Tuesday, January 24

The Writing Group Meets

I have taken many writing courses in college, all of which contained a workshop element. After completing all of those courses, my writing stalled. I decided that in order to continue writing and fulfilling my dream of one day publishing, I had to have motivation. Homework has been my motivation for my whole life. Without it, I have found I have a hard time getting anything done. Due dates are necessary for my creativity to abound. 

I decided to find a writer's group where I could have goals and accountability on accomplishing those goals. 

Last Wednesday was my first meeting. And I really enjoyed it. It was fun, and fulfilling. The people I met there were very diverse, and it was refreshing not to be surrounded by a room full of English Majors for once. I shared some of my poetry, and they really seemed to enjoy it! I am looking forward to going back and also finding that motivation I need to work harder on my writing. 

Hopefully in the next few months during my internship I can really crank out a novel and start seriously looking at publishing it! 

Monday, January 16

I had a really clever title, but I forgot. Sorry.

I have spent the last few weeks desperately trying to find a job. I didn't find one. No one wants to hire in the post holiday slump. So, I am just staying at home, with my parents, trying to make my mother's life easier. And also reading, a lot. And waiting for my internship to start, which will consume most of my energy until it is done.

I read the Hunger Games. Had to, so that I could figure out why everyone went crazy over it. It was good, impressive even, but I am in no way goo goo for it. I enjoyed the writing, and the surprises, although sometimes they seemed very contrived, but I guess it's understandable and forgivable in that situation. 

I have a difficult time with thrillers-books and movies- because I can't separate myself from the terror. This is why the Joker, in The Dark Knight, is impossible for me to look at, or hear, or see impressions. I can't get over the creepy factor. This being a known fact about myself, I try to stay away from very creepy things, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo being one of the big ones. Unfortunately, even The Hunger Games caught me off guard and I had to spend the days following my finishing the series, watching TV and reading a happy book. My mother says I need to figure out how to get over it. RIGHT

Anyway. My alma mater starts up it's Spring Semester tomorrow, and I am feeling a bit out of the loop. I am happy to not be there anymore. Happy I graduated. Not happy I can't hang out with all my friends who are now back at school. I don't have many friends at home, really just people at church I enjoy conversing with. So, this week I am going to start going to a writing critique group. I'm excited about the possibilities that come with meeting new writers and to have a framework in which to write. Hopefully, it will be the push I need to really start up my writing in earnest, and not just in my wishful thinking. 

It will be interesting to see how it turns out, and I'll let you all know! In the meantime, I'll be writing and prepping for the first meeting this Wednesday!!

~The Literary Firefly

Monday, January 9

What makes me Swoon

Ok. It's no secret that I am in love with Mr. Darcy. That if he rode up to my house because he is tormented by his love for me, I would die of happiness. Every female who has read Pride and Prejudice can say that. Even my mother. 

But. He isn't the only literary character I swoon at the thought. Take Rhett Butler. Take the Count of Monte Christo. Take Heathcliff. Take Col. Brandon. Take Mr. Knightley. Take a man in a romantic novel, and put his name on the list. 

There is just something about men on a page that makes them the ideal man. Even though each one is different, unique and written by different authors, each one is my PERFECT guy. It can't be helped. I grew up in love with Mr. Darcy, and won't ever be able to get over him. My apologies to the real flesh-and-blood men out there who are just as good as Darcy and have the advantage of being real men. It's just that no one will beat Mr. Darcy as the most romantic guy ever, because he did it FIRST. 

But, I'm not here to talk about Darcy. (Although I always take the chance to squeeze him into conversations if I get the chance.) No. I'm here to talk about the book I spent the weekend reading, Love Walked In, written by Marisa De Los Santos. 

It might very well be one of the best books I have ever read. It made me mad as all get out, but at the same time, I couldn't put it down. I had to keep reading. It made me laugh out loud, cry, but it also made me SWOON

It is a touching story about a woman in Philadelphia and how 'love walked in.' Its a simple story, with lots of twists and turns, which I very much appreciated, mainly because they kept me guessing as to the real ending. (Just ask my mother, I'm sure she is happy I ended up liking the book, she couldn't handle many more emotional tirades.) I enjoy books that take me on a journey, that cause me to give up control of how I feel and am wholly engrossed by the author's whims. 

It reminded me of Wuthering Heights. How you can hate Kathy and Heathcliff to the core of your being and yet they still become the most treasured characters in the end. That's kind of how I felt about this book. It was brilliant. 

I was happily surprised by the ending, content with the way things turned out, and wanted to read it again. And again. AND AGAIN. There is a sequel, called Belong to Me. Which I started already. But, I almost didn't want to read the sequel because I wanted to reread that book instead. 

But, my favorite thing about the book was the writing. De Los Santos is a poet, and has a PhD. Her writing style is that of a poet, who is very aware of word usage and importance. I was struck with how beautiful it sounded in my head, the quirky characters' inner dialogue. The narration, the dialogue, all of it was beautiful. 

I have read some poetry, and taken several classes discussing different poems and such, so I was a little prepared for the allusions and such in the book. But I wasn't prepared for her vast knowledge of poems, Movies, books, everything. There are dozens of comparisons to old movies, The Philadelphia Story being the predominate one. Truth be told, I had only seen some of the movies discussed in the book, and had to just assume that the comparison was a good one for a lot of the time. But, it was so interesting to see the character's self-awareness come out in movie metaphors.

Now, that was my favorite thing about the book, but it didn't make me swoon. Teo Sandoval did.

I promise that the statement following is true and actually happened. I screamed out loud when he said he loved Cornelia. SCREAMED. OUT LOUD. I think I might have kicked my feet a little. (I do that when exceedingly happy.) He was so fantastic. Smart: a doctor. Best friends with Cornelia and her family: they grew up together. Understanding: he knew what she was thinking before having to ask (if that isn't perfection, then what is???). Handsome as all get out: He made even the most eloquent women loose the ability to make proper sentences. 

There isn't anything to hate about this guy, except that he ISN'T Darcy. But Someday I'll find a guy who isn't and I won't care, so I can't hold that against everyone. 

I think, however, that my favorite thing about Teo is that he was in love with Cornelia from the beginning, and it was also hovering there, just out of reach. But I think that's how love should be, hovering over every situation, not unnoticed, but not overly displayed. It just should be a part of who you are. 

My props to Marisa De Los Santos, for getting me to forsake my claim that most of what is written in the past 10 years isn't worthwhile reading yet. Now, go, find this book, and READ IT!!!! Then get the sequel and tell me what you thought of it. 

Also, I'd like to give credit to my future sister-in-law for giving me the books to read. I wouldn't have found Teo without her. 

Sunday, January 1

That Whole New Year's Thing

Well, again I stray from my Blog for months. I didn't even say goodbye! I'm glad you are all still here to listen to my ramblings. 

Now that I have graduated (Yipee!), I am dedicating time each week to my blog. I have decided to refocus, and instead of being a random whatever blog, I will bring you all on my journey as a newly graduated English Major. 

It's been fun so far, let me tell you! The Holidays are finally coming to a close and I can get my mind around what lays ahead of me on the road I have chosen to take. 

I am living in my parents house because I have no job. So first on my list is to find one! I hear they pay people to serve coffee... maybe I'll try one of those places! I do have an internship lined up (another Yippee!) at InterVarsity Press! I am so excited to start work there and to be able to learn gobs and gobs about the editing and publishing business, to see if that is something I could get into long term. 

Not gonna lie, I've only ever been able to see myself as an at home writer, with an office that is full to brimming with books and at least 3 projects going at once. That is, until I started learning about editing. I have found that I am pretty good at telling other people how to fix up their paper, or just what to add to make a story that much better. And the prospect of one day getting paid for it is enticing, to say the least. 

I hope that by spilling all my ups and downs on this little MacBook of mine, that someone out there will have hope that being an English major doesn't automatically mean you have to be a teacher, or get a PhD, or end up working at a coffee shop forever. We English majors are important to the world! And I'm going to prove it! 

Until next week,
The Literary Firefly