Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Announcing the 2019 Fun in the Sun Reading Challenge!

Always fun to read summer-themed books!  Will get as many as I can between June 1 and August 31. Click here.

Something happens to me when it starts getting hot out. Sure I want to slip on my flip flops, go swimming, and drink some iced lattes but what I really get in the mood for is reading a certain genre of books that are about fun in the sun! So I'm bringing back my seasonal challenge specifically for these books.

 The Rules:
  • This short term challenge begins June 1, 2019 and ends Aug 31, 2019. 
  • You may sign up anytime during the challenge. 
  • I won't be creating different levels.
  • Read as little or as many books as you want. Even if you just read one book I want you to participate!
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.
  • Books may be any genre but must have a fun in the sun theme, a cover with these elements on it, or something in the title that is about the theme. This includes everything associated with spring and summer such as weddings, swimming pools, the ocean, beaches, lounge chairs, flowers, sunglasses, palm trees, vacations, the sun, a garden, rain, thunderstorms, heat and so on. 
  • A list of fun in the sun 2019 book releases will be up this week so check back here for it. If you want to see past releases visit my Pinterest boards for spring books and summer books. Books do not have to be read from these lists. These are just suggestions.
  • You may reread books. Books may count towards other reading challenges. 
  • Use the hashtag #FunIntheSunRC 
  • If you could be so kind, please place the Fun In the Sun Reading Challenge banner on your blog to help spread the word. 
  • Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.

Here is what I am reading:

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Turning on "Read" for Pages

All the time I've been using Pages on my Mac I had not been aware until recently about the edit option on the drag-down menu that allows speech. I gave this a try.

I now have mixed feelings about using this option. On the one hand, it can help find typos that Spell Check won't find. In one of my stories, I caught that I had typed "tired" when I meat "tried." I had looked at the printed copy many times and didn't catch this. But when the speaker read this line "...the cat tired to sneak out. ..." I became aware I'd made this typo. Similarly, in another story, I saw that I had typed "tow" instead of "two." And in another passage, I saw that I had omitted a necessary word as the computer read the text.

On the other hand, it can get annoying listening to the text being read. And of course there will be words the computer doesn't know how to pronounce. It had not clue how to pronounce Farrah Fawcett's first name, for one thing. Seems easy to understand that one. But it also read the symbol # as "number," rather than "hashtag." That was surprising, since almost everyone these days uses the symbol to mean "hashtag."  And it's just a machine, incapable of detecting the voice intonation implied by dialogue. 

Who has tried this? I'm not sure how often I will be using this method. But I think it will be helpful once in a while. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Dictating Stories

How many of you out there have tried dictating stories? I just tried this , as I had to keep pausing and saw how fun and how tedious such a process can be.

As someone who grew up using tape recorders, I had a longing for using one to attempt a story dictation. And because the book from which I got the idea was published in the 1990s, it said to use a tape recorder, since some people were still using these things at the time. I have a cassette player on my CD player that I got in 1991 (and still use today) but the cassette player no longer works. And by coincidence recently I spotted a blank cassette tape at Goodwill one day. 

I really wanted to try this method, but was unsure what to do, until someone  I know said you can record on your phone. So I gave this a try, recording two short pieces of a story. Trying to transcribe them took a while as I had to keep pausing the recording on my phone. I would have had to do the same on a tape recorder, but I was used to the idea of pausing, rewinding and stopping a tape since I had one for many years. I was also reminded of how I once tried to record a story onto to a tape recorder. But pausing my phone to listen to a recording was new to me. I have no idea how to rewind such recordings, so each time I paused then accidentally stopped the recording, I had to start it over again. In some ways, this worked to allow my to go over what I had typed so far.The

In the book where I saw this idea, it said that 15 minutes of tape can fill 10 pages or more. On my phone, I saw that you can record up to 60 minutes at a time. But since this was new to me, I decided to do a little at a time, ending up with five minutes on the first recording I did, six on the second one. I ended up with nearly three pages (on Apple Pages) with the first recording and nearly two from the second recording. I had to transcribe each one on separate days because the pausing and subsequent replaying and typing quickly wore me out. I made yet another recording that I have yet to transcribe.

The book said to transcribe word for word without editing as you go. But I found myself doing just that. Often when I write a story on paper, I find myself editing and redoing it as I type it onto the computer. I found transcribing spoken material to be not much different and the habit of editing as I go is a bit hard to break. I say do whatever works for you. The book said once the entire story is on paper, the next step is to rewrite the story for sense and sentence structure, adding any embellishments you wish. I do intend to do this step.

I'm not sure how often I will try this method, but it can be fun once in a while.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Quiz: The Movie Theater Test

You Are Imaginative and Idealistic

You are funny and playful. You bring out the brighter side of things. You are one colorful character.

You tend to respect authority and value expert's opinions. You are well read.

You have a realistic take on life. You see things as they are, and you don't worry about how things should be.

Spending time alone makes you more optimistic and ready to take on the world. You like to recharge.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Prozac Nation 25th Anniversary


Today on Twitter I saw a tweet about this article on Bustle, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Elizabeth Wurtzel's best-selling memoir, Prozac Nation. because I loved this book and its movie adaptation, I knew I had to mention this on my blog. Those who have regularly read my blog will know reading this iconic memoir made me want to write my own memoir. I was later hesitant to do so because I felt it was too close to what already existed. But other convinced me I had my now story to tell and that it was different. The article says how few mental illness memoirs had already existed when Prozac Nation was published in 1994 and how today Amazon lists over 300 mental health memoirs released in 2019. A once-rare genre of books has since become a thriving one. I now want to get mine out there somehow, but am still uncertain if I want to self-publish my memoir or try sending it out. 

From the Bustle article:

Sarah Wilson, the author of 2018 New York Times bestseller First, We Make the Beast Beautiful (which, she says, is a conversation, not a memoir, about anxiety) was on her own mental health journey in the 1990s when she first read Prozac Nation.
 “I was in the U.S. studying at UC Santa Cruz where I was diagnosed with manic depression, as it was called back then,” she tells Bustle. “I remember feeling awkward about how indulgent [Prozac Nation] was. It was the toe-gazing, self-conscious ‘90s and it was not a ‘done thing’ to be so self-absorbed and aware of your plight. At least not in such an earnest way. Things were more acerbic. But I felt it described what was actually going on. It almost provided the language for the discussion in coming decades.”

I too, was beginning my mental health journey when I first read the iconic memoir. I too, graduated from UCSC in California, though my mental health journey began long after college. 

May is Mental Health Month, an attempt to end the stigma faced with mental illness. The article in Bustle says that stigma kept memoirs of mental illness off bookshelves prior to the 1990s, and:

In a 2017 Guernica article, Charlotte Lieberman argues that mental health memoirs like Gorilla and the Bird by Zack McDermott reduce stigma with “a staunch resistance to shame, a traditional accompaniment to the disclosure of mental health issues.” Wurtzel was one of the first to do what dozens of writers are doing now — tell her personal mental health stories with a “staunch resistance to shame.”
All the more reason I want to get mine out there.

A side note: The Bustle article points out the following:

Wurtzel closes Prozac Nation with a meditation on the death of Kurt Cobain, another icon of the dysthymia who characterized 1990s pop culture. She wrote that Nirvana "either inaugurated or coincided with some definite and striking cultural moments." Prozac Nation is arguably itself one of those striking cultural moments which ignited conversations about how we struggle with, survive, and sometimes fall to mental illness.
I was never a fan of Nirvana (and coincidentally I recently read this book that mentions the '90s grunge band), but in this part of the book she wrote, "...once someone is a clinical case, once someone is in a hospital bed or in a stretcher, headed for the morgue, his story is absolutely and completely his own. ..." Yes, this is exactly what I came to learn. Stories my be similar, but each one has its own details, consequences and such. I came to see what mine were and have them written down. I'm just waiting for the chance for others to see what they are. Another quote from the Bustle piece says:
Literary agent Noah Ballard with Curtis Brown, Ltd. has worked on memoirs dealing with trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and grief. "Everyone has a story of pain misunderstood, symptoms misidentified, and often loved ones lost," he tells Bustle. "A good memoir, however, isn’t simply the lived experience of trauma or grief, but rather it is finding in the very specific a universal truth.”

I too, fell I discovered a universal truthas did Wurtzel and others who have written about this subject, such as William Styron in Darkness Visible and Susannah Kaysen in Girl, Interrupted

I may not have been in the Prozac game since the 1990s (I began my journey in 2015), but I can still relate to the subject. As soon as I began on the still-iconic antidepressant, I knew I had to read this book to see how well I could relate. Here is the review I wrote on Goodreads upon reading Prozac Nation in early 2016:

As someone currently on Prozac for depression, I knew I had to read this book to see how, if at all, I could identify with what the author described herself going through. Even though I know that it was written over 20 years ago. Still it was a thought-provoking read. And I did see some incidents in the book that were nearly the same as (if not identical to) what I had gone through before beginning my Prozac last year. Although it took me this long to realize I suffered from depression and needed to seek help. I felt I was brave to have read this. 
I have since read it a second time and may just do so yet again 🙂

Friday, May 3, 2019

Chapter Break Bingo – May 2019

Here is the new card for May.

Click on the card to download (or right click here and save-as).
Mark up the card however you wish to claim the squares.
Here’s the Teen Book Con list of authors. Pick any book from one of these authors to complete the square for Teen Book Con.

Here’s a recap for clarity (with specific dates for example):
May 3 – new bingo card available
June 2 – Julie and I will post our May completed bingo cards. You can link up your bingo cards in this post
June 3 – new bingo card available
July 2 – Julie and I will post our June completed bingo cards. You can link up your bingo cards in this post. We will also be posting the May winner of the most squares in this post.
And so on and so forth.

Here is what I am reading:
  1. The Neighborhood--Mario Vargas Llosa (7 squares): Library Book, Physical Book, Thriller/Suspense, Overcome Adversity, Minority Author, Not in a Series, Outlaw/Scoundrel
  2. Paris for One and Other Stories--Jojo Moyes (5 squares): Audiobook, Mother, Contemporary Fiction, New Relationship, Exercise 
  3. The Inheritance of Loss--Kiran Desai (5 squares): Free Space, Award-Winning, Made Into a Movie, New-to-You Author, Clean Romance
  4. Click Here--Denise Vega (2 squares): Character is a Blogger, In a Series
  5. Opposite of Always--Justin A. Reynolds (4 squares): Teen Book Con Author, Recently Released (2019), Free Book, Alternative Mode of Transportation
  6. Radical Sanity--Elizabeth Wurtzel (1 square): Shelf Love
  7. A Cup of Tea--Amy Ephron (1 square): Weapon on Cover
25 squares completed on May 15

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Words for Wednesday

This meme was started by Delores a long time ago.  Computer issues led her to bow out for a while.  The meme was too much fun to let go, and now Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. 

Essentially the aim is to encourage us to write.  Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image.   What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...  We can use some or all of the prompts.

Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog.  I would really like it if as many people as possible joined into this fun meme, which includes cheering on the other participants.  If you are posting on your own blog - let me know so that I, and other participants, can come along and applaud.

The prompts will be here this month but are provided by Margaret Adamson, and her friend Sue Fulton.  They also include photographs taken by Margaret's friend
 Danny McCaughan.

Without further ado.

The weeks words are:

  1. Scuttle
  2. Rapper
  3. Drop
  4. Machine
  5. Flowery
  6. Button 

And/ or 
  1. Cashback 
  2. Tipping
  3. Pizza
  4. Energy
  5. Unsubstantiated
  6. Clear 

One day a strange person walked into Bob's Pizza. He wore blingy jewelry like a rapper would wear. It was an unsubstantiated claim that her actually was a rapper. Along with his jewelry he also wore a flowery shirt with large, bright buttons. The customer displayed much energy as he asked for cash back while using his debit card to order a personal pizza. While he was waiting for his order, he went over to the music-playing machine and dropped in some money to play some tunes, making scuttling dance moves. He slowed it down after a while, though, in order to cause tipping over of things nearby, and to not get dizzy himself. The music cleared once his order was ready.