It’s Difficult to Write With a Broken Finger

I didn’t mean to be gone for so long!  I feel like my past few posts have all been about my plans to continue blogging and writing, instead of actually blogging and writing.  The absence from blogging started off with working 50-60 hours a week(finally down to 30-40 hours), followed by my goals shifting to leading a healthier life(which has been successful, as I’ve lost 30 pounds already). And more recently, my lack of writing has been topped off with a broken index finger, which still has another week before I can free it of its cage and start retraining it on how to be a finger again!

So, enough of the talking about planning.  For now, I’m sticking to reading all my favorite blogs on here, and commenting here and there.  No promises for posts, but I’ve missed the WordPress writing community so much, that I just can’t stay away!

What’s Up With Aly

So, here’s what has been up with me!

-I fell off the face of the Internet for 10 weeks instead of 2.  I apologize!

– My 40+ hours/week job is finally becoming routine and much less stressful.

– I went to a family reunion in Illinois, and came back with an outline to co-write a book with my dad, based on his life.

– At that same reunion, I found out one of my relatives wrote and published a book(I have a signed copy!).  It’s a book on quilting, with patterns she designed.  They’re based on the signs/symbols hobos would use to communicate with each other and leave messages on the road.  In fact, she goes into a lot of history, which is why I bought the book since I don’t quilt!  (If you’re at all interested, let me know and I’ll send a link to the book)

– I may (finally) be joining a writers group.

– And to add to that, I found a writing partner in my best friend’s girlfriend. 🙂

Overall, I’ve been thrice as busy as usual, but I’m finally getting this balancing act down.  I still won’t be posting as much as when I first started, but hopefully I’ll have a few posts each month.   I hope you guys have been doing well, and I definitely look forward to browsing all the blogs I’ve been missing!

Nothing Motivates Me To Write More Than Mortality

The past few days have not been particularly kind to me.  But it takes a big scare to remind you what’s really important.

Over the past three days I have:

  • had my lawn chairs stolen off of my patio
  • sold my books to afford to pay the bills
  • taped a garbage bag over a window that won’t roll up in my car
  • been rejected for a job I thought for sure I would get
  • had a relationship-changing fight with my boyfriend

Suffice it to say, I was equals parts angry and disheartened.  Then my mom texted me, saying that my dad is in the hospital…again.

And suddenly, none of that other stuff mattered.

The lawn chairs were mildewy and moldy anyways.  I was never going to re-read those books.  It’s supposed to be sunny the next few days, so no rain will get in my open window.  I have a different job interview next week.  And if anything, my boyfriend and I have grown closer since then.

But my dad suffered a stroke a while back.  And he’s been having bad chest pains, so my mom took him to the ER.

As bad as I thought everything was before, it is nothing compared to a mortality check.  I can sit and stress over things that, honestly, won’t have a huge affect on me.  Or, I can deal with them as best I can, then move on and use my energy more productively.

In this case, my writing has been kick-started with a singular thought:  What if my Dad (or another loved one) isn’t around to see my first novel finished?  

Motivation to write, indeed.

So when life gets difficult, and all the bad things pile up, just think of what’s really important.  It’s okay to take a day or two to recharge, to cry, to deal with everything, but don’t let it stop you completely.  And remember, you WILL make it through!  (And blog readers make great cheerleaders!)

All the best,

Stories Within Stories

I have quite the addiction to stories.  Which is probably why I love movies, books, or plays that are centered around storytelling.

The most recent of these treasures came rather unexpectedly.  I was meandering through the lines of movies on Netflix, looking for something to entertain me while I ate lunch.  A rather surrealist movie cover caught my attention.

The FallDescription via IMDB:

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastical story about 5 mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur as the tale advances.

What I love about this type of plot, is the blending of fantasy and reality.  These stories especially capture my attention when in the form of film.  The visual aspects of blending realities is much easier to follow than in books.  Although I must say I haven’t read too many books like this.  Inkspell by Cornelia Funke, being the only one I can think of off the top of my head.

As far as movies go I can think of  The Fall, Big Fish, The Science of Sleep, Pan’s Labyrinth, MirrorMask, The Wizard of Oz, The Pagemaster, and Alice in Wonderland, as well as many others I’m sure I’m missing/haven’t watched.

I think what draws me in most to these stories, is that when I was little I so wished I could become a part of a story.  I wanted all the fantastical things to be true, and happen to me.  So when I see a film where the characters have become a part of a story or another fantasy world, I can’t help but enjoy it.

What kind of stories draw you in?

 

How to Get More Likes on Facebook

While I’m working on a new blog post or two, I thought I’d share this awesome graphic by The Oatmeal called How to Get more Likes on Facebook.   And as funny as it is, it’s actually very true and honest. So to all the writers out there testing out the social media waters, be sure to check this out.  http://theoatmeal.com/comics/facebook_likes

The Oatmeal is Seattle based webcomic artist.  Sometimes vulgar and alarming, but rather hilarious.  He also has a few comics/posters about common grammar mistakes such as: How to use a semicolon, and When to use i.e. in a sentence.

Okay, enough promoting my favorite webcomic artist!  I promise I’ll have a new, original post up soon!

In the meantime: Happy writing, everyone!

A Guest Post and An Update

I am thrilled to announce that my very first Guest Post has gone live today!  I am deeply honored to be hosted by Rebecca T. Dickinson on A Word or More.   Be sure to check out her warm & welcoming blog, as well as my guest post, Our Personal Lenses.

Fantastic news aside, my writing, blogging, and twittering has taken a seat on the back burner for the past few days.  (I promise I’ll get to everyone’s comments on my previous post in the near future!)  Mostly this is due to a little thing called Life.  Of which, I won’t bore you with details, but let’s just say, I’m busy.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before I’ll be back in the swing of things in regards to my blog.  At least I plan on it in time for the Sunday Versus.   But in the meantime, here are a few noteworthy things:

  • Sara Flower(who is currently doing a blog tour for her book By the Sword) is hosting an Amazon Gift Card Give-away here.  Submissions are free and they close April 8th, so there’s still time left to enter!
  • I’m considering updating my layout to something…more welcoming.  I love this layout because it’s very clean and easy to navigate.   I like the grey scale because it reminds me of the grey, cloud covered, rainy, dreary place I used to call home.  But I wonder if it seems too “cold” and unwelcoming.  Thoughts?
  • Also, I’ve seen a few people with ‘signatures’ at the bottom of their posts, and I thought it was really fun.  A great way to leave a more lasting/unique impression.  So here I am, trying it out.  What do you guys think?  Is it too cheesy, or just cheesy enough? 🙂

Happy writing, everyone!

Book Ratings and Censorship

I grew up in the nineties and my parents restricted what movies I could watch. However I was always more of a reader than a watcher, and not once did my paarents question me about the books I bought or read. I had free reign over my reading material which could have been subject to a whole lot more violence and romance than the movies I had to wait to see until I was older.

With the intense nature of The Hunger Games trilogy and all the bloodshed, many people have questioned the YA genre it has been placed in. Especially now that the movie has been released. There were some rather offending images left out of the movie that are present in the book. In order to appease the MPAA to get a PG-13 rating in the US they resorted to shaky camera action and only split second shots of deaths. In my mind this lessened the effect and importance of the deaths, as well as making it difficult to see what was actually going on anyways. I also hear that several seconds more were cut from the UK version of the film to get a more YA friendly rating.

Which begs the question : if we’re so focused on regulating movies to protect our youths ‘innocence ‘ then why isn’t there a formal rating system for books, which are often times more descriptive and mature than movies?

Perhaps there’s the assumption that if they’re reading then they’ll be more mature and able to handle it. Or that every parent will pre-read the books before their kids in order to monitor the material, which some do for many books. Or maybe they even assume if the material is too mature then the reader will simply put the book down. Who knows?

I personally don’t think there should be such a rating system for books, however I was raised making my own literary choices as no one else in my family actually read. My parents didn’t restrict it but they brought me up with certain standard in my everyday life that not only did they trust my maturity, but I did as well. But, as stated before, my movie selection was almost always restricted. Then again the ratings were a bit more lax then as to what was allowed in a PG rated movie(several swear words and smoking from what I recall).

So where exactly is the line drawn in the ratings game? It seems that movies are often more harshly judged but I can’t imagine why. Especially when I was reading books with war, violence, death, and swearing well before I could watch it on a screen. (I don’t know about you, but I was required to read Where the Red Fern Grows in middle school and all I can remember is a distinct visual of a mauled dog with guts hanging out of it. Again, required reading for me as a 10 year old.)

So I ask you all, perhaps especially with children, should there be an MPAA style of ratings for books as well? At the age of 21 I’m still carded for buying rated R movies from the store. Should I also be carded for buying books with enough graphic material to be an R rated movie? Please share your thoughts!

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