‘Tis the Season…

…to be reading! In celebration of the holiday season, whence it is time to gift others and spread cheer, I want to share my love for literacy with any readers who may stumble upon my blog. I will be creating bookmarks that are color-printer friendly, or that can be used as inspiration for you to handmake your own bookmarks. Whether you are in the mood to be crafty for your own reading purposes, or looking for a nice addition to your gifting, I hope that you enjoy one or more of these bookmarks.

Please let me know if there are any particular designs that speak to you, and happy holidays everyone!

Starting us off with a wonderful Neil Gaiman quote:

NaNovel 2020: Recap

My novel is not done, but I am writing more frequently, and I plan to continue working on it.

Word count goal not met, but writing initiative has been ignited. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of sloth and binge-eating, I will continue to write (and aim for 1,667 words per day, which I likely will not reach daily, but which inspires me to write longer each day than I otherwise would). So overall, I think NaNoWriMo was a win for me, although I was not a NaNoWriMo winner.

How has your November been?

NaNovel 2020 – 1 Week In, 9,516 Words Behind

Pros: I have written every day except last Friday (when I got a killer migraine that necessitated going to bed whimpering and wondering if my head would ever stop hurting).

Cons: Hitting 50k has gotten… more difficult, and may not happen.

For those participating in NaNoWriMo, how are you faring? For those not participating, how’s life treating you?

Americans – Have You Voted Yet?

If not, and if the reason why is anything other than:

  • because you are underage and as such, unable to legally vote
  • living too far from your voting locale to drive there within the remaining time left to vote (which means you should have requested, filled out, and returned an absentee ballot, so now I shall place an imaginary dunce cap on your head #feeltheshame)

Then go vote. Now. Get off your computer. Walk/bike/drive/skateboard to wherever you should be voting, and make yourself heard.

Unless you’re a sexist/racist/evil piece of shit who’s voting for Trump. You can stay home, and… I don’t know:

  • if you’re not wealthy, try not to get sick since you don’t think everyone deserves equal access to healthcare,
  • if you are wealthy – think about the best way to independently pay to fix our infrastructure since you don’t believe anyone should pay taxes, and therefore the government shouldn’t be doing it with taxpayer dollars

Have fun with that.

Here’s hoping there are more decent, civic-minded people voting this year than otherwise left in America.

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

Joining the Madness

I vacillated pretty much all of October between whether or not to join NaNoWriMo this year. I don’t really

have enough time,

and sometimes,

I don’t really like my idea,

and

I have work deadlines this month,

and

I feel sick too often because I have allergies and my colds when I get them are never ending and cabin fever is definitely kicking in.

But then, I remember

how amazing it feels

to finish a piece of writing.

& how

it is a goal of mine

to become a writer,

which I don’t currently consider myself,

because I’m not writing every day.

& I remember

that there will always

be more work

&

another deadline,

so if something is important to me

I need to figure out how to work it into my life

anyway.

So I have taken the plunge. Signed up to strive to write 50k words this November 2020. I have met my daily goal for November 1, and am feeling hopeful, and am hoping that I’ll meet the 50k goal, but if I don’t, thinking that at least this could be a kickstart towards writing every day.

Anyone else hopping on the NaNoWriMo train? Leave me a comment below – let me know how the beginning is going for you!

The Quest

Recently, I went on an epic quest for a rather mundane kitchen implement.

I just needed a rolling pin.

We should have had two, but after vigorous searching, it soon became clear that we either didn’t bring it in the last move, or placed it somewhere very stupid where it likely won’t be found until we move again. But I had already mixed ingredients, and had everything nearly ready, and so I set off for T.J. Maxx in the Westgate shopping plaza, thinking there was likely one there.

After intensely scrutinizing the kitchen shelves, walking slowly through the aisles two times in total, it became clear that T.J. Maxx did not have one.

Slightly disappointed, I decided to do the sensible thing and go up Jackson Road to the Meijer right past Zeeb. For those not from Ann Arbor, this trip takes approximately 10 – 15 minutes, depending on traffic. I took the trip cheerfully enough – a little annoyed I had to trek up Jackson Road, but calmed by the certainty that Meijer would have what I needed. After all, Meijer generally has everything you might want or need for baking purposes.

Except after walking through the grocery entrance and veering off to the right, I came across yellow caution tape and empty shelves where the baking implements used to be. There was a shoddy assortment on the back shelf which I walked through twice – no rolling pin.

I found an employee, who explained that the store was re-arranging that entire session, and if it wasn’t out, they didn’t have it.

I searched the center aisle displays – no rolling pin.

My belief in Meijer’s competence waned as I power-walked out of the store, checking the time on my phone. 6:46. If I hurried, I could check Home Goods, literally right across the street from the T.J. Maxx where my search had started. I waited for another driver to take forever backing out of their parking space. 6:48. I was pretty sure Home Goods was open until 7 – If I hurried, and if I was lucky, I could check Home Goods. If I was even luckier, Home Goods would have one.

I carefully drove 2 – 5 miles over the speed limit down Jackson Road, pulling into a parking space in front of Home Goods at 6:57.

As you can see, I pretty much literally re-traced my steps.

I power walked into the store, where I was greeted cheerfully by a door greeter, and espied the “Kitchen” sign hanging over his head.

I spied it on the second to last Kitchenware aisle. The tiniest rolling pin I had ever seen. Probably just a vanity thing intended to be gifted along with an adorable cookie cutter, a precious sugar cookie recipe. But it is made of wood, and looked like it would work.

Also, as it turned out, Home Goods is open until 9 now, so I wasn’t even one of those jerks keeping the store employees there after hours. Quest: Successful. Home Goods: forever has a good place in my heart. Baking: completed.

Look at how tiny this is! For the record, I’m 5’4″ and do not have large hands.

Awhile back, I mentioned that I had read Sue Miller’s Monogamy, and that a post would be forthcoming. From the first glimpse of this book, I was intrigued. I mean, they say not to judge a book by it’s cover, but look at that cover:

This book left me transfixed – I liked pretty much everything about it. To save you from my babbling fan-girling, I thought you might prefer a succinct list.

  1. The writing – Miller’s actual word choice and sentence structure is eloquent – generally simple word choice arranged in a pleasing order that conveys the information succinctly and connotes the feelings and impressions readily. There is a difference between writing simply and using each word carefully. Miller doles out words precisely, resulting in a book filled with beautiful writing.
  2. The characters – No Mary Sue’s in this book! Miller’s characters are real. In reading this book, you are delving into the intimate thoughts and feelings of people who do amazing things, and love fully, who reminisce, and feel betrayed, and make mistakes, and live (or don’t) complicated lives. To be completely honest, this book doesn’t have a ton of plot, but if you’re a character reader, reading this book is the culinary equivalent of biting into a warm slice of apple pie.
  3. The marriage – Probably not shocking, given the novel’s title, Monogamy analyzes a marriage. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, and the questioning. What does it mean to tether yourself to another person in a civil and/or religious ceremony? Is it possible to remain in love with the same person for the rest of your life? Can you ever really know the people you are with, even the ones you are very close to? As someone who is married, this novel resonated with some of my own thoughts. I don’t think you need to be married to appreciate this thoughtful and in-depth analysis of one, but since I am married, to be fair, I may be wrong.
  4. The creativity – As a vein running throughout this book is the idea of creativity. Annie, one of the main characters, is a photographer who has had some success. Graham, her husband, founded a bookstore. Both of them interact with other artists – writers, musicians, painters, etc. The book itself is a work of art. Reading this novel was inspiring to me, personally, and reminded me that art can be difficult, but if you feel fulfilled by creating something, then it is worthwhile.
  5. The setting – Miller writes about the town of Cambridge, Massachusetts, wherein much of the novel takes place, with love but not so much detail you want to throw the book across the room. I’m not the biggest fan of exposition, but reading this novel makes me want to visit Cambridge. Being stuck at home due to COVID-19 could be a factor in this desire, as well, but at least part of the credit goes to Monogamy.

Of course, my perspective on this book is biased, and not everyone can have the correct (i.e., my) opinion. Monogamy, the ARC I am woefully behind on posting about, has now been available for sale since September. Have you had a chance to nab a copy and read it? Do you agree/disagree with my assessment, or possibly have your own points to add? Please let me know in the comments below; would love to hear your thoughts!

Nice Try, Netflix: Enola Holmes

I knew, going into watching Enola Holmes that it probably wasn’t going to be very good. But I shrugged, and though, “Huh. Maybe it will be fine. I can at least give the pilot a chance.” I have no idea how I got the idea it was a TV show, but I was expecting a series with the mystery of the disappearing mother being a long thread tantalizingly teased throughout, and a smaller mystery solved each week. So I was wrong – I mean, I guess it was “fine,” if you believe in disrupting characters to the point that those characters are no longer themselves, and like to watch 16-year-olds barely survive in a dangerous city because you know how annoying teenagers are – of course, everyone is out to kill them. Oh, also – it’s not a TV Show (again, I have no idea how that idea weaved itself into my mind…).

Enola Holmes, which I keep wanting to turn into Enola Hughes because apparently my brain isn’t working today, has a great cast and a large budget, but sucks more than the psychic vampire siphoning off my energy and ability to think clearly today. In fact, Enola Hughes would be a more fitting name for both this movie and it’s main character, because there is no point in making a movie about the Holmes’ family if you’re going to change the characters of both Sherlock and Mycroft beyond recognition.

I think it means well. It’s like, “People love Sherlock, but do we really need another story about this rich white dude who’s just really good at solving mysteries? After all, rich white girls can be good at solving mysteries, too, as Veronica Mars showed us. AND that will mean we can give this film a feminist slant, which educated people in the crumbling facades of democracy that constitute former powerhouses America and England seem into.” For those of you who have noted that:

  1. Sherlock was not, initially rich, which was part of the reason he needed a roommate (hello, Dr. Watson!) until he became rich and famous by solving mysteries;
  2. Veronica Mars was also not rich, in fact a large part of that television series was about the struggle for power and respect in a city with stark divides between the have and have-nots, and V and her pops definitely fell into the “have-nots” category. (In fact, how she was able to afford her bitchin’ camera, completely new wardrobe, regularly maintained coif, and technology gadgets is a mystery of its’ own that will never be solved…);
  3. My faux quote ends in a preposition –

Well done. You are worthy of reading my blog. I did those things on purpose to see if you were paying attention, and you will probably not much like Enola Holmes.

For those of you who did not, you’re not being very observant and/or did not imbibe the same media as me, so sit in the corner with your conical hat, and think about the fact that you might, in fact, like Enola Holmes. The movie is made to appeal to sheep, of which you may be one. You should feel bad about that, and you should engage in some serious self-reflection to try to avoid saying “baa” all the time in the future.

Enola Holmes is basically a re-make of 16 Candles with Bellatrix Lestrange as the purposeful mother, a very watered-down Jake who everyone is trying to kill, and the successful murder of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. As anyone who has read the stories is aware:

Mycroft is not a pompous, blustering idiot. Mycroft is more intelligent than Sherlock. He is also much, much lazier.

And Sherlock Holmes is not a handsome devil lackadaisically solving mysteries, maybe, if he feels like it. Sherlock Holmes is weird. He’s very passionate and high energy when he’s working on a mystery, which he works at with a focus that is possibly psychotic. And when he doesn’t have anything to keep him manic (i.e., another mystery to solve), he is melting into his couch because he’s coming down from his cocaine high, which as anyone who has ever listened to The Weekend knows, means that he is fucking depressed as shit.

Millie Bobby Brown is very pretty, and gives a decent performance as an intelligent woman capable of solving crimes and finding her own way in the world with the myriad of English pounds left to her by her mother. She’s less believable as someone who is naive and uses the word “nincompoop” more than once. And her scattered glances at the audience to break the Fourth Wall feel like a failed attempt to replicate the smart, well-loved performance given by Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag, wherein PWB’s asides to the audience seemingly effortlessly convey meaning to the audience in what is ultimately a sign of her mental breakdown.

If Enola Holmes wasn’t trying to insult the viewer’s intelligence by pulling people in with reference to a well-loved and established fictional character by changing all resemblance to that character, I probably wouldn’t take too much issue with it. In fact, I might even like it. As it is, however, the movie did fail me – first, by not being a television show (which, again, sounds much more likable, because – weekly mysteries done well are always fun to watch), second, by altering those well-established characters in a way that was neither interesting nor thought-provoking and really blatantly point out that the movie should just not in any way even try to affiliate with the beloved characters of Sir Doyle, and would have fared better as the screenwriter’s own flawed creations.

Nice try, Netflix, but fucking do better next time.