Almost Camping Time   Leave a comment

Some people are already making plans for Camp NaNoWriMo, which is occurring in April and July this year. In a nutshell, with Camp NaNoWriMo, you can

  • choose your own word count goal (anywhere from 10,000 to 1,000,000),
  • join a cabin with 11 other writers (basically a writing support group), and
  • choose whatever writing project you like (doesn’t necessarily have to be a novel).

However, before you choose a word count goal, you must remember that you have only one month in which to write your crappy rough draft work of art, so choose a goal that works for you!

As for me, I don’t know yet if I’ll be camping. I am still working on revising my outlines for RAFAEL and STEPHEN, so if I finish RAFAEL’s outline by April, I suppose I’ll camp. But I’ll probably choose a much lower word count goal than 50,000 (the norm for traditional NaNoWriMo in November) simply because I want to take more time with the story rather than getting it done in a rush just to get a high word count and meet the deadline.

Doctor Sleep   6 comments

Spoiler warning!

As I’ve said many times before, I am a huge Stephen King fan and will read anything with his name on it. So I read Doctor Sleep, even after hearing some people say that it put them to sleep because it was so boring.

Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining, which was published in 1977. I remember being really freaked out by The Shining (in a good way) when I read it about 5 or 6 years ago when I was in college, but aside from being really scared, I don’t remember much about it. (I didn’t watch the movie and don’t think I will.)

I think, from what little I remember of The Shining, that Doctor Sleep is a fitting sequel. All the loose ends seem to have been tied up, and the main character, Dan Torrance, finally finds closure to the horrors lurking in his childhood.

Speaking of childhood, that’s one element of Stephen King’s books that I always enjoy. He writes so well about the power of a child’s imagination and how children, in a sense, can be smarter and more psychically powerful than adults. In Doctor Sleep, King handles those elements of childhood very well.

I thought the concept of the villainous organization (the True Knot) was well done (and I will forever be leery of “harmless” elderly folks in RVs) and adequately terrifying, but the way the villains met their demise at the end of the book was disappointing in that the protagonists and antagonists were not given equal power. The protagonists’ power far outweighed that of the antagonists, so it seemed like their victory was too easy and even somewhat contrived.

I enjoyed the rest of the book in spite of the “meh” ending. I always love how King manages to give a mundane object or an “ordinary” scene a lot of power and weight. That particular image sticks in the character’s mind, often repeating at crucial moments, and that kind of thing happens a lot in real life (at least to me). The characters, as always, were very well drawn. I especially liked the character Concetta Reynolds and the close-knit “Italian family” element.

Basically, I think those who said that the book “put them to sleep” because it was so boring were not bored by the plot but by the usual elements that King puts into all his books (like using the brand name for ordinary objects). I think most authors tend to fixate on certain themes, so it didn’t bother me, probably because I tend to fixate on things in my own writing.

As I read, I was reminded of Insomnia (published in 1994), because the villains in both books wore a distinctive hat, there were a lot of scenes that took place inside the characters’ heads, and there was a close relationship between an older person and a child (not a parent/child relationship).

Now I think I want to re-read The Shining (or at least skim through it) to get a better sense of how the two books fit together as a set.

Cuddle Time?   6 comments

This is kind of an addendum to this post.

Some things shouldn’t be commodified, but apparently, there is a sucker born every minute, and people who have money will inevitably spend it on silly things. Professional cuddling is now a thing, at least in a city close to where I live. It is what it sounds like: You pay someone to cuddle with you (but it has to be fully clothed and completely platonic), and you have to make an appointment to meet your “cuddler” at the cuddling “office.” Sounds like prostitution, and like prostitution, it’s a mockery of relationships. Instead of having a real relationship, you can have a watered-down version with a total stranger.

I understand that humans are social beings, and supposedly love and hugs and physical affection can make people happier and give them a better quality of life. But an instant-gratification thing like professional cuddling is a cheap way to get some of the benefits of a real relationship while exerting none of the effort to actually get into (and stay in) a real relationship.

This whole thing just screams “creepy,” and I think the saddest thing about it is that to be a cuddler, you will be paid $20 per hour, which is totally unfair to those with jobs in fast food, delivery services, teaching… basically any legitimate area of work. A 30-minute cuddling session is $40, and I think that $40 would be better spent doing anything other than touching (and being touched by) a complete stranger.

Posted February 28, 2015 by Maggie in Entertainment and Current Events

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