Friday, July 29, 2011

Where Did I Put My Rose Colored Glasses?

I hit a really big brick wall this year in my day job.  It's happened before, but never like this.  In fact, I nearly walked out-never to return again.  But, instead of quitting, I took some time off.  Metaphorically speaking, I branched out and tried a "new flavor of ice cream".

And it helped.  I felt so much relief from the pressures I'd placed on myself.  I became stronger, more aware of who I was and what I needed to be.  And I returned without my rose colored glasses.  UH-big mistake!

I'm still reeling from the effects of opening myself up like that.

You see-I guess I thought I could easily override stereotypes, be a non-conformist type.  I have ideas, thoughts and beliefs that I know to be true.  And then, I get slammed with sexist remarks from the moment I walk in the door. I KNOW they were all in fun and actually I laughed-because the situation really was funny. (And this particular guy ALWAYS makes off colored statements-it's part of his persona.  Not that it's okay, because essentially he's in a position of power-but it is what it is-and he's so DAMN lovable that it's impossible to get mad at him for real. Not to mention that professionally he's among the best at what he does.)

But still I got wonder I feel so frustrated.  There's a lot of truth in joking and in assumptions people make.  And I used to let stuff like that hold me back.

"But I will hold on hope 
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck
And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again"
-Mumford and Sons

I AM however, desperately searching again for my rose colored glasses.  I think I'll need them to survive just a little longer-at least until I've found more solid ground stand on.  But I'm pretty sure, with my personality, I'm gonna need them forever.  

"Cause I have other things to fill my time
You take what is yours and I'll take mine
Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind"
-Mumford and Sons

Because I'm NOT going to conform.  EVER.  And I can't realistically expect others to understand.  But I can learn to deal with it.

"So make your siren's call
And sing all you want
I will not hear what you have to say
Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be"
-Mumford and Sons

"So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears"
-Mumford And Sons

Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Review: Être the Cow by Sean Kenniff

From the website: Être the Cow

ÊTRE THE COW is a tender and thought-provoking tale about a pasture bull, named Être, who is simple but self-aware. Powerless over his circumstances, Être struggles to accept the everyday indignity and brutal insignificance of his cow life at Gorwell Farm. Stranded in a world where the line between disgrace and dignity is drawn by a pasture fence, Être searches for understanding among the broads, bulls and calves on the pasture, but finds none. The grasses thin as the seasons pass, the cows hunger, and Être grows desperate. He is the only cow truly starving. Être must challenge fate in order to change his destiny.  

In French the word “être” means “to be” or “to exist.” Être’s struggle is a very human one. It is a search for meaning and significance in an uncertain world, and a battle for a better life. You will cheer. You will cry. 

You will read ÊTRE THE COW over and over again—then share its message.

  I have to admit, the concept behind this book is what really grabbed my attention. The main character, Être is a cow.  How cool is that? I really wanted to see how an author could make a cow interesting.  Well...Sean Kenniff did an outstanding job, especially because Être is the only cow in the pasture who is personified.  I was prepared for all the animals to have humanistic characteristics-sort of like Charlotte's Web, but they DIDN'T.  I found Être to be rather dynamic and interesting, in his own way.  He may not be very smart, but he sure is insightful.  His growth is clear, well defined-and that's exactly a style I want to learn from.  (Score: 9/10)

Dialogue:  Okay-dialogue is another interesting aspect of this story because Être can think like a person but not talk like one-so he can't really have a conversation (except in his own head with himself).  So many writers rely on dialogue to convey information. But that's not a tool Sean Kenniff could reliably utilize.  And often, inner dialogue gets boring, but not in this case. Être contemplates some really deep thoughts.  The dialogue that does occur between humans is well placed and useful.  (Score: 9/10)

Narrative:  Sean Kenniff's writing style is very concise and easy to read.  I got lost in his words and felt like I was one among many on the pasture.  Not once did I get lost or bored or distracted.  And honestly, I couldn't put the book down. Être the Cow is, as described above, a book I'll read more than once. (Score: 9/10)

Description:  Since I'm not a description lover, this book appealed to me.  There was just enough to convey the proper info but not in an overbearing way.  I got the sense of what Être was seeing, hearing and tasting as a cow-and I loved it.  (Score: 9/10)

Resolution:  As I read Être the Cow, I was curious as to how it could possibly end.  To avoid a spoiler, all I'm going to say is that I was shocked-almost mortified.  I found it a little excessive for my tastes, but it really drove the point home for me.  And isn't that why we read?  To be forced to think?  Well, that's why I read, anyway.  And the startling ending really did make me see the world in a slightly different way.  

I loved Être the Cow.  It was everything I'd heard it was.  I was moved by Être's outlook and could relate to his thinking-who hasn't felt trapped and desperate to escape?  Who hasn't look around at others and wondered what they're thinking.  Even with people I can converse with, I sometimes feel more confused than centered.  I, too, feel the desire to inspire only to be frustrated when others don't respond.  And to me, that's the whole point of the story.  Interestingly enough, the book also comes with a warning-the shocking part of the resolution I referred to.  Overall, I think this is a great story for so many people-from young adult on- to read.  I'd rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Raising My Glass! Join me?

In January, I received an amazing letter full of editorial recommendations on my first novel Just A Girl. Now finally, two conferences, two workshops and six months later (along with a lot of pretty bad mood swings) I HAVE FINISHED THE REWRITE!!

Tomorrow, I will read the changes from start to finish.  But today, I'm taking a moment to celebrate.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Writing Research

I've reached that revision point in my novel where I really need to make it WOW.  The characters are set up.  The story is there.  And I understand the plot.

I've gone from 80k to 60k and now down to 42k words.

I was nervous, until I realized, (thanks to workshops, conferences and critiques), how important Psychology is to writing.

So, I've been doing my research-reading non-fiction books on the human condition.

As I create, my characters act in a certain way, therefore the story moves forward and a plot unfolds.

But as I look outside my fiction and into my real life, I see it's not all that different.  And I can apply my research to all my interactions.

Oh, if only I could write my own life the way I do for my characters.  But it's not that easy.  I can't control others.  I don't even think I want to (well......).  So, as I navigate this crazy world, I guess I'll enjoy my superb cast without trying to force the plot.

HEY REBECCA ROSE- does that make me a real life panster???

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Yes, I'm a Bad Kid Baby

Did Lady Gaga write this song for me?  Insecure? Heart is pure?  Yes-I am designated as a BAD KID baby!
Consider me pumping my fist RIGHT NOW!! :)