A silly meet-cute

I haven’t told a story from work in a while. But I have one for you today. And, for those of you who don’t know, a meet-cute is the point in a movie where two characters, generally love interests, meet.

I was back at the reference desk one morning about two weeks ago and a man came up to ask about our mobile printing services. I helped him out as much as I was able. He hung around the desk then went to go back to his seat. A woman came up from the computer lab with a lot of papers to print off. I helped her out then went to go get the stapler she would need to staple all of those pages together. The man came back and started to talk to me about books. I checked the stapler to see if it needed to be refilled and it did, so I was trying to refill the stapler while talking to this guy. He was a nice guy and was interested in donating to the library and we were talking about horror stories and just having a nice time. He then politely introduced himself and stuck his hand out for a handshake.

While all of this was going on, I was fiddling with the stapler, which had jammed, and decided to test it. I didn’t realize my finger was in the way. A staple sunk one of its prongs in my finger, just as he offered me his hand. So our introduction went something like this:

“Oh, I’m sorry, I should have introduced myself earlier. My name is Brad.” *Cue extended hand* (His name wasn’t really Brad, I would feel awful if I put his real name here.)

*Me, stapling myself, trying not to cry out in pain while trying to yank the staple out of my hand for an absurdly long time. Finally get it out after about three yanks* “I’m…bleeding. I mean, my name is Elizabeth and it’s nice to meet you!”

I shook his hand then, the hand that didn’t have a  bleeding finger. He was a good sport about my little mishap, made sure I was alright, finished what he needed to do, and left shortly afterward.

I couldn’t help but laugh about that little incident for most of the rest of the day, equal turns amused and embarrassed by my little meet-cute.

My social graces know no bounds, apparently. Bye for now, everyone.

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It’s Lent

“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart…”-Joel 2:12.

Lent is one of my favorite liturgical seasons for many reasons. One of them is how honest Christians are about how sinful we are and how vast and overwhelming God’s mercy is. Being honest about that stuff is difficult but at least during this one point in the year, we are honest with ourselves, with each other, and with God. We are so honest about this sinfulness that we begin this season by literally smearing it across our foreheads. It’s humbling and shows that we all have room to grow. But the best thing about having room to grow is that you can still grow.

I have a really good feeling that though this Lent is going to be challenging, it will be so rewarding and healing. Please, God, make it so.

Happy Ash Wednesday, everyone.

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A patron left us Mardi Gras beads at the library last night, so I’ve been wearing them most of the day. It occurs to me that my face looks really puffy in this photo. I had gum in my mouth when I took this, so that’s why.

Check in #3

I wasn’t sure what kind of post to start 2018 with, and after much dilly-dallying with different ideas, I just decided to make this a check in, which will cover some really random stuff. Hi there. I hope the not-so-new year has been kind to you all. It’s been an interesting one so far.

  • The most interesting thing that’s happened so far is that I’ve learned more about what makes me who I am. Literally. I bought my mom a DNA test for Christmas last year and we finally got it ready to go at the beginning of December. We used the 23 and Me test, for those of you who care about that kind of thing and both my mom and I are so pleased with their service and how they present their findings. I bought the test because she’s always been curious if she had Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and the test confirmed her hunch. We were also staggered to discover that a small portion of our DNA comes from Scandinavia (it looks like Finland, specifically) and Northern Russia. The test also showed that, though my mother’s DNA is predominantly European, way far back, we come from the Middle East and Africa. It’s been really interesting to learn more about DNA and the tools and information that are available to help people learn about where they come from. If you’re looking for a DNA test, I highly recommend 23 and Me.
  • I’ve started tracking my daily writing progress, which I’ve never done before. My best friend and former roommate gave me a special calendar for Christmas and out of the blue, I decided to use it to track my writing progress, not only for the novel I’m working on, but also for short stories, articles, and other writing projects. So far it’s been helpful in making sure I get stuff done and also helping me prove to myself that I do more work than I think I do. I don’t know why, but it’s astonishingly easy for me to make myself think that I don’t work as much as I should. Having this calendar has helped me to realize just how much I do and to be more conscious of the time it takes me to do it in.
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    This is what this month’s page looks like so far. Please excuse my bad handwriting. If I decide to continue this in the future, I definitely need to learn to write smaller or to get a calendar with bigger boxes. 

     

  • At last, I heard back from some editors that I sent different pieces to, so be on the lookout for more things being added to my writing page. I’m really excited about these two pieces, since they’re different from what I’ve had published so far. That’s all I’m going to say for now. 🙂
  • I finally saw Star Wars VIII. I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t like it, but I did! It was different than I thought it would be, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There’s too much to go into here, but suffice it to say that I think this installment in the trilogy is not just a good addition to an already amazing canon of films but it provides a good springboard into episode IX. We’ll see where they decide to take the story next.
  • Charles Dickens has been hard core stalking me from beyond the grave. Ha, in rereading that sentence, it sounds like he is the Marley to my Scrooge. No, I don’t mean that kind of haunting. I just mean that he’s showing up a lot in my life. It started when I started watching the TV show “Dickensian” last month (trailer is linked here.) It’s a fantastic show, which I want to watch again and again. The one bad thing about that show is that it’s made me realize just how ignorant of Dickens I am. I’ve only read Great Expectations and have seen “Bleak House”, “Little Dorrit”, and “Oliver Twist”. I’d really like to get more into his work. I think I’m going to start with Hard Times, simply because it’s one of his slimmer works. Plus the opening paragraph is amazing in terms of establishing character. Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions as to which of his works I should read.
  • Should I get an Instagram? I’ve been thinking about that question off an on since I got my phone last year. I’m really on the fence about it. On the one hand, I think it would be quite fun, especially to tie it in with this blog. On the other, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be too good at keeping up with it. If you have any ideas, let me know.

That’s about it for now. Sorry it’s been so long and for the rambling nature of this post. There will be lots more to come soon, you can be sure. Bye for now, everyone!

P.S. I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a lot more email subscribers in the past few weeks. Thank you for signing up! Welcome!

2017 Reading Round-Up

Hello, one and all, all and one. It’s time for my 2017 reading round-up. It’s been a great year for me, reading-wise. I managed to read a total of 62 books, more than I’ve ever read in a single year. Those 62 break down to 31 graphic novels, 12 fantasy stories, 9 contemporary/literary fiction books, 3 historical fiction novels, 3 pieces of nonfiction, and 2 mysteries. Gosh, you can tell I work at a library for breaking them all down like that, can’t you?

If you remember last year’s post, I answered five questions about my reading. I’m doing the same this year, but one of the questions is different. Without further ado, let’s get going.

1.What book was your biggest disappointment?
I feel kinda bad to say it was this one, especially since I liked the first book quite a bit, but it has to be One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake. I was so pumped for this release, to the point where I would check our new YA shelf at work every day to see if it was there. But I was disappointed. The story seemed to meander almost as much as the characters did. In certain respects, it was a good book. Blake still retains her knack for vivid description and some of her characters did undergo interesting changes throughout the story (Jules, Katharine). But overall, this book just wasn’t good for me.

2.Which book(s) were your biggest surprise?
Last year I just had one, but this year I have two books that completely surprised me. The first is Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. I’ve never read anything by E. Lockhart before, but I knew of her reputation for creating captivating, mind-blowing stories. I’m not going into too much detail about this book, because if I were to tell you too much about it, it would definitely spoil it. So I’ll just say that the two aforementioned adjectives describe it perfectly: captivating and mind-blowing. Definitely check it out.

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Photo credited to Amazon. 

The second book that was a huge surprise was Warcross by Marie Lu. She’s another one that, despite how popular her work is, I’ve never read anything of. I got really excited when I heard Warcross was a story that takes place mostly during a gaming competition. I grew up as a causal gamer surrounded by much more intense gamers, and I was curious how the story would incorporate an art form that has been so important over the last 30 years. The gaming is interwoven throughout the story in such a clever way that you can tell Lu has lots of firsthand experience with it (and she does). I’ll admit that this book didn’t hook me right away but I persevered and was not disappointed. I think I’ll try to read more of her work in 2018 because Warcross was so wonderful. I also can’t wait for the sequel!

3.What’s the book you’re most likely to reread soon?
I’ve been on a Broadway musical kick this whole year and in the middle of October I finally listened to “Dear Evan Hansen” and promptly fell in love while my heart was ripped apart by this musical’s deep and gut-wrenching message. About a week later, I was bored at work and I looked up the CD on Amazon to see how much it would cost and my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw that they had the script available for sale. When I got home, I immediately reached for my Kindle, bought it, started reading, then had my heart ripped apart again. The musical is about a guy in high school who has extreme social anxiety and he gets caught up in a lie he tells to a grieving family. The music is beautiful but if you don’t know the background of the story, it’s a little difficult to tell what the music is all about. I guess their marketing people realized that and decided they better release the script so people could read it and know what exactly is going on. And as a script, it sets the scenes up so well and it’s just as well-written as the music and lyrics. The entire piece would be absolutely amazing to see on stage and I hope I’ll get to, someday.

4. Who are your favorite characters you encountered this year?
This is the new question! Last year, I listed my most unusual book, but I thought this was an unexpected and different question, especially since reading introduces us to so many new people.

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Photo credited to Amazon. 

Figuring out my favorite male character I read about this year was not difficult at all. It’s Maverick Carter from Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give.  Maverick is a shopkeeper and an ex-inmate trying to keep his family together and safe during race riots that erupt after a cop murdered his daughter’s best friend. Maverick was so much fun to read about and such a lovable, honest character. He does his best for his family, no matter what happens to him and does his best to make up for his past mistakes. He’s also hilarious, especially his theory about the Hogwarts houses being gangs. One of many important characters from an incredibly important novel from this year, Maverick is someone I’d love to meet in real life.
My favorite female character is from a manga series I read early this year, Iku Kasahara from Library Wars. This series is about a military force dedicated to protecting people’s right to read in a world where censorship is rampant. Iku is an incredible, zany girl. She has quite a short attention span and a shorter temper that often leads her into some sort of trouble. When she’s in trouble, though, it doesn’t take her long to figure a way out of it. She’s fantastic, just like this entire manga series. If you’re looking for a new manga, definitely check this one out.

5. What are your top three books of 2017?
I read a lot of great books this year, but I decided these answers based on which books have stuck with me the longest throughout the year.

Coming in at number 3 is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. This is one of the works of nonfiction I read this year and in it Gilbert discusses not only her take on creative life and what that means but also tells the story of her creative life. I’ve never read anything by her before but I was intrigued by this book when it came out in 2015. I forgot it even existed until I had to shelve it at work and decided to take it home with me. Gilbert’s writing is incredibly accessible, even though she talks about lofty, complex ideas, you never feel lost or completely out of touch, as she grounds those ideas in practical advice and anecdotes from her life. If you’re a fan of books about creativity, this is one for you.

My second favorite book of the year is Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali. This novel tells the story of Max, a boy born in Hitler’s Lebensborn program, a program which was to effectively engineer the “perfect race”. I will say that, though this story is told from the point of view of a child, I don’t think anyone under fourteen should read this, simply due to its subject matter. That being said, I think everyone over fourteen should read this at some point. I’ve learned quite a bit about the Holocaust and the devastation the Nazi regime caused throughout the world. I never considered how devastating it would be to be a child born as a result of this program. It’s a truly eviscerating but absolutely necessary story.

And my favorite book of 2017 is….Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor!

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Photo credited to Goodreads. 

If you remember the second of my four sentence reviews, I gushed about this book. And I haven’t stopped gushing or thinking about this story since I finished it back at the end of May. It’s the story of an orphan who has longed to journey to a forgotten city ever since he was little and he’s pretty much resigned himself to never having that dream come true. Until a group of strangers come to town and give him the chance to go to that city. This word “epic” gets tossed around when talking about fantasy stories, but this story is truly epic in its scope, world, characters, and everything. This is another book that I almost put down due to the fact that I had trouble focusing, but I’m so glad I didn’t. I would have cheated myself out of a brilliant adventure and heady romance if I had. I hope I can write like this someday.

 

So that’s my reading round-up for 2017! It’s hard to believe that this year is nearly over. Thank you all so much for a great year here on the blog. I hope 2017 was a great year for you and that good things are in store for you in 2018. See you next year!

2017 in photos

As this year is coming to a close, I’ve realized a bunch of things. The first is that there’s been a lot going on. The second is that I wasn’t too good at handling most of it. I felt incredibly alone and had a difficult time opening up to anyone, even those I trust completely, about what was going on.

While I couldn’t use words to talk about what was going on inside my head and heart, I used plenty of them to write. I also took a lot of pictures, which have always been a helpful tool for me for communicating not just with other people, but also with myself. So here are a few of those pictures. None of these have been edited and I’m not going to caption them, either. I hope you like the story they tell and I’ll write again soon. Bye, loves.

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End of the year book tag

Hello, lovely people. So there has been a new book tag floating around the bookish side of Youtube that I thought would be fun to cover here on the blog. If you couldn’t guess by this post’s title, it’s the end of the year book tag. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and now that the new year is less than two weeks away, I think it’s a good time to put this up. So let’s get started.

  1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
    Like about 5. Currently I’m reading Before the Devil Takes You by Libba Bray, Renegades by Marissa Meyer, All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell-Boyce. So yeah, I’ve got some work to do.

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?
I haven’t been reading too much lately, so I’m fairly sure that I won’t be able to finish most of these, so I bet all of the aforementioned books will transfer into the beginning of 2018. At the very least, I’ll definitely have Tolstoy with me.

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Photo credited to Amazon. This is the edition I have. It’s massive but thorough in its footnotes, which is good for such a big novel.

3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?
No, I’m doing alright. Most of the books I’m champing at the bit for aren’t being released until mid to late spring of next year, so I have some time to catch up and read some more of my never ending “to be read” pile.

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?
I definitely want to finish Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth. I just started reading it today on my lunch break and have been enjoying the story so far. And if I can finish either Before the Devil Breaks You or Renegades, I’ll be a happy camper.

5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?
No, I think my favorite book of 2017 is pretty much set. But you’ll have to wait until my 2017 reading wrap-up to find out what that book is *cough coming up soon cough*

6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?
Yes, I have! I surprised myself by wanting to make reading resolutions after originally watching different tag videos. I normally don’t like making plans for my reading because I don’t like planning things out too much, especially activities that I do for fun, such as reading. But I have made three easily achievable goals for myself and we’ll see how they go. Those goals are 1. to finish reading Jane Austen’s novels (I haven’t done that yet, much to the embarrassment of my English major side). 2. Read at least one work of nonfiction (I’ve managed to read three works of nonfiction this year and, though I am a really slow nonfiction reader, I’ve been enjoying delving more into the genre and I want to read more of it). And, finally 3. Read at least one of Toni Morrison’s works (I read part of Beloved  for my women writer’s class during my final semester and I wasn’t able to finish it, unfortunately. I hope to remedy that).

There we have it, folks. What about your end of 2017 reading? Have any tomes that you’re scrambling to finish? Let me know in the comments. I’ll link the original video down below. I hope you’re having a great week. Bye for now!

Wind-up

I swear

I was born

with a wind-up winch

in the middle

of my spine.

It gets cranked and

twisted,

’til I am tense

with the strain of it.

But instead of running or jumping,

I unravel.

 

I’ve been meaning to do a wrap-up of NaNo for this year, but I didn’t feel like it today. Here’s a poem I recently wrote instead. I hope everyone’s doing well.

An update and a cool poem

Hi, everyone. I hope your Sunday is considerably brighter than the drab, grey day that mine is. Just wanted to, as the title suggests, update you on how NaNo is going and share a cool spoken word poem I found on youtube.

I’ve reached the point in NaNoWriMo that I am ready to do just about anything but write any more. For instance, yesterday I drew a rendition of the cover art of the Broadway production of Anastasia. It doesn’t help that I’ve been writing incredibly tricky scenes that have a great bearing on how the story plays out. I’ve been thinking about these scenes since I started thinking about this story a few years ago and it’s hard to get them right because they’ve been in my head for so long. It’s starting to get better, though, so I just need to keep pushing through. If you’re writing for NaNo or just writing in general, keep going! We can do it!

And now, here’s the poem. Have a great week, everyone.

NaNoWriMo 2017!

Hello, everyone! First of all, before I say anything else today, I have two thank yous to say. The first is thank you to all the veterans of all branches of the military here in the US. The second is thank you to everyone who read and liked the different poems I posted throughout October. The October Poetry Project was great fun and I had a blast posting content on a more regular basis for you all. Let’s see if next year I can actually post something for every day of the month. Here’s hoping!

Anywho, today’s topic is something that most writers on the internet talk about at some point during November and that is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. It feels odd to talk about it when we’re a third f the way through, but there we are. Last year was my first year participating and my goal was to write 60 pages of my novel. I failed, though I did produce a good amount of words. For full details on last year’s writing escapades, see here.

This year, I am also participating and also using it as an excuse to work on the same novel. Really original, I know. My goal this time around is to work on something story-related every day. I’ve been revising this book in earnest for about five months now and it’s been great but incredibly slow going, mostly thanks to a major plot restructure I had to do. You’d think that as a former English major I should know now that all good writing is rewriting but for some reason I forgot that and am painfully reminded of all the “why am I doing this” keyboard mashing I put myself through during school. There are times when I miss college, but when I’ve been trying to fix a scene and am exhausted, I thank God that I don’t have to worry about formatting a bibliography or checking to make sure my in-text citations are right. At least with this project, everything is in my head and it’s just a matter of getting it out the right way to tell the story. Which should sound easier, but it’s not.

So far, NaNo has been good to me. I’ve finished a huge chapter that I had been puzzling over for a few weeks, come up with some new scenes, and am continuing to flesh out my characters. I would have thought that, after a year and a half of writing these people’s stories, I would know them completely. But no. That year and a half was just an introduction, it seems. And I can’t wait to get to know them further.

Thanks, as always, for reading my ramblings. Are you participating in NaNo this year? If you are, what is your goal? Have a great day, dearies!