Recent Addiction & Projects

Titus

I had a temporary addiction to autobiographies/memoirs written by celebrities like:

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
  • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
  • The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  • Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
  • Scrappy Little Nobody Anna Kendrick
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

I don’t know if they’re technically supposed to be called memoirs or autobiographies, but I couldn’t stop reading them. It’s almost like hanging out with them. But I also have to question whether they actually wrote it or if a ghost did it for them. That’s a writing joke: ghost writer. Get it?

Anyway, I usually pick up the ones I “know,” as in, I’m familiar with a lot of their work i.e. I love everything they appear in. It started with Bossypants by Tina Fey because I think she started this trend, and a friend from film club raved about it, and he was right to.

My most recent readings have been Mindy Kaling’s two books. I like her and many of the celebrities I’ve chosen to read because I have confidence that they wrote their own books because they are writers of their shows or material (i.e. Lindsey Stirling and her music composition).

My latest obsession: The Mindy Project which is the reason I picked up Mindy Kaling’s books, and I regret nothing! I loved them. She is my spirit celebrity (like spirit animal). Basically her new famous take on life is pretty much how I would respond to being famous. How I wish McDonald’s would gift me with their gift cards themselves!

My Own Projects

Speaking of memoirs, lets talk about mine! Just kidding! but I would like to take some time to talk a little about my current projects.

I opened up a document from Jamie and Ryan, my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel the other day, and I wrote about a sentence and a half. Since reading about military dogs and gaining a job working with service dogs, I have added a service dog to that story.

A few days later, I remapped some of the story scenes, but the story is changing for the umpteenth time. I’ve even played with the idea of using this new version for NaNo this year, but I want to work on it now, so I will still need to find a new NaNo.

Excuses for my Lack of Progress 

  • New job to prove myself worthy in
  • Still working old TV job
  • Watching Smallville and other shows via Netflix AND Hulu
  • The new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I didn’t think I would have the time for a while, but I’ve picked up a fiction book again. I finally found the first book to a series where I only owned the middle two our of the four. They’re not clearly marked, and I bought them from a Borders’s closing sale.

I can’t promise I’ll be able to keep to my biweekly routine, but I sure will try.

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Oatmeal and the Secret Suitcase, Part 2

We walked for miles. I’m not sure who was leading who. We were just walking, and we would have walked on forever if Oatmeal didn’t tug the rope and nearly throw me into the dirt. A dark wooden fence stood in front of what looked like a forest. The open grass land and trees were all I could see. Oatmeal’s nose nudged the lock on the gate, and then he turned and stared at me. I stared back, and for a second, I forgot he was blind again. 


The trees rustled, and my neck nearly snapped off my head, but Oatmeal was calm, and he let out a loud exhale that blew air on my shoulder. A girl with long black hair came running out of the trees as she shouted in a high pitched voice. “Oatmeal!” 

She opened the gate so fast, I wondered if it was even locked to begin with, and her arms locked around the calf’s neck as she buried her face in it. I dropped the rope lead and laid a hand on his back and took a step backward. The girl let go but left her hand on Oatmeal’s nose and looked up at me with shining brown eyes, standing just a few inches shorter than me. 

Oatmeal gave another loud exhale and nudged my arm with his nose. “Yeah, why don’t you come inside with us,” the girl suggested. She looked down at the suitcase still in my hand, balanced on its wheels behind me. “Surely you need some rest.” 

Oatmeal and the girl both gave me the same expectant look, and I succumbed and followed the girl and Oatmeal through the trees and to the barn behind the one story peach brick house. “Do your parents know you’re inviting a stranger over?” 

The girl held the barn door open for me, and I walked in and immediately took a seat on the cube of hay that sat on another bale with the calf in front of me and the girl next to him. The girl shrugged. “You look like you could be in my class.” 

“How old are you?” 
“Thirteen.” I nodded and stared at the dirt that scattered the floor of the barn. “How’d you know where to bring him?” She put a hand on Oatmeal’s shoulder. 
I shrugged. “I didn’t.” I looked up at the calf. “But he did.” 

The girl patted Oatmeal’s shoulder. “Where’d you find him?”

I put a hand out and touched the calf’s nose. “He found me.” I petted him as I looked to the girl. “I know his name. What’s yours?”

“Daisy. Yours?”

“Leila. Okay, Daisy, tell me about Oatmeal.”

“Only if you tell me about that suitcase.” Daisy pointed at the suitcase that laid down next to the bales of hay I sat on.

“I deserve his back story for bringing him back.”

“I deserve to know what’s in your suitcase if you’re staying in my barn.”

I looked to the girl whose eyes held their own adamance. “Fine.” I nodded. “But first, Oatmeal.” I leaned back against the wooden wall and crossed my arms as Oatmeal began chomping on the corner of my hay chair.

Oatmeal and the Secret Suitcase

This is my triangle. You know, pick two. Yeah, that. The obvious solution is to write a best selling book and then, a best selling series. Thus, money for bills and animals.

As my fellow writers can attest, it is no simple task, nor is it very realistic. I have no patience and no attention span. I write about a sentence every five years, and each sentence belongs to a different project.

I’m pretty much stuck; in every aspect of my life right now, but that’s a whole other mess of nonsensical words.

Pinterest put me up to the idea of trying flash fiction. I’ve been stuck on my stories, and maybe if I practice getting to the point…

Anyway, I decided I had to write one; something, anything yesterday, so I had a blank word document opened, and I watched episode after episode of Girl Meets World. I told myself I needed to write something that night or I wouldn’t sleep. The next day was an early morning shift, so with ten minutes before the news cast, I hand wrote this piece on the back of the script. It doesn’t quite wrap up like a story should, but I felt like it was enough to start off. Maybe I’ll add to it later. Maybe I won’t, but I like what I wrote.

So without further ado, here is Oatmeal and the Secret Suitcase: 

The light brown calf and I were just a few steps into our journey when his nose bumped into my left shoulder for the fifth time. I turned around and held his jaws in both my hands, and we stood face to face, unmoving. His pale blue eyes were clouded in gray like two shiny marbles. Oatmeal was blind. 

I hadn’t thought about his eyesight since he found his way to me just fine. I took the end of the rope that rested on his back and wrapped it around my left arm, giving enough space between us while also letting him know where I was. In my right hand was the suitcase no one knew I had. 

Maybe this will be a blog project, and I’ll add something weekly. A practice of discipline. Or not. No promises. I was inspired by a news story about Oatmeal from the Fort Worth stock show, and I was listening to a song called Secret Suitcase by a band that played at the rodeo and performed in studio.

Until next time.

Minnow by James McTeer II

A slow read due to the fact that I started it after finishing the fast paced, action packed, Canary.

This book is about a boy whose father is sick, immobile, and on the brink of death. The boy wants his mother to stay at his father’s side as he goes out to buy medicine. The boy finds that the pharmacist does not have the medicine his father needs and sends him out to find someone who would have the medicine or something that… I actually can’t even remember what it was that first pharmacist said he needed. I didn’t care for this book; I don’t even remember it’s contents.

The word “negro” was thrown around and that bugged me a little because of the unclear time period of the book.

I assume the setting is meant to take place in a past time period where that word was acceptable but it’s never quite confirmed. There are ox carts.

It’s not like Huckleberry Finn where it’s used in dialogue because in the time period, it was a word that was often used. Judging from ox carts, and the boy having no shoes, I assume so, but I’m still never quite sure. And the fact that witch doctors are characters, surely, the word is unnecessary in a fantasy world like this one. It’s not quite historical fiction either.

This book is fairly new which is what bugs me about that word. Not just that; it’s in third person omniscient, and the author is using the word for description and outside of dialogue. Surely, as the outside narrator he could describe someone as having dark or brown skin or something more descriptive than saying, “A negro sat in it…” (Minnow 47). A few lines down, he uses the word again: “The negro in the barge was old…” Once its established the character, I think it’s just redundant to use the word again. It adds nothing to the story. Granted sometimes it is used in the dialogue; I’ll give him that.

And Rider Strong is right; authors’ pictures should not be included in book jackets and back covers. I want to judge a book by its story not by whose face is involved in the writing of this book. I only enjoyed some parts of this book, and the face in the jacket was a little annoying looking (when I become a famous author, this will probably be dug up for a tabloid story about my beef with this author; he may have died of old age by then because by the time I get published, I’ll be on the brink of old aged death myself, Ha!). For the record, there’s no real beef. Some real beef though, the unnecessarily thrown around word in this book. He lets up later on though.

All the initial annoyance aside, the imagery of the book is fascinating. The boy travels through a descriptive forest of darkness and through a river that seems to try to drown the forest. He faces a mysterious monster that lives in the water, and you can hear the scary gurgling of the water. I enjoyed the descriptive fantasy and imagery of the book. I enjoyed it when there was action like when the boy runs into a group of hunters and when the boy finally finds the witch doctor who knew he was coming, and when the boy woke up with one eye.

The imagery got old and repetitive. I don’t even know what palmetto trees are, but one could play a drinking game with how many times the author told you they were there and poking the character or drooping over the character or the character looked up at it.

The novel paints a pretty picture, but it’s got no story. I got up to the last few chapters, and then skipped and skimmed the last chapter to find out how it ends. Unimpressed. There was no character development, no real showing this boy’s fear and sadness of losing his friend, a stray dog and no relief when they’re reunited over and over throughout his journey.

I feel like he just added obstacles just for the sake of the boy having obstacles in an attempt to make the book exciting. Like the stupid wild boars ramming into the tree that the boy climbed. And just the two? I don’t get it. He must have read Lord of the Flies.

I didn’t feel there was character development. This kid met friends and then had to leave them behind. He saw one of them lose his mother. He was beaten by wold boars. All of these things traumatize a kid, and I didn’t see trauma and change. It’s unrealistic for a child to be so focused on one thing even if it is his father’s life. I could put myself in the kid’s shoes (though he had none) and imagine how I would have dealt with his misfortunes, but reading the novel gave me no emotions except for irritation like I was trying to finish it for the sake of an exam.

And in a way, that’s what I was doing. I couldn’t stand not being able to finish that book before I needed to turn it back into the library. I failed that challenge though. I had to renew my check-out, and then by the time the extended due date came around, I didn’t even want to finish the little I had left of the book.

I wouldn’t say it’s a terrible book, and you shouldn’t read it. Because maybe my annoyance was due to whatever anger-inducing thing was going on in my life at the time of reading this novel, like my poor performance at my new job and annoying sports anchors.

To me the book was pages of frilly language and not enough story and character substance. Maybe that’s your taste, and you’ll like this book. Read it, and tell me I’m crazy.

Reading this book has taught me that I enjoy suspense and action. Seems like written imagery is low on my priority list. Tell me what’s happening and the imagery will emerge in my own mind. That’s probably why my ability to describe where a character is and their surrounding is almost non-existent. I should work on that.