The Friday Four: Solitude and Loneliness

1. This is the Periodic Table of the Figures of Speech, a beautiful tool you can use to add flavor to your writing. I haven’t heard the names of most of these terms since college!

2. I was thinking about how “solitude” is perceived as a positive thing, while “loneliness” is perceived as a negative. Going to a movie by yourself or going to a restaurant by yourself might be something you consider an activity you do in solitude, but another person might see you by yourself and think, Look at that person all by himself… he must be so lonely. And perhaps they feel sorry for you, when in reality, you’re perfectly happy by yourself. Strange.

3. To me, one of the hardest things about being Catholic is going to confession, mostly because I am disinclined to talk about my problems in general, let alone with a priest, who doesn’t know me as well as other people with whom I might be inclined to talk about problems. But when I went to the penance service, I saw many people who are regulars at Mass and volunteer in different areas of the church. I wondered… what could so-and-so possibly need to confess? What does she possibly do wrong? Then I thought that those people might be thinking the same about me, and I laughed to myself. Confession is a good reminder that we’re all sinners, no matter how “perfect” we may appear on the outside.

4. I am halfway through reading A Clash of Kings (second book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series), and it’s kind of underwhelming. The book is divided into short chapters, each in a different character’s POV. I really would like to skip around to my favorite characters’ POVs, but I would end up missing a lot of the story and getting more confused than I already am. Also, I’m getting tired of the constant references to rape and prostitution. But, for the sake of my favorite characters, I will continue reading the book.

Happy Friday!

The Friday Four: Christmas and Christianity

1. This is my favorite Christmas song as of right now, and I have listened to it every single day so far this Advent:

2. I don’t understand how Joel Osteen has managed to sell so many books (well, I do understand, but I’m shaking my head in disbelief). It’s Christianity mixed with The Secret, and it’s about how you can get things from God rather than how you can give to God and to others. Last time I checked, that isn’t really what Christianity is about.

3. I think I managed to get back into the habit of writing (by hand) something in my journal every day because I told myself that all I had to write was one page on only one side of the paper. Because I really don’t like searching through journal entries and wondering what happened on such-and-such day in such-and-such year because I didn’t write on that day.

4. Finally an uplifting story on CNN! This is about parents who decided not to give their children Christmas presents because the kids were acting too bratty and entitled. So the parents used the money they would have spent on toys to give back to the community. Wonderful idea!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

The Friday Four: Three Books and a Shameless Plug

1. Shameless plug for community colleges! I was reading something online about their value, and it made me remember that I got a very good education at the community college I attended, and the professors and students were much more friendly and helpful than those at my university. Also, community college is by far less expensive, and I believe that was one of the reasons I obtained my BA debt-free. Seriously, people. Community colleges are the way to go. Let’s erase the stigma.

2. In the Red – Elena Mauli Shapiro. I like these kinds of good-girl-gone-bad stories but only when the good girl has a really good reason to go bad. I don’t buy the “she was naïve and didn’t know any better” rationale, especially not when the story takes place in America in modern times. However, the writing style was lovely and the story itself was a more quiet, introspective, character-driven read, which I enjoy.

3. Life by Committee – Corey Ann Haydu. Because I write YA, I have a good excuse to read YA now and then. This was one of those YA novels (and there are a lot of them now) that had a compelling premise but weak character development and unsympathetic characters. The only thing wrong with the premise is that it completely relied on the Internet to be realistic, and with the speed of change in online trends, the entire story could be rendered obsolete and irrelevant in a few years. So, little chance of this being a classic.

4. Me & Emma – Elizabeth Flock. There were two reasons I picked up this book: it takes place in North Carolina, and it’s a story about domestic/home life situations. The narrator is an 8-year-old girl, and the character’s voice was spot on, especially when describing the dynamic between her mother and stepfather. The book has a twist ending that I totally didn’t see coming and when it came, I wanted to read the whole thing again. This was my favorite out of the books that I’ve read recently.

Have you read anything good lately?