March Classics: F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Stories

For my college graduation present, my family went to London for 12 days. About halfway through our trip, we took the Chunnel to Paris to spend the day.  My goal for my first time in Paris was to visit the famous bookstore, Shakespeare & Company.  This legendary bookstore is down the street from Notre Dame and on the Seine. The first location housed writers like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald while the writers from the Beat Generation like William Burroughs and Allen Ginsburg made the current location their home.  After walking through the two-story shopped where writers could come to write amongst all the books, I decided to pick out my own books to buy.  I decided to add to my Fitzgerald collection with some short stories.

The Mighty: How Fibromyalgia Tried to Take Away My Greatest Love

I got another piece published on The Mighty! If you’ve never heard of The Mighty, they’re a website that focuses on articles and stories about disabilities, disorders, diseases, mental health.  I’ve been helped immensely from the site, comforted in finding people just like me: trying to survive and have a life despite my many obstacles. Definitely check it out! But first, here is the piece I wrote about how my chronic pain took away the great love of my life: dance

Rant: March For Our Lives

When the Aurora, Colorado shooting happened on July 20th, 2012, I was absolutely devastated.  Obviously, I was saddened for the many people who lost their lives and were injured that night—I even had a friend who was also seeing The Dark Knight around the same time at another theater just a few miles away.  But I was really upset about the fact that it happened in a movie theater.

Movies have always been really big in my family.  Most of our dinner table discussions revolve around trading movie quotes back and forth or what movie we’ll see over the weekend.  I even ended up getting a degree in film because those classes were the most interesting and fun for me.  There’s nothing like seeing a movie in the theater. Nowadays it’s so easy to just stream or download movies but the atmosphere in a movie theater can never be reproduced.  So when the shooting happened, my first thought was how one of my favorite places to go was no longer safe. In just a few minutes, someone ripped away the safety net.  People send their teens to the movies because they know they aren’t running around, getting into trouble.  They no longer have that peace of mind. Families can’t send their children off to school without worrying if they’re school is next.

I have never been more impressed with the teens of today than I have been with the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Florida seriously can’t catch a break, with the Pulse Night Club shooting a few years ago and now this.  The stories you usually hear about teens these days are about a dumb Internet challenge or their social media addictions. The students of Parkland have gone through the worst thing they will ever experience, something no one should have to endure.  One thing that really got me was that this school had just gone through “school shooting” training a few weeks before the Valentine’s Day shooting.  It doesn’t matter how much training you can have, when you’re thrown into such an intense and horrifying situation, all hell breaks loose.

These kids are using this tragedy and their experience as a platform against gun violence. They are using their voice against the big bads of Washington to fight for what they deserve. They are challenging these lawmakers to step up in the name of people’s lives. The protests that happened this past Saturday were absolutely breathtaking.  Seeing the amount of people of all walks of life protesting and standing up for gun control filled my heart up with so much joy. The speeches coming from some people as young as eight-years-old were so inspiring and were definitely heard all around the world.

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A lot of people on the other side of the issue seem to think that the protesters want to be rid of suns entirely, but that’s not what they’re saying.  We want gun reform.  Changing the age of purchase—kids can fight in a war and shoot a gun before they can legally buy a drink or rent a car? Other reforms like having stricter background checks—especially when it comes to mental illness—as well as getting rid of semi-automatic guns that’s only true purpose is to kill. Some may say that after the protests, the issue will fade out by another thing Trump has said or done, but those people obviously don’t know persistence of youths.  They are going to push and prod until something is done. They are the future voters who will change the world. These students are our future and they are fighting for justice and peace.  I’m in awe.

I’m not going to lie, I still get scared when I go to the movies.  As the lights go down and the trailers begin, there is a jolt of anxiety that rushes through my body.  I take a look around and then settle down. It doesn’t stop me from going to the movies, or a concert, or any other place where there is a large group of people.  I won’t let these people take away things that I love with fear.

Just want to leave you with one of my favorite moments from the march:

March for Our Lives in Washington Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt perform 'FoundTonight'20180324180938.jpg_11834641_ver1.0

This song gets me EVERY. DAMN. TIME.

Thanks for reading my rant.  Just somethings I needed to get off my chest.

The Writing Chronicles Vol. 2 – Organization

I struggle a lot with organizing my thoughts when it comes to my book. I keep a word document open on my computer at all times.  It’s basically a digital notepad.  There is no rhyme or reason to its madness—I will just type whenever I get an idea whether it be about a character or a major plot point.  When I’m not on my computer (which is rare) I use the notes app on my phone.  I also use the notes app when I think of blog topics.  That’s where you came from, “struggling with organizing book notes.” Helpful? Not so much.  But if I don’t write it down right away I’ll lose it.  Can’t rely on my brain to remember what I had breakfast let alone a random characteristic about some side character.

That’s why I struggle with writing in the first place.  I have so many ideas and I can pin them down in a cohesive way.  I have such a hard time starting a piece of work because halfway through writing down a thought, another one jumps in my brain and I get led on another direction. And then another. And then another.

So what I’m left with are random notes that are slapped on a page with no organization or method to their madness.  I’ve searched online for organization templates but I feel like they are kind of a waste of time.  Do any other fellow writers have this problem? Better yet, does anyone have any tools or tips to help me collect my thoughts in a more productive way?

Unhaul

I own almost 800 books, mostly in print but I do have some e-books.  Not going to lie, I even have some multiples—but how do you turn down your grandmother’s first edition copy of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood? I buy my books anywhere that sells them: Goodwill, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, or indie book stores like my all-time Powells in Portland, Oregon. When I was in high school I used to buy books behind my parents back­—some kids hide drugs and alcohol, I hid books. I miss the good old days of Borders…

It is my ultimate dream to have my own personal library. I’ve already designed it in my head—it’s going to be Beauty and the Beast themed, of course.  Dark, with the comfiest chair/lounge a girl can find.  Walls lined with filled bookshelves; maybe even a ladder that will slide along the wall.  My heart flutters just thinking about it.

So I’ve always just kept all my books, even old ones that I probably never read —bought just because they seemed semi interesting and they were cheap.  Even books that I have read but didn’t even like. I just wanted to have the high volume of books for my dream library even though I’ll probably never touch them. When cleaning I came across these books I bought when I was in college, when I tried to go through a “pretentious reader” phase. I bought all these adult books from hip authors that people always talked about like Dave Eggers, Bret Easton Ellis, and Chuck Palahnuik.  Now, I’ve come to realize the exact type of books that I like—YA contemporary, family drama, and some romance—and I’m not ashamed of it anymore.

I’ve moved books to and from Oregon to California too many times, to apartments and back home again. As it’s looking like I’m going to be moving across the country before the year is up, I thought it was time to do a major clean out. I get very personally attached to items. Yes, I realize that I’m starting to sound a little bit like a hoarder; and when it comes to books, I am.  I told my mom when I was cleaning that I felt bad for giving up these books and she put it in perspective: I’m donating these books so they can bring joy and pleasure to another reader, I’m not throwing them out on the street.  The will go to a good home. Now I just have to actually put them in my car and take them away. Come back in a few weeks and we can see if I progressed.

Love, Simon

“I like your boots!”

AHHHHH!!! THE FEELS!!!! MY EMOTIONS, MY HEART!!!!

Okay, I got it out of my system.  I have just come home from seeing Love, Simon, the new movie based on Becky Albertalli’s novel Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda.  I have been waiting for this movie to come out for ages.  The book is so heartwarming and hilarious, about a closeted teen who has a secret online relationship with a secret admirer.  Ugh, I suck at explaining things, here is the movie premise from Wikipedia:

Simon Spier is a closeted gay teenager attending high school in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Simon has yet to inform his family or friends about his sexual orientation and has begun communicating with an anonymous fellow closeted classmate who goes by the pseudonym “Blue” online, using his own pseudonym of “Jacques”. This email exchange is uncovered by fellow classmate Martin, who blackmails Simon by threatening to out him to the entire school unless he helps Martin get a date with one of Simon’s best friends. Simon is then forced to balance his friends, his family, and the blackmailer, while simultaneously attempting to discover the identity of the anonymous classmate he has fallen in love with online.

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A Charlotte Holmes Story

I have a thing for boarding school books—I was also a big Zoey 101 fan back in the day. It’s such a foreign concept, but there is a small part of me that wishes I would have gone to one.  They just seem so sophisticated.  Another thing I love is Sherlock Holmes.  Okay, most of my knowledge comes from the show Sherlock.

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Goodreads synopsis for the first book, A Study in Charlotte:

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other

Disgruntled Weather Talk

One of the biggest joys of living in Southern California is obviously the weather…and Disneyland. We don’t really have specific seasons. It’s pretty much 75°F all year round.  And because we are still in a severe drought, it’s very dry.  The summers can get pretty hot, but I’ll take it for a winter in shorts and a T-shirt. Ideal weather for someone suffering from chronic pain? For the most part, yes.

A Little Princess: Movie vs. Book

Like last month, when choosing which classic I was going to read was fueled by a movie.  I had an urge to watch the 1995 classic, A Little Princess.  This movie was a huge part of my childhood. My sister and I have probably seen it over fifty times, but I had never read the book.  I owned this beautiful Puffin Classic edition—that so perfectly match my Little Women and Anne of Green Gables copies (thanks Anthropologie)—so I was ready to dive into this whimsical story.

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I am Not My Hair

Most people have one physical thing about themselves that they like: legs, calves, arms, smile. I have always loved my hair.  It helps that people have been complimenting me on my hair since I was a toddler.  Growing up, I basically looked like Snow White—very pale skin and VERY dark hair.  So dark, that kids asked me in elementary school if I had blue hair.  It was thick and curly, though the curls have calmed down into waves. Once, a woman came up to my mom at a toy store and asked if she had dyed my hair—at five-years-old!