Faith

Here is a recent writing sprint of mine in which I let my brain’s most recent thoughts spill upon the page. Enjoy.

What do I believe? I have spent hours and hours mulling over this question lately. And after all those hours, over the last few months, I haven’t come to any conclusions as of yet. I don’t know what I believe anymore. I thought I believed that everything happened for a reason. But since I have been thinking over both recent and past events in my life, I can’t seem to find those reasons. The reasons why bad things have happened. I don’t see how some things can be justified. How they can be explained away without sounding cliche and shallow. Like, “This happened because it was meant to make you stronger.” Or, “This is retribution for your past sins.” I know I don’t believe these things. Because these statements suggest that some all powerful force has a plan. That everything is preconceived in order to reach a goal. But what is the goal? To make me a better person? To make us all better people, and, in turn, the world a better place? If this is true, and there are plans for everyone in the world, then why is there still so much hatred and violence? Why are there still so many people who haven’t become better people after years and years of doing horrible things, and horrible things happening to them? And why does horrible things happen to those whose sins are not of the same degree as the “retribution” inflicted upon them? To make them stronger? Is this the reward they get for being good people? For keeping their sins to a minimum?

 

I have realized one thing, though, that I know is true about myself. I have lost my faith. Lost hope that things will just get better if I keep hoping, keep praying into nothingness. That magically, everything will be okay. Because it won’t. I need to actively be searching for the goodness in life. I need to be actively creating it. Otherwise I am a blind sitting duck, just taking beatings from the world as I close my eyes and fold my hands in prayer; while all around me, nothing changes. Chaos continues its cycle. I will create the life I want, without any help from some unseen force. I will create my own happiness, and I will share it with as much of the world as I can.

Shakespeare at 450: His Top Ten Adaptations on Film

My movie list for the summer! The Lion King one blew my mind!!

One Room With A View

shak11

Shakespeare. It’s the most famous name in the English language, ringing proudly out across the British Isles. From his first works on stage around the 1590s to Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing in 2012, Shakespeare has been at the heart of literary culture for more than four hundred years, and his influence has spread around the world. In celebration of his 450th birthday this week, it’s time to look at his impact not just on the written word but on the world of cinema, as we count down the top ten best Shakespeares on film.

shak1

10. The Tempest (2010)
Let’s get something straight: Julie Taymor’s take on The Tempest isn’t a particularly good one. Despite her amazing cast – Ben Whishaw and Alfred Molina among them – Taymor’s film is slow and confused, with an overload of special effects that can’t hide its choppy pace and tone. What it…

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Five Posts to Write Right Now

I really needed this!

The Daily Post

Nothing to write?  Here are five types of posts you can publish right now, no matter your interests or writing style.

1. Your reply to . . .

I keep my eye out for multiple perspectives on a single topic and takes (and takedowns) of widely circulated articles. Consider educator Diane Ravitch’s recent reply to Alexander Nazaryan of Newsweek on comedian Louis C.K. and Common Core standards, which summarizes the article and issue-at-hand before diving into her own discussion points.

Don’t want to address your response to a specific person? Reply to an entity or publication, as Caitlin Constantine at Fit and Feminist did in her post to Self magazine, “Lay off the women in running tutus.” Whether directed to a particular person or an organization, these types of commentaries can be timely reads on trending topics.

2. A timely or thematic list.

Posts written as lists don’t have to be vacuous…

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Seeking Traditional Publication: How Long Should Your Manuscript Be?

Good info to keep in mind if you are trying to get published!

H L Petrovic

String

Greetings Brave Adventurers,

I’ve spent a lot of time researching manuscript lengths on the internet (mostly as either an avoidance tactic to actually writing, or when the word count of my project begins to balloon out of control).

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to suggested manuscript word counts. The good news is that these rules of ‘word counts’ are broken all the time. The bad new is, that they’re usually broken by seasoned authors, sequels or that extraordinary run-away bestseller (and while we all think that’s probably us, it just as likely probably isn’t). Of course, us Fantasy / Sci-Fi writers are the worst culprits when it comes to phone-book word counts. Bigger is better, right?

So what is ‘industry standard’ when it comes to manuscript word counts?

The follow list is taken from the website:

http://theswivet.blogspot.com.au/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html

There’s a lot of conflicting information on the internet. Of the…

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The Cherub’s Cataclysm

cherub

I am warning you, this week’s post is very, very dark. I’m not sure where it came from, or what it was inspired by. It just seemed to flow out of me.

But before I talk about the subject of this post, I would like to say to all six of my readers that I apologize for not posting as often as I promised in my about page. The reasoning that I claim is a mixture of two things: writer’s block, and a busy, chaotic life.

I can now gladly say that both the writers block and the chaos both seem to have passed, because a dark, creepy short story was birthed from my mind today! (Which may have been a product of the chaos, but i’m not 100% sure. The workings of my mind are always lost to me.) The only explanation I have for this is that it came to me when I listened to a very epic and very dark instrumental song, which I unfortunately do not know the name of, and probably never will. I think this just goes to show that inspiration can come from anywhere, even if you do not exactly know the source yourself.

So without further ado, here is my newest short story, The Cherub’s Cataclysm:

A ray of light shined into the underground cavern of a safe house and onto a young girl. It had been hours upon hours since the mother had left the shelter to look for her husband. The sounds of screams and explosions had finally stopped and an icy silence had come over the village. She opened her eyes and slowly dropped her hands from her ears. Maybe it was all over now.

Her small shaking hands reached towards the door of the cavern and grabbed the handle without pushing just yet. After listening for a few more moments to make sure there wasn’t any danger lurking outside, she pursed her lips and gave the door a slight shove. Peering through the opening, the smoke drifted in, stinging her eyes and making her cough. When she caught her breath, she gave the door another shove, harder this time, and with both hands. The door collapsed outward from the force and she went crashing down with it, cutting her arms and legs on the splintered wood. Blood splattered onto her stuffed rabbit. She picked it up off the ground and slowly stood to get a view of her surroundings.

A sea of red and black came into view. Pits of flames licked the air and embers spit out of the ground. Black gnarled forms covered the village floor for a mile all around. She couldn’t distinguish between what used to be huts and what was charred human limbs. The wind blew through her delicate pale hair as she looked upon what used to be her home. The blood from her wounds dripped slowly down her arms and legs, covering her porcelain skin with long red fingers.

A shadow began to creep over the land, swallowing the sunlight. When it fell over her, two tears of blood fell from her eyes as they rolled back into her head. Her body tipped backward and was engulfed by the hellish abyss of the destroyed landscape. Ashes billowed up around her, and slowly settled back to the ground, sprinkling her body with grey flakes.

THE END

I hope you liked it!!! And I hope I didn’t scare you away forever!!

But I warned you; I told ya it was dark.

Book Review: My Heart’s Choir Sings by Maureen Flynn

My Heart’s Choir Sings sounds like the type of book I would be interested in! Especially since its only 0.99¢ for the kindle version!

H L Petrovic

MyHeartsChoirSings
52 pages
Published 2014

Brave Adventurers,

I’m breaking with tradition today to bring you a review of an amazing debut verse novella by talented writer, Maureen Flynn.

Maureen is a fantasy writer and close personal friend, but I must say that when I read My Heart’s Choir Sings I was blown away by her poetic talent. Before I’d read My Heart’s Choir Sings, I would have said that post-modern verse novellas aren’t really my thing. I like poetry, but I’m a classics kinda girl. Think Tennyson or Coleridge, fantasy in verse, and you’ve got me. So it surprised me when this little verse novella, 25 free verse poems, got to me too.

It was the story that won me, the non-linear narrative of Stewart, a man who has lost his lover in tragic circumstances. Through the poems he reflects honestly on his less-than-perfect relationship and the emotional baggage of…

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A Vision

I turn the key in the hole and twist the knob, opening the door to my small two bedroom apartment. I set down my keys on the table and drop my coat and bags on the floor with a huff. I was so productive today, but now I am paying the price. I am exhausted. After going to meetings, reading countless emails, and sitting for hours rereading and editing manuscripts, I come home looking and feeling like a replica of my mother.  I sit down on my big fluffy couch and pull out the manuscript I’ve been working on lately. The author wants to call it Cosmic Paradise.

I look out my living room window at the city lights and I remember when i used to go to my mom’s work when I had a doctor’s appointment. My mom would still try to get in a few hours of work instead of taking the whole day off. She was so dedicated to her work. I remember thinking to myself that I would never get an office job like she had, it seemed so boring! Now that I have one, I have come to realize that the boring meetings and emails and office work is worth it because I am doing something that I actually enjoy. I enjoy being a book editor. Yes, the workload is sometimes heavy and stressful, but when a book is finished, the cover designed, the words grammatically correct, and the final manuscript is printed, bound, and mailed to my office, I remember why I chose this job. I get to be a part of creating novels like the ones I used to read, and hopefully they make as much of a difference in someone’s life as the ones I used to read did.

I pull a pack of gummy bears out of my coat pocket and make a cup of chamomile tea. As I eat only the red, green, and white gummy bears, I realize I haven’t changed much since those times when I read His Dark Materials, The Hunger Games, and Game Of Thrones. I have learned a lot about the world, about myself, and about life, growing as a person with each new lesson; but after all this time, I still sit down with my gummy bears and tea to read a book about some far off land. I can’t believe I get to do this for a job. I used to get so worried about what I was going to do for a career after school. For awhile I thought I would be a graphic designer, but after years in high school and college studying it I realized it wasn’t for me. I thought about being an art teacher, librarian, even a wedding planner. When I thought of a book editor I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. I had always loved reading, and my spelling and grammar was so good that my friends, sisters, and even my parents were always asking me how to spell words. It was such a relief to finally figure it out after years of being unsure. I am now doing what I’ve always loved to do; read. I am out on my own, self- sufficient in my little apartment and happier than I’ve ever been.

After I finish editing the last page of the manuscript, I gather all the pages together, stand them up on the table and tap them so they shuffle into place. Then I clutch them to my chest and hug them tightly, like I always do after I finish a book. This is a weird habit I started after reading Evermeet, Island of Elves in high school. I loved it so much that I wanted to give it a hug, so I did. As I hug the manuscript of Cosmic Paradise I think about about how good it was, and how without books like this I wouldn’t be in my little city apartment, drinking tea and eating my red, green, and white gummy bears.

Shakespeare & True Love

romeo & juliet

So for my first post as an official blogger, I have decided to tackle a big question, in the context of a well-known and famous play. My question: Is there such a thing as true love? The play: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, of course.

This semester I am taking a class called Shakespeare’s Drama. In class, we were watching clips from a few different movie director’s versions of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet including Baz Luhrman and Franco Zeffirelli. Specifically, we were looking at the balcony scene, and after we watched the clips, the class began a conversation about how young Romeo & Juliet are in the play. We began to discuss whether or not Romeo & Juliet were truly in love, or if it was just young lust. My classmates were saying that Romeo was very shallow for jumping so quickly from Rosaline to Juliet. The argument was made that this showed he was not truly in love with Juliet, he was just a lustful teenage boy, and Juliet just a naive fourteen year old girl.

As I listened to my classmate’s comments, I was extremely surprised. It seemed that every single person in the room besides myself was in agreement that Romeo and Juliet were simply immature, young, lustful teenagers. Which, I will admit to a point, they were. But, I was surprised by this conversation because I think they missed part of the whole point Shakespeare was trying to make in the play. The big lesson was about Romeo and Juliet’s tragic death that “buried their parents’ strife.” But we cannot forget the other lesson in this play about true love. Their love is, in fact, what ended the feud. Romeo and Juliet’s declarations of love in this play are some of the most eloquent and romantic lines of literature in history that are still quoted to this day. I know, a big statement to make about a writer, but well-deserved. I mean, it’s Shakespeare we are talking about here.

I mean no offence by any of what I am about to say, but why is it when we read this play, we are so critical and cynical? Is it because of some widespread epiphany that has happened sometime over the last four-hundred years? Has everyone suddenly decided that true love does not exist? Then why do we even bother going out on dates? Why do we bother having a significant other in our life? Or for those who do have a significant other, is it only because you don’t want to be alone, or are you just in it for the sex? Or are you in a relationship simply because society has ingrained in your mind that you need to be in a relationship to be happy? Again, I mean no offence, I am simply trying to make a point.

Hopefully your response to that paragraph of questions was, “No, love does exist!” If this was not your answer, then I am very sorry and saddened that you will miss out on one of the most fulfilling things life has to offer. Yes, love can hurt. And yes, sometimes you have to try over and over again to get it right. But it is worth it in the end if you can find it. In the words of Shakespeare himself, love is, “A madness most discreet, a choking gall, a preserving sweet.” There is a good reason why his work has been read over and over again throughout the years, and why he is still famous today. He would not have written such beautiful things about love if he did not believe in it himself, and if he did not want his audience to believe in it as well. If all he was writing about was teenage lust, his work would have been swept aside and forgotten long ago.

So I ask you, do you believe in true love?

That is my spiel for the week. I hope I have provided something for you to mull over, or at least something entertaining to read by a girl who thinks way too much about Shakespeare. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so please feel free to leave a comment and I will be happy to respond! Also, feel free to take the true love poll!

Until next week!

Alicia