So How Is 2014 Going For You So Far?

therapy room with joanna cross

photo from Facebook page therapy room with Joanna Cross

This year (well, last year, actually) I downloaded this e-book to Kindle on my I-Pad.

365 Days of Writing Prompts

by The Editors, WordPress.com.

365 writing prompts

Then I promptly forgot about it, until today when I began wondering if I should try once again to do a post a day for a whole year.  I fell short by about twenty posts last year but  I like to set lofty goals for myself and then break the rules.  They’re self-imposed, so no one cares, least of all me.  And if I don’t like the prompt I can just use it as a springboard to talk about something completely unrelated, which is often how my brain works.

I also have a word-a-day calendar to improve my vocabulary, but already, skipping ahead and tempting bad luck,  I’m noticing the words are ones I’ve heard and used before, and that has made me all pouty.  Then I read somewhere that awesome things will happen if I choose not to be a miserable cow.

So here goes.

The first prompt is named “Stroke of Midnight”. 

Where were you last night when 2013 turned into 2014?  Is it where you’d wanted to be?

I was tucked up in my bedroom fast asleep, and yes, it’s exactly how I expected to (not) see in the new year.  If you really need to know, I missed midnight by a good three hours. That’s either very pathetic, or extremely smart on my part.  No hangovers in this house. Is there a bah-humbug phrase for thumbing ones nose at the celebration of another year biting the dust?

But even without a mad drinking party the night before, there are days (and a lot of them happen to come along in January) when I suffer from a severe case of clinomania (an excessive desire to stay in bed.)

There’s our first new word that did not come from my calendar, but from somewhere completely different,  snuck in to the middle of nowhere, and here’s the next one.

 – orenda (n.) a mystical force present in all people that empowers them to affect the world, or to effect change in their own lives.

I don’t know, I think the New Year Gods are trying to tell me something.  So, look at that!  Post number one done, three hundred and sixty-four to go.  We are on a roll and slowly working our way up to world-changing mode. Hang on to your pointy party hats.

The Fault Dear Brutus Is Not In Our Stars

How long has it been since you read a book that brought you to tears?  It was yesterday for me.  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is one of those books that’s hard to put down until you’ve made it all the way to the bitter-sweet end.  It is about sickness and death, and yet it’s also a life affirming love story, both funny and sad.  It is touching, and it is beautiful.

I read a rather awful review written by someone who said John Green could not possibly understand “the terminally dark” since he hadn’t experienced it himself first hand and therefore it was not his story to tell.  I think this person was especially upset by the humorous bits, as if the real thing is something you couldn’t possibly joke  about.  But we all have lost loved ones to cancer and have witnessed the battles and the suffering and the pain and have tried to make our own peace with it.  There seem to be as many cancers out there as there are reactions to it, and I don’t believe there is any right or wrong way to deal with it and to cope. Everyone struggles to do the best they can with whatever strengths they have.  This story may not mirror your own personal experience, but I don’t think that makes it any less valid.

fault in our stars

“I’m in love with you,” he said quietly.

“Augustus,” I said.

“I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”              

“When you go into the ER, one of the first things they ask you to do is rate your pain on a scale of one to ten, and from there they decide which drugs to use and how quickly to use them. I’d been asked this question hundreds of times over the years, and I remember once early on when I couldn’t get my breath and it felt like my chest was on fire, flames licking the inside of my ribs fighting for a way to burn out of my body, my parents took me to the ER. The nurse asked me about the pain, and I couldn’t even speak, so I held up nine fingers.

Later, after they’d given me something, the nurse came in and she was kind of stroking my head while she took my blood pressure and said, “You know how I know you’re a fighter? You called a ten a nine.”

But that wasn’t quite right. I called it a nine because I was saving my ten. And here it was, the great and terrible ten, slamming me again and again as I lay still and alone in my bed staring at the ceiling, the waves tossing me against the rocks then pulling me back out to sea so they could launch me again into the jagged face of the cliff, leaving me floating face up on the water, undrowned.”       

There is so much to love about how this book is written.  All the incredibly wise and perceptive passages made it hard for me to choose just a couple of quotes, but I hope these spark your interest enough to read the rest.

Sisters Are Forever Until One Pisses the Other One Off by Writing a Book

Daily Prompt:  Coming to a bookshelf near you:

Write a summary of the book you’ve always wanted to write for the back cover of its dust jacket.

Before the Lights Go Out by Lara Beckman (not her real name) (also this illustration is not the actual dust jacket and the two people on it are not even sisters)

English: The author Madeline Brandeis (1897–19...

English: The author Madeline Brandeis (1897–1937) and her daughter Marie on the dust jacket of her book “The Little Swiss Wood Carver”, published in 1929 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before the Lights Go Out  is a brilliant collection of timeless stories, illuminating moments in the ordinary lives of two sisters who experience the same growing pains in childhood, but whose adult lives unfold in astoundingly different directions.  There are twists of fate, chance encounters and life altering moments as their two pathways seem to diverge more often than they cross.

Their strongly based family connection and shared history is not something either of them can escape and although they both get lost or go temporarily missing in action over the years their lives continue to sporadically intertwine in delightful ways.  There are beginnings and endings, arrivals and departures; accidents, misfortunes and tragedies, always interspersed with large doses of good luck, good times and miracles.

The sisters chronicles are profoundly memorable, funny, authentic, sometimes irreverent.  Prepare to be amused, shocked and amazed at how strange and extraordinary two ordinary lives can be.

Author’s Note:  Although these stories may strike random family members as being autobiographical in nature, I assure you they are pure fiction and more or less completely made up, based so losely on fact as to be irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.  I swear.  Really, I’m almost totally serious about the fictional part.  So stop worrying about it.  Your secrets are safe with me.

42% Captivated

“Ruprecht Van Doren is an overweight genius. Daniel “Skippy” Juster is his roommate. In the grand old Dublin institution that is Seabrook College for Boys, nobody pays either of them much attention. But when Skippy falls for Lori, the Frisbee-playing Siren from the girls’ school next door, suddenly all kinds of people take an interest. A fatal doughnut-eating race and the ensuing tragedy will explode Seabrook’s century-old complacency and bring all kinds of secrets into the light, until teachers and pupils alike discover that the fragile lines dividing past from present, love from betrayal—and even life from death—have become almost impossible to read … “(Amazon description)

I am always drawn into a book by its title. So if you want someone like me to read a book you’ve written, give it the weirdest name you can think of. This one must have come up on an Amazon book list because I’ve downloaded it to my Kindle and I’m 42% into it, as per the helpful little things that kindle tells me at the bottom of the screen.

Skippy dies in the first chapter, pretty much on the first few pages; then we skip back to the ‘beginning’ to see what leads up to that. This has saved me (or prevented me) from reading the last chapter first, which I sometimes do in a mystery because I can’t stand the suspense of not knowing what happens in the end. And I like to see how the author develops the plot to come to whatever conclusion. So no, this strange habit doesn’t ruin a book for me, it makes it better. Although there still could be some kind of twisted ending to this one; you never know.

So the captivating voice? Has an Irish accent?? I don’t know. Every book has something captivating about it for someone, even if it’s just the name on the cover, otherwise there would be no point in publishing it. I’m liking this book; if I try too hard to analyze the reasons why, I’m afraid I won’t like it so much anymore.

Powered by Plinky

200 Words, Real Fast

Bedtime story. THE DARING FROGGIE. Ready? Here we go.

Once upon a time on the border of a brook

A wicked little froggie who had never read a book —

(Yes I know it’s a poem, and that frogs can’t actually read. Poems are more concise. Concise means they get to the point faster. Okay, you’re right, it does mean short.)

Who had never read a story or a funny little rhyme,

Had a sad and tragic ending once upon a time.

(No of course I’m not trying to make you have nightmares! The froggie was wicked, remember? When wicked things have sad and tragic endings that’s a good thing isn’t it? And don’t you get tired of all those happily ever afters? I know I do.)

The little froggie, sad to say, was very fond of flies,

And thought on this unlucky day that he had found a prize.

(Please, do not feel sorry for the fly. For all we know he was wicked too. And the frog is only doing what frogs do. What, do you want him to just sit there on his lily pad and starve to death?)

“Up, up I go,” said Froggie; “I can climb as well as hop;

I only hope he stays right there until I reach the top.

(I don’t know why he didn’t just use his long tongue – perhaps he was out of range. Those things don’t reach clear across ponds as far as I know. But yes, it WOULD be cool if they did.)

“I wish this wouldn’t bend so much” said Froggie, going higher:

“I wish that flies would shut their eyes and come a little nigher.

But he is such a good one and he looks so very fine,

I think that I must have him, for it’s time for me to dine.”

(Well, if I told you at the beginning he was going to fall off a leaf it would have totally ruined all the excitement and suspense! Just listen – we’re almost done.)

So up he went, regardless of the danger he was in;

He saw a duck below him, but he didn’t care a pin’

But suddenly behind his back the reed began to crack,

And all he heard was just one word, and that one word was

“QUACK”.

(Why are you saying Eewwww? The duck was just doing what ducks do! No, I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell your teacher a story about how a bad guy gets eaten by a duck. Although, yes, I agree that would make a more thrilling story. )

(No, I don’t want to tell you another one, our two minutes are up. Well, the two-minute rule – um, that would be the bedtime story sheriff who came up with that one, and we don’t want him showing up here to enforce that rule, do we?)

(No, not being able to read doesn’t make you wicked. It’s time to turn out the light, okay? Okay. Goodnight. I love you too.)

Powered by Plinky