Here, There be a Writer

Saturday, June 28, 2014

What is it about Flawed Characters?

What makes a character flawed? Why are character such as The Doctor, Harry Potter, and Macbeth so interesting and intriguing? They are flawed and in all but one lovable. How can that be?

I have read a number of books and plays over the years, also watched a number of TV shows with rather extensive plots and well defined character. The ones that I empathize with, or that I enjoy watching/reading the most are the characters with the most flaws, or more than enough flaws. Any good story has characters, excellant stories have flawed characters that grow with the story, and truly awesome stories have characters who despite being flawed and clearly make mistakes, yet can grow throughout the story. These characters are so flawed that the reader not only empathizes with the character, but sometimes learns with the character.

That is part of why I want to tell stories, write, and also read awesome stories. I want to write the awesome stories. When I look at my bookshelves, I see very excellent and awesome stories (the strictly good or terrible end up going to the Salvo down the street). Naturally, I am drawn to stories with excellent awesome stories, characters, concepts; such as "The Dark is Rising Sequence" (Susan Cooper), "The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica" (James A. Owen), or anything written by Anne (Todd) McCaffrey. I have discussed these books/series before and what I want to talk about today will feature some others. I also see what books are on the bookshelves, everything from the Divergent series, Hunger Games, City of Bones, I want to be able to share my stories with the world, inspire others, make people laugh or cry.

When I read a book or more specifically a series, I want to travel with the characters, to live in their world for the duration of the story. After all most books/series involve travel of some sorts, or at least a mental journey. Sometimes the character travel from The Shire to Mount Doom to drop off a ring, learning, growing, and changing. Flawed characters are like any other character, but usually they have something else to overcome. Frodo Baggins, a flawed character that grows throughout the "Lord of the Rings" fighting off Orcs and Riders, dealing with the One Ring, friends, betrayal, and death.

There are others that recent have come to my attention, and the reason for today's blog. Strap your seatbelts on, its all about Flawed characters!

As an avid (sometimes fanatical) fan of Doctor Who, Sherlock, Torchwood, even Firefly, I have come into contact with a slew of flaw to extremely flawed characters and I simply love them. Take Torchwood, with Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato, and Ianto Jones, they are all really messed up, either in love with each other, sleeping with each other, choosing the wrong side, or doing things that one wouldn't suspect them doing, because they, with their flaw think it's the right thing to do. It makes for interesting stories when you see Gwen fighting between her Torchwood self and shagging Owen to wanting to make a life in the outside world with Rhys. Might not always be a happy fuzzy world, but it's emits a truth that exists in the real world. People are flawed, whether good or bad; that people feel this way and struggle to do the right thing and be good people. Sometimes people are not good. It's a truth I can see.

After having finished "The Hunger Games", I am left to digest my thoughts on Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Finnick, Plutarch, President Snow, President Coin, etc. First off, what a world to create, (claps slowly and than increase in strength to Suzanne Collins). A real world(?), present time story about struggle, politics, personal strife, love, and  torture. [Not giving spoilers here]. Katniss is the most flawed in the whole of the series. It's her story and her struggle. She is well defined in her personality and also in her flaws. The first book is riveting in its portrayal of Panem and the Games. It's an interesting concept and reminds of 1984,  Brave New World, or We with this utopian/dystopian society. Scaring stuff, because the world could end that way if not careful. But, it's set in the real time world, with barely a hint of the time frame in which it's set, could be right now, or in 100 or 200 hundred years.

The second book ("Catching Fire") I struggled with, because it reads like two separate stories not one book. Usually the second book, most often in a three book series, will often have something like a 'sophomore slump', where it struggles to keep the pace just right, yet still advance the plot. Katniss struggles, sometimes a lot, with life after the Games, but you are still rooting for her. She learns, and then sometimes has to re-evaluate her knowledge of the people around her. Then she is thrown the curve ball, a new Games, the Quarter Quell. Also riveting, even with the mid section slump. In reality, when you look at Katniss and Peeta you can see why they are the way they are and that make you want to root for them and you can understand why they are flawed. Their environment made them flaw, yet they are trying to move past it. 
By the time of "Mockingjay" you see that she is trying, even with the crazy plot driven war going, trying to move forward in her life. She was very much a child in "The Hunger Games", while "Catching Fire" she was a and awkward teenager/young adult Victor dealing with the truth of the world, and then "Mockingjay" she is now and adult, in a new role and trying to bring peace to Panem and herself. The last chapter is the most potent, giving us the chance to see Katniss grow. The last chapter, it's usually when the Hero/Heroine has to make that final choice. With Katniss it is no less easy, but you have traveled  with her and can see (ultimately) what needs to be done. I enjoyed the whole series. I even understand why some people did not like the book, but I understand the motives, even though I didn't see it coming. It's something different and to be experienced.

Then, I started thinking about other stories with extremely flawed characters that I have read or watching,
some I have mentioned above.
*Harry Potter, the boy who live, he is also very flawed and yet still comes out of top and the story is pretty freaking great too!
*There's the Unicorn, from Peter S. Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" a shy and naive unicorn that goes seeking others of her kind. She is transformed in something mortal, learns to love, and now regrets. A stellar story and one, you, Dear Readers should read, or re-read or re-re-read.
*There's Macbeth, the tortured Thane of Glamis, who kills and lies, only to end up beheaded at the end. A less happy ending, but not all story have happy endings. Shakespeare, was very masterful at creating a world of tragedy; where flawed characters ran amok through England or Scotland. Macbeth is one of the most flawed characters in literature, so much so that by the end of the play pretty much all are dead. But it beg the question, why do we love these wed characters?

Speaking for myself, I can connected to a character when I know what they are experiencing. The real emotions of a betrayal, the loss of love, death. These things are real, even if the circumstances are not even close to that which we live and breath on a day to day basis. Just knowing that Katniss suffers loss, so much so that it blind her to the world around her. That is a VERY real thing. There are people who have experienced that, still do. Those are the things that connected us to characters in books, movies, TV show and when done well often helps us to understand our own world. When you meet someone who has been hurt by a close friend, has felt betrayed, and has trouble building trust, for example. You suddenly have a chance to build a friendship and maybe, just maybe find your own healing in that friendship. I know I have experienced that same thing as mentioned above and have learned to put my trust issues aside, because I found someone who experienced something similar and together we helped sort out feelings and thoughts. That, ironically, led to helping yet another friend to work through some trust issues. It's not always a guarantee, but often by finding these connections, we can find out solutions.

So, Dear Readers, what stories do you find therapeutic in nature, what stories draw you in. Maybe a favourite flawed character? Favourite book/TV series featuring a flawed character(s)? Leave me some LOVE below. I hope you enjoyed my little foray into flawed characters and what makes them fascinating.

Today's Music:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Final Wrap Up of Round 2

Feeling a bit different today. I want to be a bit succinct today. I finally hit a good rhythm and since this is the last check-in for Round 2, I want to finish on a high note.

I might not have started in the fullest swing, and I certainly had moment where I was less productive, but I have gotten much out of this Round. I know what I will do for Round 3.

So, what I have learned about myself in this Round. That I work better when I have plenty to do, and that also keeps me from getting falling into myself when I have bad days. I also know what I need to do and how to get it done. I am to write, to edit, to blog, to submit. That is the way!

I feel really good today and it's still early and I am looking at getting a few other things done, while I have this burst of energy. With that being said, let break out the bullet points!

The Good Stuff  and the Not-as-good Stuff (for the end of the Round):
*Wrote a short blog on Monday. After watching several episodes of "Star Trek: The Animated Series" (see previous blog). Goal: Going to blog on Friday or Saturday this week.

*Been pushing to finish "Mockingjay". I am liking it very much. It's different, but I'm enjoying it. Goal: Re-read "Sabriel" by Garth Nix, the first in "The Abhorsen Trilogy".

*Continue to journal and use the various writing prompts to expand my writing, if not every day, at least every few days. Goal: to write at least every other day.

*Continue to find journals and writing contests to submit to. Report on progress as need.

*Still at 4, maybe 5. Nope, it's five,! I was reading a blog that I have been subscribed to for the last month or so (I didn't realized I had. Is nice, I have some new books to add to the list now). Goal: I will continue to visit, read, and interact with my fellow writers and bloggers.

*I have some Beta readers, reading some works. I will use them to improve my work that is currently complete, so that it can be submitted. Thus, helping to free up time to edit the writings and to write more stuffs.

*Find excuses to go out and experience life in nature (by walking, hiking, gardening). Hang with friends, go to show, be in shows, and general happy about life. There are too many things in life to make one sad and frustrated. Find the good. Spread the love. Make great art! Impact the work. This is a goal not only for AROW80, but life in general.

Funny side note (not funny Ha-Ha, but funny Uh-Oh), I work for a company that does construction materials testing, and after having been there over 2 years, I understand that the aggregate (dirt) placed under roads, before the asphalt is placed, if that starts sliding down a slope, then the road could also fall too. Case in point, there is a stretch of road that this has been happening to and while it's my preferred route to work, because of the scenic quality, there will be issues if something isn't done soon.

Improv is great therapy. I have a great cast of improv-ers. We are having thew best season ever; three shows down, two to go. Making some great connections and making a lot of people laugh. Thank you LCP Improv (Mike T, David, Amanda, Melissa (Neuf), Brian, Todd (Capt. Random), Adriane, Deannda, and Tara! If you are local come and visit us July 29th and August 26th, 7:00 pm at the United Methodist Church of Montour Falls in Montour Falls (visit The Lake Country Players for more info).

Dear Readers, have a great rest of the week, I will be around doing stuff. Remember to check out the AROW80 Blog Hop too! It's great karma!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Animated Star Trek, Yes, it's real!!

You know what's Awesome? Animated Star Trek.

What's even more Awesome? Animated Star Trek made by the same company that made He-Man and She-Ra.

Animated Bridge Crew
Filmation, the studio that also made Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Flash Gordan: the Greatest Adventure of All, and of course He-Man and She-Ra. While not the best in animation, they certainly are memorable cartoons. I remember enjoying the sci-fi/fantasy element of He-Man and the highly fantasy based She-Ra. And you can see that She-Ra/He-Man scenery and form were inspired by Star Trek

Planet Phylos - Animated Star Trek
When I happened upon this animated rendition of "Star Trek", I was surprised and pleased. After having finished watching the 3 season of the original series. I do consider myself a trekkie. Having grown up with "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine", yet I missed out of the original series in the many syndicated re-runs that ensued. It was something about not liking the stuff that my parents enjoyed, or thinking it was lame. Years later and a Netflix account, I found what they had already known, that Star Trek is cool, Vulcans are awesome, and the saying "Damn it Jim, I'm a Doctor not a Bricklayer" becomes common place. Admit it, you said that in Bones' voice, or "I'm giving her all I got, Captain" in Scotty's voice.
Brightmoon - She-Ra
What I loved about the original series was that the stories were actually well defined stories and of course the banter between Spock and Bones. So, I was excited to check out the animated series, which continues the 5 year mission in 24 minute episodes, which aired from 1973 to 1974. The stories were far shorter and faster paced, but they have a similar feel to the originals. They could do more with characters, aliens, and planet-scapes with an animated show. So, yes, they were silly, but creative and fun; they were a light and good hearted space adventure show.

Capt. Kirk and a Giant Tribble
Many of the episodes were written by a variety of writer ranging from D.C. Fontana, Walter Koenig (Chekhov), and Larry Niven [author of the Ringworld series] are the more prominent writers. The episodes are a nice way to wrap up the Enterprise 's adventures, before the movie adventures began. It's a shame that the animated stories only last 2 years, and the second season was only 6 episodes. Check out this nice reference site on the Animated Series. There are several characters and at least one planet that was brought back in new stories, including Cyrano Jones (The tribble seller), Harry Mudd, and the Pleasure Planet (the white rabbit episode).

It's a fun little show, and if any of you, Dear Readers like Star Trek or just like a good silly little show then I suggest you check it out. It might not be the best in animation quality, but the stories are fun.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

AROW80 Check-in: Pour some Sugar on ME?!?!?!?

I have consumed a lot of sugar this weekend. A LOT!

I attended a 4 year olds superhero birthday part (with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) on Saturday that involved sweet superhero cookies and a strawberry cake and super sweet frosting. Very good, but very sugary! And today I played at Eldridge Park by riding the carousel, the dragon boats, and playing putt-putt. I even won a brass ring (a thing that was big in the early days of carousels)! It wasn't that hard with my looooong Xena arms. :-)
One RING, to RULE them all?!?

It was a weekend of recovery and enjoying life.

To start off, I have had a great week of goals and productivity. It took long to get there, but I managed to get back on the horse and take off at a gallop towards the writing goals. Sometimes when I have too many setbacks I just want to curl into a ball or stare at a wall. I had to shake off the dust and keep going. After a few rough starts, I have my old vim and verve back. It also helped that I had some distraction to focus on, allowing the negative feelings to pass and the very adult things to deal with to be figured out. Not all are fixed, but at least I have a better idea how to tackle them (including getting estimates on house related items and getting a new old car for David hunk-o-junk van. Sometimes I hate being an adult, I want to be a kid again and watch cartoons on Saturday mornings and only have to worry about the math test on Monday. Anyway...


Improv is going great. I have a great team and some new blood joining us. It's exciting! The last couple of rehearsal have been very physical and quite entertaining. I look forward to rehearsals, and it's feel good to be able to say that. Tarzan is coming along. The cast is great, seeing improvements and people adding their own flairs to their characters. Trying to keep pace with the Producer duties. Not always the most fun, but it gots to be done.

Now onto the GOOD STUFF:
*I am now halfway through "Mockingjay". I spend an hour reading today, included 3 chapters (to make up for now reading yesterday. Will probably finish before next weekend. I am planning to watch the first two movies and do a full blog on them, either separately or together, depends on how the viewing goes. Trying to decide what series I want to start after the "Hunger Games". I may have to revisit Garth Nix's "Abhorsen" series or Margaret Atwood's "MaddAddam Trilogy".

*I submitted a story to Toasted Cheese's "A Midsummer Tale" contest. This goes along with my continuing quest to submit to online journals and e-zines. I haven't submitted a lot in the last two days, but after going through the NaPoWriMo sites, I hit about 15. Note:  I need to make a database of online journal for reference and visiting purposes. I have submitted to one/or more journal since 6/8/14, so I feel that pretty good. More to come as I hear the outcome of these submissions, and will submit to more over time. I have have two that have already declined to publish, but I knew that was going to happen. C'est la vie!

*Visited 4 blogs this week. Should have been more, but with my mood and stuff going on, I have so little time to devote to that. I am hoping for at least 10 this week or at least 2 per day (making the total 14).

*Edited a flash fiction piece. I extended it from 700 words to 1100 words, tweaked some ideas. It's not a dialogue heavy story, but I gave a bit more dialogue and more intention to the characters. It flows better. Send the same story out to a couple of Beta Readers. Looking for a few other Betas. That definitely what i need to get the editing ball rolling, some Beta Readers.

*Spend time outside in the sunshine!

*Keeping up with the housework still, so days the dishes get left, but nothing that terrible. The floors are clean and the dishes are done, even finishing the laundry (and this with my dryer vent clogged [either completely or just enough] until Wednesday). 

Tail of our boat
Dragon Boats

* I did not blog on Saturday. I could have, but I ended up editing the "Yacht Story" (yes that is my title of it). So, it's not a total loss. But I am still frustrated that I didn't get to the blogging. Well, there's always this week.

*I did some of writing, but nothing new story or poem. That needs to change. Need to write this week. NEED!

*I also realized that I haven't touched/worked on my poetry books in weeks. I am thinking that is a great goal for Round 3.

While it wasn't the best of weeks, I still think I have done a really good job working on my goal of getting published. It's not an easy task. I realize that I am going to get a lot of rejection letter before I get to the publishable level. It mean I have to keep trying. Keep writing. Keep editing. And keeping submitting!

Have a great week Dear Readers! I am planning so new things for this blog this summer. So, stop back and see me anytime or visit the Blog Hop of fellow writers/bloggers. I have a lot of fun things that I want to do and see that will be included in future blogs; going to the HUGH open flea marker in Avon, NY, visiting friends in Rochester and Buffalo, random adventures to new places with David, so stay tuned for exciting stuffs. What are your plans for the summer, now that Summer has arrived, Dear Readers?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This Wednesday Snuck Up on Me Check-in!

It's Wednesday, isn't it...The week has been a blur, especially in the last few days. Trying to get a grasp on all the things I need to process. You know the old adage, "...When it rains, it pours..." Yeah that's been the last few day. High point of the weekend, seeing my good friends Mandee and Phil get married, the down side to the last few is that i will need to spend a lot of money on grown things and not have an autographed book or CD to show for it. Being an adult sucks!

I was  fun and very grown up to buy new appliances, that was fun. The other hand, buying a new car, furnace, and looking at roof repairs, NOT fun. It's a part of adulthood and house owning. I would love to return to a time that the only thing I had to worry about is writing my 15 page anthropology paper and getting enough sleep before working Night Desk. The things that we take for granted.

Good news, I didn't slip too much since Sunday. I have up with most of my weekly goals. Some on the other hand slid under the bed with the dust bunnies. Will be better the latter half of the week.Time for some bullet points!

Things I accomplished this week (so far):
*Been submitting my poetry to at least one online journal/e-zine for the past week. Digging up some nice poetry that has been buried.

*Edited a short story from April (I think), just need a few beta readers to run it through the paces before i go and submit it to a journal.

*Continued to read "Mockingjay". I slowed on this a bit, I didn't get to read the last two days, will read before bed tonight to make up for some lost time. 

*Watering the porch garden and mowed the lawn. Walked and or have been outside enjoy the sunshine that has returned to Corning. Time for a impromptu haiku of sun:  

When the sun shines bright/
When the moment is perfect/
When there is coffee

Things that are in progress:
*Last week I visited over ten blogs and left comments. I have slowed down on this, but plan to keep up the visits. I seem to be getting past my overwhelming mood.

*Haven't written anything new in a few days. I need to visit the 1 minute writer. A site that has prompts and a stop watch. You write for 60 second. I good way to get you thinking fast.

*Will be blogging either Friday or Saturday my non ROW80.

Keeping up with Tarzan's rehearsal, being all producer-y and improv-y. Next week is Improv Show #3 and LCP business meeting. Theatre stuff is happening. And I has a birthday party Saturday and going to Eldridge Park on Sunday. The weather has improved my mood. It's getting better. need to push through the negative and be positive.

We switched  out one kitty, who was being a bit of a domineering meanie. A sweet cat, but was not the best match for Lucy or us as a whole. Now we have a shy tortie/tuxedo cat named Bridgit. Am hoping for pictures, but it'll take time to have her come out of her shell. I am thinking Lucy and Bridget will be nice companions, but not aggressive to each other. That was another reason that the week was weird. Feeling better and even positive. You can't keep me down long. I have moment where I cry or yell, but in the end I know that I will get through it and better days are ahead.

Had some thunderous weather passing through, feel exciting when it pass through. Now it's hot and still a bit muggy.

Have a blessed week, Dear Readers! Go out and enjoy the sunshine! And remember, if you are on the interwebs, to go visit my fellow ROW-ers at the Blog Hop!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

#AROW80 Father Day's Check-in

Happy Dad's Day, Dear Readers!

The sunshine has finally come out and and finally made the weekend just a little bit better. It was already a good weekend, but having the the sunshine helps A LOT. Heck, it was so very productive this weekend, that I got a at least one new goal completed.

The weather is really a factor for me, especially after a good 4+ strength of cloudy to rainy/misty conditions. I think that makes me part flower and I already am part dragon, love me some sunbathing weather.

Things that I did this weekend:
*Went for a walk up to Spencer Crest Nature Center, through the winding trail. I was planning on hiking a 2 to 3 mile trek, but I got a lovely hour walk, over hill and over dale. This also included reading something for my next audition. Something for next year, but I want to understand who I am auditioning for and prepare a piece.

*Since Wednesday, I visited at least 9 other blogs, which makes this weeks total to 15 blogs visited. GOAL ATTAINED!!

*I found a story that I wrote earlier this year, during Round 1 of "A Round of Words" and finally edited it into a 2nd draft. I was actually pleased with the finally outcome, I am probably going to go through it once, maybe twice (included after a few of my beta reader test it out). I want to submit it, but feels it needs to be sculpted.

*Blogged on Friday, instead of Saturday. I was planning to do a small blog Friday and my standard regular size to massive blog on Saturday, but with editing, buying birdseed, walking in the woods, submitting works to online journals, and various other errands I wasn't able to blog properly. It's okay, my Friday's blog was a touch longer than my standard "short" blogs. The important thing is that I blogged. GOAL ATTAINED!

*Submitted work (poetry, mostly and some stories) and to online journals, e-zines, websites. Original goal, submit to 1 site per day, this week. I missed a day, but submitted to 2 yesterday, so it balances. GOAL ATTAINED!

Much of the reason associated with me able to reached my goals I have to attribute to the Sticker Rewards Journal (not the original name and alas, I don't have the original link. I spent close to 2 hours looking for the link. If someone has the original link to the nice lady who blogged about it, please leave the link so I can properly thanks and credit her). You take a notebook, journal, pad of paper even and each day you get a sticker for what goal you accomplished.

You start by creating a key of your goals and using sticker make a legend of goals. Each day you place what sticker go to each corresponding goals. Some days you are going to have only 1 or 2 stickers, but then a fantastic day and whoosh, STICKERS  EVERYWHERE! I was a sticker kid, having close to 5 or 6 full on stickers books, filled with stickers and a "My Little Pony" sticker book for the puffy sticker that came with the ponies.


Things that didn't happen this weekend:
*I did not read any of my current book, "Mockingjay", but I have been reading on lunch and sometimes after work. making steady progress, chapter 9, I believe. I did read "MacBeth" this week, It was random, but I have the Dover Thrifty Editions of "MacBeth", "Othello", "As You Like It", "Hamlet", and "A Midsummer Night's Dream". I have decided that I need to re-read or read for the first time more Shakespeare. It's just good for the soul (well my soul, anyway). Goal Partially Attained!

 More reading to occur this summer!

Feeling good and my porch garden is growing. I have tomato flowers! And what looks like the beginnings of cucumber flowers. w00t w00t~ House is mostly clean. I do have to have a service call on my damn NEW dryer. It spins and heats, but takes forever to dry. Not even 2 months old. Good thing we bought a three year service package. Life is full of small annoyances!

Go visit the hop! The Blog Hop!

Have a delightful and terrific week, Dear Readers! Leave me some love below, comment, ideas for things to be features, or just to say HI! It's a Sunday go have fun. I have a wedding to prepare for now!! Happy Father's Day to my Dad, Lynn Clark and my Father-in-Law, David Scott Sr


Friday, June 13, 2014

Reading Rainbow (soon to) Come Back!

Do you remember that opening synth, "Butterfly in the sky....I can go twice as high...take a look, its in a book... Reading Rainbow..."

I am sure countless of you, Dear Reader, are also familiar with this same theme song, full of eighties synth and that glorious voice and get excited for a trip into space, the microcosm of the germ world, life on the farm, or going to the library.  "Reading Rainbow" was a show that got kids into reading, into learning about new subjects, and it was a very intricate part of my youth.

I would watch the episodes and would soak up the information and stories. I discovered new worlds, new books, traveled beyond the confines of my little world. It was glorious. The books. I still remember many of the books that were read and featured on the show, which were often read by celebrities. There was "Knots on a Counting Rope", "Gift of the Sacred Dog", and "Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain", and that was just the beginning.

Pretty sure that I watched all of the episodes from the 1980's a couple dozen times, never truly getting bored with them. Heck, I even continued to watch into High School and even college. I just assumed that  "Reading Rainbow" just kept going, but alas in 2009 it went off the air. But, now there LeVar Burton, the host with best catch phase "I'll see you next time!" is rallying to bring it back. This time to the internet and hopefully free to thousands of children both in schools and at home. His Kickstarter Project is raising money to make it possible for future generations of children to be introduced to books and learning. There are still 18 days to pitch in to the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter.

Reading Rainbow was everything from literature to science to history to crafts, and so much more. There was always something magical (heck, there was a magic based episode). I remembered how the show never made learning feel like a chore. That is the most awesome thing about Reading Rainbow, that it's a show that doesn't try too hard to make kids enjoy learning, exploring their world, and opening up the door to imagination.

Tonight, Dear Readers, I want to show you my top 5 favourite Reading Rainbow segments. These are the segments/songs that make me feel like I am 10 years old and sitting down to watch Reading Rainbow.

5. It's Kermit and LeVar! What could be more awesome than that? Well, maybe the episode featuring the secret of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Enterprise, and Worf.

4. How a book is made! They take you, the viewer through the process of writing, designing, and printing a book. Alas, I was not able to find a clip of this one. This might be the point when I first decided the I wanted to write books.

3. I get hungry just thinking about this segment.

2. Teamwork. This segment probably got my love of theatre germinating in my head. Although it took a while before I got of the courage to be on stage.

1. Full episode about Diners and "The Robbery at the Diamond Dog Diner" read by Peter Falk, making hand made pasta, especially tortellini, and Diner Talk.

So many good memories, Dear Readers! Do you remember "Reading Rainbow"? If so, what are your favourite episodes or segments? Favorite stories? Leave me a comment below with your fond memories of the show! I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Plotting and Planning my #AROW80 Plans!

Somewhere between the weekend and now my brain turned into a raving ball of mush. I came home from work and nothing. I have a strong desire to curl up and watch Buffy or Firefly...

At Point Gratiot (Dunkirk, NY) with David
It's probably due to the intense cloud cover over Corning for the last couple of days. After some much needed rain on Sunday and Monday, we were welcomed to the all grey cloudage spectacular. There has been a bits of sunshine, but only in very small spurts, thus leaving the whole of the day a grey mess. I thrive on having sunshine to walk and be in. Give me a fantastic thunderstorm any day, but I need me my sunshine. And if this trend is going to continue, I may go bonkers. I tend to go a little stir crazy after a stretch of grey and cloudy/rainy weather.

Anyway, I am sitting here writing this blog to some Hugh Laurie blues, not because I am feeling the Blues, but because the grey and gloomy skies have turned my brain to mush, as I stated before. My brain is mush!

On to what I have accomplished this week (thus far):
*Finished "Catching Fire" and started "Mockingjay". I am definitely going to watch the first movie and do a review sometime this month. The series really does intrigue me. I didn't see it going quite in the direct it appears to be going.  I am still liking it, but we will see how I fare at book's end. Note: I have a small collection of Doctor Who books that I have been trying to read, so an extra goal for this month at least is to work on reading these books.

*I have submitted to one online journal per day since Sunday. This is in keep with my plans to submit submit submit!! I want to ideally submit more than one a day, but since some days I don't get home until 10 at night, 1 a day is reasonable. Trying to submit more than just poetry. I have poems, stories, and 1 acts, so no loss of material to pull from. I am even documenting what journal I submit to, when, and what works. Organized, eh? Somewhat! :-)

*Working on my duties as Producer for KLP's "Tarzan": selling ads for the program (sponsors), collecting paperwork and monies, and doing a lot of  other miscellaneous duties. Practicing improv with the Lake Country Improv and being on the board of The Lake Country Players (different from Keuka Lake Players, but also an active memember of both). Lots of Theatre stuffs this summer! Can't keep a theatre geek down for long!

*Been keeping a pace with the housework lately. Feels good, am hoping I can keep it up, especially when I act in the next show I go out for (not sure when that will be). House has been generally clean and mostly presentable. Now to have more people over and maybe barbeque and play terrible badminton or volleyball this summer. 

*Been working on the porch garden and cleaning up the yard and even started walking again. I am hoping to use weekend time to really get out and go for longer hikes and trips to outside places, weather permitting. The good news is the tomato plants are producing flowers and I think I see a cucumber started. w00t! Fresh veggies!!

*Visited 6 blogs this week so far, going to go for 10, at least. It's not only good karma, but I have discovered new ways of doing things, new ideas, like the Sticker Reward Book. If you wanna see what I am talking about, check out the Blog Hop filled with fellow bloggers and writers.

Things I haven't work on this week:
*I have not written since the weekend. With Tarzan rehearsals, Monday and Tuesday (and Thursdays), it leaves very little writing time. I do have a solution, but it involves me waking up right at 6:30 and writing for about an hour on those days. I need to, but my bed is far to comfortable lately. Going to change that. I have managed to write regular blogs on Saturdays, so it is possible to write, even in the mornings. And actually, I remember writing in the mornings during NaNo last year and the mornings were very fruitful then. Can be again!!

*Need to pull out the WIP stories and work on them. I need to see if they are feasible stories to work with.

*Time to get to editing "Tale of Memories" again. I need to step up and just do it. I don't know why I am afraid or worried about revising the story. But, I guess I am a bit intimidated by the editing process. Any tips, Dear Readers?

Expect a regular blog on Saturday. I am still working out what I would like to blog about, since beginning AROW80, I have blogged less as a whole. I have missed it. There are a few ideas poking around my head. I will find my list (that I stashed somewhere) and start creating some new content for you, Dear Readers? If you have an idea, or a question, or something you would like me to explode please leave me a comment below. I love to hear from my readers. Have a stellar week! I know I will (and will be better once the sun comes back).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Rainy Evening, Finally!

It's raining, finally. It's was getting a bit parched out there in the Twin Tiers. My poor yard which only three week ago was shaggier than the shaggy dog, now looks like practically a desert. I just spread new grass seed on part of my lawn that are patchy looking and have a small porch garden, tomatoes and cucumbers. w00t!

Onto the weekend, it's been an impressive weekend of work and play. And while I am working on the stuff that I was supposed to have done this morning , now [at 7:30 pm], I got to be outside and hanging with the Love girls [Sara, Wendy, and Daphne]. We played on the playground and ate lunch at Friendly's, tried to watch "How to Train Your Dragon" (lost out to kitties and ponies), and have yummy home made ice-cream at Dippety Do-Dahs!

What I did this weekend (or didn't quite get to):
*Finished "Catching Fire". Will be starting "Mockingjay" this week. Was going to start another Doctor Who novella/novel "Winner Take All", but haven't. I know when I get started with "Mockingjay" I probably won't wanna stop reading it (from reliable sources). I am 3 books behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Must change that! Note: I foresee some reviews of the books and the movies in the near future.

*Blogged yesterday, continuing my weekly non-ROW80 blog posting on Saturdays. I was what I was aiming for, but I also managed to complete another goal doing it this way.  Using the blog post as a launch point for a Flash Fiction that I wrote that night was a nice choice, if not the first choice. My brain wasn't focusing and I have a list of blogging ideas that is currently buried somewhere on, in, or around my desk. Sometimes I just want to share my writing. I might never do much with the story, but I still want my followers and fellow writers to be able to read what I have been up to. When I find my blog idea list expect more diverse articles and maybe an interview or two. I miss doing those.

*I wrote yesterday. I pull a writing prompt from my favourite literary journal and my first to visit, Toasted Cheese. Thanks Allison(check out her blog)! And I wrote. I just wrote and felt liberated in my writing. Such a great feeling. I have written a couple of Flash Fiction in the last week, "Mall Dreams" could possibly be a longer story, "Snow in June" is  random little thing, and "A Moment at Sea" (roughly titled) fell into this new category. It's a concept I have only recently been introduced to, but I like it. Short and simply, and really hard when you want to expand the details and go down tangents. 300 to 1000 words a good challenge for myself. I am going to continue to explore this.

*Visited 5  blogs yesterday and left comments. Striving for 10 this week.

*Today I have submitted some poetry to 1 site. Not what I was hoping for this week, but it's a start. That makes the total submission sites to 3. Would like to submit to 1 online journal each day this week. That's the plan anyway.

I think this rain is a good cleansing of my soul and starting the week off on a positive note. I always feel clearer and revitelized during and after a rain storm, especially a thunderstorm. I remember staying up late one night, late spring or early summer with my mom, talking, because it was lightening (not really raining) and really humid. It was a heat lightneing storm, I think. But there is something electric about rain and thunderstorms. Do you, Dear Readers like to sit and watch rain/thunderstorms? Favourite part of a storm? Or do you prefer to stay in and leave the rain, thunder , and/or lightening to itself? Leave me some love below!

It is a Blog Hop, go and check out the other ROW80-ers. They are good people! Check out my Twitter: draconicwitch and my Facebook Page: Here, There be a Writer.

Tonight's song, because I am in a Paul Simon mood.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Little Gardening and Flash Fiction this Evening

I was trying to figure out what I wanted to blog about today, but everything I thought about just didn't seem quite right. I had been out and about finish my gardening (my little porch garden) by adding fresh potting soil to my sweet pepper plant, planting some bulbs, and spreading new grass seed on various patches of my lawn that is in need of grass. I then discovered a garter snake chilling under my porch. After a bit of freak out and some internet surfing, I realize it is a freakin' garter snake. It was hot today and the poor thing was panting (if snakes can pant that is); as long as it stays outside, I'm fine.

Yesterday at Soulful Cup [Coffee-shop], the gang started brainstorming David's movie sequel to his college movie "Retro Man". Looks like this summer's going to be an interesting one. David's found his first draft and has read it. Looks like he is going to revise it and we will be filming this summer.

Today, because I couldn't settle on what top blog, I settled down to write a bit of flash fiction. Flash Fiction is a new concept to me, but it's something that I think will help me to write. Flash Fiction is an short form of writing between 300 to 1000 words. It's quick, succinct, and is a nice challenge for those who get really detailed (like me). I need practice in writing succinctly. I went to Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, found a writing prompt,  and wrote this (329 words) using "Snow in June".

It was early, curled up in her blankets, the soft hum from the ceiling and the gentle clinking of the metal chain rhythmically rocking her thoughts. It was time to wake up and she knew it, didn’t have to even turn her head to the alarm clock.

She uncovered her head from the cocoon of blankets, the room felt colder than she remembered. Twisting her head towards the window, her eyes closed, yet she sensed that it was going to be a bright day. Her nose started to fell the chill that seemed to pervade the room now that her face was exposed.

Confused she blinked her eyes open to the ceiling, sharing at her skylight. It looked bright, hardly any blues bouncing back to her freshly opened eyes. Odd, she thought, there didn’t seem to be any branches from the maple tree in view of the skylight. Usually she could see the top edges, but this morning there was just white, not even any blue.

Sitting up, untangling from the blankets, she let out a breath to see a cloud of fog coalesce in front of her lips. Even odder, she shook her head, tossing the blanket casual off her shoulder; she was hit with a wave of cold. Turning her head to the window, the over curtain was draped over the window, partially obscuring her view. She could see that the world appeared to have disappeared.

Jumping out of bed, she ran around the edge of the bed, bare feet skimming over the ice cold carpet. She tugged the over curtain away and stared out at the snow storm occurring outside. The wind blew into the window cover her in a film if snow, “Oh shit!”

The first thing she said was, “Shit, my tomatoes?” There was a snowstorm assaulting the city in June and her car was buried under a couple of feet of snow, but she was worried about the tomatoes.

This was inspired because where I live snow has sometimes fallen in April and sometimes even in May. I live in Southern Central New York State [Corning, NY], and after last year when many of the apple crops were lost to frost  that occurred too early. I am also familiar with the feeling of waking up to a freezing house when my furnace quit working last year. Funny how real life intrudes/inspires writing.

Tomorrow is my AROW80 check-in, so I bid you a fond good evening, Dear Readers. I hope you enjoyed my little Flash Fiction. What sort of things from your own life often inspires your writing? Leave me a comment below!

Also, I discovered the German equivalent to My Little Pony; Filly World! Yep, this exist, I even have two, Empress Diva and Queen Leonarda (the fruit jelly is for perspective).

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Turning into a Great Week Check-in!!

Silly Moustashe
Except for the obvious diseases passing through the Scott Household this week has been pretty stellar. KLP's Tarzan rehearsal are gearing up, and LCP Improv has gain a new member and has some others interested. Note: all rehearsals are open to anyone who wants to come play. Check out our Lake Country Improv Facebook Page. I am healing up from my Tonsillitis and helping David to get through his Strep Throat/Sinusitis. And with the warmer weather, I am itchy to get out and do stuff.

This week brings me the most productive since NaNo. I definitely found my passion again. It's like the  muses came down from Mount Helicon to dance and sing for me. It feeling like the world is new and everything is ready for the taking.

Here's what I did this week, thus far:
*I have gotten to Chapter 18 in "Catching Fire". I think what help find my rhythm again was chatting with some friends about the series , the concepts behind Panem, the characters, and how much I love reading about flawed characters. Thanks Ty!

*Finished writing the scene I started a few days ago. It works as a Flash Fiction, but also I can see it turning into a longer story, either a short story or maybe a novella. Potentially, anyway.

*Continued to journal. Really striving to use the journal, not just a place to rant, but to develop ideas, concepts, or planning.

*House work is pretty much caught up on housework. Not counting the laundry of the bed sheets and blankets after the sick ward has been through. Just need to run the vacuum up stairs and done!!! Most caught up on household chores ever!

*Bought veggie plants, 2 tomato plants, a green  pepper plant, a cucumber, and some corn. I also bought some flowers to plant in my mailbox planter.
Cukes and Corn

Mailbox Flowers

*I started a notebook using stickers as rewards for goals set. Easy goals, like writing 500 words, 1000 words, reading a chapter or 10 from the book that I'm currently reading. It a nice auxiliary reminder and it means STICKERS!! Who doesn't love getting stickers, right?

Things that are in process or haven't been touch yet:
*Have not submitted any additional work, but I need a bit more time to pick out works and possible skim over them before submitting. What with rehearsals for Tarzan and Improv, my evening fill up fast. The plan is to work on poetry and prose submissions Friday through Sunday.

*Continue to blog on Saturdays. It's a good day to write, either mornings and evenings.

*Continue to visit blogs and comment on my fellow writers. Be supportive! up to 10 a week is the goal. I am at 5 so far. w00t!

*Go for a hike this weekend.

I am noticing that I am getting more in the spirit of writing since I have started A Round of Words, Dear Readers. It's exciting! It makes me feel as though I am a part of something awesome. I also feel more like a writer. I mean I was before and still am, but much of the negative has hampered my journeys before into the wonderful world of writing and share my words are now not stopping me to pursue this dream. First, it was reading James' "Drawing out the Dragons", then it was starting this blog, writing for KLP's 24 Hour Theatre, and followed by finding A Round of Words and Sione's Blog [she's the reason for me trying AROW80]. Being a part of a writing community has done wonders for me.

Now, why not meander over to the Blog Hop and view some of my fellow ROW80-ers! Have a great week, Dear Readers. Go and make something beautiful in the world!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunny Sunday ROW80 check-in!!

It's been a slow and strange week, what with being off from the day job Monday and recovering from the tonsillitis, mostly just congestion and plugged ears. Yay for still having tonsils, yeah, NOT! This week also brought a renewed and greater drive to be a better writer/blogger.

Yesterday was also the day when a dear friend's partner came back to the twin tiers and we (The Lake Country Players) threw a remembrance dish to pass dinner. I always thin these things will be difficult to put together and even more difficult to sit through, but something I learned from Jane (my friend who passed in February) is that you have to keep going. I had become closer friends with Cyndi Regan, Jane's partner and we Skype somewhat regularly, we share a fondness for cats, writing poetry, and knowing Jane. It was my pleasure to be able to bring the dozen or so people who were able to make the last minute remembrance dinner. After having finished Tempest and Zombeo and Juliet, it had been hard to meet with fellow board members to organize a full on performance event (which was what we had originally wanted). We told stories and remembered Jane for the amazing person she was; and got to hear new stories from Cyndi about Jane.

Tarzan is in full swing and Improv is continuing on it's summer trek through Smelly Paperclips, Mediaeval Help Desks, Paperclip Factories, Crime Scene Investigators, and the theft of the Golden Scratch and Sniff Paperclip. The hubs is beginning Hairspray, as Corny Collins, so it'll be a full summer! ~~w00t~~

This week also brought some pretty great moments in my own head and pushed me into action again. And this time I will keep the flow going.

Goals/Stuff accomplished this week:
*I went through the whole of NaPoWriMo's list of online journals, got submission deadlines, guidelines, and what the publish. So this coming week I plan to start submitting poems, stories, and at least one 1 act to these journals. Aim: At least 5 by next check-in. That would be Wednesday.

*Read more of "Catching Fire", on chapter 14 (page 188). Found the reason I started reading the Hunger Games Trilogy in the first place. The concept, the well defined and flawed character, Katniss, and the direction it could go.

*I blogged from the first time in months that wasn't a ROW80 check-in. This is cruticial, since this is what I set this blog up for. A nice little retrospective piece.

*Visited 2 blogs on Thursday. I think Thursday.  Visited 4 today blogs today and left comments on 2. Some that is pretty good. I want to stick to 10 blogs visited in a week, but 6 in four days isn't bad.

*I still journal twice a week, usually in the morning. Mostly to keep the thoughts from kicking my brain's arse.

*Laundry, cat boxes, garbage, and lawn mowed are all caught up. Still needing to vacuum. I hate vacuuming, oh and dishes. I got more birdseed for my feathered friends and planted my cucumber plant in a large pot. Yay CUKES!!!

Now for the stuff I have stacked or not completed:
*I haven't written, just written in a few days. That something I to change. I have a crap ton of writing prompts that I saved earlier this year. Also, I am serious considering using the sticker reward system. I need to find the link to the original post. Basically it's a reward system that for goals that you set aside, each day that you make a goal, you get the corresponding sticker/sticker color; i.e. blue sticker =writing 100 words, pink sticker = 500 words, red stickers = read some from the books I am reading, or yellow stickers = read from something new. Going to implement this into my daily regime.

 *Begin visiting my fellow "Blogging from A to Z" participants. There were a lot of them, and I want to support them. so, I am going to begin to visit a few at a time in the Road Trip (#1783).

*Going out hiking, walking, biking at least twice a week.

Remember to share the good vibes and visit the Blog Hop of fellow ROW-ers!

Have a great week, Dear Readers, Writers, Thespians, Dragon Lovers, Cat People, and all other type of beautiful people!