Saturday, December 31, 2011

Writing Resolutions

Starting today, January 1, 2012, I resolve to post something each day. It might be as slight as a 140-character tweet, or as long as a school essay. The subject could be politics, relationships, or writing itself. If I miss a day, I'll make up for it with two the next. Without setting clear goals and boundaries for myself, I get a bit lost sometimes. In the next few days, I'll fill you in on my struggles (excitement?) whilst finishing my book; my four Christmases in two days; my changes at work and what that could mean for my writing. I'll also look back at the year that just finished.

But for now I'll just celebrate the new year. Later today the Bengals play for a spot in the playoffs, and I'm excited to watch it with my grandma and father, who just safely returned from Kenya.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus--whatever you celebrate, if anything--and was able to spend it with people you love.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another Milestone

I just passed 72000. Eeee! I actually had to scrap about 2000 words--I'd written a scene, just to get it down on paper--in which the main character and another character sat in a Wendy's and have a conversation about what happened. Two hundred fifty pages of build up, and it all gets resolved in Wendy's. It felt good to write it, but it also felt good to erase it and write it again using feedback from my writer's group. Now it's creepier. More ambiguous.

Friday, December 9, 2011

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” — Confucius

I came across this list of inspiring quotes on reading by writers. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” — Sherman Alexie
  • “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” — Joyce Carol Oates
  • “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway
  • “Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.” — Neil Gaiman
I just finished Tatiana de Rosnay's book, "Sarah's Key." My manager inadvertently spoiled the ending, but I suppose I would have seen it coming. The story alternates between two time periods, the first being Paris, July 1942, during the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup. Nazis had ordered the French police to round up Jews--men, women, and children--and then ship them to Auschwitz for extermination. It's a horrible piece of history, one that I was only vaguely familiar with. The book successfully illustrates and personalizes this horror as an eleven year old girl narrates her experience.

Most of the story is set in the 21st century, as a middle-aged woman researches the Vel' d'Hiv for a magazine. Julia is American but has lived in Paris her entire adult life, having married a French man. As she researches the roundup, Julia discovers that most Parisians don't know about the roundup or, at least, would rather forget that it happened.

My mom can't read stories or watch movies about the Holocaust, and I've met a few people in her generation that feel the same way. It's too painful. Too horrible. But I think it's important to keep that shameful history close not only to honor the victims and survivors but also to recognize the evil that humans are still capable of.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Latest Obsession

"Breaking Bad," hands down the best drama I've seen in years. Bryan Cranston (the dad from "Malcolm in the Middle") plays a high school chemistry teacher living in the suburbs of Albuquerque with his wife and teenage son. Early in the first episode, Walter White is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Knowing he only has two years, at best, and realizing that his wife and son (and unborn child) will be left with nothing, he uses his chemistry skills to team up with a former drug-selling student to cook meth.

Unlike marijuana, meth is a drug that few people argue should be legalized. We know meth is horrible and addictive; the people who manufacture and distribute this drug should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Yet "Breaking Bad" is so well done that we root for drug dealers; we don't want Walt to get caught, and we want him and his partner Jesse to be successful.

After three seasons (the fourth isn't on Netflix yet), the characters continue to develop as Walter and Jesse become further embroiled in the violence that follows the drug trade.

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Today's the anniversary of my accident. Like that day seventeen years ago, today is cold, gray, and rainy. I promise, no more jaywalking. On an unrelated note, I cracked 70,000 words today!