A Book, A Dream, and A T.V. Show

This past spring my husband and I took a road trip to Bar Harbor, Maine.  How we ended up deciding on a trip to the great state of Maine is actually a rather interesting story involving a book, a dream, and years later a TV show.  It began when I was in third grade.

You see in third grade, my class read Sarah Plain and Tall.  It was a great book. I loved it, and its sequel Skylark. I thought Sarah was the bee’s knees.  And Sarah was from Maine. After reading both of these books and watching their respective films, I decided that when I grew up and became a writer I was going to live in Maine. I had wanted to be a writer since I was in Kindergarten. I couldn’t spell to save my soul, but boy did I have some tales to tell.

Anyway, I grew up and kind of forgot about Sarah…and Maine…and gave up on becoming a writer…at least for a while.  Instead, I moved to Chicago, got a job that’s quite entertaining at times, fell in love, and was puttering blissfully through life when…

One evening Scott was out with some friends.  I was at home scrolling through Netflix looking for something new to watch when I came across Murder, She Wrote. I like murder mysteries, so I put on the first episode.  I was surprised by how much I liked it.  The next evening Scott was home, but dinking around on his computer, so I asked if it would bother him if I put on another episode.  He said he didn’t mind, and the next thing I knew he was snuggled up on the couch watching right along with me.  We loved it.

The main character, Jessica Fletcher, is a novelist who lives in Maine.  She was who I had wanted to be as a kid. The scenes of Maine were beautiful, and I remembered all about Sarah Plain and Tall. I told Scott about my dream as a kid, and we thought it might be fun to visit to see if what I had envisioned was really true.

Thus a few months later we packed our bags and meandered our way over to Bar Harbor, Maine.  Honestly, it was more magical than I had thought it would be.  I don’t know if I’ve been to a place that’s quite that pretty.  I mean look at that pic! It’s just one of many we had the pleasure of taking!

When we got back my husband and I joked that we would like to move there.  And all kidding aside, maybe someday if jobs become more virtual, I actually get something published, and we decide to get a bit more daring.  I just might end up with that third-grade dream after all.  And won’t that be a helluva tale?

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Contemplation

Last Friday I finally finished The Brothers Karamazov.  (I know I’m still on about this.  I promise this is the last post.) Anyway, it was…dense…heavy…long.  It is not a book I would really recommend.  There are many other classics I would recommend instead.  But on Friday night when I was standing in my kitchen updating my Goodreads account, I realized with a thunder bolt like flash that I had to give this monstrous tome four stars.

How is it that you give a book four stars, but not recommend it?  And use less than flattering adjectives to describe it?

Well…

There are books.  And then there is literature.  This is literature.  And literature at probably its finest. It is extraordinarily well written. It has a remarkable number of moving pieces that come to relevance in the end.  It presents profound philosophical views of religion and morality.  It employs psychology and examines intent versus public lip service.

It is one of those strange reads that I won’t be re-visiting.  I can even quite decide if I liked it or not, but I understand the respect that it gets and deserves.  It is something that I’m glad I read, and yet I’m also very glad it’s done.

It is a bizarre quandary.  A book I didn’t exactly like, but I admire for what it is.  I guess it’s like the Mona Lisa.  I don’t particular care for the painting, but I admire and respect it for what it is and what is stands for in the artistic world.  Perhaps that’s the best description that I can give that others may understand. This truly is a masterpiece, but not necessarily one I would want to hang on my living room wall.

Does this make any sense?

Why Use Seven When Two Will Do

I’m at my desk. I take a sip of my coffee and wait for the company database to load. I see an e-mail notification pop up. It announces that my 62-year old boss who begrudgingly uses technology, has just sent me a rare e-mail.

I immediately click to see what could have prompted him to take on this laborious hunt and peck task. The e-mail loads and reads:

Jill,

Do you know how to do an electronic signature?  I am old and helpless.

-B

My lips curl in on themselves. This might be the most hilarious and yet precious e-mails I’d ever received. There is subtle yet remarkable implicit trust in this query.

I reply simply, and wish that all e-mails would be this raw and honest. And realize that, “Why use seven words when two will do?” is a poignant question. This masterful work stated its purpose and made me smile. What more could I ask for?

Hieroglyphs Back in Style

I think we are reverting back to hieroglyphics or perhaps ever further back to painting on cave walls.  Just instead of images being chiseled or painted onto stone tablets. They are being sent via some sort of electronic tablet.

I have recently started receiving e-mails with a thumbs-up emoji from my mother if she is in agreement with my archaic form of communication also known as words.  A bit ironic for a retired English teacher.

I mean when the offer on my house got accepted.  I received a string of smiling cowboy faces and clapping hands before my realtor cared to explain himself.

I believe the original argument or rather one of the original arguments for emoji usage was speed, but given the 42,000 different emoji options available today.  I’m not sure that argument holds water since to pick the perfect one would probably take longer than actually just writing out what the hell you mean.

Don’t get me wrong, emojis are fun, but to say they are faster or clearer than actual words is just silly.  There are so many miscommunications via pixels that we certainly have only added to the quagmire of misunderstanding to this argument inducing medium.

“No, that poop emoji meant ‘that’s shitty’ not ‘that you’re shitty’.”

Or…

“So he sent me a smiley face with heart eyes does that mean he loves me or that he loves that I bought him car show tix for his birthday?”

Okay this one’s probably obvious, but you get the picture.  The possible crazy is never ending.

Seriously, if we mull over the absence of an exclamation in a text.  You have to realize doctorate level thesis analysis is going into emoji deciphering.  And don’t act like you don’t know the difference between “Okay” and “Okay.”  That dot speaks volumes…fuck grammar/usage and mechanics…that period is there to say much more than simply pleasing the grammarian gods.

I think my evidence about miscommunication in the digital world is strong, so you can probably understand my hesitancy with emojis.  Trust me they are not a replacement for facial expressions and odds are the general masses aren’t a bunch of Pictionary champs. So, enjoy the humor and laughter, but use sparingly to avoid the drama.

Nutella Proves a Point

The other day I was in the mindless pursuit to waste time, and one of my favorite places to do that is Pinterest because all kinds of goodies can be found there. I like my time wasting to possibly turn into productivity, then I don’t feel so bad about it. Technically, this happened because I stumbled upon this quote and thus I could write this post. The quote was:

“You can’t make everybody happy. You aren’t a jar of Nutella.”

I started laughing. It has a very solid point.  It’s a general concept that’s been around of awhile but this was a fresh twist.  However, what I found so amusing wasn’t the wit of this new wording, but the fact that this quote isn’t true.

What do you mean? You may ask.

Well…I don’t like Nutella.  I guess it just makes the point all the more accurate.

This why I love words.  They’re good for a laugh and a ponder.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Writing Woes

As I’ve mentioned before, I not only spend copious amounts of time reading, but also scratching out my own scribblings. I tend to write long-hand in a journal I carry with me.  However, I have recently been having some writing woes, but not the usual writer’s block and such. I have been struggling with what people say and do when they see me writing.

I have been given the impression that they think my scribblings are silly, and what could I possibly be writing that is so important that I fill up so many pages.  I’m currently on my fourth journal. There are many people who I have kept this hobby hidden from due to fear of judgement.

Now I know that I really shouldn’t give a flying flip what other people think, but a writer’s ego is fragile.  And sometimes things said really sting, such as one morning a co-worker saw me writing before work at my desk and mockingly said, “Dear diary…” like I was an angsty teenaged girl.  I was instantly embarrassed of my writing and felt foolish for it. It made me feel that my hobby of writing and blogging were inferior to other hobbies.

It’s difficult to not let comments like this burrow their way into your mind and under your skin and make you really question what you’re up to. It makes you wonder, is it really worth it for those of us who are not professionals?  Answer: Of course, it is!

However, it is a bit ironic.  A professional writer, such as a journalist or a novelist, is held in quite high esteem, but it feels like if you haven’t reached that level then you’re inadequate. Yet how does one reach those levels without toiling away with a pen and a piece of paper or a keyboard and a monitor before their day job? And what if you just like doing it with no aspiration to be paid?

Writing is difficult.  It is a process.  I don’t like criticism, but I’ll take it and do something with it if it will improve my work.  However, criticism for the act itself seems unnecessary and rather unproductive. I haven’t come upon any solid advice other than to ignore people and their comments and their eye rolling.

I am, however, very lucky to have many supportive people in my life regarding my writing. They are pretty amazing, so I’m going to focus on those awesome peeps, jam to “Shake It Off” and keep doing what I love.

Happy Friday, everyone! Keep on keeping on!

A Bite-Sized Review: A Movable Feast

Here is little review to munch on this Tuesday morning!  Happy reading everyone!

Vitals-

Title: A Movable Feast; Author: Ernest Hemmingway; Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir

The Gist- Musings and anecdotes about Mr. Hemmingway’s experience of living in Paris in the early 1920s.

What Stuck- The book struck me as a bit odd.  It’s disjointed and seems random.  And yet philosophical. I mentioned this to my mother who informed me that this was Hemmingway’s style. Since I haven’t read anything else by Mr. Hemmingway I was unaware of this, but not particularly fond of it.

Should you give a flip?- I can’t say you should. I want to say that it’s an interesting read, but I can’t describe why I feel compelled to say that.  I guess it was comforting to read that many of the greats out there struggle as much as the average joe. There…that lack of clarity pretty much reflects the book. Use your own discretion.