soon for my liking.

A Court of Wings and Ruin Review

ACOWAR

Synopsis(from Goodreads):  Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Warning: This will contain minor(very minor) spoilers.

Let me start off by saying I *did* enjoy this book. Not as much as the second one but A Court of Mist and Fury was a character driven book and this was more plot driven. SJM is better at writing characters than plot.  In the following paragraphs it may sound like I didn’t enjoy reading it but keep in mind, I did. It just had some weaknesses that I couldn’t look past after 3 books with the same issues.

Her “erotic” scenes have not gotten better. If I were a teenager who had never kissed a boy and spent homeroom fantasizing about a boy loving me someday then I might like it better than I do being 26 and engaged.  The sex scenes also served zero purpose to this book other than fan-service.  In ACOMAF there was sexual tension. There was the dynamic of the “will-they-won’t-they” Even though when they eventually got together it was not well written, it served a purpose.

There is a lot of lazy writing in this book. Particularly as we get closer to the end. There are spells and prayers and whatnot that are super important to the plot (like…saving the whole world type important) and we never get a word of those spells. For one of them, after Feyre says an incantation we don’t at all get to read, she thinks to herself “if I change one word it could work…” but we don’t know what the word is and we don’t know what the spell says. There is another spell that Feyre HAS TO LEARN IMMEDIATELY in order to save someone she loves. Rather than her learning it at all, SJM dismisses it by writing that Feyre didn’t hear anything the person teaching her the spell is saying but eventually she got it right. That bothers me a lot. She had 30 pages left in the book at that point. Rather than doing such a disservice to the story as a whole, make it an extra page longer and show us what happened.

She stops showing the audience anything, in fact, as she gets closer to the end and instead just starts hastily telling everything.

There was a lot of messy tie ups because this was the end of Feyre and Rhys’ story while other things were left blatantly open ended so she can write about them in other books.

She also still loves certain descriptors and her editor, apparently, never said “Stop it” Which he/she should have. There are only so many times in 700  pages I can read the same descriptors, i.e. “moon-pale, night-dark, purred, gobbled, etc…” without wanting to rip my eyes out.(It gets worse when you read the almost 2000 pages to the whole series back to back and she uses the same descriptors every. single. time.) There is also only so many times I can read “cleaved in two” before it I begin cringe every time it comes up.

We also never find out what happened in the cauldron with the sisters. We are teased that we are going to find out many many many times but it never actually comes out.  Perhaps in an upcoming book but as of now…

I was going to do a re-read of the Throne of Glass series after I finished this series but this book made me tired of her writing and I had to completely switch gears to recover.

ALL THAT SAID:

For the most part the story moved a long at a good pace. I liked most of the final battle. There were some surprises that I loved.

I liked that, while I was able to call a couple of the twists from the beginning, there were a few that still took me by surprise. I teared up at most of the moments I was supposed to and I felt relieved for the characters at the end.  I wanted Feyre and the courts to win rather than being indifferent to it. I wanted to know more about what happened with the characters. I stayed up a couple of nights reading late because I was entrenched in their story.

Elain and Nesta’s- particularly Nesta’s- character development comes along nicely. I feel like SJM intends on writing more about them in the upcoming books because Nesta got cut off from telling us why she is so protective of Elain over any and everyone else. Elain/Azriel/Lucien’s stories are all left open to be continued as well. I hope we get more of Azriel and Lucien’s back stories and get more information on the Autumn Court. I think we will get more information on Eris, Lucien’s brother, because he was also cut off in the middle of an explanation of his torture of Mor.

All in all, this was the weakest of all 3 books but it’s worth reading to close out the series. It has it’s up’s and it’s down but it is not, in and of itself, a terrible book if you can look past the weaknesses. It can just be tedious. Especially if you have just read the previous two right before and notice her lack of a thesaurus.

I still gave it a high rating because I did enjoy reading it. Mostly.

 

-M-

 

A Court of Mist and Fury Review-Spoiler Free

ACOMAF-cover1

 

Stars: 5/5

Synopsis(from Goodreads): Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

This is my second time reading this book and A Court of Thorns and Roses that comes before.

I started to re read this (and the one before it) because I started the 3rd book and realized I couldn’t remember anything about the politics of the courts and what-have-you that I know are going to be important. I barely remembered Ianthe and couldn’t remember what her relationship was with Feyre and Tamlin. So I decided to start over. I was not looking forward to starting over because I didn’t want to have to re-read this book again. I remember feeling the first time like this book was slow and boring and drug out and I was dreading slogging my way through it again.

I don’t know why I felt any of those things. I could not put this book down and even though I knew what was happening with Rhys and Feyre it made my little heart happy as it took shape and I just wanted to hug Rhys constantly.

I will say that SJM LOVES the word”gobbled” in inappropriate settings and it can be very distracting. I swear one day I am going to re read this and count all the “gobbling” that happens. (Like people “gobbling” up views…no. Just…stop it)

And as an adult her sex scenes are somewhat painful to read. More in this book for some reason that in ACOTAR. Maybe because she tries to get more explicit in this book. But the dirty talk hurts my soul. Truly.

Everything else is amazing.

There is no character in the Inner Circle that I don’t completely adore and ultimately hope they all get to see the peace they’ve been struggling for for at least a couple of centuries.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to finish this series and, if the reviews are to be believed, be completely devastated by it.

 

-M-

Trying to Come Back

IMG_6812

 

I have, as of late, fallen out of writing of any kind. No blogging, no novel writing, I even have fallen out of writing for my school’s English class.  There has been a lot going on, most of it bad.

Some of it good.

I feel like I used to be more passionate. I always had things to write about. People around me would say stupid things and I would be able to blog about it. I would see something that would aggravate me and I could write a blog about it. But I guess I’ve calmed down as I’ve gotten older. Or I have become desensitized to it.

People haven’t stopped saying dumb things and I haven’t stopped being irritated by them. But I no longer have the energy left to blog about them. To write about it at all.

I also used to process…well…everything…through writing. Anger, grief, happiness. And now I don’t. I miss it. I used to write all the time.

My cat died last week. The best cat in the whole world. He never did anything he shouldn’t, he never hurt anyone even when they were hurting him. Sometimes he tried to protect me from people coming to the door or the cat that lives downstairs. He was my best friend in the whole world and probably the closest thing to a soulmate that exists for me. He chose me a long time ago by coming up to my door and refusing to leave until I kept him. And he died. Horribly and in pain and I’ve been completely devastated by it. I’ve tried writing about it for a week and I just can’t find the words. I found out today he may have died completely in vain.  I’ve been angry about his death because I already knew it could have been prevented if my vet would have listened to me about his symptoms two months ago and now I’m even angrier because I was told putting him down was the humane thing to do because he wouldn’t have had a quality of life. Now that may not even be true.

IMG_6252

But I can’t express it in writing.  Not much more than what I wrote above anyway. I don’t have the words.

Which, in and of itself, feels like a terrible loss.  I wrote a story to process my brothers death and countless blogs.

I hope it’s just because I’m out of the habit. So I’m back. I have a little more time on my hands right now. So I’m going to try and write. I have a few ideas and I want to get back into doing reviews. Videos and blogs.

So here we go. If there is something you’d like to see me write about please let me know.

-M-

p.s. In non sad news…I got engaged in April!

IMG_6738

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Title:  A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V.E. Schwab

Rating 3/5 

Synopsis(from Amazon) 

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king-George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered-and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the rougish heir to a flourishing empire. White London-a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Warning: There will be some spoilers ahead.

 

This book…perplexes me. There are so many elements that are exactly what I want in a book.  Magic, humor, secrets to unfold…The plot moves at a pace that isn’t snail-like in its nature…

But I didn’t love it.

I mean, it’s fine. I will read the next one and probably the one after that. But where I feel I should have felt compelled to keep reading, like when a character dies or when they are in the midst of hitting the novel’s climax…I couldn’t be bothered to keep reading. Where I should have been anxious to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next, I just wasn’t.

I wanted to be. I did want to know what happened next. I just didn’t care when or how I found out.

The bones are there. It was a compelling plot but it wasn’t written compellingly.

At least not for me. I know this book is loved and I can see why. I just didn’t love it. I liked it, and there are enough mysteries and theories I have about Delilah Bard that I will keep reading. But I’m not in a rush to read them immediately. I’ll read them when I read them. I bought the second one but I haven’t decided if it is the next book I’m going to read yet.-

-m-

Outlining-The Intro

Any time I start a new project I have to make the decision whether or not I am going to outline the first draft. Because I hate outlining. I hate it with a fiery passion. I am, what is commonly referred to as a “Pantser” I just write and see where it goes. But, much as I love to do that because it works best for me to keep me writing and help me discover stuff I didn’t know about my characters (and that I don’t discover until I am writing a scene, outline or not) sometimes it means I also hit a wall.

After my last post about losing the voices I was going through documents in my Google Drive and found a story I have tried starting over and over but I’m never happy with how it begins. I have the basic idea where it’s going to go (It’s going to be four books. All revolve around one central character who meets a new secondary character integral to the ending in each individual book)

Where I am mentally right now I could write book 2, 3 and 4. I have a very clear idea of those characters my main character is going to meet, what they are going to teach him and how they are going to do it. I know how to transition between books, I can see the settings in my head (I really want to write book 3’s secondary character)  I even know how the fourth book is going to end.

What I can’t seem to get a handle on is how to get from page 1 to book 2 because the first character he meets is not someone I have as fully flushed out. I feel like he should stay because he is going to take my main character to his second teacher. He is the one who is going to take him out of his small town and teach him about where he came from.

But because I don’t have his ultimate lesson figured out book one has come on sluggishly. I’ve gotten as far as fifty or sixty (maybe more, actually) pages into it and then I went back and started again.

Then I started it again.

Then I started it a fourth time.

So this is where I decide okay: I’m going to Outline. I’m going to break this down, chapter by chapter until I figure out what I need to know so I can write this damn book. (I don’t want to write book 2, 3 or 4 until I write book 1. Book 1 will have major character development and if I skip ahead to where I think my character will be at the beginning of book 2 then I just know I’m going to mess it all up and have to start from scratch again anyway.)

Now I have to figure out the best method of outlining.

Which is what my next several posts will be about.  Different methods of outlining and how they worked for me when I tried to apply them to figuring out this book.

Yay.

Should be lots of fun.

So tell me, how do you outline? What’s your favorite method? Head over to my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EKUauthor and let me know so I can give it a try.

-M-

 

I Miss the Voices

 

I love to write. I love having whole worlds in my head and finding ways to share those world. I have a couple of stories that are in my head but that I haven’t been inspired to write. I haven’t had any new ideas since I finished The Paths We Take.

And that’s really scary for me. I’ve always been afraid that I wouldn’t have the ideas to actually be a writer. That I had one good story and that was it. Then I would finish a book and the next idea would come and I would have the same fear.

But now I haven’t really had anything to write.

It might be because I’ve gotten out of practice. I haven’t journaled in months. I haven’t written blog posts in even longer.  I haven’t written much of anything.

But  I don’t know what to write. I don’t have anything I want to say.

Usually characters talk to me. Even characters I never write with dialogue I never use. But they have been silent lately.

I miss them.

They’ve been constant companions since I was four and I don’t even know when I lost them or how to get them back…

-M-

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention day, ending National Suicide Prevention Week. All day I’ve been trying to think about what to say, feeling I should say something.  Then I was working on school and two things hit me.

1.My brother killed himself in February of 2012. He jumped off of a building. He was a bright light in darkness and he took that light away. Not many people loved to laugh as much as he did and not many people could find a reason to laugh in any situation like Aaron.

My brother is not going to know that I have decided to get a degree in Veterinary medicine. That I found happiness in a small vet clinic in South Reno. He’s never going to read any of my completed books which he always wanted to do. He’s never going to see me as a I am now.

2. In November/December of last year I was very suicidal. To the point that I put a bunch of sleeping pills in my hand and counted them over and over while trying to decide whether or not to take them. I was in the worst, most soul crushing job of my life. I had mounted a bunch of medical debt while not even able to pay my bills every month. I felt trapped and alone. My normally bad depression was at an all time low.

I ultimately didn’t kill myself because I couldn’t force my mom to lose two of her children to suicide. It was small but it was enough to go another day. And then I confided in my best friend and that hurt her and that was enough to get through another day. That’s all I had for a while. Little things to force me to wake up another day.

In January I was interviewed for the vet clinic and started February 1st. That was my turning point.

A turning point I almost never saw. A turning point to finding meaning in my life in working with animals. Finding coworkers I love.  Finding a reason to go back to college and feel like I was moving forward in my life.

Depression sucks. Really sucks. It sucks even more coupled with severe anxiety.  And suicide seems like the best way to go. The only light in an endless tunnel of pitch blackness. But if I had died, then I wouldn’t have found the tiny glint of starlight that led into the open.

I miss my brother. I’ve said before and I will say again: he was my soulmate in the family. The soul who read epic fantasy and listened to heavy rock music. The one with whom I could share art that I found.

He would have loved Terry Pratchett and the Blacklist.

There is so much that he will never see and never experience because he couldn’t find the glimmer to help him keep going.

I’m not going to say that it gets better.

It does but that doesn’t help when you can’t see how it can ever possibly get better.

So all I can say is, if you are depressed and suicidal, find the little things. A smile from a friend, a conversation with a stranger online, a movie coming out you are vaguely interested in.

One day at a time. It’s all you can do.

And if you can’t find that, think of my brother. Think of Aaron. So full of life and love…

Who will never laugh again. Who will never hear the new albums from his favorite bands. He will never see his step children grow up. He will never see what becomes of his siblings or their children.

And if he had managed to hold on one more day…

Who knows?

 

-M-

 

 

My Job Makes Me Feel Amazing…

I have worked in customer service since I was seventeen years old. I work in a tourist attraction vice town so it’s hard to find Monday thru Friday jobs with decent hours that take place in an office. Most jobs around Reno are casinos or such type jobs.

I hate customer service. I don’t have the demeanor for it. If you are an ass to me I will be an ass right back. I do not subscribe to “The Customer Is Always Right” I don’t even subscribe to the theory that the customer is right most of the time. I should not be around people. It’s a pretty awful idea.

But, I don’t have a degree and  I live in Reno. I was pretty sure I was going to work in customer service forever.

My last job was the worst, as you may know if you have read some of my previous posts. It was pure hell for two years. So stressful to the point that I was having seizures, gained a bunch of weight (not related to eating given that my eating habits never changed) and ended up getting kidney infections and occasionally not being strong enough to walk. I spent six months on and off bed rest.

So when my boyfriend told me about a receptionist position for a veterinary clinic I thought”What the hell.” I never figured I would get hired but I really needed a new job.

Well…lo and behold, I got hired. And I act as way more than a receptionist. Turns out I’m more of an assistant. I get to do pharmacy orders, lab work, x-rays and I’m learning to monitor a patient during surgery.

Already that’s amazing but I get to work with animals all day. It’s low stress. Today was back to back and I think I saw 15 clients and no surgery today. I get to love on cats and dogs all day. I’m super awkward addressing people but if I address their pets they are totally okay with that and will answer me for them so I still get all the information I need with a minimum of human interaction.

Perfect.

But, the epitome of how great my job is came in the form of an emergency surgery we had last week.

There was a black lab/great dane mix, Timber who had been out hiking with his owner. He had tried to follow his husky brother, Odin the husky, over a log and not quite cleared it. A jagged branch went through his leg and tore it open almost down to the bone. His owners were able to get help loading him into their car (he is a 110 pound dog) and drove down the road where they found my vet hospital.

They pulled up, covered in dirt and blood and panicking . The owner thought that Timber was going to die or lose his leg. She was very upset.

As soon as they pulled up my staff got to work. We got a gurney out to their car, brought them inside. My vet staunched the bleeding while evaluating the damage. He had torn it open from his shoulder which could be a problem because of the way the shoulder moves so he would have to suture several layers to make sure they didn’t get torn or infected and then put Timber in a sling (a sling that lasted 48 hours by the way. And only that long because he was drugged up for that time) Besides his shoulder, no major veins were hit and his leg could be repaired. After the shoulder was evaluated, Timber was wheeled into emergency surgery where my vet and another assistant operated.

While helping Timber, I also got a chance to help the owners. I calmed them down. I let them know step by step what we were doing, what was going to happen next and what they could expect. When they came in, the owner was crying and could barely speak. By the time I left she was smiling. She wasn’t happy, mind you. Still stressed. But hopeful. They knew they were in good hands, they knew that Timber was going to be fine.

Timber’s recovery has been going great. His surgery was last week and I’ve seen him three times since then to make sure that the sutures are staying, his leg is draining the way it should etc…and he’s doing amazing. He’s not even walking with a limp. Though he has gained about 9 pounds because he’s been guilting his owners into giving him treats by pouting in his cone of shame.

I’ve worked in customer service for nearly ten years and I’ve never felt like I really truly helped anyone until that day.

 

-M-