[Tress is Writing] Lovecraftian Horror?!

One of my goals for this year as I laid them out in late December was to make more time to write.  And I know all about smart goal setting from a million career classes and productivity seminars – so I picked a specific, achievable, measurable thing I could work toward that would give me structure.

And of course, as I would do, I procrastinated it. *wink*

2018-05-12 12.48.42But May 17th was National Notebook Day, and in celebration, I bought a new notebook.  She’s pretty.  She’s green.  And she was utterly blank, with all the possibilities in the wide world, so I had to find something awesome to do with her.

The solution was elegant.  I had a couple of years back been binge-listening to the Writing Excuses podcast, featuring one of my favorite authors… but when I got to Season 10, where they structured the podcast like a master class in writing, I put it on pause, intending to go back and do the exercises as I listened.  And of course I didn’t even finish the first one, because hello, procrastination.

Still, the writing exercises from the podcast seemed a perfect answer to the question of what I was going to do with that gorgeous green notebook.

Today, for Episode 10.3, I sat down and wrote a scene in the Lovecraftian Horror vein.  The assignment was to create a character, and describe from their point of view their reaction to something horrific and awful, without describing what it is that they’re reacting to.

It’s an extremely rough draft, but I thought I’d share it with friends, family and random strangers on the internet, because who else is going to keep me motivated to keep going?  Perhaps there will be more such posts as the year progresses.  Who’s learned not to promise anything?  *raises hand sheepishly*

For now, here’s what I’ve got.

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[2018 Reading Challenge] March and April Updates!

Um… so, I seem to have encountered some time-related difficulties.

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The month of April was pretty much sucked down a black hole of being sick for three weeks, finishing my pharmacy technician training course, and attending the 10th annual (which was my first ever, but definitely not my last) JordanCon in Atlanta, Georgia.

Regardless, those of you who are inordinately curious about what I’ve been reading have probably nearly given up on waiting for this post.  Never fear, faithful readers (and random internet stalkers), that update is here.

After a dismal lack of February progress, I managed to finish ten books in the month of March (some of which had been in progress for some time), and another four in the month of April, putting my total toward the Linzthebookworm/Logophile Reading Challenge at 19!  (And the crowd goes wild!)

To begin, as I mentioned in the February update, I wanted to complete as many of the previously started books that were on my Goodreads “currently reading” shelf as I could.  In February of 2017, I had started re-reading George R.R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons using the A Feast With Dragons combined reading order, listening along with the Game of Owns podcast.  The GoO crew are still slowly working through the books, two chapters at a time, semi-regularly… but I was ready to move these two books from in progress to completed, so after finishing Dickens in February, it was a complete change of pace to jump into the world of Westeros.

And I couldn’t just finish them without adding them to the challenge list, so I did the best I could, slotting A Feast for Crows into #26 (A book with an animal in the title), and A Dance With Dragons as #21 (A book that involves a mythical creature).   That works, right?  Close enough.

At that point, the only other in-progress read was one that I still intend to finish my blog series on *cough* so I hopped up to #1 and picked my Project Gutenberg selection, inspired by a recommendation from my sister-in-law and closest friend: The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare, by G.K. Chesterton.  While I was visiting her for her birthday, she also made a number of suggestions for other challenge prompts, many of which I’ve incorporated in my plans.  I will neither confirm nor deny that there is a hint included in this post.  😉  Stay tuned!

That was a pretty quick read, and I felt the need for more rapid progress, so my next selection was for #5, A book by Nora Roberts.  I’ve read quite a lot of Nora Roberts over the years, and I’d started but not finished the Stanislaskis series – and I managed to have the third book on my Kindle that hadn’t been read yet *gasp* – so Falling for Rachel was the natural choice to check off the challenge list, as well as my somewhat insane unread books tracker.

Jumping back to #2 on the list, A book that costs less than $5, I decided to use one of my Amazon First Reads picks from last year, Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine.  It was free to me, but is still listed as $4.99, so I’m calling it that it still counts.  It’s also a really good read, so there’s that.

Next up was a cozy mystery for #3.  I’ve read dozens of cozy mysteries over the years, and I’m pretty sure two or three years ago for my Goodreads challenge I burned through a couple of dozen in about a month.  As such, I usually have five or six hanging around on my bookshelf, or unread on my Kindle.  I picked Framed in Lace by Monica Ferris for this challenge prompt.

And then, for the “wow there are wayyyyyy too many choices for this” category, I decided to pull another paperback from my unread shelf and finally got around to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card to satisfy #6, A book that has been turned into a movie or TV show.   Aaaaaaaaaand I loved it.  The hype is real.

My intent was to try to round out Level 1, and started a book that was under 300 pages, but clearly I paid zero attention to the blurb on the back cover, and about a third of the way in I realized I should use it instead for #31, A book about a teacher.  Hence Love, Deadly Love by Dorothy Bodoin was bumped to Level 3, and I pulled in another cozy mystery (Better Off Wed by Laura Durham) for #8, A book under 300 pages.

My last read of March was yet another cozy (I told you I had a lot hanging around).  For #9, A book that takes place around a holiday, I went with Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle, combining two of my favorite things: cozy mysteries, and coffee.  I love Coyle’s coffeehouse series, and hadn’t gotten around to this one yet.

For April, I began with one of my sister-in-law’s recommendations for #4, A comedy or satire book.  After reading Bellwether by Connie Willis, I wholeheartedly understand why she loved it, and I look forward to some of her other suggestions.

As JordanCon was rapidly approaching, my next read was naturally Mystic, the debut novel by Jason Denzel, who was the 2018 author guest of honor for the convention.  It worked perfectly for #13, A book by a new author.

I followed that well written coming of age novel with one that was… not.  I mean, really. Really not.  Not worth reading, not well written, and wow, if I hadn’t been determined to finish what I started, I would have deleted it off my Kindle and found something else to read for #10, A book with a one word title.  In fact, I had originally planned to read Mystic for that one, and then when I realized it would fit better with #13, I scrambled to find another one with a single word title.  The next two I planned to read, when I pulled them up on the Kindle, I realized they were one word followed by a colon and a subtitle, and I ruled them out on a technicality, and went with one that I’d originally downloaded for my failed attempt at last year’s Linzthebookworm challenge – Healing by Rachel Caid.  I’m not even going to link to it because I so strongly do not recommend it.  Ugh.  Just… ugh.

After that I needed a palate cleanser to be sure, so I chose #11, A book you first read when you were a teenager.  And while it’s aimed more at a younger audience, I first remember reading C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in high school.

And that’s that for March and April – the full updated challenge list below the jump!

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[2018 Reading Challenge] February Update!

Another month has passed, and it’s time for another update on the Linzthebookworm/Logophile Reading Challenge. This one should be shorter than anticipated.

Guess how many books I finished in February.

Go on, I’ll wait.

One.

You know that plan I talked about in my January update?  About going back to Level 1 and trying to work my way through that section?  Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Instead, I decided to attempt to finish the books I had started last year and left in progress when I began the Sanderson Binge, beginning with David Copperfield, the classic by Charles Dickens.

Originally I’d intended to use this as my Project Gutenberg book (#1 on the challenge list), but my dearest friend and sister-in-law reminded me that one of the books she’d been recommending to me forever and a day (The Man Who Was Thursday, by G.K Chesterton) was also available through Project Gutenberg, so instead I made the decision to use David Copperfield as #33, A book that takes place before 1900.

I attempted to read David Copperfield last year, and got thoroughly bogged down in what struck me as a meandering and pointless set of anecdotes with no discernable plot.  I was determined to push through and finish this time, and finally about 2/3 of the way through, I caught a glimmer of an interesting storyline that tied together the random threads of the character’s early life.  My eyes glazed over whenever Wilkins Micawber started talking, and I detested Dora, but there we have it.  Copperfield down, and I was able to move on to the other books I had already in progress, which I did not complete before the end of February.  Alas.

March, however, is another story.  I’ve finished 5 books already in the 4 days of this month.   That’s for the next update, though.

2018-02-17-00-57-58.jpgSomewhat tangentially related, on one of my regular weekend YouTube binges, I got the brilliant idea to make a page in my bullet journal to track all of the books I actually own (both physical copies and on my Kindle) that I haven’t actually read yet – or may have read so long ago that I can’t remember it and was planning to read it again anyway.  I counted, and was somewhat abashed to realize that I had 118 books in my posession that were as yet unread.

Yeahhhh… I probably have a problem.

Regardless, I shall be making an effort to use these 118 unread books to fill in as many of my reading challenge categories as possible.

On to the current status! Continue reading

Remembering…

Few people would have used the word “quiet” to describe Mae Gregersen.

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At least until the past few years, my memories of her are those of a lively, mischievous woman.  Outspoken, to be certain, rather stubborn, and just a touch rebellious when it suited her.

Some of my earliest memories take place in her home – playing in the backyard under the orange tree, digging tiny rivers among the rose bushes.  I remember music, and the color blue, and impatiently waiting for my turn in the single bathroom.  One of the most distinct memories I have as a toddler was of her hysterical reaction when I borrowed her scissors to chop off my long, blonde curls.  It was just slightly over the top – I may have inherited a bit of theatricality from her.

Grandma was demonstrative with her affection – just not always in a traditional way.  Instead of hugs and kisses, she tended to sit next to you and smack you repeatedly on the leg when overcome with loving emotion.  She loved to tease people she cared about, and was legendary for openly critiquing any facial hair or untraditional hairstyle.

I’ll never forget my unfortunate prom date, who rode a bus 8 hours to get to me and bunked for the weekend in my grandparents’ spare room.  It was the late 80’s, and his new wave hairstyle apparently occasioned some rather emphatic commentary.   When asked how he was getting along with Grandma, the poor fellow blurted out “She’s a fascist!” , which became something of an inside joke in the family afterwards.

In larger groups, Grandma was the life of the party – she blossomed with attention, flirted with the best of them, and laughed – oh, how she laughed.

 

 

I have missed her laughter the most over the last four years.

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I know all too well how adrift she must have felt when Grandpa left us – how difficult it must have been for her to accept losing her best friend and constant companion after seventy years.  It was hard enough after seven.

Her macular degeneration was another blow – losing the easy escape of burying herself in a book, seeing the world around her grow a little darker every day… no wonder her spark had faded.  No wonder she grew… quiet.

But I will always remember her spark, and her laugh, and today I will think of her with that glow on her face as she has reunited with her love, regained her sight, and who knows – may even be teaching the angels to jitterbug.

~ In memory of Mae Gregersen – May 15, 1925 – January 29, 2018