Monday, June 27, 2011

The Murderer’s Daughters

A friend of mine recently made a blog post, Complete, Yet Incomplete, about a book having so many great things about it, yet parts of it failed. She asked her readers several questions, such as how we consider a story a success, or if we didn’t like a book by an author, would we attempt to read that author again?

In The Murderer’s Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers, I can honestly answer with a booming response that this book is a success and I’d definitely read another one of her books. It was the first since The Book Thief where I wanted the end to tie everything up in a little bow, yet even though that didn’t happen I was content (with a smile). The Murderer’s Daughters is beautifully written and executed with emotional depth and truth from two points of views (POV)—Merry and Lulu (the daughters).

This book spans about 30-years of Merry and Lulu’s lives. They struggle with who they are and how to get through life after family abandons them, spending years in an orphanage and then college to be free of other’s help. Each girl has her own demand of life, very different from the other, and each one remembers from the age of loss. “Trying to catch memories of mama felt like trying to hold rain.” (173)

The story begins with Merry (the youngest) and Lulu’s (the oldest) father killing their mother, stabbing Merry and trying to kill himself. From the first page, my throat constricted and I cried for these two girls.

Essentially, Mama regarded me as a miniature hand server:
Grab me a Pepsi, Lulu.
Get the milk for your sister’s cereal.
Go to the store and buy me a pack of Winstons.
Then one day she upped the stakes:
Don’t let Daddy in the apartment.

Each chapter is Merry and Lulu’s POV of how they see the world, their father, and how they cope with life. Lulu, the oldest and practical thinker, tries to bury the past and makes plans to better their lives—it’s her survival mechanism. Merry, the youngest and emotional child, tries to please her father by visiting and relies on her sister’s direction. Many times they are at odds for their feelings toward their daddy. Lulu wants nothing to do with him while Merry feels obligated because daddy has no one else. How they deal with their father is how they deal with life; one wants to be free of the past and the other can’t let go.

The Murderer’s Daughters reveals the struggles and sadness when horror strikes a home. It shows the after effects of how a family has to pick up the pieces and carry on; some unable to glue the pieces together; and some tossing them away. As Merry said, “Did he know that sometimes I hated people so much it burned?” (40)

I highly recommend The Murderer’s Daughters. You won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Weathered Work

I stopped in at my blog and noticed I hadn’t posted since Saturday! It isn’t that I’m ignoring my blog—it’s just that my unemployed days are not empty. I wake early to go through my email job notices (apply or not), and then work on a combination of my poetry e-book, website, homework or my novel revisions.

Like the title of my post, my weathered (tough, windswept, worn) work has coincided with Chicago weather. As soon as I think it’s okay to head outside, the clouds roll in and the rain comes down. Every time I think I have the formatting perfected with my e-book, I view it and something is off kilter.

This week I’m working on my poetry e-book for publication within the next week or two. I can’t begin to explain how crazy tough it is to create a book. Not only did I have to choose the poems and edit them, but I want it appealing so I changed formatting and added pictures. I’m hoping these additives will help readers interpret my poems and keep on reading. Of course, not all my formatting converted properly, which forced me to remove some of it. I’m not complaining about creating it—having fun—although decision making and formatting is taking more time than anticipated.

My poetry e-book, Sipping a Mix of Verse, will be available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and Smashwords. I want it accessible to everyone, not just those who own a kindle or nook (because I don’t have one). Poetry isn’t a high reading genre; however, I hope my poetry will convert some non-poetry readers into enjoying the beauty of it. I think some people find poetry intimidating—mainly due to interpretation—but readers can enjoy poetry without worrying about what the author means. Take it for how it affects them individually.

What have you been up to? I’d like to live vicariously through you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday Night at the Movies

After being on the computer writing cover letters and submitting with resumes, working on my poetry book and studying, I decided to make it “Friday Night at the Movies” night. Of course, I’m not one to rent known movies—Oscar nominated; I enjoy Sundance Films or Independent. Instead of getting a romantic comedy, my favorite genre movie, I wound up with two sad and depressing movies—Blue Valentine and Like Dandelion Dust. Even though they were sad and depressing, I liked Like Dandelion Dust better than the promoted Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.

Blue Valentine was sex induced, which led me to be unsympathetic to Michelle Williams character, Cindy. In the movie, she is promiscuous and her relationships are about sex. When Ryan Gosling’s character, Dean wants her emotionally and she claims she doesn’t have any emotion left, I thought, “I didn’t think she ever had any.” Her character was bland and the storyline dragged like a wet blanket hanging from a car door.

I prayed Like Dandelion Dust would be better. This is a story about two sets of parents, one biological and the other adoptive. The biological parents played by Mira Sorvino and Barry Pepper are poor, and the adoptive parents played by Kate Levering and Cole Hauser are rich. Barry Pepper’s character, Rip Porter goes to prison at the beginning of the movie for domestic violence due to his alcoholism. Mira Sorvino’s character, Wendy Porter finds out she’s pregnant and gives her child up for adoption. When Rip finally gets out of jail, she tells him about the pregnancy and adoption, and he wants his son back. He’s a changed man and never signed the papers.

Like Dandelion Dust comes from the idea of making a wish on a dandelion and blowing on it—this sets the wish free. Each set of parents has a wish, which both entail their son, Joey. It shows what lengths each one will go to for their son as they break from the pressure. In the end, their wish is granted—for their son to be safe and happy. 

If you’re looking for a compelling drama, I recommend Like Dandelion Dust and skip Blue Valentine.  

Do you have any movie recommendations?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Could you look into it?

I was thinking on getting away for the July 4th weekend—cheaply—so the best place to look for such flights is Southwest Airlines. Hmm…what happened to the $49.00 one-way flights? And no, I’m not talking about flying from Chicago to Cleveland. Southwest was the savior of the skies for budget seekers, and now they seem to be flying at the same cost as other airlines. I feel like the American people can’t catch a break at the gas pump, grocery store, and now getaways. We NEED mental health weekends and Southwest used to be our answer.  

During my months in Europe, we were able to experience different places because of the budget airline, Ryanair. I was able to buy two round trip tickets to Bologna, Italy from Dusseldorf, Germany for 28 Euros, approximately $35.00. If it wasn’t for Ryanair, I wouldn’t have been able to go and enjoy different countries in Europe.   

Why can’t Southwest or another airline look into what makes Ryanair successful? Americans should be able to fly to Boston or California at reasonable costs. We can’t even blame flight increases on gas costs because Europe’s average gas prices are anywhere from $6.00 to $11.00 a gallon. 

Nowadays there are more people relocating to other states, which mean low cost fares would help them see family from time to time. People aren’t utilizing their full vacation time for the “what if’s” and “costs”. If an airline started providing low, reasonable fares, they’d be constantly booked because more people would fly. And if more people fly, it would boost the economy allowing them to spend more during their travels. It’s a win/win situation.

Could you look into it? I mean, it would be awesome to fly to California (round-trip) at a cost far less than flying to Europe.
Whatcha thinkin'?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lover’s Lock

Lately I’ve been missing Europe a lot and all the things we did and didn’t do while living there. Before we left Germany to return to Chicago, we went back to Cologne. Cologne is one of the largest cities in North Rhine Westphalia—the name of the area where we lived. It was one of my favorite cities, probably because I ate every pastry imaginable and enjoyed my first wiener schnitzel there. But we made the trip back for a reason. At the time, I didn't know the reason. It was my Love's idea—a romantic.

There is bridge that runs across the Rhine River that sparkles in the sunlight. It isn’t until you venture along the walkway of the bridge that you realize what makes it sparkle. Locks. 

Lots of locks—there were thousands of colorful locks reflecting the sun and sentiments about how someone felt about another person. When I read the locks, I tried to imagine the people and what was going on in their life. Some probably were professing their love to someone they married, someone now long gone in their life, or someone who died. I really didn’t know. What I did know is that someone was important to them—they wanted to share with the world in color, chrome or silver, what their life meant to them at the time. 

Along the way, we found a place for our lock. Our names locked to a bridge in Cologne with many others. I may not make it back there, but I’ll always know we have a lock of love glistening in the sun. I smile when I think about it, and loved the idea so much that you’ll find a poem in my poetry ebook called Locks of Love.

Did you ever do something different to express your love? I’d love to hear about it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It’s all about the Weiner!

By now, we’ve all heard about Anthony Weiner and his admittance to sending out inappropriate pictures of himself on Twitter. Although I’m not in favor of the public stoning, along with other “so-called” journalistic stories shoved in my face, I’m worried where our country is going. I normally don’t like discussing politics on my blog, but I can’t ignore this kind of continued behavior.

The auto and financial industries slapped the American people with greed and power while we continue to accept narcissism and lying from our politicians. This country is in turmoil, people can’t get jobs (including myself), sell their homes, yet we allow people calling the shots on budgets and making life and death decisions to play hide and seek on our buck. Republican. Democrat. I don’t give a crap. What they are broadcasting to the world is that they have no regard for anyone else…that the American people mean nothing to them. America wants respect—well we better damn well demand it from our government. Anthony Weiner is not the first to show disregard for the people and this country and it's time we make ourselves heard.

Our government better start taking drastic measures when it comes to ANY activity not part of a government employee’s job description. ZERO TOLERANCE. American children are expected to uphold zero tolerance policies in schools, so why aren’t our politicians? How can we expect children to follow policy when our own government can’t? They do something outside of what WE pay them for—immediate dismissal.

We need to start at the top—in politics—and should immediately fire individuals doing anything outside of their job. I don’t care whether it’s in their personal time or not, they signed up to be a public figure—to represent ME—so there should be Zero Tolerance. When they resign or retire, then they can do whatever they want in their personal lives. As long as we allow this public behavior, and then public stoning, younger generations will never understand or follow a healthy path.

If you feel strongly about the behavior we’ve had to deal with from our politicians, then click White House and let our government know how disappointed you are in them. Promote Zero Tolerance.

Friday, June 3, 2011

To Meet a Friend Among Words

I am so excited to go to the 2011 Printers Row Lit Fest. It is one of my favorite Chicago Fests and every year it gets bigger and bigger. The fest has discount, Indie, chain, and rare bookstores that line the curbs and the center of the streets. Since I’ve been going there, they’ve increased it to suit the whole family. If you click on the above link, you can get a calendar for Saturday and Sunday’s events.

What is even more exciting to me is meeting an online buddy of mine for the first time at the Lit Fest. In 2007, I met Barb on a writing forum we both belonged to. Of course we had alias’s, but over the course of time, Barb and I continued to talk—mostly outside of the writing forum. On the forum, we didn’t interact much, which is strange that we became friends. She is the one person who seems to enjoy the same types of books as I do.

Barb and I have sent each other emails for holidays, words of encouragement, condolences,  to say "Hi", BUT we’ve never met. This isn’t a one-way relationship; we support each other in life and writing. I can’t begin to explain how excited I am to meet her among one of the loves of our lives—books. We have so much catching up to do that I’m guessing we will wind up missing many of the booths.

There’s one important thing I want to point out, and that’s loyalty. Even though I’ve never met Barb, and even though we’ve only spoke through words (never heard her voice), she has been there for me as a writer and as a friend. That is HUGE in my life. She’s been a supporter of my writing for years, and I can’t begin to tell you how important support is to a writer. I have many people in my life that I love, but to them, my writing isn’t important, and I’m not saying it in a mean way—it just isn’t. We all have important things to us in our lives that aren’t to others. Such is life. And it’s especially nice to have a writer friend support you

Barb is a great writer. She puts much thought and emotion into what she wants to share with others, and you can see it in her writing.

So I’m ecstatic to meet Barb, and hear about her life, her love of books and her writing.

A Toast to Friendship! When you find true friends, near or far, hold onto them—they’re a rarity.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weather or Not It’s Funneling

I’ve recently finished reading The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum, and whether or not you’ve experienced a tornado, this book gives you an understanding of the devastation it brings. Timing plays a role in connecting with a book, and this one twisted with the tornadoes that recently swept across the country. This novel isn’t only about the weather; it’s also about twins struggling with their own identities.

Karena Jorge, a writer for the Minneapolis Ledger feels a hole in her life since separated from her twin, Charles for twenty-years. So it’s no surprise Karena decides to find him after receiving a call from a medical center in Wichita, Kansas. Charles suffered a panic attack, but his sickness is deeper. He is bi-polar, which drove a wedge between the twins. As Charles describes it, “And they tip me off Into the Black. That’s this tarry, oozy place that traps me and holds me while my brain is raked over and over with a comb made of knives…Everything hurts from the inside out. But I can’t move. That’s Into the Black.”

Since she has failed to find him all these years, Karena is determined to this time and joins an adventure of a lifetime—chasing. During her chasing time, she falls in love and finally finds Charles, which reignites their whirlwind relationship. Like tornadoes, Charles spins out of control when he’s Into the Black, and most of the damage hits Karena. Being reunited again forces them to face who they are and the secret they buried years ago.

If you’re looking for a summer read, I recommend The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum.