Blogs to Follow: Day 19

Rounding out the last two days of this Blogging University EverydayInspiration course.

ReactionaryTales has been up for almost two months and today I want to spotlight some great blogs to follow. If anyone listed would not like to be linked, just let me know and I’ll take it off.

Cimmerian Sentiment

If you are a fan of original romance stories, check out this blog. I have been absolutely hooked to Blythe and Mac’s story from Part 1.

Ms. Bad

Another original romance writer. I started reading about Jay and Dee but lately its been all about Sascha and West in Hot Teacher. Definitely check out Part 1.

Love it Now and Mr. Mel

These two write some beautiful poetry that touch on the broad range of emotions we feel on a daily basis. They are quite inspiring and are usually accompanied by beautiful pictures.

Sheryl

Sheryl is an another writer who gives aspiring authors great writing tips and advice mingled around her experience from writing her first book.

The Orangutan Librarian

If you’re looking for a great book review site, this is a great one. All the reviews are nicely detailed without spoilers and are rated on a banana scale.

 

So that’s my short and sweet roundup for today. These are a handful of blogs I look forward to reading on a daily basis. There’s a lot more I could have said about each but I encourage anyone who visits this blog to go exploring these blogs on your own. I promise you’ll find something you like that will keep you going back for more. 🙂
Later

Tea Talk. I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 11

If we were having tea (or coffee if that’s what you prefer) right now, I would tell you all about how much I love this Beauty and the Beast reboot!

Last night I saw the film for the second time and I absolutely can’t get enough. I usually hate remakes, especially Disney remakes. Somehow they always fall short for me. I watched Snow White and the Huntsmen and then regretted that. I didn’t bother watching Cinderella and I was hesitant to watch The Jungle Book. However, Now that it’s on Netflix, I may just give it a chance because everyone I know who’s seen it says it’s really good. There’s actually a live action version of Jungle Book that was made in 1994. That was actually a great remake even though it’s not widely known. I am not a huge fan of clay animation. Sounds weird right? Toy Story was decent but not really watch over and over again type of film for me. The two exceptions to the clay animation genre is Finding Nemo and Kubo and the Two Strings (not Disney but still).

There are quite a few films that I consider Disney that aren’t actually Disney. Anastasia, The Road to El Dorado and The Indian in the Cupboard are a few of those films. Fantastic movies just under a different production umbrella; Twentieth Century Fox, Columbia Pictures and Dreamworks.

Anyway, back to Beauty and the Beast. Wow! I went into the film having all kinds of expectations. I admit I didn’t think the film would be that amazing. I’m always biased when it comes to reboots. Sometimes they are pulled off fantastically but majority of the time they flop. I’ve seen the original Beauty and the Beast (and it’s sequels) I don’t know how many times and it never gets old. I’ve listened to the soundtrack I don’t know how many times and it never gets old! I’ve even seen the old 1987 television show and that was pretty alright! I’m obsessed, I know. Just look at my VHS Disney movie collection.

The only cast I knew about was Emma Watson playing Belle and Luke Evans playing Gaston. I didn’t research any other characters because I wanted to be surprised. It’s like reading a book and imagining the characters a certain way and then when you see them later you cross your fingers and hope the cast matches your imagination.

I can’t put into words how amazing this movie is besides telling everyone they need to see it. It’s not your ordinary Disney remake. One of the things I did not expect was the amount of black actors and actresses in the film. They even showed interracial relationships! I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this but it’s pretty rare to see a mixed race film. The fact they pulled it off so flawlessly in a Disney film was astonishing! I also liked that along with singing the original songs, they threw in a couple of their own. We also got to see a little back story on why Maurice raised Belle alone and why Beast grew up in a hardhearted situation that trickled into his adult life and led to him being cursed.

Have you seen this movie? Thoughts?

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 5

Today’s blog post is brought to you by a quote meme and written (typed? texted?) from my cellphone.

I browse social media regularly and I follow a lot of book loving sites. There’s one that posts memes on an daily (hourly) basis. So I came across this meme that says:

 

Read the books that make you happy even if they’re not classics or academic novels that won awards.

 

This got me thinking about my personal book reading preferences now in comparison to what I would read before. Romance novels used to be this taboo. It was that white elephant in the room that no one wanted to talk about. Whenever someone asked your book genre preferences it was always safe to say scif-fi or thrillers or fantasy. If you said romance people would instantly think of the Fabio covers and say you read those “trashy novels”.

Now it seems that you’re the weird one if you don’t read romance. It’s like the book reading world has suddenly embraced all things romance. Here I am thinking everybody is late to the party. I personally think that Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey can’t hold a candle to a whole host of romance novels by amazing authors. I hate how these are now the basis for a good romance story. Read a good Judith McNaught historical romance or a Sandra Brown thriller or hell a good Anne Rice paranormal to see how it should really be done.

I have my opinions, obviously, and I certainly never want to cause drama. I love that people are embracing little things like romance novels more and more and, like the quote says, aren’t ashamed to say hell yeah I love these books and you should too!

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 3

Today’s inspiration is brought to you by single word posts. The goal here is to take one word and turn it into a post. The email provided a list of words to choose from and it definitely got me thinking.

I’m going to take it back to senior year of high school. The year was pretty decent. Made a lot of good friends but they were a grade or two lower than me. I spent most of my time in the Zoology classroom taking care of the myriad of reptiles and amphibians. Now my teacher is asking me if I’m going to college. Well, for me it’s not like I had much choice. My mother made it very clear what would happen if I didn’t go to college. At the time, I was excited. I flunked the ACTs but I did pass the SATs. I didn’t want to go to the local college because that’s where the whole graduating class was going and I needed new faces. I was too chicken shit to move to a different state or even to go an hour away so I ended up being about 45 minute drive from home. Far enough that I knew my mom wouldn’t come visit me every second but close enough to visit. I worked two jobs and went to school full time, changed my major once in there and graduated.

Now I’m living the dream! I have a fancy piece of paper that tells the world I’m intelligent! I can do everything I dreamed of doing!

Wrong. You know why it was so wrong? Because everything they tell you is just not true. You see you get these job coaches that tell you about your resume and how it should look and how effective your education will be when applying into the unknown adult world of jobs. I was originally a Biology major. That pretty much narrows my job choices down to zookeeper, plant and animal behavior, animal nutrition, naturalist. So I’m like hell yeah! I’ll get to be a zookeeper! This is great! School is expensive but you know what it doesn’t matter because when I graduate I’ll be set forever! Yeah, no. You can’t imagine how hard it is to become a zookeeper. Literally the best way to get into a zoo is to know someone who knows someone higher up who can whisper into their superior’s ear about how awesome you are and to give you chance. Or, the alternative, work for free for 5 years and get a passing chance at having your application looked at. You’re telling me I struggled for 4 years of my life, spent massive amounts of money (95k if you were curious), volunteered for 2 years and I still can’t get my pinky toe in the door. What do I have to show for it now? Lots of debt. Thank you education. You are a real winner.

You know what they need in colleges now? They need that person who will be brutally honest. That coach you go to and say, “hell yeah, when I graduate I’ll be swimming with sea turtles and dolphins and caring for elephants!” And then that coach would look you in the face and just bust out laughing; gut wrenching, tears streaming, spit shooting out from their face, laughing. And then set you straight. They’ll say, “Hey! that’s great except that won’t happen. You’ll probably work fast food or retail the first few years out of college, and then you’ll find a job that you can be passionate enough about that’ll keep you afloat in this world!” Then follow up with, “Here’s what you really need to do…”

Now I’m not saying this is what happens to everyone or that you all should feel this way or that. I don’t necessarily regret going to college because I did make quite a few connections that I still keep in contact with today or have helped me better my living situation. If I had to go back, I would definitely pick a community college instead of a private college and I would pick a more logical major. In a perfect world, we could all fake it til we make it. I heard this saying from my realtor. I asked her how she was so successful at her job. She said she jumped in and learned as much as possible and came up with her own strategies along the way until she became very good at what she does. That is living the dream. You apply for a job and are considered based off your willingness to learn and then you get a fantastic teacher who teaches you everything they know. That, in my opinion, is the best way to get a real world education.

What’s your opinion about education?

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 2

Today’s inspiration prompt requires me to write a list. I have a choice in which list I choose to write about but they are so simple, I’m choosing to write a list for all of them.

Things I Like:

  • Books. Books are my life. I love to read. I feel like an addict going through withdrawal when I don’t have something to read. I honestly believe it keeps me sane and I lose a lot of sleep because of reading but I can sleep when I’m dead right?
  • Food. I am a foodie. There is a short list, on one hand, of foods I won’t eat. Exploring new-to-me restaurants is great fun. My favorite eats: sushi, ramen, anything in pasta form (alfredo, spaghetti, ravioli etc) and Chinese food
  • My pets. I have two cats and a painted turtle. I used to hate cats. I had a roommate back in college who had devil spawn cats. They would constantly destroy things and howl at the moon. I vowed never to have cats. But then one day a friend presented a box of stray cats to me and Milliardo was the only one sleeping in the box and right when I was going to walk away he opened his eyes and looked at me and I was sold. The turtle has been around for 10 years and counting and we decided Milliardo needed a more mellow friend so that’s where Isabel came into the picture.
  • Netflix et al. I love watching television shows. I gravitate mostly towards historical pieces (Vikings, Downton Abbey, Spartacus..) and drama shows (Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless, Scandal..) but I’m open to anything. I’ll even watch documentaries here and there. HUGE Marvel fan and DC (sometimes when they’re good). My husband and I go and see all the Marvel films as well as the Marvel adaptation shows on Netflix.
  • Music. I looooove listening to music. Some of my favorite artists include Ed Sheeran, Lindsey Stirling, Pentatonix, Beyonce, Josh Groban, Evanescence.. I am all over the board. I make it a point to watch the Grammys every year for the performances.

Things I’ve Learned:

  • Lately I’ve learned that I would make a wonderful psychiatrist. I have been dishing out a lot of advice to my friends lately and I’ve learned that it’s actually pretty good advice. I’ve been told that I have the type of mindset that tries to analyze a situation from different angles in order to understand the whole picture. I like to think up different possibilities or motives for why people act or say the things they say before instantly judging. Now I can’t say that it applies to all situations (ask my husband) because I do like to be right but I’m also not afraid to admit when I’m wrong.
  • I’ve learned I have the capacity to learn new things even if at first I didn’t believe in myself. I’ve started a whole new career path that has absolutely nothing to do with what I thought my dream job would be but in the month and a half that I’ve been here I’ve been told I am doing a really good job. I’m proud of myself and it only encourages me to continue to push harder and become the best at what I do.

Thing I Wish:

  • I wish I could get paid to read. I know I keep saying it, but I love to read and that’s my dream job.
  • I wish snowstorm Stella would take a hike. I don’t mind snow but I am so tired of the up and down extremes. I live in Ohio and it can literally go from 70 degrees one day to 20 degrees the next. Its exhausting.
  • I wish I had enough money to buy a Tesla. That car is so sexy!

Things You’re Good At:

  • I’m good at helping people with their computer or phone problems. I’m pretty tech savvy and have become well versed in a lot of computer programs. I love Windows and Android the most but I dabble with other operating systems from time to time.
  • I’m good at driving stick shift
  • I’m good at making people laugh even when they don’t want to
  • I’m good at crying over fictional characters
  • I’m good at singing in the shower
  • I’m good at sleeping
  • I’m good at giving advice and recommending things
  • I’m good at social media
  • I’m good at love
  • I’m good at being honest
  • I’m good at being me

One tenth of the way into my blogging university course! See you tomorrow for Day 3.

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 1

I got this idea in my head that I should join one of these Blogging University courses. If you haven’t heard of it, its really easy to find. There are a bunch of different courses you can sign up for ranging from basic to photography to advanced authors. Since I feel like I have the basics of writing and customizing the blog theme down ( I literally went through about 50 themes in a month before settling), I chose the everyday inspiration course. The premise of this course is for the WordPress gods to send prompts to your inbox and your job is to respond to the prompts by sitting and writing for 15-30 minutes straight without stopping. Sounds easy right?

The first prompt I received is to answer the question, “Why do you write?”

Why do I write? Normally, I don’t. I’m not a writer, I’m a reader. I spend every free moment, sometimes stolen moments at work, reading. Actually, that’s a lie. I spend about 90% of my free minutes reading and the other 10% is usually devoted to Netflix. I have a binge watching problem. Damn you, Netflix! I really love immersing myself in other people’s stories. Now I say other people’s like individuals but its a broad term for me. I have my favorite books and television shows whose worlds I can’t imagine living without and I even get upset with myself for not discovering some of these worlds sooner. I’m also a very emotional person; specifically when it comes to television. Easy crier that I am, I love inflicting emotional torture on myself. Have you ever watched Grey’s Anatomy? That is literally the most full emotional spectrum show I watch. In its increasingly far fetched drama and cheesy episodes, I am so beyond riveted it’s pitiful. I need my sad tears, angry tears, happy tears fix.

I decided to write because I love connecting. I try to be social with every person in my world because I want them to know that I care. It’s quite funny that the person I am now is not the person I was. I had a healthy dose of shy in my younger years  (I say younger years because I’m pushing 30). I wouldn’t say I was insecure, just unaware. I didn’t care too much to be social with people. I had childhood friends and it wasn’t like we moved a lot. It was more so I was just not interested. All I cared about was getting good grades in school, reading and my dog. I can’t exactly pinpoint it but at some point in my life, maybe my college years, the shy went away. It was like a switch in my head that said stop holding back, let it all hang out, be honest with the world. Either they’ll like you or they won’t and if they don’t, don’t let it bother you. So here I am. I’m brutally honest most of the time. I’m that person that says what everyone is thinking and then I take it and go beyond. It’s probably inappropriate half the time but I can’t help myself. It sounds like I don’t have restraint but I promise I do when it counts. I’ve also developed a healthy dose of care. Before I could care less. Now I probably care too much but I try very hard not to let it show unless I want it show. There’s that niggling thought in that back of your mind that you’re probably going to be used because a little of your naivety is showing but sometimes it’s worth the risk.

The basis behind this blog is so M and I can share our different days with the world. We come from different backgrounds, different lifestyles but we met through work. The very first book I shared with her was the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She had never read the Harry Potter series because her parents wouldn’t allow it. She was also raised to believe that if you had free time and you spent it reading you were not productive with your life. That is one of the most insane things I’ve ever heard but that’s just my opinion. She read and love the books and from there it continued. I would bring her another book in my collection to read, and another, and another. We still do this today. I relive my books through her! It gives me great joy when she shares her feelings with me about the characters and the world in which they live in. It inspires me to keep reading and finding more books to love for the express purpose of sharing them with her.

So this is what I got for day one. 817 words. I apologize if it reads all over the place but that’s how my brain operates (plus I’m the worst at endings).

We’ll see what Day 2’s inspiration brings.

Stuck in a Loop

Here are my record favorites on a YouTube loop currently:

 

  1. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
  2. Superfruit, Mary Lambert, Brian Justin Crum, Mario Jose – RISE cover

I don’t have any words of wisdom about these today except to say that I can’t get them out of my head. They wake me up and make me want to blast my speakers out. The second one in particular gives me chills halfway to brain freeze every time I listen. I have a very wide range of musical tastes and these are on my radar right now.

What has you stuck in a loop?

I probably shouldn’t, but I did.

I’m thinking about what to write about in response to the daily prompt. After googling the word, because let’s face it, it’s a weird word, all I can think about is the inner murmations I have with myself in certain situations. For example, today I was speaking to a friend about an upcoming film.

Me: “Hey, did you see the trailer for that new film?”

Her: “Not sure who’s in it.”

Me: “Scarjo, Kate McKinnon, and some other girl I don’t remember the name of.”

At this point she goes and checks out the trailer.

Her: “Looks fun. Maybe we should go see it.”

Me: “Mhmm, sure.”

What I’m really thinking here is, ugh, Scarlett Johansen. She has that face that even when she’s happy and excited it still looks like bitch face. Doesn’t really clash with what I see as a funny movie. But do I tell my friend that? She might be a huge Scarlett Johansen fan. I probably shouldn’t say this. How to phrase this without sounding harsh?

Me: “You know…”

….and proceed to say what’s exactly on my mind. Luckily she knows me well and took it in stride.

Take this next scenario. I’ve decided I need to find and try a new leave-in conditioner. I’ve watched all these YouTube videos with natural girls talking about their hair routine and how they swear by such and such product. Here I am wondering if any of these products would work for me cause that looks like my hair type so why the hell not. It’s currently snowing outside and that alone makes me not want to go anywhere. I shouldn’t be lazy. I should get up and go! Instead, I start to think about ways I can get my husband to go instead. I have to phrase this in such a way that he thinks it was his idea all long. I go through all these ideas in my head.

Me: “Soo I need leave in conditioner.”

Him: “I feel like you already have some.”

(I do, but that’s not the point!)

Me: “Not really. There’s this new one I want to try”

And then I proceed to tell him all the reasons why including the ingredient panel and their benefits.

Him: “grunt”

Me: “So I was thinking I’d go to Target and get the conditioner and then maybe go to Sam’s Club and get a pack of razors but after I do the dishes and cook breakfast.”

Him: “grunt”

Me: “Okay sounds good right?”

Next thing I know he’s putting on layers of clothes looking like he’s going to venture out in the cold outdoors. This is exactly how I wanted this to play out! I should feel bad about my mini mind manipulation, but I don’t. Inside I’m smiling but of course I ask.

Me: “Where you going?”

Him: “I’m going to go to the store for you.”

Me: “You don’t have to”

Him: “Don’t worry about it. You’re cleaning and cooking. I’ll do something too.”

SCORE! He goes off to the store and ends up calling me about what specifically to get even though I sent him screenshots. He came home with the wrong stuff, even with guidance. I knew that was going to happen. I kept thinking to myself, “I should have went.” It’s one of those where you walk in the store and you know exactly where to go versus he goes into the store and, instead of asking someone who works there to point him in the right direction, he walks around aimlessly until giving up and calling it a lost cause. He asked me if it was the right stuff and I nodded and said yes and thank you. It’s the gesture that counts right? Plus, fuck snow.

There are always those”what should I say vs. what I really want to say” moments you have with yourself depending on the situation. Sometimes the word vomit completely overrides the logical and you hope it comes out sounding nice enough in a way that the end game isn’t disastrous.

Forward

This post will probably be all over the place so fair warning.

I spend a lot of time driving. My job is 45 minutes away, one way. Five days a week. I spend a lot of that time just thinking. I think about past conversations I’ve had with people and wonder if I said the right things or if I could have said something different. I often press rewind in my head to review the past few day or two and analyze. For example, last night I had quite an interesting conversation with a friend of a friend. When you meet your friend’s friend, there is usually an automatic impression. Its human nature. We can’t help ourselves. I wondered what he thought of me as I sat there thinking about all of the things I’ve heard and placing it to the face. The content of the topics we discussed were baffling to say the least. Here you have two black people, (and I have to define race here), talking about their feeling regarding interracial relationships. I like to think I’m a general, open minded person. My views are simple. You love who you love. Race doesn’t matter. Why should it? If the person you love makes you happy, that’s all that matters. He asked me how I feel about gay marriage. Same answer. I don’t care what you do in the confines of your bedroom. I hope its sexy as hell because that would make both partners happiest. He tells me he doesn’t like the white race. I didn’t know what that meant so I asked. People with white skin, he says, mainly of European descent. How do you know someone is European descent, I asked. Because I can just tell, he says. Instead of getting angry, I ask, why do you feel the way you feel? He says because if “they” wanted to change the way they treat black people they would. So I asked him, what do you do to change the way people view you. And he felt that striving to become a history teacher and telling the “real” truth would bring about necessary change. I wished him the best.

There was a lot more commentary in there but that was the short of it. I understand to an extent why he feels the way he feels but most of me just thinks he lives a sad existence. Attraction to a race is one thing but to condemn the whole race for past transgressions that you were not even a part of is downright astonishing. Do I think history should be swept under the rug? No. Do I want history to repeat itself? Of course not. Change is necessary. It will always be necessary. That’s how we grow and get better. I believe our history shapes who we are today but I believe it does it unconsciously. When you decide who to befriend, you don’t ask yourself what your ancestors would do or how they would feel. You weigh how you feel and how that individual makes you feel. If they make you laugh, if they inspire you, if they tug at a piece of your heart in some way; things are the things that shape your future.

Besides going over interactions in my mind, I think a lot about my dream job. I used to think it was a veterinarian. I love animals. One of my favorite land creatures is the elephant and one of my favorite sea creatures is the sea turtle. After various jobs, some in vet clinics, I realized I don’t have the strength of heart to be a veterinarian. I’m an easier crier and dealing with death is just not for me. Shutting my emotions off is impossible. I also realized I hate school. I made it the first four years but I was not motivated enough to continue the other eight or so. From here I thought, well I’m pretty great with computers, I love staying updated in the tech world, maybe I can get an IT job. This comes from many years of pet retail and finally burning out. Technology is where the jobs are. I hear that a lot and maybe one day I’ll actually pursue that. Ultimately I’ve come to realize my dream job would be to read. I enjoy reading SO much. It gives me life. I can hardly step through my day without imagining how Astrid is going to solve her interesting dilemma. I read chapters whenever I get a free moment and binge read on the weekend. I’ve been told before that reading is not productive but I disagree. It’s way beyond productive! That piece of imagination is my expresso shot in the morning! It’s my midnight snack before I go to bed. It stimulates my dreams! I strive to emulate the characters in real life because that world is fantastic! I learn their histories and how they deal with their present. The stories I read are not always fantastic. I’ll admit, I’ve read some books and didn’t finish them because there just wasn’t a connection. Nine out of ten times though, I am living! And let me tell you, it feels GREAT to be alive!

To connect my two ruminations (in my mind anyway) I leave you with this. History is a part of us, yes, but you will never connect with anyone if you don’t leave it behind. When I say leave behind, I don’t mean forget it entirely. Remember it. Grow from it. Learn from it and make your life the better because of it. There are people who want to be in your life, real and imaginary that don’t care about your history. Open your arms, your eyes, and especially your ears. Free your mind or at least free up a portion of it for new thoughts and visions. You’ll love it, I promise.