gilded tongues and pretty words

Dear Internet,

It’s been a hellauva week.

There are two things I cannot discuss just yet, but many of you are aware of at least one of them. So let us trip up instead on good news instead of navel gazing on the bad.

Earlier this week, I posted on various social spheres that a present arrived on my doorstep, courtesy of TheBassist:
thud!

And when I mentioned in the posting the book took 8 years to get to me, questions were raised about why and how. It’s simple: TheBassist and I dated. We broke up. He had gotten the book signed for me at some point. The book had been lost, and then refound. So against his promise to never get in touch with me again, he did reach out because a promise made to me superseded a promise made to himself.

(Yes, the same person I mentioned almost a year ago about finding his coded messages to me on various Internet places and he clarified as to why he did it. The promise he made to himself to never get in touch was because he knew he had hurt me so badly, he didn’t think anything he could ever say would ever help ease the hurt of what he did.)

Complicated? Absolutely. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After our stilted feeling out dance around each other, we became Facebook friends,  laid down some boundaries, and started to get reaquainted with the other. In a very strange way, it is not like eight years has passed between us as conversation picked as if we had only spoken last week. You have to understand when we were dating, we used to text, talk, and email the other all day long. Literally, from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed.

(TheHusband and I have a similar relationship, which is one of the reasons why I married him.)

Really, what is kind of awesome about this new forged friendship between TheBassist and I is that he’s given me carte blanche on getting the answers about what happened between us, what has happened to him, and what is going to happen to his future. It’s intoxicating and overwhelming at the same time.

It is a heady power, one I will not use for ill will either.

(Plus he states on the reasoning on why we broke up, he says in honesty yet it will come out sounding cliched, it really was him and not me.)

Last year, I said

  1. He splintered my heart the first time that when he came sniffing around the second time,  about six months after our first tussle, I showed him my partially fixed heart which he took a sledgehammer to. Again.
  2. While the connection between us when we were together was insane, he routinely lied to me on just about everything
  3. I could never trust him again, even in a platonic manner

1 is absolutely true. 2, he clarified and filled in the missing details, which were easily verifiable. So a lot of his actions are much clearer now on what happened and why, so it was not so much as lying as things were withheld. 3, perhaps is not wholly true because unlike some people from my past, I don’t feel like he’s creeping on me for the sake of creeping nor do I feel he has ulterior motives. (We’re both happily partnered up and I don’t think I would ever leave TheHusband for even Alexander Skarsgard. Maybeee James McAvoy.)

In my long storied history, TheBassist is one of my top five exes. And I’m really thrilled we were able to get closure on a lot of things that happened in the past, which apparently has freed up some unintentional emotional baggage because TheHusband said I’ve been really happy these last few days. (But I think the happiness has more to do we had really good shawarma for dinner, which precluded to me making happy noises while we ate.)

(When I broke this all down for my therapist last week, Dr. P. said this was not going to end well. When I asked why, Dr. P. seemed to be of the mindset that men and women can’t be friends once they have a romantic relationship because doing so brings up all the old feelings which can only lead to no good. I vehemently disagree with this because I am still in contact with many of my exes, the bad and the good, and some I’m quite close to. Just because we’ve seen each other naked and inserted things into orifices does not eradicate the bond we shared long after the romance was over.)

Time to switch gears and talk about a project I’ve been working on for the last few days as part of my writing schedule for July which is the get Vol 1 of secret Kindle project completed and online. The purpose of this project was to test out the ease and flexibility of selling stories via Amazon’s Kindle publishing platform. I don’t wholly expect to make millions off this, but it’s nice to figure out a new tech and make it work for me.

This project is turning out to be much bigger than I planned. I was originally anticipating that about a years worth of content would roughly translate into 200 pages after being formatted for the Kindle, but I’m four months in and already at 50 pages with the formating. So this may turn out to be one big, glorious mess. Hooray!

As part of the project also coincides with getting more of my old content on the websites, I’ve spent the last two days curating, uploading, mildly editing, and publishing stuff from the mid-late 90s and up to mid-00s. All of the existing prose pieces that used to reside here at EPbaB were moved over to my author site. About 50% of what’s on that page is “new.”

If you follow the weekly round up I do every Saturday, I typically list out these “new” entries that I put up for that week, but I often don’t give them summaries. I was pretty pleased with few of the pieces I found today, and was passing them around various social spheres, so here they are:

  • sassy skirt seeks alliterative ally
    This is my personal ad I put on match.com circa 2006. I’m pretty sure if I were single today and looking for fresh meat, I’d use this same ad with some minor edits.
  • rock*star
    I wrote this piece in my undergrad for a creative writing class and I’m pretty proud of it. I blend together The Afghan Whigs lyrics, the time before a concert begins, and finding my high school love after nearly a decade.
  • popular suicide
    I wrote this in 2004, documenting my 1989 suicide attempt and the advice my mother gave me after it happened.
  • Tripping on Stars
    This was a lit ‘zine project some of my friend and I did in the summer of 1999 that lasted for an entire month! The few pieces I created for the project are not half bad.

Word to the wise: If you do decide to go down the Lisa of yore, be prepared for lots of angst, self-loathing, frank discussions about sex, and more.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 1998

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for July 19, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.

 

Dear Internet,

You can follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Reading

Finished

raisingsteam
Raising Steam by Sir Terry Pratchett
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)

What I love most about Pratchett is his fantastical ability to create a Discworldian history over the probable cause of a “thing” that we have always accepted as part of our reality. The history of rock and roll, banks, postal service, newspapers (to name a few), and now the steam revolution have all been given a history with a very Pratchett twist to them.

But here’s the thing that finally dawned on me as I read Raising Steam – PTerry has always, ALWAYS been a shower, not a teller. Witty dialogue, great character development, fantastic descriptions, and footnotes that would melt your heart are the reasons why he is one of the few authors I continue to pre-order their books. But something is shifting now — I noticed it in Dodger where things didn’t seem quite on the up and up with his writing but I couldn’t figure out WHY. And the more I got into Raising Steam, the more I realised what was missing — PTerry is becoming a teller. Less on the witty dialogue and character development, more on a “here is a few paragraphs to cover what is needed for this particular scene.” PTerry’s “embuggerance,” as he calls it, is starting to show its mettle.

There is enough soul of the man who writes to make the words fly in the way they need, and to make the story come alive. But it is a little less shiny. Little less bright. A little less, well, him.

cakesandale Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)

tl;dr Cakes and Ale  is proof in the pudding dead white dudes could write whatever the fuck they want and have it hailed as literary masterpiece, even when it is utterly beyond crap.

Review
I picked this book up a couple of months ago and it has been the bane of my existence as the more I read, the more I hated it. It is poorly written and badly edited, with random thoughts dropped into the middle of scenes that do not make any sense to the story or plot. For example, near the end of the book while discussing the character, Rosie Driffield, in question, the narrator suddenly decides this would be a good time to go on a two page bender on the withal of telling a story in first person narrative. Then as suddenly as he leapt into that thought, he leaps back into his discourse of Rosie’s admirable/questionable qualities.

The book is littered with jumps like this. There was 30 pages leveled on the discourse of beauty, what it meant, how it was applicable to life, who got it, and who didn’t. Another 10 pages on the virtues of a secondary minor character who doesn’t show up until near the end of the book. Roughly 20 pages was spent discussing the attributes of a another character who never actually shows up later in the story.

Maugham name checks of the day famous literary talent, real and imaginary. He draws comparison between his protagonist, William Ashenden, and these literary giants and whom you realise is really a stand in for him. He fangirls over so many famous people, it gets kind of embarrassing.

The crux of the story is William Ashenden, the narrator, is asked by Alroy Kear, another London literary snob, to help him with his research on writing a biography of recently deceased late-Victorian author, Edward Driffield. Driffield’s wife, the second Mrs. Driffield, wants any mention of the first Mrs. Driffield, our supposed heroine Rosie, to be erased from Edward’s history for she was an amoral character to the ninth degree and whose influence over poor dear Edward nearly killed him. 

With this set up, one would think the whole of the story would be the bringing to life, discussion, and telling of Rosie Driffield’s relationship with Edward. Rosie is mentioned in the beginning of the book briefly and then it’s not until another 200 pages later she’s brought into focus again and then carried out. It was as if someone had said to Maugham, “Yo. You are far off plot here buddy, rein it in!” And he did.

The whole of the book is to examine the snobbery and the often absurd social mores of the late Victorians and later, the Edwardians, and how these attitudes were affected and perceived. I get that, I do. But in that vein, the book is so poorly executed I spent a lot of time wondering what the fuck I was reading. I checked the synopsis on the back of the book so often to verify that what it said was actually what I was reading and not something else entirely.

It is well documented Maugham had issues with women, as he often saw them as his sexual and affection competitors, so his women are often described and treated as if they scum on shoes because of their sex. It is also well established Maugham, despite impressive number of novels under his belt, is at his best as a short story writer. With that in mind, I would recommend you stay the hell away from Cakes and Ale. I cannot in good conscious even conceive how this book gets so much love because of how flawed it is from start to finish. It is not even coherent, and yet! Yet, the mere existence proves that a dead white dude could write anything and have it called a literary masterpiece.

Watching

  • You, Me, & Them
    An adorable and quirky show staring Anthony Head (Giles from Buffy) and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper on Torchwood) as a May-December couple who have recently moved in together and struggling with the demands not only of their relationship, but also the demands of their respective families. Frothy and fun, I was pleasantly surprised by the series. Series 2 is coming soon!

Weekly watching: The LeftoversTrue BloodRectifyHalt and Catch Fire, A Place To Call Home, Last Week Tonight with John OliverCosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyElementary

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for May 31, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.

 

Dear Internet,

Yesterday I updated Put A Cravat On It, the mother of all period piece series list that I wrote up back in December. It’s now closing in on nearly 100 shows to tap that vein when waiting for Downton Abbey or Miss Fisher. Enjoy.

P.S. You can now follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Reading

Finished
ravenswarrior
The Raven’s Warrior by Vincent Pratchett
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)

This book, a recommendation I saw somewhere, had all the right ingredients: Vikings, Arthurian legends, fantasy, and retellings. How can it be bad?

Hoo boy.

Let us start on page iv with the Editor’s note: Viken is a historical name in southwestern Norway, believed to derive from Old Norse word ‘vik’, meaning cove or inlet. Etymologists have suggested that the modern word “viking” may be derived from this place name, simply meaning “a person from Viken.”

This little note is almost entirely lifted from Wikipedia page for viken. The etymology of the word “viken” is correct, but how it relates to Vikings is horribly incorrect.

So there’s that.

The prologue which is a to give the book ambiance is lifted from Norse legend, except our bro dude here is Celtic (yes, there were some heavy influences but this is a very direct lifting of Norse mythology) and then we’re told the protagonist’s name is Vincent (Mary Sue much?). Vincent is kidnapped by Viken raiders who sell him at a market to a Chinese monk with a VERY mysterious past and then the story shifts to the monk’s backstory for a zillion pages that had no bearing on the story itself.

The prose is terrible. It’s written in mostly stream of consciousness with some dialog thrown in to make it a “story.” And there is description of everything everywhere about everything, which just reinforces the stream of consciousness technique. You have no idea who is talking when, about what, or to whom. The jump in direction and sudden shifting in points of view were edited badly.

Other points to consider:

  • He claims to be the nephew of Terry Pratchett – who is an only child. Vincent also marks it pointedly that he is related on his book bio.
  • His publishing house, YMAA, publishes titles mainly in martial arts / spirituality, but rarely fiction.
  • He (or someone) paid $69 to enter in the USA Best Book Awards, which after viewing their site just screams, “scam.”
  • People have commented on GR and other places they were embarrassed to hand his book out for World Book Night
  • The misuse of plain/plane, their/they’re/there, and other grammar and spelling atrocities.

I just can’t. Nope. Not gonna even try.

Currently reading
Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)

Still plodding along.

unexpectedsuperhero
Unexpected Superhero by Kitty Bucholtz
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)

First book NOT in Worldcat, so that’s interesting.

I picked this title up via the author’s booth when I was at Cherry Capital Comic Con last weekend. The cover was eye catching, the concept of a local to the area superhero was intriguing, and lately I’ve been hunting down superhero as prose novels. See Kelly Thompson as another, yet delightfully better, example of this emerging genre.

First thing I need to note: This is a Christian romance, first and foremost. Full stop.

Nothing wrong with Christian romance, there is a huge market for the material, but it’s not a genre I regularly read in. I’m having a hard time with someone writing a superhero novel while integrating all of the reasons why the characters are so superhuman is because of The Lord.

I’m only about 40 pages in to Unexpected Superhero, and I’m finding other issues as well (mainly plot and editing issues), so there will be more later.

raisingsteam
Raising Steam by Sir Terry Pratchett
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)

After The Raven’s Warrior and Unexpected Superhero being disappointments for a variety of reasons, I decided to dig back into good old Sir TPerry, for this has been hanging out on my bedside table for ages. Sir TPerry’s wonderfully taut prose and gentle merry making is a palette cleanser after the dreck I read earlier in the week. Long may he reign.

Watching

  • Mad Men
    I am feeling much better as to how this season progressed and I’m a bit sad at how some of the things have turned — Megan/Don, Peggy, and of course, Burt. I thought I had a good idea of where the show was going, but it seems I do not. I hope this doesn’t end up becoming another Sopranos.
  • Mr. Sloane
    Nick Frost plays a conservative 1960s accountant whose life is not heading in the direction he wants it to go. Or as the tagline states, who found the 60s were not all that swinging for him. Funny and dorky — fundorky? — you can’t help but want to cheer Frost on.
  • The Crimson Field
    During 2014, the Beeb is planning on running 2500 hours of television dedicated to WW1, and this was one of the shows. Crimson Field is about three field nurses, near the front, during the Great War and the people they encounter, the lives they change, and those who work with them. There is a lot of FEELINGS and you can feel the heavy influence of Downton Abbey. I really liked this show and the ending was set up for a second season. I hope.

Weekly watching:  FargoLast Week Tonight with John OliverLouiePenny DreadfulGame of ThronesSilicon ValleyVeepCosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyDoctor Blake MysteriesElementary

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012, 2012, 2012, 2012, 2012, 2009