Monday, May 9, 2011

In Which I am Trying To Keep My Brain From Exploding

I am currently in a frenzy of sensor overload.  Thank you, Internet.  But it is wonderful, and I am going to share it with you.  Firstly, a link to Neil Gaiman's Journal in which if you experience nothing else, please watch the video for Because the Origami.  Beautiful.  Maybe I'm just in a state, but I found it wonderful, though sad.  I was going to just try and post the video, but thought that that may lead to questions, and so I would just direct you to the source.  You're welcome.  : )

Next, a brilliant, amazing, and so-much-better-than-I-could-say article about why picture books are amazingly wonderful by Allyn Johnston and Marla Frazee at The Horn Book.  For anyone who does not see the value in picture books, please, please, PLEASE read this!  Please.  (Also, anyone who thinks "picture books are great for small children, but then we grow up and on to other things never looking back.")

I also found this fascinating post about Fairy Tales, and why they hold such magic for us, and had to share.  In addition to fairy tales she (Zoe Marriott) shares about her older sister and an incident that changed her life.  So amazing how a seemingly simple thing can alter someone's entire being.....for better or for worse.  (Just one reason to be nice to your sister.) 

And now, something I wrote Saturday:

I was cleaning out my purse yesterday, when I came across this awesomeness written in my tiny journal that I keep in there.  “People always say they can’t do things, that they’re impossible.  They just haven’t been creative enough.”  “Never say something can’t be done.  There’s always a solution, even if it’s weird.” –Maureen Johnson (via Aunt Peg) in The LastLittle Blue Envelope
 (also, go buy this book....see this post for more)

I love this.  It sums up my outlook on life pretty well.  Most of the time at least.  : )  I think that we really can do anything we put our minds to.  Obviously we can’t change the laws of physics, I don’t think I’ll ever really fly like an eagle (without mechanical aid at least), but the fact that we can use devices like hang gliders, squirrel suits and such to get as close as we can to the feeling of autonomous flight is incredible.  Of course, I am terribly afraid of heights.  I have always felt that if I could fly, like an eagle, or on the back of a dragon or gryphon or such that I would quickly overcome this fear.  I do not, however feel that I will overcome it any other way. 

I honestly had no intention of saying most of that last paragraph when I started this…….guess it wanted to be said.  What really perplexes me about the above paragraph is the word ‘hang gliders’ Microsoft Word doesn’t like it.  It wants me to say ‘Han gliders’.  Now I’m going to have to look that up.  *sigh* A blogger’s work is never done, I guess.  I wouldn’t want inaccuracies abounding.  Of course, I’m sure I make plenty of mistakes, especially grammatical, but I don’t always care.  Sometimes you want a sentence fragment, you know?  Sometimes I may not know all of the rules, and sometimes I just choose to ignore them.  I do try to spell correctly though.  We must have standards, mustn’t we? (*note:  after looking it up, I did change it to two words, having had it incorrect, but Word was wrong too! originally I had 'hangliders')  

Back to my “Pollyanna” outlook on life.  What’s wrong with being optimistic?  Where is it written that being realistic has to be negative?  That is a pessimist’s logic, and they are the ones who don’t do the coolest stuff, because they “can’t”.  Phooey on that.  I say I can write a book, or several, and that is what I shall do.  I say I will get to visit at least one other continent before I die or the world ends, and I mean to.  Maybe I’ll visit them all before it is over.  I know a very lovely couple who have spent time on every continent, why not?  Yep, I’m reaffirming my belief that I will travel outside of North America…..someday.  I’d better get cracking too, since the Mayans tell us the world has only another year and a half or so left.  ; )  Which would really stink since I was shooting for my first over seas trip to coincide with my 25th wedding anniversary, which isn’t until 2015.  Shucks.  

Some photos of places I'd like to go, and have seen.....mostly on Google Maps street view.....see this post
I don't remember the name of this town, sadly.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Life, the Universe and Everything

Ok, I borrowed that title from Douglas Adams.  Don't judge.  And if you don't know Douglas Adams' work, what's the matter with you?  Ok, ok, not everyone may like his kind of humour or science fiction.  "To each his own", my mother used to say.  Well, this is going to be one of those posts, it seems.  Rambling.  I'll try to straighten up.  I just wanted to mention that I made a huge leap this week.  I sent my WIP to someone special to read what I have so far, and she was very kind.  Granted, she has always been very supportive, and perhaps in addition I should allow someone who would be more critical a chance to be brutal with me, I don't think it is quite time for that yet.  Those of you that write, and may also be reading soon is too soon?

In other news, I don't know if I mentioned that we are trying to buy this amazing house that we just decided we wanted, and have hit a snag that we are trying to work through.  Life is such a bumpy place.  Nothing is easy, that is for sure.  But we have been learning so very much also, and are in turn able to help "the kids" as I am calling my daughter and her betrothed.  Hopefully we can help them with knowledge, Heaven knows we can't do much for them financially.  Yes, life is bumpy, but interesting.  I can't say it hasn't been interesting thus far. 

Have a great weekend, everyone.  And remember:

Anna and the French Kiss Review.....Finally

The beginning of this was on my flash drive.....I'd written it just after reading this wonderful book....about time I shared, don't you think?  : )  

Finally got to read Anna and the French Kiss by StephaniePerkins.  It took being stuck sick in bed for days, but as I had finally ordered, and received it, I took advantage of the time to read it.  This is another that I feel the need to preface.  YA romantic-y stories are not my go-to genre.  If you have read my blog at all you know that I tend toward stories with elements of magic and the fantastic, forgetting that the best written stories all have magic of one type or another, even if it is not the obvious type.  Also, I became a fan of the author through her blog quite a while back and knew that she could write well.  

The description from the author's website:  
Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

Sounds a bit mushy, right? Plus, who wouldn't want to go off to school in another country?  I would!  Pick me!  Having once been a teenager, I understand though.  Senior year you want to spend with your friends doing all of those things that high school seniors do, not be up rooted and forced to go somewhere where you don't speak the language and you don't know anyone.  I get that.

Anna makes some good friends in Paris, and discovers that her love of writing film reviews goes very well with the proximity of some great movie theaters within walking distance of her school.  I'm happy to say that she does realize how wonderful the opportunity is for her, and how maybe her crush back home wasn't so great after all. 

I found Anna very identifiable.  I found Etienne very dreamy (English accent, handsome, fun, what's not to love?).  The story was well crafted and paced just right.  It may have been slightly predictable in that you kind of knew from the title that they were going to get together, I don't think that is a spoiler at all.  It is such a beautiful story with intricacies that are very true to life.  The dynamics of these two characters' families brought a lot to the story as well as their circle of friends at the school.  In short, it was delightful.  I immediately passed it along to my daughter who also enjoyed it, and isn't sharing a great story as fun as reading one?  I think so.