Thursday, December 6, 2012


Ok for the entire month of November I wast posting random numbers as my status on Facebook. I had a lot of people coming up to me or commenting asking what the hell the numbers meant. I would explain that I was participating in NaNoWriMo and that the numbers were the word count. Most people gave me a look like I'd drank my breakfast, so I've decided to take a minute and explain what NaNoWriMo is and why I did it.

To start with NaNoWriMo stand for National (Na) Novel (No) Writing (Wri) Month (Mo). As the NaNoWriMo website states it's 30 days and nights of literary abandon. NaNoWriMo is a month long challenge for writers to complete a novel, 50,000, words in one month. In order to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month every participant must write 1667 words per day to finish on time. I went in with the understanding that the reward was simply knowing that you completed the challenge and now had the first draft of a manuscript. However I was pleasantly surprised at the end of November when I completed the challenge to find that there were several wonderful writer-y prizes to be had.

I first learned about NaNoWriMo back in 2008 when I took a Creative Writing course at the University of Maine. On the first day of class our professor informed us that we would be writing a novel that semester as well as several other pieces, and no joke the number of students was cut in half by the next class. we used the NaNoWriMo concept but had almost two months to complete it rather than just the one. Ever since then I've wanted to see if I could do the one month challenge but would forget about it until halfway through November. This year a friend of mine asked me if I was going to do it and I thought about it. I had just finished completing the first draft of another piece and I wanted another writing project while I let the previous one sit for a while before editing. I had multiple ideas kicking around in my head (per usual) so I figured I would take one and see if I could do it for NaNoWriMo.

The biggest worry I had about NaNoWriMo was the fact that when I write I write by hand not on a computer but in order to maintain accurate word counts and to validate my novel at the end of the month I would have to write on the computer. I was worried because typically when I write creatively and I do so on a computer I stare at the blinking cursor until my eyes go cross at a loss for what to write, but when I put a pen to paper it spills out of me a lot of the time faster than I can write it. I also like the pen and paper because you can take it anywhere and write when you get a free minute. Also I was worried because I work two jobs one writing for a paper which could exhaust my writing and consume time with interviews and retail which has it's busiest season in November.

But despite my insecurities with using technology to write and the heavy workload I faced I completed the challenge. I had friends pushing me keeping me on track and asking about my word count, so to you I say thank you. I had family who questioned my involvement in such a challenge and I thank you for wanting to make me do it that much more so I could show you the finished work. And to all the people on Facebook who wondered what drugs I was on writing random numbers as my status, thank you for making reaffirm my reasons for participating in NaNoWriMo.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I want to start today by saying that I am sorry I've been slacking a bit. Life as is has a way of doing has gotten in the way of my blogging. I was unable to continue my reading challenge month by month. With moving and trying to find a place to live and a new job things kind of fell by the wayside. When I picked up a book i wanted it to be a book I wanted to read and not a book I had to read. I wanted to get lost in the fictional world and sometimes familiar world. I wanted to find that escape into a well read book with cracks on the spine and earmarked pages. I wanted to find the new tales of familiar friends. I wanted to delve into those books that I'd accumulated on my night stand until my challenge was over because they didn't meet any of the criteria.
The with Novemeber came a new challenge a month long challenge, NaNoWriMo. I will explain that later but for now I want to again apologize and tell you I will now resume my installments of book reviews, writing nonsense, and endless chatter about nothing at all.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Biographies #1: Night - Elie Wiesel

I started my biography month just a tad early because I wouldn't have had enough time to finish another book by the end of May and because I can't not be reading something. I started with "Night" because I'd heard great things about it from many people.

Elie Weisel was only thirteen when he was forced with the rest of his family to leave their home and board a train destined for a Nazi concentration camp. "Night" follows his journey through his life during World War II and the multiple c a story, with concentration camps he was placed in.

This was not an easy read. While with other books you can tell yourself that it is only a story,  with biography you can't do that. There is no denile that this didn't' happen and that a real human being dint' go through all all of these things. Weisel's story in painful to read but a story that will truly reach down to your soul. Weisel's recounting of this painful period in his life is so vivid and real that I couldn't help but feel like I was there with him, while still knowing that as much as I was feeling, for him it would have been at least twice as much. I'm not really one to cry at books and movies not matter how sad, however, once I finished reading this book all the emotions that had been building up as I read poured over and I cried. I highly recommend this book. It is a story everyone should hear.

Classics # 4: Anne of Green Gables - L M Montgomery

Again this month I wasn't able to read as many books as I would've like to, but it was another crazy month. As my last book for my Classics challenge I chose. "Anne of Green Gables" for a couple of reasons. One was because almost everyone I know was telling me what a good book it was. The second reason I chose this book was that when I was about five years old my family went on it's first and only vacation to Prince Edward Island, where this book is set, while there we visited Green Gables. 

Anne is an orphaned girl who has never known a real home and has come to Green Gables on Prince Edward Island completely by mistake. Here she finds a home, a home she always wanted and never had. Here she struggles with growing up and trying to fit in, in a place where she can't help but stand out.

I enjoyed this book. It wasn't lie a lot of the other books I read. Most of them are book with mystery, action, or science fiction, whereas this book was about the human experience, real life, no frills , nothing extra, just real people in real situations. Montgomery's writing is person and realistic Anne personality jumps right off the page making you fall in love with Anne. While you could easily imagine this story becoming sad and sappy but it doesn't. This story is excellent and well done a story any little girl would fall in love with.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Classics #3: The Crucible - Arthur Miller

The great thing about classic books is that they come in all shapes and sizes. No one would dispute the face that William Shakespeare's works are classics yest mostly they are plays and poems. Embracing the the diversity that comes with reading classics and opted for a play as my third book in this challenge.

In 1692 in a small Massachusetts village was plagued by witchcraft hysteria. This incident would go on to be remembered long after those involved were dead and gone and the village of Salem Massachusetts changed beyond what the victims would recognize. In this short play Arthur Miller takes a look at the hysteria that consumed Salem Village and follows the lives of some of the major people involved.

First I want to state that from when I first heard about it I have be absolutely fascinated by the Salem  Witch Trials. It was my favorite part of history class and my favorite destination on my eighth grade class trip. Reading this was enjoyable and interesting. Aside from getting to read about one of my favorite topics I also got the challenge of reading a play. Plays are a little more difficult to read only because they are meant to be seen visually and not necessarily read. Thankfully I have an active imagination which helps me to see the play staged out in my head without the aid of actors. Another interesting thing about reading this particular play an knowing when it was written is seeing the correlation in the topic chosen and the politics of the time. You draw a line of parallel between the hysteria of the witch trials in 1692 and the McCarthyism that was plaguing our nation in the 1950's. "The Crucible" was  a powerful piece bringing to life a dark period in American History giving it's perpetrators and victims a face and a voice.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Classics #2: To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Again this book was another cross over book from the previous challenge. This book was recommend to me by my friend Ann. She said I would love this book and I should give it a try. So I did. Now not really what most people would term a classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" fits in this category because it is a book that has stood the test of time and is one of the books a lot of teachers in this country require their students to read. Having said that I will state that I was never required to read this book in any of my English classes in high school or college.

For six year old Scout Finch the world is about to change. Set in a time when race was a much bigger issue in this country "To Kill A Mockingbird" is a tale about race, justice, love, and doing what your conscience tells you to. Scout is the daughter of lawyer Atticus Finch and along with her brother Jem and their friend Dill they are about to face some of the hardest things they will ever have to face. When a black man is arrested and accused of raping a white woman Scout and Jem come face to face with the realities and harshness of racism and intolerance.

I have to say Ann didn't lie when she said I would love this book, I did. Lee created a wonderful story that talked about real, hard issues and put it through the eyes of a child. Children see things that we as adults don't. There is no gray area, it is black and white and they want to know the reasons for why something is happening whereas as adults we tend to ask fewer and fewer questions instead of more.There is an honesty in Lee's story and a blinding truthfulness that comes from being told from the point of view of a child. Scout doesn't have a bias, or the agenda of an adult. This is an excellent way to get a message across to a wide variety of people without the claiming of prejudice. I loved this story and am finding it hard to put into words at the moment all the other things I think about this book. The piece is fantastic and everyone should read it. It is relevant to all people of all generations.

Classics #1: Persuassion - Jane Austen

Ok so initially this book was supposed to be part of my friends and family challenge but since that didn't work out I decided it would make a great transition book in to the second challenge of Classics. My friend Sunni is a huge Jane Austen fan so when I got her recommendation for my book challenge I wasn't surprised. This was a perfect book to transition over with because it was initiated last month but worked for this month as well.

Anne is the youngest of three daughters and the one most often forgotten and left out. Now twenty-nine years old Anne's young life has one major regret that she let herself be persuaded that the man she loved wasn't worthy enough and so she broke it off with him. When the man she loves come back into her life after being gone so long will Anne get another chance to right the wrong she made all those years ago or will she continue to be persuaded by others?

This is actually the first Jane Austen book I've ever read. Shocking I know it seems to be a requirement to read at least one of these books by the age of 20 if you're a woman. Now while it has taken me a while to come around to fulfilling this requirement by the unseen forces that determine the rules and requirements I am glad that I finally did get around to reading one of Austen's books. The story was well written and the characters were vibrant and alive. The way Austen weaves her story is strong and enticing and you can't help but get ensnared in the lives of the characters she creates. I have to say that upon reading a description of this book it isn't the kind of book I would normally have been drawn to. Now, however, I see that this is exactly the kind of book I like. The characters are strong, true, and real; while the story is well written, captivating and enjoyable. Austen has created a wonderfully strong female character that I can relate to.