Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You Think About It When You're Reading, But Not When You're Writing

Yes, it's a pretty long title for a blog post, I know. 
There are plenty of problems we can easily see in another author's writing as we read them. It's catching these things in our own works that we may have a problem with. I am just as guilty as the next guy so don't be offended; I'm not pointing fingers at anyone in particular. I'm pointing fingers at EVERYONE. (he he)

When a story has more than six main characters, it's so easy for a reader to confuse them all. Especially if they have similar speech patterns, sense of humor, etc. Let's say you introduce Bob and Ron as good friends first thing in a story. You describe their physical differences at the beginning and go from there. Two chapters and a lot of dialogue or action or whatever from now, will I really remember which one is a redhead and which is a blonde? Which is tall and lanky and which is slightly shorter? Most likely not.

Now imagine that we have to try and remember this for multiple characters. I tend to introduce new characters smack dab in the middle of my stories so, yeah, now you have someone new to try to keep up with. So let's make this easy on the reader, shall we?
Remind us of what they look like. Remind us of their quirks. Is everyone in the room a blonde? Which one is the jokester? Which one cracks his knuckles constantly? This may seem like "well, duh" advice but like I said, it's easier to catch such things when reading someone else' story. When we read our own, we already have a mental picture of that particular character that immediately jumps to mind. We made them. We know them best. We can see every detail clearly. Our reader, however, may not.

An easy way to do this is to stop using a character's name so often. Referring to a character by name only becomes old fast. I see this a lot when I beta read and it kind of drives me nuts. Here is a little paragraph as an example of what I suggest not to do:

           Ron knocked on the door with vigor. When Bob answered, they said their greetings quickly and moved to the kitchen. Bob made tea for them both and neither spoke as they stood leaning against the counter, blowing in their cups. Finally, Bob looked up.
"Should we get to it, then?"
Ron sipped slowly and said nothing. Bob continued to stare at Ron in earnest. After another moment of sipping, Ron met his gaze. 
"Alright then, where's ya tax forms?" Ron asked.

Not bad, but it could be better. This is what I would do differently.

          Ron knocked on the door with vigor, swatting the dark locks from his eyes as he did so. He cursed his long, curly hair and swore to himself that he'd see the barber before the day was out. 
When Bob answered, they said their greetings quickly and moved to the kitchen. Bob made tea for them both and neither spoke as they stood leaning against the counter, blowing in their cups. Finally, the farmer looked up.
"Should we get to it, then?"
Ron sipped slowly and said nothing. His old school friend continued to stare at him in earnest. After another moment of sipping, the guest met the shorter man's gaze. 
"Alright then, where's ya tax forms?" Ron asked.

Most of what I write has only a few main characters. One or two have about a dozen who pop in and out of the story. Either way, I like to reiterate certain things every once in a while not only for memory's sake but to keep the story more interesting. And though I use their names, I may not always need to for the reader to know who I'm talking about. Referring to someone as "the redhead" or "the vampire" for a few paragraphs is perfectly fine if they're the only redhead or vampire in that scene. 

Again, pretty basic and obvious stuff but keep these things in mind when you're going over your first, second and third draft. Ron said, Bob said, Ron said, Bob said is not going to keep a reader interested for long. And which one was Ron again?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Extra Life 2014

Every year my buddies at Power-Ups Not Included participate in a charity event called Extra Life. For those of you who have no idea what this is all about, here's the rundown. 
Extra Life is an annual event where gamers pledge to play games for twenty-four hours straight to raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Each player calls for friends and family to make donations through email, social media and word of mouth. Started in 2008, Extra Life has raised millions for children's hospitals. Last year they raised four million dollars!

This year I decided to participate and see if I could raise money for my local children's hospital. Though you don't absolutely have to stay up and play for twenty-four hours, my friends always take the challenge and I didn't want to fall short on my first year. So I got some drinks and snacks together, shipped the kids off to different locations for the weekend (grandparents), had my games ready and set out to raise some dough!

My goal was to raise two hundred dollars. The plan was to start on Friday night and finish up on Saturday night, a bit ahead of my PUNI friends' schedules. I started out around 6:30pm by playing Wartune online. I had just started a new server and was making some good friends in my guild. Next, I played World of Warcraft for a bit. When my body was tired of sitting and staring at my computer, I decided to go fire up the Wii. I played Wii Sports Resort for a bit and actually had some of the best gaming I've ever had on that game. I murdered my previous score in Frisbee Dog!

Soon enough, I was ready to switch it up again. I tried to play Dragon Age 2 on the PS3 but I was still towards the beginning and it was so much dialogue. Blah, blah, blah, that was trying to put me to sleep! I swigged a gross tasting five hour energy drink and moved on.
I went back to my PC and played Wartune on a different server for a bit. Then I figured I'd play some League of Legends. Now LoL is a fun game, don't get me wrong, but I really suck at it. That's one of those games that I play for fun but have no expectations at all of doing well. Unless, I'm drinking, then I'm decent at it. 

As night became day, sleepiness began tapping my shoulder. I ignored it. I took some caffeine pills at some point. Then, only a little over an hour later, I drank another energy drink, completely forgetting until afterwards that I'd just have caffeine pills. Big mistake. After hours of PC gaming, it was time to switch up again. I could have spent most of my time on the PC but my ADD wouldn't have it. I played a few games on my phone, all the while beginning to feel sicker and sicker. The caffeine overdose really started kicking my butt. I felt sick for the rest of the day and well into the night. But I kept going. Small trash can at the ready, stomach groaning and bitching, I was determined to push through and finish my first year, even if I had to puke and game simultaneously for the last five hours!

Sitting and playing on my phone had my eyes drooping so I switched up again and played a board game with my husband: Trouble. I honestly can't even remember who won but the competition of a live gamer right there woke me up. After that it was back to the ol' PC to wrap it up. I called on some friends and we played a few games of League of Legends. They even helped me improve on my game some, bless their dear hearts. I need all the help I can get!

Unfortunately, after my time was up, sleep didn't want to take me completely. After three hours of dozing I was back up feeling sickly so I decided to hop back online and support the team members who were still gaming. 

In the end, I raised one hundred and fifty-one dollars. It was actually way more than I expected! I'm really grateful to everyone who supported me as I gamed by donating, sharing my posts and cheering me on. This was one hell of an experience that I hope I can do again. 

When the day was done, our team, PUNI, raised three thousand, one hundred and seventy-five dollars for children's hospitals. All Extra Lifers raked in over five million, six hundred thousand dollars! And even better, donations can still be made until the end of the year. Please consider donating if you haven't already. It's for a worthy cause. 

See, gamers are awesome people after all.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Books That Should Be Movies Pt. 1

We all know that Hollywood has run out of ideas. I mean, their about to redo Ghostbusters. The time for original thinking has passed. Turning to books has become popular but unlike everyone else, I recommend turning to older books instead of those that just came out. I hate it when they're already starting a movie series based on a book series that isn't even completed yet. That's exactly how a lot of anime series go horribly wrong.

Anywho, when it comes to children's books, I think the best series to make the leap to the big screen should be Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence. These five books are a fun fantasy read that I could see as epic movies. If they're told right. And if they're told in order. I actually think that if Disney took the initiative, they could make some real masterpieces. I could even see Peter Jackson directing. 

I would so pee myself in excitement if these wonderful books were ever made into screenplays but I'll say right now that there are definitely things that should NOT be done when prepping these bad boys for Hollywood. 

Do not:
1. Make the children older. Back in 2007, Fox made the mistake of trying to make the second book in the series into a movie entitled The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising. This was a horrific failure. They literally stabbed my childhood in the heart by taking a huge shit on a Newbery Honor winning book. Of the hundreds of problems with that movie, the one I will touch on here is the fact that they changed the main character's age. He's supposed to be just turning eleven. In the movie, he is turning fourteen.
A teenager has a completely different view of the world than a pre-teen does. These books are about children, not horny kids who see every member of the opposite sex as a potential girlfriend/boyfriend. The innocence of childhood is actually pretty relevant to the stories. Don't mess with that.
2. Skip books in the series. Thanks Disney for screwing up the Chronicles of Narnia movies by skipping books. Just because said books didn't involve the characters that you deem most important, doesn't mean you can just pretend they aren't there. It was the chronicles of NARNIA not the chronicles of four siblings. 
Don't skip Over Sea, Under Stone just because it doesn't involve Will Stanton and is aimed at a younger audience. The Drew children are relevant to later books.

3. Make them American. Don't even think about it. That crappy movie from 2007 did this. Locations in the UK become important in later books so don't screw with this. Also, English kids are so cute. 
  3. Cut corners. Don't leave out huge chunks of the story because filming them would be a pain. If it would take two and a half hours to tell the story right, then that's how long it needs to take. Don't get slack on the funds because if done right I believe that these could be serious box office cash cows. Don't make every scene involving magic on a computer. When Merriman and Will jump off a cliff and dive deep into the ocean, let's not make that entire scene CG. Part of it, sure, fake bubbles would be cool looking of course. Use real actors people, that's what they're paid for. 

4. Make a completely different story out of it. Please don't do this. A few changes here and there are always going to happen, I know, but these books wouldn't have won awards if they weren't excellent stories. There is a scene in The Dark Is Rising where Will discusses religion with a priest very briefly. Knowing how sensitive some Christians can be, I'd leave that out (cause some people are on the lookout for things to boycott) but I honestly can't think of any other situations that would really offend anyone so I see very little that should be changed. 
And to those Christians reading this, don't get offended. There are fanatics in every religion. I read these books as a child would, seeing only magic and wonder. I don't over analyze children's books. To this day, I haven't told my children about the religious parallels in The Chronicles of Narnia. It's just a story about a magical world and a friendly lion. 
The conflict here is between the Light and the Dark, two outside forces that try to manipulate people based on the good and evil already in their hearts. Deities have nothing to do with it. 

To conclude, I think that if someone took the initiative and wrote some decent screenplays based on this series, the film industry could have some real box office jewels that could become instant classics in family entertainment. I know I'd be happier than a pig in shit.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Own Neverland

When I was kid, I was really into the story of Peter Pan. I loved the book, the Disney movie, even the Broadway production where a blonde chick played Peter. But my favorite version had to be the early nineties cartoon show, Fox's Peter Pan and the Pirates.
In this version, Wendy and her brothers live in Neverland for an unknown amount of time. Could be years, could be days and who knows when time is different in Neverland compared to here? This cartoon didn't only focus on Peter, Wendy and Hook but also on the other lesser-known pirates which was something new when it came to the Peter Pan legacy. The characters' appearances are different than most previous versions as well.

What I loved most about this show was that every day was a new adventure. There was danger, excitement and always a small lesson to be learned about friendship, though Peter himself rarely learned any real moral lessons. I loved that the Darling children never felt any pressing need to return to their parents and their previous life. They were enjoying all the splendors of Neverland for as long as they could. 

To this day I can recall a dream I had when I was about seven years old. I remember it in vivid detail. I was sitting in my second grade class, listening as I should, when suddenly from the open window, a ball of light flew in. Little red-headed Tinkerbell had flown all the way from Neverland to my classroom! And she was asking me to go back with her!
Of course, in my dream I was ecstatic and immediately left with her, teacher and classmates be damned. With a sprinkling of fairy dust, away we flew and man, was Neverland everything I knew it would be! All of the lost boys were there with Wendy and her brothers. Peter wasn't pleased at first that Tinkerbell had brought a strange girl without his permission but I went out of my way to prove my worth by fighting pirates and befriending the Indian tribe. 

Oh, the wonders of a child's mind where a simple dream can change a person's view of the world around them. When I woke from this dream I was so sad. Really, really sad. Because you see, I'd returned from a place where magic and games are an everyday occurrence, to a place where broken dreams were a reality. 
I was constantly bullied as a child. I awoke every day knowing that I would be told how ugly, stupid and useless I was. Nothing I said was right. Nothing I wore was cool. All of my friends were losers. Basically, everything about me was wrong. 
And adults just didn't seem to notice this bullying. If I complained, I was just being whiny and over dramatic. My tender little mind was having a really hard time with this. 

But once I dreamed such a lovely dream and woke up so sad, I soon told myself that it didn't really have to end. I could go back there whenever I wanted. And so, every night when I lay down and had trouble sleeping, I'd make up a story. I'd return to Neverland and be the first lost girl ever! (This was of course, long before they made that Return to Neverland movie with the annoyingly serious daughter of Wendy, Jane.)
This is when my first real stories began. I soon developed elaborate plots and great ongoing adventures with my Neverland friends. These make-believe bedtime tales went on for years but it was the next year, in my third grade class that I realized my calling. My teacher, Mrs. Baldree, told me that the stories I wrote for assignments were really good. "You could be a writer one day," she said.
I'm sure the old woman had no idea what that one sentence did for my little ego. Someone thought I was worth something! I was actually good at something! That was when I told myself that I would be a writer one day. 
But it took many years for me to really even begin writing anything. I didn't start writing poetry until seventh grade. Later, I began writing on a sweet little drama about children enjoying the wonder and freedom of playing outdoors all summer. And slowly over the years, I began to truly feel that calling deep inside me. It wasn't enough to want to write. No, you have to need to write.

Now here I am, published and with so much more left in my soul that it's nearly bursting with stories to share. I'm still not that great at storytelling. Oh, the stories themselves are great but my skills at telling them are still lacking. But I do hope that one day I will evolve into an accomplished writer who can be proud of every short story and piece of poetry that ever poured out of me.

And to this day, late at night when I have trouble sleeping, I return to Neverland and the simple joys of childhood. Nibs and I run through fields of wildflowers and chase fairies. Peter and I laugh and fly wildly at the pirates we harass for the sake of fun. Wendy smiles warmly at me as I tell her of my adventures. And not once do I worry about going home. 

I'm a writer. My imagination is home.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

New Story!

When I wrote IRISH SQUEEZE I intended it to be a one-time thing. But during the editing process with the publishing company, the editor made a suggestion I hadn't even considered. 

Put in a bit more detail about Melissa's brother just in case you want to do a sequel about him. 

The idea immediately appealed to me but I couldn't come up with a story about him. The more I tried to think about it, the more I rammed my head against a brick wall. So I did what I always do when this happens: I left it. Moved on to other things and had some successful writing there. This was over a year ago.

The other night right before sleep took me away to a lovely land of endless possibilities, I had a revelation. Suddenly, I knew exactly what Joey's story was! It hit me like a slap in the face and I struggled to memorize it before I dozed off. And luckily, I still remembered it all the next day. Nice!

I'm excited to get into this novel because though it will be an erotica, I think the story itself is a great one. The characters feel very real to me and their problems genuine. I've already got over a chapter into the rough draft and I haven't hit any roadblocks yet. 
Hope to have this one completed in a few months. It would be pretty awesome if I could get it published around the beginning of year, just like IRISH SQUEEZE was. I can't make any promises about that because life happens but I do believe this will be an easy story to write, even though getting it started took so long.

Writing a new story is always so exciting!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Wait

Of all the things that suck about being a writer (and believe me, there are many) I think what I hate most is waiting for a rejection letter. It's so nerve-racking that I tend to get seriously anxious about it. Overeating and everything. Okay, I always overeat but, more than usual!

Notice I said waiting for a rejection letter and not waiting for a letter that asks for your completed manuscript. Cause I've never received one of those from a literary agent. For those of you who don't know, I've only ever published through a small online publishing house.

But this time, for my "big, epic" novel that I've been working on for over six years now, I want to go through a big publishing house. So, it's search for an agent time! Yay! I seriously suck at self-promotion so my query letters always get rejected without a second glance. I'm just not good at summarizing. I don't know how to make my letter grab their attention without throwing my hands in the air and yelling "Hey! Look at me! My story is awesome-sauce!"

The wait though. Oh geez, it sucks. And worse is when you don't even get a response. Some agencies actually post on their site that they won't give a response if they aren't interested. Okay, I get that, you guys are busy. But those that say "Will respond in 4 to 6 weeks" and then you hear nothing back? Not cool. Especially when you query them again, a different agent of the same company even, because you think maybe it somehow got lost in the mail or went to their spam folder and you STILL never hear a word back. Not a damn peep. 
That's just not cool.

I'm not naming names but since 2008 I have queried multiple agencies on different works and have had ten "no responses". That's how I label them in my query notes. I guess that may not seem like a lot but at that time I would never query multiple agencies simultaneously so that was a long time of waiting and waiting before finally just moving on. Just thinking about all that wasted time makes me wanna go eat some ice cream.

I've queried two separate agencies recently; one in July and one a few days ago. I'm really hoping that I hear something back from at least one of them in the next two months. Meanwhile, I try to keep myself busy with kids, reading, TV, chores, other writing, gaming, etc. so I don't wring my hands. 
But checking my email everyday is awful.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Writing Advice

I once tried to join a local "writer's club" just to pick the brains of others and maybe not feel so alone in my craft. Turns out most of the writers were non-fiction. I write only fiction. The only other fiction writers and I got along okay but it wasn't all I thought it would be. 

I thought I'd make friends with like-minded individuals and we could maybe bounce ideas off each other, beta read for each other, talk about what we loved to read, that kind of stuff. But everyone was so different. Yeah, I was young and naive. Well, I was younger, I'm still pretty naive. 
They had different techniques, habits, opinions, etc. I think I made three meetings before I bailed. (It didn't help that they always wanted to meet in a small, crowded coffee shop where we had to practically yell to hear each other. Who the hell wants to yell out their short erotic story to strangers in public?)

My point is, people are different and writers are people too. You can't clump us all together. We think differently and we approach our writing differently. What works for one may not work for all. 
Our writing isn't all the same too. You can't compare me to Anne Rice because we both wrote some erotica. If I say I write fantasy, don't say "Oh, like The Lord of The Rings?" 
Uh, that is a fantasy, yes, but nothing at all like what I write. 

So when you give advice, remember that what works for some may not work for all. You might want to self-publish, I might prefer a publishing house. You might like to describe your characters in minute detail, I may leave more to the imagination. You might utilize all your social media outlets to promote your book and be very successful, I might do the same exact thing and be ignored. 

This is why I take all advice from publishers, editors and authors with a grain of salt. I listen, I consider it, then I decide if I should actually use it or not. Just because it worked for fifty other people does not mean it will work for me. I expect people to do the same with any advice I give because I am no expert. I only observe and report here, people. But I do the best I can.
Don't we all?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Where Have I Been?

For the few of you that actually follow this blog, this might have been your question for the last few months.
Honestly, I can't even answer that. It's somewhere dark, for sure.
I've been in a pretty bad place lately and crawling out of this midnight-black hole is a slippery, nail breaking process. But I'm working on it.

I've felt pretty overwhelmed in all aspects of my life but one that's killing me is dealing with other authors. It's starting to get to me for reasons it shouldn't. I've been trying to review and critique for friends and fellow struggling authors and though I really want to help these people, I just can't get motivated anymore. My days are busy this summer with the kids out of school and when I do have a minute to sit down and read, I just don't feel like it. I'd rather sleep. Or drink. Or watch Supernatural and get my Dean fix while I drink and before I sleep.

Also struggling with my vampire novel. I know the story is great but I feel like I just suck at telling it. No one will critique it for me or give me helpful pointers. At this point, I just don't think it will ever get published because I refuse to do a self-publish on it. I want a publishing house, however small, with an in-house editor to look at this thing. 
But it isn't there yet. It still isn't quite presentable.

What to do when I feel like my own creativity is failing me? I've stepped away from it and completed other works, hoping that when I come back to it I will have a fresh perspective and better ideas. Alas, it isn't so.

Perhaps I should get someone to co-author this manuscript with me? Two heads are better than one and honestly, what could it hurt? 
But how do you even go about finding someone to write with you? Who do you ask in the online world? How do you find someone that not only writes the exact same genre but has a similar line of thought? 

Yes, I know this is a rather depressing post and I apologize for that but this is life. It isn't always sunshine and rainbows shooting out of a unicorn's ass while it skips through a field of daisies with a drunken leprechaun on it's back. 

Sometimes it just sucks. Sometimes you get lost.
Sometimes you stumble on your way back to the light.
And sometimes you just need help. Everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. I might need three to lift my ass out of this funk.

Until next time, find your happy place people and good luck with whatever problems life is throwing your way.

Friday, May 16, 2014

4 Things Stephen King Novels REALLY Taught Me

I'm a fan of Stephen King. I'm not a die-hard fan who's read everything he's ever written but I do have a bookcase of his works that I reread once in a while. I've always loved horror and fantasy but his stories involve much more complicated concepts than just things going bump in the night.
So I started thinking about what I've really taken away from his novels and why I have always enjoyed them so much. WARNING! There may be spoilers for those who haven't read some Stephen King novels.

1. Some of the scariest monsters are human.

Vampires and sorcerers and all manner of scary creatures reside in the pages of Uncle Stevie's works but often the most horrifying events occur between members of our species. A good example is James "Big Jim" Rennie from Under The Dome. Here is a character who has no problem manipulating and even murdering people for his own gain. King does a phenomenal job creating these believable characters that we can relate to but also these believable characters that we loathe. Isn't this true in real life as well? 
In The Mist, we see what fear can do to normal, rational people: turn them into spineless sheep who will rally behind anyone who may have a solution, however immoral or insane it may be. This theme is used in many of his works including one of my favorite Castle Rock stories, Needful Things.
They may be just stories but I think they reflect how society reacts to stress and panic quite well.

2. Anyone can die.

I remember reading Cujo in high school and when I asked an adult I knew if they had read it, she made a disgusted face and said, "When I read the part about the boy dying, I threw it in the trash." I'm sure the horrified expression on my face was something to see. Throw a book in the TRASH! Because you didn't like the fact that the little boy died?
Let's face it, our favorite characters can't live forever. As much as I cheered for Peter at the end of The Eyes of The Dragon, I was upset but not put off by the death of Jake in The Dark Tower VII. And this poor kid died twice! It may be upsetting when one of your favorite characters dies but come on people, is it really a reason to discontinue reading a book or series that you were enjoying so much before the death?
I like that Stephen King isn't afraid to kill off a main character, even someone he's made you get quite attached to. People you love really die. Children get cancer everyday. Tomorrow I could be hit by a car. Death is a part of life. A painful part to be sure but a real one. 
And sunshine and rainbows everywhere all the time isn't what I consider a great, entertaining read.

3. Happy wrap-it-up endings are nice but that's not always the case.

Continuing with the theme that doom and gloom are more believable, our protagonist doesn't always get to ride off into the sunset at the end of a book. I like it when they do (hell doesn't everyone?) but it just can't happen every time. At the end of 'Salem's Lot, Ben and Mark survive the vampires and escape but both are mentally exhausted and nearly broken. They still have to go back and kill every person in the town and that is certainly nothing to look forward to.
If you continue on and read the real ending of The Dark Tower VII, you find that Roland has traveled all this way to find the dark tower and once he enters the last room, he is transported back to the very beginning of the first book only to begin the quest anew, with no memory of having done it before. Man, that sucks.
Things can't always end well and sometimes it doesn't really end at all. And I'm okay with that.

4. I want to be a fantasy writer.

One of the biggest influences for my interest in writing fantasy and science fiction is Stephen King and the magical worlds he has created. I'm drawn into these places and fall in love with these characters every time I read one of his books. And I buy them so I can visit these stories again and again. 

I want to be able to do that with my own stories. I want my readers to be unable to put it down, to thirst for the next chapter, to hunger for a sequel. I know I'll never be quite as talented as Mr. King, but I want my worlds to be known, if only for my own enjoyment.
I'm been a writer for some time now. I've had a couple works published but I still struggle to get a fantasy story in print. It can be daunting sometimes but I will continue to write and edit and rewrite because when you have a story inside you, it's something you can't contain. You have to let it out and you can only hope that others will love it the way you do. The way I love Uncle Stevie's works.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Gravity of Wall Street

I just watched a couple movies that I wasn't so sure about at first but ended up liking: GRAVITY and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Warning, there will be spoilers so if you haven't seen and plan to, leave now. Otherwise, carry on.

Now I love Sandra Bullock. Ever since SPEED, she's been my go-to girl for sweet drama and adorable laughs. But after hearing the premise for this movie, I was kinda like, eh, I don't know. But my husband brought it home from Redbox and we watched it together. Well, I watched it, he fell asleep halfway through. Not from boredom but that's just what happens when we watch movies together. 
I was pretty impressed with her performance, as usual. She's an astronaut named Ryan on her first trip into space. An accident happens and she and George Clooney's character, Matt, are stuck with little oxygen and a long way to go to get back to Earth. She's flipping out and soon reveals that she'd lost her four year old daughter. "Now, I just drive. I get in the car and drive."

Throughout the movie we watch as she struggles to survive, even as Matt is lost to her. As he drifts away from her with no way to get back, Matt says "You have to learn to let go." What? Are you kidding? I'd be freaking out too if I knew someone was going to die and could still hear their voice as they slowly become a dot in the black. And there's nothing anyone can do about it. Yes, this is the perfect time to freak out!
Eventually, you have this scene that takes place after she decides to just give up. 

Yep, it's time to go home, alright. Time to let go and move on. It took almost dying in space for Ryan to start living, really living, again. Best line of the movie: "No more just driving. Let's go home."

WOLF OF WALL STREET was a fun movie to watch. Long, really long but still entertaining as hell. The story follows the humble beginnings of stock broker Jordan Belfort as he lies and swindles his way up the Wall Street food chain to become a millionaire. Sex and drugs and money, money, money are all he needs. 
And then things start to go bad. The government starts to take notice and investigate. You can smooth talk thousands of dollars out of people's wallets and into your hand but you can't make the FBI turn a blind eye. And drugs are a serious problem with this guy. This scene had me laughing for five minutes straight.

As hilarious as this is, it's also messed up because he makes the stupidest decisions and later endangers the life of his kid while high. Not cool. 
Of course it all comes crashing down around him and he has to do some jail time but he did come to realize what his real strengths were and eventually used them to help people other than himself. Because you can't be a selfish prick forever, right? Right?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Paranoid Parenting

My dislike and mistrust of people has heightened more and more these past few years. Which is probably why my paranoia about my kids has become more extreme. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not excessively extreme. I don't keep them in a bubble. But honestly, they really don't get out with other kids as much as they should.

My newest addition is a month old now and I recognize the changes in my attitude about things compared to how I was when the other three were infants. Before if someone wanted to hold my little girl, I'd pass her off and enjoy having a break for a minute. Now, I tend to hover and even if I step away, I'm back within a matter of minutes to check and make sure everything is okay.
I don't think I'm going to let her stay with any grandparents alone overnight until she's at least three months old. Why? Because what if she gets hysterical with her crying and no one can calm her? What if something happens and no one can reach me for some reason? These are the fun thoughts that plague me when it comes to my littlest one.

I'm more of a bitch now to my pediatricians about all of my kids when they are sick. When I see a new pediatrician, 75% of the time they are going to say something or do something that rubs me the wrong way or straight up pisses me off. Let's just be honest, I can't stand doctors anyway. I've seen many, many doctors in my life and I can count on one hand how many I actually liked. Two fingers, really. 
Pediatricians tend to talk down to me and not really listen to the symptoms I'm describing. Or they ignore my kid while they examine them, which is a big no-no. Kids are usually afraid of doctors and dentists to some degree so they have to be reassured while they're being checked out. And ignoring them or me and rushing through an exam will put you right at the top of my shit list. And that's a long list, people.

The problem with my dislike of people in general is that it is affecting my kids. Two of my kids are not very social. In fact, one doesn't like to socialize with other kids in her class at all. She didn't speak to anyone her entire year in daycare, including the teachers to the point that for a while they thought she couldn't talk or had some kind of serious speech problem. 
I don't take them out on playdates. Playdates mean that I have to know other parents. And I have no idea how to make friends with some couple just because they have kids. None of my friends that live in my area have kids. And just how the hell do you find friends for kids that aren't in daycare?
This is the puzzler, the conundrum that I have to figure out to assist my kids with making friends and working on their social skills. Because they really don't need to be people-haters like me. Not yet anyway.

My oldest is nine and she is about to go out to her first sleepover next weekend. Not counting grandparents or anyone blood related, this is her first time going to a party and spending the night with a friend. This is pretty sad on my part because I'm sure that I was much younger when I went to my first sleepover. I'm just weird about sending my kids to the house of someone I don't know. Hell, I rarely let them call their friends because I know that when kids talk, they hatch out elaborate plans to get their parents to let them spend the night over. I know because I did it a lot myself. I'd rather them come over first so I can see how the kid acts. How a kid treats your kid when it's just them and how they talk to you as an adult tells you a lot about their parents. I have had little kids get snappy and rude with me before. Um, no, you are not hanging out with my kid. Forget it.

I don't really like other people's kids. I don't really care for the parents either. I don't like other people attempting to raise my kids or telling me how to do it properly. I don't like playdates scheduled over the phone with people I don't know. 
So the question is, is this just me or is this a part of getting older? Am I a special kind of anti-social, other-kids-suck parent or do we get a bit crazier about our kids as we age? I love my kids but this no-one-else-can-do-it-right-but-me thing can be exhausting at times.