Monday, October 29, 2012

Frankenstorm... less fun than the name implies.

This Monday showed up just as they said it would... rainy, windy, cold. Frankenstorm is moving into Virginia, and even though we're on the southern edge of the worst of it, we're hunkering down for the next few days.

The kids are home, and even the federal government shut down, so the husband is home. Last night was fun - movies and finishing off the ice cream in the freezer and enjoying a late night knowing we could sleep in today.

We're scrambling this morning, though, to do last-minute things in case the power goes out. Showers and coffee and laptops charging. Tubs are filled with water, a few meals ready to throw on the grill, coolers with ice and fridges cleaned out. My stories are printed out in case I have to revise old-school, and my fingers are crossed that I don't have to.

We are either way over-prepared or smart. I tend to downplay events like this, cynical of the weather reporters who clearly love the hype a good storm brings (and the revenue). But I feel better if I'm a little in control, and if nothing comes of this but some wet weather, at least I have dinners for the next three days already done!

This would be great time to curl up with a book!! Unfortunately, I'm still having to curl up with revisions. Boo.

I imagine with the large size of this storm, quite a few of you are under it as well. Thinking and praying for all you in more direct path of this storm. Check in and let us know how you're doing if you can!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In Transition

I wrote a blog post earlier today and decided to delete it. It was long. And boring. It was about revising and rewriting and the thesis. Did I mention it was long? And boring?

I've been re-thinking my blog - about what I want it to be. Heidi the Hick posted her 7th anniversary blog post last week and it got me thinking about all the years that have passed here at this blog.

When I started, it was a way for me to connect with other writers, to not be alone in this journey that can be so isolating. It was a great place for us - all of us - to share what we struggle with, what we learn, when we meet success.

There was always a splash of me, too. Adventures in family vacations and experiences with diabetes and the occasional what to do when the pellet stove guy takes all day. But mostly, it's been writing.

I thought when I started grad school I'd be here all the time sharing what I was learning, but it didn't work out that way. Part was time, of course. I ran out of it. But there was a greater part where it felt strange writing about that - as though I were saying "This is the way to write well!" when really, I'm still just stumbling along like everyone else.

Now that I'm winding up school, I feel like a new phase is starting - of my writing, of my career such that it is, of my life. I'm not sure what I want this blog to reflect, but I don't think I want to be a blog for writers specifically. I really want it to be for people. Anyone.

So there may be changes here. Same me. But new format. Maybe a new look. I don't want to give up blogging, but I feel the need to shake it up a little. I hope you that read will still stick with me. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm Not Impressed... Yet

Two years... read eighty books and write one. That's the tag line of an MFA program, and here I am, on my last book. And... like McKayla, I'm not impressed.

When I first started the program, I had to come up with a reading list, and so I asked all of you. What great books are out there I must absolutely know about and read?

I asked my crit group, and the first book one person suggested was A Prayer for Owen Meany. I looked it up on Amazon and saw that the book ran 642 pages and wrote her back, "Are you trying to kill me??"

But I've had many people since then tell me to read it, rave about it, tell me it's their favorite book ever. And since I've read books like Cutting for Stone, Edgar Sawetelle, and the behemoth doorstop A Soldier of the Great War (weighing in at 727 pages), what's one more long book?

So I started it this week as my last book. And I have to say... I'm not feeling it yet.

Okay - I'm not that far into it. About 50 pages, which isn't that far in a book this size. But something my advisor and this program have tried to pound into me is starting in the action, keeping a story in the action, moving things along and not letting the story linger too long on things not imperative to the plot. And this book is just meandering right now, and full of details that don't at all seem important.

I take it it's a character driven story, and since Owen just killed Johnny's mom with a foul ball, I'm guessing things are about to amp up. But still... there's just not the language I love to stew in or the plot compelling me forward. I'm hoping it will get better. I'm expecting still to find some gem in it.

I wonder if all the ravings about it raised my expectations too high? I've found the books I come to with huge expectations of greatness nearly always let me down, and those I don't know or expect much of are the ones that blow me away.

I'll keep plodding on. Maybe by the end of today I'll have totally and completely fallen in love with it. Maybe it will be one of my favorites, too. I'm hoping.. because 652 pages is a lot to not like.

If you've read this book and loved it, what is it that impressed you?

And why does Owen Meany talk in all capitals??

Tell me, blogging friends, have you been disappointed in books that others have hyped up to you? Do you prefer to come to a book with high expectations or none at all?

***UPDATE: I finished Owen Meany and... I'm still not all that impressed. I admit the ending did make up for some of the earlier aspects I didn't love, and it was a more tightly-knit story than it appeared to be during the first 400 pages. But this is not a book I'll be thinking of years from now and want to pull out and read again, I don't think.