20 Questions Book Tag

Another one from the indomitable Writer Michelle Payne.  I think I can answer 20 book questions 🙂

1. How many books is too many books in a series?

Hm, that’s one of those “it depends” questions.  If the series remains fresh and relevant, keep going, but if the plot lines are going stale and the characters are stalling, I think it’s time to retire it.  I’d say 20+ books is too much with the same characters and setting.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

They’re evil and I love them. Re: Strange the Dreamer.

Strange the Dreamer cover

3. Hard copy or paperback?

I prefer paperback.  They’re easier to carry around and to read.  Hardback usually has an annoying cover that, while aesthetically pleasing, tends to flap around and get in the way.

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The State of the Reader: 7/18/18

<–The State of the Reader: 7/4/18          The State of the Reader: 8/1/18–>

weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 3

Books Finished: 2

Title: Black Hammer, Vol. 1: Secret Origins
Series Title: Black Hammer
Author: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Dean Ormston & Dave Stewart
Date Added: September 15, 2017
Date Started: June 28, 2018
Date Finished: July 5, 2017
Reading Duration: 7 days

Black Hammer, Vol. 1: Secret Origins coverMedia: Paperback (Library

This was fantastic.  All of the characters were complex, and many of them were rightfully bitter about their fate.  They might have been attempting to play a big, happy family, but there were a welter of unresolved issues centering around their inability to escape the situation.  I’ll be continuing this series and reviewing the entire thing when done.

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The Entertaining Blogger Award

There are apparently people who think I’m amusing, which is an absolute shock to this Shameful Narcissist (ironically I suppose), because while I do entertain myself with my silly shenanigans, I never really considered I might outwardly succeed in any comedic capacity.  The fact that I’ve won other awards is also astonishing, and dear gods I hope people don’t think I’m being a real narcissist for mentioning them.

Anyway, I was nominated by the lovely blogger over at Dear Lily June who writes absolutely brilliant, poignant, and often tear inducing posts dedicated to her sweet daughter.  The blog is a memento for the future garnered from the past, and I’ve no doubt Lily June will appreciate it.  Now that day may come far past her teenage years, which I say so that her diligent mother doesn’t lose heart if in that tumultuous age, her daughter thinks it’s “uncool” or whatever  word is most popular or descriptive at the time.  She may pick up the torch if she chooses to have her own children, and the stories and love will go on ♥


The Rules of The Entertainer Blogger Award:

  • Write a post including the award picture.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring, and most importantly ENTERTAINING!
  • Add these rules to the post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog!
  • Also, answer the questions down below.

I’m going to go out of order, but not out of sync with what other bloggers have done.

Here are the questions:

1. Why did you start to blog in the first place?

I started to blog because I wanted a place to write that while not prestigious was still my own.  I’m a bit of a failed writer, not in terms of writing, gods no of course not, but in terms of publishing.  I gave up on submitting any stories around five years ago, because I was in one of the worst mental states of my life.  Rejection will do that to you.  So I decided to take up a project that had been in my head for over a decade and wrote the FFVII fanfiction Northern Lights.  I suppose people who prescribe to the “everything happens for a reason” philosophy will say that I endured soul crushing rejection leading to depression for that reason.  I say I attempted to make the best of a shitty situation.  I’m happy that I took the time to write NL, and I’m happy that I wrote The Broken Rose, which is currently in the editing process, but I know eventually I need to return to my original work, reedit, and subject myself to that hellish process again.  It drives through the the haze of anxiety’s brain fog, and no matter how deep my despair, I know it’ll be waiting when I resurface. I also wanted a place to catalogue my thoughts and write my essays.  The meticulous underworkings of narratives are very important to me, and here I can blather on about them without tripping over my words or boring those who don’t care.  I’m far better at expressing myself in writing, and this space grants me the agency to try.

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The Editing of Northern Lights – The Seventh is the Saddest

These are the Editing Notes for my FFVII fanfiction Northern Lights (which you can find at the end of that link).  I will be discussing a myriad of topics along with my frequently tangential and harried editing process.  You should be able to garner some enjoyment and insight from this without having read the story and/or without prior knowledge of the original game, but if you’re a fan of paranormal romance and/or dark fantasy, you may find it to your liking.  The story will be spoiled in this editing examination, though I will do my best to mark spoilers for any other narratives I mention.  Thanks for your interest and enjoy!

<–Sometimes Seven Isn’t Social          The Second of the Seventh Is Sorrow–>

I know it’s been forever since I’ve made any editing posts, but that was because I was putting all of my effort/energy into finishing up my WIP.  Well that’s done and I’m spending the week playing catch up on whatever I can play catch up on.  My neglected Northern Lights editing entries not excluded.  I’m almost two years behind on this, but life and literature call, and I must always answer. 

Ugh, I need to update quite a few things.  I don’t like the introductory paragraph.  Why the hell am I calling it an “Editing Blog” when this entire site is a blog?  I think I initially thought this blog was just going to be for the editing posts or I was going to make a specific blog just for that, and initially I was on Google Blogger, but since I get more hits here on WP, I decided to post here and also expand my horizons.  Ah, I’ll have to update ALL of them now won’t I?  Yes…I will because I’m super anal about conformity hehe.  Anyway, you don’t want to hear me rambling about this, do you?  Enjoy the editing post below if that’s what you came for 🙂

Content Warning: Brief mention of suicide and sexual assault.

First there’s this.

And it’s fantastic. (Future Narcissist just located its source on Deviant Art by one Saharadesr.  It’s actually entitled Turn or Burn)  I really, really wanted to share this, but I’d offend half the people on my friend’s list.  I’m…weird about that, and not just the offending part.  I’ll try to explain, and I’ll also try to find the meme that really nails it down.

I love Final Fantasy VII.  Like there are no words to truly encompass my level of love for it, but I hate talking about it with people for various reasons.  One, people like to one up each other and say shit like, “Well this Final Fantasy/this character is better.”  Bitch, did I fucking ask you that?  (Ooh…Past Narcissist was really angry that day)  I was telling you about how much I love one thing and the first thing you do is tell me how it’s not worthy of  my love or imply that because I love it so hard there must be something wrong with me?  Thanks, I’m sorry I shared.  I know a great deal of this has to do with the circumstances surrounding the time I first played it, but that certainly doesn’t diminish the reasons.

This.  This right here is it.  And I hate this.  The closest fandom with a similar paradigm is probably Doctor Who because of the different regenerations/iterations of the doctor, yet I still feel Whovians have more of a solidarity.  Hell, they even have a fandom name: WhoviansFinal Fantasy fans can’t even say that.  Maybe it’s because I’m not as deep into Whoville as I am Final Fantasy, but from what I’ve seen, it’s not nearly  as vehement or vitriolic.

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The Liebster Award #1

Liebster AwardA thousand thank yous to the Well-Red Mage on their titular blog for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  I only recently started following them (how could I not with a name that not only pays homage to my favorite series, but also shoehorns in a clever pun/turn of phrase?), but our love our old school games is eternal.  I’ve met so many wonderful people in my year or so of blogging who focus on a variety of things, and I love perusing award posts even if I, myself, am not a recipient, as it still gives me the chance to scout out like minded folk.  Regardless, the Liebster Award is a great networking tool and a wonderful way to support other bloggers.  It works as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you (see above) and answer their 11 questions.
  2. Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 questions to answer.

Here are the questions I was nominated to answer.  I have to tell you when I saw some of them, I squeed with joy, because not only would the answers be easy, but many also would allow me to gush about my favorite obsessions.  So without further ado!

1.DC or Marvel – This particular question is very important from what I’ve been told.  Hm, okay, well my second favorite villain is Loki as portrayed by my beloved Tom Hiddleston,

Attempts to breathe. Fails.

which pretty much makes me a Marvel girl, but while I do believe that Marvel has the monopoly on the movies, I’ve heard nothing but good things about DC’s shows.  Now since I haven’t read the comics, I have only the visual media to go off of.  There are number of DC shows on my to-watch list including, but not limited to The Flash, Supergirl, and Daredevil.  I have seen quite a bit of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and had some issues with it.  So long answer shorter, I’m more of a Marvel fan, but I don’t detest DC.  It’s kind of how I like both Algebra and Geometry, but I like Algebra a bit more since I’ve done more with it.

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This is one of the many articles/review that I have reblogged from Caffeine Crew, the collaborative geek blog I write for.  I am in the process of truly posting these here on my personal blog.  While they will be edited for any prior missed errors, I will not be really updating them beyond that so some information could potentially be outdated, erroneous, or defunct.

The best stories are about memory.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is quite possibly the best standalone novel I have ever read and is certainly the most phenomenal book I’ve had the privilege to experience this year (2013). I place it in the very prestigious position as my third favorite story (behind FFVII and ASOIAF) and favorite non-fantasy novel. The title comes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and it sets the perfect tone for this story written in the first person by Hazel, a sixteen year old girl in the regressive stage of lung cancer who nevertheless is required to cart around an oxygen tank because (as she so perfectly puts it) her “lungs suck at being lungs.” Her mother forces her to go to a cancer patient/survivor group where she proceeds to exercise her considerable teenage snark and wit along with her friend Isaac who is suffering from a type of cancer that eventually requires the removal of an eye.

One day Hazel catches the attention of a boy named Augustus and their romance is as breathtaking and expedient as it is completely genuine and uncontrived. Augustus has recovered from bone cancer that left him with a prosthetic leg, but did nothing to diminish his spirit. She can scarcely believe he’s as perfect as he projects and indeed feels as though she’s found his hamartia or fatal flaw when he puts a cigarette in his mouth. Hazel is of course livid that anyone who survived cancer would willingly place themselves into its way again, but Augustus never lights them using the act as a metaphor of having “the killing thing right between your teeth, but you not giving it the power to do its killing.”

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By now we’ve all heard about the amazing Christopher Lee’s death.  It’s funny how you don’t know how fantastic someone is until they die.  When Leonard Nimoy went where no one has gone before (and returned) how much more awesome he was spilled out into the public discourse.  This is not normally something I would blog about.  Of course I love the Lord of the Rings movies, and LN was Spock so, um, epic, but not really something I’d find the need to write about, but then I ran across this on my tumblr dashboard.

And I was overcome with feels.  Memory…is a huge thing for me.  Being remembered, not being forgotten.  I think about this all the time.  It’s the thread that runs through my most treasured narratives: the paradigm of remembrance.  So long as people remember you, you’ll never truly die.  Shakespeare has been dead for half a millennium, but his name will go on through the ages.  Antiquity will never leave him behind.  The earth will become a cold, black stone when all that is living has turned to dust, but those who remain to carry forth stories will know the works of the Bard.

But for us poor and grieving who have no great deeds, who shall remember our names?  In John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars Hazel and Gus have the following conversation.

“How many dead people do you think there are?”
“Like, how many fictional people died in that fictional movie?  Not enough,” he joked.
“No, I mean, like, ever.  Like how many people do you think have ever died
“I happen to know the answer to the question,” he said.  “There are seven billion living people, and about ninety-eight billion dead people.”
“Oh,” I said.  I’d thought that maybe since population growth had been so fast, there were more people alive than all the dead combined.
“There are about fourteen dead people for every living person,” he said.  The credits continued rolling.  It took a long time to identify all those corpses, I guess.  My head was still on his shoulder.  “I did some research on this a couple of years,” Augustus continued.  “I was wondering if everybody could be remembered.  Like, if we got organized, and assigned a certain number of corpses to each living person, would there be enough living people to remember all the dead people?”
“And are there?”
“Sure, anyone can name fourteen dead people.  But we’re disorganized mourners, so a lot of people end up remembering Shakespeare, and no one remembers the person he wrote Sonnet Fifty-five about.”

I think of the “fourteen people” conversation all the time.  If we all remembered fourteen people than no one would ever have to be forgotten.  This paradigm is also implemented in the animated film The Book of Life, which features La Muerte whom I absolutely adore.  Her look is just exquisite.

I wish to be half as cool.

In the movie the dead people with loved ones still alive to honor them on the Day of the Dead dwell in the Land of the Remembered while those who have no one wither away in the Land of the Forgotten.  But…once all those who love you are dead, will you not fade into the Land of the Forgotten?  When no one is left to remember you, who will light candles on your behalf so you don’t become one of them?  When all are gone and dead as dust, then no one will even be memory.

If I wanted to be morbid and nihilistic I would continue along this vein.  In the end when there is nothing left and only dust shall spin in the silence, there will be no memories.  There will be nothing, as it was before so shall it be forever.  No one will be a memory and I remain in this existential crisis.  It’s something we all must face: eternal oblivion.  So long as there’s consciousness left to remember, then some will not be forgotten, but once consciousness blinks out into the darkness, then there will be nothing left.  There is a name that means “memory,” or more so “remembered by God.”  Zachary.  FFVII is literally about memory.

Finally, Homer’s Iliad comes to mind because of what Achilles was told.  It was the choice of every man.  Stay home, be safe, raise a family, and be forgotten.   Your children will remember you and perhaps your grandchildren, but after that, no one will.  Live the safe but long life and be lost to the ages, but paint yourself with glory, (more than likely) die young, and everyone will know your name.  Achilles wanted the glorious life and so choose to go with Agamemnon to Troy because though the warrior knew by prophecy that he would die, he also knew he would not be forgotten.  Death is an empty door.  Once you’re gone, you’re gone.

“Who has choices need not choose,
We don’t who have none,
We can love, but what we lose,
What is gone is gone.”

-Peter S Beagle “The Last Unicorn”

Asking me my beliefs about continued existence is as empty a door as death so seems.  I don’t know.  I want to believe something.  I want to think we become more than mere memories (not that memory is a mean thing).  I want Augustus’s words from The Fault In Our Stars “I don’t believe we return to haunt or comfort the living or anything, but I think something becomes of us” to be true.

As awful as the world of FFVII is in its dystopian gloom, at the very least you know what happens to you after you die.  I believe this was what first endeared me to the story, but currently it is John Green who has had the most comforting and profound things to say about the subject.  His Looking for Alaska has the gorgeous line that I return to for its hopeful resonance.

“Thomas Edison’s last words were ‘It’s very beautiful over there.’  I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.” 

I hope it is, too.