"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Name is the Thing


Are you a NaNoer? Leave me your screenname in the comments and we can be writing buddies! I'm sonshinemusic (what else :)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled post.

I have been doing a lot of research on children's literature. I am writing 2 papers plus my thesis, which has me ordering so many books from inter library loan that I'm pretty sure the library is getting suspicious.

Anyhoodles. I have been trying to figure out what to write for my Age of Romanticism paper so I got a bunch of books about children's literature over the ages, etc. I have a few ideas percolating now, which is good, but the best thing has been seeing the titles of books from the 1700s and early 1800s. Some of them are so hilariously long that I had to share them with all y'all. Maybe you can even come up with some ideas for your NaNo novel title ;)

  • A Little Pretty Pocket-Book intended for the Instruction and Amusement of little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly, With Two Letters from Jack the Giant-Killer; As Also a Ball and Pincushion; The Use of which will infallibly make Tommy a good Boy, and Polly a good Girl
    • Now you know the secret to getting children to behave!
  • An Easy Introduction to the English Language; Or, a Compedious Grammar for the Use of young Gentlemen, Ladies and Foreigners
    • There's a whole series of these Easy Introductions. Does anyone know what Compedious means? Obviously I need this book!
  • The Art of Poetry made easy, and Embellish'd with great Variety of the most shining Epigrams, Epitaphs, Songs, Odes, Pastorals, etc.
    • Especially etc. That is the best way to make poetry easy.
  • The Prodigal Daughter ... who because her parents would not support her in all of her Extravagance, bargained with the Devil to poison them
    • I feel like this book needs to be rewritten as a modern day YA novel. I call dibs.
  • Early piety, exemplified in the life and death of Mr. Nathaniel Mather, who having become at the age of nineteen, an instance of more than common learning and virtue, changed earth for heaven, Oct. 17, 1688. Whereto are added some discourses on the true nature, the great reward, and the best season of such a walk with God as he left a pattern of
    • Talk about spoilers!
  • The Pilgrim's Progress From This World, To That Which is to come: Delivered Under the Similitude of a Dream Wherein is Discovered, The manner of setting out, His Dangerous Journey; and safe Arrival at the Desired Countrey
    • Who else thought it was only called Pilgrim's Progress?
  • The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes; Otherwise Called Mrs. Margery Two-Shoes. With the Means by Which She Acquired Her Learning and Wisdom, and In Consequence Thereof Her Estate.
    • Now if someone calls you a goody two-shoes you can inform them that your name is not Margery. Unless it is. Because then that might not work so well.
Guys! We have been titling things ALL WRONG. There is definitely not enough plot summary in any of my titles. Excuse me while I go rethink all of them!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And the NaNo Comes in the NIIIIIIIIGHHHHT!

I may have spent the last couple of weeks watching old StrongBad e-mails with my brother. And if you haven't watched them go to HomeStarRunner.com RIGHT NOW and become addicted.

Anyhoo.... I have a couple of things to say, and since today is still technically Tuesday, this will be my Two for Tuesday post too!

1. As much as I absolutely adore blogging and love all of you wonderful people that lurk around and read my ramblings and comment and everything, I just can't keep up with posting regularly. So I've decided just to make the announcement that I will try to post once a week, but that is the most I can say. I've kept my schedule up on the side (because I don't want to have to remember all that when I get back to a place where I CAN post regularly), but it's just not gonna happen right now.

So I will be here, just not as often, which I haven't been anyways, but I feel better making it all official like.

2. My life is chaos. I'm doing research for my thesis (SO EXCITED I CAN'T EVEN HANDLE IT) and working on two other lengthy papers - 1 for my PostColonial class and 1 for my Age of Romanticism class, and teaching English Comp where we are about to start the dun dun dun Research Paper.

So of course, the most logical thing for me to do is obviously to add another writing project onto my life! NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for anyone who doesn't know) starts in like 6 days. SIX FREAKIN DAYS! I am so psyched about this year. So very very psyched. I am starting something completely new and I've been plotting it in my head and in scribbly notes for a couple of weeks now and I think this is the most I've ever planned something out before giving in to writing a scene or two. It's a YA fantasy and there are magic powers and evil scientists and PEOPLE DIE HORRIBLE DEATHS which is something completely new to me and my writing. I usually go out of my way to keep people alive. It's kind of ridiculous. But this project is much darker and I'm so excited about it.

I was sitting in class today and I suddenly broke into this huge goofy grin thinking about it and the professor actually asked if I was okay. Which was kind of embarrassing, but I really didn't care, because I'm SO EXCITED.

But here is the bad thing. Three times a week I have to get up at 4:30 in order to get to campus a little early before I teach. Which means that I need sleep and I need to fall asleep before midnight. Preferably no later than 11, but whatever.

This novel has decided I don't need sleep as much as I need to figure out why the hay bale Gavvet died in the first place. And WHY Devvon is acting like such a jerk. And what exactly is Evva's deal?! And why there are trees EVERYWHERE in the novel. And so my writer's brain goes in circles like a hyper-active little puppy while my logical brain tells it to shut up or it's going to have to lock it outside and for Pete's sake be quiet the neighbors are trying to sleep.

But I can't even get too upset about my writer's brain being so hyper because I'm SO SO EXCITED about this novel!

What about you? Are you doing NaNo? Is your story idea haunting you like Nearly-Headless Nick? Does your writer brain keep you up at night?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cover Love Thursday: Stoneheart

This is my most recent audiobook love. First, it's narrated by Jim Dale. Love his voices!

The story was amazing as well. And look at that cover! So perfect for the book. I love the green tint over everything. The second book is all blue and the third is red.

Quick non-spoilery summary:

George is just trying to get away from the teacher he doesn't like and the other kids that just don't get him, but he never meant to break anything. Only moments after he accidentally snaps the stone dragon's head off outside the Natural History Museum a pterodactyl crawls off the building and tries to attack him.

What a way to find out that he's fallen through to another layer of reality in London and that all the stone and metal statues around London have the capacity to wander from their plinths. And he's managed to anger the stone at the heart of London and he only has 24 hours to make penance for his crime. He runs into a statue of a world war I soldier called the Gunner and a strange girl with a rather scary ability. Can he complete his mission in time? And what will he have to sacrifice in order to free himself from the new life he's tumbled into?

It's kind of a cross between Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and His Dark Materials, but with a delightful charm all its own. If you're a fantasy fan, you'll love this book!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Stupid is as Stupid Does

Sometimes I have to laugh at my life, because things happen to me. Things that should only happen in a sitcom. Really.
People ask me if it's "too soon" to tease me about these things. In my opinion, it's rarely too soon to laugh at yourself. Because if you can't laugh, you're gonna cry. and laughing is ALWAYS the better option!

1. A couple weeks ago I was teaching my 1201 class. I had just split them up to do some group work and turned to go back to my desk.

FYI this is the floor in my office. So stylish, no? (sarcastafont engage!)
I happened to be wearing these shoes:
I love these shoes.
As I turned something happened that I could never ever duplicate. No matter how hard I tried.

I put the heel of the right shoe through the bow on the left shoe and BAM

crashed to the ground. Yes. Flat on my face in front of the class.

They all went dead silent and one of the boys jumped up to see if I was all right. I was fine, but the heel was still caught and it took me approximately 4 minutes to untangle it. Okay, probably more like 10 seconds, but it felt so much longer. I waved the student away and managed to stand back up.

But man was I totally self-conscious about my feet for the entire rest of the day.

As soon as I got back to the offices I had to tell my colleagues and we all laughed until our sides ached. I was glad to offer some levity to the day.

2. This Saturday I took the GRE Literature in English test. Talk about a brain implosion. 2 of my friends and I signed up to take it at the same location together so we could provide moral support for each other.

We finally found the room where we were supposed to take the test and the proctor, who was absolutely hilarious, started to get us into rows based on the test we were taking. Everyone was chatting as the proctor went around to check us in.

When she got to me my name wasn't on her list. So she checked her other list. Not there. So we looked at my ticket and I realised, to my horror, that whether I made a mistake or there was a computer glitch (a theory I strongly support as I swear I double and triple checked before signing up), I was registered to take the test at a different campus of the same school.


The proctor told me to take a deep breath and said she'd make a call to see what she could do for me. She pulls out her phone and the entire room goes deathly silent as she announce, "I've got a girl here who came to the wrong testing center. Can she take the test here?"

I am sure that my face went BRIGHT. RED. as everyone turned to look at me.

Fortunately I was able to take the test and it wasn't a problem. But after the proctor moved on I turned around and my 2 friends and I started cracking up as I threw up my hands and said, "Only me!"

How about you? Done anything hilariously stupid recently? Do tell, I could always use a good laugh!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Podcastin' Twilight or Soundin' Like a Ditz to the World

When I was at Polaris I was on a panel about the genre of YA. It was a lot of fun to actually talk about something I have such a passion about with other people that are of like minds. I mean, it's great to read blogs and chat with y'all online, but there's something about doing that in person that is so much more fun.

Well, afterward one of the other panelists Deanna Toxopeus asked if I would be willing to join in on a Twilight podcast on Revolution Sci Fi. It's a great website with a bunch of different things, but they do weekly podcasts on different topics and I was excited to do something like this.

So I joined Deanna and three other fun Twihards to talk about the series, what we liked, themes we saw, why it's so popular, and so on. It was a really great experience, even if I do feel like I sound like a total ditz at the beginning :)

If you care to check it out the link to the website is HERE

I definitely warmed up as the hour went on and started talking more. It was fun, but weird. Definitely something I would love to do again, maybe with another topic!

The thing that I realised as I was preparing for it and doing it is how much I really am passionate about children's and adolescent literature. I want to study this, want to write about it and talk about it and analyze it and present about it. So whatever I do next, I know that this kind of literature is where I want to spend my life, personal and academic.

What do you get excited about? Is there a particular type of book that gets you super excited? Or another interest that makes you all giddy when you met other people that love it?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Bad/Good

Bad. It is a bad idea to run into the library and lock your keys in the car. After having left your cell phone at home.

Good. It is a good idea to have an amazing dad who will bring you your spare set of keys so you are not stranded at the library all day (although, that could have been fun too :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pictured Inspiration

I know October barely started, but I am getting totally psyched about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November.

I've had a massive writing dry spell. Mass. Ive. As in I haven't written pretty much anything since like May. I had all these grand plans for the summer and they didn't happen.


NaNo is going to get me writing something again. And I've been trying to figure out what to write, because last year I had my Layla story and was really excited to do that and this year I've been drawing a total blank.

Until yesterday. And I remembered this scene from a dream. It was one of those dreams where the emotions of the dream sticks with you creating a sort of dream hangover. So it's always been vividly in my mind emotionwise, but the visual was really sketchy. And then the first words of my novel came to me. I've rewritten them in my head about a billion times already, but it's a start.

So I spent a good chunk of the afternoon yesterday getting lost on DeviantArt which is pretty much THE coolest website ever and I'm trying to figure out why I haven't spent time on it before. Since I don't really have anything except the opening scene planned I was hoping to find some inspiration.

I already know that this story is going to be much darker than anything I've ever written before. In fact, *gasp* people die. Shocking, I know.

But here are some of the pictures that were giving me wondrous inspiration (I've linked the picture to its original place in all cases and referenced the artist). I also did my best not to use any where the artist asked they not be shared. Even though those were fantastic! Like THIS one (this artist is beyond amazing. Check out some of her other stuff. A TON of it was super inspiring). Or THIS one.
So I mean no harm by posting any of these - I am merely grateful for the talent of these amazing artists and if, by chance, you want me to take your picture down, I will be more than happy to do it.
"Miss Mourning" from Burning-Shark
"I Miss You" by Mitsumi-Mishitori
Drowned Catacomb by lyno3ghe
Mourning Air by inflexible
trees by loose665
Into the death by your-rain
Don't you just love pictures!? I'm so inspired now!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Whatcha Watchin' Fall '11

Once again I have proven myself to be a ridiculous tv addict. For serious. I love SO many of the new shows, am super excited about return of old favorites. AND my school schedule actually seems designed to fit around the shows I want to watch! I am sick! Sick I tell you!

And I love it!
So, for fun, here are the shows I'm watching and what I think about them :)
Watching the previews, I wasn't sure whether I was going to like this or not. I couldn't tell whether it was going to be great or super corny. Great. Definitely. Okay, so maybe a tiny bit of corniness, but I am loving it. Totally different than most of the other stuff I watch, so it's a nice adventurous sci-fi think. And the dinosaurs are pretty cool :)
I was NOT going to watch this. I thought it would be cute, but I just had too much on my plate, so I told myself I wasn't going to watch it. But it falls right between Terra Nova and Castle, so I flipped over to it this Monday. Oh my goodness. SO adorable. And hilarious. And full of ... heart :P
Some people are getting frustrated with Castle, but I love it as much as ever. Love, love, love, love. Maybe it's just Nathan Filion. Maybe it's the annoying new captain. Maybe it's the way they're bringing Ryan and Esposito more to the forefront this season. Yeah, they haven't gotten Beckett and Castle together yet, but to me it feels right, not annoying. Beckett had so many issues dredged up at the end of the last season. That's not going to go away overnight and Castle is completely tied up in all of it. Anyway. It's a great, humorous crime show and I loves it.
I almost didn't watch this again. Last season annoyed me. I kept hoping it was going to get better, but it never did in my opinion. Got home from school in time for the premier, so I turned it on. Seriously. The first 3 episodes of this season were better than the entire last season combined. It seems to have found its way again and it's not just S1 all over again. There is character growth! We get to learn more about minor characters! TONS of musical numbers! whee!
Another show that drifted toward the end of last season. This season is cracking me up so much. Hope is older, Virginia and Burt are pretty much the most hilarious people ever. <3
A lot of people are complaining about the corniness. Maybe a little, but I am really intrigued by how all of this is going to play out. I'm not sure how it can last more than one season, but it's kept my interest every episode and left me dying to watch the next one, so they're doing something right. Plus it's nice to see SMG in something new.
I'm not sure what I think about this season. Honestly, the Caroline and Jeremy storylines are the only ones that are really keeping me interested right now. The whole Stefan thing just isn't doing it for me.  I am curious where they're going to take everything.
I don't think I can possibly express how very, very excited I am to have Michael Emerson back on my tv every week. This show is so interesting and intriguing and almost like a crime show, but not. Jim Caviezel does a great job and did I mention MICHAEL EMERSON?! This show has so many possibilities and I hope it lasts for a long time.

So that's what I'm hooked on right now. Any shows you're loving this fall?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cover Love Thursday: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This was our freshman read for this year, and as a professor of freshman comp, I had to read it as well. We incorporate the freshman read into one of our writing assignments over the semester.

I don't normally read non-fiction except in preparation for writing a paper. It's just not my preference.

But I am SO glad that I had to read this one. Rebecca Skloot is a master at prose and she weaves together her personal experience, interviews, stories she was told, and (most impressively of all) some pretty heady scientific information into a narrative that you will find yourself thinking of for months after you finish.

I love this cover. The orange and red is not only eye-catching, but looks quite similar to some of the colored pictures that have been taken of Henrietta's cells. The iconic picture of Henrietta herself shows the personal touch that is prevalent throughout the book.

Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman diagnosed with cervical cancer. Her cells were taken without her knowledge and they launched an entire branch of medical research that revolutionized the industry - and her family never knew. She died at a very young age while her cells continue to thrive and grow even now. While Skloot cannot avoid the social issues of informed consent, race, social class, and economic status, this is mainly a story of a family.

Skloot meets Henrietta's husband and children, and as she develops a relationship with the family and, in particular, Deborah, she unfolds the story of a woman who was full of life and whose family considers her legacy to be much more than a medical marvel.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. No matter your interest, I believe you will enjoy the narrative Skloot develops will engage, entertain, and enrich you.