Memories: The Case for Art in School

I had amazing choir directors at church and at school growing up.  They forced me to face any fears I had about stage fright very early (there is a picture of me at like 6 on a stage at church doing a solo – I suspect I sounded horrible but he made EVERYONE have a solo).  I don’t have stage fright. Another thing I know singing taught me is elocution – “the skill of clear and expressive speech, especially of distinct pronunciation and articulation” When I worked on the phones, I was constantly complimented on how easy I was to understand compared to my peers.  It took me a long time to understand that singing had taught me to literally open my mouth when forming my words.  It wasn’t until I stared at someone who was complaining that they kept getting complaints – I saw it.  I literally saw it and it clicked.  I looked at them and said something like, “You need to practice singing

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Writing: Writer vs. Reader Opinions

I didn’t have a good title for this post, but I’ve tried 3 times to write something similar and it hasn’t worked yet, so we’re going with this title for the time being and maybe someday I can come up with something better (I’m open to ideas!) The thing is, I’ve been reading books lately by male authors and I’m surprised by how much I am liking the female characters.  I’m reading a Brandon Sanderson book right now and damn if he doesn’t write females that I like.  And variety.  They aren’t all simpering male-hunters or just background or evil hags or… pick any of the stereotypes that plague female characters. I also can’t help but see elements of discussions of race and equality in books lately.  I’m seeing political discussions that I’m not sure whether the author meant them or not.  Authoritarianism vs. independence, responsibilities of leaders to those they lead – I can’t tell if the art is

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Review: Pride & Prejudice

I love this book.  I have it in at least 3 different forms and always have it loaded on my table and/or phone.  It’s one of the rare books I keep around to pick up and put down regularly. It isn’t a great love story.  Damn, I get mad about the women in the book and their manipulation and the toxic society they lived in that led to those machinations.  But it it is one my favorites nonetheless.  I love Jane, the sister who loves everyone and lives in her own idealized version of the world.  I love Charlotte, the ultimate pragmatist.  I even love Lydia, the sister who you love and dread.  And of course I love Elizabeth.  The woman who doesn’t want to compromise her ideals for pragmatism.  She wants love; even at the cost of fortune.  She isn’t willing to give into her society that says material wealth is the only option for her. I would love

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Writing: Editing process

I have 2 types of editing I do.  One is the “technical” editing of words, grammar, punctuation, etc.  I (like many writers apparently) pretty much hate this part of editing.  It needs to be done and I know that.  *But I hates it. (*Gollum’s voice there) So I get myself through it by brute force.  I start at the end and take it one sentence at a time.  Occasionally, I’ll print a page off (double-spaced) and red-pen mark up the grammar.  I have even been known to diagram a sentence to prove to myself I’m not being grammatically evil (or I am because I want to be evil). I find by working backwards, I don’t get caught up (errr… usually don’t get caught up) reading what I wrote.  This is the danger.  Reading is much more fun than editing and if allowed, my brain will begin reading what I’ve been writing and sinking back into the story and characters and world. It’s trudging

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Politics: Improvements or SHUT UP

I am so sick of reading political news right now.  I am so sick of the “my way or NO ONE GETS ANYTHING” tone of the rhetoric.  Why are “cooperation” and “compromise” nasty words?  In politics especially they are a requirement. When people don’t apply these we get half-assed solutions that get thrown out before they even have a chance to make any significant impact (bad OR good).  Lemme give an example. Obamacare has problems.  A LOT of problems.  I said since day 0 of the discussion I couldn’t 100% support ANY passage which exempted Congress.  AFTER ACA passed I still grumbled about this point – I think Congressmen should have to buy their own insurance from the exchange from within THEIR district.  So little tiny district in Wyoming (or GA) has shitty options?  Guess who lives with shitty options? THAT SAID, when the GOP kept trying to “repeal and replace” without ever actually building or talking about a replacement PLAN….

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Writing: I want to write a TV Show

I have been re-listening to Ready Player One – and it has made me go from “dislike” to “UGH THE WORST” on the movie.  I have moved my dial from “well, you can tell it was “inspired by” to “were they even trying?!?” And I know, they probably had a ton of difficulty getting rights to stuff (stupid copyright holders probably being greedy, selfish, bastards). But part of the problem is containing that scale into a movie.  I have been tumbling through my Plex list of movies and IMDB to see if I can think of a single movie that gives a scale to the universe that RPO should have had and honestly, the closest I get is Star Wars IV A New Hope, but that is journey movie – they have 3 major locations (Tattoine, Death Star/Alderaan, and Yavin) and they are SO DIFFERENT it helps.  Now, it might also be that I grew up so entangled in all three of the orignal

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Throwback Thurs: Cinnamon

I found some old notebooks at the bottom of the box last weekend – including one my first ever journals.  The first three entries frankly brought me to tears. They are all about my first cat Cinnamon. Text: Thurs, Feb. 18, 1997 Today I haven’t been feeling well so I called Mom and came home sick. I’ve slept most of the afternoon and I am about to go to bed. Vic, a kid in my class, asked me on the 4 if I would go out with him. It was the morning after Cinnamen [sic] had been put down so I was still upset. He kept on pressuring me until Brittney started to beat him up. [I feel like I need to define “beat up” was usually with a piece of PAPER] I am having a rough year so far. Vic is only making it worse. [God, I feel so sorry for him.  His timing was TERRIBLE – but it

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Writing: Magic exploration

I thought today I would walk through an example of my “back end” thought process on Magic. I have a magic system that I want to have “locked” from a past conflict in the world.  It has minimized the magic any one person has and definitely minimized magic in the world. The “adventure” for the protagonist will be her (initially unwitting) cascade of unleashing this magic back into her world. My struggle is that I want to have relatively-low-magic but not NO magic.  So I am trying to set limitations: Healers all have a random disability (blindness, deafness, loss of motor skills, debilitating migraines, etc.) because theirs is actually DEATH magic.  They don’t know this… Fire starters can’t feel injuries – making them TERRIBLE to try to use in battle.  They might be dying of a wound and not have any clue about it until they’ve bled too close to death to be saved. Water manipulators ??? – I don’t

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