Posts Tagged ‘books’

All right, summer’s over.

That being said, what in the world have I been doing for the past 5-ish months? Well, writing! A novel to be precise. That and getting into nursing school which coincidentally just started today! (okay, no coincidence…more on that later).

I’ve decided to revive this blog for the sole purpose to document my inevitably comical epoch in which I will dive into the world of assessment, disease and of course; sticking really sharp objects into people in order to try and save their lives (or find out what the heck’s wrong with them). Though after my orientation today I’ve learned that I will under no circumstances divulge the location of my clinicals, names of patients, and to be safe the name of the school!

Since I will no doubt have even less time to write than before, this blog is going to be less like: “oh shoot, did I just use five commas in two adjacent sentences?? Must work on new draft pronto, not to mention my need to bug my wife to tell me what’s wrong with my post, starting NOW!!!” and it’s going to be more like: “read about my life NOW because it’s going to change fast, will be interesting and I’m in such a rush that I’m barely going to pause and check my spelling.”

Also, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m working on this ‘humor’ thing I’ve heard so much about, or is it humour? (There’s that incorrect usage of commas I alluded to before, also I apologize for the dig at British spelling—here’s shout out to my dual American, dual English, and current Singaporean family of my brother-in-law). Also sarcasm, yeah lots of that.

All right, back to me. As I said before, I’ve just started nursing school. Though I don’t really know what it’s like, I work with enough nurses that I know it will be more than just “let’s have some of that money the government said you could use on us, hold this needle just…so, GO, STICK HIM WITH IT! If he runs away, catch him, find some flab and shove it in! I don’t care if he screams like a little girl.” That was more or less a recreation of the House episode I just watched but I digress…

This new chapter of my life, to be completely honest, is going to be challenging. I’ll be a full-time husband, father, student and part time employee for the next 1.75 years. Then once I graduate I’ll be thrown into a sea of blood, guts and questions if I’m the doctor or not. And if I’m honestly a male nurse (since as best I can tell, I’m not going to fit the blonde/brunette/black-haired 20-40-year-old-ish woman that most of my classmates are), I might as well have a bit of a sense of humor (humour?) about it.

Since I’m in a chatty mood, I’m going to lament over a few things I’m going to sorely miss. Here’s a good time to stop reading if you can’t stand the sound of my text-voice.

  1. Reading. You know, good books. Since the start of the year I’ve read no less than 35 books, not too bad for 9 months eh? In case you truly have no life and didn’t take my advice in the previous paragraph I’ve included a list, along with the books rating on a scale of 1-5
  2. My family. Kinda important right? As I’ve been told many times, until classes start it’s very important to spend as much time with your family as possible because once you begin class you can pretty much kiss them goodbye.
  3. TV. Despite all the awesome shows coming out this fall, I’ve already given my wife the go ahead to watch them without me…I guess I’ll find out what happens to Neal Caffrey, Sherlock Holmes (the one living in America that is), and Hank Lawson when I graduate in 2016.
  4. Writing. Well hopefully not…since I won’t be planning on doing anything else fun, I hope to keep this blog alive as I would a patient in a few years. It may be limping, atrophied, or growing a malignant neoplasm from the incoherent ramblings I undoubtedly will be guilty of, but it will be alive!

That’s all I’ve got. If you’re curious about the books I’ve read, leave a comment and I’ll defend my ratings. All right enough of this, back to my textbooks…

Here’s that list along with my rating (you’ll notice not one book received a perfect score, to borrow an idea from the most recent book I read: I’ve saving my 5/5 rating–we’ll see if the book I’m writing deserves it).

Order Read Title Author My Rating
1 Divergent Veronica Roth 3.5
2 Insurgent Veronica Roth 3
3 Allegiant Veronica Roth 2
4 Enders Game Orson Scott Card 4.5
5 Enders Shadow Orson Scott Card 4.5
6 Shadow of the Hegemon Orson Scott Card 4
7 The Road Cormac McCarthy 2.5
8 Shadow puppets Orson Scott Card 4
9 On Writing Stephen King N/A
10 Shadow of the giant Orson Scott Card 4
11 The Associate John Grisham 3.5
12 Shadows in flight Orson Scott Card 4.5
13 Desiring God John Piper N/A
14 I am number four Pittacus Lore 4
15 The Game Terry Schott 2.5
16 Prodigy Marie Lu 3
17 The Power of Six Pittacus Lore 4
18 Doctor Sleep Stephen King 4
19 The Rise of Nine Pittacus Lore 4
20 The Fall of Five Pittacus Lore 4
21 The Maze Runner James Dashner 3.5
22 Champion Marie Lu 2.5
23 Earth Unaware Orson Scott Card 4
24 The Scorch Trials James Dashner 3.5
25 The Kill Order James Dashner 3.5
26 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs 3.5
27 The Eye of Minds James Dashner 4
28 Rot and Ruin Jonathan Maberry 3.5
29 The Age of Miracles Karen Thompson Walder 2.5
30 Hollow City Ransom Riggs 3.5
31 Flesh and Bone Jonathan Maberry 4
32 Ready Player One Ernest Cline 4
33 Fire and Ash Jonathan Maberry 3.5
34 Gone Michael Grant 4
35 The Fault in our Stars John Green 3.5

Bus  Sporadic conversations. People talking on cell phones or to each other all around me. The chorus of voices mixing with the rattling of the bus to create the background music. The cast is that of people zoning out and some attempting to catch a quick nap, others jostling to find a better seat (if there is a place to sit at all). My own place on many days facing sideways, clinging to my laptop and praying it doesn’t slide from my grip and to the ground as the driver slams on the brakes.

Druggies. Thugs. Mothers attempting to corral their children as they navigate the unsteady ground. Sweaty shirt clinging to my back. And the smells. Oh the smells…the odor that has the ability to permeate through layers of clothing and take up an extended residence in my olfactory system. The odor that hints at the practical petri dish the surfaces on the bus have become. The invisible microbes that I can nearly feel on my skin every time I’m forced to take a handhold. Such that as I type even now I wonder what I’m transferring from my fingers with every keystroke.

Thousands upon thousands of people making the same trip into the city. Shipped in from the suburbs to sustain the void that the city would become without her daily fill of populace. An infusion by morning to counterbalance the evening bleed of workers that keep her alive, if only for another day.

And during the commute to attend my job is where I truly work, where I write about life and living, fantasies of worlds I can scarcely contain in my mind and fight for the time to assign them their text. Worlds I would fill my time with if I had the opportunity. But I take a fragment of my time instead. Writing through the chaos of noise, smells, jostling and the abrupt end of a thought not finished as I scramble to exit when the doors groan open. Whipping out my phone to complete the thought I had only just begun to formulate.

Such are the glories of my daily commute and the vast majority of the time I spend writing. I feel I’ve become so accustomed to writing on the bus that it is now where I feel I will always generate my best work. Writing at home, I feel the draw of a hundred different distractions but on the bus there is the absence of internet, absence of the feeling that there is something else I should be doing. I have such a compulsion and urgency to produce these words that the games or even the music that use to consume my focus, lose my interest within seconds.

I look at the people around me, on their phones, gaming, wasting such precious, uninterrupted (some might say) time that could be used for such creating. I feel I have a secret that if people understood, there would be dozens of laptop keys clicking away as if at a university library, not the public metro system.

In celebration of the completion of the first two (almost three) chapters of my novel, I’ve decided to resurface in the online world and write another of these posts. I’ve realized that, as my focus and interests shift, my writing tends to follow. The reason I am now writing about writing. Where is it you write? Where is it you craft the words you’ve been given?

Well the day has come; the one that I knew was inevitable when I started this little project (and I know it’s probably far too soon since I only just got started). I feel like I led you on. Like a summertime fling or a half finished project in the garage (not that I know much about either, ever only dating one woman and having no garage to speak of).

I’m going to cut back on posting to about once a month (to clear my head and my ever-expanding word document of ideas) and in the interim I will be completing a novella I started a couple weeks ago. I expected this but didn’t know what would institute this little hiatus—it actually originated from a 300-page book entitled, On Writing.

I’m sure most or at least many budding writers have ingested this book and have their own opinions on what the writer has to say. Far from this post being a book review, I will only say that the book by Stephen King was an inspiration and motivation for me to seriously taking a crack at the fictional world I’ve only just begun to develop.

For those curious on what it’s about (I’m not going to say yet) I plan on giving more details about the work and hope to have a synopsis ready either next month or the month after—I have found that it’s a bit difficult to write a synopsis when the final project is yet to be finished. I have a rough outline and know that it will only be a short work but something I’ve been trying to apply from Mr. King is to let the characters guide the story. Outlines may be a useful tool but they have the potential to strain the plot and constrain character development.

Something else I learned about the book (I guess I lied a bit when I said this wasn’t going to be a book review) was that it’s important to just write the book/story/excerpt with as little editing as possible through the first draft. My issue, the reason that it takes me so long to write anything, is that I like to revise constantly. I enjoy going back over my work, many times in its entirety, picking at the story here and there. The issue with this is that it takes FOREVER to finish a chapter. Just write, keep the train of thought and make a point of resisting the urge to edit until at least a large section has been completed; preferably an entire chapter (or blog post).

Well that’s it. To make it official I will be changing my “goal” to once a month. I do look forward to these little interludes, but even more, I look forward to presenting you with a longer work to enjoy (that is, if I ever figure out all this self-publishing stuff).