Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Year in Review

Three days left for 2013.  I’m one book short of my reading challenge.  I have bookmarks in, like, 6-7 books though.  Ha ha, not all of that is going to get finished, and I don’t want to take the bookmarks out.  I’ll just subract them from next year’s reading challenge when I DO finish them.

I have a 12-15 page paper due when I return to classes in February that I really, really need to get started on.  Not to mention a presentation due the second week I’m back.

I’m still working, although I hate working and being in school at the same time. It’s hard, and my writing and reading has suffered for it.

The first six months of this year were employed by taking care of the animals, reading, and general job-hunting, and the closest thing to an existential crisis I can have.

Come July, things started looking up.  I got a job.  I know since I’ve started working, I’ve bought over 100 books. Over 100 books in six months.  Feeding an addiction is tough, man.

I started school in August, and turned 21.  I’ve gambled and drank.  I’ve settled back into college life as well as I can manage.  I guess I’m happy where I am now.  As happy as can be expected.  I’ve written and read a little something-something.

My New Year’s Resolutions are

1, and most important:  Keep track of just how many books I buy & how much I spend in a calendar year.  Meaning, come January 1st, I shall start keeping a log, just for the fun of it.  Because I’m curious about my strange addiction to buying books.

2, and also important:  Quit procrastinating.  But I’m waiting till after the first to do this.  I’m putting off putting off.

3, and very, very important too:  Find a church or ministry to get plugged in with so that I may tithe.  I’ve tithed here and there, but not much, and it’s not as if I can’t afford to tithe.  I shouldn’t be able to afford not to.  So, I shall find a church, or a ministry that needs funds.

4, not so important, but here you are anyway:  To read more classic books, and less romance. It’s not that important, and I’m not ashamed of my love for all things historical romance.  However, I’ve only read a handfull of classics, and that’s sad for a self-proclaimed bookworm.  At the same time, while I know other kids had an understanding far surperior to mine as it is now, I’m kind of glad I put off reading the classics till adulthood.  New adulthood, at any rate.  See here.

5, again not important:  to lose weight, get healthy, and, oh my gosh.  Thank you for laughing, because that’s a big fat joke.  Pun intended.

Digressing Rant:  Seriously, why wait until the New Year for that?  Because you wish to indulge during the holidays?  Do it.  Doesn’t matter. To my mind, it’s all about your breaking point.  When you really want to make that change, really, you will do it.  If it’s important, you make time.  If not, you make an excuse.  Going on with the cliches, when you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.  Maybe when I’m morbidly obese.  Maybe when I feel the need to attract a husband, or just one date before I get myself to a nunnery.  I don’t have a reason to want it badly enough, not right now.  I want it, yes, but not that bad.  Not as bad as I need to support my book habit.  Not as bad as I like ice cream.  Maybe someday.  But not today.  A healthy choice here and there spaced out between months at a time is still good.  For now.  I haven’t gone up a pants size this year, but I haven’t lost one either. Oh well.  Okay, rant over.

6, again, not as important:  to read and write more.  Obviously I have my good and bad days, but I try to do this all the time anyway.  I mark my calendar and everything now.  I didn’t do as well as I would have liked between work and school the past six months, but I’m learning.  Regardless of whether it’s a NYR or not, it’ll always be something to strive for.

So, my year’s been full of ups and downs.  It’s been a lot of growing up.  It’s been working.  It’s been getting a car, and having to pay bills.  It’s going into debt because I took out a student loan.  It’s been reading a lot and writing a lot.  It’s been emotional trauma between the Dresden Files and the Valisar trilogy.  It’s been realizing things about myself I don’t like and things I can live with.  It’s been twists of heaven and hell into that complicated thing we call life.

Bring it, 2014.  I’m ready as I’ll ever be.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sweet Validation

It my least favo—rite time of the year!

(To be sang to, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”)

I hate when I read something in a wonderful book, and then can’t find it later.

I was doing my year-end scramble, trying to finish up all these books I have bookmarks in, you know.  One was What On Earth Have I Done? by Robert Fulghum.  You know the guy.  Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

He spends time in Crete, and the Cretans go way out for Easter more than they do for Christmas.  Fulghum’s not a Christian, but heaven help him if scandal is attached to his name because he didn’t celebrate Easter with them!

Their reasoning is that birthdays are common.  Everyone has a birthday.  Not everybody dies and comes back.  

I wish I could find the passage!

I’d never thought of it that way.  Christmas is a fomality.  Easter is a celebration.

I have my own views and thoughts about the world, about myself, near about everything that’s ever crossed my mind.  When I find something that shares my opinion, or  confirms what I thought I knew, it makes me feel like I am not alone after all, and that maybe I do have some of the intelligence everyone claims I have.

My other favorite moment of validation was looking at a list of famous INFPs (which is my personality type most often).  I’m the same personality type as Hans Christian Andersen.

HANS.  CHRISTIAN.  ANDERSEN.  It’s also the suspected personality type of Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, Woolf, Milne, Watterson, Warhol, Van Gogh, Antoine Saint Exupery...

That’s all great too.  I know I’m a writer, a dreamer, sometimes even an artist.  I knew all that.

But I’m the same freaking personality type of Hans Christian Andersen.  It was encouraging.  Not that I ever have any doubts about what I’m meant to be (oh dear, my pants are on fire), but it’s a source of validation.  It’s in me, all I gotta do is believe in myself (and now I feel like puking for the triteness).  And follow my heart (gag).

 Validation is also my way of getting out of things.  I’ve been on the fence about the Fifty Shades of Grey books since I've heard about them.  My thing about popular books is that if it didn’t catch my attention before it was popular, and I check it out now, just to see, and it’s not something I want to read, I fail to see why I should read a book just because it’s popular.

Life is too short to read books you’re not certain you’ll care for.  Life is also too short to pass a possibly good book up.

But I don’t like BDSM.  I’ve tried to read it in the past.  I didn’t like it.  I quit.  I’ve heard things about Fifty Shades portraying an unhealthy relationship.  I don’t like those either.  I can forgive a lot in a heroine, but I will not forgive an a-hole hero.  I don’t make a habit of reading serious literature.  Give me healthy relationships, and dragons, thank you, please, ma’am.  I save the dysfunctions for real life.

I spend a lot of time on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website.  It’s a great resource for romance books.  “All of the romance, none of the bullshit.”

Fifty Shades got reviewed there, and they gave it a “did not finish."  So...

“Sweet validation!  Now I don’t have to read it!”  Really, those were my thoughts on the matter.

But the truth was, like anything else, I was looking for excuses not to read it.  I don’t do contemporary romance.  I don’t do popular fiction (why no, I haven’t read the Hunger Games, nor do I ever plan to).

I think it would be different if they were in genres I actually have any dream of writing.  I don’t want to write YA.  I don’t want to write BDSM Erotic romance.  Or dystopia.  Or contemporary romance.  My genres are historical (Regency) romance and fantasy.  Those are my thing.  Had it been those genres, I would have picked them up out of sheer duty to my genres (although that still doesn't explain why Game of Thrones has been sitting on my shelf since late 2011, still unread).

And I don’t like jumping on bandwagons for nothing.  When I looked up the Dresden Files, I wanted to read them.  And I only have 2 books left.  I was on the fence about Kingkiller, but I regret nothing.  Those are some intimidating books, but they're awesome too. The same went for Riyria Revelations.  Well, actually, I just saw those and wanted them once they popped up in my recommendations.  How could I not?  I finally got them, and I read Theft of Swords.  Good stuff, that.  Good, good, GOOD stuff.

I shouldn’t need validation.  I shouldn’t have to explain my actions, nor feel guilty for not liking Jesus’ birthday (but in my defense, it’s really not his birthday, as he was born in the fall), or being an insecure about my writing destiny (I’m in good company there), or even skipping a book everybody else loves (I probably won’t like it, I know I won’t, I know!).

Still, it’s human to want to be part of a group, I think.  No man (or insecure college girl) is an island.  Nor would I wish to be.