Song Review: Thy Will by Hillary Scott

Song reviews are something I’ve been waffling about on for a few months now. I want to do them because songs give me a lot of random epiphanies and even more frequently, funny moments. I chose this first one out of hilarity factor.

Go ahead and listen to this song; I  love it, despite my usual disdain for female singers. At first, this song started playing on Radio Station #3, that’s preset number 3 in my car, i.e. one of 3 stations I flip through when the others are playing something I don’t like.

Anyway, this song is a pretty deep discussion on God’s Will and how we know it’s best even when our situation feels pretty awful. I think that’s why it’s such a powerful song; it’s so easy to relate to.

As for the hilarity: the chorus goes something like this.

“Thy will be done. Thy will be done. Thy will be done.” Pretty simple right? Well, of course it is. For the first several times I heard this song, I swore the artist was singing, “I will be dead, I will be dead.” I thought: that’s a really dumb song. Oh yea, everything sucks and the world’s going crazy but who cares, I’ll be dead? Then, finally, the real lyrics hit me. Like face smash hit me. OOHHH, that’s what she’s saying. So, I’m in the backseat of the car, hubby and mom in the front seat. I go, “I know she’s saying ‘Thy will be done,’ but I keep hearing ‘I will be dead.’ That’s real inspirational.” Cue peanut gallery laughter from the front seat.

Well, now I know all the lyrics and actually like the song now that I know what it’s saying but every time my husband hears the song he sings along, “I will be dead, I will be dead!”

Going Home

Hi all,

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any new writings. Mostly because it’s the time of year when I barely have time to shower let alone write and post. But also because I’m still trying to determine how to word what I want to say.

Well, last month the hubby and I took a brief vacation from the world of St. Louis (it was perfect timing, I slipped out of MO the day before the big debate) and went home for awhile. It had been 3 years since I’d been home (to northern NYS).

We rented a car, drove all around the state visiting friends and family. We dropped in on a few of our old haunts including our home church and the college we graduated from. It was really great to get to see a lot of people. But it was also kind of disturbing.

After all, here I am 3 years since my last visit and it feels like I’ve been gone a lifetime. I can navigate the roads with my eyes closed. I know how to get to the Walmart; I remember the best place to buy a Michigan. But it doesn’t feel like home anymore. It feels like I’m visiting some nostalgic land of foggy dreams. Like I had forgotten my hometown actually existed. It doesn’t make sense because St. Louis doesn’t feel like my permanent home either. It’s just the place where I live, the place I lay my head at night.

Maybe it’s just a part of growing up. Maybe it’s my writer-ly imagination messing with my head. Anybody else ever ran into this kind of thing?

-breakthisleap

Book Review: Killing Floor by Lee Child

killingfloor_small*Sigh* I picked this author up on the recommendation of some readers and writers I trust. And, of course, I agree with a lot of the good things I’ve heard them say.

Which is why this book is kind of hard for me to review. I really loved the writing; the main character had good voice and I was easily drawn in by the story.

Unfortunately for me, some of the content was vulgar. I mean, most of us know what goes on between inmates in prisons. However, I read to escape the real world a bit and am not at all interested in reading about some of the gross stuff. Another example, one of the murders in this novel includes forcing one victim’s severed body part down another victim’s throat. Ick.

I’m also a little torn about the main character. He’s interesting to read because he’s so much different than the standard mc in a lot of thrillers. But I also felt like some of his behaviors were reflective of emotional immaturity that isn’t resolved in this novel (perhaps later in the series). Overall, I’m not really sure how I felt about this book. I like the writing; I can easily tell this author is good. But some of the content is just not my cup of tea.

The Internship Lie – A Short Story

Great. The phone buzzed obnoxiously as she stepped out of the tub.

“Yeah?” she shouted over the sound of water spiraling down the drain.

“I’m outside; you coming or what?” Her boyfriend’s tin-can voice asked.  

Patience, geez. “Almost. Just getting out of the bath.”

“Well, hurry up! We’re gonna be late,” he huffed.  

Bet he’s bouncing his knee and drumming his fingers. “I gotta dry off first; give me ten minutes.”

“Just throw on some jeans and a tee and get out here,” he argued.  

We won’t be late anyway. “It’s easier to get jeans on a dead body than wet legs,” she spouted.

“How would you know?” He laughed.

You’ll see. “I interned at a mortuary one summer.”

To Be Graceful – A 100 Word Story

It’s a great day when I get to watch Graceful at work. The cowlick in his hair gets tossed around by the salty breeze. The sun glints across the words printed on the broad back of his wetsuit.

World Surf League.

The best triple whammy is headed our way.

I know if I can just grab onto the back of Graceful’s board, he can teach me to be like him.

I let out a groaning “Whoops!” as I pry shards of Graceful out of my teeth.

Obsession – A 100 word story

Hi all,

Today’s post is short story I wrote for another flash fiction contest (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-alot-of-books-writing-contest.html). It wound up significantly less than 100 words, but I got a mention for “great start for a novel.” I hadn’t thought of it that way. Honestly, I’m a little afraid if I was to try to write in that genre, my villains would be a bit one-dimensional (evil for the sake of evil).

Enough lolly-gagging; here’s the story:

Some people say that I’m obsessed. I prefer the word focused. Or fixated. Do it 100 times, then 100 more.

I flash a devilish grin as I kick off my slippers. A girly, ribboned pair that I special order in bulk. Sometimes pink; sometimes purple. But basically the same pair.

So far, none of the crime scene techs has noticed.

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Let me first of all say, this is not in my usual genre range. I like YA novels; I like dystopian fiction. But the whole girly, pageant-like vibe is not something I’m interested in. It took a lot of arm yanking and three recommendations from people I trust before I even started watching Once Upon a Time. Because as my mom now says, “Let’s watch the fairy princess show!”

But for some reason, the cover caught my eye when I was walking through a bookstore. I’ll admit, I set it back down. I thought it looked interesting but was worried the author wouldn’t deliver. After all, I had never heard of her; honestly, that says much less about her than it does about me. Anyway, I told myself I’d look it up later to make sure it was clean (minimal swearing/sexual content etc). I forgot. Only when I was stalking a blog and found a raving review did I remember that I had thought it might be a good book.

Bought it the next time I was in the bookstore. Got razed by both husband and mother…”I can read a girly book if I want to! And besides, I bought this one too.” *points to a somewhat boyish spy thriller akin to Tom Clancy*

Well, I read it and loved it. While there was some minor sexual references, the book was mostly clean and the story was engaging. This tomboy is going to pick up the rest of the series…

Your Experience is Not My Experience

Today I’d like to discuss my experience on some matters relating to my time in graduate school. I’d like to say first and foremost that I am not ranting or complaining but genuinely curious about other people’s experiences and opinions.

Ever since I started grad school, I’ve heard various people joke about the workload. A common joke I hear is that about graduate students in big research schools are slave labor. That’s obviously not true; we choose to be here and we get paid to be here. But I’ve laughed along to this joke because yeah, sometimes it feels like I spend more time here than I do at home.

Take last month for example. I took 3 Sundays off. That’s it, 3 days out the entire month. I was trying to meet a deadline; crap happens. My house got a bit messy and my husband got a bit cranky. We dealt with it.

But what really confuses me, is when people get all huffy and upset about that joke. Trust me, with the demographics in physics, it has nothing to do with your race, gender, age, religion etc. It’s just a self-deprecating joke about being a workaholic. One time, another student scolded me saying it’s not true because we get paid. I amended myself and said “Fine, I’m an indentured servant.” I think he changed the subject or walked away.

The thing is: his experiences might not be like mine. I know of graduate students who work 9am-5pm weekdays only. They don’t come in on holidays and they don’t work weekends. I also know of the polar opposite: students that I’m not entirely convinced even rent an apartment. To the kids who work 40 hours a week and can graduate with your PhD in 6 years: awesome. But we’re not all in that boat. Some advisors expect more, some require more. Some students require more of themselves than the absolute minimum. That doesn’t make anyone better than someone else. It just makes us different.

Alright. What do you think? Is this an inappropriate joke? Are some people just too sensitive?

Book Review: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

Yesterday, I finished the sequel to Rachelle Dekker’s debut novel. I was lagging behind on this one for awhile. I think because I was afraid it would not have the same impact on me that the first novel (The Choosing) accomplished. I was wrong.

I’ve described the premise before but here’s a quick recap: in a pseudo-post-apocalyptic America, the Authority rules with a heavy hand. Women who are not chosen by a young man during their selection ceremony are destined to become indentured servants; men who are imperfect for some reason (think birth defect or chronic stutter) become members of the militaristic police force. It’s the only way of life, until a mysterious man named Aaron begins planting seeds in the hearts of the citizens.

The first novel was written entirely from Carrington’s perspective. She fails to get chosen and tries her hardest to accept the fate that the Authority tells her is God’s Will for her life. The second novel is in Remko’s point of view. As he tries to lead a group of rebels outside the Authority city, he finds every step he takes leads them closer to capture and death. Wow, I thought my heart really empathized with Carrington; Remko, on the other hand, totally resonated with me. His struggle through regret and self-blame really hit me hard.

Even more, his journey to true freedom. I’m waiting expectantly for the last book in this series

Short Story: To Be Like Daddy

This week’s 100-word story was something I thought about and scribbled out last month. I tweaked it a little for another contest but also thought it might be relevant with Father’s day coming up. To me, it stands as a reminder that even good parents and people who don’t have kids (think aunts, uncles, tutors, babysitters, etc) can have unexpected impacts on children.
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Golden-red flames lick ever closer but I have to find Jerry. The heavy smoke overwhelms the yard and the smell of burnt logs sweeps through the house like an ashy tidal wave. I stumble through the pitch colored yard until I’m nearly garroted by the laundry line.

Finally, I find him hunkered under the porch with Yowl, the pillow-pet. He swipes away tears as I scoop him up. When I load him into his booster-seat, he whispers.

“Sorry, Mama.” He hands me a pack of matches and some crumpled cigarettes. “I just wanted to be like Daddy.”