Update On My Life / “Looking for Alaska” Review-ish-Thing

So, quick update on what’s goin’ on in my life right now:

  • I’m currently behind in Camp NaNoWriMo as far as personal goals go, but actually ahead of NaNoWriMo standards by like 4,000 words (the issue is that I’m taking a five day break from writing towards the end of Camp NaNo, so I need to get five days ahead of schedule so that doesn’t put me behind on finishing on time).
  • The first meeting for the musical-thing I’m in this summer (it’s actually a rock opera) is today.
  • I’m still drowning in grad parties to attend.
  • I have college orientation this week! And I’m freaking out about it more than just a little bit!!!
  • I basically can’t leave my room right now without my parents throwing another chore or two at me, so I’m kind of holing up in here today (minus the theatre meeting, two grad parties, and going to see a play with my grandparents) in order to try to get some writing done. (Don’t worry, I’ve got a not-so-secret stash of junk food up here to keep me alive.)

And that’s basically it! And now in other news: I finished reading Looking for Alaska by John Green yesterday morning, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it, so…

Looking for Alaska is philosophical by nature, deep by content, and so realistic in its reaction to loss that I actually got tears in my eyes  on multiple occasions (which is saying something, because books hardly ever make me cry). John Green made me fall in love with his characters, despite their faults, and he reminded me why I love realistic fiction: Because it’s real. Because I can connect with it, and laugh with it, and hurt with it.

However, there was definitely some content in there that I could have done without. I felt uncomfortable for a lot of the first half of the book with how the main characters viewed intimacy — kissing and more with people who they barely knew — although I know that this is a common view among my peers, and I really shouldn’t have been surprised to find so much of that because, as mentioned above, John Green writes realistically. It’s just not my lifestyle and not one I want to live. There was also quite a lot of smoking and drinking going on in the novel, but, I don’t know, that stuff just doesn’t upset me like, well… other stuff does.

In the end, Looking for Alaska was a great book. Beautiful writing, great dialogue, and so realistic at points that it hurts. Just be prepared for some hormones in there, as well.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 9.

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday (“The Thief” Excerpt)

So, I’d say summer’s off to a fairly interesting start. My short story “Popcorn” was featured on the Figment homepage yesterday, and I was really excited about that, obviously! 🙂 Also, Camp NaNoWriMo starts in two days, and I’m really excited to get to work on my June novel. I’m not going to tell you what it’s about right now, but I might share an excerpt or two, throughout the month, if it’s going well.

Today’s Wordy Wednesday is the beginning of a novel that I never got around to writing… If I remember correctly, I got to this point a while back, didn’t know how to continue to the next part and didn’t feel like spending the time to figure it out (so I obviously didn’t have a strong enough yearning to write it, or whatever), and I just sort of abandoned the project. I still like what I did write, though.

So yeah. Here’s your Wordy Wednesday. 😛

**********

I’m standing in the middle of the Square with people bustling all around me, shivering despite the July heat, and I have no idea who I am.

This isn’t a normal kind of forgetting, either. Not a simple memory lapse. I legitimately, totally and completely have no idea who I am, to the point that when I catch sight of myself in a man’s glasses, I don’t recognize the hollow eyed girl staring back at me. Is that red hair? Freckles?

Strawberry blond, I realize. Short strawberry blond hair that I cannot for the life of me recognize as my own. But there it is, a part of the girl who must be me. She blinks at the same time as me, winces against the same, hot wind.

And when I shiver, she does so too. But I do not recognize her.

The man with the glasses moves away, so that I lose sight of myself, and as if the fact that I don’t know who I am isn’t disturbing enough, it hits me that I also don’t know how I ended up in the Square.

But the Square… that’s one thing I do know. I recognize this place, although all I remember at the moment is opening my eyes and being here. It’s a largish area with chipping brown paving stones for the street and looming clapboard buildings on all sides, filled with carts and people selling wares from apples to live chickens and everything in between.

There’s a coin in my dress pocket. I pull it out, roll it between my fingers and feel the grooves of it against my skin. Let the cool metal bite into my fingertips.

I step up to the first merchant I see and buy a poppy roll, feeling the need to do something, to look involved in the life going on around me.

It isn’t until I’m stepping away again and taking a bite of my bread that I realize my pocket’s heavy, now, which isn’t right since I just paid the merchant my one and only coin.

When I reach my free hand in, my fingers close around an entire bag of coins.

It’s the man’s earnings for the day. I don’t even remember touching it. I don’t even remember seeing it.

I’m suddenly not hungry. I turn around to return the money, to apologize and say it was a mistake, when something at the back of my mind tells me not to. That it’s a bad idea. And since there’s very little I can remember, I cling to this thought and, instead, shove the little cloth bag as far down in my pocket as it will go.

I’m not worried, for some reason, by my lack of memory. Startled, maybe, but not worried. It’s like some part of me was expecting this. Like I knew this was coming.

So what do I do now that it’s happened? I feel like there must be something I’m supposed to do… but how can I do much of anything, but purchase a poppy roll and walk away, when I don’t even recognize my own reflection?

“What do I do?” I whisper, and I discover that I don’t recognize my own voice, either. How is that possible? How could I possibly forget my own voice?

My pocket’s even heavier now. Hand shaking and still shivering despite the sun baking the Square, I reach in and feel for whatever new object’s added itself. A wallet. There’s a wallet full of money in my pocket, along with the merchant’s earnings.

How are these things getting here? Someone has to be placing them in my dress pocket. The same person as whoever took away my memory.

But then, as I watch, a tall woman with a curling white wig on struts passed me, and my hand snakes out, removes her emerald necklace without her even glancing once in my direction.

**********

… So yeah. That’s where I stopped, haha.

Videos I’m in love with right now:

Ed Sheeran, ridiculous YA books getting made fun of, and Vlogbrothers. What more could you ask for?

~Julia