Five Things Friday- May

Yes, I know it’s June, but just barely, so I’m calling this for May. 🙂 I haven’t done one of these since February!

One- What I’m Writing

I’m editing my YA horror novel, Not Dead Enough. I’ve recently gotten some good feedback on it that I’m incorporating.

Two- Random Fact About Me

Dodgeball is the only real (ie. not video game) sport I’ve excelled at. My strategy in dodgeball was to taunt the other players into throwing the ball at me, then someone athletic would attempt to catch it while I fell out of the way. I’m really good at taunting and falling.

Three- What I’m Grateful For This Month

I’m grateful for my peaceful home and my amazing animals. I’ve recently gotten a reminder that peace and quiet aren’t a given. Funny how it can take a reminder before we’re grateful, isn’t it?

Four- When I Wasn’t Reading

I was editing my book and helping a family member with a medical issue.

Five- Favorite Picture This Month

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Do Happy Endings Exist?

 

IMG_1486For the most part, I prefer books with happy endings. I’m not opposed to a sad ending, but it has to be the right one.

I recently had a friend say to me that they prefer “hopeful” endings, and that makes a lot of sense. What’s the point if we don’t have hope?

A while ago, I read A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara. It is an amazing book, but it’s also horrifically sad. That’s not to say that it’s unrelentingly sad, but the ending is not a happy one.

It got me to thinking that where authors end the book makes the difference between a happy, hopeful ending, or a sad one.

A Little Life ebbs and flows with happiness and hope, where it seems like Jude will finally get the life he wanted, and devestatingly sad parts, the kind of sticky sad that stays with you and makes you question your own life.

If Yanagihara had ended the book during one of those upbeat, hopeful moments, it would be an entirely different book with a whole different meaning.

Books only tell the story of a slice of time. They don’t tell you what happens after, if the character suffered a tragedy. Romance novels often end with a marriage or proposal, but they don’t tell you if someone got cancer after they were married for a few years or if someone had an affair with an ex. Mystery novels end with the detective finding the criminal, but they don’t talk about the detective descending into alcoholism  or having a car accident which causes them never-ending back pain.

My point is that anything can happen when a story continues, and it won’t exclusively be happy or sad. Life is about the whole spectrum of emotional experience. My life is just a series of stories I tell myself (and others). Sometimes I don’t get to pick what happens in the story because sometimes life happens to me, but I get to pick the frame.

For example, I was recently supposed to go to a Taylor Swift concert in Arizona (I live in Texas). I didn’t get to go because I had a sick 17-year-old cat, and I was worried what would happen if I left. So I stayed, and my friends went to the concert without me. I looked at their pictures on Facebook and imagined what a great time I would have had with them. 😥

If the story ends there, it’s kind of a downer, right? But what if the end of the story has the sick cat making a full recovery? And knowing that my elderly cat is healthy today because I missed a concert? And that my husband agreed to go see Taylor Swift with me when she comes to Texas? Does it change the story?

I think it does. I like happy endings in fiction; I prefer them in real life too. Life has its ups and downs, just like fiction does. And just like in fiction, I can usually choose where to end that particular short story.

Related post: 10 Reasons I Love Happy Endings

Five Things Friday- February 2018

One- What I’m Writing

I’m still working on my YA horror novel, but I recently finished a few short stories and submitted them for anthologies. I also recently had a short story accepted into an anthology, so hopefully the publication date on that will be announced soon.

Two- Random Fact About Me

I talk to myself. Out loud sometimes. My dogs are fine with it.

Three- What I’m Grateful For This Month

I’m grateful that I’ve been able to settle back into routine. I love the holidays and all, but at the end of the day, I like it when my days are all pretty much the same. I’m grateful for my writing groups and their amazing feedback.

Four- When I Wasn’t Reading

I started skating again, which is wonderful! I’ve done a lot of work on my novel and editing short stories. I’ve been querying agents. And of course, I’ve been walking my crazy dog.

Five- Favorite Picture This Month

The Forces of Darkness really think the computer is for their benefit.

The PostSecret Live Show

I don’t even remember how I fell in love with PostSecret. I think someone mentioned it to me, and I checked it out. It’s not part of my routine to check the Sunday Secrets. I own all the books.

When I went to Virginia to visit my in-laws a few years ago, the only thing I wanted to do was go to the PostSecret exhibit at the Postal Museum.

I’m obsessed. I’m aware, and it’s okay.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, PostSecret was started by Frank Warren in 2005 as an art project. He gave out postcards and asked people to write a secret on them. His goal was to get 365 postcards. He got way more than that.

He started posting secrets he received on his blog. They update every Sunday (hence, Sunday secrets). I enjoy reading the secrets, and I keep a folder of my favorites to use as writing prompts.

I’ve never made it to a PostSecret Live show. I’ve always wanted to, but it seemed that every time one came to town, I already had a prior commitment, or I was going to be somewhere else.

I finally made it this past Tuesday.

When I got there, I realized that I hadn’t known what to expect. I didn’t have any expectations of it, but to me, that was part of the fun.

We were set up in a small theater in San Antonio. The show started with three actors speaking various “secrets” as if they were their own. Their voices broke with laughter or tears. It was powerful.

They flashed secrets on the screen. At the intermission, they encouraged people to tweet about PS #pssantonio, then they flashed tweets with the hashtag on the screen. In the ladies’ room, they had post-it notes and pens. Women wrote on the post-its and put them up on the mirror.

They also had postcards for people two write on, then after break, the actors read the secrets of people in the audience. Then more acting and secrets on screen.

As a finale, they had a Q&A with Frank Warren and with the actors. After that, a book signing where I got to meet the man behind it all.

Frank Warren never intended for PostSecret to become a national phenomena. But I think that it speaks to the fact that people want to make connections with one another. Our secrets isolate us, but they don’t have to. As Frank said, any secret anyone has is shared by someone else.

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I always love live events because the emotion in the room changes the event. In this case, I heard people laugh, gasp, or go hushed after various secrets were read. People cried, and no one cared because others were crying too.

This was a bucket list item for me, and I wasn’t disappointed.

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How to Become An Early Bird in 13 Easy Steps

Step 1: Pick a time to wake. Make sure it’s in the middle of winter, preferably early enough to wake up in the dark.

Step 2: Try to go to sleep early. Toss and turn for about a half hour before giving up and going to watch Battlestar Galactica on Netflix.

Step 3: When your alarm goes off, hit the snooze button. Then hit it again. And again. And… one more time.

Step 4: Get out of bed, mumbling how ridiculous it is to wake up in the middle of the freaking night. That it would be easier just not to go to sleep. Channel your inner Garfield and say repeatedly, “I’d like mornings better if they started later.”

Step 5: Look longingly at your coffee pot and cry a little, since you gave up caffeine a few months ago.

Step 6: Force yourself to get through the day, telling yourself that being exhausted will make it easier to sleep that night.

Step 7: Start to wake up around 8 p.m. By 10 p.m., be at peak creativity and wakefulness. Don’t bother to go to bed. Reason that if you keep forcing yourself awake early, you’ll eventually be ready to sleep early.

Step 8: Repeat steps 3-7 for several days.

Step 9: Be thrilled that you can sleep in on Saturday. Stay up until midnight or so on Friday night, gleeful in the feeling that things are back to normal, at least for two days.

Step 10: Wake at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday for NO REASON.

Step 11: Curse a lot. Ask questions like, “Brain, why do you hate me?”

Step 12: Convince yourself that you actually liked getting up early, that it’s good for you.

Step 13: Come Monday morning, repeat Steps 1- 9. Pretend you like it.

I Am Not A Fan

I’m always amazed when people know minutiae about their favorite recording artists, actors, and writers. I love the Beatles, and I know Ringo wasn’t their first drummer, but that’s about it. I don’t feel that need some people have to find out everything, including what Paul McCartney had for dinner the night he met John Lennon. (I just made that up. I don’t know if that’s a thing.)

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The Paul McCartney concert in 2005 was amazing.

I get the emails from Goodreads, alerting me to news about authors and books and such. Normally, I ignore it, as I do most of my emails. But two days ago, I saw something about JoJo Moyes and another sequel to Me Before You, so I clicked the link.

It turns out that a third book in the series, Still Me, was released yesterday. I held out for all of 24 hours before I bought it on Kindle.

I love everything I’ve read of Jojo Moyes, but I haven’t sought out all her books. I used to read everything Dean Koontz ever wrote, but now I’m behind by a few years. I’m only going to a Taylor Swift concert because a friend mentioned how excited she was to go.

Remember a few weeks ago, when I talked about the X-files expo? The only reason I went to that is because my boyfriend at the time found out about it and arranged the whole thing.

There’s something about fandom that I find fascinating, even while I don’t have the bug. I’m not sure if it’s because I have too many scattered interests, or if it’s because I spend too much time immersed in whatever book I’m reading. Maybe it’s something else entirely.

It’s like when I posted awhile back about how I don’t have favorites anymore. On a given day, I could be listening to Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones, Queen, Eve 6, Barenaked Ladies, or Death Cab For Cutie. I might pick up a romance novel, followed by literary fiction, followed by science fiction, followed by self-help or psychology.

I guess it’s like that old saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I know a little bit about everything, but don’t know a lot about any one thing. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? Or is it just what it is?

I think it’s just that I’m interested in so many different things. It’s the same reason I love buffets; I want to try a little of everything. I just don’t have favorites. I like new and different. I like adventures, and I’m okay with hating something if that means that I tried it.

I’m glad I accidentally came across Still Me now instead of hearing about it six months (or a year) from now. While I’d love to catch up on my favorite authors, I have a towering TBR list that’s waiting for me. It might be nice to catch up on every Dean Koontz book I miss, or read everything that Bryn Greenwood has ever written, but reading widely has benefits too.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Are you a fan of anything?

Five Things Friday- January 2018

Starting today, I’ll be participating in Five Things Friday on the last Friday of the month.

In the past, my focus has been on more of what I’ve been reading, but since I now post updates on that every Monday, it would get a bit redundant. Because personal posts were pretty popular last year, I thought I’d change the focus a bit.

One- What I’m Writing

Right now, I’ve been working on my newest YA horror novel, set in a post-apocalyptic world with some terrifying creatures. I’m also querying my last novel, and have a short story that was just accepted for publication. Stay tuned…

Two- Random Fact About Me

I’m a vegan at home. When I go out to eat, it’s a cheese extravaganza! I use cream in my coffee! But at home, we try to stick to no animal products.

Three- What I’m Grateful For This Month

I’m grateful that my animals are currently all healthy. I’m grateful that I get along with my sister-in-law and her husband, and that we have our annual “Christmas” celebration every January. I’m grateful for my fireplace and stereo, which make for a cozy and wonderful reading experience. I’m grateful that my house is finally unpacked and organized.

Four- When I Wasn’t Reading

This month, I was mostly cleaning up and organizing my house, or going on walks with my dog. This past week we had our annual “Christmas” celebration, and we were playing board games and laughing a lot. I went to my first hockey game, Texas Stars vs. the San Jose Barracudas. I loved it, and got to see the home team win in overtime.

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Five- Favorite Picture This Month

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Our very patient 17 year old kitty let us line up Exploding Kittens cards on her. I guess she wanted to play too!