Harry Potter 2/4/7

It’s the end of the year and so, like everyone else on Facebook, I’m already tired of year in review posts. I’m introspective enough and don’t need to review photos where I look awful of nights I barely remember. Further, I’m not usually one to comment on how blessed I am because normally I make fun of people who do. Instead, I’m going to Disneyland with my husband, because we’re adults.

Before we’ve even left for the airport, however, I can’t help but get excited. Not just because I’ll be at Disneyland, but because like all bibliophiles, I get excited at the thought of long trips of uninterrupted reading time. To me, the idea of a long car/plane/bus/packhorse is almost as exciting as whatever lies at the end of it. Pensively I recall some of my road-trip reads, Geography Club on the 10 hour trip through the Rockies, or And Then There Were None while hungover on the way home from my Fagette party. But some of the best, the very best memories of books were when I read Harry Potter 2, 4, & 7.

Nostalgia grips me as I recall each of them. I disappeared into The Chamber of Secrets largely on the way home from Disneyland when I was in grade 8. It was early January and I remember picking it up at a bookstore on one of the last days of the trip. I assumed at the time that it was some kind of serendipity that I would find the sequel to the amazing book I finished the night before we left. Of course this was me being stupid as at that point in time, the third book had been out for some time and J.K. Rowling was to readers (and non-readers) what One Direction is to 12 year old girls and gay men.

In any case, I burned through it quickly but reverently as though each word were scribbled on parchment. While the rest of my family was sitting in the airport sad to be leaving, I was enthralled by a book and was eager for the return home. The trip itself is that much more memorable because of The Chamber of Secrets. In the same way, reading The Goblet of Fire on the way to my parents cabin (and obsessively re-reading it while there) has created a distinct association between the two. It was like how some people smell freshly mowed grass and think of their childhood.

By the time The Deathly Hallows came out, I was fortunate enough to pick it up from a convenience store at 6 am when my nightshift in North Vancouver ended. Instead of going home, I headed out to my future-husband’s parents’ house which was a trek in an of itself. We were going camping that weekend and I didn’t have time to go home so I sat immersed in the book on the skytrain. I didn’t care that I was covered in concrete and smelled like sweat and tobacco. I was already at Godric’s Hollow and couldn’t be bothered. Eventually I had to look up from my book, but only because it was my turn to hold my newborn niece.

I suppose the point of this whole rambling, anti-nostalgic inspired, nostalgic entry is that books aren’t just isolated adventures that you put down once you’ve finished them. They aren’t distractions or a time consuming pastime. Good books aren’t just amusing words which come together to form a story, good books are part of what makes your own story. Now when I think of The Chamber of Secrets, I remember the excitement of going to Disneyland (and can gloss over the arguments that my brothers had in the airport). The Goblet of Fire conjures up me sitting with my family around in a small cabin, heated by a wood stove and illuminated by a flickering candles. The Deathly Hallows reminds me of the dewey grass on the morning I was going camping  on our inaugural annual Siblings and Significant Others Camping Weekend Extravaganza. At some point in my life, books stopped being something I read, and became something I participated in and gladly share this with others (even if no one gives them back).

And what they did, what they created was greater than art because you live your life in it.

~Stanley Tucci as Nigel, Devil Wears Prada

So this week I’ll be thinking of my favourite things, and hope that on this, my first trip to Disneyland with my husband, I’ll have chosen a really excellent book.

Pussy Riot!

Now before you gays start hissing about the word pussy (see things gay guys need to stop doing), the remaining members of Pussy Riot were released from jail in Russia. They’d been charged with hooliganism, which might just be my newest favourite reason for arrest, and were supposed to serve 2 years. It’s not just the punk-rockers that are being pardoned, it turns out the Greenpeace 30 are also having their hooliganism charge dropped. If you’ll remember these hooligans were out protesting an arctic oil rig, when they were arrested. Looks like someone is trying to make Russia seem a little more endearing and not a clusterfuck of human rights violations leading up to the Sochi Olympics.

Looks like Utah’s same-sex marriages will go ahead as emergency stays and appeals haven’t worked. I believe all counties are now allowing issuing licenses as there were a few hold-outs.

I kind of did a shitty job of this round of news because of the Holidays. To make it up to you, here is proof that reading is sexy… and a NSFW blog in case the first link doesn’t work.

Reading is fundamental

Happy Craft Wednesday!

Like all (future) Craft Wednesdays I’ll be posting about things that I’ve found that have helped me write better. Today, I encourage you to check out Writing Excuses a 15 minute podcast by 4 wonderful writers releasing a new episode each week.

Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart

My husband recommended it to me when I started revising my NaNoWriMo 2012 novel. At the time I was more oblivious about writing as a profession, and these 4 professional writers started giving me the language to describe my writing. Through their banter about work and process, I felt that they’ve made writing more accessible. It made it less scary and more possible. This exposure made it a little bit like I could start coming out to myself as a writer. I feel more comfortable talking about plot and pacing. I feel camraderie (in a distant and respectful way) for these people who’ve been published and continue to publish works.

I recommend checking it out, it’s only 15 minutes and is practical and entertaining and who knows, you may get a good writing prompt or reading suggestion out of it.

Regularly Scheduled Program

Like most gays my age, I draw a lot of inspiration from awful chick-flicks movies from the aughts. Cady Heron, Andy Sachs, and Torrence Shipman aren’t exactly my spirit animals, but they do give me some sage advice.

We’re gonna study other types of movement, from swing dance…to interpretive dance, even mime. We’ll draw inspiration from martial arts, musicals, everything.

~Torrence Shipman

It isn’t likely that studying interpretive dance will make my writing significantly better, and I’m not sure that it’s possible to watch more musicals at this point in my life. Instead I’ll be studying other forms of prose beyond those which I am most partial to. With that in mind, I’ve put together a weekly schedule of posts that you can expect (I hope).

  • Writing Monday: This is where I’ll be posting a sample of writing. It may be an excerpt from a short story, or a long-winded personal essay. Regardless, you can look forward to plenty of snark, sarcasm, and typos as I’m hoping that Writing Monday will be unpolished flagship of the blog.
  • Tuesday Quotes: Since I can’t possibly be amazing all the time, I’ll be taking a bit of a break on Tuesday were I will focus on reading. Instead of abandoning you on the second day of the month, I’ll be posting quotes from things that I’ve been reading lately. You can count on a lot of Miss Marple and other strong female leads.
  • Craft Wednesday: On wednesday, apart from wearing pink, I’ll be posting something related to writing as a craft. It may be an interesting essay, a website, or some horrible time-suck but in some way I will try to justify why I find it useful. (And if it is a horrible time suck I make no apologies)
  • Thursday Writing Prompt: Sometimes we all need a little nudge and whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, a little prompt never hurt anyone. I may even incorporate it into my post for Writing Monday.
  • Friday News Briefs: At the end of the week my head will be full of the detritis of the internet and I will need to vent. The news briefs will be an outlet for things I found interesting or particularly problematic that I couldn’t keep quiet about. More often than not, there will be a lot of gay in these posts and maybe even some favourite new, vaguely-nsfw tumblrs.

Of course there will be other content as I deem necessary including book reviews, haikus, gripes, and at a moment’s notice I reserve the right to change my weekly schedule.

Hope to see you all back here, same bat time same bat channel.