STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)

For Kaylia's Book/Movie/TV Review Blog, please click here to be redirected to Perhaps Reviewed.... 


Also, don't forget to visit Kaylia's Official Website where you can get information about Kaylia's upcoming events, and learn more about her free lance writing and other publications.

Quandary ...


In the mail today, addressed to Ella, was a religious story book.

From a religious family member.

Who KNOWS we are not a religious family. Knows beyond a shadow of a doubt because she and I have had several conversations about it.

There was no note, no card, in the envelope... just the book.

I am conflicted. On the one hand I want to be polite and say thank you. I want to honor the sweetness that someone thought of my daughter and spent the time and effort to send her something.

On the other hand, I don't plan on letting her keep the book. She is "reading" it now, but it will probably disappear as soon as her attention wanders.

I am trying to find a way to say thank you… but also please don’t give my child religious books or toys etc in the future. I want to be polite and respectful… but also firm.

Am I being too sensitive? Should I just disappear the book and not say anything?




The sort of loss that is a good loss

It is spring!
A time for growth and change and planting seeds!
And freaking out about swimsuit season.

Ahem

Just a quick "base touching" as it were on those 2014 Goals...

Get out of debt.
Finish the novel. Write fiction worth reading, get it out there for people to read
Get funding for GCV.
Run a well organized house.
Lose weight and get healthy.


As of April 5th.

Get Out of Debt:. (Feb 1st: $12,200. April 5th: $8,670) PROGRESS!!!!
Not as much as I had hoped, but it is a dent, and dents add up. 

Finish the novel. 
Errr. I have stopped working on the novel completely. I have some good reasons. I also sort of quit all my nonfiction jobs. So, there's that. 
I need to change this goal to :Get stuff published and enjoy writing again. In THAT category I am doing ok. I am having a lot of fun writing again and I have submitted two things recently and am getting ready to submit a few other things. This is definitively a work in progress. 

Get funding for GCV (Current Monthly Donors: 4. Promised to be monthly donors: another 2)
Hey you, yeah you... want to donate to a very worthy cause? Click here and consider donating. Even $10 a month can make a HUGE difference. In the meantime I will continue to try to fundraise and find grants and bum spare change off people. Because it matters.

Run a well organized house (Status: The living room / dining room is looking pretty ok)
I still need to redo the bathrooms. I redid the kitchen. I need to Stay On Top Of Putting Things Away. Sigh.

Lose weight and be healthy. (Current Weight: 154.)

I am down by a bit over 5 pounds since the beginning of March.

To celebrate, I got 10 inches of my hair chopped off!

Yay me!


The Road Thus Far

It is hard to look at one’s self fully in the mirror, to not look way, to not let your gaze linger on the parts of your face or body that you like or skip horridly over the parts you don’t.

Hard, but sometimes necessary.

When I graduated from college (May, 2005), I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to hold down some sort of boring but important job (administration assistant) and write short stories and eventually a novel. Or two. I wanted to be published and respected as a writer who created something worth reading. I wanted to see my name online and in print, to see my books on shelves. I wanted to eventually be able to quit that boring but important job and write full time. To take long walks and then sit quietly and write long novels full of literary symbolism and allegory. I wanted to write the sorts of things that English majors would argue about later, “Did you notice the two phone cords in the first chapter, how they were coiled up but  also intertwined… don’t you think that was foreshadowing???”

I got the job but I didn’t write. Instead I embarked on a spiritual journey, leaving my Christian faith behind once and for all and finding meaning in the Pagan world of symbols and chanting, of spoken word stories and of ritual.

I revised my plan. I would be a boring job person by day and a Priestess by night. I would learn the jargon, learn the stories, I would write the songs for the next generation and carry the symbols to others, I would share peace and love and faith in the Goddess.

I wanted to explore myself in new ways. I started thinking more about who I was as a writer, as an artist. I felt disconnected and tried to live my art though life moments, fleeting moments that were full of self deluded clarity. In the mornings, I was still me, still trapped, still floundering.

My marriage ended. (That’s a whole other story)

I took new vows, vows to the Goddess., vows to my Circle, vows to the person that I wanted to be; an artist full of holy grace. I wanted to paint and plant flowers and do something huge and beautiful with my life.

And then I was raped. Brutally and without mercy.

In the moments that followed, I tried to cry out to the Goddess, but it was hollow. I thought about calling out to God. It felt just as empty. I thought about my ex husband and was filled with shame. Not longing, which surprised me, but shame. I found a way to stand up. I found my anger.

And then I found solace in the bottle. Many many many bottles to be exact. Bottle of beer, which I hate. It was like double punishment, forcing myself to drink something I hated in order to black out from a life I was also starting to hate.

The rats in the walls closed in. The “cheerful” Christmas lights on my windows seemed to mock me.

I drank.

And I wrote.

And wrote. And wrote again.

Poetry. Stories. Sketches.

I found my fiction voice again. I escaped into stories of other people, people suffering, but also people who weren’t suffering, people who were just living their lives.

Eventually I decided to get sober. (That’s a whole other story too).

I kept writing. I was amazed I could write without drinking. Sometimes I couldn’t.

I met a man who challenged me, supported me, loved me without saying the words. (He eventually said the words.)

I realized that I had left the Goddess behind and had hardly even noticed. I read science books and atheist books and relabeled myself. Again.

I began to write about science, about critical thinking, about politics.

My fiction was published but instead of feeling accomplished I felt afraid, worried that my best fiction was behind me. I was afraid to start again, afraid to fail when I had gotten the tiniest taste of success.

I wrote more nonfiction, critical essays, more politics.

I started a novel. And then another one. And then another one. They gathered dust.

But nonfiction was easier, it had a quicker pay off.

It was published, applauded, accepted.

I took my place as a blogger, a monthly columnist, a political writer and reporter of the news.

I had a daughter and felt another bit of myself atrophy and die, replaced by being a mom, but still. Could I be more than a mom?

I looked at my fiction and was bored, was afraid, was intimidated.

I hid from fiction and wrote more nonfiction, I took on another role, another blog. I liked listing off my nonfiction accomplishments.

But I would wake up at night and wonder, what am I doing? What am I doing it for?

How can I teach my daughter to follow her heart if I can’t even find the time to follow mine?

And then my fiction was critiqued as being “too nonfiction” in a workshop.

And then I was offered another two opportunities to go further in the nonfiction political world… avenues to name in print, name on blogs, more little tick boxes on my resume.

But, I had hit a wall, and I knew it.

Today I wrote my last Community Alliance article. I sent in my letters of resignation. I closed a few doors firmly and even locked a few.

Fiction. My old friend, My on again off again lover. My muse and my hope and my curse.
Fiction.

Short stories. The novel, a new one of course. Reviewing fiction, reading fiction, WRITING fiction.

There are only so many hours in the day. There are only so many days in our lives. I want to be a writer of fiction. I want my daughter’s mother to be a writer of fiction. I want to be seen in the circles of friends and writers and everywhere else one circles in… as a writer of fiction.

Already I have written 3200 words in a new fiction piece and started to feel the need for a drink, for some time on you tube with cats. Already I have thought about writing a nonfiction article about… anything else.

A new chapter in the same book. Perhaps someday a new book.

I am going to be a writer. I am going to hold down a never boring and always important job (Stay At Home Mom) and write short stories and eventually a novel. And then another one.

One word at a time.

I will build for myself the life of words that I want.

I will be a writer of fiction. I will be published. I will see my name in print, my books on shelves.

Word by word I will create something worth reading.

In the mirror of introspection, I look at my eyes, dark and full of fear. I look at my mouth, too big for its own good at times.

I look long and hard at the body of work I have and the body of work I want. Counting calories, counting words. Pushing myself to sweat, and to also sometimes to stay still and keep typing.

The mirror version of me is ready. And so am I.


Incentives!

I'm trying to lose weight.
Aren't we all?

I have an app to track calories. I have work out videos I do sometimes, but not as often as I should.
And now I have some fun incentives!

Beginning weight: 160
Goal weight: 140

Incentive Plan:

At 155 (yay, the first 5 pounds!) a haircut!

I think I could pull this off....

At 147 (more than half way there!) a mani / pedi

Not my feet / hands. 

At 140 (whew, last 7 pounds are the hardest, right?) New dress and date with my sweetie.


Something bright and flirty like this





So far all I have done is NOT gain... but I will take that as a good sign and keep plugging away.



Annie... Remake Comes Out in December

I am trying to ignore the M&Ms in my kitchen.

Ahem.

Ok, I am gong to go either read, write, or exercise... any of which is almost guaranteed to make me feel better about not eating the M&Ms. I hope.

But first a quick note on remakes.

A wise person once said that comparing books and the movies adapted from those books is like comparing apples and apple pie. They might have the same stuff, but they are vastly different mediums. (Ok, maybe that wise person was me).

The point is, sometimes an adaptation is well done, it hold true to the essence of the story. Sometimes it can do that while dismissing a lot of the original trappings of that story.

I have high hopes for the new adaptation of Annie.

Maybe because I LOVE the musical. I LOVE the Carol Burnett version.





And I really really hope to love this new version as well.

Fingers Crossed.


FogCon Session Notes

I went to FogCon!
It was awesome!
I took notes!
Because I am socially awkward and a nerd.
So…. I am going to type up my notes and share them. Please keep in mind, if you decide to read them, that they are MY notes… so they reflect on what I was finding particularly interesting in that exact moment… and they might be a tad random. They are really more for me, to help remind myself and to give me a nudge in a few months when I am trying to remember something. Also, I know I have misrepresented the names of books or authors etc… but that is my own ignorance and inability to always hear things correctly so if I get most of the letters right I trust that I will be able to figure out what was actually meant. (and if you can add to the list or correct titles etc, please feel free)

In other words, read at your own risk and feel free to skip.

Portal  / Secret Worlds
·         Currently unmarketable
·         Books etc mentioned
o   Secret Garden
o   10th Kingdom
o   Never-ending Story (the book)
o   Forbidden Games Trilogy
o   Darkness Rising
o   Fairyland books
o   Phantom Toll Booth
o   The Magicians
o   Nightwatch
o   Songs of Earth and Power
o   Lego movie
o   Fistful of Sky
o   Lamplighter Trilogy
o   Amber (?)
o   Wizards of Waverly Place
o   Many Colored Land
o   Spell Song
·         Secret / hidden world vs actual other realm
o   Importance of how the secret stays safe, who or what guards the boundaries?
·         Importance of the exclusion / inclusion aspect… who is allowed in vs who isn’t
o   Chosen vs happenstance of entrance
·         Importance of Home as a concept
o   Journey to return, but as a changed being
o   No place like home
·         Concept of transition period / symbolism of growing up
o   Children are the ones who often leave, allegory of teen and leaving etc
·         Odysseus – journey, going home changed, resisting the pull of immortality
·         Difference between portal world and multiverse
·         Portal world has a different power structure, play with themes of who has power etc, symbol of class system and struggles
·         Prophecy vs happenstance
·         Refine vs acquire skills… part of the hero’s journey, changes how we root for the protagonist
·         Are there horror portal stories (Dead World would fit in this, need to finish writing it.)

Secret History
·         Books etc mentioned
o   Possession
o   V
o   Notebooks of Dr Br---
o   Bad Monkeys
o   Daughter of Smoke and Bone
o   Name of the Wind
o   Last Call
o   The Decoy Princess
o   Cloud Atlas
o   Liar
o   October Day
o   City in the City (?)
o   Yiddish Policemen’s Union
o   Grass King’s Concubine
o   Cold Magic Trilogy
o   The Historian
o   Pym
·         Plot is based on discovering secrets
·         (Stories of our parents… who will edit my life?)
·         3 things, Promise, Lies, Secrets
·         Knowledge can lead to obligations
·         Universal theme of “finding out”
·         Build tension with little secrets, then big reveal
·         How to build connection, either we care FOR the characters or they care SO MUCH we get caught up with them, comes down to good writing
·         Theme of the anti-chosen one
·         Noir + Fantasy = secret history
·         What about the secret history quest to discover your OWN history
·         Secrets can be dangerous, instant tension
·         A secret is very close to a lie… interesting line to play with
·         Writer advice: Leave out the parts readers skip over

When Will your Heroine Finally Get Raped?
·         The answer is “never” for Seana
·         The way we talk about rape in our culture, the inevitability of rape,
o   Yeast infections are inevitable
o   Rape doesn’t have to be, need to change the conversation and context
·         Also important, what we leave out… how we smooth over the rough edges
·         Seana: rape is not a narrative inevitability
·         Mundane life bits vs plot devices and action movements
·         Rape is part of the context of OUR world and society… but if you are in a different world, it might not be the general inevitable context
·         Rape: needs to be treated respectfully, not for titillation
·         The laziness of rape
o   Woman in peril = rape! Worst thing to happen to a woman, worse than death… but to women, for a man the worst thing is his death or the rape of one of his women
o   Shortcut to villainy, how to make a bad guy into a BAD guy… Rape!
o   Rape is the meet-cute of villainy
·         Mechanics vs emotional toll, -- motivation
·         Social context of rape is the stranger rape (which isn’t accurate) leads to men and women not recognizing rape when they see it, when they experience it, when they commit it
·         Need to change the understanding of rape and the villain construct
·         Anti-hero… we never let them go all villain (they don’t rape) because that is the unforgivable sin. Murder? Sure. We forgive that. we justify that.
·         Rape culture vs consent culture
·         The cookie cutter response to being raped, … “and then she took a hot shower”
·         Audience question of how to write a rape, answer: don’t (I disagree)
·         Language of “getting raped”
·         Why be so sensitive? People who have been murdered don’t read your books, survivors of sexual assault do.
·         Murder is always the answer, not rape.


Networking
·         The artist in the attic
·         Share your glee with others who have the same interests
·         Networking is friendship with a mercenary bent
·         BE part of the community you want to be a part of
·         Don’t be creepy
·         The line between stalking and networking is fine and must be found by you and you alone
·         Twitter is more of a word board, FB is more of an image board
·         Blogs can work but they can also not work, depends on audience
·         Pick one aspect of Social Media and focus on that
·         Author pages at FB aren’t getting as much traction anymore
·         Need to back up blogs and own your own content
·         Tweetdeck is a tool although not free
·         Real life vs online life…. How much you share is up to you, be careful
·         It is the agents job to reject your work, not your job to reject your work
·         You only need to sell your book once, don’t oversell to your fans
·         Network with your fans, network with fans of the stuff you like
·         Be self aware
·         Mailing list is a good thing


The Book Lies to You and Makes You Like It
·         Works mentioned:
o   Among Others
o   Code Name Varrly (?)
o   The Thief (Turner)
o   Downt he Stream of Stars
o   Rule 34
o   Wet Ridge
o   Gone Girl
o   My Sister’s Keeper
o   Life on Mars
o   Turn of the Screw
o   Life of Pi
o   Pain and Gain
o   One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
o   Awake
·         The Unreliable Narrator trope
·         Is it harder in a book or a movie to trust / not trust the narrator?
·         The distance from the narrator, the audience , the different relationships, see the whole context of things opposed to narrow scope
·         Is there such a thing as objective reality? My reality is reality
·         Our own sense of self edited history… memoirs, the epitome of the unreliable narrator
·         Art is what the artist defines it as
·         Author intent vs Audience response


Inspiration to Draft
·         Encouraged to set the writer’s mood… read things similar to those you are writing, be influenced.
·         Training wheel method, model your characters off of other characters until they are fleshed out on their own.
·         Experiment recklessly
·         Stories need a cool person, cool place, cool thing
·         To get over the hump:  
o   Change perspective
o   Flip things around
o   Decide, will story have a victory or a loss and for who?
·         We all tend to write our origin story unless we fully understand it
·         First drafts are hard and awful
·         Story Spine is a tool that can be used
·         Structure… works for some, not for all, need to find what works for you and then try other things as well
·         Create your writer’s toolbox, full of ideas, partly written things, moods, pictures, 100 words a day, whatever it is.
·         Understand formula and structure even if you don’t write like that

·         Set attainable goals, celebrate when you get there