Tis the season: On sharing books

Image from here.

About this time last year, a co-worker and I were discussing Zadie Smith’s Swing Time after a company holiday book swap. I hadn’t read any Smith, but my co-worker was a huge fan, and I asked to borrow her copy of NW. She gave it to me —grudgingly; it was signed!—and I devoured it over Christmas. But what I found myself most impressed with when I first opened the book was the personalized bookplate my co-worker had on the first page. I told her I liked it when I returned the book, though I didn’t ask where it had come from. I assume she has them on all the books she owns. It’s a brilliant idea, to mark those books as part of your personal library, or to claim them as your own if you plan to send them out into the universe. Continue reading Tis the season: On sharing books


30K and counting—and second-guessing

wrimo 2017

NaNoWriMo has always been a bright spot in my year, even as it’s a challenge. It forces me to write as often as I’m able, which I sometimes don’t have the brainpower or time to do. I have to manage my time better in November, to ensure I have the time to write. I’ve gotten a lot better at scheduling and strategy in the last year, which has helped enormously on that front, and I’m happy to report that I’ve written every single day this year (so far). With an exception or two, almost every day, I’ve gone over the 1667 recommended word count. Not far over, but enough to make myself proud.

Still, I’ve found myself losing steam a lot this year. I had one great, 3500-word day, but though I’ve written every day, I’ve found myself more wrapped up in the word count than in exploring—and progressing—the story. This year has become more of a contest than others, as I fight to meet the target goal, and then defeat it. I’ve used the goals and markers as signposts in the past, helpful to keep me from getting lost, but not entirely important. But I want those green bars and check marks this year, even more than I want to know what will happen on the next page. Continue reading 30K and counting—and second-guessing

Ready, set, WriMo

Some people love celebrating Halloween. I’ve never been a huge fan of the holiday, and once I found out what a certain abbreviation stood for, I always found myself looking forward more to November 1.

As I write this, there is just about one hour left until National Novel Writing Month kicks off for 2017. My plan was to stay up until midnight and get some writing done as the clock struck twelve, as I’ve done the last few years, but I had a bit of a crazy weekend and I think I’ll need some sleep before starting fresh when the sun comes up tomorrow morning.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’m feeling pretty good about my story this year. It’s another one that’s been percolating for a while now, and I have a decent plot worked out, with points A through Z pretty well mapped out and still plenty of room between to fill with meanderings and ramblings when the word count feels a little too small. I had Halloween plans that I had to set aside due to travel exhaustion and vague plane illness, so I’m taking that as a sign to rest up before the Big Game. I need some more sleep and to make sure I leave enough time to write, but story-wise, things seem okay.

These are just some short thoughts on pre-WriMo preparations and jitters. I’ll expand upon some of my prep work later on and try to post periodically about how things are going, what’s keeping me motivated, and how many words I’ve managed to write—that’s the plan, anyway. In the meantime, add me as a writing buddy and let’s keep each other on track.


Buy the right size.

It’s jeans season again, folks! Here’s a rumination on clothing.

There is a special place in fashion heaven reserved for the countless belt loops I ripped off ill-fitting jeans between the ages of probably 12 and 23, or so. These flimsy strips of fabric detached from the top of my jeans seemingly without effort, unable to withstand the force of my desperate tugging on denim that wouldn’t give. I would feel the waistband sliding down my back, dangerously close to revealing an ass crack, slipping under the fat roll that hangs over my belly button, whether I was standing in the lunch line or sitting at my desk at work. I loved fall but dreaded the change of clothes, giving up too-tight shorts—sure, I had a camel toe, but I looked cute from behind, right?—for unforgiving clingy pants fabric.

Continue reading Buy the right size.

Stay sexy, read about murder

“The half-life of murder is forever.”

y450-293I expected to love Tori Telfer’s Lady Killers. I was not disappointed.

Illustrated with Dame Darcy portraits of the murderesses portrayed in the fourteen stories Telfer tells, Lady Killers relates the tales of a select group of female serial killers from history, ranging from the rumored hundreds of murders carried out by Elizabeth Bathory in sixteenth century Hungary to the poisonings carried out by Nannie Doss in the 1950s. The vintage stories give readers some distance, and Telfer relates each tale with plenty of detail and just a bit of feminist editorializing. (I’m not complaining.) Continue reading Stay sexy, read about murder

What’s the deal with Ohio?

It seems to me that there must be something in the water in the great state of Ohio. Despite being home to a few major US cities, assorted professional sports teams, a renowned college football program, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, most people seem to forget about Ohio until some kind of (fictional) catastrophe puts it back on the map.

And boy, is it prone to catastrophe! From murderous teens to an alien invasion, the seventeenth state has seen it all. Upon my (admittedly narrow and short) survey of pop culture, I’ve come to the conclusion that whenever something awful happens, it happens in the Buckeye State. I’m not sure if the Hollywood elite just uses “Ohio” as a placeholder and then continually forgets to replace it with another state, or if there’s something about the state’s mystique that draws creative interest, or if maybe writers just really hate Ohio; regardless, here’s a (by no means definitive) list of fictional Ohio towns and the awful, awful things that have happened therein. Continue reading What’s the deal with Ohio?

Slasher flicks and FINAL GIRLS: A review of Riley Sager’s novel

There will be mild spoilers below for assorted horror movies of the last 40 or so years—namely, revealing the names of the “final girls” of said movies. Read on at your own risk.

Screenshot 2017-04-22 15.55.00Until I was 13 or 14 years old, I hated horror movies. I had always hated Halloween because there were nothing but men in scary masks hacking up teenagers on TV (and because I hated seeing teenagers in those same masks running around the neighborhood) and I didn’t like being scared. Life can be awful enough; why subject yourself to extra torture?

But it was the middle of a weekend day, probably on AMC’s Halloween marathon, when my mom (who also largely disliked scary movies) and I ended up engrossed in 1998’s teen slasher, Urban Legend. That moment will live in infamy in my life, as that was the movie that spawned my concurrent love affairs with late 90s teen slasher flicks, Joshua Jackson, and final girls.

Continue reading Slasher flicks and FINAL GIRLS: A review of Riley Sager’s novel