Wednesday, July 17, 2013

To Senior: You are not the man you think you are.

Fun facts about Chanel:

1. I can and will hold a grudge when I feel I have been wronged.
2. I am not a pliable or easily controlled human being: not at 17 and certainly not at 25.
3. I am not inclined to be forgiving when I am repeatedly egged on in the same manner.
4. I dislike being called stuck up more than any other insult. It makes me want to scratch out your eyes when you say it.
5. I do not like people, even sisters who supposedly mean well, sticking their broken, crooked noses in my business. 
6. I have, according to my coworkers, the patience of a fucking saint, but I do have a breaking point.
7. If you want my love and forgiveness, repeatedly calling me stuck up is not going to get you there: it take you the opposite way.
8. I do not consider sharing blood a reason for unconditional love: you may be a relative, but if you are a bad person, I will not love you. And nothing you say or do can prevail upon me to love you.

I consider myself a reasonable person. I consider myself an honest person. But most of all, I consider myself a human being, and as a human being I do not let anyone, man or woman or beast, walk all over me. I have pride and a sense of self worth that comes from who I am, where I came from, and who I mean to be.

You can sit there and insult me till kingdom come. You can tell me that I will wind up alone and unloved and abandoned, you can tell me that I am cold and selfish. You can say whatever the hell you want, but it will not change who I am or what I want.

You can say I am worthless as a woman, that's fine.

But you will never know all the things that I have done, all the things that I have seen. You will never know all that I have been. You will never know all I mean to be. And you can say those things and think you are saying something important, that your words carry weight, but they slide right by me because I mean to be so much more than what you think of me, and your words don't change that. 

My name is Chanel, and I am myself. I love and accept myself for who I am.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Writing Books

Do you ever wonder how on earth people manage to write an entire book?

I do.

I can't see how they don't just get bored and give up. It happens to me. Every time I sit down and try to write something, I get maybe eight chapters in and just dies. I die off even sooner if I go back and read what I've written. Anything I write after that point seems forced and doesn't flow the same way. If I keep going then eventually I just...get tired.

It's not like I don't plan where it's all going. I map everything out so that if I get lost or forget something, I can check my thought web and get right back to where I was supposed to be. But even with the best and most awesome thought web of all time (it was pretty freakin' epic, let me tell you) I only got twelve chapters in, and then the will to write it just left.

I do that. I will suddenly have an intense desire to tell a story, and I will go with it for weeks and weeks and weeks...

And then I will wake up one morning, sit down, and I won't have a damn thing to write. 

I'm not a writing machine or anything. Even during my "productive phases" I change things and delete and rewrite. On a good day, I'd get half a page done. On a GREAT day I'd get half a chapter. There was one day in particular I wrote a whole chapter from start to finish in three hours, and I felt like it was the best chapter in the history of the world! I never went back and changed that particular chapter. To this day, I still think it is absolutely perfect.

On my worst days, I sometimes only get one or two sentences that I keep, and the rest gets deleted. 

That's another reason not to go back and reread the whole thing. You tend to change things and then you lose what you were trying to do and then the web doesn't matter anymore and you're left with one big forced story that you hate.

Except for the one chapter that is still the most awesome chapter ever written. 

My sister suggested maybe I should try writing historical fiction. She thinks I'd be great at that since I spend a lot of my time reading the genre, and then complaining that the author didn't get something right, or in some cases, failed to capture the subject of the story correctly. (I have never read a story about Anne Boleyn that didn't annoy the living hell out of me at one point or another.)

The problem with that is you can't just write a historical fiction. Even if you choose a subject you know all about and you can just go with it, you can't write it like that. You have to give credits and whatnot. And if you pick a subject you've been obsessed with for your whole life, how are you supposed to remember where you read every single fact you've accumulated over the years? Historical fiction means research, lots of research, even if you already know everything you intend to put in your story. That, to me, means all the fun of just writing gets sucked out of it. 

And if it's not fun, what's the point? 

I have kept every single story I've ever started on my computer. And sometimes, when I'm out of books to read and don't feel like rereading any that I own, I go back and I read them. There are a couple that I read that I just get pissed off at myself for not finishing. It annoys me that I can't finish the story because I never finished the story! But I can't just pick up and start working on it again. Like I said, it never works out. It feels forced. 

So, I know some of you have actually written your own books. I want you to tell do you do it?  

And something else important...Is this just me?

Monday, July 8, 2013

No More Books: I am sad.

What's it been? Four months or so?

Bah. Who remembers these things anyway.

I know I've been a bad blogger. Bad reader, bad writer.  Just bad all around. I have no excuses, really, except that I am busy. Which I realize we are all busy, but after working all day and coming home...I kind of just like vegging in bed with a book. Or watching old episodes of the Tudors just so I can wait for Duke Phillip of Bavaria to make his appearance. (Helloooooo, Captain Hook!)

Sometimes I like to relax by refusing to let Padawan play his video games. (Usually by sitting on his lap and wrapping my arms around his neck so he can't see the screen and then refusing to budge.)

But mostly I just like my books. Good old friends that I like to visit over and over again. Sometimes I buy new books, of course, but we're really trying not to buy new things because our tiny one bedroom apartment is getting awfully cramped with two full grown humans and two dogs with big personalities. Our bookshelves are overflowing as it is and we have no space for more, so we're really trying not to buy new books. 

Honestly, Padawan is better at this than I am. He is all about the public library and being able to digitally check out books on his Kindle, read them, and then get another one, all within the comfort of our own (tiny) home. I am not good at this. I don't like borrowing books. I like owning books and then rereading them over and over and over again. (I've read Gone with the Wind so many times I have entire portions memorized verbatim.) And Padawan likes to read his books once: read it once, and never again. My God, if I want to watch a movie we've seen in the last eighteen months he says "But we watched that recently!" 

Here is the downside to a library: you find a book, you read it, and then you have to give it back. Well, if I've read the whole thing, that means I loved it. (As I love most books. I have only three books in my entire life I did not finish reading: some version of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest, The Fellowship of the Ring, and Passage to India, although that wasn't a personal dislike for the writing but rather what happened in the story.) When I love a book, I want to read it again. I like to own it so I can read it again at any time. You never know when the mood will strike to relive a particular character's life. 

So I don't like giving books back. 

As for digital rentals...well, I like my Kindle only when I need books to travel with  me. It's not exactly logical to go Zilker Park for a picnic and a swim with Gone with the Wind in my bag. It's a huge book! But I certainly don't want to use my Kindle at home! No, I like the feel and smell of the traditional book. I like turning the pages, using a book mark, (God forgive you if I catch you dog earring my pages, for I never will!) feeling the weight of the words in my hands! A Kindle is no replacement for a good old fashioned book. It's just not.

So while Padawan is all about the new, I am firmly passionate about the old. In fact, you could say I'm a little neurotic about libraries and Kindles and renting books. Don't get me wrong, I love Rosebud. But she's not my book. She's just capable of holding all of my favorite books. It is not the same thing at all.

What I like to do is go to the book store (these days it's Half Price those exist outside of Austin?) and go to my favorite sections. Sometimes I'll look for specific authors, but generally I just read titles. When I find something that seems interesting, I take it out. I read the synopsis. If that proves interesting, I'll open the book and start reading.

If I am not hooked in the first paragraph, I put it back. There have been two instances in my life where I have continued reading past the first paragraph even though it was not interesting to me, and both times I wound up abandoning the book. Those were the Robin Hood book and The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, I really tried with both of those books. With The Fellowship I even made it to the last chapter. And then I just gave up, because reading it was torture. No offense to Tolkien, but if he is as dry when he speaks as he is when he writes, people must fall asleep listening to him! 

And when I go to the store I generally find two or three new books to come home with me, and I read them all that week...and then a couple of months later I'll probably read them again. And again....

And again.

Because I do not read it once and then have done with it. 

If you've ever seen the movie Toy Story, you can understand where I am coming from: books want and need to be read. When you buy a book and read it once, you're hurting its feelings! You are denying it the pleasure of whisking you away to another time and place and world! 

Which is exactly how we have so many books. I do not sell or donate them. I buy them, and I write my name in them, and I keep them forever and ever and ever. And so my collection grows, but my space doesn't.

So. Until we finish paying off the car (planning to do that at the end of this year: six thousand left!) and manage to save enough for a house, we're staying in a tiny apartment.

Therefore, I must resist the urge to by more books.

But damn it, it's like telling me not to buy shoes. I just want to buy them. 

My Shelfari Bookshelf

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