Serendipitous Encounters

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It’s very difficult to know how, or even if, a story will affect you.

We think we know what we like and why we like it, but a lot of the time we actually don’t. Sometimes you pick up something you think you will like, something that you should like, and it leaves little to no impression on you. Perhaps you even dislike it! By all accounts, I should love Game of Thrones. It has high fantasy, political intrigue, complex characters, and dragons. And yet I have never warmed up to it. Other times you pick up something on a lark and are surprised to find out much it moves you, how deeply it sinks into your psyche and plays upon your heartstrings. How was I to know that tagging along with my friends to the theater on May 4, 2012 would send me careening head-first into the world of Marvel comics and superheroes?

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Literature — Larger Than Life

I have been reading, which is always a dangerous thing.

No, really, reading is dangerous.  It challenges the twin conditions of Status Quo and Ignorance.  Which is probably why is has been encouraged to decline.  I do not know what the current literacy rates are, but I see what people check out in libraries, what students come slouching sullenly to the desk to request, hear the verbal banalities pour, not just from the mouths of other babes, but my own, and it makes me weep.

In case you have not noticed, I’ve been reading classic literature and essays by Ray Bradbury.  Both put me in a maudlin kind of mood where I hover between ecstasy and madness.  Because when I read them, if I’m lucky, I get the sensation that there are great truths hidden within them, sentences and paragraphs that resonate with me, but I have no means of expressing them.  The sheer abundance of creativity makes me want to simultaneously shout my joy to the heavens and slink back home and tear up the pages of my manuscripts that aren’t nearly as beautiful or insightful.  (So far I rarely express the former in public and I’ve resisted the urge to perform the latter.)

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Author Highlight: Charles Dickens

This past weekend I decided to watch BBC’s 2008 rendition of  “Little Dorrit” (screenplay adaptation by Andrew Davies).  I watched all 14 half-hour episodes in one night, and, the next day, went back and watched them all again.  I have never read the book, but after watching this, I want to.  In fact, I’m going on a Dickens kick right now thanks to “Little Dorrit.”

I’ll admit right now that I haven’t read a great deal of Dickens, although I can assure you that he wrote far more and far better works than A Christmas Carol.  I’ve been various film and TV adaptations of his work, and frankly, I prefer watching a good adaptation than trying to read the books.  Why?  Because I’m a modern reader spoiled by modern writers and I rarely have the patience to try to wade through Victorian English prose.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of lovely pieces of dialogue and description in Dickens but it was written for another people in another era and was originally released in serial format to readers.  Their form of television episodes, basically, so the style and language is very different from what I’m used to.  Maybe when I’m older I will be able to appreciate Dickens’ craft better than I do now.

Either way, if you get a good writer like Andrew Davies to update the language just enough to make it accessible and to cut out the dense prose in between the action…then you’ve got one hell of a show.

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My Take on Writing Classes (and School in General)

I have always loved learning.

That being said, I have also always hated school.

Individual classes, individual teachers, individual ideas I have enjoyed and gained valuable knowledge from while in a school setting.  But the institution itself?  Loath it.  Despise it.  Repulsed with a vengeance.  Abhor with a passion.  Trust me, college is not for everyone.

Since school has started up again for many people, I thought it would be appropriate to broach the topic of writing classes.  I’ve had a mixed bag when it comes to writing and English classes.  My parents always encouraged reading and writing when I was homeschooled and I had a wonderful English teacher, Mrs. Ware, in middle school who was still old-school enough to make us do vocabulary, spelling, and grammar exercises.  (To this day, I can still spell “amalgamate” without help thanks to her.  ^_^)  In high school, my literary highlight was Fiction/Poetry Writing with Mrs. Turner.  I adored that class; it catered directly to my interests.  In fact, where my friends and I sat became known as “the Fantasy Corner” because we were all obsessed with that genre, and with J.R.R. Tolkien’s works in particular.  I learned about different poetic forms and took my first jab at writing short stories, so Fiction/Poetry Writing exposed me to some new writing forms and encouraged my creativity.

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