I have a problem.

It’s called “Kendall’s inability to maintain a blog”. 

Well, if you exclude tumblr, but most people don’t refer to tumblogs as actual blogs.

Anyway, I am straying from the point. 

 

 I have a new reading challenge! Though I surpassed last year’s challenge, 120 books, easily (over 140) I decided to set my goal to 100 for this year.

However, I’m already to 40 books…so I may have to raise the bar again. 

That is, if I ever finish “A Tale of Two Cities”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book, it’s just not a quick read. I think that is part of the reason I am struggling with it (other than the wonky time skipping, character switching plot): it is taking me far too long to read it and I don’t like most of the characters. (The exceptions to that are these: Sydney Carton, Charles Darnay, Therese Defarge, and perhaps Miss Pross.)

 

Farewell!


So…About that Reading Challenge…

 You may or may not already know this, but I gave myself a reading goal this year.

 That goal was 120 books. I thought it would be tough to get that far. Clearly I underestimated myself; out of those 120 books, I have read 97.

 97 is kind of crazy. I’m almost done my 98th.

 So…I was thinking…maybe I sh0uld raise the bar?

 What say you, Readers?

 *Keeper out.


Blood Red Road: A Review

So, I entered a giveaway contest (called First Reads) on Goodreads on a whim. I did not think I’d win. However…a while later I recieved an email. And by a while, I mean so long I forgot I’d even entered the giveaway. When I got that email I was thrilled.

 I read so fast it’s hard to get books if I don’t want to go broke (even though I use the library often). Also, I was extremely excited to recieve my first ARC copy of a book. :) 

 You can bet your booty there was a fair amount of crazy “dancing”…if you can call my jumping around and shouting in glee “dancing”.

 So, as the 91st book I was to read this year –since January– Blood Red Road was a cause for excitement. And truthfully? Moira Young’s debut novel did NOT disappoint.

 Keep reading for the review…

 

~*~

 

I was very privelaged to recieve Moira Young’s debut novel Blood Red Road through Goodreads First Reads. Merely the idea of it had me fascinated. Even before I read it, I was sure I would instantly love it.

 Boy was I in for a shock.

 Oh, the grammar. Although I quickly figured out that the book was actually meant to come across this way, I still found myself cringing at Saba’s atrocious grammar for the first section at least. I definitely wasn’t ready for that. It was raw. It was Saba, and I found myself liking it more and more. It told us about the narrator. It let us see her as she was, not just how we’re all used to seeing heriones portrayed. Besides, we all know that not everyone has impeccable grammar. (I’m sure I make my own share of mistakes as it is.) So, as I said, Saba’s narrative voice really grew on me. The characters’ way of speaking became quite…endearing, actually. It was a pleasant change from the norm. (After the initial shock.)

  My only pet peeve with this book was the lack of quotation marks. I often found myself unsure of when someone was speaking until I was halfway through their diologue. As with the grammar the confusion faded after a period. (Mostly.)

 Blood Red Road was extremely unique. Never have I ever come across something such as this tale. It was beautiful and it was also raw and ugly. Sad, yet happy. Funny at times but also solemn. There was life, death, and well-learned lessons. It was/is a story that captivated me from start to finish.

  The characters, I found, were very…real. They weren’t all immediately likable, they weren’t extremely transparent and easy to read. (However, I did find Saba and De Malo to be instant favourites, odd as that may be in De Malo’s case.) I just love that about them. I love that they weren’t so incredibly fake like so many other characters.

 Another thing I like about Moira Young’s characters is that their journeys seem realistic:

-Saba didn’t immediately find her sisterly love for Emmi

-Lugh wasn’t himself at the end (I had to word that to prevent spoilers)

 -Jack and Saba’s relationship took it’s time progressing (unlike a lot sometimes ridiculous novel couples)

  They were so, so realistic. I am so glad. The loss of well-loved characters was hard. I had tears in my eyes threatening to overflow at times. Reading their deaths, I felt both pain and awe. I was sorry to see them go but I was awed by the simple yet stunning way Moira Young portrayed each scene.

  With twists and turns to keep you on your toes, characters infused with purpose and soul, and a flawless [my opinion, but still] ending, debut author Moira Young has started us off on an adventure we’ll not soon forget.

  Blood Red Road is my favourite book so far this year, and I have a feeling it will take a lot to make it lose its place. The story, the characters, the style, and the promise of more made it well worth the day I spent reading it. Best of luck to Ms. Young on Saba’s next two adventures.

 

***

 

Phew. I believe that’s the longest review I’ve ever written. Huzzah!


Oh No!

I so fail at blogging….😛 I have no ideas today. I’m feeling uber lazy and other than the fact that I met Kelley Armstrong today (great author, check out her stuff!), I have nothing to blog about….so….I’m going to give you a poem! How’s that for a compromise?

It’s just a little, cutesy poem…I’d like to hear your feedback on it!

Red Chocolate Hearts

I’ve only six red chocolate hearts

in a ziploc baggy I got from church

they aren’t for me nor friends of mine

but for the strangers I will find

that could use a chocolate heart.

Inside the baggy a message lies

written simply and undisguised

on a paper white as the snow outside

to be told each and every time

I give a chocolate heart.

Short and sweet when read aloud

the message is not vain or proud

it does not seek to convert or change

the receiver from their chosen ways

it’s just something that I want to say

when I give a chocolate heart.

“God thinks you’re awesome and I do too”

and so as I give one heart to you

I’ll smile ’cause it’s what I do

when I give those chocolate hearts.


A Day in the Life

We know that we are not all the same. We know that. We know that some people are athletic and some people are academic. There are those who adore music and those who long to draw and paint. All sorts of different people.

Yes.

We know.

But we don’t know everything, do we? We don’t always know about the people we see everyday but don’t interact with. Maybe we talk to them sometimes. Maybe we never knew what it was that made them different. But that doesn’t make it okay to be so ignorant of those around us. It’s not fair of us to judge someone without even knowing what goes on behind the scenes. We do not have backstage passes to every person’s life…so how can we be so quick to pass judgement on others while climbing ever higher onto the pedestal of superiority we build for ourselves with false words and empty compliments.

And all the while the genuine and unique parts of us get stomped on, just as we stomp on the genuine and unique parts of people we meet, even without knowing.

So, with that in mind, I wrote a story. It’s just a little thing, really. A short story about a day in the life of a teenage girl with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She is not the same as me. Maybe she’s not the same as you either. Maybe she’s just another face in the sea of people we glance at as each wave passes by. But this girl, this fictional character, is just the kind of person you might meet. And she would be the last person to ever judge you.

A Day in the Life 

I woke up this morning at six-thirty. Just like yesterday. I made myself a bowl of cereal and ate it fast. Just like yesterday. My mom reminded me to take my meds ’cause I forgot. Again. I forget lots of things, but sometimes I remember. When I was ready for school, my mom drove me. I never walk there  like my friends do. My mom says it’s not safe. But I want to be like everyone else.


The bell rang for class to start and my teacher took attendance. Peyton Abigail Verdun. I’m the twenty-third student called. I know because I counted it. Just like yesterday. I smiled at the teacher and she smiled back. She’s a pretty woman, but she doesn’t like smiling. At least, I don’t think she does.


I like smiling, though. Mom says it’s because I like people. I do. Usually. I talk a lot, but my friends don’t seem to mind. Not too much, at least. My best friend doesn’t. His name is Brekkin James. He’s fourteen just like me. We’re always in the same class, but we never sit together. It’s because we always talk when we do.


Brekkin is smart. More than me. Sometimes he even helps me with my homework. Mostly the math and science, ’cause he’s really good at that. He’s a great helper; sometimes I get stuff that I didn’t get before! I’m not good at stuff with big numbers. Sometimes I don’t even buy my own stuff because it’s just so frustrating.


Sometimes I get in trouble for talking too much in class. The other girls in my class call me immature. They call me other names too, but Brekkin told me that it’s because they don’t know me the way he does. I like Brekkin a lot. We used to hug all the time, but we don’t anymore. I want to, but he says we’ll get in trouble. I guess he’s right; he usually is.


When school was over, Brekkin and I packed our bags and made sure we had our homework. My mom drove us both home ’cause he was helping me study. We had an apple for snack, just like the other days. I don’t like apples today, but I ate it anyway because Brekkin was there. He ate his too. I like him.


Brekkin went back to his house for dinner and my dad asked me about my day. I told him everything and he laughed. I like his laugh. It makes me happy. After dinner we watch tv shows together. Usually. Today, me and dad did a puzzle. It was hard but it looked really cool when we were done. I like puzzles too.


After that, I got ready for bed. I brushed my teeth and put my ‘jamas on. I put on fuzzy socks too and I jumped onto my bed. I was really tired, but I can’t wait for tomorrow.

~*~

This story is not an over-exaggeration. I promise you I wrote nothing out of proportion.* I talked to several people who are experts on FAS and I did a lot of my own research. From all that, I found that this character, this girl, could be someone you meet someday. It’s just not easy to see it from the outside, is it? We have to look deeper than appearances and first impressions, my friends.

We all do.

* Not all people are affected by FAS in the same ways, this is just a portrayal of one person and the severity of their FAS.


What You Said, How I See It

Not too long ago, someone made me mad. You may think, “Oh, that’s normal. People get mad at people all the time, right?” Sure. Of course people get mad at other people. But what I was upset about was someone saying that poetry is not about emotion. It isn’t about throwing your heart and soul and emotion onto paper. They said it was about methodical thinking, logic, and concise word to syllable ratios, or something crazy like that. Oh, and it has to rhyme.

Admittedly, some poetry is like that. It is cold. It is lonely. It is largely unable to be related to by the masses. Poetry like that makes me want to pop balloons…and I really don’t like popping balloons.

There are so many different kinds of poetry. There’s the kind written when you are mad. When you are sad or happy. When you are laughing or when you are crying. You can write poetry about anything; simple joys  to deep, heartfelt sorrows and frustrations. I should know. I am a poet. I write poems whenever I am hit by the mysterious inspirations that sometimes occur at the weirdest of times… (i.e. during science class, in the middle of the night whilst sitting at the dining room table).

So after reading that comment about “what poetry should be”, I wrote a little poem. It does not rhyme. It does not have a very particular syllable set. It has my feelings and my words and that’s all. You don’t have to like it. No one has to like it. I did not write this poem to be loved and admired by others.

You see, I write my poems for me. I write them to rant and to let out everything I hold inside that cannot be a story or that hasn’t actually happened to me, but could someday. They aren’t lies. They are truths and imaginary moments.

So here it is. This is the poem I wrote after reading that poetry was methodical and logical.
This is not a test.

It is not a thing

that you can control

or dictate how to do.

This is me and myself.

It is my heart beating

and my heart breaking

at the things in life that

bite

sting

push

burn

poke

and prod until I scream

in anger and annoyance

at a world that understands

‘us’ but not ‘me’.

This is not a school assignment.

It is my blood and tears

my pains and fears

and my sorrows.

You can tell me no

that it’s just no good

that my words are all wrong

“Entry Dismissed”.

My words

heart

mind

soul

pain

joy

anger

happiness

love

hate

sincerity.

Ignore me if you must

but I will still exist.

I’m not just another contestant,

but I’m still part of the race.

 What do you think? Is it a poem?


The Magic of Music

A blue silver harp lies up on top of my shelves
next to trombones and trumpets that all play themselves
a little piano with tiny white keys
plays music so sweet I could fall to my knees

There’s something up there with a name I don’t know
but it sings like a lady serenading her beau
and something that sparkles and glints in the light
and plays all its tunes in the depths of the night

These things have not laid in anyone’s hand
for the magic inside them is just far too grand
to be marred by the worldly desires of most
to sell off their talents from mountain to coast

The magic of music played not by a person
but by stories and lyrics that we’ve left unspoken.

~*~

By definition, music is the following things:

1] an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and colour,

2] any sweet, pleasing, or harmonious sounds or sound,

3] the tones or sounds employed , occurring in a single line (melody) or multiple lines (harmony), and sounded or to be sounded by one or more voices or instruments, or both.

 

 Music is the most interchangeable form of communication we have at our fingertips. A single note, a chord, a measure, a song. So many different genres of music to choose from…so many lyrics to listen to.

 You can dance, you can sing, you can even just listen. You do not have to understand what the song is saying for another person: you need only know what it means to you. [Though there are some songs that just do not go that deep…you know the kind I am talking about.] You could find meaning in the simple lilt or competing harmonies of an instrumental tune. You could find inspiration in the ambiguous words of a favourite song.

 Music is a language unto itself. Even without lyrics, the music tells a story.  Whether it conveys love, anger, pain, sadness, or rebellion, a song pulls at you until you either give in and really listen or you get fed up and skip it for something lighter and easier to hear. Maybe the message you receive is not the one you wanted. Maybe it will stem the next bestselling novel. Perhaps it will fuel your heart.

 

 Music is multilingual. It speaks not one language, but every single one on earth. Have you ever heard of a place without music? Forbidden or not, music is the language we can all understand.

  Used to praise, to rant, to send a message…there is a magic to music that cannot be rivalled by texting or instant messaging.

Music.


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