Bringing Me Down

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” ~ Mason Cooley

Have you ever been reading a good book, but you recognize that it’s just bringing you down? I’ve been on a young adult fiction kick lately, but I can’t help but notice how depressing the content has been. Don’t get me wrong! The story lines are interesting, and the writing is good. I have every intention of recommending the same books to other readers, but I will issue the recommendation with a caution, “This series is great, but read it with a box of tissues or a cute puppy or kitten nearby because it will destroy you emotionally.”

I kept adding different young adult titles to my reading list, and I finally decided it was time to give them a chance…even if they do bring me down while I’m reading them. At present, I’m reading a standalone novel, and I’m working my way through two different series. They all have their own merits, but I highly recommend the tissues…and a puppy.

(Only a couple of days later…) The standalone novel is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. In a nutshell, this is a fascinating retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin legend, and I do actually highly recommend it. This story manages to weave together the stories of five different families in a complex fairy tale. Initially, I wasn’t certain I wanted to even finish the book because it seemed so dark, but as the pieces fell into place, I was intrigued by the struggles involving love, hate, good, evil, pride, abandonment, racism, and so much more. This book wound up being such an exploration of issues that we are examining today! I would recommend this for older teens and adults.

The first series that I have been diving into is the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I definitely recommend keeping the tissues and puppy/kitten around when reading the Red Queen series. To sum it up, the world is divided between Silver-blooded rulers with special powers and Red-blooded servants who are constantly being sent to fight Silver wars. Unexpectedly, a Red is discovered with even more powerful skills than a Silver, and the world changes as they know it when it turns out that there are even more Reds with powers. I’m halfway through the series, and I feel like I have to complete it now because it has my attention. I won’t lie though that I sometimes read a while on it, and then I put it down and read something uplifting. I’m hoping it becomes a little more positive by the end, but at this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t. Again this book made me contemplate serious moral questions such as, “When, if ever, should a few be killed to save the many?” and “What role does propaganda play in setting the course of national events?” I would recommend this series for older teens and adults with the understanding that there is a lot of death and destruction and some mild language.

The second series is the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This series is set in a technologically advanced future after the world has suffered from a round of plague deaths. There is a population of people living on the Moon (Lunars) who are capable of visually deceiving people. The Lunar queen believes that the only heir is dead, but there are rumors saying otherwise. Meanwhile, there’s a unique cyborg teenage girl repairing droids and other electronics on Earth, and she’s just been asked to attend a ball. Unfortunately, her stepmother would rather she didn’t. Each book in this series is loosely based on a fairy tale character. The first is based on Cinderella, the second is based on Red Riding Hood, and the third is based on Rapunzel. These books have a serious bent, but they have some lighter material as well. I’ve just begun the third book in this series, and I’m looking forward to finishing the series. I recommend this series to teens and adults, and I compliment the author on the ability to tell a complex and fascinating young adult story without using any curse words. I was beginning to think that authors weren’t capable of writing fiction without those totally unnecessary ‘sentence enhancers.’ (That’s a Spongebob reference! I couldn’t resist!)

It feels good to write about my experiences, but it feels just as good to write about the awesome writing abilities of other people. I hope one of these books appeals to you, and even if it doesn’t, just give it a try to get outside your typical comfort zone.

 

What I’m reading right now: Cress by Marissa Meyer and Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Listening to right now: Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Books of the Bible I’m currently studying or reading: Titus, Revelation, I Chronicles

 

Back Again…

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ~ C.S. Lewis

I won’t make any excuses for where I’ve been all this time. I’ll just say that I didn’t follow through on what I started, but now I’m determined to keep up a regular post. The process will be cleansing for my soul, and I hope some of my situations will inspire someone else.

On that note, I thought about going back and re-reading my old posts, but instead I’m going to let my thoughts be what they were. No point in wasting time lamenting what I felt or wrote in the past. It’s probably how I felt, and I feel no need to hide it from anyone or myself.

Anyway, I am currently sitting at the computer doing the exciting job of cleaning out old emails while watching my Nashville Predators play. LET’S GO PREDATORS! (clap clap clap-clap-clap) As I sit here reading and deleting and reading and deleting and reading and deleting and did I mention that I’m reading and deleting? It occurs to me that technology has not eliminated my clutter. No, technology has only changed the form in which I have clutter. Instead of physical clutter, I now have digital clutter, and it’s all over the place.

  1. Email – This really goes without explanation. You give an email address for EVERYTHING, and you get an email from EVERYTHING.
  2. Pinterest – I LOVE Pinterest. I love finding things that make me laugh, recipes to try, crafts I want to do, and so on and so on, but sometimes I find myself drowning in pins and wishing I had time to do it all.
  3. Facebook (and any other form of social media) – Someone’s always posting an update that they want everyone to see, and I’m learning not to feel compelled to ready all of them.
  4. Texting – Most of the time, this is a handy development of technology, but sometimes I have pointless, time-wasting conversations with friends.
  5. Game apps – I am guilty of spending way too much time on my favorite hidden object game (Hidden City Hidden Object Adventure). It is fun, but what else could I be doing instead of playing it?

All I’m saying is that reading and deleting emails is encouraging me to simplify things. I don’t have a fail-proof plan for this. No step-by-step procedures to accomplish my ultimate goal. I just know that I don’t want to keep missing out on what’s happening right in front of me – ya know, this thing called LIFE?! I would rather be living in the now than living in the digital ether. Maybe that’s my goal for this year: more real life and less non-human interaction. Maybe that’s what ‘back again’ means.

What I’m reading right now: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard and Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Listening to right now: Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Books of the Bible I’m currently studying or reading: 2 Timothy, Revelation, Zechariah

I Am Lost. I Have Gone to Find Myself.

“I am lost. I have gone to find myself. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait.”

~ Author Unknown

I would love to say that life has been too busy, and while it has been busy, it hasn’t been that busy. I would love to say that I’ve had writer’s block and not one word would make it from my brain to my fingertips. That would also be untrue. I would really love to say that I’ve been out of the country on some really mysterious adventure that involved intrigue, romance, amazing food, and exotic locales, but anyone who knows me would find that excuse completely laughable. No, I can use none of those excuses as to why there has been no blog post since the fall of 2016, but I can honestly tell you why.

Two words: Writer’s fear. Yep, that’s right. I’ve not been suffering writer’s block so much as writer’s fear. I’ve been terrified for the last few months to put fingertips to keyboard to write another blog post out of sheer terror. Instead I used the holidays, cooking, family visits, and the like as an excuse NOT to write. The volume of my writing cowardice concerns me. I’ve been more worried about judgment than I have with my original goal.

My original goal was to write something that helped, entertained, or informed someone else in a positive way. I try to stay away from bashing anyone because I feel that only creates a pattern that someone else will reciprocate. I believe in holding on to my beliefs while letting other people hold on to their beliefs. I cannot change what someone else thinks, and I would never attempt to force someone to see things my way. However, I have a very strong opinion that no one has the right to change my beliefs either.

On that note, the current political and social climate in our country frightens me, and I’ve had great trouble putting a positive spin on things in my own mind. I’m not taking up for one side or the other as my beliefs tend to be somewhere down the middle of both main parties, but I do believe in freedom for anyone to think or say what they believe whether I agree with them or not. Nonetheless, I find myself living in fear from the repercussions of BOTH sides of the spectrum. Will I be too liberal for some and too conservative for others?

Probably.

The last several months I have attempted to hear people out on both sides of the political spectrum, and while I cannot agree with everyone, I have slowly come to understand why some people pull one way and some people pull the other way. The one thing that concerns me is that I no longer feel that I live in a country where I can say what I believe. I feel like I can only think what I believe, or someone will be rushing to court to sue me over the fact that I don’t see things his/her way. When did it become okay to sue someone because they don’t believe what you believe? Please don’t misunderstand and think that I am approving prejudice. Never!

All I know is this. There are a lot of people who feel that they are right about what they believe, and they will be damned before they let anyone disagree with them. The problem with this attitude is that you can’t force people to believe what you want them to believe. Remember the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”? This is a completely valid point in a lot of situations. Now I’m not saying to stop protesting or expressing your First Amendment rights because that’s exactly what I’ve been doing out of fear for the last few months. What I’m saying is that you must let others do the same. The moment we encroach upon the rights of someone else we open the door to the same treatment for ourselves. What I have witnessed in our country lately is a lot of angry individuals (on both sides) set on making other people see things their way. Intolerance is not what I’ve always felt our country represented, and it’s a dangerous path for us to find ourselves on now.

The reason that I write this now is because that fear has kept me from writing over the last few months. I know that the online world makes it easy to anonymously (and cowardly) attack another person. I could be fearful or apathetic and choose not to write, but I don’t want to cower down anymore and give in to the fear of hate and its evil. We’ve seen that happen too many times in history when good people didn’t speak up for the rights of the weak, the abused, the abandoned, and the defenseless. I have often avoided serious and heavy topics in the past because I wanted to bring something lighter to the table, but we can’t avoid the serious and the heavy in our daily lives if we’re living at all. Therefore, I won’t avoid the topics which I feel like I need to write about, and I’ll let the chips fall where they may while hoping the good people respond in kind and knowing the cowards will probably rise to the anonymous occasion to attack. At least I have warned myself.

No longer feeling lost…and ready to WRITE ON!