Monday, September 22, 2014

It’s a BLOGFEST - an Alex J Cavanaugh HOP no less!



It’s been a while since I stepped out and participated in a HOP.


Alex wants to know…

as all enquiring minds do…

if I have any UNDERRATED TREASURES (in the way of a Book, TV Show, Music or Movie) to share with you... 

… and I do!



BOOK 
Crazy Ladies, by Michael Lee West, 1990

Source and reviews

This book was given to me by my daughter, for Mother’s Day, way back when she was about nine years old (she’s now twenty-seven). She was helping her after-school daycare with a Saturday garage sale and as Mother’s Day was the next day she took her little bit of saved up nickels and dimes and bought this book for me.
It was a great read! I highly recommend it. In fact, I’ve pulled it off my book shelf several times; each read shedding different light on the characters that make up the cast of Crazy Ladies.



MOVIE
Dreamscape, 1984

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, David Patrick Kelly, Kate Capshaw.

Source and movie trivia


This is my all-time favourite movie. If you haven’t see this flick you really are missing out. The cast is great, particularly David Patrick Kelly (The Warriors - a second fav) and the storyline is strong.

The premise of mind linking and participating in someone’s dreams is fascinating… and, at one point, in the early days of raising my daughter I actually used the principles from this movie to help my little girl deal with a scary nightmare with amazing results.


SO…

I’ve shared two of the four, as I don’t really have a TV Show or Music preference that would fall into the “underrated” category.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.

Join the Linky List (at the bottom of Alex’s post) and share your Underrated Treasures… I am curious!



Cheers, Jenny

Saturday, August 23, 2014

FREE WRITE exercise on ROBIN WILLIAMS exposes ME.


IN LIGHT OF THE UPCOMING SIWC

I joined a writers group - GRIND WRITERS.

Through this group I have learned how to FREE WRITE.


it is quite liberating

and very helpful if I’m feeling stuck with my writing.


Below is the free write photo prompt... 

and my piece for it.

It’s 647 words long. (about 3 1/2 minutes of reading)


POUR A COFFEE, TEA, OR SOMETHING STRONGER, AND DIG IN!





This free write photo prompt came with the following questions:

Robin Williams' death: how has it affected you? 

What sort of issues has his suicide caused you to think about?

_________________________________


I remember exactly where I was sitting when I heard the news about Robin Williams. 

I had just toiled for six and a half hours helping my friend dig up the side of his house. He’s building a lane house out back of his existing house, and since he had given up his free time last summer to help me with my house renovations I wanted to be there for him.

Why is this info important? It isn’t, except to let you know life was still moving along after Robin’s death.

My first reaction to this news was NO WAY, not him. He’s too funny to kill himself. Why it is I thought funny equals happy I don’t know. 

In light of my own heaviness these last few months I wondered about funny and happy and laughter; words I would use to describe me under normal circumstances. 

But, I hadn’t been happy, funny, or even laughing lately, in fact I had been quite down.

When my friend’s wife told me this bit of news she’d gleaned earlier in the day, as Gerry and I were huffing and puffing under 30 degree heat, I got annoyed. And angry. And miffed. 

I’m a parent, so was Robin. How do you do this to your kids? What was so bad in his life that this was his only option  - I wanted answers damn it. From him. 

It took me a while before compassion and empathy sprang to the forefront.

For the following three days, after hearing this news at my friend’s house just prior to eating a much anticipated meal after a day of hard labour, I was quite blue. I didn’t initially attribute it to more than the Super Moon influence. (Yes, yes, I buy into all that - I’m Pisces and we are all about planetary alignment.)

But as the days drifted on, and I slowly found my inner smile, I realized his death hit me harder than I was consciously aware. I had been teetering on the very ledge he jumped from. 

In light of some overwhelming health news, back in March, and my sense of loneliness amongst friends and family, I can see how it could be, for some, the only option.

I’m not cut of that cloth,  and in all my fifty-six years on the planet taking my life has never been a pressing thought. Now, that being said, there are a few lives I’d like to see snuffed out, but mine is not one of them. 

I’m saddened, not because we lost a comic genius, or a great actor, but because no one could reach him, no one was there for him - and that is something I get; it’s something I totally relate to. 

At what point will my stoic veneer finally crack letting my soul slip away and my life spark flicker out in the soft evening wind. 

I wonder.

Do any of us really know what’s going on inside the head sitting, standing, lying next to us… well, do we? Maybe for a very select few the answer might be, “yes, I do know what’s going on around me”. 

But for the masses I would say we are no better then those ostriches with their collective heads in the sand - we really see only one life and that’s our own… how are you affecting me, how is the weather affecting me, how is my job affecting me…. me, me, me, me, me.  

Well, what about me… do you know anything about me?

Oh sure, my hair is blond, eyes blue, as you’ve vaguely observed. 

But what about behind the blue - look closely what do you see… do you see the wall I’ve built? The one that’s so high you will never get over it, nor will I be free from behind it. Do you see the decay, the neglect?

Well, do you?  (647 word count)

__________________________________________

So now… the questions:


DO YOU FEEL WELL CONNECTED, AND UNDERSTOOD, BY THOSE CLOSE TO YOU?

DO YOU SEE LIFE AS A HARD, UPHILL STRUGGLE?

HOW DO YOU SEE SUICIDE - IS IT A COPOUT, OR A SOLUTION?

Cheers, Jenny

Footnote: for an overview of what "free writing" entails please read THIS

Friday, August 22, 2014

Reader be WARNED - this GIRL has GONE mad.

To those I might have recommended the book “Gone Girl” to before getting to the end

I apologize.


What an epic disappointment.


Here is a LINK to some comments, on Amazon, that share my sentiment.

Gone Girl, written by Gillian Flynn, was recommended to me by a friend who had mentioned the ending being ‘different’ - I should have asked for clarification. My bad!

The book is divided into three parts.

The first third is very intriguing… you flip through the pages wondering what’s up. Your curiosity is piqued.

The middle third gets way too convoluted with too many unlikely things pretending to be likely to happen in the real world… but, you still turn the pages.

Then comes the last third… what was Ms. Flynn thinking? Did her brain just shut down? Was she caught in some overly long ‘gone blank’ moment where only drivel trickled down to fingers patiently hovering over waiting keypads?

I want to know...

What could be Ms. Flynn’s justification for this weak, third rate ending?

I’d like to know because I am TOTALLY PISSED, TICKED and RIGHT ROYALLY ANNOYED  with her lame-assed ending. 

I (along with many others) was gripped at the onset and eagerly turned pages in anticipation. I wondered. I hummed and hawed at the twists - some less believable as I imagined myself in the role of Amy. I jumped into Nick’s shoes and saw what a weak man he was, but hey, okay, I still flipped pages.

Then, as I round the corner on second, I trip over a whole bunch of filler; silly stuff, pointless stuff, not believable stuff, and think, hmm, has Ms. Flynn stepped out of her writing cave (accessible only through an unfinished basement) and lost her train of thought - you know, the thought she might have had - the one the rest of us disappointed readers had - the thought whereby justice is served heavy on our plates with excess gravy and two (not one) dinner rolls to sop up the mess.

NO - we don’t get what should be our due - we get sloppy, burned leftovers - and no buns - no gravy - not even on a real plate… a true copout if ever I read one.

Did Ms. Flynn lose her nerve when debating having Amy (the proverbial bitch) terminated?  How about having Nick suffer for his stupidity of staying with Amy - any thoughts occur to Ms. Flynn there? Oh, and while I’m at it, what about Amy’s parents - no consequence for them either - a slice of humble pie maybe? 

Ms. Flynn had me thinking her writing was the best thing since sliced bread.

Gone Girl pretended to be a thick slab of heavy duty multigrain that required serious chewing. What Ms. Flynn gave me was fluffy white bread which was left on the counter to go stale.

Gone Girl - that’s what Ms. Flynn is - GONE from my reading list - no second slice for me.

I wonder...

Did Ms. Flynn really think readers would buy that weak, sickly, pathetic ending? 

And… here’s the important question - where was Ms. Flynn’s “team” on this point? You can’t tell me that NO ONE mentioned to her how pathetically lame this ending was/is. 

Really! 

Ms. Flynn needs a new team if this is what they think passes for a great and climatic ending; limp Nick comes to mind. 

Here’s the thing…

Ms. Flynn strings the reader along, we go willingly because she is a master weaver of rose-smelling bullshit. However, when it comes to delivering the goods the well dries up and all that’s left are angry flies swarming the spot where she should have dumped a stinkin’ corpse. 

Gillian Flynn should be ashamed of the ending for Gone Girl. 

First, because there’s nothing ‘gone’ about the ‘girl’ and second because this ending belies the great writer she’s touted to be.

No matter how you slice it a justified killing was in order. 

Let me say this...

For those that rant and rave about this book - it is not a requirement to kill off a bad person, or to end a book to please me - I get that. 

However, to let Amy (the bitch) off without so much as a slap on the wrist is inexcusable and lame. It just is. 

Nick should have had his balls served to him for dinner (no buns or gravy). He was written to be liked initially, but there was nothing endearing about him - ever.

And, how about Amy’s ridiculous parents - who are they even fashioned after? They truly deserved a good beheading for just existing - seriously. They are the equivalent of broccoli from the freezer - tasteless and rubbery. Bordering on slimy actually.

Anyway...

Folks, life is short.

There are lots of great books to read - this is NOT one of them. Put it down NOW and move to the next one on your pile. 

Seriously… 

I wished I had.

NOW - if you really still want to read it - take it out of the library. No one should be making money off you for this kind of writing.

YOUR TURN…

Have you read Gone Girl?

What’s your take…?


Cheers, Jenny

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I am READING... IS worth RECOMMENDING

I’ve kept a list of what I’ve been reading since March. I wanted to see what I pick up and spend time on in the world of books.

I'm working my way through The Unwinding, by George Packer and at 430 pages it's not a quick read - but I'm really enjoying it. 

I often have more than one book on the go - big books, like The Unwinding, I read at home in fits and starts. I have a few books on my Kindle, and I take books out of the library; there is always something I'm reading. 

I took a page from Stephen King's 'On Writing' (thanks to Bushman for recommending this SK book) whereby he encourages reading in every spare moment, and learning to read in "sips and swallows".

I downloaded my recent book from Amazon onto my Kindle. I will admit to guzzling… it was such a good read.

Lighting Candles in the Snow, by Karen Jones Gowen



Here’s my review on Amazon:

This was, in my view, a page turner.

I was quickly drawn into wanting to know more about the characters. The writing was smooth, transitions from character to character easy to follow, as was the portions devoted to backstory (on Jeremy via his mother).

I was surprised at how my emotions were triggered throughout this story, on many levels.

I'm giving this a 5 star because it really is a well told story - I do want to add, though, that I did skim a few sections were the story was rehashing earlier parts and for me it wasn't necessary - that said - at no time was I interested in stopping - I really wanted to know what happened to these characters.

Oh - and the recipes (which really work as part of the story) offered at the end of most chapters are great! Easy and really tasty. (A bonus, for sure.)

This download was free - it really is worth paying for.

______________

Bear this in mind:

I’m not a fan of reviews where I am given a synopsis of the story by the reviewer.
I don’t want to know what the stories about. What’s the point of me reading it if you’ve just told me what it’s all about.
I want to know if you liked it - and would recommend it. I’ll do the reading after that.

So, that’s how I review. You want the story - read the book. 

______________

I’ve had the pleasure of following Karen’s blog: Coming Down the Mountain: Expat Writer Living Abroad. for some time now, and had fun co-hosting the 2012 Blogging from A-Z Challenge with her. 

Karen has several books under her belt - they can be seen on her Website or on Amazon.

Many of the talented bloggers I follow have written and published their works. Some have self-published, others have gone the route of finding an agent/publisher. Either way, there is a lot of talent out here which deserves a read.

So, that’s what I’m going to do, I'm going to start reading YOUR work. I will add one, or two, books a month to my regular reading list. I’ll let you know here which I’ve read and how I’ve liked them.

____________________


Are you reading works by your fellow bloggers?

If so, what are you reading, and how are you liking it?

What kind of reviews do you like? A synopsis or something else?

Cheers, Jenny