Wednesday, November 28, 2012


So I'm trying to catch up on NaNoWriMo.

Absolutely determined to finish it this year because I don't have any decent excuses to not do it. If I could complete NaNoWriMo as a senior in high school, and no I don't remember how that happened, then surely I can do it now.

Yesterday I was like, OK: just 3600 words per day and I'm golden. Not hard. I can do 5000 on a day if need be. 3600 is nothing.

Eh. It's not nothing. And now it's after 4 am.

Here's the thing about 4AM. Not only are you in a constant state of typos and inconsistencies (I'll leave the ways I've typed "4 a.m." so far in their original forms so you can see what I mean), but you start to feel more strongly about things. Especially nostalgia and obsessive anxieties over big life questions that suddenly pertain to you. Also, things are more hilarious. Here's what my night has been like so far:

-Typed out breakdown of wordcount goal, interspersed with Adventure Time episodes that fit perfectly into my 500-word-chunks.

-Followed through on this pretty darn well until OH WAIT ONE EPISODE LEADS TO ANOTHER, I'LL JUST WATCH THAT TOO
-But that episode. It was hilarious. And so good. And like... I think this show is so groundbreaking. Like... I want to write like that. Or just be in that writer's room. Can I get coffee for those writers? Please?

-Clicked around Youtube because it was open from the Adventure Times and... that was a mistake.

-Wound up on because he wrote a moving blog post in response to a moving video about how he's afraid of his audience because of his desperation to please them and ahhhh you really feel for the guy, seriously check it out because suddenly there's SO MUCH EMPATHY, like No dude! Don't be afraid, we all love you, you're awesome! Even though we all feel that too! Except without the already-successful part! But yeah! Ahh why! and then you see the response videos and you want one big group hug but all these people are like... very not present, and very not-knowing-who-you-are. And you're just wrapped in a blanket in your room at 4Am.

-Watched a couple seconds of many of the responses to Charlie's video, especially one by Hank Green who postulated that "all people create" and are terrified and I was like that's me except perpetually in the process of creation, which reminded me of--

-MS Paint Adventures, mainly Homestuck [the it's-really-more-than-a webcomic], because that's a still-being-created/completed-as-it's-created work that I admire so so much to the point of obsession. So I clicked on that and wow it updated, and lately all the updates are reminding me that it's ending in April I think, which made me just so sad. Do you ever wonder when the next time something will come up that you're really into? Like the next song you'll have on repeat, or the next fandom you'll be a part of?

-Decided to blog about this experience, which began about three four hours ago. Why am I blogging about it? Well it occurred to me that I haven't posted much personal stuff lately (I do try to be a book/writing blog after all and the personal stuff gets long [see: this post]) but also it has to do with Nanowrimo, insecurities, ends of eras, procrastination... if those aren't relatable to the people probably coming across this post, I don't know what is. [PS why is "relatable" not considered a word? Am I spelling it wrong? I really thought it was a word.]

I know this is long but it's a post that needs to happen probably more for myself than anyone else. The chocolate covered espresso beans might partially account for my 4am ADD and why everything is suddenly a big deal (side note - when I was writing in NaNoWriMo about a dad I was suddenly like I MISS MY DAD so I guess this started after midnight). But I should not be awake now.

I have 655 words left to meet my goal. Funny how I stopped when I was so close.



Monday, November 19, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "Fall for Anything" by Courtney Summers

WHY I PICKED IT UP: Courtney Summers' This is Not a Test was one of the most highly-anticipated YA releases of the summer. While waiting for it to come into the library, I perused some of her other titles, and this summary caught my eye. Mysteries in photographs? The suicide of a loving father? I needed to know what the answer to this interesting scenario was.

Fall for AnythingWHAT IT'S ABOUT: The description on the book (and consequently on Goodreads) is kind of misleading so I'll break this down in my own way. Teenager Eddie and her mother are suffering from the sudden, unexpected suicide of her father, who was a brilliant photographer-turned-partial-recluse. And things keep getting worse. Her best- and really only - friend Milo is suddenly hanging out with his ex?-girlfriend again, deepening the chasm that's been forming between Eddie and him. Her mother's best friend Beth, who is in total denial about getting older, has moved in and decided to control Eddie's life. And suddenly there's Culler Evans, a private student that Eddie's father had but never told anyone about.

Culler might not be all bad, though. In fact, he seems pretty cool - and maybe the only one who understands what Eddie's going through. Together, Culler and Eddie try to get to the bottom of the suicide by using a set of artful, but nondescript, photographs left behind.

*Summers' writing style shows why the story can only be told in first person. There is so much voice. You aren't just reading Eddie's thoughts, you're reading her thought processes. It's engaging.

*The dialogue between characters, specifically Eddie and Milo, feels very real. Sometimes I would think "Hey- I know these people!" because they speak like my friends.

*Her setups from chapter to chapter kept me very enticed and turning pages quickly. This book flew by.


[Warning: I'm going to be as vague as possible but there will be some allusions to later points in the book.]

*Some of the boy drama feels forced and I was kind of confused about how Eddie felt. She seemed to say she wanted some things at one point and then completely brushed them off later when opportunities arose.

*There is, in the last quarter of the book, kind of a feeling of pointlessness. The clearest resolutions are ones to problems that were not at the forefront of my mind, and I was not even sure how they came about, exactly. Too many question marks still remain. This is something that can be done, if done correctly, but I didn't feel like it was.

*I'm not convinced that Eddie changed by the end of the novel, something that is unusual for protagonists and only really works if it's acknowledged, like this lack of a change was done on purpose or shed light on the meaning of things. But I felt like the whole story was focused on Eddie and her dealing with things, but the last few chapters didn't really say much about her.

OVERALL RATING: It's a great example of style and voice for YA realistic fiction, but plot-wise, disappointing. Maybe others have deciphered more meaning from the text, but I felt it lacked power, given the strong setup and style that it presents otherwise.

I had to return This is Not a Test before I finished it but that was a lot of fun so far (I started it during a power outage - great time for zombie apocalypse reads!), so by no means will my less-than-enthusiastic take on Fall for Anything keep me from trying out her latter works. Have you read any of Summers' books? Was this review helpful? Let me know!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Eternity Knocking: Tome's Monday Mixer 3 Entry

[This post is written for Jeffrey Hollar's Monday Mixer flash fiction contest. You should go check it out!]

There is a little town you have never seen alive. Slanted on the side of a hilltop, layer upon layer of abandoned storefronts mask the home of a man who stands hunched and bald on the peak, for his head scrapes against the low, greasy ceiling. On this night, we find the man criss-crossed on the floor, elements and configurations and books scattered like autumn leaves around his knees. His sagacious eyes gleam with a metallic sheen not unlike the vitriol he swirls in the tube, two elements becoming one, many molecules dancing with more grace and ease than the man had otherwise witnessed.

And then…


“The Elixir of Life!” the man cries. “Behold me, Thoth, your equal! Look, Flamel— my victory!”

The man places the vial to his lips.

The dimness of his room, abandoned despite its occupant, overtakes the man’s spirit.

Life, for what?

Glass becomes dust.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Don't Let Your Fear Decide Your Fate" - Or, Living Up to Impossible Things

Because of Hurricane Sandy, I was out of power for four days. Thankfully, I had some battery life on my Zen (an mp3 player/radio... think iPod from Japan). Lying on my bed in the dark, I heard this song come on the radio:

If you can't see the video, it's "Kill Your Heroes" by Awolnation.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in how incredibly awesome other people are, which makes you feel discouraged, like you're not that and you'll never get there. But you can get there, because they did, and they're just people. That's why I love the chorus. "Kill your heroes" -- stop idolizing other people so much. "Fly, fly, baby don't cry" -- go strive for what you want, instead of worrying about a top you think you can't reach. That's my interpretation, anyway.

It reminded me of this poem-ish-thing that's been running through my head:

They say never meet your heroes
But that is why I need to.
Thou shalt have no false idols
after all

Let me be disappointed.
Knock me off this cloud-covered plane.
Mist, not cotton
solid ground the
losing what I never had.

Prove it to me.

It's a dare, a sanity's need.

Prove that you're just human.

There are people out there with so much talent that it's hard to believe you can achieve something like what they have - I know, I feel that way, too. But their golden image is partly because of the dreamers polishing it that way.

Don't give up. You can join their ranks, too. You are, after all, human.