March On

Sometimes I write the post and then I have to think about what the title should be. Other times, a title will pop into my head, and then I have to figure out what my subconscious is trying to tell me.

This is one of the latter times. This title, March On, popped into my head the other day when I was walking. I often have some of my best thoughts when I’m outside walking. Fresh air and sunshine combined with my heart pumping often spur my brain into action. (Seriously, the power of walking to think is a real thing.) The downside is that I’m walking. I never have pen or paper with me. Nothing convenient to write down what I am sure are rather brilliant thoughts.

I really should plan better and maybe get a small fanny sack to carry a pen and paper.

But I digress.

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YA Books: To Read Or Not To Read?

Several of my recent reads have been categorized as Young Adult (YA). YA is not a genre, but a general categorization of books that encompasses all genres from horror and thriller to fantasy and romance. What makes a book a YA book is normally that the protagonist is between teen, as young as 14 or 15, to early 20s. Those young adult years.

The genesis of YA books started in the 1940s and 50s with the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. But YA as a classification really started to gain traction in the late 1960s with the publication of The Outsiders, which not only features teenager protagonists but was written by a teen. S.E. Hinton started writing the book at age 15 and the book was published in 1967 when the author was 18.

YA books started flourishing in the 1970s and throughout the 80s and 90s. Authors started experimenting with genres and styles. YA series like Sweet Valley High and the Babysitters Club, and later Goosebumps, became staples of the YA category.

And yet despite the fact that I was avid reader of the Babysitters Club back in the day, I have since grown to loathe the classification of YA.

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Resetting Expectations (Or Why I’m Building A Blanket Fort)

I don’t have any Okinawa adventure stories this week because COVID.

Sadly, COVID seems to be the reason behind so many questions. Where are you going this weekend? Nowhere because COVID. What are you doing today? Nothing because COVID. And since COVID cases here in the Okinawa Prefecture have been rising, in respect to my host nation and for my own safety, I opted to stay home this weekend.

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Imagining the Improbable (This Post Gets A Bit Academic.)

I had a whole other post ready to go in continuing with this month’s fantasy theme. (In fact I have a couple.) But as I was writing, I realized some will discuss space, aliens, or other things that could be considered “science fiction” and not “fantasy.” And if you look back at my Wyrd and Wonder TBR, some of the books might be considered sci-fi. So I thought I’d step back and talk about what I mean when I say fantasy.

What is the fantasy genre?

That’s a question with many answers and no one consensus.

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Lists of Three

The number three is found pervasively in writing. Some of our greatest stories, fairy tales, and myths include threes.

  • The Three Musketeers
  • The Secret, Book, and Scone Society
  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy

The Rule of Three in writing suggests that three events or characters are more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers.

  • Three Stooges
  • Three witches in Macbeth
  • Three ghosts visit Scrooge in A Christmas Carol

Some of the most famous quotes throughout history are structured in threes.

  • Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
  • Friends, Romans, Countrymen
  • Duty. Honor. Country.

Apparently info sticks better in our heads when in threes. (Although seven likes to give three a run: seven wonders of the world, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, seven digits in a phone number.) But I digress.

So I got to thinking about threes and decided to share my three of my favorites (in no particular order) in some random categories.

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Merry Christmas Eve

Can you believe another year is almost over? And what a year it has been.

Last Christmas saw the beginning of the longest federal government furlough. I sat at home all through January wondering when the stalemate would end and I could go back to work. And stressed wondering whether we’d be paid for the time.

February saw me packing and planning my third cross-country move. I narrowly missed a winter storm system as I drove and arrived in Washington to a couple feet of snow.

March blurred into April and then May as I traveled for conferences and tried to learn my new job.

Summer arrived in the Pacific Northwest and I explored the beauty of nature and all the hiking.

Before I knew it, fall arrived and the days stayed sunny and warm. But slowly the nights got longer and the days shorter. I failed at NaNoWriMo and a short story writing competition, but had a blast with new friends.

And now the Christmas holiday season is here again. A full turn around the sun. And I’m looking forward to a birthday vacation with some dear friends in January and some amazing new adventures in twenty-twenty.

But on this Christmas Eve, I stop to be in the moment. I pause to be grateful for all that I have, thankful for the love of family and friends, and blessed by it all.

Merry Christmas to you. May your days be merry and bright. And may your holidays be filled with love and laughter.

peace & joy,

Thoughts on Death & Grief

There are certain times of the year that are hard for me and this is one of those times. This week marks the 9th anniversary of my father’s death.

Death is not an easy subject for most of us. We don’t like to talk or think about it. When we have to speak of it, we use “soft” words and phrases, like the person passed. And we certainly don’t like to be reminded of it. We tend to shrug it off as if death, and the resulting grief, are something we can just do and move on.

Death and grief are inevitable in this life. The one experience that we will all share.

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How Random Moments Change the What If Game

We all play the “what if” game. What if we had gone to a different school. What if we had taken that job or turned down another. What if we had turned left instead of right.

I believe that it’s human nature to imagine life differently than what it is. To speculate how our life would be had we taken another path. Imagination is a good thing. It can spur change, make us reach for something we might not otherwise have tried.

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