Wednesday, September 23, 2015

baby knows, but baby don't tease me

i went to harry potter world! which was awesome! and included a twelve plus hour road trip! with an infant! please know that i mean every single one of those exclamation points. i am screaming this at you from your screen.

buuut i'm not going to tell you about the trip - at least not right now - because i feel like it deserves more concentration and pretty words than i am currently able to give it. (i mean, harry potter world.) plus, i want to literary rant. it's been far too long since i've done one of those. (i think. honestly i've been away from this blog for so long that the previous post could be a literary rant and i wouldn't even know because i am a lazy bum who won't check.)

anyway, last time we drove down to florida, i reached a point about halfway through the trip where everything on my ipod was making me nauseous or angry or bored. basically, i was sick of my music, had run out of things to say as we sat in traffic, and the car was too quiet. this time, i was prepared. i brought audiobooks! (can i just say that as someone who claims to love libraries and someone who has complained numerous times about how audiobooks are too expensive, it took me a ridiculously long time to check out audibooks from the library.)

we listened to the golden compass first because i loved that series and my husband had never read it and always said that he wanted to. (i remember being mindblown after finishing the first book and immediately going to the library to get the second and third. and refusing to read anything afterwards for days because i did not want to leave that world or those characters. my husband's reaction to the book after listening to it for almost twelve hours? "meh.") but once we had finished that one, on the way back to virginia, we started deception point by dan brown, and oh. my. god.

so at first i thought that this might be his debut novel, and i was willing to cut him a little slack, but i just looked it up and nope. it's not even his second book. it's his third. as in, you had two books to perfect your writing and my slack? you get none of it. he wrote this after he wrote angels and demons, and i read that and did not have to stop in the middle to rant about his writing. at least, i don't remember doing that, and i don't think that's something i'm likely to forget, but that is exactly what i had to do while listening last night. my husband loved that, let me tell you.

my main issue with dan brown was always that reading his robert langdon books made me feel uncomfortable. like i was invited to a dinner party and the host was obviously playing footsie under the table with that guest that he was flirting with while his wife was cooking dinner earlier, and his wife is sitting right next to him and you're not sure if you should say something, but she has to know doesn't she? i mean the way he's looking at that guest makes it abundantly clear that he is in love and there is no way that she could have missed that, is there?

but anyway, this was an entirely different issue. this was a writing issue that even i, as someone with no formal writing education and exactly zero published novels under her belt, know not to do. see, in good writing, you are taken along on a journey with the character. you see what s/he sees, learn what they learn, fall into the story. when you want to build suspense or create curiosity about something then you don't tell your main character about it. they should not find out and then tease us with the information. we should not have to read pages about how he is in total shock about what he is seeing and oh my god he cannot believe  his eyes and this is the most amazing thing ever and he can't stop looking at it and shut up i'm not telling you what it is. i mean, sure, end a chapter with something like that to make sure the reader starts the next one. you can maybe go a couple of pages once every book or two where the reader is left in the dark. maybe. but do not go on for over a chapter with the incessant teasing every single time new information is revealed. it does not make me want to read on to find out what's happening. it makes me want to smack the author with his book and never pick it up again. it makes me hate your characters, lose interest in your plot, and wonder how your editor has a job. it feels like betrayal. and frustration. and just enough annoyance to make me stop and rant. (also, it seemed like the characters themselves deal with this inside the book way too often. for example, the president flies rachel out to tell her something and after what sounded like forever (at least a few typed pages) talking around it, she snaps something about getting to the point already. which were my sentiments exactly.)

maybe it's because i'm listening to the book instead of reading it, i'm not sure. but i cannot handle this writing "style" - if you can call it that - at all, and i think this may have turned me off of dan brown books forever.

*Tranquilize - The Killers

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

at the beginning of the summer, with my hormones still out of wack from the whole having a baby thing and my brain just starting to function again as cricket started sleeping better, i made some school related decisions. basically, i decided to stop it... for now. i decided to stop being the computer forensics GTA and started replying to the many emails i get from prospective students with "unfortunately, i will not be working with this program for much longer and you should probably direct your questions elsewhere." i decided to finally just drop this really heavy, really dead weight phd attempt once and for all. it had just turned into this dreadful drain on my life that i wasn't even really working towards anymore, just kind of hoping that it would either happen or go away on its own. after almost ten years (ugh) i was going to finally, finally be done with mason. at least for now. at least so i could take a breather. at least until i wanted to go back to school because i wanted to go back to school and not because i was just stuck in it. after twenty-five years of being a student (because i am counting daycare/preschool for dramatics), i was ready to throw in the towel.

fast forward to the end of the summer, and i somehow found myself signing another year long contract to be the GTA for the computer forensics program. i somehow ended up in my adviser's office talking about switching my topic and giving this whole thing one last go. i am somehow heading to school in a bit for my first office hours of the semester, and... how did this happen?! i had plans. i made decisions. i was supposed to have pulled myself out of the quicksand of my life that is academia. and yet, here i am, right where i'm always at. sigh. i mean, my scholarship ends this semester and the idea of coming out of these past few years without a degree still makes me want to throw up, so i guess this is my attempt to say that i tried. my attempt to see if i want this enough to continue it when i'm not being paid to do so. this is my last chance to prove that i do have motivation and willpower and tenacity. but i can't help but feel like the real truth of the matter is that i've been running in place for so long that i don't know how to stop. i can't move forward and i can't still my feet. i'm like a warped energizer bunny.

i'm pretty sure that school is so wrapped up with who i am and what i do that if i ever did manage to get away from it, i would probably stop breathing.