Monday, October 26, 2015

A Quick Little Update

Hello lovely readers,

Since it has been a while since I have updated this I thought I would give a fun update on my life...


The biggest news is my life is that my mom and step-dad have moved up to Burlington, VT!
My step-dad has a new job up in Burlington which is awesome because we haven't been physically close to each other in ten years. I don't know if I expressed this but over the summer I was feeling a major amount of homesickness and a major urge to be close to my family (even thought they are spread out)... I even thought about moving away from Boston that I love to be close to them. While, that may happen one day I am so happy for now I can stay up here. 
Any way the weekend was lots of fun... We went to Stowe, VT which is a picturesque New England town and we experienced the first snow of the season, and yes at this point it was exciting. 
Snow up in the mountains over Smuggles Notch Junction

A very picturesque church
Trying to get a picture with the church sadly the power lines got in too
Event though seeing Burlington and Stowe was fun, I liked seeing my parents and it is nice to know they are so close. 

I feel I have not read much lately... I have been using my usual reading time (my commute to work) to get some writing done. It has been beneficial to my writing life but not to my reading. However I have finished my 25th book in my reading challenge... A book about "A lion, witch or Wardrobe" 
I don't usually read "magic realism" novels... so I thought if I am going to read a novel about witches, Halloween season would be a good time. Besides I found a book about the Edwardian/WWI time period so I felt it would fit nicely into my repertoire. For more about the book, click here.
 I was reading the book Fever Tree about a girl who goes to South Africa in 1890, for the requirement a book about a place you have always wanted to go. However, I found parts of the book too sexual and I thought it best to move on. 
I am on the waiting list at the BPL for the book Circling the Sun about Kenya in the 1930s. I have wanted to go to Africa (well South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, and maybe Morocco) but I understand they are unstable and I cannot afford to pay for that yet. So I am reading about it. 
While I am waiting for this book... I just picked up Chronicle of Youth at the library and can already tell I want to buy a copy as there are so many passages I want to underline. 
Over the winter I read Vera Brittan's Testament of Youth, her autobiography of her time in WWI. And while the book was great for facts and  some thoughts it is not very feeling. I think she was trying to sound like a scholar and not like an emotional woman. So reading her diary will be an interesting view of her life.

My work in progress cover

As I said above I have been getting a lot of writing in, but I am gearing up for National Novel Writing Month... where you try to write 50,000 words in a month. This is my first time that I am not in school since I first learned of this. I am going to bend a rule that I want to continue working on my current story. I really feel my story is coming into focus and shape so I want to continue writing it. I have read some blog post about this and it seems really intense... so I don't know if I will actually be able to write 50,000 words but as this my first time trying I am going to do the best I can but won't beat myself up if I don't get there. 
Getting my November calendar ready

Before I went up to visit my parents I went through a major binge watch of Glee. When the show was on I watched the first season, half of the second season, and then just watched episodes occasionally of the 3rd and 4th season but nothing really of the 5th season (minus The Quarterback episode) and none of the 6th season. But YouTube clearly tracking my interest (cheesy musical numbers) kept suggesting videos... finally I got hooked and decided to go through the show on Netflix. 
Song: "Don't Go Breaking my Heart" 
 Okay I will admit that sometimes the performances are a little cheesy and maybe a little over the top (I noticed this more in the 4th season) but hey who doesn't want to go to school where you get to perform a music video walking down the hall...
Song: "Wanna be Starting Something"
And not only did they cover classic songs they had a few original songs 
 Song: "Loser like me" 

Yes there were moments of annoyance where I couldn't stand Rachel and her need to popular, and there were moments when I thought "come on let them be happy," and thought "this is so not logical" but over all I liked it. They fought, they sometimes had pointless breakups, but they still came together as a team to support each other, and they embraced their differences.
 The only thing that made me truly upset is they way they acted like everyone in high school was having sex and if a character didn't have sex it was a fault of theirs. 
And even though I knew it was going to happen I did cry during The Quarterback episode, where they deal with the death of Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) because it wasn't just them writing off a character he actually died and as a cast they had to deal with that pain. 
 Recently I started re-watching Gilmore Girls. Yes I am excited for the revamp of it on Netflix (whenever that happens) but lately I have been feeling like life is not going the way I want and I have been trying to decide what to do with my life. And whenever get in this mood Gilmore Girls always cheers me up. Because this is just great life advice:
Right now the only show I am watching in real time is Reign. 
(Historical Spoiler):
Sadly, they have already announced that Francis is going to die this season, though I don' t know what episode. I mean I know in history Francis died a year after becoming King, but last season took place almost entirely in the winter, and they have changed so many historical things why do they have to stick with this. Also (Season 2 Spoiler) last season Mary and Francis spent so much time apart that now they are together and happy it hurts to know soon they will be forever apart. 
Other Things in My Life
 I have been actively volunteering with Horizons for Homeless Children. It is probably my saving grace every week as being able to play and interact with the children is my biggest stress reliever. I can't take photos of the kids but they are some of the cutest kids.

Looking Forward To
I know it might be silly but one thing I am really looking forward to is Mockingjay part 2 coming out.

Okay I think this was a good update on my life but before I go just wanted to share one more song from Glee... there were so many good performances but this was probably one of my favorites. 
Song- Mashup: "Rumor Has It/Someone Like You"
The last 30 seconds probably won't make sense unless you have seen the show. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Possibilities were Boundless...

 Hello Lovely Readers,

A few weeks a go I posted "He waited for her..." where I mentioned one way of getting over writers block was to change the point of view of the author. I really enjoyed that exercise and sharing that part of my writing with you. Another piece of advice I have heard is skip to a new scene. Right now in my outline I have my book in 3 parts- the last part is mainly set after WWI with flashbacks to the war. So I began writing about November 1918- I always think of the end of the war being this great moment... but what if it wasn't so great. Earlier this year I read After the War is Over and the character talks about how lonely she feels at the moment that peace is declared. This gave me a new perspective on a way to slant my story...
{Celebrating End of the War}

November, 1918

They declared peace, Armistice, but it didn't feel like peace to Mattie's heart. Marcus had been missing in action for three months, Lord Parker had used all of his influence to help them out and that is all they knew. The whole country stood in silence as the King commanded and Mattie couldn't help but wonder how could something so longed for feel so empty? Marcus was missing and she hadn't heard from Kelby in over a month, she felt it in her heart that one or both men she loved would not come back. It was awful to think such a way when all of the world was finally breathing a sigh of relief , of joy, of hope. The quiet moment passed and then the people rejoiced. 

I wrote this scene out but then I got stuck again not knowing where to take this scene...Then I attended a writing workshop where we had to take a character, with the questions our writing partner ask really form that character and what they wanted. The twist was not give the character what they wanted. My whole story is a love story between Mattie and Kelby... so the thing Mattie probably most wants is Kelby. My writing partner suggested that maybe Kelby gets engaged... WHOA! As writer I didn't want to put Mattie though that pain, but to go with the workshop I did write out the scene... at the time I did not know how to include it in my story. Here is the scene:

She hadn't heard from him in over a month, she had tried not to let her imagination go crazy with all the possibilities that could have happened to him, but this was war, the possibilities were boundless. Kelby had known that her beloved brother had been missing in action for three months, and Kelby would surely know the terror that was bringing her heart. Kelby would not drag her through more pain id he could prevent it, so why did he not write?

Julia had told Mattie that she was certain Kelby's letters got lost in the mail, he was on the front lines after all in France and with thousands of letters coming back and forth one was bound to be lost. Mattie told Julia, she was right, hoping that if she spoke those words her heart and mind would believe them. She couldn't though, Julia was the typical hopeless romantic who got lost in the fantasy of love never wanting to face the realities. Mattie never told Julia that her parent had forbidden Kelby and her relationship and because of that she clung more to every letter he wrote. All they had were words, stolen glances, and moments together that were too short for either of them. Mattie hadn't even meant to tell Julia about Kelby not writing, but one night Julia caught her crying as Mattie was washing out bed pans and Mattie came clean about the whole thing. 

It was hard at that moment to breathe and think what could have happened to Kelby. She couldn't assume the worse, had the worse happened surely Mrs. Foster would have written her, or she would find his name on the list. The ever growing list in the newspaper that haunted her dreams. Mattie combed over that list everyday in hopes of not seeing Marcus or Kelby's name. "After this war I am never reading a newspaper again," she told herself everyday.

{Lily Elise}
Mattie hated every moment she wasn't in the hospital, in the hospital she could pull her mind away from the strain of her thoughts. Sister Bennett had insisted Mattie to take a half day, when she realized that Mattie had worked fourteen day straight. However, Mattie had to work it was the only thing that kept her sane even that was becoming impossible as she heard Kelby's name even if no one said it.

Last week while she was taking tea she heard two volunteers talking about their Tommies both trying to out do each other. Then Gwendolyn Howard spoke how she gotten engaged to a man over in France though it was all a secret. Gwendolyn Howard, had the look of Lily Elise being both striking and classically beautiful all at same time. Mattie predicted had the war not come Gwendolyn would have pursued the stage as well, for every girl felt coarse and ordinary next to her. Even Sister Bennett liked Gwendolyn and Sister Bennett usually disdained pretty volunteers as she saw them more of a distraction. Even Mattie couldn't judge her on this front as Gwendolyn had a strong work ethic and she had been to France and served in a field hospital. Apparently she had gotten engaged to a man air in France, Gwendolyn told that to another volunteer. She spoke of him being a medic and that he wanted to be a doctor when the war was over. 

 Mattie was clinging on her every word at this point, all these descriptions made her think of Kelby. 

"And his name?" the other girl asked. 

Mattie didn't hear Gwendolyn response for just as she was about to whisper it Sister Bennett called for her. Mattie couldn't admit that she was ease dropping and ask Gwendolyn to repeat herself.

What if Kelby did get engaged? He had pledged himself so faithfully the last time she saw him but even more than six months ago. Perhaps absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder, perhaps it makes the hear forget. How could he forget her though, they had known each other their whole lives. Maybe in war that didn't matter? Gwendolyn had been to the front and seen his world, Mattie could never compete with that. She had felt so distant from him in their letters, he talked about life and death, about rats nibbling at his toes, and mud that couldn't be cleaned off his hands. What did she write about? The newest sheet music she had learned, the war fund event she had persuaded to go to so another volunteer could see one of her suitors, and tirelessly cleaning pots. He had inisted she write of life and he told her the talk of the hospital depressed him as he hoped to never end up there. He wrote her he only wanted to survive but if he should be injured he wanted a quick death. These were not thoughts of romance and true love. Maybe Gwendolyn knowing the world he had been in could give him what he needed. A tear rolled down her cheek at this thought. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Work in Progress...

Hello lovely readers,

My church is going through a series in Ephesians and we are talking about God taking the badness in our lives and reshaping it to make it good. This week were discussing Ephesians 2:1-10. I am not a poet (though in high school I wrote a few poems mostly about the guys I had crushes on) however I was inspired to write this poem.

You may call me a hypocrite
Do you think I don't call myself that...
I know my flaws
I see all them stare at me
   when I look in the mirror
I see them before I put on my makeup
   and before I have my first cup of coffee
I try to hide them behind this mask
But I see them before you
I feel them and know them fully
They call me by name
    and regretfully I welcome them in
They surround me when I stumble and fail
They remind me of my worthless,
    junky state of being.
So don't call me a hypocrite
When I call Jesus my Lord,
Because I know all my flaws and sins
    he carried to the cross
I may not know the love it took Him
    to take that on
However, it is the love I struggle to understand
And it is a love I desire to know daily
Don't call me a hypocrite
   when I read my Bible or stand in church
because I know my flaws and sins.
I try to hide them
I try to cover them with a mask of goodness
    but I am broken,
I am shards of glass
and while I cling to these broken pieces
I know I should give them up
yet I strive to love daily
and forgive as I am forgiven.
But I am still trying
I might fail a thousand times
I might shatter into a thousand pieces...
I know my flaws
and I see them,
and they know me by name
so I don't call me a hypocrite,
   I am still trying,
   I am hoping to change,
wanting to be different
and to be more like the Christ I call King.
But I am a thousand pieces of glass
You many call me a hypocrite
Don't you think I call myself that
I know my flaws
but I am still trying, hoping, and changing.

Thank you for reading.

I don't want you ending this post thinking I am all sad...because I am not. Actually I love the book of Ephesians (it might help that I have actually been to Ephesus and have seen the ruins) but it has always been a book I have turned too when my soul needs a bit of revival. So many of my favorite passages are in this book, including:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. 
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, 
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.- Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) 
In Ephesus... (Above) Paul spoke in the amphitheater behind me
(Below) Just relaxing a bit in the sun