27 October 2009

National Novel Writing Month

November is one of my favorite months of the year. Its the anniversary of when my grandparents came to this country, its the anniversary of when a lot of my family became believers, its Thanksgiving, its one of my sister's birthday, and its National Novel Writing month.

I heard about this a number of years ago, and try and participate everyyear. I'm not to great with getting 50,000 words in in one month, but it's great practice. Anyway, my piece this year is that historical fiction thing I've been meaning to try and write for years. I made a collage to help me get a handle on all of my ideas, so there it is. I hope I actually finish it!

Additionally, here is a prayer written by the Patron Saint of journalists and writers:

"Lord, I am Yours, and I must belong to no one but You.
My soul is Yours, and must live only by You.
My will is Yours, and must love only for You.
I must love You as my first cause, since I am from You.
I must love You as my end and rest, since I am for You.
I must love You more than my own being, since my being subsists by You.
I must love You more than myself, since I am all Yours and all in You. Amen."
-Prayer of St Francis De Sales

20 October 2009

Weddings and Murder

So over this weekend I babysat and read Melody Carlson's "Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah." This book is the final book in the 4 books series 86 Bloomsberg Place. In my opinion, it was one of the strongest in the series. Lelani and Gil are getting married, Gil's sister Ana is having difficulties at work and in love, her housemate Megan's boyfriend just up and leaves her for a mission trip to Africa with next to no notice, and crazy Kendall is marrying her Maui Man. Throughout the whole book the girls struggle with patience and communicating (in life who doesn't)? I believe that many Church pew Christians will identify with Megan and Ana, while many of those trying to figure out how to balance life will identify with Kendall and Lelani.

For my self it was a hard book to read, simply because I began this series a year or so ago while in a dating relationship, and ended up reading the last book of this series single, with no prospects at all. I think I most closely identified with Ana, although my mother and I have a wonderful relationship. I kind of wish that there would be a spin off series with Ana, Megan and their men. I could go on, but I'll just shut up and give Mrs. Carlson a Gold Star!

As for "Midnight in Madrid" by Noel Hynd, this is the type of novel that I would relate more too in away because I am single. Although it kind of makes me glad I'm single. Single people can go off and have adventures while those married are tied to their apartment and responsibilities. In the first book, Alex LaDuca loses someone who she loves with her life, and in the second book she is on vacation recovering from said loss when artistic disaster strikes. The suspense kept me turning pages every night this weekend and made me wish I had mastered all of the languages I took in college. Many murders later, we realize that Alex might just be ok after all. Gold Star Mr. Hynd for a novel that was as entertaining as it was encouraging.

Both of these novels show that love changes us. God's love is there all along, and sometimes he brings godly men into our lives to love, and sometimes he doesn't bring a spouse, but a people we care deeply for. Either way, God's love sets us free.

13 October 2009

High School Humiliation week & books

So Anne and May, those lovely ladies who wrote A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS asked people what their most humiliating moments were in high school. Well, I thought about it for 2 days and then this morning it came to me, and I was even more embarrassed. Notice the picture, its me 15, in 10th grade at my surprise quinceanera. Notice I'm not wearing a lame gown. That was 2001.

You see, my sister and I used to take the bus. I used to sit next to a cute kid who I didn't think was "Christian" enough to date. We became bus-buddies though & I guess you could say and he always knew who I was crushing on and resented them for it. As it happens, a family from my church, took in a foreign exchange student from Ecuador (this is not to be confused with the foreign exchange student from my freshman year Spanish class I mentioned on Camy Tangs website). This boy was tall, way cute, and an upperclassman. He often wore a jean jacket, a white sweater and was the Antonio Banderas version of Eric Matthews from Boy Meets World (in my humble opinion).

Anyway, so 10th grade was the year I was all into poetry, ok, I was always into poetry. Well, I wrote him a poem. and I showed it to my bus-buddy. I didn't title it or anything, and all I remember are the lines, "Hero from across the sea, came to sit in front of me." Yeah, it was that bad. Bus-buddy laughed, and then stood up and said "Hey Eric Banderas (I can't remember his real name), Mandy wrote a poem about you!"

I tore it out of his hands, but for the rest of the ride home it was "Oooo your eyes are so dark and dreamy," or "oooo your my latin lover from across the ocean."

So there you have it. One of my most humiliating moments in high school. I have a bunch, though, and most involved foreigner exchangers. Oh and this week we're reading: Midnight in Madrid by Noel Hynd

05 October 2009

Do you cry when a character in a book dies?

Ok so this weekend I read Noel Hynd's novel "Conspiracy in Kiev" as you'll note from my last post. And while there was no sex (yay I won the bet!) there was a lot of flirting and bantering back and forth between characters. There were jealous boyfriend's, and jealous Ukrainian mobsters...and death. I mean you have to have death in a political/spy thriller right? I expected certain characters to die, or be kidnapped, but of course Mr. Hynd pulls a fast one on me. A totally unsuspected death in the novel.

And the most surprising thing out of the whole day was not that one character died. No, no, the most surprising thing to me was the fact that when I came home from bringing James (a 4 month old we have in our home now) from the doctor, my sister was up in our room all emotional about a character who died in a series she was reading! And since I hadn't yet read the death of the character in Hynd's novel, I was a jerk. I mean my sister is reading a YA series, Cirque du Freak or something like that and is almost done the series. A major character dies. All day she was complaining, "How could the author do this?" And of course I have to be a professional jerk and say, "Well you know, authors are really thinking of the story arc and character development and how could this one character develop if this other character was holding his hand the whole time?"

Is it silly to cry over fake people? See, I view it this way: we will never know the lives of FBI guys or Secret Service or CIA people, so in a way, when I get upset over the death of a character in a novel, I'm thinking: there is a chance that one of these patriots has died like this or in a similar way; and: isn't the world so unfair?

This is only one of the many reasons why my mother only reads memoirs and biographies. When she gets upset over characters in books, she wants it to be real people she has learned about and formed an attachment too, not fake people.

I give this book a Gold Star, not only for the emotional response it invoked, but because of a particular character's faith in God and the theme of long-suffering through out the novel. Bravo!