A tale of Snow Love

With all the snow storms/blizzards....snowcopolypse...snow- whatevers...going on out there, I thought I would tell you children a tale of true love and snow storms.

It happened in the year 1994. That was a long time ago. In 1994 we had a big snowstorm here in Kentucky. I got snowed in for a week, but not snowed in where I wanted to be, with Lee. (Though if I had waited half an hour the expressway would've been closed and I would've been trapped with him). It was a week of adolescent angst, that I should've been beyond at the age of 19.

But no, I was miserable. I ran up the phone bill. I moped. I whined.

And in February we got engaged, because we couldn't stand being apart that long. we were married in August, so no more separation during blizzards.

And all these snow storms later, we're still together.

In fact I'd like one more snow day, so I could sit here with him, drink some cocoa, and watch a few movies from circa 1994. Like Pulp Fiction.

(no subject)

Let me start by saying that I LOVE me some post-apocolyptic literature. It's one of my favorite subgenres. There's something so exciting about tossing out the society we have now and starting over. There's a sense of desperation and adventure that keeps me up and reading as long as I can keep my eyes open.

My first introduction, way back in high school, was The Stand. OMG, do I love that book. Nick Andros is by far my favorite character, with Frannie a close second (though I can't say I loved her character in the movie). It's such a good book, so many fascinating characters, a classic tale of good vs. evil. One of the elements that I loved/hated about the Stand was Larry singing a hit song right before the end of the world. That's so...horrifying for all those artists out there (Stephen King knew what he was doing) Having someone acheive a seemingly impossible dream...right before the world as we know it ends. After Handcuffs sold I was somewhat sure, deep down, that the world would end before it came out. But, it didn't. :)

A great thing about The Stand is that it makes the end of the world at least a little bit fun. I mean, not when you think about everyone you know dying, or about some of our favorite characters dying tragically, and Randall Flagg being pretty scary (those jeans, avert your eyes...avert your eyes). But still, there was plenty of food, and people met other fun people. It seemed like a pretty fun adventure in a lot of ways. More fun than high school, for sure.

Next up on my voyage to the end of the world was Swan Song by Robert McCammon. I read this is college, and it was quite a shock. A lot of people died early on in this book. And there were some really vile characters. The first time I started it, I couldn't make it through. It was  too dark. Years later I made it through, and was glad. It isn't one of my favorite books, because I didn't have a strong connection to any of the characters, but it was well worth the read. The thing about Swan Song is that it paints the human race as pretty ugly characters, but in the end, there's a sort of redemption for the good people.

The last entry in my post is The Road. From page one, I was terrified of continuing this book. Terrified. What I was most afraid of didn't happen, but there are a few scenes that will haunt me for a long time. Unlike the Stand and Swan Song, there are no assembles groups of survivors getting together and hanging out and making connections. There wasn't a lot of action in this book, but I was tense from the first page. It didn't make the end of the world seem fun at all. The hope was there, but it was hard to come by.

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Next week I'm getting back to posting about writing and about being an anthropologist in teenworld and all that.

This week, I'm totally inundated with stuff that I have to do. How do you get out from a mountain of to do lists? You get a snow day!!!!!

And that's what happened today. Exactly what I needed.

And one last shot...the obligatory me taking a picture of the cat through the window shot

And you know what? It's COLD out there. We could be out again tomorrow.

Nano- Break

Regular anthropologizing and blogging has been put on hold for Nanowrimo (national novel writers month)

But I do bring you this bit of Nano-Writer-Mama angst

So, today was beautiful, so I took my manuscript and took the kids to this awesome park. I was like, yeah I'm a great mom. Then this other mom came in and kept running around with and talking to and playing with her kids. While I was crouched over my manuscript muttering to myself, whispering lines of dialogue, being mildly creepy and insane. Thanks awesome mom for making me feel like not as much of an awesome mom.
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Teaser Tuesday

An excerpt from something I'm not talking about yet. Except my mom read everything I'd written, but then when I asked for her opinion she had reception problems and had to go (In all fairness to my writing, her phone doesn't work more than it works)

The rooms are huge, and the low ceilings give them a cavernous feel, they are full of corners and shadows, with open places where you can see that there are more rooms, and more rooms still, like a house of mirrors, except instead of reflections you are looking at some warped version of reality, in which there are more rooms here than could possibly exist, even in a house this huge. I step over a headless doll. Blocks are strewn across the floor as if a child might be returning to finish his castle. A broken toy drum lies in the corner, a drumstick has been thrust through the leather membrane.

     A spider the size of my hand scurries across the room and into the mouth of a lifelike baby doll. The (name deleted) children of the past certainly had an abundance of dolls. Mother never bought me any, though I had a stuffed pink rabbit, once.

     I walk, slowly, through tea sets waiting for eternity for a tea party. Ropes of paper flowers and stars and moons have been hung from the rafters. I stand on tip toe to peer at them. The fluttering paper is attached to heavy rope. Odd.

     In one of the dormers, a low area where the ceiling matches the slope of the roof above, I find what I am looking for.

     Ugly black manacles, and a mattress.

     That’s all. I wonder why they didn’t get rid of this, burn the mattress. Otherwise, the room is clean, and empty.

     The house groans, and I hear footsteps creaking through the attic. There is a staircase, leading down from this room, a thing of wrought iron, with a flowing design of roses and barbs. I don’t wait for the footsteps to reach me. I run, across the room, stepping once on the mattress. A noxious smell blooms from it, thick as a cloud. I don’t inhale, just grab the banister, iron thorns piercing my hand, and bound downstairs.

Horror in YA

Okay, change of plans. Today I'm doing a bit on Horror. I bought several really interesting looking horror YA books this summer, as well as some classic stuff.

As much paranormaly stuff is out there, there doesn't seem to be much real horror. I don't really know if this is a genre that we need...I love Stephen King, but I tend to love his more fantasy stuff (The Stand, The Dark Tower, my personal favorite, The Talisman) though I do ADORE It.

As an anthropologist in teenworld :) I really think that teens would like more horror. The Cirque de Freak books remain popular even in high school (not sure about the movie, I only saw part of one preview). I sort of think the trend might be really dark books.

Tomorrow I'll be posting a teaser tuesday, and wednesday, thursday and friday I'll be posting teen opinions on horror fiction.

Yay! Spooky stuff!
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Non teaser Tuesday.

On second thought, I'm not posting the bullying scene from Handcuffs today. For one thing, I hate to post something that a lot of people have read, so I don't want to bore people, plus I don't have time today to post on the other teaser tuesday stuff. Somehow life has overwhelmed me this week. I hope to get caught up with posting stuff tomorrow. Crossing fingers. Dreaming of getting some sleep!
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Bullying in High School

My small children know what a bully is. In fact, my 6 year old has asked me before, what he should do if someone bullies him. Luckily we haven't had to deal with anything like that. But chances are that someday, we will. Most kids will, at some time, deal with some manner of bullying.

My favorite depictions of real life middle school take your milk money style bullying are from Christopher Paul Curtis' Watsons Go To Birmingham. The descriptions of Byron and Buphead, and Larry Dunn playing the role of the "carp" are both sad and hilarious. This is a type of physical bullying that I never went through. I did get little girl bullied. In fact, learning how to act like a little girl was a painful process for me, since I was more accustomed to hanging around with boys. Being pushed out of the "club" was a common way to feel bullied in third and fourth grade. It was also terribly painful, and pretty effective.

I was asked in an interview (yesterday, actually) if the bullying that takes place in handcuffs was based on stuff I had seen as a high school teacher, and (despite my claim of being an anthropologist in teenworld) it really was not. Cause what I was going for in the scenes I wrote in Handcuffs, was the moment when adults aren't present. Yeah, plenty of stuff gets said in front of teachers and other school personnel, but the really nasty stuff happens when adults aren't present. And if adults don't think that kids these days can sexually harass one another in a way that would  turn your hair white, well, you haven't heard much. Or you have really fade-resistant hair.

I don't think you see much in YA lit that really plumbs the depths, and I don't think you need to.

I've been criticized a few times on goodreads for the depiction of bullying that I put in Handcuffs. Here's how I wrote the scene (I'll post the scene tomorrow for teaser-tuesday). I wanted Parker to be mortified. Totally and completely mortified. She is cornered and sexually harassed in front of an entire class, while the substitute teacher (no offense to substitute teachers, I adore substitute teachers)  reads the newspaper.

Was the scene painful for me--yes. For that reason, I believed that I had acheived what I set out to write.
I'll be writing about cyber-bullying this week, too. It's a scary reality out there.