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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Children of the Lost



Instead of writing my self-appointed 500 words a day on Saturday, because of a headache, I started reading instead. (Seems counterintuitive, right?)
I read the sequel to David Whitley's first book, The Midnight Charter Before proceeding to The Children of the Lost, I'd like to say a few words about the previous book and the writer, David Whitley. David Whitley is an under-30 up-and-coming British writer. He is young, talented and driven with a degree from the University of Oxford. He's been publishing since his early twenties. As if that wasn't enough for the over-achiever, he is also an actor and a singer.

The Midnight Charter is one of those rare Middle Grade books that are written well with a very detailed description of the world the characters inhabit. It's about a town called Agora where everything is traded according to value. When two children stumble upon the Midnight Charter, a prophecy, their lives and the lives of those around them change.

The Children of the Lost cannot be read by itself. One would need to read the prequel first. Otherwise, nothing would make too much sense because the story starts off right from where The Midnight Charter ends.

After reading this, I would certainly read the next installment.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Angelology



I was at the local library the other day, working on my writing and decided to take a break by browsing through titles. I was immediately taken by the title of the book, "Angelology." It's a novel by Danielle Trussoni. It's the story about man's epic battle with the fallen angels' descendants, the Nephilim.

I finished reading it in about three days. The plot is not too bad and some of the writing could be better. As one reviewer put it, it's collegial writing at best, showing a one-paragraph excerpt of the earlier part of the book. He writes:

In reality, however, the simplistic narrative has the hallmark of a collegiate writing school, based on text released by the publisher:


"Pausing to dip her index finger into a fount of holy water, Sister Evangeline blessed herself (forehead, heart, left shoulder, right shoulder) and stepped through the narrow Romanesque basilica, past the fourteen Stations of the Cross, the straight-backed red oak pews, and the marble columns. As the light was dim at that hour, Evangeline followed the wide central aisle through the nave to the sacristy, where chalices and bells and vestments were locked in cupboards, awaiting Mass. At the far end of the sacristy, she came to a door. Taking a deep breath, Evangeline closed her eyes, as if preparing them for a greater brightness. She placed her hand on the cold brass knob and, heart pounding, pushed. The Adoration Chapel opened around her, bursting upon her vision.”




Continue reading on Examiner.com Fallen angels, crouching agent: movie plus sequel equals ’Angelology’ - Albuquerque Contemporary Literature | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/contemporary-literature-in-albuquerque/fallen-angels-crouching-agent-movie-plus-sequel-equals-angelology#ixzz1OXs6hk37
The novel's draw, however, is not the actual writing but the conceptual framework. It is fascinating and Trussoni draws on many mythic references, synthesizing them together to make her tale. There's the myth of Orpheus, Prometheus, the Giants from the Book of Enoch. She even bases the cave in her book where the fallen angels, referred to as "monstrous creatures," have been imprisoned, from an actual place in Bulgaria where her husband is from.

As I've said, conceptually, the work has a lot of potential. However, the primary drawback that I felt the book had was the characters were undeveloped. There was more focus on plot. I almost felt like it was written specifically so that it would be a movie, with a lot of action. It almost felt Dan Brownesque.

Would I read the next installment, Angelopolis? I sure will...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Amanda Hocking

I heard from one of my publishing friends that Amanda Hocking was offered a 2 million dollar deal. She's the first fanfic writer I heard of that has had this type of success.
Then again, she's doing well self-publishing her books so of course that would mean that publishers and anyone in the publishing industry would court her. She would make them a lot of money.

Still I Rise

I think Maya Angelou's poem is appropriate for me today. It is a new day. It is a day of rising. It's the first day I'm officially done with the semester and I'm scheduling myself to finish my novel and also submit proposals for conferences in the next few months...


STILL I RISE


You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Infamy of the Anonymous

God is in the details. But to speak of specifics, the nooks and crannies of said details, can also point to the Devil. The detail-oriented then can, in this fashion, be accused of heresy or the divine. It is, however, the same coin albeit different sides.

I pull two quotations from an early twentieth century writer, Whittaker Chambers.

Tragedy occurs when a human soul awakes and seeks, in suffering and pain, to free itself from crime, violence, infamy, even at the cost of life. The struggle is the tragedy - not defeat or death.


"When you understand what you see, you will no longer be children. You will know that life is pain, that each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman and child on earth, you will be wiser."

Surprise

I had no idea people read this blog. Wow.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Eve of the "Rapture"




So what did I do today?

1) I woke up.
2) I ate.
3) I got dressed.
4) I waited for my mom.
5)I went home.
6) I am thinking about how some things never change.
a) There always seems to be a Rapture story every decade

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"You're too slow, B!tch!"



About three weeks ago, I was walking on my way home from the gym. I was crossing the street and there was a vehicle turning from the other intersection. As the car passed behind me, I heard a disembodied voice (which I assume was from a female driver) shout: "You're too slow, Bitch!" I turned around but couldn't find the perpetrator of this verbal crime. So I started yelling back into thin air, "Can't you see? Pedestrian crossing says I can go!" But there was no one to listen to me. The car sped off.
I was left, fuming. No one has ever cursed at me like that before for crossing the street when I had the right of way from the first place. So I cursed her. I wished she got into an accident. I wished that her license was revoked. I wished that she could feel the same anguished anger at being told that they're slow and a bitch in the same breath. Then I talked to my significant other and he asked me, "Was there a message there for you?"

Me: Huh?
Him: Was the universe trying to tell you anything?
Me: Ya, that that bitch is a bitch and I'm so f@cking pissed off at that bitch.
Him: I think you're being too emotional.
Me: Are you taking her side?!
Him: No, no. I just think that there is something else going on. Why don't you think about it.
Me: There's nothing to think about. She's a bitch and that's that.

Well, in a matter of three days, after having this conversation, I got into almost-accidents while driving my father's '99 silver Nissan Sentra. People were so angry with me for no reason. I suddenly lost all sense of space and couldn't park. I had people watching me. I had a bus waiting for me. There was an Arabic guy cursing me out for not being able to park and he was waiting for me to leave so he could park at the space himself. It was, in other words, a driving/parking nightmare. Suddenly, it was me who shouldn't be driving and I could imagine these people clucking their tongues and shaking their heads, thinking, why in hell does this girl have a license?

So I told my S.O. about it again and he repeated the same thing.

Him: I told you so.
Me: (quiet)
Him: So think about it.
Me: So what does it mean?
Him: You should not curse that woman out. You have to go back to the moment and take out that hate you felt for her and just accept it for what it is.
Me: Sigh. Fine.

So I tried to do what he suggested. I visualized it. I tried not to hate the bitch. God, I even thanked her for reminding me to be conscious. Anyway, I didn't think of it again until the whole thing with people from the hospital suddenly asking me about my future plans. When I talked to the S.O. about it, he reiterated what he said earlier.

Him: I really think it's a message from the universe. You're being too slow.
Me: What do you mean?
Him: You should have finished one of your writing projects already. You're being too slow. It's the universe telling you your time is up.
Me: Well, when you put it like that...
Him: So finish something already.

Alright then. Here's my plan of action: I'm quitting the Hospital job. I'm going to finish my novel draft and I'm going to write for more conferences. The Universe is cursing at me already. One thing's for sure though: I still can't believe the Universe called me a Bitch!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Signs are Everywhere

You know the universe is telling you to do something when every goddamn person is asking you why you haven't done it yet. In my case, I've known for a while now that my time at the Hospital is up. It's just gotten unbearably ridiculous in the past couple of weeks. Remember the Russian-Jewish nurse, the typical tall-leggy type, who rolled her eyes at me when she found out I'm taking my Master's in English Lit? That's one. Then, in the past few weeks, everyone's been asking me when am I going to be done. As if to add more insult to (verbal) injury, there was one guy, a 23 year old nurse, who asked me, "So, are you going to be a Clerk with a Master's Degree?" Well. Now that it was put that way, I'm hoping not. I was putting off the composition teaching for a while but I can tarry no longer. I've decided that if Brooklyn College accepts my application to be an English Composition teacher, I'll take it and quit my illustrious job at the Hospital. I'll find out on May 26 since that's the day of my interview. Then I don't have to deal with these questions ever again. Instead, I'll be dealing with different questions. The universe, then, can't accuse me of not following the signs that my time is up and I better get my butt off the proverbial seat.