Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fifty Shades of... thoughts.

I was going to leave this alone, but I once told a group of people at an Author's Panel to never let something go that you can't get out of your mind.
This blog post will be a testament to that.
So then.
Fifty Shades of Grey.
When it first came out, I had little to no interest.  I had opened the first book at random and read a couple of pages.  It was...meh.  Then the movie came out, and I thought (being a visual person) that I might enjoy the story better that way.
I was wrong.
I'm not here to bash E.L. James.  Not going to happen.  Not in the way she's been bashed before, anyway.  The mere content of these books is a trigger.  BDSM, for many, is a trigger because it's not a consensual act but a horrible power play between someone being the aggressive and someone being the submissive.  But it's not.  While I don't practice the lifestyle, I can see where it might appeal to some.
Christian Grey was indoctrinated into the lifestyle by an older woman.  He thought that she gave him the perfect outlet for those parts of him that he deemed not normal.  The abuses he suffered as an extremely young boy manifested themselves out into this chosen lifestyle.  And while he refers to himself as "fucked up", it's quite clear that he considers being a submissive, and then a Dominant, integral to who he is.
And he believes that only through this lifestyle will he be able to connect physically with someone.  I find the psychology behind that fascinating.
My problem with the story stems from it being contrived.
Good authors try to make a seamless story that readers can follow through with no hitches or bumps in the narrative.  Great authors succeed.
While I didn't read the book, it's been said that the movie closely follows it.  And if that's true, then I shudder at some scenes.
When Anastasia Steele (and God help me, that name is contrived all by itself) drinks too much and drunk dials Christian, he shows up JUST IN TIME to save her from a friend who is becoming too handsy.  My eye literally twitched.
When he happens to show up when she's with her mother, it was all I could do not to stop the movie right then and there.  I mean...c'mon!
And then this older woman is thrown into the mix right in time for there to be conflict.  Seriously.  I hadn't heard her name before, and suddenly she's all over the place.  Ugh.
Stories, no matter the content, should neither be choppy nor contrived.  They should flow smoothly.
Our protagonist, Ms. Steele, walks the fine line between Too Stupid To Live and simply naive.  I struggled with her character in the movie because she made me literally wince.  Falling into his office.  Losing her place in her notes.  So I took a breath and tried to imagine myself in that position.
Early twenties.  Innocent.  Sheltered.  Settled.  Perhaps a billionaire would upset my little world, also.  Doesn't make her more appealing to me, but I find myself trying to understand her actions.
To sum up, it's a "C" movie.  It's not great.  It's not even particularly daring.
Average storyline.  Below average writing.  Above average casting.
Because hello, Mr. Dornan.  I've missed you since they killed your ass off "Once Upon a Time".
There will be two more movies to round out the trilogy.  It'll probably be one and a half too many.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Get a set

*blows out breath*
Alrighty then.
I love writing.  Love it.  There's is nothing else that touches me like the words.
So what's my problem?

I've dicked around for hours today because at the end of my list is writing.  But not any writing.  No. It's my TFH novel.
And it hurts me.

Let me explain.
I am an empathetic person to the point I can't watch reality shows because they embarrass and raise my blood pressure.
I stopped watching "Deal or No Deal" because I was living and dying by those sorry ass little fucking suitcases.
The Honey thought I was sleeping during "Tammy" with Melissa McCarthy.  I wasn't sleeping.  I was averting my eyes from the screen because I was embarrassed for her in a couple of scenes.  Ok.  Let's be honest, most scenes.  geez

I banged out several thousand words last time I worked on it.  Now I need to go back and flesh some scenes out.  But they hurt.  It's not pretty.  It's not a romance.
I can literally only take so much of the ugly before I have to take a step or four back.  I can only take so much intensity before it wraps itself around and chokes me.
This story needs to be written.  I need to write it.
It's important.

On a semi-related note:  Killing your darlings.  Stephen King advocates offing characters.  I've only purposely killed one character, and I felt bad.  But I knew he wasn't going to make it from the get-go. A lot of readers become attached to characters.  That's the mark of a good writer and book.  Not only have you breathed life into a character, but they've also found a home with others.  That's powerful writing.

Now I'm wrestling with characters and trying to soothe myself through the process.  It's exhausting.
One of my favorite sayings:  If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Guess I need to get a set.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Equality for ALL

Flags are symbolic.  
When you fly the flag of your Alma Mater, you are proud and recognize the great traditions that the institution represents.
A Confederate flag symbolizes slavery, death, and denigration.
It’s no laughing matter when you post opposing college school flags or NFL flags and say those “offend” you.
Really?  What, exactly, offends you?  Be specific?  Did any of those “longhorns” come and rape your girlfriend?  Whip your father until he died?  Fight to keep you and your kin in chains?  Please.  Do tell.  I don’t remember any of that in the History books.
How about we make a flag that symbolizes prejudice against redheads?  Or short people?  Or tall people?  Or those with blue eyes?  Green eyes?  
Let’s make all rednecks fix cars and hunt.  They don’t need a degree.  And how about all women under twenty-five need to be married.  You don’t need a degree, either.  You can be the little woman that your man takes care of.  And poor people must remain poor.  They obviously don’t have the intelligence to do anything but be a drain on society in general.  Take back women’s right to vote.  We don’t need that.  Who do we think we are, anyway?
Let’s just use the hell out of stereotypes.  Because THAT’S what you’re supporting.  Outdated and societal ills that plagued our nation in the past.  So why can’t you leave it there?  Where it belongs?  I don’t care if we leave Confederate flags hanging in museums.  That’s where they belong.  If you honestly feel the need to pepper your vehicle and your front porch with the same, do it.  Tattoo your damn ass.  I don’t care!!!
However, all government building needs them removed.  Any place that serves the people, all people, needs them removed.  There are no people in this nation that need a constant reminder that they were property in the past.  That they could be harm or killed for simply having a different skin color. 
My grandson is biracial.  And, quite frankly, he’s fucking beautiful.  Woe to ANYONE that says or treats my grandson differently because of his appearance. 
Black people are less than.  Our ancestors fought to prove that.  And this flag shows how proud I am of that moment in history.
Really?  You prejudicial asshole.  THAT’S what you’re proud of?  By the way, I’ve READ the history of the “Stars and Bars” and subsequent Confederate flags.  It’s sickening.
Speaking of history, let’s go back a bit further.
We are on Native American land.  That dirt you’re stomping on with your self-righteous shoes belonged to others long before it was yours.
Do you see the idiocy yet?  If not, look a bit closer.
Where does it fucking stop?

And now, guess what?
EVERYONE has the right to marry.
LEGALLY marry anyone they choose.  Regardless of sexual orientation.
Some people are up in arms because OMG…these homosexuals are throwing their sexuality in my face.  Sick bastards.  Twisted people.
I can guarantee you that there are some so-called “straight” people out there that are doing things that would trigger a homosexual individual’s gag reflex.
Bedroom things can stay bedroom things.  Privacy is sacrosanct. 
Marriage is simply that legal bond that says two people believe that they are meant for each other and wish to be bound together in this world for life. 
For those that wish to throw the Bible at this argument, please don’t.  It doesn’t hold water.  Because if you wish to pick out passages talking about marriage, then you need to read all the definitions of it in the Bible.  And some of those, my friends, are distinctly horrible.

All people should be treated with dignity.  If you’re incapable of that, then YOU are the one with the problem.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fooled Myself

Happens sometimes.

We tell ourselves that when the kids are out of the house, we'll have more time.
This is horseshit.
I told myself that when I had the last kid graduate that I would have more time for the writing.  Also horse feces.
I've moved since then.  Two hour commute daily.  I have a beautiful grandson.  One child in Florida. I'm planning a wedding.  I work forty hours a week.  Throw in some health issues and YAHTZEE!
I was talking to my therapist the other day.  (Yes.  I have a therapist.  I believe EVERYONE should have a therapist.  I need someone who will actually listen to me and then give me another perspective.  It is marvelous.)
Anyway...I was going on about stress.  My body hurting.  Wanting to come home and exercise and write.
So she asked about my schedule.
I get up at 6.  Out the door at 645.  At work around 745.  Work 8-5.  Leave work.  Get to the city around 6-630.  Pencil in tanning.  (It's my only vice.)  Now it's almost 7.  Need to eat dinner.  In bed by 8.
And she says, God bless her, "sounds like you don't have enough time in the evenings."
Did she say that I don't have enough time in the evenings???  That I don't have to mentally beat myself up for dragging my ass home and hoping there's something in the fridge I can eat cold or nuke within a couple of minutes???
holy shit
Well, then.
And do you have any idea how nice it was to hear that I can quit being so damn tough on myself because I'm NOT fitting everything I want to in a day?
That maybe, perhaps, I can focus more on the weekends when I DO have time?
That I don't have to be Superwoman and fit things into my day that will actually take a toll on me instead of enrich the day?
Who the fuck knew?
I've been hardwired to do as much as I can in one day as humanly, or inhumanly, possible.  Sacrifice my health.  My sleep.  My own guilty pleasures.  Hell, I don't know if I even have guilty pleasures, anymore.  And since I'm having to type's doubtful.
But I'm not growing any younger.  In fact, I seem to be aging.
Would you believe that I found a wayward eyebrow sticking STRAIGHT OUT from the rest of my eyebrows?  Just sticking out like it was about to shish kebab something.  I was utterly aghast.
What the hell is that all about?  Before you know it I'll need to trim nose hairs and the like.
Before I get lost in all the ways I'm sure my body will betray me...
Life is not what you think it's going to be.
Plans are made and ruthlessly destroyed.  Timing is a nice thought but hardly ever works out.  Just when you think you've got a hold of it, you don't.
Trust me.
You don't.
So.  I've learned to adapt more.  I try to use what little time I have in the evenings to unwind.  Maybe catch up on the news.  Play a game on my Kindle to unwind.  But I'm turning the corner on the massive expectations I placed on my time-deprived self.
I will use what I have when I have it.
If that means jotting down notes on a story but not touching it until the weekend.  So be it.
Because this progress, as slow as I might find it, is at least PROGRESS.
So I'm going to wrap it up here.  Open up a couple of stories.  Write the stories that pour out of my soul.
And I'm going to be happy with it.  Because what joy can be found when stress squeezes the life from it?
I deserve that joy.
And so do you.