Author Comes Up For Air From Law School To Say Hello

Well, shit.

I had such plans for the month of January, and here we are in February and, let’s just say, I was moderately distracted by starting my last semester of law school. (The light at the end of the tunnel is the blinding, searing sun known as “The Bar”, but shhhh, let’s ignore that for now.)

The last semester of law school is one of checking things off and completing obligations and a general sort of sloughing off of responsibilities. For instance, I am almost done with my journal duties (cross your fingers for me that the author currently editing her article is making minor, stylistic changes only that will be easy for me to implement). I am in classes that I enjoy, which makes the reading so much easier, especially my Law & Lit class where I get to read fiction for law school (double win!). My time belongs more and more to me as the weeks go by.

But for January these final tasks and obligations have been sucking up all of my time that isn’t spent eating or sleeping. So… the blogging and Tweeting has been less than I would like (apologies). It was going to be great. I had great plans for reviews of Billy Budd and Beloved. I wanted to discuss editing and such, since that is what I need to do on by book.

All of this time suckage has functioned to keep me from working on the book. Also, that part of my brain that is somewhat terrified of editing it is totally colluding with law school, because it thinks it is going to destroy it once I really get started. I feel a little like a person that has never held a baby being handed one for the first time and the running mental commentary is OMG I’M GOING TO DROP IT! WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA, GIVING THIS TO ME! So, I’ve been working on that mental block (tips from my readers on how you’ve handled this issue are always appreciated; drop them in the comments).

But there are things I can do starting now. My passion planner arrived, so I’m going to use this to organize myself. I am going to attempt not hitting snooze and giving myself back that hour of writing everyday before school. And I’m going to accept that this editing process is going to be slow. Slower probably than I would like. And if I don’t make my goal to get a draft to my beta readers before I dive into studying for finals and The Bar, then that is just going to be what happens.

I am bad at being balanced with my time, but I am working at it. Okay, February, let’s get started.

Revisiting Surveillance & Torture: Orwell’s 1984

Long time, no post. I have a two word reason: law school. It’s not over, but it’s slowed enough for me to get back on the blogging horse. And how else does do that but with a discussion of the Surveillance & Torture State that certainly doesn’t look a thing like the government of your own country. </sarcasm> Alright, dear readers, let’s watch the watchers.

Content warning of mentions torture (without detail) and body image issues.
Continue reading

Reviewing October, Planning November

Ah, October. The weather in DC has finally decided that maybe it is Fall? Maybe. It is considering skipping directly to Winter, just to keep us on our toes and/or to finally do that Game of Thrones cosplay its been thinking about for 4 seasons (ha! get it?!).

October has been a mash of things for me, writerly-wise. I had a short story published over at Crooked/Shift. I finally figured out how to get some good writing in on the regular and ended up with over 12,000 words in my book this month (for reference I was struggling to get maybe 2,000 written in a month – pat on the freakin’ back for that one). Continue reading

Book Recommendation: Flowers for Algernon

Perhaps one day I’ll read a book published in the last year. Today is not that day. Having just started back to (my last year of) law school, I need to read not-law things, but I want to get lost and hang out in a good story. I don’t want to get a few chapters in and sigh, setting aside the book because this one is just not getting me. Basically, I’m looking for a low risk read. Which makes this a good time to catch up on that pile of recommended books. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes called out to me from my list (plus it was 5 bucks at The Strand).

The Quick and Dirty Plot: A mentally handicapped man becomes part of a scientific experiment that turns him into a genius and just as quickly, but unexpectedly, turns him back.

A lot of friends read this book in high school as part of an English class I apparently did not take, which is how it ended up on my recommendation list (note: most of my friends don’t read these kinds of stories but they know I love them). Aside from the engaging, tragic, beautiful writing, Keyes captures so sharply the experience of wanting to be part of some inner circle and the complications that come if you are ever invited in, because you will never really be one of them. The story is completely told through the eyes of the protagonist (Charlie), and we watch him understand more about the world he wants to be part of, watch him reject it, watch him become a new version of it, and then watch him lose it all, clinging desperately to any piece of it he can. Charlie becomes us and then becomes himself again, and we both want and don’t want that for him.

Things to Note: The book uses the R-word when discussing Charlie and his handicap, but mostly (if not exclusively) as a factual word rather than a purely pejorative one. In addition, the treatment of the female characters is unsurprising for a book penned in the 1960s, but they mostly lack depth and complication and are picked up and used and dropped almost without thought.

If you haven’t read Flowers for Algernon, and the above warnings would not ruin the experience for you, definitely add it to your to-read list (which hopefully doesn’t also involve law school, because no one should wish that on anyone).