Casually Watching The Glades

I may be somewhere in the … fourth season? I don’t know, it’s some marathon on A&E.

Main characters parents are getting a divorce after 42 years. He wants to continue working, meaning travelling to Brazil. Now that she’s on her own, she plans to move somewhere warm—Florida, to be near family—and also start travelling.

WHY doesn’t she just travel to Brazil with him now that she’s retired?

I don’t mind the effects of a broken marriage so many years on, but give me a reason other than MISSING the OBVIOUS resolution, please?


Honor Thy Inspiration

So I meant to write, when I went to my room, but instead turned a book. This time to a book of arts in northern California. The danger in art books is the inspiration. Now I want to make teapots or bureaus or glassware. Someday I will fill my home with such items, handcrafted and individual. (Who needs unique?) That will take awhile though. After all, mass production was invented to make things cheap, and I’ll have a hard time giving up my parsimony.

Digression: One of the examples Miriam Webster gave for ‘parsimony’ was “She walked five miles to the store just to save a few cents on gas.” My first thought was that Americans are fast because unlike the rest of the world we won’t walk. Perhaps she enjoys the route and can take shortcuts impossible for cars. Or she just loves to walk and watch the seasons change, which you just can’t see from the roads. Or she’s older and retired and this is her day to get out of the house. But given the costs of gas anymore, and depending on where else she has to go, it might not be a few cents (apologies to international readers who may find their way here where Americans complaining about the cost of gas must seem unbearably decadent).

At any rate, if you’ve ever ranted over the epidemic of obesity in this country, you can’t make fun of someone walking too much.

Despite the inspiration that started this post, the middle has been endangered by my current exhausted lassitude. My thoughts move like molasses. A somewhat outdated metaphor, I suppose, because molasses no longer has much of a place outside the cliché. Which is unfortunate because molasses had much more flavor and even more nutrition than our beloved refined sugar. Back to the point, if you’ve ever poured molasses — a misnomer if I’ve ever heard one — you know it’s not merely slow but exceedingly sticky.

Given the associative state of the post, a more apt comparison might be to nearly empty bottle of honey turned upside down… slow and sticky, somewhat crystallized, and dripping from every side of the container. A messy subject.

I keep thinking to bring this to an end that will tie it all together in a nice complete package. But I can hardly remember the idea that started this post in the first place. More than just the emotion of arty and inspiration because I’ve been fortunate to experience it often… Though I’m rarely disciplined enough to do anything more than plan what I want to do with it.

There’s some advice for you. Don’t worry about being worthy of your inspiration, giving it the skill you might think it deserves. After all, no one will ever have your idea. Even a failed effort may inspire someone else at least. Why be disappointed in that?

I’ve just started on a topic I could easily turn into an entire series of posts on its own so it’d better stop myself. Except not to tell myself I can’t write it until I really know what I want to say, because that’s what I did last time when I betrayed my information, and then I didn’t post for more than four months.

A Sorry State of Affairs

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

And not simply in how remiss I’ve been in updating this blog, or how little writing I’ve done in general since finishing NaNo last year.

But when trying on clothes a week ago, I looked in the three-way mirror and did not think I looked awful. 

Actually, I thought: I look good.

Not these jeans make my butt look smaller—because they didn’t, not this trouser line lengthens my stumpy legs—which they did, but also showed off my panty lines. No, I just thought Hey, I look good. 

And I’ve never thought that before. No about me. Maybe my eyes, my hair or sometime my waist. Never before a great deal of effort.

That says something very sad, especially since I’ve never been the one concerned about materially improving my appearance. I almost wrote “concerned about my appearance,” except that’s never been true, even when I refused to make any effort. I only refused the effort because it didn’t seem like it would do any good. After all, I’m not conventionally attractive, and I never will be. For that past few years, I’ve been okay with that part, because I figured making myself look as best I could was enough.

I’ve never actually thought I looked good.

So now I have, and I can look at pictures of myself and not be actively repulsed. This is a strange new world, I admit. Now what will I obsess over? Hopefully, nothing more than books, and writing. Maybe the world I see will be more honest.

Review: The Magicians

The Magicians
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The second star is because the writing wasn’t awful and there were three or so lines that actually got me chuckling.

Otherwise, I hated this book. This is the first book I’ve so actively hated in a long time. Look, it’s even generated a review! So yay?

Now, it’s been sitting on my shelf since just after rode the first wave of popularity (meaning I found it at Costco). And when I first started, I suspected that my high-school self actually might have enjoyed it. Because my high-school self was a terrible, terrible person.

All of the characters are despicable, but especially the narrator Quentin. So whiny, pathetic and useless. I wanted to beat him. From first page to last he didn’t grow at all. Apparently, I’m supposed to believe he was depressed? He apparently started at seventeen and ended at, what, twenty-five? Even younger? He may as well have been fifteen.

Side note: one of my few Harry Potter favorite fan fictions gave one canon character and an OC depression. That story? It was beautiful, and heartbreaking. The characters didn’t go around why are you so depressed, you’re so depressed, look at me, being depressed.

But Quentin existed to waste space. All the female characters were barely characters and rather thin compared to the over-whelming male characters—and I’m not entirely sure what gave me this impression because numerically speaking the numbers were fairly even. But all the named women felt rather auxiliary.

I even hated the world-building. Fillory was just your generic anti-Narnia, and for that, rather inoffensive. Lame, but meh. But the “real world” just…just…I hated it, I hated all the magicans. These magicians can do approximately everything with magic (except, for plot reasons, body modification)—

— and now that I think about it, that’s especially odd to be so common a trope. You may not approve of plastic surgery, or foot binding, or any of the other things cultures have found attractive over the millennia, but it’s clearly been going on a while. Why is that the one thing magic can’t do. Hint: in this case, it’s a naked plot point.&8212;

—but for some reason, magicians in the “real world” do absolutely nothing practical. Well, the narrative mentions that some do, but mostly in a condescending sort of way that doesn’t seem like it’s ever accomplished anything at all.

Oh, and to be a wizard magician, you have to be genius-level smart…but if you never got an invitation, don’t worry, all magicians also have to be profoundly stupid in any useful kind of knowledge. So there’s that.

And the sort of geek-popular references: Harry Potter, Star Trek, Magritte.

I know in the reading I had other complaints, but thanks to this review and my rum-and-coke, I’m feeling pretty good at the moment and can let it go.

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Review: A False Sense of Well Being

A False Sense of Well Being
A False Sense of Well Being by Jeanne Braselton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A well-written novel, with a strong first-person voice—unfortunately, not a voice I wanted to spend so much time with.

A False Sense of Well Being is a character driven novel in the traditional sense; the plot barely exists except as a framework for the emotional growth of the narrator. But, perhaps because this is a first-time author, it takes a good third of the book to even get to the authors main issue, and there’s lots of filler. The secondary characters are well-drawn and strong, but they obscure the main theme of the novel (to say more would be spoilers), and then it doesn’t get resolved, such as it is, until the last three pages. It’s too little time.

Basically, all that time wasted made me just want to smack the narrator upside the head (and perhaps it’s not the best sign that I can’t remember her name). It’s like…just grow up lady! She worries so much and so long about why she isn’t happy without figuring out what it would mean for her to be happy, or what her real issues are.

Jessie’s (there, I looked it up) story starts when she is 38 and dissatisfied with her marriage, or assumes she must be, because she keeps dreaming up ways for her husband to die. Not murder, just…accidents. To get away from the situation, she goes back home.

Note: she calls her suburban-Georgia town ‘small’, even though she apparently grew up in the Georgian sticks—which still has a mall? Having grown up in a true small town, anywhere with suburbs cannot be described as small. So.

Well, after many and varied rural adventures, such as they are, Jessie confronts her own misunderstandings of the past, but it isn’t until she makes it back to, at least, the same town as her husband where she understands her own difficulty—which, as I said, only happens in the very last pages. Now, she’s supposed to be some kind of social worker, so it was frustrating how little she could understand her own issues, especially when I saw it the moment it was mentioned.

It didn’t help that I could have little sympathy for her situation. After she married her husband, she went from the rural, small town girl, to joining her banker-husband’s upper-middle class social strata, where she worries about impressing the neighbors and being the perfect, conventional housewife. She has all this free time, but never gets herself any hobbies or does anything to define herself. I wanted to shake her: get a life! And stop worrying about being ‘happy’ in the drugged sense, unless you intend on drugging yourself. She probably should have gotten therapy, come to think about it.

Anyway, most of the primary characters in the novel are difficult to sympathize with, but especially Jessie. All of her interactions with Wanda McNab made me intensely uncomfortable, especially the way she framed her views, and her limp reaction to her secret (to say more would be spoilers) frustrated me.

Still, I’m glad I read it for all my complaints. She did get somewhere, eventually, and I did think the resolution worked for the novel. I just think it could have been a bit more streamlined; and while the descriptions were good, I still think it could have taken place just as well in someplace like the suburbs of southern California.

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Post postponed.

I went for a walk instead, under the full moon. It was almost directly overhead and cast a shadow from just over my left shoulder. My moon shadow.

In the middle of a field in the middle of a small town, it was still just me and the moon, and every time I broke the tether of that gaze, everything fell. From the sky to the earth, the line was more abrupt than ever before, and I couldn’t tell whether suddenly my brain had disengaged from all but my eyes, or maybe that I was too much a part of myself.

So the discombobulation is still strong. I think my journal got the best of my observations, but I’m avoiding light at the moment, except the screen, and I’d turn it off if I could.

And yet I should be writing my novel too. If only my brain hadn’t decided on sleep. 

Still, you should walk under the moon, in the quiet. If you have a space without the light pollution of cities. Much as I want to leave here, going back to the places without stars terrifies my at the most visceral. Even the dusk lingered, hours after sunset. O, but there are no words, even where there should be. 

I will never call myself a writer.

But starting Thursday, you’ll get my ideas. My opinions, let me show you them. Thursday.