It’s Not My Birthday … Is It?

What do you write when you don’t know what to write?  Where do you start if you don’t know what you want to write about but deep down inside all you want to do is punch the keys on the keyboard and make words that flow together into a good story that is entertaining enough to read?  It’s frustrating.  Very frustrating actually and I am not sure how to bust out of it.  One way, I suppose is the stream of consciousness writing.  So if this goes off kilter in some way, you’ll know that

A book group friend of my fiancee’s, whom I consider my friend too, asked me about this the other night.  She suggested I consider writing as a gift to myself.  It immediately struck me as a great idea, a great way to exercise my self esteem and do something for myself that costs nothing but a little time

It was – no, it IS, an idea that I love…and so perhaps that will be my approach for a while.  Perhaps I should also not worry too much about posts that HAVE TO BE perfectly written, or written for any one particular person or one particular audience.  I have heard when people write they generally have someone in mind they write for.  I get that.  I’m guilty of that.

I just need to start making that person me.

If you read the blog before this you know I am a fan (new fan) of Jenny Lawson.  I read her second book first and am reading her first book now and in it she says bloggers are pretty much broken people.  OK, not all bloggers are broken.  But many are.  In some regard, I get that.  I agree with that.  I am that.  But, we are all a little broken somehow, someway so it is not an insult or a bad thing.  At least, not in my opinion.  I may go back and read that part again.  Maybe a couple more times.  

But I am still – without a complete in depth understanding of what she is saying – ready to agree with her.  I love Lawson’s blog.  Smart.  Funny.  Random.  Disjointed.  Goofy.  Nonsensical at times.  It speaks to me.  It is a lot of fun to read.  Besides, if it turns out that my blog is a fraction as funny or as entertaining as hers I would welcome said broken brain with open arms … which in theory is healthy but in actuality, the image is totally gross.  

So, you know, here it is, here you go, there it is.  It ain’t much now but hopefully in a few months will be.

I’ll let you know then.

But, until then, I give this to me as my first gift. Happy birthday to me – six weeks late … OR 46 weeks early.

I must remember to send me a thank you note.  Or Aimee.  It was her idea.  Thanks, Aimee.

Ferociously Grateful

furiously-happyOpen the book, turn a couple pages and you will find advanced praise for Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy.

“Jesus gave me this book when he was done with it, saying, “You have got to read this shit, Kevin. It’s fucking fantastic.” Jesus is terrible with names. —ERNEST HEMINGWAY

That was all it took.  I was hooked and reeled in.  I loved that line.  I laughed out loud at that line.  I texted people that line. I recited that line to my fiancée

Lawson wrote a joke I wished I had written, but not never thought of myself.  I may or may not, at that moment, have formed an immediate crush on her.

Not one of those creepy kind of crushes, of course.  At least I don’t think it is.  Then again, no one thinks their crush on someone is creepy.  Usually we consider them charming.  Adorable, even.  Who doesn’t love a boiled rabbit, right?  Then again, after some thought, maybe it’s best that the one being respectively crushed upon determines the creep level.  More so crush-ee than crush-er, so to speak.  So, I reckon you’ll have to ask her. That being said, my crush is predominantly the literary kind, the intellectual kind and the kind that wears a travelling red dress.

After several hours switching from audio book to eReader, and three hundred plus pages later, that schoolboy crush transformed into a world of respect.

From the outset of Furiously Happy, Lawson lets us know she is living life with a mental illness and these are her stories.  Granted, there are a few directions she can take this, but Lawson points her compass toward an easygoing wit.  She supports it with a stream of examples while filling awkward silences with inappropriate blurts.

Here is her objective.

“I’m starting a whole movement right now. The FURIOUSLY HAPPY movement. And it’s going to be awesome because first of all, we’re all going to be VEHEMENTLY happy, and secondly because it will freak the shit out of everyone that hates you because those assholes don’t want to see you even vaguely amused, much less furiously happy, and it will make their world turn a little sideways and will probably scare the shit out of them. Which will make you even more happy. Legitimately. “

There were times I found her truth exposing. As if her emotions stood before me naked and raw. She has been scratched, cut and bruised. It was like she went 15 emotional rounds with George Foreman (the boxer, not his grill) and at no point did we ever hear Howard Cosell utter “Down Goes Lawson.”

Throughout her book we learn this is her pain.  She shows us her frustration and suffering.  She shows us her heart. She gives us her awesome sense of humor and when I say awesome I don’t mean rad or bitchin’.  I mean it in its truest definition, as extremely impressive, and inspiring with great admiration.

“We all get our share of tragedy or insanity or drama, but what we do with the horror makes all the difference.”

Full disclosure here, I battle with depression as well.  I have for 18 years.  Not to the extent that Lawson does, however, but I feel we all have our own individual crosses to bear.  Depression is mine.  After some time and work with my doctors, I have found the right balance and once again perspective is mine again.  But there are times and events that can change that and it is a never ending process of trying to get well.

So much of what she wrote spoke to me.  As outgoing and talkative as I am, I’m not always open to discussing this issue of mine with others.  But when I read Furiously Happy, I felt like she was talking to me and quite honestly, it helped.

“Depression is like … when you don’t want cheese anymore. Even though it’s cheese.”

See?  See?  OMG I swear!  It’s like she KNOWS me.

This book is 300+ pages of an unrestrained treatise into the troubling, but oh so beautiful, soul of an incredible woman.  And whether she is donning a traveling red dress, or photobombing an exhausted koala while dressed as a one herself, I think Jenny Lawson is one amazing human being…

…and I am ferociously grateful she wrote Furiously Happy.

It Was Great, Until …

imagesTo begin with, I am grateful to for the complimentary copy of Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall.

As a big fan of the show Fargo, I was delighted to have been approved for a free copy and all I have to do is write a review afterwards.  However – and it is important to note this writing does CONTAIN SPOILERS – that they may not be overly thrilled with the review.

I admit I went back and forth from reading the book to the Audible narration.  I have been doing this with books for about six months now and am a big fan of it.  I don’t have to leave my book off to the side when driving, or walking the pup, or most anything.  The story comes with me.

The writing was terrific.  It really was.  Hawley gives layer after layer on the main characters very well; he gives us ample reasons to root for some and turn our nose up at others.  He did the most important thing you can do with characters:  he made them easy to relate to and understandable human beings.

Equally as wonderful was the narrator.  Great voice; kept me engaged with his cadence of speech and, overall, did a great job.

The story itself was intriguing as well.  Immediately the plane goes down.  We learn who was on it and why.  We learn the back ground of all of them and there are several avenues this journey can take.

This is where I believe the story ran out of gas.

The ending, to me, was weak.  It was as if the reasoning for the crash was the easy way out.  It wasn’t clever or gripping like much of the character story-lines were.  It just made me feel flattened after investing the time in reading it.

Would I read another book by Hawley should he write one?  Absolutely.  So much of Before the Fall was a great read.  But again, the ending, just fell flat.  I expected more.  I felt like I was set up for more, and then didn’t get it.  That was a little frustrating for me.  OK, more than a little frustrating.  It was darned aggravating.

That said, I really am looking forward to another season of Fargo.