Choose your own adventure

I wanted to give some background information before I delve into my topic. They connect, I promise, but feel free to scroll down if you only want to read about books.

Personal note: 

I haven’t written in a long time.

Reasons

It’s mostly down to stress. Not only have I been interviewing for jobs–a fun activity at the best of times–but my grandpa is dying. (He’s entering hospice care this weekend.) My current job hasn’t exactly been helping.

But wait, there’s more! 

As a result, I’ve been getting tension headaches. (Which have been nearly continuous for a week now.) They’ve either been causing or exacerbated by my insomnia.

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Ah, insomnia. It’s horrible to go to sleep early enough to get a good night’s rest and then spend half the night lying awake. I’m too wound up to sleep, but too tired to do anything else.

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A couple of nights like that and I feel like this:

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Side note: why are there so many disturbing images in a kids’ cartoon?

My insomnia stems from stress as well. It almost always shows up around the time I have major life choices. Which brings me to my topic:

Have you ever seen a “choose your own adventure” book? 

They’ve been on my mind lately.

At my elementary school, they were the most popular books in our library. There was a mad dash for the best ones during reading time. Even when you promised your friend they could have a turn too, it was hard to give up once you’d started.

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The crack cocaine of third grade Continue reading

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3 types of books to read when it’s too hot to think

I always have the best of intentions.

When it comes to reading, I pick out a lot of books that sound fun. I also usually try to get a couple nonfiction or literary books to balance out the sillier fare I love.

But this has felt shockingly accurate lately:

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It’s awfully hard to focus on books “to improve your mind” when you’re pretty sure you’re about to melt. Continue reading

Good God(s): Wonder Woman vs. Mythology (pt. 2)

In my post yesterday, I started comparing the Wonder Woman movie to the mythology that inspired her world.

Now, let’s see how Wonder Woman does against the gods.

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Children of Zeus

Movie/Comic: It’s later implied/stated that Diana is the daughter of Zeus. Honestly, I think this is an incredibly boring twist and preferred the earlier women-centric origin story. At least it’s different.

Myths: My biggest problem with this is that Zeus raped, seduced, and/or generally screwed almost every woman in ancient Greece. (And carried off a young boy once as an eagle, presumably with less-than-honorable intentions.) The idea of Hippolyta sleeping with him is…icky.

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Seriously, it’s harder to find a hero who isn’t Zeus’ kid. Continue reading

The Problem with Wonder Woman: Confessions of a Mythology Lover

First things first, I’ve been excited about the Wonder Woman movie ever since Diana Prince showed up in Batman vs. Superman.

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Was it perfect? Of course not.

Did I expect it to be perfect? Also no.

While there were some clumsy moments–mostly the way the whole origin story was framed–I loved the movie. My biggest problem was actually with the mythology. Continue reading

Adapt or Die

The students I’ve worked with this year are now on summer vacation. Some of them have probably even taken a look at their yearbook since then. I’m willing to bet at least a few of them see something like this written in there:

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Nice sentiment. Horrible message.

As I think about yearbooks and all the years since high school, there’s one concept I keep coming back to: transformation.

 blue satisfying chrysalis moho GIFYeah, like that, but more literary.

Continue reading

Mum’s the word

I started this on Mother’s Day.

At first, I wanted to write about wonderful mothers in stories. Then I thought about how often the main character doesn’t have a mother. It’s not all that surprising…if you want to give your character a tragic backstory, few things are more traumatic than the loss of someone who loved you unconditionally.

Besides, think of the ways the story might have changed if the character did have a mother:

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There aren’t many mothers in fairy tales…or Disney movies. After all, if there’s going to be a wicked stepmother, the mother has to go.

Exceptions Continue reading

“I got it from my mama”: stories to share

It’s Mothers’ Day today! In honor of the occasion, this post is going to be all about those fabulous, life-giving women in the world.

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More specifically, it’s going to be about the stories they shared with us.

When my sister and I were very small, my parents read us bedtime stories. There are far, far too many to recount here. I still remember most of them with love.

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This, however, was terrifying. Thanks, Mum! 😛

from What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss

Answer: This picture.  Continue reading

The stories that started it all

If I asked you right now what stories you loved best, what would you say? Are there any stories that have stuck with you for over a decade?

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For most of us, those books were from childhood. They’re the stories we grew up with, the ones that were there when we had a feeling we didn’t know how to express, the ones that showed us we weren’t alone, the ones that showed us a bigger, more magical world.

The ones we will, in fact, love forever.  Continue reading

Kick-ass beginnings & cautionary tales

How many times have you seen the following?

A writer sits down in front of a blank page. They are going to write. It might be the next great novel or a story that will define the age. Maybe it’s a shopping list. Who really knows?

They stare at the page for a while. Finally: Eureka! An idea.

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….maybe.

Beginnings can be tricky. If you’re hoping to sell the story you’ve lovingly crafted, there is even more pressure to get it right. You want your audience to keep going.  So, what can you do? Continue reading