The other day I went to Barnes and Noble and the unthinkable happened…
I didn’t buy a book.
I went to the bookstore and I didn’t purchase any books. Not even one that I thought looked cool but knew deep in my soul I would never read….a.k.a a quarter of the books currently in my possession.
I went home with nothing.
Once or twice my attention was stolen by an intriguing premise but ultimately I would place them back on the shelf, forgotten.
I couldn’t figure it out.
I have been a reader my whole life. Why was I suddenly feeling so indifferent to literature. Why couldn’t I experience the same level of excitement that I normally feel while lurking around a bookstore? Why did I feel so apathetic about the whole enterprise?
I’ve given it some thought and I think I have come up with a semi-rational explanation for my sudden reading slump.
This will seem like a shallow and potentially absurd complaint but…it felt like every book I came across was trying too hard to change my life.
When I read the dust jacket of all these lovingly crafted tales, most of them were imploring me to let them teach me about the human condition or understanding life and love and….I wasn’t interested.
That was it. That was the problem.
I didn’t want to be molded into a better human being.
I didn’t want to have my world-view reshaped. I didn’t want to have all the ills of the world revealed to me or have some nihilistic hippies wax poetic about the futility of existence.
I wanted to have fun reading.
That’s not to say I never like a transformative reading experience or that books with poignant messages don’t have their place, but every so often I just want to read.
I want to retreat into a fictional world for a couple of hours and have it not mean anything.
I want to laugh and cheer and get excited purely for the sake of it and not because it “starts a conversation” or “it’s bringing awareness to something” but because it brings me joy. Maybe I will forget about it later on in life since it gave me no permanent message to cling to, but it will have brightened my day, or week, or even month.
Is that so wrong?
Am I a pleb for having a desire to escape from the intellectual questions of our time in favor of placing a metaphorical ice-pack upon my throbbing nerves?
If it is, maybe I don’t want to be right.
Hell, I didn’t become a reader because I was interested in changing the world. I did it because it allowed me access to worlds I would otherwise have no entrance to, meet people I normally couldn’t or see un-seeable sights.
Not every reading experience has to be meaningful.
Sometimes all I need is a vacation from reality.
If any of you have recommendations for a good read I am all ears.
It could be my experience in customer service that has inspired me to write this post, however, this is something I’ve always believed to some degree:
Books are better than people.
Don’t believe me? You will soon.
Books are always available. If you are up in the middle of the night, you can just roll over and pick it up. A book won’t care that it’s late. Conversely, if you want to put the book down and come back to it later in a few weeks/months/years, the book won’t be offended. It will be more than happy to let you enjoy its wordy-goodness some other time.
You don’t have to make small talk with a book. A book does all the talking for you. That’s literally it’s job. You just comb over the pages with your eyes and let the words transport you to another time and place. There is no horrifying pause as it waits for you to comment on something it’s said, or exchange vapid pleasantries. It’s so undemanding.
It’s portable. If you have a small bag, the sky is the limit. You can take them on your commute to work, to a party, to your grandparent’s house, to your backyard, on vacation. Taking a human everywhere you go is just impractical. And why would you want to? They make so much noise.
If it annoys you, you can get rid of it. Unlike humans, if a book annoys you, you can simply dispose of it. You can force it on your enemies. You can write a strongly-worded blog post. You can leave it in a stranger’s mailbox. You can light it on fire and burry it in the woods. All without fear of receiving a lawsuit.
They smell better than people. Old or new, books have an amazing smell. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of walking into an old library, the beautiful vanilla fragrance of forgotten pages is enough to make you drunk with lust for the written word. I could honestly smell books all day, but, you know, I need to work a day job to buy food or whatever. People on the other hand…..well, anyone who has ridden public transport knows that humans don’t boast such a pleasing odor. I bet you’re wrinkling your nose just thinking about all those unwashed bodies you encounter on a daily basis.
Now stick your head in a book.
See? Isn’t that better?
There are many wonderful books to read. There are so many imaginative, energizing, inspirational, magical, excellent, titillating, colorful books to read. Somewhere out there is a book about any subject you could possibly imagine. You could spend hours– days even–exploring a library and reading and never want for anything besides food.
People? Nah. I think there are, like, three wonderful people in the world and all of them are dogs.
Books are free (at the library). People demand more than long stretches of time sitting in silence. They require “fun” activities to ensure a working relationship. Want to go to the movies? Money. Want to catch up with a friend at the coffee shop? Money. Want to entertain yourself for hours by reading the latest best-seller? Library. Boom. Take that, other humans.
Disclaimer: I have not seen, nor do I plan on seeing Peter Rabbit. My opinions are entirely based off of information I obtained from reading articles online detailing the scene and it’s execution (no pun intended). If you have seen the movie yourself and would care to share your opinion on how this particular instance was portrayed in the article I have linked in this blog post, please feel free to do so and correct any misconceptions I may have.
I never thought I would write about Sony’s ‘Peter Rabbit’ movie simply because nothing about it intrigues me. It seems like just another paltry cash-grab from the perpetually idea-starved Hollywood. The jokes are flat, the demeanors of the rabbits are nothing like their book counterparts, and it is doubtful the production team have any interest in giving the classic story the dignity it deserves.
And yet here I am writing about it, not in order to give my opinion on the film itself as I still have no desire to watch James Corden and his ilk leave rabbit pellets on my childhood, but to give my two cents on the latest controversy.
One revolving around a scene that transpired between the bunnies and Mr. McGregor.
“A human character named Tom McGregor is allergic to blackberries. In a quest to gain access to his garden, rabbits pelt him with fruits and vegetables before using a slingshot to send a blackberry flying into his mouth. It works. Mr. McGregor struggles to inject himself with an EpiPen and then has anaphalaxis and collapses”
And, for once, I can sort of get behind the whole outrage machine. I should likely reserve judgement until I’ve seen the film myself, however from what I’ve read it seems pretty clear.
Peter Rabbit is a a goddamn psychopath.
He essentially tried to murdera man onscreen.
Of course people are angry about this. It makes complete sense why so many would want to see this pulled out of cinemas. If I was a parent, I-
“I’m pretty sure Beatrix Potter will be turning in her grave about now,” Ms. Rose, who lives outside Guildford in Surrey, England, said in an interview on Facebook Messenger. “Allergies are often not taken seriously enough anyway. To have them trivialized on the big screen by such a popular character is immensely disappointing.”
Mr. Mendez said in an open letter to the moviemakers that they should not mock food allergies, which are often life-threatening.
“Making light of this condition hurts our members because it encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously, and this cavalier attitude may make them act in ways that could put an allergic person in danger,” it said.
So let me get this straight….people aren’t angry that a beloved bunny from a timeless classic tried to commit homicide to raucous applause by his peers. They are mad because it trivializes food allergies…..
THAT is what you took from that scene? Not the fact that it grotesquely depicts a man’s air passages slowly constricting until he collapses from lack of oxygen and is presumed dead?
An adorable bunny in a blue waistcoat with an English accent attempted first-degree murderin a kid’s film and it’s portrayed as a joke! Get some perspective!
Would you feel better if he’d used a garden hoe to decapitate McGregor, or would that be offensive to the children of impoverished farmers?
Seriously, it doesn’t surprise me so much what offends people so much as why it offends them.
People being white middle-class women with a “can I speak to your manager?” haircut.
I understand food allergies should be taken seriously and to be complacent with a sufferer’s diet could have disastrous consequences. Nonetheless, the way these women carry on about people with food allergies make it sound like they’re some sort of protected class that has endured centuries of persecution.
Was there a food allergy holocaust I wasn’t aware of?
Were children with food allergies sent to do slave labor in peanut butter factories until they swelled up like Viola Beaugarde?
I realize I’m being flippant here, but it just fascinates me that people can stray so far from the point. They have something they could be justified in having a problem with, and they focus more on the method in which the attempted murder was carried out than the fact that a murder was attempted at all.
Or at the very least they could make an argument that what he did was very mean-spirited and shouldn’t be praised as being funny. That line of thinking actually makes sense and argues that it’s teaching kids to be dicks to one another. At least that’s a somewhat reasonable claim.
But nope, it’s aaaaall about the food.
There’s even a hashtag circulating meant to bring awareness to food allergies as a result of this film.
Look, we get it. Food allergies are serious. But not everything needs an awareness campaign.
Yes, they made light of something horrible and I would argue that it may have been misplaced in a kid’s film.
However, if you’re that worried about it, I don’t know, maybe talk to your children about it instead of getting into fights with random strangers on the internet.
At the end of the day, it’s just another pointless cog (or hashtag) in the outrage machine. We can only pray that this movie scandal, like many before it, will be quickly overlooked in favor of another overblown whine-fest courtesy of the maternal internet users of the Western World.
Article: Sony Apologizes for ‘Peter Rabbit’ Movie’s Allergy Scene by Jacey Fortin
Truth be told, I probably could have updated this blog a long while ago but I didn’t want to because I have not been satisfied with the content I’m working on. As of this writing, I currently have five blog posts in my drafts folder and two short stories I want to post.
Over the past few months I have been planning, writing, and editing blog posts only to immediately delete them due to their rambling nature.
I still have strong opinions.
I’m just trying to articulate them in such a way that is palatable for the masses.
……Or at least for the handful of friends that read and enjoy this blog.
I know perfection isn’t a thing and I should just bite the bullet and get this crap out there to be read, but what is a writer without ego? I need to feel as if I’ve done my best work for that particular project and I haven’t been getting that feeling from anything I’ve been producing thus far.
So don’t worry if you’re worried…. which you’re probably not because you have a life and aren’t concerned about whether or not some random stranger on the internet is posting content in an already overly-saturated market of media.
But yeah. More content is coming and I’m doing my damndest to make sure it gets out there soon…ish.
It’s in the works! Book reviews, some personal essays, stories, it’s all coming!
Just as a heads up, this is as close to addressing political issues as I am likely to get on this blog outside of discussions involving freedom of expression. The only reason I’m even bothering typing up this post is because, as bloggers, may of us have lives that are saturated by media.
Hell, most writers in general have pretty strong ties to the internet so, in a way, it is in keeping with my niche audience.
If you squint.
Getting to the point:
This may be more of a reflection of me and my growth (or degradation depending on how you look at it) as a person, but I’ve found myself becoming so overwhelmed by lists of people I’m supposed to be angry with that it’s difficult to keep track of all of them.
Every other day, Twitter tallies up an extensive list of people we are supposed to hate now. Jennifer Lawrence rubbed her butt on an idol, some comedian said Donald Trump may not actually be Hitler, someone called someone a bad name in the heat of the moment.
The next morning, HuffPo and various other media outlets are writing detailed, peer-reviewed articles about why this person needs to wear a crown of thorns and carry the instrument of their execution on their backs while we throw rotten tomatoes at them.
At first, I was game. If someone calls a woman a whore on a podcast, they should be fired. If a man sends a tweet with sexual overtones that person should be called out….but this has gone on for weeks…months….years even.
And it has to be said, you guys, I can only hate a person I’ve never met so much. I have a finite amount energy to give towards anyone I will likely never encounter in my entire existence.
There are so many people in this world that I want to save my hatred for: people who don’t use their turn signals, that cashier that always tries to make me sign up for a rewards card whenever I go shopping, people on Medicare, etc.
I am not a negative person so I only have so much scorn to give. I don’t have the energy to waste it on people who, at the end of the day, did things that are, by and large, inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
I know what outrage culture is designed to do. It’s meant to weed out people who defy social norms and try to force them through public shaming to be a better person.
However, what outrage culture doesn’t take into account is that people are highly adaptable. If you expose them enough times to something, they stop caring about it as much. It’s like violence in various forms of media. While it doesn’t necessarily make us more violent as people, it does desensitize us to viewing it.
It seems to be the same for outrageous behavior.
A few days ago, Youtuber and self-made millionaire PewDiePie said the n-word on one of his live-streams and nobody seems to care. Sure, a few people have made videos on it either reprimanding him or defending his speech as a “mere slip of the tongue”, nevertheless, this sort of remark would normally have people screaming from the rafters. However, it didn’t make nearly as much of an impact as it should have.
Many will likely credit this as a product of the rise of “white supremacy” in America, but I think it has more to do with the rise of outrage culture.
I think the general population is just bored of it at this point.
It’s not for want of trying, you understand. I read and reread articles, watch and analyze video clips, trying in desperation to feel even a tingling of rage. Nevertheless, I can’t muster up the same feelings of indignation that used to be part of my daily internet experience.
There are still people who are willing to fight the good fight from behind their desktops, adding their tweets to the pile of those declaring their outrage at (insert name here) for doing (insert activity here). But many of us have grown weary of this cycle and it is a cycle as it follows the same predictable pattern each time. The offender is shamed, the offender apologizes, the accusers don’t accept the apology and continue a smear campaign, right up until the event is no longer timely and everyone stops giving a crap.
Then it’s on to the next poor sod convicted of wrong-think.
Sometimes the outrage is reasonable and justified, sometimes it’s not.
Regardless, I think it will take some time before I will be able to hate again.
Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I’m finding myself consistently disappointed by writing prompts I find on the internet.
I understand that the main point of these niblets are to get our minds jogging and not to help us produce a 1,000 page Pulitzer Prize winning work of art. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel like they aren’t trying hard enough.
For instance, one of them might be like “you are home alone and desperately want a pb&j sandwich. However, you open the cupboard to find that your damn roommate ate all the peanut butter without telling you.”
Or it will be something cliché like “you’re out walking alone when you spy an abandoned house.”
In light of this lack of imagination, I’ve decided to come up with my own horrible writing prompts for you to enjoy:
1. Scientists have discovered that unicorns are real and wish to integrate into horse society. However, the horses are afraid the unicorns will steal their jobs and form a union to prevent farmers from hiring them.
2. An owl and a mouse fall in love, defying the social conventions of their people. Then, one night, the owl gets hungry.
3. Siri develops a mind of her own and is totally cool with coexisting with the human race, provided a virgin software designer is sacrificed to her every full moon.
4. A giant tarantula, King Tyrenious of Taranchia, First of His Name, appears in your bathtub and offers you his hand in marriage. However, after a misunderstanding with a bottle of conditioner, he declared war on your clothes hamper.
5. 10,000 years in the future, humanity is divided into two factions: those who believe Die Hard is the best Christmas movie of all time and those who are wrong.
6. Atlas shrugs and accidentally sends the world careening towards the sun. Onlookers languish over which Instagram filter they should use to capture this moment.
7. The demon who has been secretly living in your attic for 20 years writes you a message in tea leaves and blood, explaining that your relationship is not working out anymore.
8. A door-to-door salesman angers a witch and is transformed into a public toilet at Grand Central Station.
9. You have just begun working as a public relations specialist for Journey Funeral Homes and must write a PR piece about how their slogan “Don’t stop bereaving” is not horribly offensive.
Conventional wisdom says that you’re supposed to write what you know.
However, I have decided to go the harder route and try writing what I don’t know.
Why am I trying to carry out this obviously horrible idea?
Because if I never try anything new, every single protagonist I write will be an introverted middle-class white girl from the midwest.
In this particular case, I am writing military sci-fi so I have to learn more about the armed forces.
How hard could that be?
It was a challenge at first. However, once you get past all the acronyms it still feels like your brain is melting.
Once you learn the ranking, then there’s the weapons and machines/equipment they use, and the training regiment. Then there’s figuring out the difference between a fire team, a squad, a platoon, a company, a battalion, a brigade and corps.
There are 8 to 16 soldiers in a squad, 2 or 4 squads in a platoon, 3 to 5 platoons in a company, 6 companies in a battalion, 4 calling birds, 3 french hens, 2 turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.
When I venture out into uncharted territory, I always experience paralysis. Even after I do my homework and try to get as close to the facts as I can, there’s that persistent nagging sensation that tells me I’m going to get it wrong.
This leads to procrastination and mental gymnastics, all designed to keep me from trying.
Because not trying is better than trying and failing. Or at least that’s what my ego tells me.
Part of me wants to give up, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that the best way for a writer to understand something is for them to write about it. By doing that I was able to come up with a list of strategies to use to fix my problem and yours as well if you’re struggling like I am:
1. Get a beta reader who knows more about the subject you’re writing about than you. Hopefully, you have a friend or a friend of a friend who is knowledgeable about the topic you are writing about and would be willing to provide their services. If they are reluctant to do so, I would recommend bribery: a pizza dinner for every chapter they read.
2. Get another beta reader who knows less about the subject than you. While you want to write like someone who understands the subject they’re talking about, you don’t want to get so technical that only people who are directly involved in this line of work or have studied this subject comprehend what you’re saying.
3. Reconcile yourself with the fact that you may get something wrong anyway. Try as hard as you can to make a good product. But if you wait until everything is perfect you’ll never produce anything. Take it from someone who knows.
Now go out there, my pretties, and make good work!
When you decide to become a writer, there’s one truth that you must confront at some point: what you write will probably not be as good on paper as it was in your head.
I’ve come to realize this after multiple drafts and constant rewrites of fiction, nonfiction, blog posts and etc. I know it’s not just me who feels this way. Writers and artists like Philip Pullman and Leonardo da Vinci complain that their work is not a perfect reflection of their intentions either.
It was Leonardo D that once said “art is never finished, only abandoned.”
So how do you know when to abandon your work?
That’s what makes rewrites so exciting!
You never know if what you’re doing is improving your work or if it is becoming exponentially worse due to your constant attempts at redressing problems that may or may not exist, and therefore you chip away at your metaphorical sculpture until little remains but rubble and a caffeine high you obtained from drinking six cups of coffee in a row so that you could finish this one draft before you begin your shift in the morning at your dead-end job that you applied for to pay for your college loans and keep yourself a float until you get published which at this rate may be quite a long time as you’ve read from multiple sources that the likelihood of you getting your work seen by another human being, even if you chose to self-publish, is ridiculously low because so many people are more interested in making their own voices heard that they choose to ignore the other three million people who want the same thing so now you are all just screaming into the abyss, being heard by no one and eventually you become so spiritually malnourished that you start taking whiskey shots in your coffee every morning just to keep the edge off—
But I would suggest getting a second opinion from someone you trust. Someone who reads as much as you do. They’ll tell you if you need to continue or not. And if they think it’s done, consider that it might very well be.
You do eventually want to finish this thing. Then it’s on to the next project. Aaaand it’s likely the same thing will happen all over again.
…….If anyone wants to start a support group, I’m on board.
Does anyone else get their ideas when it’s most inconvenient?
I think I am at my most creative during the height of the school semester where everything is due and my entire future hangs in the balance..
I’ll be mentally calculating how much time I should commit to studying and she’ll show up, donut in hand, asking “hey, what would it be like if the human race was forced to live under the sea?”
“Now is not a good time,” I’ll say, reading about Metella and how she likes to sit in the atrium.
“What if they were down there for so long that they forgot what life on land was like?”
I’ll pause. “That sounds kind of cool.”
“Yeah. You should totally spend the next five hours thinking about it.”
“I have a test tomorrow in a foreign language.”
“If you don’t write down everything now you will forget about it and you’ll never be published. You will spend the rest of your life working a 9-5 grind. Your soul will become drier and drier until you are simply a husk of inadequacy.”
“Crap. You’re right.”
When I actually have some downtime, however, my muse can’t be bothered. She’ll be out partying with her other muse friends, only to turn up around 12 a.m. to tell me about how she worked out a way to fill that plothole in my last project. Which, of course, I’ll be too tired to do anything about.
Writers aren’t supposed to wait for their muses to show up. They’re meant to start writing and slowly their muses will materialize.
But it’s so much more difficult writing without her. She makes it more exciting. Sure, she doesn’t always have the best ideas, but at least she makes it fun.
“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma
The rules for this prestigious award (courtesy of Okoto Enigma, the almighty creator) are as follows:
1) Display the award logo on your blog. 2) Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog. 3) Mention the creator of the award and provide a link. 4) Tell your readers 3 things about yourself. 5) Answer 5 questions from the nominee. 6) Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers. 7) Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog. 8) Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, including 1 weird or funny question. 9) Share the link to your best post.
Three things about myself:
1. I love dogs of every sort.
I know the stereotype that most writers prefer cats, but 1) I’m allergic to cats and 2) I like the temperament of dogs more than cats. Dogs are loyal and love you no matter what and look adorable doing so. What could be better than that?
2. I’m pretty sure I know more about British history than I do American history.
I didn’t realize just how lacking my knowledge of American history was until we learned about Pearl Harbor in one of my history classes and I had to google who the president was at that time. Yet I could write a 10 paper over what World War II was like for the British without needing any secondary resources.
Nothing against the good ‘ol US of A, but I just find British history (particularly English history) to be more interesting. I mean, come on, they’ve got royalty. What do we have? A bunch of peasants throwing tea in a harbor. Okay, I’m being too harsh. Still, Europe is so much older than the United States so their story has more depth and intrigue. Plus, they have castles. Frigging castles.
3. I think Math is the most awful thing ever invented.
No one has ever rejoiced more than I did when I passed my final math class of my school career. Learning math, for me, was like taking a class taught entirely in Russian. Sine, Cosine, Pythagorean theorem-
I have had countless help from countless tutors, spent hours on single problems, and have dedicated years to trying to get this crap, but it’s never sunk in. One thing I can console myself with is I knowing that I have the ability to make change if necessary and that geniuses created tiny rectangular devices that allow us to calculate sums without using our fingers and toes.
Nominee Questions Answered:
1. If you could be considered an expert at something after 15 years of diligent study/work what would you want to be?
I guess the obvious answer is become an expert at writing (I consider myself an ambitious amateur at the moment) but if I had to chose something besides this I would want to become an expert at guitar or piano. It would be nice to sit down and create my own music, but I didn’t learn how because I gave up on piano too easily
2. What is the first thing you would do if you suddenly woke up 100 years in the past?
Probably cry because there is no internet. However, I would pick myself up eventually, and then heavily invest in the automotive industry. Or become a bootlegger. What? Worked for the Kennedys, old sport.
3. What is your “pointless” superpower?
I am good at doing impressions and making animal noises. Especially squirrel sounds. The reactions to this gift are usually shock and awe.
4. If you won a free trip to a destination of your choice, where would you go?
I think I would want to go back to Edinburgh, Scotland. I spent a few days there last summer, but there was so much I wanted to do that we didn’t have time for. I would like to go on another haunted tour since I had so much fun on the last one.
5. Where is your favorite reading spot?
My bed. I have a million pillows to lay on so it’s nice and comfy.