Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dorky Book Lust

I am obsessed with reading more than ever. As a kid, I thought it was silly to read books that were written for kids my own age. I tried to read Shakespeare, Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and even Dostoevsky. Of course, I was bored, confused, and thought that reading for fun sucked. Now that I am way beyond the age of young adult literature, I've started reading it. My descent into this genre began with the Twilight series.

From Christmas until about two weeks ago, I read the entire Sookie Stackhouse series, thats eight books of Louisianna-Vampire-Love-Mystery mania. Although this series isn't YA, it may as well be, except for some of the adult content... Now that Sookie is on hold until May, I've started three other books and I can't decide which to focus on.

First, I started Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which was a little slow in the beginning. Plus, it was big change from the fast-paced, fun reading I had been doing. The descriptions of Scottish countryside were putting me to sleep, but now that I'm a hundred pages in, I love it! There is something to be said about building a story...

A few days after beginning Outlander, my good friend (who also loved the Twilight series and is an avid reader of all genres) gave me Looking for Alaska by John Green. I started reading it that night and was instantly drawn in, especially by his amazing sense of humor. He reminds me of David Sedaris, one of the only authors that actually makes me laugh out loud.

A few days ago, I saw an advertisement for the Twilight DVD and like a putty in their hands I went to Amazon immediately and ordered it. Of course, I couldn't pass up ordering Host by Stephanie Meyers as well. I'd like to add that this would be on the shelves in the big people part of the bookstore, thank you very much. As soon as it arrived, I cracked it open. Its very different from the Twilight series and I look forward to seeing how she has evolved as an author.

I've stayed true to writing my three pages or more each night and tomorrow I'll receive feedback from my writing teacher, who I love! We had our first discussion last weekend and it was encouraging and helpful. Looking forward to her ripping apart last week's submission.

I've also been very faithful to the gym:) Why not? I catch up on my reading and I can't work there or be on my computer. I look forward to my techno detox everyday.

Only a few more days in Baltimore and then its back to Woodstock for a week. I'll be spending a little time in NYC too! My brain is fried. Over and Out.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back to Charm City Tomorrow

I can't believe I'm getting back in the car and driving to Baltimore tomorrow night. This week has flown by. is bursting with new trailblazing peeps and I'm so excited for their blogs to arrive! Here is where I've spent most of my week. KC encouraged me to start a vision board on my bulletin board (top left) and surprised me with a little plant friend this week. For some reason Mr. Plant always lifts his leaves up toward the lamp late at night. I've become quite attached to him this week. I've never had luck with plants, but it looks like I'm doing ok with this little guy. I'm sure he'll be in good hands while I'm in Charm City for the next ten days:)

Monday, March 9, 2009

I finished!

Finally, I finished the seventh Sookie Stackhouse novel, while on the treadmill at the tiny Woodstock gym this evening. I was pleasantly surprised by From Dead to Worse. The past two were losing me a little, but this one captured my attention again. I'm happy to report that I've stuck to my 3 pages/day commitment! I want to keep writing, but its time to start the Outlander series, which I now consider research as well as entertainment.


Back in Woodstock...Armed With My Mixes

My hubby pulled through and made me two mixes this weekend. Here is the play list for Mix #1:
  1. Climbing To The Moon by The Eels
  2. Detlef Schrempf by Band of Horses
  3. Ramblin' Woman by Cat Power
  4. Absentminded Melody by Joel Plaskett
  5. The Dress Looks Nice On You by Sufjan Stevens
  6. Challengers by The New Pornographers
  7. The Funeral by Band Of Horses
  8. The Park by Feist
  9. 3 Speed by The Eels
  10. A Stranger's Car by Rickie Lee Jones
  11. (Some Song by Billy Bragg)
  12. Torn and Frayed by The Rolling Stones
  13. Lost Girls by Till and the Wall
  14. Traveler's Song by The Fruit Bats
  15. Toys by The Epoxies
They were wonderful companions on my rainy drive to Woodstock. I had did a lot of brainstorming during the 5 1/2 hour journey. These songs create the right mood. My imagination functions much better with good music as fuel. I'm a little tired at the moment, so you'll have to excuse my writing tonight.

We had a delightful day. Hubs and I met with some peeps at The Great Sage, which I've blogged about many times. It's vegan heaven. I enjoyed some chili, brown rice, and cornbread:) I dedicated a lot of time to my writing project this weekend and I am happy to report that I sent my first submission to my long-distance writing teacher today. I know that the numbers of words don't matter, but I was proud to have 4,419 words to show for my work this week. We'll see what she thinks.

I'm so close to being done with the Sookie Stackhouse series! Maybe tonight's the night that I say goodbye to Sookie (at least until the next book is released in May). I'm off to jot down the ideas that popped into my head during the drive. Until next time!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sugar Induced Writing Frenzy

My poor husband had a rough presentation experience at work today, so we went to One World Cafe to unwind and enjoy some vegan chow. Afterward, we picked up a pint of Purely Decadent's Mocha Almond Fudge Swirl (Non-Dairy!) and headed home. We were going to see Watchmen at the Senator Theater, but we were too beat to go out again. The ice cream was phenomenal (my hubs loved it too) and no, I did not finish the whole pint (there is at least a quarter left). I have done that once with a pint of PD's Pomegranate Chip and I'm not proud of it.

I felt so awake after my bowl of ice cream (with raw cacao sprinkled on top) that I launched into an internet browsing/creative writing binge that's lasted three hours. I'm finally starting to feel tired. Our cat, Sweet Pea, is snoring in the chair next to me. Sometimes I can hear her from our office upstairs during the day. I never knew a cat could snore that loudly.

Unfortunately, I always work better late at night. You know that you won't get interrupted and no one is looking over your shoulder or expecting you to do something. Its 100% your time.

On another note, its been another successful week at the gym. Five days straight. I plan on continuing this trend as long as possible. The amount of vegan goodies that I've been eating pretty much negate any exercise I've been doing, but there are many benefits other than losing a lot of weight (at least I'm not gaining a whole lot). I officially hate my scale. I hate other people's scales too, especially the doctor's scale.

I juiced today too! I haven't been doing very well with that this week. Sometimes if I get away from the habit (like when I go to Rochester and don't have a juicer) its difficult to get back into it. Anyway, I'm back on the horse now and thats what matters. Now I'm really tired.


Friday, March 6, 2009

My Latest Challenge...Three Pages A Day

After reading through some of my past blogs last night, I picked up on a pattern. I love creating challenges. They don't usually turn out as I planned, but I think they've all taught me something. My newest challenge is to write three pages of my creative writing project each day. Last night I was typing in bed, almost falling asleep, but dammit, I did it!

I think it would be fun to share my frustrations, triumphs, and lessons here as I progress with this project. While at the gym this morning, I read a few chapters of Bird by Bird. No other book on writing has struck a chord with me like this one. If there was one book I could recommend to any aspiring writer, it would be Anne Lamott's Bird By Bird. Not many writers can make me laugh out loud or cry. It happens very rarely. Whenever it does happen I am inspired to create the same magic on paper. I couldn't help letting out a giggle here and there while on the elliptical today.

Allie Larkin's short story, Bathtub Mary, made me cry. I feel very lucky to be able to pick her brain on occasion. David Sedaris always makes me laugh out loud (especially while listening to his readings). I love self-deprecating humor. Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels have made me blush many times (I'm almost done with the last book and its much better than the past couple, I was starting to lose faith in Charlaine). And of course Stephanie Meyers made me feel like I was falling desperately in love all over again.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Heart Americana

As always, my husband has a lot to do with my latest music obsession. He has always been plugged into music in a way that does not come naturally to me. I don't know where he finds it, but every week there its something new playing in the house or car. He also has the annoying ability to memorize the lyrics to every song he hears (I, on the other hand, am always singing the wrong words and have to be corrected, which is always all too embarrassing).

For the past 12 years, he has been making me mixes. At first of course, these were on cassette tapes. He would decorate the tape jackets with odd characters and give each mix a funny name, like "Songs to Eat Mac Salad By" or "Blah Blah Blah Blah" (I hate Mac Salad by the way, but it is a Rochester, NY favorite). Making mixes is an art to him. He's like John Cusack's character, Rob in High Fidelity (except Steve is getting his Ph D. in microbiology and isn't commitment phobic).

I've given him a new mix assignment: Create a mix CD (more like CDs I hope) that will be the soundtrack for my novel. I've committed to writing three pages a night now that I've finished a rough outline of the plot (and a 5 generation family tree in excel). Yes, I'm type A when it comes to writing. Anyway, my husband has been the poor victim who has listened to me work through the details of the plot for this new project. He also has his own brilliant ideas and I have stolen nearly every one.
For the past year we have been listening to Americana nonstop: Brandi Carlisle, Allison Kraus, Neko Case, Gillian Welch, A. A. Bondy and countless others have graced our CD player. In addition, Steve writes and plays for the Freeminer Birds, which has an Americana vibe. His guitar would never touch the ground if he could help it (see above), therefore I listen to the evolution of his songs as they unravel in our living room.

Recently, I spent most of the drive from Baltimore to Woodstock trying to memorize the lyrics to "One More Dollar" by Gillian Welch. If I could have anyone's singing voice, it would be hers. I almost drove off the road a few times trying to read the lyrics from the CD book. When I listen to these artists I am transported into the world (or mood) I want to create in my novel. I want to put in my earphones, tune out my surroundings (except the beautiful harmonies of my Americana songbirds) and write.

I'll post the tracklist here once he is done with the first CD. Hopefully, this weekend. Tomorrow is Steve's first committee meeting for his thesis project, so I'll given him some slack (until tomorrow night that is).