Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2012 TBR Pile Challenge

I probably have entirely too much stuff going on in my life - but what is one more?  On top of trying to find an agent, polishing my NaNo novel, writing 40k a month for four months (this month makes number two, I am at a low 11k, but it's getting there... somehow), finding a new job, finishing my third novel, prepping my NaNo for queries, and self-publishing a set of short stories that is in the form of a memoir, why not add a reading challenge?

For the year, I want to read 50 books.  And I don't post reviews, I've said that before.  Therefore I will miss out on some entries to the prizes - but I will still recommend anything that I read and enjoy, as usual.

The TBR (To Be Read) challenge is simple:  Look at your shelves.  Remember that book that you bought one year ago that you wanted to read?  Remember that book you bought five years ago?  Well, now is the time to read them.  Dust them off and finally sit down with your To Be Read pile and finish them!

I don't know how many books I have littering my shelves that are in my To Be Read pile.  I know practically all of the Redwall series hangs there - though I've read Mossflower twice.  I know House of Leaves keeps on getting half read and I can't finish it because I get scared.  Hot Zone is the same reaction.  I have Breakfast of Champions and The Yearling.  There's probably quite a few others that I am not remembering right now.

My problem is, I have recently been given the opportunity to write for again as a YA Fiction examiner.  Most of what I have on my To Be Read shelf is not YA.  So, I'll have to do this challenge and still balance it with the rest of my reading... and writing and life...

Though, I must admit, I am very happy to have a lot of goals.  My goal for my To Be Read shelf is to read fifteen books that are on my shelf.  When I post my monthly recommendations, I'll note whether it was a "To Be Read" book or not.  I might finish more books than I recommend, but that is always the case.  At some point, I'll make a way to track my progress (maybe another sidebar element?)

If anyone joins the To Be Read Pile Challenge - let me know!  I'd be happy to have some followers along for the ride.  There are some fabulous prizes along the way too :)

The fabulous hosts:
Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea - @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - @mermaidvisions

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Own Regrets

Is it too late to take it back?
Dripping blood from mangled flesh
Hanging upside down
Deep, solid puddles of the blackest red
Is it too late to take it back?
Your wrists in mine, broken with a twist
Crackled screams as your ribs caved in
The blackened bruises already showing
Is it too late to take it back?
Flesh singed with a flick of a flame
Putrid smells of rotting ash
Drifting pieces, melting off, disintegrating
It’s too late to take it back.

Your body’s cold, numb to my touch
It shows the years of my own regret
Hanging upside down, tied up and beaten
Throat split, hanging open in useless flaps
The flames lick upwards, breaking everything
The horror and nightmare of every sound
Tormented screams echo inside me
I grind my fingertips into my own flesh
It’s too late, much too late
But I’m still sorry just the same.


Sometimes it feels like I'm flailing, falling, looking for a place to grab hold.  The endless air drifting above and below me.  It's not a free fall, no, much slower.  Much less fun.
Though every once and awhile, the words form around me and start to make sense.  Even if the poetry doesn't come out right, it makes my brain settle.  The ground comes back underneath my feet and I begin to climb again.  No one is hurt, no one suffered.  The feeling that pulsated through my brain is now on paper, some of the darkest or lightest words I may have ever written sprawled before me.  Is it worth it to display myself so publicly?  Will they get what I'm originally speaking of?  Or will some English teacher twenty years from now stumble across my work and teach it as a metaphor of something that is so far off base, so far removed from the original point?

Artwork stuns me, sometimes.  Baffles me and makes me feel so small and huge at the same time.  The overwhelming feeling is also underwhelming - the world is at my fingertips, but I'm floating hundreds of miles away.  May the window to my soul make someone else reflect on their own, may the opening of my words make someone's pulse resonate with mine.

This is me.  This is not me.

It's all very existential.  And that's my mood:  Existential.

Winter Wishlist: Week Three

I can't believe week three is already here!  The holidays are just around the corner for me - and I soon get to leave work and be free!  Free [for a week]!

With that being said, let me introduce you to Winter Wishlist Week Three!  This is the week where we talk about bookish and literary programs that occur either locally - or I suppose wherever.  I looked into trying to find programs in Los Angeles, but I'm honestly at a loss.

But I remembered the two fabulous places that I personally volunteered at when I was still living in Boston.  They were both a TON of fun.  One is specifically books, the other is books, toys, clothes, and a bit more general.  They have awesome staff and are generally great nonprofits to support. 

Remember to check out everyone else's blogs as well - this has been a super fun blog hop!  You can click on the snowman photo to see the blog hop's full list of participants :)

Prison Book Program is located in Quincy, MA.  And it is exactly what it sounds like.  They send paperbacks on all subjects to inmates, in attempts to get them educated, entertained, etc. while they spend time in prison.  The inmates write letters to the program, specifically requesting books.  Some of them have even been able to get their GED and learn a lot of stuff through their stay.  The idea is that they enter back into society reeducated and more prepared for the world around them.  There has been a lot of thank you notes, letters, from inmates saying how this program changed their life.  It was really touching to be working there during the holiday season.  If I find another program like this out in Los Angeles, I really hope I can spend a weekend or two volunteering there.  You can learn more about them at:

Cradles to Crayons has offices in Boston and Philadelphia.  It was really fun working there for a night - we did a lock in program.  Me and some of my friends from Emerson were in the books section, sorting through all these different kinds of fiction and non-fiction for kids of all ages.  They also have toys, clothes, etc.  It's a huge warehouse with just piles of stuff.  They manage on helping low income and homeless kids every single year, not only with toys, but with books.  I think it's a great place, awesome staff, and a whole mess of rewarding fun. You can learn more about them at: