Sunday, December 6, 2015

Back to the Books

Hello, all you lovely, lovely people.  First of all, my sister's lovely blog has inspired me to make my own lovelier.  Therefore, you have her to thank for my new background.  Seriously, click that link, visit her blog, and thank her in the comments of her most recent post.  I'm counting on you.

Now, back to me!  Most of y'all know that I plan to be an author, hopefully a really famous one.  What you might not know (but probably do, since I blasted it to the world on Google+) is that I recently participated in and won NaNoWriMo.  That's National Novel Writing Month for you ignorant folks who don't care enough about me to know what I've done the last two Novembers.

Just kidding.  I love you, and you know it.

Anyway, I did NaNo and it was pretty great. 

Oops, I totally just randomly pasted my whole NaNo book onto this draft.

Anyway. Have a banner.  Winner 2015 - Square Button  Now that we're finished with that, I have a blog post to get to, and this has already gotten chaotic and off-track enough.

Let's talk about books!  Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I have some books to talk about, things I've read and things I'd recommend, and maybe even talk of my own book!

Books to Recommend

All the Wrong Questions, a series by Lemony Snicket (All ages)
Because it's awesome.  It's new and interesting, but subtle and sophisticated at the same time.  It contains possible the best writing I've ever had the privilege of reading, and is hilarious to boot.  It may be my favorite series, and I can't for the life of me decide which book is my favorite.

Mister Max, by Cynthia Voigt (All ages)
Because it's clever, exciting, and helps satisfy that part of me that is always sticking up for the kids, saying they can do anything an adult can.  Because it's written for kids but doesn't talk down to anyone.  Because it has a strong, bright, male protagonist and I'm tired of girls hogging everything.  Because it's fabulous, and you should read it.

The Agency, a series by Y. S. Lee
Not only is it set in Victorian England, which is pretty awesome on its own, but it deals with a lot of things besides.  It was a little refreshing to see the women here using the misconceptions about them to their advantage instead of whining and complaining like I've seen other places.  Also...spies.  When a book combines women in gorgeous dresses with martial arts and subterfuge, it's  got to be pretty awesome.  Another part of the story that I was not anticipating but found much enhanced the depth and interest of the story was the main character, Mary's, half-Chinese background.  I wasn't aware of that racial tension between Asians and English during that time period, but it does seem to fit, and is heightened by the fact that the author is Singaporian (not sure if that's a real word, but whatever).

The Fixer, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I loved the main character, Tess.  She's tough, smart, and kind of sarcastic, but she's not rude or a total smart-aleck like so many others.  That's refreshing.  She's also got a lot of stuff on her plate, which is added to a whole lot by the suspected murder of someone high up in D.C.  Then there's the whole Fixer thing, which is pretty awesome.  To quote the jacket: "When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price."

Hope was Here, by Joan Bauer (All ages)
I love books that feature MCs with a specific skill and place in life, and that's why I read Hope was Here.  Hope has grown up with her aunt, travelling from place to place as they work at and slowly improve restaurants.  Her aunt cooks, and Hope is a very experienced waitress.  And then there's the whole politics thing, which I also find very intriguing.  I'm not going to lay out the plot, I'm just going to tell you to read it.

The Safe Lands, a series by Jill Williamson
First I'll just say, this is a bit of a strange concept--a dystopian retelling of the story of Daniel.  But it worked for me.  Now, all of the Bible isn't PG, and this series wasn't either.  It dealt with some pretty serious issues, including drug use and sexual promiscuity (not at all descriptive).  But the whole way through, it's showing how these are wrong, so I didn't object to them like I would have in most other books.  The writing was good, the concepts were intriguing, and it had a happy ending.  I'm happy.  I will say, though, at the end I was wiped out, because I felt like I'd been completely plunged into another world.

Moon over Manifest, by Claire Vanderpool
Looking at it in retrospect, I'm just going to say this: this book made me cry so much.  So.  Much.  But it also made me laugh, cry with joy, and smile unstoppably at the end.  It pulls you in deep and doesn't let you go until you've felt every emotion possible.

The Great Greene Heist, by Varian Johnson (All ages)
Not many people know this, but I absolutely adore heist stories, especially clean heist stories.  And I love this book.  It has a smart, enigmatic main character who always wears a tie (one of my favorite details) who also has a really cool brother, and some friends with special and varied skills.  It's exciting, quirky, and even manages to be unique.  The dialogue is some of the best I've read, and always manages to draw me in to read more.

Okay, I'm finished with book recommendations for now.  What to do next...  Oh, I know!  I'll talk about some of my characters from my NaNo book!

Theodore Richard Norwood IV
He's rich, got a private island for his birthday once (I forget which birthday), and is pretty fancy.  He also likes to come up with detailed plots and not tell anyone about them, but still tell them what to do in order to further the cause.  I won't tell you some of the most important things about him, though, because it would ruin the book for you once it's written.  I will say, however, that he can be pretty arrogant sometimes, but he can also be really nice and thoughtful (though he'd never admit it).  He likes to drink coffee every morning as he reads the paper; black coffee, of course.  Anything else would ruin it.  He also can pick locks.

John Sebastian Northmond
He's Theodore's best friend, hired as such when Theodore was ten.  He's a pretty big guy and can seem pretty intimidating; he's often mistaken as Theodore's bodyguard.  He's very observant and can kick a door in (yes, he's quite awesome).  He's not very good with kids, but he likes them all the same.

Josephine Cora Greenleaf
She's a redhead who likes to keep her feelings to herself.  She runs an insane asylum where most of the inhabitants aren't really insane.  She's nice and quirky, but can be quite dangerous to her enemies.  Her biggest asset is that she has plenty of loyal friends and she's extremely loyal herself.

Rain Nomwo
She doesn't have a middle name, but she does have a big family.  Rain is the oldest of nine kids, and does quite a bit of hiding from her responsibilities.  She's a little shy and withdrawn, but can be bold with people she's comfortable with.

EDIT that I completely forgot to include earlier:  If you have any book suggestions for me, please tell me in the comments!  Thanks!

That's it.

So long, y'all!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Let it Rain" and Just Deserts (which is ironic because it's very dry in the desert)

And a nice picture so my face doesn't show up on the G+ post

David Nail's song, "Let it Rain," has received many criticisms since it came out in 2011.  Most of them I don't disagree with, especially the point that the hook is pretty weak and misplaced.  I do, however, have something to add to them.


So let it rain, let it pour, if she don’t love me anymore,
Just let it come down on me, let it come down on me,
Every word, let it hurt, even more than I deserve,
Let it come down on me, let it come down on me, let it rain

This is the chorus.  Ignore the bad grammar and focus on the third line.  Then focus even more on the second half of the third line.  ...even more than I deserve...

If you ask me, that sounds pretty arrogant.  Now, let's examine this closely.  To start, I'll tell you what the song is about.  It's pretty much about this guy who cheats on his wife this one night and then he (rightly) feels awful and ashamed about it, but his wife is of course pretty angry and throws all his stuff out the window.  Part of me wonders how much in the house is his and how long it took for her to throw it out, and did she just keep the stuff they owned equally?  But the other part of me likes to stay on-track, so that's what I'll do.  The parts of the song that don't explain that story are him talking about how bad he feels and how he is so ashamed.

Now, before you get to that third line, you're thinking, "Okay, this guy's really sorry and thinks he can't ever do enough to atone for his mistake."  And then you hit those five words.  ...even more than I deserve...

Now, why would anyone ever want to be hurt more than he deserves?  The concept of deserving something means that those things are equal.  You get the feel from most of "Let it Rain" that he thinks that compensation could never be equal to the sin he's committed.  But the third line makes it clear that he wants words that hurt more than what he did.  This essentially means that he's weighed the sin and found that it can be justified.  To carry it even further, he wants the sin to be more than justified.  He wants to be the victim.

Martyr complex, anyone?

You might think I'm looking too deep into this, especially since it's just a fictional situation and it can be hard to find the right words in songwriting, but I disagree.  That line ruins the whole song for me.  It, in my opinion, makes it much more self-centered and really trashes the whole shame theme.

Have a good day!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Anna's Archives: The Pokeberry Episode

If you don't know what pokeberries are, these are pokeberries:
Don't they look delicious?  Don't you just want to pick off berry after delicious berry and pop it into you mouth?

Well, don't.  Settle down with a cup of hot tea and your favorite rock in your hand, listen to the imaginary fireplace roar, and hear my cautioning tale to the world's youth.

Once upon a time, I was four.  Or younger.  For the sake of argument, though, we're just going to call it four.  At my tender age, I was yet unused to the ways of poisonous berries masquerading as tempting little bite-size meals, and thus, as I wandered in the fresh air, treading my favorite paths with the sun and trees as my only witness, I happened upon a pokeberry bush and did not know of its deadly nature.  Hardly thinking--such was the foolishness of my youth!--I reached one plump, soft hand out to grasp that which was my downfall.

As I feasted upon those tender morsels, the eldest offspring of my parents caught a fear-filled glance of my gluttony and reported it to the aforementioned parents, whose loving and tender hearts were brimmed with terror at the fate which might befall their fifth female offspring.  For, being wise and full of years, they knew of the danger those harmless-appearing purple berries presented.

Gathering me up in their caring arms, they straightaway removed my from my deadly meal and returned me to our humble dwelling, where syrup of ipecac was administered to me by the steady hands of my maternal parent, her and my father's hope being that I would expel the poisonous berries from my young body in an upward lurch through my innards.

Their hope was not answered until two long, dreadful hours were passed, and as I sat in the tub commonly used for bathing, now used for waiting and toying with playthings, I felt the tug in my stomach, a fateful sign of what was to come.  That is, what was to come up.

Moral:  Don't eat pokeberries unless you have ipecac syrup on hand.  As you can see, I turned out fine, so no harm done.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New Series: Anna's Archives!

Today I am launching a new series called Anna's Archives, which is essentially just me telling stories about myself and things related to myself.  I'm actually looking to start a few series, which I'll post for off and on, in no particular order, but this is the first.

So, how this works is, whenever I tell a true story about myself, Anna's Archives will go in the title with it.  I don't know how often I'll post, but I hope more.  I should have one coming out today, if I'm not too lazy, so look forward to that.

I really want to continue What Really Happened, and I will eventually, but my ideas are being stoppered up by the Wonders of Distraction.  I'll get to it.

So, about the series--the reason I'm starting so many is essentially so every post of mine is labeled, and when you see the title, you know the genre.  It may seem a little boxed to you (don't ask me what I mean by that, 'cause I'll have nothing to say), but it will make my life seem more fun to me.  And every once in a while I will post delightfully spontaneous little gems with no warning, posts that are not in any series except the series of my beautiful mind (came out weird, but whatever).

So there you have it, and I'm out of here (for now, that is; like I said, there's another post coming).

Friday, June 26, 2015

Going Numb

I don't have the energy for a long post.  I only have a few words, and I'm not going to pull any more out.

America is going numb.  Slowly, things that should matter are losing their impact, and every time I think there's a victory, it turns out that it doesn't matter.  It still doesn't change the way things are and the way they're going.

The Supreme Court legalized same-sex "marriage" and with everything else happening these days, I'm thoroughly depressed.  How can everyone ignore truth, and just manipulate things until they get their way?  Even if people realize the wrong, they just let them get away with it.  Why aren't we doing anything?  Why are we standing still while they slowly but steadily progress?

I know that more bad things will happen, and I know someday there will be an end, but now, it just seems like we could do more.  Why are we just ignoring it?

I have more questions than answers, but I'm sure once I think about it, I'll decide that there's really nothing I can do about it.  I'll turn numb, start thinking about other things, when maybe right now, with all these questions bouncing around in my head, I'm the closest I've been to the truth.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Fourteen-mile Marker

 The River of Time

If you're anything like me, you have some weird ideas about time and people and life in general.  On this day, my fourteenth birthday, I am thinking about time.

I don't know how most people imagine time.  Maybe a golden timeline against a black background?  That's how it usually is with me.  Today, however, I had more of a mission in mind.  I wanted to find out how best to illustrate my position on ages and passing years.

See, I've never really thought of age as something that defined me.  For me, it always seemed more like a meaningless label, just a number that would soon pass and be replaced.  More like a marker, not an area of life.  So how to illustrate it?  As I paced in the kitchen, holding imaginary conversations with my librarian, the idea came to me.

It's like a river.  A river with mile markers on the sides.  However, the mistake you could make is assuming that the river is age.  Ever flowing, pretty much unstoppable if no humans interfere.  It's rather a natural assumption.  But the river is time, which is also a natural assumption and probably one you thought of before I ever brought up age.  The mile markers are age.  They don't change anything, don't determine the course of the river, they simply show the change.  They put it into numbers to be easier to understand.

Those numbers have never really effected me.  I've had people tell me I seemed older than my age, and it never came as a surprise.  But neither did I expect it.  It simply was, and I think deep down I wondered how any age was different than another.  I was slightly flattered, yes, but I was unsure of why.  And it still is slightly mysterious to me.  I think part of the reason for this is that my mind is more creative than logical.  I've never liked numbers.  I've never understood why they were so important.  I've always felt like the same person, so I guess I never let my age define me.  It never seemed to matter, because I've always been more focused on what I knew and how I was dealing with life.

So I'm at the fourteen-mile marker.  And I'm not super excited about this year.  It's just another year.  True, there will be presents, and people congratulating me, and no school for the day, but aside from that, what is a birthday?  To me, it's more like a memory, reminding me that this is the day I was born.  It, for me, serves to show me how far I've come emotionally.  But all the other years, all the other birthdays?  They numbers are all gone, and I see the past in one whole section.  I also have a really bad memory, so that might have something to do with it, but humor me, please.

Time's Markers

I share a birthday with Angelina Jolie.  I've never actually cared about AJ or what she did, but she's the only person whose name I recognized on the list of famous people who have June 4th birthdays.  However, shame on Wikipedia, I was not on the list.  Now, though, I have a goal.  To get on that list.  I will know I'm famous when my birthday is on Wikipedia.  (Does anyone else pronounce this "Wi-ki-pe-di-a?")

That is a sort of time marker.  The way people's ages really sink in, though, is Christmases, for me.  I was shocked when I realized my grandmother had celebrated eighty Christmases.  Her age suddenly became real for me.  Just like understanding I've been through fourteen Christmases.

I have a friend who uses cars to judge time.  It really sinks in for him when he realizes what kind of car a person was driving/around when he was his age.

It amuses me, the different ways in which we mark time.  In a way, I suppose it's not the past we're marking, it's the present.  Looking at the sum of everything that's happened in our lives and asking, "So where am I now?"  Sometimes, we really need the importance of the passage of time impressed upon us.  At least I do.  Sometimes I need to be reminded of all the change that happens.

But then again, I feel the change.  I think carefully about the change.  I guess it really is the past that I need to remember.

All About Me

I'M A GROWED DOLT NOW!  I'M SAILING DOWN THE RIVER OF TIME, WITH THE TOP BUCKLE ON MY LIFE JACKET UNDONE!  Dramatic?  Most certainly.  But once I start the metaphors, it's hard to stop.

I'm fourteen!  Let's throw a party.  And as a beautiful gift to the Internet, I shall bequeath upon you some time markers.
Three years ago, being self-conscious about my teeth and sporting my new fancy-schmancy eye-wear
Displaying DSCN2756.JPG
Two years ago, holding Chuck the tree snake

A year ago I changed my fashion choices and began dressing like a business man.  Just kidding!  This was for a friend's Clue-themed birthday party.  I was Mr. Green.
A couple months ago, with my hair beautifully curled by a friend.  Note the braces and the lack of glasses.  I've upgraded to contacts!

Just a few minutes ago.  And yes, that is the best smile I could come up with.  I'm sorry, I'm just not a big smiler.  THIS IS THE SECOND PICTURE OF FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD ME EVER TAKEN!  I didn't like the first so much.

One more thing I forgot to mention--just about a week ago I found out that my birthday is in Spring.  All these years, I thought I had a summer birthday.  How in the world could I have been so uninformed?!  All these years, I've thought about which season is my favorite.  Spring or Summer?  "I like Spring because it has my favorite kind of weather--dark and rainy and warm.  But Summer has my birthday, so I really like it!  How can I decide between my favorite weather and a holiday that's all about me?"  Y'all, the choice is now clear, and that makes me so happy.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Today I Had an Ultrasound

Please don't faint, it's not like that!  It was for my leg, honest! 

Are you okay?  Do you need some water?  Okay, good, and you can lie down if you need to.  I almost felt like I needed to after they drew blood from my arm.

Another bomb!  Although that was more like a firecracker, really, lacking the shock power of a real explosion.  I mean, who cares if they stuck a needle into my vein and drew out a bunch of bright red blood?  And here's something sort of like a wimpy footstomp.  I have a prescription of bright red pills that I have to take thrice daily.

Why, you ask?  Why have you bombarded us with all this information that we don't really want to read about and yet keep doing it?

It's my toe.  For a few weeks I have felt that my toes were hurting.  I though it was just a winter thing, but I realized that it was actually only the middle one hurting and that it was red and swollen.  So I went to the doctor today.  Because the other toes were red and sometimes blue or slightly purple, Mrs. Doctor thought it might be a circulation problem.  Mommy took me to Raleigh Radiology and I had an ultrasound on my leg.  When we got back to the doctor, it turned out that there was nothing wrong with my circulation.  So she (Mrs. Doctor) prescribed some antibiotic pills to take with my meals.  But Mrs. Doctor also decided that some blood work could be done if Mommy wanted it (Mommy did) so I walked over to the lab and had them stick a needle in my arm while I spouted nonsense and tried to ignore the sting! 

I get the results of the blood work back on Friday or Monday, and hopefully I won't have diabetes (which is what they're testing for). 

I hope I didn't scare you too much.  Goodbye!

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Most Recent Piece of Writing--Satire!

To be specific, politically satirical poetry.  I've written a political poem before, but it was much more serious and pretty much a poem about what is going to happen if we keep going down this road.  This one has a more light-hearted feel and has a really weird meter that I used for convenience.

Let's Make a Rule

Let's make a rule!
A god, of sorts
That we can dress ourselves.
To be a tool
That when we wish
We can set upon the shelf.
Something rather
To them when they first hear.
(If they gather
The real purpose
They might not let us come near.)
A help to us
And everyone.
We, of course, know best.
And if they fuss
We'll call them names
And frighten all the rest.
We like this plan!
Just what we need
To keep everyone under control.
We'll gather fans
Show them who's boss
And say it's for the people!
There we have it.
Picture perfect.
We are on our way
To having them admit
That we're in charge.
I believe we've claimed the day.