Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Lovely Bones: Of Ghosts & Passions

As per my 2011 theme of re-discovering my passions, I’ve finished this month’s book, Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. Although it was an easy, five hour read on a holiday Monday, it held an element of intrigue that kept me turning pages – the unknown knowledge humans crave but can never hold – where do we go when we die? Reminding me slightly of the paradisaical, ominous world of Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come, Susie creates her heaven and aches for her family. She discovers a union with others in her heaven, who live partially with her, and partially in their own version of heaven they create.

Susie Salmon is brutally raped and murdered at the age of 14, in the late 1960s and spends the following eight years of her “life” as a ghost, an in-between between two odd worlds, desperately trying to reach out to help her family cope.

While a hellish serial killer posing as a friendly neighbor roams cities and towns all over the country, Susie, both knowingly and unknowingly, communicates with her family. She watches her family tear apart, her brother withdraw, her father internalize emotions and her mother abandon a life she never wanted. The one part of life we cannot control – death - is the most sinister, inescapable part. Peter Jackson’s movie interpretation is next on my list. The Lovely Bones is a must read, for those who need a half day escape into someone else’s heaven or hell.

As I read through the novel, shivers ran through me, not from the horrific, Stephen King-like descriptions I expected and didn’t find, but from the simple knowledge that we will one day leave this world. To be honest, I couldn't help but think of my beautiful puppy, who will most likely leave me before I leave her. Steph W and Morgan K’s paranormal investigator group, Entity Seeker Paranormal Investigators, was on my mind the whole day. I’ve never been sure how much I can believe in something so unproven, yet time after time, they find evidence of haunting here in Edmonton, in houses, in landmarks, in schools. Check out, here.

I have to admit, though, I’m not doing too well on the writing aspect of the “re-discovering passions” theme. Last year’s entry to WOW Writing Contest put my “postcard story” in the top 100 (of 300), but I’ve yet to re-enter it in this quarter’s contest, or write another. Postcard stories are bursts of emotion, action, plot and character development – in a 250 to 750 word world.

“Claire’s Scar” (click here to read it) is the product of a two hour inspired Starbucks session in a near-empty North Edmonton store last year and a bunch of editing– all I need is two hour spurts like these to create something great. I’ve bought two novels on how to write a novel, one with a 52 week plan, but they remain on my desk, amid tutoring books, McGill work and my work laptop. One day, I will be the author of something great – I’m discovering that, congruent with the passions theme, I must leave behind parts of my life that are on autopilot and jump into what I’ve always wanted. Life, as Alice Sebold reminds us, is too short. I just need to dedicate the time to explore these passions.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

V-Day with Puppy Valentine!

Last year's Anti-Valentine's Day brunch seemed to kill the spirit, so this year, I celebrated in style. (I know the pic's blurry but please grin and bear with the photographic experiments). My three stage plan to celebrating V-day on my own this Feb. 14th turned out to be:

1) Finish a paper on romance languages for McGill - well, how those languages are learned, anyway. Press submit. Breath sigh of relief. Check.

2) Beat up boys in MMA - well, this plan didn't work out so well, because there were only four of us in class - all girls! So it was an intense, butt-busting, sparring class. Just for fun, I've added a badge with my MMA progress on left side of my blog. 6 black stripes will take you to the next colour stripe. A colour stripe plus 6 black stripes takes you to the next level! (1 black stripe is 6 hours of training)

MMA Belt Rank - White, Yellow, Orange, Green, Purple, Blue, Red, Brown, Black

3) Take my puppy valentine to Movie Studio - The only movie rental place in town that lets puppies in!

Check out the Glog (blogging poster) below for a visual snapshot! Facebook users and anyone who wants a better view, since the embed didn't work so well this time, click here.

V-Day, 1945 - Perhaps a Second World War reference is a better name than Valentine for this abbreviation. At least until I abbreviate the craziness in my life to let in someone new.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tardy Twenties Hollywood Birthday Bash!

"I don't know who invented high heeled shoes, but all women owe him a lot!" - Marilyn Monroe.

After three weeks of fellow Aquarians celebrating their birthday, I decided to hold a tardy party on Saturday, three weeks late, to celebrate my entrance into the late 20's (26, yikes!). While I original thought a late 20's theme was in order, I chose a Hollywood theme instead, after discovering the 20's are quite hard to pull off. Monroe, born in 1926 was the theme figure - wow, did that ever bring confusion and scare away a few! (I'll make more clear themes from now on :P)

So, Hollywood it was in the end, complete with Party Palace Superstore's interesting mix of decorations. Theme parties will be a theme of 2011, I believe! Red wine, hard liquor, cards, star friends and lots of fun. Check out the Glog below (online collage of the best pictures):

Thank you all for coming! It's great to have a host of friends to host at home. For those who missed it, don't worry, there will be more theme parties to come!

Facebook and feed users, you will have to click here to see the Glog (blogging poster), as the wonderful programmers at Facebook decide to compress and re-style everything. Click here to see my actual blog!