Saturday, October 29, 2011

Family

Well, I would be posting about last night's episode of Grimm (which I'm sure was awesome) but I had to miss it. Family comes first.

I got word the other day that my Uncle had another stroke. He had a massive one back in January but recovered. Then, the other night he had a stroke when he was alone and wasn't found for several hours. This means that they missed a window to give him this super intense drug... What it would've done I have no idea. And he's been unconscious for over two days. Which, sometimes is good for stroke patients. It gives the brain time to un-swell. But then he quit breathing on his own. And that's bad. So, the family flocked to my Grandmothers and now my dad and his sisters are meeting with my Uncle's wife (my aunt - duh) to talk about taking him off life support.

I have no idea how to feel. I feel scared and worried but not for my uncle. More for my dad (he's only a few years younger) and my cousin (we're both only children and I know how close he is to his dad). I don't know what I would do if the tables were turned and it was my dad on life support. So readers, keep my family in your thoughts and/or prayers. I know that my uncle isn't in pain and really, I think (and when it comes to statements like this maybe it's not fair to say what you think they'd want but...) I think if he somehow woke up, he wouldn't be happy living the way he'd have to live. The brain damage is bad enough where he couldn't swallow on his own. And if that man can't ride his bike then he's miserable.

And a weird thing is: My best friend's Dad just had an intense stroke earlier this week. Like Tuesday. And he's good now, up walking and talking. But, (and with my family too) the thing is I really like seeing the power of family in these situations. Someone isn't doing well at all and everyone (who can) comes running. I like my family. I mean, I think when it comes to family on some deep level there will always be love (even when they are awful people) but you don't have to like them. I'm glad to be here with my family.

So even with the dark, foreboding cloud that is hanging over us... there is a little bit of light shining though. (That was corny, but whatever, corny things are true) 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

Last night LOST fans and fairy tale groupies tuned into ABC to watch the new show Once Upon a Time. I say LOST fans because Once Upon a Time comes to viewers via the creative minds of the writers of LOST.

And I wasn't disappointed at all with the show. 

The show starts out with Prince Charming pushing his horse to the limit, riding into the forest, only to find Snow White dead in her glass coffin. We all know the rest of the story. Well, the typical ending of our fairy tale is only the beginning for this story.



I won't go on into detail because I want you to watch the show... But, the fairy tale portion of the show was ridiculous in ways that only fairy tales can get away with. I will spoil one little scene where Prince Charming (now King Charming... I think his name might actually be Theo) is battling two Black Knights while holding his newborn daughter. And wins. Crazy. For real he singlehandedly defeats them... Okay, had to make the reference there. 

Anyway, the fairy tale portion overlaps with the modern day story. Emma, a bailbonds woman is coerced into going to Storybrook, Maine. Where, and I quote Emma, all the fairy tale characters are "Frozen in time in Storybrook Maine." 

Emma is told by a boy, Henry, (the baby she gave up for adoption 10 years before) that she is a fairy tale character. And that time is frozen in Storybrook and when people try to leave bad things happen.

Emma tried to leave and bad things happen.

The episode ends with Henry staring out of his window at the old town clock. The one that has been stuck on 8:15 his entire life. And suddenly, as Emma check into Little Red and Grandma's bed and breakfast, the hand moves.

Okay, I hope that gives you a taste without giving too much away.

One thing I like about this show so far are the subtle/not so subtle details. The Evil Queen in the modern world has apple cider and decorates with apples. She also has a scene where she is standing in front of a mirror. 

Snow White's modern day character is a teacher who has a good relationship with birds, children, and also works at the hospital as a volunteer. 

Oh, thing I wasn't so sure on... The kid Henry has this book of stories and is like "all the stories in here are real and all the people are stuck here." But then we get a close up of the book, the pages turned by the wind, and illustrations from The Wizard of OZ and Alice in Wonderland flip across the screen. To me, those aren't really fairy tales and I'll be really hesitant if THOSE characters show up...

Husband even said, "Hey this show has a LOST feeling to it." I snickered and then realized that he was serious and wasn't aware that it was written by the same people.

I'll hold out on my overall opinion until a few more episodes. I feel like you can't really judge a series by the pilot episode. That is for the network... it's the following episodes that are for the viewers. 

I think that it is for SURE worth watching. So, next week you should tune in and let me know what you think.         

Missed it on TV this week? Go to the ABC webpage and watch it! Limited commercials... Always a plus.

Excited? I know I am. Check out a preview of next week...




Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Bit of Horror Before Halloween

So today has been a work day and a homework day.

It's not fun when the two overlap, but what's been nice is that husband and I have been doing homework together. It's been what I call: "A Homework Party" (woop woop). You have to make the woop woop sound. I even made husband do it. We've been eating pizza, listening to music, and just getting stuff done. In someways I think my homework is better. He has to study nursing stuff (SUPER gross pictures) and I get to do writing (WOOP WOOP!)

Anyway, I have to do these different exercises for my online class. For each lecture (we get lectures on the different genres: poetry, short story, historical fiction, fantasy/ science fiction, etc.) we are given anywhere from 5-10 exercises and we pick one and write.

So here's the exercise from the short story lecture that I picked...


Exercise #3
Take a well-known nursery rhyme or fairy tale and now take the off-stage horror and put it on center stage. If you pick The Three Little Pigs, for example, let us see the wolf’s fangs and smell his breath. Let him devour the first pig and let’s see the blood. Grim, right? I was going to make some joke about the Brother’s Grimm, but I figure it’s been done before. Anyway, re-write a nursery rhyme or fairy tale and make it ghastly. Your choice about the ending. 


And this is what I wrote...



The Woodsman unsheathed his knife. It didn’t gleam in the dying sunlight like it once had, back when his father had first given it to him. But it was still just as sharp. It still got the job done.

Slowly, the Woodsman slipped the tip of the knife into the wolf’s swollen belly. He couldn’t cut too deep. He couldn’t slice the girl or her grandmother. He slid the knife in till half the blade was buried in the wolf. Blood, as red as the holly berries in winter, pooled out of the cut and stained the wolf’s white fur. Like blood and snow. It was almost beautiful.

His knife met no resistance as he drew it from tip to toe. More blood spilled out. It was darker. More like the red leaves of the trees in the fall. Closer to the color of death. It smelled like iron. Bitter and cold. Like the winter. Like the wolf. The Woodsman could almost taste it in the air.

Once he had finished the incision, he eviscerated the wolf with his bare hands, searching for the women inside. He ripped organs from the body. They smacked the ground with a heavy wet sound as he tossed them aside. Finally he felt something different.

Wet hair beneath his fingers.

He reached in with his other hand and grabbed.

He pulled.

This time the wolf hadn’t eaten them whole.

No, he had taken his time, the old sinner.

The Woodsman cradled the girl’s head in his hands. Her face was mutilated past recognition. Her jaw was missing and there were deep slash marks that ran from her forehead down. A scrap of fabric was tangled in her wet hair.

Gently the Woodsman worked it out. It was only a scrap. 

It was red.     





Not a full blown short story. Maybe closer to flash fiction (even though I'm not 100% sure what flash fiction really is...) but there you go. Maybe it's not as gross or horrific as I could've made it. But, I like it. And totally in a Halloween-I've-been-watching-too-many-slasher-movies kind of way. 


So, Happy Almost Halloween!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In Memoriam...

I know that this is a creative writing blog. Or, well a blog about me and my adventures in getting my MFA and writing. And I know the last post or so haven't really been on topic, but today is a special day.

Our sweet parakeet died today. My husband has had him for 6 years and I've known Buddy for a year and a half now. I was not a bird person until I meet this sweet little blue bird. Not only did he make his way into my heart, but he gave me ideas for different picture books.

I mean how can you not love this little guy...

video

While I haven't really gotten a chance to write a draft of the picture book I have in mind, I did write this short one as an exercise for my class this fall...


            Boo Boo the Bird was a bored blue bird. The Boy and the Girl were always too busy now to get him out of his cage as much as they used too. Boo Boo understood, they were busy with people things. But he was still bored.
            He tried playing with the bell that hung from the top of his cage – but that wasn’t fun. When he’d swing the bell it would always come back and hit him in the beak. And he did his exercises every morning, but Boo Boo wanted more.
            One day, after chirping goodbye to the Boy and Girl, Boo Boo hatched a plan. He snuck out of his cage and flew over to the black box that sat by the window. Boo Boo knew what the box did. It was a magical box. It was the kind that could sing when it was turned on.
            Boo Boo pushed and bit buttons until the box turned on. He fluffed his feathers in excitement as music began to play. The rest of the day Boo Boo danced and chirped along to the songs that played. He had such fun! Never again would he be bored.
            It was only when he heard a key in the lock of the front door did he furiously flap back to his cage. The Boy and the Girl walked in and greeted Boo Boo with smiles and kisses.
            “Hey, did you leave the radio on?” The Boy asked.
            “Hm. I guess so,” said the Girl.
            From that day on, Boo Boo wasn’t such a bored blue bird anymore.




I don't know how many of you out in Reader Land have lost a pet, but if you have, you know what it's like. I love Buddy and I'm so glad to have had this little bird in my life. He was a great source of love (love from something that small is so simple) and a great source of inspiration. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Delay on Writer's Conference Post

Do you know what the biggest creative block is?

Sickness.

Not being drunk (no many great writers sadly put that out of the running).

But sickness.

Am I sick? Not totally. I think I might be getting a sinus infection. I have an appointment with a doctor on wednesday (which feels like ten years). But the beginnings of an sinus infection have the same ill effects as being sick.

No motivation. All you want to do is sit around, drink tea, and watch Buffy.

Or maybe that's just me.

Anyway, the point of all this rambling is that my head feels like it's at the mercy of some ancient form of torture (Dad said Native Americans use to wrap wet bands of leather around their prisoner's heads and let it dry slowly in the sun until it made their heads explode <--- that is how I feel) and it will be a bit longer until I get around to typing up my musings from this writer's conference I went to yesterday.

I just wanted to let you all know.

Incase you were holding your breath or anything.

But I really do think that colds are kryptonite for creative juices. It's not fair.

So, in other words: I promise more interesting posts will be coming. It might just be a day or two.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

What to Read Next

Picture this...

You finish a book. It's amazing. It is ground breaking (at least to you) and literature will never be the same again after it. You yearn for another book that will have the same effect on you, but when you finally get to the bookstore nothing is appealing. You stare at the best sellers displayed on the top shelf and just think, "Really? People think this crap is good?" It's like when the movie theater is only showing lame sequels to movies that weren't good enough the first time around. Why would you want to see those characters again? 

Well, fear no more! Did you know that there are webpages designed just to prevent these kinds of disappointments (the book thing. I fear there is no hope for "popular" theater...) 


This webpage is pretty awesome. Type in the title and authors name and poof! Instant recommendations! Also, the layout of the webpage is pretty fun looking.

I just thought I'd spread the good news...


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reasons Why the End of October Will Rock...

Well there's the obvious reason why the end of October rocks.

Halloween.

But this year, there are two new reasons. Awesome reasons. Don't believe me? Just watch the clips below...







Yes, two... count 'em (ONE TWO) shows this fall based on Fairy Tales. How awesome is that?

The word you are looking for is extremely. It is extremely awesome.

Once Upon a Time comes to us from the writers of Lost. Which while a highly addictive show, had some major plot holes. Here's hoping that won't be a problem for our fairy tale inspired TV drama. I don't know as much about Grimm other than the fact that it looks like it combines two of my favorite things (yes, I have a lot of favorite things) crime solving shows and fairy tales.

Color me excited. That color is somewhere between neon green and sparkly purple.

Any thoughts? We take comments from any and every reader. :-)

Here are the links to the shows network webpages (lots of goodies included): One Upon a Time and Grimm

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fun Book for English Enthusiasts

Have you ever seen those Epic Fail books? The one with the pictures of stupid things/ people being stupid. For reference I've included two of these pictures below...



These are always funny and make you think: are these people serious or were they just waiting for someone to notice?

The book I want is like this. But better.


Which contains images such as these....



Ahh... yes. This is just my style...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Just Thoughts

So, this is one of those posts that it more about me and less about me and writing, or writing, or reading.

Today I went to the zoo and it was awesome. The lions there just had five baby cubs. Logic says when they grow up they'll have all their natural instincts and maul me... but I still want one. I mean look at them...



The last picture there... he's not even growling. That's an intense cub yawn caught on camera by yours truly.

Anyway, today at the zoo I was not just exposed to a plethora of exotic animals, but of exotic people. There was a guy wearing (I kid you not) a cargo pants kilt. That's the best way I can figure to describe it. And those toe-sock shoes. Covered in tattoos. Now, I'm all about freedom of expression but, that's exotic. There were others. People covered head to toe in their favorite football teams clothing (sweatshirt and matching sweatpants) as well as children of all shapes and sizes decked out in Halloween ware. So, it makes me wonder...

While all of you people complain about how shitty the habitats are for some of the animals (and I do agree, but our zoo is working on it -- have you not seen all the signs? So I'm glad you have to pay a total of $14 to get in. Helps give them money to build the better habitats *stepping off the soapbox*) I wonder if the animals have just as much fun looking at us as we do looking at them. Sure, they are not prowling the great contentent of Africa. They get regular meals, medicine when they need it, and thanks to many zoo goers -- kick-ass entertainment.

That's a picture book in the making.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Two of My Favorite Things: Halloween and Reading...

Neil Gaiman is hands down one of my favorite authors. He is witty, brilliant, and just hands down amazing. Seriously, look up amazing and you should see a picture of Neil Gaiman -- if not, then paste one in.

So, what has brought on this Neil Gaiman love fest? He has combined my two favorite things in the whole world: Halloween and reading... Just watch the video below



Freaking sweet... You can follow the conversation on twitter with the #allhallowsread hashtag and then ALSO check out the webpage!

What could be better?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Bit of My Writing...

Okay, so below is one of the exercises that I had to do for one of my online writing classes. I think it's awkward, and defiantly probably not my best work, but I thought it was high time that I post some of my stuff. We had to write a serious situation and somehow incorporate humor into it. I don't think that it's very funny. But, eh, I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think :-)

~*~*~

There was nothing subtle about the breathing machine. It sounded like Darth Vader and made Granddad’s chest jerk and rise. It wasn’t elegant and it wasn’t dignified either. The only thing it was doing was keeping the shell of a man alive. Kate could already tell the soul was gone. And maybe that was a good thing. Granddad was a proud man, too proud for his own good. At fourteen Kate knew far too much about her grandfather as a “real man.” She knew about his affairs and his drinking problems. She knew about how he could never let his kids win at basketball or cards because it meant that he was less of a man. And even in death there was no way anyone would call him frail. He was a big man – in so many ways. No, there was no way that proud man was stuck in this body.

Everyone was taking turns saying goodbye. It wasn’t the first time that Kate had seen her Dad cry, but she had never seen her Uncle Pete cry. Neither one of them were bawling loudly. No, they were just shaking and not even trying to hide the tears that were falling. Kate looked first at Uncle Pete on her left, then her Dad on her right, and then down at Granddad.

Kate wanted to be sad. She really did. Sure, she loved her Granddad, but she didn’t really have all that memories of him. She knew things but didn’t remember much of anything specific. She remembered the silver pens he always had in his shirt pocket, and how she would reach for them as a child and how he would pry them from her fingers. She remembered that he smelled of pipe smoke, but that he would stop smoking before she would come to visit – ever since she was an infant the smoke made her eyes itch.

Slowly, but not tentatively, Kate’s hand moved forward, finger extended. And slowly, ever so slowly, she poked her Grandfather’s arm. His skin was still warm. Which she thought was weird since he was pretty much dead. It really was like he was sleeping. She poked him again.

“What are you doing?” Her father’s voice rumbled above her. Kate jumped a bit and glanced up at her father. His face was stained with tears and there were a few more wrinkles than a couple of days ago, but underneath it all he was wearing a curious expression.

“I, uh…” Kate looked over at Uncle Pete and saw him looking at her with the exact same expression on his face that her dad wore. It was freaky when they looked that much alike.

“Well, “ Kate began. “I haven’t ever touched a dead person before and I figured this was the best opportunity.”

The silence that filled the room was even louder than the mechanical breaths of the hospital machine.

“So you just poked your Grandfather so you could touch a dead body?”

It wasn’t that her dad sounded angry; when he was angry there was more inflection in his voice.

“Yes.” She paused. “I mean he’s my Granddad so it’s not wildly wrong…” Kate trailed off. Uncle Pete was glaring at her and Dad was just starring at Granddad’s body.

Then Dad and Uncle Pete were laughing. Which was better than crying.