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31 July 2010

Stick Figure Saturday

Ericka over at Alabaster Cow holds Stick Figure Saturday.  Today is my lovely self portrait.  I saw it this morning for half a second on my way in to the bathroom.  The lights were off, thank goodness.  Because I think I always look like this on Saturday mornings.  My boyfriend must realllllly love me.  :)

29 July 2010

Tao Thursdays



Tao Te Ching #71

My words are easy to understand
And my actions are easy to perform
Yet no other can understand or perform them.

My words have meaning; my actions have reason;
Yet these cannot be known and I cannot be known.
We are each unique, and therefore valuable;
Though the sage wears coarse clothes, his heart is jade.

 
 
I haven't written about the Tao in awhile, and I figured I would do it bi-weekly now, as to not bog you all down with serious stuff too often. :)
 
Also, in two weeks I am starting a Tai Chi class, and would like to buff up on my spirituality! :P
 
So anyway, back to this Tao Te Ching verse, verse #71.  I take away from this verse the value of being unique.  All of us have our own voice, and especially when it comes to writing.  Most of what I hear is "find your voice", "use your voice", etc.  I'm still finding my voice, and still learning to use my voice.  That is why I still read things like the Tao Te Ching, as it helps me find my path, then I'm on the right path and I can find the right voice.  :)  Sorry for rambling.
 
So I pose a few questions:
How are you unique?
Have you found your voice?
How do you apply your unique voice to your projects, be it writing, reviewing, etc?
 
Thank you for reading, all you unique blog-goers!

22 July 2010

Book Blogger Hop! (3)

It's time again for the weekly Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books!  The question this week is:
Book Blogger Hop

Tell us about the book you are currently reading!






I am currently reading two books:

Fallen by Lauren Kate
(description from Goodreads)

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
 
I absolutely LOVE this book so far.  I'm a little more than halfway through it, and it's really captivating.  I really want to know how this book ends.  Not that I want it to! :)
 
I am also reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
(description from Goodreads)
 
This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls "Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister") is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.
 
This is possibly one of the best books I have ever read!  I am reading this for an online book club, and am two thirds through.  I have connected with the author so much that I may even make this my first re-read! :)
 
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21 July 2010

EatPrayLove Book Club, Eat Part Over

Finish India, where she prays a lot. Richard is a major character in this part of the book. He really is a true friend and is brutally honest. I think everyone has a Richard, maybe write a post about that person in your life as well as any general discussion about this section.
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I feel like someone just ripped the bandaid off of my brain and showed me the truths I've always known but were too afraid to look at. I've also always wanted to meditate, but am afraid. Afraid of what I might find out about myself. I tried once, and it felt like all at once a thousand men with knives were flying towards me with ill intent. But even after that experience, and after reading this part of this book, I WILL try again. I must reach this level of calmness I so desperately am yearning for.

For me, this part of the book helped me connect to a part of myself that was different than the part I connected with from the Eat section of the book.  It renewed my need to find spirituality in my life.  The part where the poet/plumber gave Liz the instructions to read up on top of the ashram was one of my favorites.  To just be with yourself is a spectacular thought.  And an extremely difficult task. 

I do agree that parts of it were a little text-bookish, but I did learn a lot about Yoga and meditation. 

I REALLY enjoyed Richard from Texas, as he does remind me of a person in my life.  My crazy friend L. P. is amazing, and ALWAYS tells me like it is.  Which is what I think a true friend will do to keep you on track.  I can tell her anything, and she will hand me a gift of advice packaged in truth.  I have only known her for a short time, but I know we will stay friends for, well, as long as I can help it.

To sum this up, I still lovelovelove this book, and am highly anticipating to lovelovelove the Love part.  I am curious to see what else she has to talk about, and how this story culminates.


--Charlie--

18 July 2010

Blogfest of Death!!

It's time for the Blogfest of Death, hosted by Tessa!  My entry is a bit different, but I hope you all still love it! 
It's from my very first WIP, named Shutter Click.  Here goes!


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Holly Price’s heart always raced when she peered anxiously through the lens of her camera. Focusing her gaze on the most gruesome details of a murder victim’s body was her job, but her love was capturing that last remaining essence in their eyes. The victim she was examining was increasingly interesting. A young woman had been found in her loft, poised delicately in an armchair. She was gazing out her window at the bay. The girl was noticed by a neighbor across the street who called the police as soon as he saw that his cute watcher was not moving. By the time Holly reached the scene police had already set up tape and started asking questions. She couldn’t stand when people walked all over her crime scene. Detective Jerry Hudson was one of them she particularly despised walking anywhere. He had always been a fat thorn in her side at the unit; doughnut dust laden fingers always pointing out her faults. He was a self-proclaimed genius when it came to crime scene investigation, yet that was his biggest downfall. Holly strained not to point it out every moment she had the chance.


Click!

Holly tried to focus both her camera and her wits on the task at hand. She snapped a photo of the gashes on the girl’s wrists, the bruising around her slender neck. She captured the serene sadness emanating from her faded blue eyes. The girl had also been dressed post-mortem. The killer had meticulously placed every vital part of the pose. Her body was wrapped in a breathtaking Victorian gown. Every button was fastened, every lace tied securely. The royal purple material gleamed in the sunlight floating through the soft curtains. The dress flowed around her body in a plum waterfall of silk. Holly took notice of the gentleness the killer took tying her curls back with a sweet violet ribbon.

Click!

Another memory was ingrained in Holly’s roll of Kodak: the disparity between the dress and the girl’s skin. Her skin was a remarkable contrast of milk white porcelain, drained of all life, and yet still retained a crimson set of lips and a flush on her cheeks. This killer was creepily focused on details. Her eyes were softly lined with black, her lashes curled neatly with mascara, yet her gaze was racked with broken blood vessels. Her eyes retold what the marks on her neck had shared; death by asphyxiation.

Click!

The girl’s fingernails had even been painted with the same crimson from her lips. Under her exquisite manicure was some residual dirt. Holly spotted it in a close up. That would need to be gathered for evidence. Hopefully it had not been flushed away by the killer’s thorough cleaning. Holly noticed something small and white in the girl’s hand: a business card sized note. It was a creamy off white and on the front in flowing script read:

Freedom in Death

Holly shuddered at the haunting script as she flipped over the card. It was covered in a photo of bright purple orchids with screaming yellow centers. She swallowed hard at the sight. She placed the card into an evidence bag, her mind careening. She needed to remember to stay grounded, so she returned to the victim’s wounds. Holly was engrossed in her victim’s wrists when Detective Hudson came crashing into her thought space.

“Price! Hey PRICE! Yo! Snap out of it!” boomed the burly man, snapping his fingers in Holly’s face. Coming to, she jumped, startled at the screeching voice interrupting her contemplations.

“Was that really necessary, Hudson?” she questioned, one hand on her hip, one on her camera.

“Well you’ve been standing there starin’ at your girlfriend for over thirty minutes now, and we kinda have a job to do! Hurry your little picture takin’ up, would ya?”

Holly huffed at him with a sneer and spun back around to face her model. While she contemplated the beautiful yet unnerving corpse, she reeled about Hudson’s ‘picture takin’ comment. He was such a brutally disgusting old man; he made her edgy. She started to lose focus when she noticed she had forgotten to take one last picture. It was always the most important to her: the feet.

Click!

A pair of sateen amethyst heels adorned the victim’s angelic feet. Holly was ecstatic that the killer did not over look this part of the girl’s body. She kept her morbid oddity to herself, as most would not understand how much can be told from the special belongings on a victim’s body.

As her camera concluded the photo shoot with a resounding mechanical note, Holly was energized with thoughts of her next task. Developing the film was almost as exciting as taking the photos.



11 July 2010

Eat, Pray, Love Book Club - End of Eat Discussion

Having finished Italy discuss what the first phase of the journey has been like. Something fun could be that in Chapter 33 while sitting in an outdoor cafĂ© in Rome, Gilbert’s friend declares that every city—and every person—has a word. Rome’s is “sex,” the Vatican’s “power”; Gilbert declares New York’s to be “achieve,” but only later stumbles upon her own word, antevasin, Sanskrit for “one who lives at the border.” What is your word? Is it possible to choose a word that retains its truth for a lifetime?
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Well, I felt inspired.  I related so closely to Elizabeth's fears and insecurities, that I started remembering mine so wholly, I started crying, literally, for my losses.  I however, felt inspired to change my sadness.  Now, I know I can't move to Rome to change everything, the military doesn't exactly let that sort of thing happen.  But I know something's gotta give.  I can't run around with this deep depression clinging to my back, creating a super massive black hole in my center.  One that I am just realizing I have been caking over with cement in hopes it will go away. 

Now I apologize for my seriousness, but that is how this book is effecting me: seriously.  I feel very connected to this book, as I have spoken about in our previous discussions.  However, her words are not only a reminder of my pain, they have made me realize how beautiful life can be.  One of my favorite things about this book is how she describes things in such detail.  Such as this:

"There I approached a tiny vegetable stall with one Italian woman and her son selling a choice assortment of their produce - such as rich, almost algae-green leaves of spinach, tomatoes so red and bloody they looked like a cow's organs, and champagne-colored grapes with skins as tight as a showgirl's leotard."

You can see these things as clearly through her words as if you were standing at that same produce stall, picking out your own food. 

So now onto the "picking a word" part.  Hmph.  One word.  Just one?  Maybe this: curious.  That is the trait that sticks out the most to me, and powers most of my endeavors.  Not sure if it's as powerful as "achiever", but it works for me.  If I had to just pick one, that is.  I'm not sure if it'll last a lifetime, as experience sort of shuts down curiosity sometimes.  But I am pretty sure I've always been curious.  :)

Anyhow, I lovelovelovelove this book.  Can't wait to see what lies ahead in the Pray part.  Happy Reading!!

---Charlie

09 July 2010

Book Blogger Hop (2)

ABOUT THE HOP:

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a placejust for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY (held by Crazy For Books) is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!
The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get over 200 links every week!!
Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.
If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know! Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added! And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!
DISCLAIMER:

The Hop isn't just for you to throw your link in there and not visit any other blogs. It's all about networking and finding new blogs that are of interest. So, in the spirit of the Hop, try to make some time to visit other blogs and don't post your link if you are not planning on visiting other blogs in the Hop that week. This is a weekly event, so if you don't have time this week, that's fine! We'll see you next week!
If you sign Linky, please share the love and POST ABOUT THE HOP ON YOUR BLOG! How else will anyone else find out about it and come join the party?

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This is my second week doing the Book Blog Hop, and I'm super excited to find new blogs, friends, and followers.  Happy Hopping to you all!!  Here's this week's question!

This week's question: Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!

That is always a tough one to answer.  One of my favorite authors is Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank, Glass, Identical, Burned, and so many more.  She is a phenomenal writer, and I love the way her words are formatted visually to match what words she is using.  It's like one long, beautiful poem-painting.  Plus the way she writes about topics that are so touchy - I give her so much respect for being able to write about her daughter's expriences with drugs.

Another favorite author is Scott Westerfeld.  He has authored the Uglies/Pretties/Specials/Extras series superbly.  They were quick reads, but still deep; the characters are people, not words on a page; and most of all his plot line is seriously fun.  He keeps you guessing at all times.  I have also read some of his other books and love them as well. 

There are so many more authors out there I love, and so many new ones I'm finding.  I keep my TBR list full of new names.  Happy Reading and Happy Hopping!!

08 July 2010

Eat, Pray, Love Book Club - Week One Questions


After reading the book for a week what are your first impressions? So much of this part of the book is about Liz’s battle of modern v. traditional, where do you fall on the spectrum? Are you married with children or do you never want to get married, or like most I would guess are you somewhere in between?
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After a week of reading this book, I have to say I am really, really enjoying it.  I am loving following her journey, especially the way she describes everything!  I can feel her emotions oozing out of the pages.  I love it!  Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) I am connecting with this book on some higher level.  I was married before, at a very young age, and went through pretty much the exact same things she did.  Divorce, with the same emotions, the same jumping into someone else's arms afterwards.  This book has hit me right in between the eyes.  It has come at a perfect time, whether I like it or not.

As far as modern vs. traditional, I'd say I'm modern on the outside with a secret bit of traditional in the middle.  I like sharing my life with my boyfriend, not walking behind him.  But I still like the satisfaction in his eyes when I bring him a nice cold beer. :)

As I said, I was married once, no children, and I'm glad for that.  I don't know if I want to have children; I certainly do feel pressure from all my friends and family who are having them.  I am an only child and am still pretty selfish: daily afternoon naps, ice cream for breakfast, doing what I want when I want, etc.

Overall, I'm super glad we're reading this book, I need to hear its truths, no matter how much I hurt along the way.


06 July 2010

WAG #29: Habits

This week's WAG (Writing Adventure Group) #29 is about Habits.  Here is my entry:
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Sterling nervously played with her hair, twisting and untwisting a single brown ringlet with her tiny fingers. Her other hand found her mouth, thumb popping inside, calming her instantly. She was anxious, it being the first time she met him. Him, with his handsome jaw line, onyx eyes, and intimidating shoulders. Him, serious and unforgiving. Him, her father. She smoothed her pink ruffles, making sure she looked perfect for him.


“Stop twirling your hair like that, you’ll pull it all out. And get that thumb out of your mouth, you’re not a child.” Sterling’s mother, Jewell, was abrasive with her daughter, telling herself always it was to toughen her up. “Living without a father will surely make her soft,” Jewell thought. “It’s up to me to make her strong.”

Sterling tried to sit still, tried not to fuss with her hair or suck her thumb. Her anxiety got the best of her as soon as her mother left the room again. Madly twirling her hair and sucking her thumb, she thought of her father. “Will he like me? Will he hug me? Do I have to call him ‘dad’?”

“What did I say about those habits! Quit right this moment!” Jewell caught Sterling and swatted her daughter’s hands away from her face. A single tear ran down her cheek, just as he sauntered in.

“Oh calm down Jewell. She’s just a kid.” And then he smiled - at her.

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02 July 2010

Book Blogger Hop!


Now I may not be a true book blogger yet, but the more I read book blogs the more I learn.  What I really want to do is review books.  So to answer this week's questions:

My name is Charlie and I started blogging out of curiousity.  I wondered what the big deal was.  And then I read a few blogs about writing and book reviews and realized what a treasure trove of awesomeness lay before me!  There were tips for writing, recommendations for books, fantastic reviews, and so much more!  I am still nervous about writing a book review, but like I said, the more blogs I read the more I learn.  Soon I'll have my own review system in place, and I'll join the ranks of reviewers blog-world-wide!

Thanks to all who decide my blog might be worthy of reading!  Can't wait to check out new ones too!  Thanks also to Jen at Crazy For Books for holding the Book Blogger Hop!

01 July 2010

Eat, Pray, Love Book Club: Day One

Today is the first day of the Eat, Pray, Love book club!  I'm so excited as this is my first time being in a book club, my first time reading a non fiction type book, and my first time telling people how I feel about it.  I'm also excited because I've heard so very many good things about this book, and now with it becoming a movie, the previews have ramped up my 'preconcieved notions' about the story.  I've heard it's uplifting, funny, and sad.  I've seen in the previews for the movie that this story can change lives, just as Elizabeth Gilbert changed her life.  I'm ecstatic to see what happens; what she goes through in her world travels, how she changes, and of course how it ends! 

Thanks to The Book Vixen for hosting this wonderful book club!



Welcome to July with a little Tao on the side!

Welcome to July!!  The second half of the year has begun!  I am dumbfounded at the thought that six months have gone already!  Time to take inventory:

Questions for the past six months:

What were my highlights?
Starting painting and writing on the regular, talking to new friends

What things am I glad I did?
Tried hard to get into the Art Institute, even though I didn't make it, went to the Renaissance Fair even though at first I thought it was weird

What worked for you?
Believing in myself and trusting my friends to support me

What small moments brought you delight?  
Taking naps with my boyfriend and puppy, eating dinner at the table instead of the couch, funny texts from my siblings

Who did you connect with?
New people!  New friends!  Online and in real life! :)~

Questions for the rest of the year:

How can I be a litle kinder to myself?
By looking at myself in a positive light, instead of living in a shadow.
Can I give myself permission to have more fun and less pressure?
This is a toughy, but I'm going to try.
In what small way can I pay attention to small delights?
By just keeping my eyes and my heart open to joy.


Now for a little Thursday Tao:  (#36 from Tao Te Ching as translated by John C. H. Wu)


What is in the end to be shrunken,
Begins by being first stretched out.
What is in the end to be weakened,
Begins by being first made strong.
What is in the end to be thrown down,
Begins by being first set on high.
What is in the end to be despoiled,
Begins by being first richly endowed.

Herein is the subtle wisdom of life;
The soft and weak overcomes the hard and strong.

Just as the fish must not leave the deeps,
So the ruler must not display his weapons.
        

This week I'll let you come up with your own ideas about what this 'proverb' means to you.
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  Also, it is National Ice Cream Month!

          Who doesn't love them some ice cream?  I'm sure there are a few, allergies and such, but come on and celebrate!!  This gives me an idea.....more to come.

Anyhoos, thanks for reading, hope my questions help you with dealing with your half of the year that is gone, and preparing for the next half to be wonderful!!

Toast of the Day:
Here' s to laughing so hard you cry!!
 

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