A Letter To A Stranger-Response to a Writing Prompt

I have a writer friend who posts writing prompts on Mondays. She calls them Monday Muse and it’s a fun segment to look through from time to time. (if you are looking for some writing prompts or just various writing things she posts here)

Usually I don’t write with the prompt because when it comes to writing prompts I’m actually super picky. But reading through her blog today I was struck by inspiration. Kind of. (Here is the blog that inspired this post)

I was working on one of my other blogs and started thinking about what kinds of things I would tell to someone whom I had never met before about life.

So I thought I would give it a shot. Flex my letter writing muscles and see what comes out. So here you go.

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Dearest stranger,

I am not sure by what means you came by this letter but I can only imagine that if you did, there is a reason. Perhaps you are going through a rough time and need guidance. Perhaps you just need to feel like you’re not alone.

Or maybe this isn’t at all what you are looking for. I guess neither of us will know that until we get to the end of this, will we?

I’ve decided, for this letter, to write a few things I’ve learned about life. Well…not life necessarily so much as how to survive it.

Lesson One:

People are going to resent you when you decide to do something they love.

It’s going to happen. If you pick up something you’ve never done before-even if it’s an interest you’ve had for years-if you know people who love that particular craft they are going get mad at you for it. I don’t know why this happens. But it does. Whether it be music, painting, photography, writing, building things, drawing things whatever…someone you know will resent you for suddenly doing that thing. The trick is to not let their attitude affect you.

That’s harder than it sounds, trust me. Especially if you are like me and are hyper aware at all times what everyone in the room could possibly be judging you for.

But if you let what other people think of you deter you from doing something that brings you peace then you will live a terrible existence.

It took me a long time to get to this point-and I’m not even fully there. I’m always conscious of what various people I know will think when I post anything at all anywhere. In order to get past it I wait for the split second where the voice is silent and hit “publish”  Then I have no choice but to deal with it-and neither do they, really.

But I need to do things that make me happy or I will go insane. And so will you. So just do it.

Lesson One-point-five:

You are going to resent people who do the same things you are passionate about.

At some point in your life you are going to find someone who likes/loves the same things you do. And, rather than being able to bond with them over it, you are going to get irritated every time they bring it up. It might be because of how they bring it up and the fact that they give people who do your craft a bad name, or it might be because you feel threatened by them. They might be better than you. If not today then maybe someday. And it’s entirely possible they are going to be more successful than you are someday. And that’s hard to stomach for us ego-centric human beings.

Or it might be for some completely un-explainable reason and you know you’re being irrational but you can’t help it.

These are natural feelings to have, but you have to be careful with them. They are feelings for you and maybe your significant other or best friend. Don’t take your crazy out on this person who is doing or finding something they love. Even if you think they are just awful at it. Even if every time they ask you what you think you cringe and try to find the nicest way to put the fact that you don’t like what it is they are showing you. Still be nice. Still be supportive. You get nothing out of tearing them down and you really wouldn’t like it if the people mentioned in Lesson One did that to you.

Lesson Two:

Never underestimate the power of a best friend.

I have had exactly two best friends in my life. One was from Kindergarten through sixth grade and then I didn’t have a best friend again until about two years ago. I’m not an overly social human being. I don’t like to be in groups of people. Too much noise, too much chaos makes me unbelievably stressed and then the people in the room just think I’m a bitch because I don’t say anything and will occasionally leave the room and come back a few minutes later. Unfortunately those are the types of situations in which one typically makes friends.

I got really lucky finding my best friend as she is married to my boyfriends best friend. There have been some times in the last few years where having Molly to talk/complain to helped me keep my head together. I can ramble at Molly and she helps me clarify my thoughts so I can talk to someone else more clearly about them. She doesn’t take anything personally-like when I take days to respond to her messages and I don’t have to sit and really think about what I’m going to say and then spend days thinking about how she could have perceived the message I sent her. She helps me get out of my own head which is really important to someone who over thinks things to the degree that I do.

Having someone like that for you can make your life so much easier. Having one person in the world outside of a significant other who you can talk to is really important because sometimes you are going to need to complain about your significant other and it’s just not constructive to do it to their faces until you can calm down and clarify your thoughts.

I didn’t realize how important that was until I had it in my life.

Find that person if you don’t already have them You won’t regret it.

Lesson Three:

There is nothing in the world that a nice warm cup of Hot Chocolate with Pumpkin Spice creamer won’t fix. At least for a while.

The world is a dark and strange place filled with dark and strange things. The most I think we can ever hope to get out of life are little moments of peace and occasionally finding someone who understands us.

Best of luck on your journey,

-M-

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I Made a List…Part Two

Photo by me. The Lunar Chronicles(thus far) by Marissa Meyer
Photo by me. The Lunar Chronicles(thus far) by Marissa Meyer

In case you missed my previous blog, a few weeks ago I decided to try an experiment. I was going to pick up ten Kindle samples of books that I would never have bought on my own but that keep being recommended to me over and over again by book sites, book blogs, friends etc…

Initially when I planned this out it was going to be in four parts. Now it’s going to be longer. Rather than reading all 10, reviewing all ten, reading the next ten and reviewing the next 10  I’m going to limit the reviews to five books each while the initial lists of the samples will remain at 10.

I’m not going to re-insert the links and synopsis for each of the books. If you want more information on the books visit the link above to my previous blog.

1)Daughter of Smoke and Bone:

The sample of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is…a conundrum. Sometimes it sounds like really badly written fan fiction:

““You’re impossible to scare,” (Kaz) complained, giving her the pout he thought was irresistible. Until recently, she wouldn’t have resisted it. She would have risen on tiptoe and licked his pout-puckered lower lip, licked languorously and then taken it between her teeth and teased it before losing herself in a kiss that made her melt against him like sun-warmed honey.”

I don’t used this phrase very often but: Ew. It’s not well written or smart or endearing at all. Romance and love and lust and sex can be written well, don’t get me wrong. This, however, is not an example of that.

Then she has moments where Karou(the main character) is talking about myths and magic and things not known to the world at large and it’s fascinating and I want to hear more about the Gods and her teacher who lectures her, literally, on not putting unnecessary things (like penises) inside of you.

I’m not kidding. These are things that happened.

Karou also seems to be a Mary Jane character. She’s smart and she’s “strong.” (depending on your definition) She has magic and her drawings and writings-based on her real experiences in her “secret life” are the talk and envy of the school. Oh, she is also absolutely gorgeous.

I’m not interested in her. The best thing she does is make Kaz-her cheating ex-boyfriend, itch in some very uncomfortable places while he is nude modeling for an art class.

Overall I’m not impressed. I do want to know more about her “secret life” I just don’t care if she is in it or not. I very likely will not be purchasing this book unless I find it used at a book store for pretty cheap.

Which is sad. I keep seeing quotes from Daughter of Smoke and Bone around and I’m like “That is really nice. I really like that.” But I don’t think enough of the book-based on the first 3 chapters-is actually like that or worth suffering through to get to those little moments.

2) Cinder:

The download of Cinder I ended up getting was a five chapter long preview from the publisher since that was available for download more easily (for some odd reason) than the actual Kindle sample.

I was actually amazingly impressed by this sample and will definitely be buying the whole book.

It is a Cinderella spin-off(obviously) that doesn’t feel like you’re reading a fairy tale. The Sci-fi blends beautifully with the fantasy and the characters are interesting. Cinder is a character you can root for almost immediately and the secondary plot that deals with a plague infecting the world is just as engaging as the main storylines.

I actually can’t wait to continue this story.

(Side Note: After finishing the story before posting this blog, I actually bought the trilogy. I read Cinder in a day. Reviews for that trilogy coming soon)

3) Angel Fall:

I don’t have a lot to say about this particular book.

The sample of Angel Fall, while feeling very much like the Last of Us game sans Zombies and with several dystopian cliche’s thrown in, is actually fairly engaging. It is not terribly memorable and, while I doubt it will ever be a book that is in my top 10, definitely has the potential to be a fun and quick weekend read. I will, at some point, likely be buying this one.

4)Throne of Glass:

This sample was another one, similar to Angel Fall, is not really a memorable sample. While I didn’t hate reading it, it isn’t likely to stick with me for very long. The author seems to want us to believe the main character is tough but she doesn’t give the readers any reason to believe she’s tough other than she’s well known for being tough. Admittedly, the sample was only three chapters long so the main character doesn’t have A LOT of chance to show us what she can do. That being said, there was more talk about her strength than proof of it. The prince, who you meet rather quickly, is very cliché. That’s not necessarily a terrible thing. He’s the good prince born to the evil king who is just trying to make it right. That character can be done well. Whether or not he was will only be told with time.

I will, I think, eventually pick this up. I am interested enough in some of the allusions to past events that lead to the main characters imprisonment that I’m willing to give the author a chance to show me what the main character can do. It’s not high on my priorities to read but I will eventually get there.

4) Bone Season:

I was actually shockingly disappointed by the sample of Bone Season. It felt clumsy and awkward. Way too much information about the world that just didn’t matter or make sense at one time and then not enough information about the world at other points. I have no idea how anything in this world works, despite the overhanded attempts to make me understand. Shannon showed politics but not the relevance of the politics to the situation she was describing. And then, information I really did need to understand a scene-things like character abilities and how that effects the people around them-were left completely untouched. Unlike some of the other books on this list that I was disappointed by, I will not be picking this up. Books like Throne of Glass and Angel Fall at least gave me the hope that they would be good books over the long term. I have no such confidence in Bone Season.

5) City of Stairs:

City of Stairs is one of the books I was most looking forward to. I have heard great things about it from some of my favorite fantasy authors since before it was even available.

I read the sample and it is very different-at least so far-then what I was expecting. Not in a bad way. I’m actually really intrigued by the premise so far. The “Divinities”-Gods, from what I can gather, have all more or less been shunned. Any image of any kind depicting anything that could be construed as representing the Divinities is strictly forbidden.

On top of that there seems to be a murder mystery type storyline that is going to come in.

It’s different than what I was expecting but I’m still excited to pick up the full book.

So that’s the first five from my samples list. I intend to work through the next five faster but I also have several full books I’m reading and already engaged in.

See you next time,

-M-