Monday, August 31, 2009

P is for Passion

Those who control their passions do so because their passions are weak enough to be controlled. –William Blake

Passion, according to Webster’s dictionary, is an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. I am passionate about a great many things in life. It seems, as far back as I can remember, that my life has been a series of passionate events. I fall madly, deeply in love with an idea, an activity, an art form almost instantaneously. And from there, I become fully and completely wrapped up in this new passion of mine.

This is a good thing in my eyes, because it just means that I’m living life fully. I jump in, headfirst, and truly experience each moment.

The beauty of my passionate life style is that as I uncover each new love affair, I don’t lose the appreciation for the former object of my affection. I just make room on the shelf for the new one, right next to my ever growing collection of passions.

As the shelf gets fuller, it becomes brighter, more colorful, completely interesting in its eclectic and random mix.

And I too, become a better person for it.

The more passions and desires one has, the more ways one has of being happy. – Charlotte-Catherine

There is, however a downside to this abundance of passion. I’m never able to fully hold on to any one thing and give it my undivided attention. Were I limited to one passion alone, perhaps my urgent desire to write, then I might be able to finish my forever “work in progress”.

But then, were I limited to just that one passion alone, what then would I do with that fervor once that work was complete?

I would not fully be me if I didn’t become easily distracted by the need to grab my camera and take a photograph of the way the light hits that building just so. If the desire to help our youth find a place in this world wasn’t constantly gnawing at me would I have become a “big sister” to Lil’ K all those years ago, and would I now be able to see her a mature, intelligent, confident 16 year old ready to take on the world herself?

How could I then exist if I had neglected that call to follow my passions where they wanted to lead me?

Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things. – Denis Diderot

I find myself at times chastising myself for caring too much, for becoming too involved emotionally with everything and everyone I touch in life. I wonder if I am weak, allowing myself to shed tears for complete strangers. I debate if maybe I want too much, and am therefore unable to do much of anything.

But then, it hits me, unexpectedly, that I’m doing everything right. Because it isn’t that I have many passions in life, exactly, but that I am fully passionate about life. And that can’t possibly be wrong, can it?

What are you passionate about?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Only The Good Friday - Goals

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for Only The Good Friday. However, the creator of Only The Good Friday’s, my buddy Shelly over at This Eclectic Life has decided to change the rules a little bit. Don’t worry, we’re still going to be spreading the GOOD, it just won’t be limited to Fridays anymore. Even better, more days to do good. How can you not like that?

For this week, however, I’ll stick to Friday. I haven’t posted my OTGF posts every week, but then, I haven’t posted all that regularly in the last several months either, but I have enjoyed being able to have a day when I just focus on GOOD things.

Some Fridays I’ve tried to help you find good deals, other Fridays I’ve shared with you websites or people who do amazing good in the world, and then on other Fridays I’ve just shared little tidbits and goodies that are going on in my life.

Whatever the content of the post, the meaning behind it is the important part…focusing on good things.

So, today, I’m going to talk about goals and plans. That’s good right?

I’ll start with a decision I made this week. I call myself a writer because…well, because I write. A lot. All the time. Constantly, in fact. I can’t seem to make it through the day without writing something. This blog for a long time served as a great means of that expression, and I’m grateful for the outlet if gave me for my writing. Lately life has gotten hectic, so I’ve found myself having less time or energy for blogging, and for writing in general. But still, I find moments, and I continue to write. And regardless of how many people may or may not be reading my blog (trust me, there are days I’m pretty sure I have an audience of none), or how sporadically I post, I’m pretty sure I’ll never shut down this blog.

But blogging came last. My first love in writing was poetry, followed by short stories, and eventually, the numerous “works in progress”, the novels that would one day be. I have boxes upon boxes of material stored away. And promises upon promises of “maybe one day…”

Well, I’ve decided that this is the day. I need to get focused, and finish SOMETHING. So, this weekend I will dig out my original novel, my first, my work in progress that is closest to completion. I started writing that novel over 10 years ago. Throughout the years I have picked it up, messed with it, and put it away again for a later date. In the meantime I have started other stories, created other works in progress, met other characters, told other tales.

I have not been able to finish a single project, however.

And I think this is because the characters from that first novel won’t let me. They are waiting, each year more impatiently for their story to be told. They want me back.

So they win. Starting next week I’m going back into that world. I am determined to finish the story I started all those years ago. With my busy schedule I am starting slow. I am telling myself I will schedule 3 hours per week for solid writing/research/development of this book. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than I’ve given my craft for years. And I need to do it. So, I’m going to try to spend one night outside the house somewhere with my laptop where I can write uninterrupted.

And can I tell you, I’m so excited at the prospect of becoming a writer once again. Focused, goal oriented, creative. I’m ready.

So, that’s my good. I’m pretty sure that with my crazy hectic life, everything else I have planned (to blog more regularly, to get my photographs organized, to..blahblahblah) is going to continue to be a challenge, but I’m going to write.

Check in with me next week, I’ll let you know how the progress is going.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Happens at Twilight?

The following is not so much a review of the Twilight series as it is a quick synopsis of what I thought of them. I tried really hard not to put any spoilers in this post, so I’m leaving pretty much all details out, so feel free to read on, even if you didn’t read the books, I give nothing vital away. In fact, I don’t give anything at all away, I kept it very basic and superficial to avoid all spoilers. I’m also including at the end my thoughts on the movie Twilight.

I knew as soon as I heard of the Twilight books that I would be reading them. If you don’t know by now, let it be known that I am a fan of all things vampire. My love affair with vampires began many many years ago when I became obsessed with the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles, and then grew exponentially with the 8 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I have read serious, scary and funny vampire books, including some chick lit/paranormal romance books that surprised me with their wit and charm. I have watched everything from the Blade movies, to the Underworld series to The Lost Boys and True Blood. If there are vampires or other mythical creatures involved, odds are, I’m intrigued by it.

So, of course, I knew I’d be reading the Twilight books. But I kept putting it off. Mostly because…well, have you SEEN the size of these books? I don’t exactly have a ton of free reading time these days, so tackling a book of that size was off putting, to say the least.

But, eventually, a few months ago, I gave in. Watching the previews for New Moon, the second movie in the series, I knew I could no longer put off reading these books if I wanted to read them before the secrets were all spoiled for me.

So I dug in. And I got sucked in almost immediately.

I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure what it was about the books that sucked me in, because for the most part, while reading Twilight, I was mostly just annoyed with both Edward and Bella. But I was also curious. Curious as to where it was all going to lead. Curious about this vampire world Stephanie Meyer created that was so different and unique from all the other vampire worlds we’re accustomed to. I had to know more.

By New Moon I was beyond irritated with Edward, and just about ready to slap Bella upside the head. I was being reminded why I stopped reading chick lit a while back, the weak and hopeless/helpless female protagonists annoy the inner feminist in me to no end. But then there was Jacob. And I very quickly became a member of Team Jacob. He was just the right amount of comic relief and carefree attitude to loosen up the book a bit, and suck me right back in.

As I dug into Eclipse, I became completely absorbed. Finally Bella stopped frustrating me, and I even began to take a liking to Edward. And Jacob? Oh how I adored him. Now, more than ever I NEEDED to know what would happen.

With Breaking Dawn it was cemented for me. Without a doubt, the best book of the series, it tied together all the loose ends, made sense of everything and told a story like no other. In this book I finally “got” Edward, finally enjoyed Bella and yes, still remained on Team Jacob.

And then with the ending? Fully satisfying. And yet, leaving me wanting more. Just like a good book should do.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the movie “Twilight”. Having finished the book, I decided to pick up a blue ray copy of the movie and watch it one night. Now, as a disclaimer I suppose I should say that I am that person that is ALWAYS disappointed in a “book to movie” movie. It’s just never as good as the book. BUT, knowing this, I went into the movie with an open mind, expecting the disappointment of missing scenes or changes from the book. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was such a poorly made movie.

Let me explain. In terms of cinematography (and remember I watched this in blue ray on my HDTV), I thought the film was beautiful. Simply gorgeous. But that’s where the good review ends for me. I thought it was choppy, incomplete, jumping from scene to scene in a completely disconnected and unnatural manner. I felt like I was watching a cliff’s note version of the cliff’s notes of the book. For the first 45 minutes of the movie there was no story line, there were just “scenes”. It was like a “clip show” of moments from a season of a television series. The characters are here, and now they are here, and now they are there, but let’s not tell the viewers how they got from point A to point B, let’s just put them there. I’ve heard complaints that there is no chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in this movie, but I can’t blame it on the actors. There was no story line to allow them to build chemistry. They were just pushed together and the audience was expected to just KNOW there was a chemistry and a “something” there. If you hadn’t read the book, how could you possibly understand the depth of their connection? You couldn’t. I will say that having read the book, it was nice to see some of the images come to life on screen, so I enjoyed the movie from that perspective, but it was not a “story” it was just images. I thought the movie got a little better towards the end, but I sure hope they do a better job with New Moon.

And there you go…my thoughts on both the books and the movie.