All posts for the month March, 2011

Same dog, new meat lockers

Published March 18, 2011 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

My father has several colorful phrases that succinctly sum up the essence of a situation. (But I strongly suspect that no one is going to give him a book deal and a TV series starring William Shatner.) My all-time favorite phrase is, “Acting like a blind dog in a meat locker.” (Take a moment to visualize.)

That is an apt description of how I act in a library or bookstore.

I just got back from the library.I realize that both bookshelves in my room are overflowing, as are all of the other shelves and flat surfaces in the rest of the house.

I went to the library to pick up a few items I had on hold.

Of course, I had to glance around.

I just finished the second first draft of my novel, and I rapidly compiling research for my second tome.

I am also pulling together information for a few writing competitions,plus I’m incredibly interested in a lot of things I don’t know much about.

Right now, I have one General Fiction Pictures of You
From Bookmarks Magazine
The Boston Globe describes Pictures of You “as part literary mystery, part domestic drama, and part psychological examination,” and, indeed, the novel kept most critics on their toes the entire time. A novel of loss, redemption, forgiveness, and self-discovery, the intertwining stories grapple not only with the tragedy but also with the mystery of April’s hasty departure from her family. Reviewers commented that what could have been a maudlin, predictable storyline instead becomes fresh with Leavitt’s direct, unsentimental writing; her you-are-here details; and her fully convincing characters. Readers who enjoy both fine storytelling and writing will be sure to savor this novel.
We’ll see, Bookmarks, we’ll see.

I also have Something, Maybe Booklist
Perhaps recovering from the harrowing Living Dead Girl (2008), Scott retreats to cozy romantic shenanigans with this predictable but good-natured entry in the which-boy-will-she-choose canon. Seventeen-year-old Hannah is known for exactly one thing: her mother, current erotic Web-chat hostess and former girlfriend of a Hugh Hefner–like celebrity named Jackson. Hannah is Jackson’s estranged daughter, and her tentative forays into the elderly sex magnate’s bizarre life form the most unique segments of the plot. For someone whose parents were so famously connected to sex, Hannah sure isn’t getting any—instead she plugs away taking drive-through burger orders next to the dreamy Josh and the annoying Finn. It doesn’t take a genius to know immediately that Finn is the one she’ll end up with; in fact, Hannah’s obliviousness to her own feelings is somewhat trying. Given the current popularity of the Hefner-centered reality-TV show, this light offering will undoubtedly find readers, and might even dampen the allure of living a Playboy lifestyle. Grades 8-11.
I really liked Living Dead Girl,and I certainly need to recover from the harrowing.

I also have In search of Mockingbird. Booklist
Reeling from her dad’s announcement that he is engaged, Erin decides to run away from St. Paul, Minnesota. Her plan? To search for Harper Lee, who was her late mother’s favorite author. Erin won’t be 16 until the next day, so her escape vehicle is a Greyhound bus headed south to Monroeville, Alabama, Harper Lee’s hometown. In this light, contemporary quest story, set in 1986, Ellsworth paints a portrait of an unhappy yet talented teenager caught in a male-dominated family. Erin meets a variety of interesting characters along her journey, including large, redheaded, twentysomething Epp Gobarth, who listens and, out of concern, joins her on her mission. Ellsworth’s story shows just how easily poor communication with adults can sidetrack and endanger teens, and how clear talk and caring can rescue them. Suggest this as a follow-up to Lee’s classic novel
I thought this might be fun, and one of the books I didn’t check out was a similar story, but used Catcher in the Rye as it’s basis.

These are the books I am going to browse for fun.

The book I actually went to get is Burstsstyle=”font-style:italic;”>Can we scientifically predict our future? Scientists and pseudoscientists have been pursuing this mystery for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. But now, amazing new research is revealing that patterns in human behavior, previously thought to be purely random, follow predictable laws.

Albert-László Barabási, already the world’s preeminent researcher on the science of networks, describes his work on this profound mystery in Bursts, a stunningly original investigation into human behavior. His approach relies on the way our lives have become digital. Mobile phones, the Internet, and e-mail have made human activities more accessible to quantitative analysis, turning our society into a huge research laboratory. All those electronic trails of time- stamped texts, voice mails, and searches add up to a previously unavailable massive data set that tracks our movements, our decisions, our lives. Analysis of these trails is offering deep insights into the rhythm of how we do everything. His finding? We work and fight and play in short flourishes of activity followed by next to nothing. Our daily pattern isn’t random, it’s “bursty.” Bursts uncovers an astonishing deep order in our actions that makes us far more predictable than we like to think.

Illustrating this revolutionary science, Barabási artfully weaves together the story of a sixteenth-century burst of human activity-a bloody medieval crusade launched in his homeland, Transylvania-with the modern tale of a contemporary artist hunted by the FBI through our post-9/11 surveillance society. These narratives illustrate how predicting human behavior has long been the obsession, sometimes the duty, of those in power. Barabási’s wide range of examples from seemingly unrelated areas includes how dollar bills move around the United States, the pattern everyone follows in writing e-mail, the spread of epidemics, and even the flight patterns of albatross. In all these phenomena a virtually identical bursty pattern emerges, a reflection of the universality of human behavior.

Bursts reveals where individual spontaneity ends and predictability in human behavior begins. The way you think about your own potential to do something truly extraordinary will never be the same.
This is what I am pushing forward with The Frozen Burrito theory of characterization.

As I was browsing,I found Short Bus: A journey beyond normal. “What makes this journey so inspiring is Mooney’s transcendent humor; the self he has become does not turn away from old pain but can laugh at it, make fun of it, make it into something beautiful.”—Los Angeles Times

Labeled “dyslexic and profoundly learning disabled,” Jonathan Mooney was a short-bus rider—a derogatory term used for kids in special education. To learn how others had moved beyond labels, he bought his own short bus and set out cross-country, looking for kids who had dreamed up magical, beautiful ways to overcome the obstacles that separated them from the so-called normal world.

The Short Bus is his irreverent and poignant record of that odyssey, meeting thirteen people in thirteen states who taught Mooney that there’s no such thing as normal—and that to really live, every person must find their own special way of keeping on. The Short Bus is a unique gem, propelled by Mooney’s heart, humor, and outrageous rebellions.

This book attracted me for obvious reasons.

I am also trying to get a better handle on history and on grammar.
But I also got season two of Nurse Jackie, and Netflix sent the first disc of the Love Boat. I also have a Danielle Steele made for TV movie and something with Ralph Fiennes playing his own grandfather and grandson.

So much meat and I am but a poor humble dog.

What’s the story

Published March 14, 2011 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I can not get my brain to stop thinking. (I know, why would you want to?) I’ve never really been able to get a grip on the correct definition of irony, so I don’t know if it’s ironic that I spent so much time getting my brain to reboot, and now I can’t even get it to go to screen saver.
I try to keep my ramblings to some level of coherency. (I don’t know who I think I’m fooling.) Today I am actively wondering what story or stories will survive over the years. Apparently, researchers claim to have found the remains of Atlantis in the marshlands of Southern Spain.

Think for a moment about how long the story of Atlantis has survived, just on the basis of hearsay. (And how close is that word to the word ‘heresy’?)

I perused the article. (I do have moments of intellectual curiosity) Then I looked at the other “popular” stories for today.

I would much prefer that Atlantis, myth or not,survive a few thousand more years of legend than any of the other madness that is happening right now.

I know, but I don’t know.

Published March 13, 2011 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Here I at the beginning of my Spring Break, rife with possibility for the free time and dodging from the things that will actually suck up all of my time.  The most important thing I need to do is to teeter on the fine line of being self-motivated and not pushing myself too hard.
Yesterday, I pushed too hard and now I’m achy and weary feeling.   I am trying to make myself enjoy the down time.  I just said, MAKE MYSELF ENJOY.
How did I get to the point where I can’t just enjoy something like leisure?  I know what the consequence is for running myself into the ground.  (It’s having a worm’s eye view for eternity. I just made that up.)
The second most important thing I need to do this week is to spend time with the Kid.  He’s going to New York in the fall, and we won’t have as much free time together, maybe ever. But if I’m tired and achy and tense, neither of us will have any fun. I know what I need to do. Why is it so damn hard?

My slow days are just as stupid as the fast ones

Published March 11, 2011 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Today is the last day of school before Spring Break.  It’s a pretty close race between the indifference of the students and the apathy of the teachers.  It’s a pretty boring race, as no one seems to care enough to warm up, let up alone run.

I’m not sure I even care enough to finish this thought.

So there.

What becomes emergent

Published March 7, 2011 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I have mentioned a time or to, that I was the victim of an unscheduled, unplanned and unwelcome hemorrhagic stroke. ( I know, who plans on having one of those.)  This happened one month after my 34th birthday.  At the time, I was under a lot of job and personal stress and lived with the Absence of All that is Good and Holy.
I remember wishing for a slower paced life when I blew out my birthday candles. I realize now I should have been more specific.
I recently read two separate books told from the POV of highly stressed, highly motivated women in their thirties. One woman suffered a serious brain trauma (because she was multi-tasking on the highway.)One suffered a massive heart attack. (because she was multi-tasking through life.)
Today I read this in Dear Abby, “KIDNEY DISEASE IS PRICE PAID FOR NEGLECTED BLOOD PRESSUREDEAR ABBY: Like many other young adults, I was too busy establishing a career during my 20s and early 30s to care much about diet and exercise. I felt healthy, so I saw no need to change my lifestyle. My doctor had told me my blood pressure was elevated during a number of my yearly physical exams, but I didn’t ask any questions and took no action. “This woman is suffering from kidney failure.  Apparently the universe is trying to tell me something that  I am too stupid to have learned after 8 years, two of which was spent working with all of the kings horsemen and all the kings men to put my brain back together again.  (By the way, why didn’t any of Humpty’s pals call a surgeon or at least a sous chef?) I find myself stressing out and panicking for no reason at all.  I do have a certain amount of job stress, but I also need to listen to what I tell my students.  There are no theatrical emergencies. Some days it can wait.

My life refuses to be boring and uneventful

Published March 6, 2011 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

First stop on my daily adventure, got up too early for sunday to get my oil changed and tires rotated. Too early for the also waiting to be booming cheerily about their life stories . The stories are harshing my pleasant valley sunday. I think half the staff here is hung over.  They were.  But they were nice.  I made every attempt to keep this a relaxing, stress free day.  Not going to happen.  I moseyed through my morning, getting laundry folded and organizing things at a relaxing pace.   Then the car people called. My car needs a catalytic converter. This is not something that can be taken care of today.I will need to get up extra early(I love love love doing that.)and take my car to yet another car repair place.  Pending their schedule, I will either have to walk to work or get someone to take me, and walk home, or get someone to pick me up. This will continue for who knows how many days until this is fixed.  Whee.
I do have to get to work early so I can read a play.  I can not talk about this because I am trying to stay relaxed and not screamy and headachey.