Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Power of Words

I don't know about you, but I am a sucker for anything that does an outstanding job of using words. For example, I love the line "set fire to the rain," from Adele's new song, even though I'm not a huge fan of the actual song. There are just certain combinations of words that just "do me in" big time and I instantly fall in love. Who doesn't fall for, or at least refer to, this immortal line, whether we understand it or not?

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.
Romeo and Juliet Act 2, scene 2, 2-6

There is just something about words and the way that some people know how to use them. I appreciate great users of words in just about any setting, whether it is a poem, script, movie, tv-show, random saying, comment, poster, book, or even a comedian. Comedians make a living off of knowing how to use their words in just the right way. I wanted to share such case with you. This video was brought to my attention last week and I have watched it several times, showing it to everyone in my family, and in each case we were all laughing. Check out this link. Hopefully it livens up your day a little!

So, are you a sucker like I am? Where have you been inspired? What lines have taken your breath away?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Impending Death for Independent Bookstores

Hey there everyone! I feel like it has been something like FOREVER since I've written! See, there was this holiday and I went out of town for four days, and ever since I came back I've been studying like a crazy person for my two midterms tomorrow. Luckily one of my classes doesn't have one (my teacher rocks!) and my other one is a take-home exam that is open book - sweet! So, tomorrow I'll be taking two exams, one of which I have to study like heck for, and the other I am actually excited for because I am sort of an expert in that topic. So, I'm not too terribly worried, and I'm feeling pretty good about my "scary" midterm, but I've got to get back to studying. I just wanted to say hi to everyone!

Even though I'm short on time I wanted to let you all know about a new Facebook group that was formed by one of my friends. It's called Amazon Loves Independent Bookstores and is an effort to "petition" Amazon to support independent bookstores. So many of us love these places and would be perfectly content to stay in one for the rest of our lives. We want to show Amazon that there is still a group of people who want to be able to hold and buy and search for actual books in person, not just online, and not just on Kindle. As much as I love Kindle (and want one) and buying online, I just can't imagine how dull life would be without actual bookstores.

So, I hope you will join and share this group as we try to move this thing forward and bring it to Amazon's attention! Let me know what you think about the subject. Have you moved on to electronic books and internet buying altogether? Or do you avoid them all together? Are you a mix like I am? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Beauties of Circumstantial Writing

Ok, so I just had to make a post about how much I love it when people can write fabulously based on certain circumstances. I very much appreciate creative lyrics, deeply moving religious speeches, and hilariously funny comedians. You name it, if the writer/speaker has a knack for writing something specific, it with shine through.  What pushed me to make this post was an email I received from one of my professors. The story goes as follows:

We were in class and one of the students requested that we move back the deadline for an essay we have to write. My teacher (as well as a few students, including myself) found this suggestion absurd, since the newly proposed deadline was the day before out midterm, which would leave people furiously trying to finish the essay instead of studying for the midterm. But, my teacher being the way he is, and with this being a course in Early American History, when a written proposal was thrust into my teacher's hand he could not help but turn the matter over to the people (i.e. students). And so, we had a democratic vote, and an appalling percentage (basically all but my friend and I - at least that's all I could see) voted to move the deadline back. 

Ok, so I just have to pause here for a second and vent what I was thinking. So, for this assignment we had to read "A Midwife's Tale," by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (about 350 pages), and then write a three-page paper based on an assigned topic. So here are the thoughts that I was experiencing during this democratic revolution (and am still thinking about to this moment):
1.     We've known about this assignment since the very beginning of the course
2.     The midterm is worth WAY more points that this
3.     In reality you could write the essay without reading the whole book
4.     Reminders to read the book showed up on the syllabus two weeks ago
5.     And get this, the biggest one of all: THE ESSAY IS ONLY THREE PAGES LONG!!!
Does anyone else see the absurdity of this situation? Clearly these people are not writers. Maybe it is because this is really a freshman class and I'm in my last semester as a senior. Maybe it is because I'm a writer. Maybe it's because I specialize in this particular area of history. Either way, I still think they are crazy. 

SO, back to the point of this essay! My teacher is fantastic in his every day rhetoric (just today he said another thing I just had to write down because it sounded so grand: "You were adding arrows to the quiver of your rhetorical arsenal!" - Speaking of the many short essays we have already written in preparation for our essay-based midterm next week). Due to the vote that took place in class, the deadline for the essay was changed, and to make sure everyone knew about it my professor sent out the following email, which still has me laughing:

You, the People (i.e., unruly mob, unwashed masses, foul tyranny of the majority, etc.):

Owing to a minor democratic revolt against my benevolent, yet admittedly absolute, power, I have adjusted the deadline for the Midwife's Tale essay:

The essay is now due by 9 am on Wednesday, February 22. You can still turn it in any time before then, of course.      

I trust that this revolution will remain of the "Glorious" variety, in the sense that it merely secures limited privileges/protections from my benevolent hand but does not entail a general reconsideration of my despotic, er, monarchical rule. Don't make me close Boston Harbor.

In utter and complete power,

Prof. Fluhman

I personally will be perfectly content and will be turning in my essay of 1,250 words by Friday, February 17 - the original deadline. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Things that Only Writers Understand

So, one of my all time favorite things about being a writer is that I now have a community of people who understand the craziness that has been my life. For as long as I can remember I've tried to explain things to ordinary people, but they just don't understand. In fact, they usually think I'm crazy. Conversations tend to go something like this:

"My characters are doing something they aren't supposed to!" [insert something here, i.e. death, romance, etc.]
"Um, you're the one writing it. You decide what happens."
"Nope, my my characters do whatever they want. I'm just along for the ride."
The look.

Yep, it has happened to me numerous times. Like when I've told people I don't know what happens in my book, or that I can't control characters. Or like in my past book, when two characters who are NOT supposed to be romantically connected decide to defy all expectations and throw off their current loves and hook up!

Anyway. It happens. Strange things happen while you are writing. Things that you can't explain, and sometimes things that you don't even support. Sometimes you violently don't support them! So, when it all boils down, it's nice to have some other people who know what in the world you are talking about. I just don't know what I would do without my writing groups! They are the best.

So, what do you do to maintain your sanity? (If you can call us sane at all!). Writing groups? Big breaks? Treats? Crazy dance breaks involving funky music and awesome costumes? If there's something you do that is a part of your writing rituals, I would love to hear about it!

For one last little funny note, here's another thing that, if you are a writer, will give you a laugh! Enjoy :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Antonyms of Reality

So, I thought just for fun I would clue you in to how I came up with the name of this blog. For a while now I've been trying to think of some creative name, because who wants to read a blog with a boring name, right?

Well, I set out thinking about it again last night, and I thought of my favorite line from one of my favorite songs, The Real World by Owl City. In the song he declares "Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there." Ever since I heard that line I have wholeheartedly agreed. I have always loved disappearing into the worlds that I have created in my books, and it seems that more and more I've been turning to them to escape reality.

So, with this in mind I was thinking "what is the opposite of reality?" I then began to think of what I could search online for ideas, and the result was "antonyms of reality." As I typed it into the search box it just clicked in my brain: I didn't need to search for anything! I had it! And so, the title was born.

So there you go, now you  know where the title came from. I hope you'll keep reading along as I get this thing up and going!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

In the Beginning

Ok, so I've decided that I've been waiting around for far too long to actually do this, so *deep breath* ... "Hello to the random public writing blog I've wanted to create for a really long time!" And by random, I mean really random, so watch out! You never know what may show up. I tend to come up with some interesting things while I'm just thinking. Or writing. Or both.

So, by way of explanation here is what I expect this blog to be:

  • Random thoughts that let you into my own personal objection to living in reality
  • Writing projects I'm working on 
  • Some place to vent when I'm annoyed or when I'm not coming up with fabulous ideas for my novels
  • Yet another thing to do instead of homework and the other things I should be doing
  • A place to hear from, and maybe even inspire, other writers
  • Anything else I decide it should be!

I hope you'll follow along, wanting to see what happens next. I know I will be!