Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Wrap-Up

So I was a little late this month with the wrap-up post . . . whoops.

Books I Read

En Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


It had great characters, a fast-paced plot, and it sounds like it'll even be a movie. This was a great debut book, probably one of my favorite reads from this year so far. If you like fantasy, dual perspectives, and undercover spy work, this book is for you! Read my review here!

Ms. Marvel, Vol 1: No Normal


I hadn't ever really read superhero graphic novels before, so this was a great first comic! It read really fast and had a great protagonist. Kamala is a Muslim girl with a normal life and big dreams. Then she gains superpowers and totally kicks butt with them.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Holy. Freaking. Insanity. The characters are psycho, the story is psycho, everyone and everything is insane. This is one of the few books where I couldn't stand a single person in it, but liked the story. Those books are very rare, but Gone Girl pulled it off. I finished the last 150 pages in a single day because I couldn't put it down. Definitely worth the read.

Movies I Watched

"Sixteen Candles"


Fun eighties movie, simple story. It's not one of my favorites, but it's worth the watch. And now I get all the references people make!

"Sherlock Jr."


I really like silent movies! Buster Keaton's are my favorites, and this one was super fun and quirky. It's really short, too.

"Guardians of the Galaxy"


Another great superhero movie! I watched this one with my friends and we all really liked it. It's bizarre and funny and has great characters. It's like the Avengers meets Star Wars. I'll definitely watch the next one.

Quotes I Wrote

I won my local library's poetry contest! My winning poem is called Life Today.

The wonders of life are often
Missed by those who are too busy
To see.
Stuck in our silly lives,
Working hard to be able to eat
And go back to work,
We forget to live.
iPods and iPhones,
Beeping and tweeting and ringing.
A cacophony of reminders to check your device
And see who has updated their Facebook page most recently.
Constant interruptions turn twenty-minute TV shows into
Or sixty.
Movies take three nights to watch
Instead of one.
Kids bounce up and down in the car on road trips,
Asking how much longer it will be until they can get close to some wifi,
For their dragons on Dragonvale should be done breeding any second now.
The power goes out and we finally realize
How sad we are without
And noise.
Quiet. All is quiet.
Then a cell phone rings.

Harper frowned at the murky liquid. "It tastes like a barrel of lies."
--Plot Bunnies

    “You have to do something about him,” Harper said, sliding her tray away from me so I couldn’t take anything else from her. “Or one of these days you’re going to crack, and then where would I be?”
    “I can’t, Harper, you know I’ve already tried to—”
    “Not in-story,” she interrupted me. “Nobody’s been able to do that. I mean in real life.” She glanced around the dining hall—jam-packed and noisy with characters currently free from their stories—to make sure no one was listening. Then she leaned in closer and whispered, “I heard he’s getting you flowers.”
    I cursed under my breath, causing Harper to snort, eyes crinkling as she smiled.
    “I’ve already told him I’m not interested,” I grumbled. “He thinks that somehow this stupid, forced, and totally unrealistic in-story romance translates into the real world. What else can I do to send him the message?”
    “Just check yourself into the psychiatric ward,” Harper suggested, unhelpfully. “He won’t be allowed to see you there.”
    “Yeah, but then you can’t see me either.”
    “More fries for me,” she joked, smothering one in ketchup.
--Plot Bunnies

I caught a whiff of the familiar combination of ideas: coffee, old books, pencil shavings, and a hint of a fading campfire. Tendrils of smoke and fog still remained, drifting vaguely toward the ceiling.
--Plot Bunnies

“She’s not much of a talker, is she?” She said, quiet enough so Liz wouldn’t hear, but loud enough to make it clear that she didn’t care if she did.
    “She’s nervous,” I said, feeling this natural instinct to protect her. She couldn’t have been older than nine, maybe ten. Younger than Harper by quite a few years, at least. “We’re all nervous when we first materialize.”
    “Not me.” Harper wheeled herself in front of the bookshelf and ran her hands along the spines of my books. She pulled one at random and flipped through it, admiring the illustrations. “You know what I did?”
    “Rolled right down the hall and figured it out,” I said in a bored tone. I’d heard this story a thousand times.
    “Didn’t know anyone,” Harper continued, addressing the pages of my book rather than me. I busied myself with cleaning up the books and CDs lying around the room, making more space on the bed by scooping up my open notebook and pile of pencils. My MP3 player was almost crushed by Harper’s wheelchair before I rushed to move it from harm’s way, almost yanking the earbuds out of the headphone jack. “But I dealt with it. I listened, I observed, I explored, and I pieced together all the clues on my own.”
    “Yeah, yeah, I know, you were a genius,” I said distractedly.
    “Still am!” Harper said defensively. “Thanks to all that espionage crap, I know how to hack into anybody’s computer from my own laptop. I can also dig up deleted files and history, tap into your phone calls, and make it look like you’re getting text messages from someone you’re not.”
    “That’s just scary.”
    “That’s just the beginning.”
--Plot Bunnies

“How do I know if I’m the main character, though? I don’t even know who I am. I don’t know how old I am, what my last name is, if I have a family, nothing.”
    “It doesn’t take long for it to become clear,” Harper piped up. “Just pay attention to who the story seems to revolve around. If you end up getting dragged along on some epic quest of your best friend’s, chances are you’re the secondary character. If you’re the one the prophecy spoke of or you’re leading a rebellion or whatever, you’re the protagonist.”
--Plot Bunnies

I read the names on the doors. The first one had ‘Character 2’ engraved on the gold plaque hanging at eye level. The Writer must not have figured out a name for him (or her) yet. The one next to it said ‘Harry Potter,’ which made me wonder what fan-fiction piece she was working on now. We’d already had a few Dean Winchesters wandering the halls, but she hadn’t spent much time on those.
    Then I spotted Liz’s. The plaque read ‘Liz ???’ So she was an important character. The three question marks was The Writer’s signature placeholder for a last name, and she only gave last names to the characters who mattered. If only your first name was known, chances of you being caught in the crossfire were much higher.
--Plot Bunnies

“Hey, Indigo!” I looked up at Tony, sitting diagonally across from me. He was always the guy in big groups who looked most likely to answer, “RED BULL!” when asked what he had for breakfast. He beamed and gestured to man in his twenties next to him. “I think we've got a contender.”
    I raised my eyebrows at Tony and the man. “Really? Worse than Albert?”
    “We'll leave that up to the judges to decide,” Tony said.
    “All right, everyone, I think we're all here,” Mallory spoke in a shout to make herself heard. “If you could all quiet down, we can get started.”
    “Mallory?” Tony raised his hand, grinning innocently at her. His black hair stuck up at odd angles, greased with gel. “Can I say something first?”
    I saw Mallory give a small sigh, her shoulders rising and falling with movement that would hardly be noticed by anyone but those who didn't know her well. She knew what was coming, they all knew. “What is it, Tony?”
    Tony cleared his throat and stood, beaming at the crowd around him. He clasped his hands in front of him, standing directly underneath the lights in the ceiling, making it look as if he were in a spotlight. His skin was the warm color of redwood tree bark. “I have an announcement to make. We have a new contestant, everyone.”
    Mallory gave a groan and dropped her face into her hands. The rest of the group fell into whispers and murmurs, people leaning in to talk to their neighbors. “Did you hear that?” They muttered. “A new contestant. Wow.”
    “Tony, this isn't good for the group, you know that,” Mallory said, her words stale. I had a sudden sense of de ja vu as I predicted what she would say next. She'd said it a thousand times. “Comparing your problems to someone else's isn't healthy. Group therapy isn't a competition; it's a source of healing. You can't—”
    “Ladies and gentlemen,” Tony interrupted her, turning so he was facing most of the group instead of her. “May I present to you . . . Michael!”
    The young man—maybe a year or two older than me—who was sitting next to Tony, waved a little, smiling hesitantly at the gaping group. They stared at him like he was some kind of zoo animal, watching to see what trick he'd do next.
    “You think you're better than Albert, then, huh?” A suspicious middle-aged woman said a few chairs down from me. Her name was Trish, and she was one of the regular judges for our unofficial little game. While the whole group decided collectively who had it worse, she was our representative, our main voice.
    “I don't know,” Michael admitted. “I don't know what his story is yet. But I think I've got a chance.”
    “What have you got that's so awful?” Harper piped up.
    “Terminal cancer,” Michael said, nonchalantly. There was a collective, “Ahhh” of realization from the group. They nodded their heads and looked at each other with, “poor thing” looks on their faces, lowers lips stuck out in a pout. “And my family doesn't have health insurance. Oh, and my girlfriend who's pregnant with my baby just went missing.”
    Trish sat back in her chair and rubbed her chin thoughtfully, staring at him through narrowed eyes. “Not bad, not bad,” she murmured. “But it doesn't even come close to Albert.”
    There was a rumble of agreements from the group, mutterings of, “No, definitely not”s and “Not even close”s and “Nope, Albert's got it worse”s.
    “All right, what's Albert's story?” Michael asked, crossing his arms over his chest. He looked over at the old man sitting directly across from Mallory. He was also in a wheelchair, chest rising and falling with soft snores. He wore dark sunglasses, had tons of wrinkles, saggy skin, and a silver beard with random tufts of hair decorating his otherwise bald head. It was always hard to tell with him whether or not he'd been dragged into his story or if he was truly asleep. He was constantly drifting off.
    “Where to begin?” Trish sighed, looking at Albert sadly. “He watched his family be brutally murdered in front of him by the Nazis, wend blind, half-deaf, and lost both of his legs during an air raid, and has been confined to a wheelchair since he was twelve. He married a beautiful woman years later, but she miscarried three times, birthed a stillborn, and was later the victim of a serial killer in their quiet Texas town. He lost his job and is now homeless. Oh, and he doesn't have any of his teeth anymore.”
    Albert jerked awake, whether from reemerging from his story or waking from a dream, we didn't know. He moved his head around as if he were looking at everyone, even though he couldn't see us. “What's that?” He yelled.
    “You're still number one,” Trisha shouted. “Michael didn't beat you.”
    He mumbled something under his breath and shifted around in his chair, pulling his shoulders up until they were almost touching his ears. He was asleep again within seconds.
--Plot Bunnies

Obsessions I Acquired

Louden Swain. I found them because Rob Benedict (who plays Chuck in "Supernatural") is the lead singer, and I wanted to check them out. They're so cool! They have a unique sound with very catchy songs. I especially love "Eskimo," "Gamma Ray," and "Worlds Collide."

"Once Upon a Dream" -- Lana Del Rey This came on my Pandora station the other day and I haven't stopped listening to it since! It's simple and haunting and makes for great writing music.

Picture of the Month

I've seen this picture so many times, but every time I see it it cracks me up.

Kate Gold asked me to pass on this information: she's starting a blog chain and is hosting a video chat to discuss it with anyone who's interested. The details are HERE.

How was your April?


Unknown said...

At last I got to read your winning first prize poem and loved it. It was witty and the vocabulary was greta.
Cacophany? Really? Are you sure that you are not 32?
Ilove to read anything you write. I have to consult the dictionary for help.
I love you and I am so proud of you.

Lara Liz said...

Ooohh. . . I've been meaning to read Gone Girl for AGES! Is it as brilliant as everyone says? I also really love Plot Bunnies - your writing style is really unique. And I LOVE that Harper is a diverse character.

PLEASE say you're going to release the whole thing eventually?! I'm dying to find out what happens to Liz. :-D

Jimmy said...

Love Life Today. Great poem and hits on something that's been bothering me lately.

bookishandawesome said...

Yaaay for straight 4-stars! Gone Girl totally blew my socks off and I really want to read Ms. Marvel. I've read/heard so many good stuff about it plus it features a POC MC! And your poem, so relatable!


The Magic Violinist said...

@Vavó Aww, thanks! :) I'm glad you liked it!

@Lara Liz It's really good. It won't take you long to read, and it's a crazy story. I highly recommend it.

Thank you! :) Ha ha, I don't usually put entire stories online, but I will be sharing more quotes as I write it.

@Jimmy Thank you! :)

@bookishandawesome It's been a great month for reading! I'm hoping to keep the streak alive.

I know, it's fantastic! You definitely need to read it.

Another great Marvel movie. ;) There hasn't been one I was disappointed by yet.

Cait @ Paper Fury said...

HAAA AHAHAHAHA to that picture. Omg, thank goodness for school. -_- But really, it'd just make sense if watching shows and being part of fandoms was PART of school. *nods* I've got life skills from Supernatural. I know how to dig a grave, burn a body, stalk someone creepily, and eat while driving. (Are any of those even good things? Dude. No.)

omg, your book is adorable and I'm so intrigued by those snippets!!

Boquinha said...

Okay, so I know I already told you a lot in person (because I'm so lucky that way!), but I wanted to post to say that I love the Albert one-upmanship. Hilarious! Such,such, such a clever premise and story. I love it.

The Magic Violinist said...

@Cait LOL, right?! So many useful things you can learn from fandoms. Sherlock's taught me how to simultaneously be a criminal mastermind and how to catch them. Oh, and also fake your death. Not to mention I can now drive a TARDIS relatively well thanks to Doctor Who. (Dude. Yes. Those are awesome skills. And don't forget that you also know how to lie to your sibling's face because of Sam and Dean!)

Thank you!! :)

@Boquinha Ha ha, glad you liked it. :) I love the characters from group therapy. I'm definitely going to include them more as I write the rest of the story.