Tag Archives: writing

The Man Who Invented Christmas

It’s hard to surprise me. very rarely will you hear me say “I was not expecting that” or “I’m so surprised!” and when I do, 90% of the time I immediately follow it up with “well, now that I think about it…” to which I admit I’m not really that surprised because there were clues leading up to the situation/event that I just hadn’t consciously put together yet. so when I say that the movie The Man Who Invented Christmas surprised me, I genuinely mean it.


I thought this movie was going to be a seasonal comedy, a family film, because that’s the way it’s been marketed. I don’t normally get excited about these kinds of films, although I enjoy them well enough. this one was taking a classic well-known story, one that I’ve seen multiple versions of and always enjoy, and coming at it from a slightly different angle. The premise centers around the writer, Charles Dickens, and how he comes up with the idea for A Christmas Carol. the previews looked funny, the way a disheveled Willy Wonka-like Dan Stevens conjures up the well-known characters and then loses control of them. how they mystically materialize in front of him and then disappear before he can transfer them to the page.


I was not expecting that it would actually be a version of A Christmas Carol itself, with emotional struggles, revelations and redemption, and dark memories that have been locked into a box and buried. while Charles is manically running around embodying the stereotype of a writer who has one foot on solid ground and the other in dreamland, trying to balance the two while in a time crunch with his reputation and finances on the line, he’s also dealing with his irresponsible father and trying not to let the bitterness he feels towards him eat him alive. that’s the story that affected me, that’s the story that had me laughing and crying in equal measure, that’s what connected me to the main character as I empathized with his struggles.


The film does showcase the frustrations a writer goes through when forced to deal with the real life details of publishing a book, financing and printing and illustration, etc. It established the time period of Charles Dickens’s life that we were being dropped into so that we can easily comprehend why his nerves are so frayed, why this book meant so much, and how that all tied into the title of the movie.


My one and only complaint would be: why did they chose to market this film as lite family fare? maybe the intent was to create an experience much like my own, to entice with a lighthearted look at a classic tale with the twist of the writer being the focal point, only to unexpectedly deliver a deeper more meaningful story that may nudge us into looking more closely at ourselves. if that was the strategy, then Bravo! but I fear that many may miss out on what is overall a delightful mix of comedy and drama, because they thought they knew what it was about and chose not to view it based on that misconception.


So go see this movie! Do it now! if not for what I described above, then for Dan Stevens in dashing cravats and waist coats, for Tara the maid’s melodious Irish Accent, for Jonathan Pryce and his eccentric turban, or even just for this child’s giggle:


For whatever reason, you won’t be sorry.  and if you are? then Humbug to you!



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Posted by on December 4, 2017 in Movies


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To Dream

The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened. ~James Arthur Baldwin


Through the years, I’ve developed the habit of writing down what I dream about at night. not every dream, I have too many to do that! but I do try to record the ones that are still with me when I wake in the morning. sometimes I’ll awake briefly during the night after a particularly detailed dream, thinking “oh! I must write that one down in the morning” but then when morning comes, I’ve either completely forgotten it or it’s too fragmented to piece back together. the dreams I do jot down tend to be filled with descriptive adjectives that I’ve added to help convey what I still see in my minds eye, sprinkled dialogue that may have occurred in the dream- in whole or in part, and sometimes even song lyrics/melodies that do not actually exist outside of my own head. they’re more like short stories, really, but in first person ‘dream’ form. I write it all down in one sitting, before it slips away and is lost forever.

I’ve always thought that many of these dreams would be good foundations for traditionally written stories, but I never seem to get around to fleshing them out. I’d much rather spend my time daydreaming about scenarios that I can control in the moment, instead of going back through and editing something that has already been boxed into a framework. I have an overflowing folder filled with these dreams, pages and pages of notebook paper, that I sometimes revisit to see it all replay again in my mind. while sifting through that folder recently, I lamented the fact that these characters and scenarios will never be fleshed out, that no one would ever ‘see’ them but me. I feel like they’re going to waste in that folder, tucked away in my dresser drawer, so I’ve decided to gather them here instead. some are merely ideas, while others have taken on the ‘short story’ form, but they’re all unpolished. maybe they won’t make sense to anyone other than me, but I think they should be shared. I want to give others a chance to see what I see.

I’ll be tagging them ‘dreams’ under a ‘creative writing’ category. I’ve shared some of my dreams previously in the posts Seat belt? Check3 Recent Dreams of Jamie Dornan, and also under the ‘dreams’ tag on my Richard Armitage fanblog.




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Posted by on November 10, 2017 in creative writing


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One True Sentence

‘All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’

So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written. ~Ernest Hemingway, ‘A Moveable Feast’


Posted by on July 30, 2017 in Books


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Blog Introspection Challenge

I’ve been doing a “Blog Introspection Challenge” on my Richard Armitage themed blog that I’ve found extremely helpful for putting some things into perspective in that area of my life. I thought I’d attempt it here as well, in a much more limited capacity–answering the questions all in one post instead of individually. I don’t have nearly as many posts on this blog to draw experience from but it should be interesting to revisit things, nonetheless.


Blog Introspection Challenge


1.) What made you start blogging?
I had started blogging in the Richard Armitage fandom to share my experiences and thoughts in relation to his acting career. One day it was suggested to me that having multiple platforms to share my varied interests might be beneficial. so I started this blog to cover the non-Richard Armitage related things that were swirling around in my head. it was slow going at first because I didn’t really have a direction–I still don’t–but it’s comforting to know that it’s here when I need to work through something or highlight things that I enjoy.


2.) The significance of your blogs name
“getting caught up in the mechanism” comes from an Alison Krauss/Elvis Costello song, The Scarlet Tide. the phrase can be found in the second verse: man goes beyond his own decision, gets caught up in the mechanism. I often feel like I get overly caught up in the workings of my brain, not being able to get certain things out of my head. hopefully writing about them in this blog would ease that out of control feeling.


3.) What’s your (usual) blogging process?
something can be weighing on my mind or I just want to share my love for something. I let it run around in my head for a few days or a few weeks and then one day I just sit down and write it out, usually in one draft–going back through to correct spelling errors and better format the paragraphs, etc.


4.) What’s your favorite post?
Three Recent Dreams of Jamie Dornan. the post was fun to write because I was sharing something that I enjoy about myself (the way my subconscious makes up stories while I’m sleeping) while also including funny Jamie Dornan themed reaction gifs/captions. I have such a fun time doing that type of thing on my Richard Armitage blog but rarely have occasion to use the Jamie Dornan pics and gifs that I’ve collected in the same way.


5.) Which post got the most views?
When I choose to interpret this question as the most views in one day, the answer is Learning About What I Need. This post consisted of snippets from e-mail conversations that I had with a friend who was battling depression. I wanted to show him that I knew what he was feeling because I have gone through it too. It seemed to help him, so I wanted to share my struggles in the hopes that maybe it could help someone else as well.


6.) Which post continues to give?
Parasocial Relationships, or, my history of celebrity crushes. I think in writing out my “history” in that way, it not only gave some insight into my individual fangirl activities but also took away some of the stigma of it being worrisome or not normal.


7.) Which post has the most comments?
I Pledge Myself to Thee…sort of. This was written in regards to my struggles with the Outlander television series, as a long-time fan of the books. the conversation in the comments not only centered around the Outlander book vs. the filmed version but also book adaptations in general.


8.) Which post was the most difficult to write?
Silence. it was a personal reflection on a confusing time in the lives of my brother and I, hardships that he went through and how I chose to deal with them, and how that negatively impacted our relationship for a time. it was hard to admit that I might not have dealt with things in a good way, without getting defensive about my reasons why. I found it therapeutic to write it down.


9.) Which post do you regret writing?
I wouldn’t say I regret writing the post necessarily (since it was my very first one!) but more that it’s just kind of pointless. the post, I’ve Been Staring at This Unopened Book for a Week was just me thinking out loud as I tried to make a decision about whether or not to read a specific book.


10.) What do you find the most difficult/challenging about blogging?
subject matter. not only coming up with things to write about, but choosing from all the different ideas that I do have. I end up jotting down notes and ideas but then never quite getting around to it, or not “feeling” it when I do decide to sit down and write something.


11.) Your favorite aspect of blogging
when I see the finished product and know that it came from me. I did that? 


12.) How- if at all- has blogging changed your life?
it’s gotten me writing again. not that I’m writing novels or anything but I’ve always been able to express myself better through writing. I enjoy the many creative aspects of writing and it helped  me stand out when I was growing up. I’d forgotten the boost in confidence it could bring me.


13.) What have you learned from blogging?
that I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings.


14.) Your plans for your blogging future
no plans, not really. just to keep writing it down. and on those days when I have an itch to write but I don’t know what to write about, to just highlight the things that I’m interested in.


15.) Any blogging role models?
I first decided to try blogging because of fellow blogger MorrighansMuse. she was part of the Richard Armitage fandom at the time and she made blogging seem interesting and fun to me. she’s since revamped the blog that used to house her Richard Armitage posts and focuses instead on various other interests. she also has a writing blog which is where I first became acquainted with the concept of writing prompts. I tried a few on this blog and would like to try more.


and there you have it.


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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Self


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Fifty Shades: a personal history


Once Upon a Time the Twilight fan-fiction community was my happy place. Countless big name fics were updating weekly. Internet sites dedicated to Twi fanfic regularly reviewed stories, interviewed authors, held contests, and promoted charity drives. Lively discussions about the stories took place on forums, blogs, and Facebook pages. The community had it’s fair share of drama, don’t get me wrong, but there was an order to things- a balance. And the world kept spinning on, the way it was supposed to.

539960_419253714752072_100000023412-1Every once in awhile someone would come along and try to spoil my happy place by calling out the main fan-fiction hosting site on it’s Terms of Service regarding explicit adult content, causing some of my favorite stories to be yanked from the site. The authors would counteract this by creating their own blogs for the beloved stories and fans would flock there to read them, while waiting for the drama to die down on the main fanfic site and the rules to lax once again. The order and balance of things altered to accommodate- and the world kept spinning on.

There were so many stories to read, that Index sites started popping up to keep track of them all. Review blogs kept up to date on what was happening with the popular fics and their authors, and alternate fanfic hosting sites were created to better meet the needs of the Twilight community; bypassing the content guidelines issues- balance was restored and it was good.

I was a Twilight fanfic devotee, living and breathing the many forms of tumblr_lmov9uzO9P1qc2ir0o1_500-1Edward Cullen. He was one fictional person but many at the same time. He became my ideal and I loved him. I was learning so much about myself from reading the stories he took part in. The pop culture aspects were fun, the fanfiction-therepysocial and economic aspects were informative, the psychological aspects were vastly interesting, the intellectual and literary aspects were beneficial, and the sexual aspects were enlightening-especially for a shy yet strong willed “good girl” like me.

Soon a new story started to get a lot of buzz within the community. It was a BDSM fic called “Master of the Universe” (aka Fifty Shades of Grey). I steered clear of it at first because although I had read some BDSM themed stories previously, they weren’t really my thing. Fellow readers assured me that this story didn’t follow the classic “collared submissive” storyline, not really; it was more of a love story. Well, okay. I guess I can give it a go. I found rather quickly that I did indeed like the story. It was more about Edward’s (Christian) tortured past and whether or not love could save him. The Bella (Ana) character was curious about the taboo lifestyle but it was him that she was drawn to, him that she couldn’t resist. How far was she willing to go to win him-how much of herself was she willing to sacrifice to keep him? I was firmly on board and waited impatiently for weekly updates, along with everyone else. But towards the end of the story, suddenly previous chapters started disappearing and the window of time to read current chapters before they were no longer available, was getting smaller and smaller. Oh here we go with the Pull to Publish bullshit again!

Master of the Universe story banner

Master of the Universe story banner


Something that had been happening more and more within the fandom at that time was that authors of popular stories were trying to get published out there in the “real world”. At first it was a minor issue that didn’t really touch many but the authors themselves; going through the process of endless edits and revisions just to get a publisher to consider you was time consuming and not something that warranted removing the fic from public view until you were much further along in the process. But then Independent publishing companies, some with ties to the Twi fanfic community, started to appear. Now a fanfic author could get their story into print, with real pages in a book format or downloadable in E-Book form, with much more ease. Several of the older stories started disappearing because even though the authors had to revise and edit for copyright reasons, the stories were still similar enough to the original Twilight that the fanfics had to be removed from public view. What a bummer! On one hand, I was happy for the authors in their achievement, but on the other hand my happy place was getting smaller because of it.


So when Master of the Universe seemed to be on it’s way to a similar fate, it should have just been bunched in with all of the other authors who were doing the same thing; but this time was a little different. This time there was very little revising and editing involved-with no traditional editor to answer to only proper names were switched out, some descriptive adjectives added and a few minor scenarios tweaked. The story itself was a good one but the writing could have benefited from an editor’s expertise. This didn’t matter all that much in it’s amateur fanfic form because the purpose of the fan-fiction world is to provide a safe haven of sorts, an atmosphere of learning and growing, in order to perfect one’s writing voice. But in this case, when a traditional publisher did come along they chose to keep the story in it’s rough form. This added an integrity angle to the ever growing issues surrounding the story’s journey into the real world. And an ethical one as well: because the storyline, no matter how far removed from vampires and werewolves, clearly still followed the plot path of Twilight. Fans started splitting down the middle- those who were loyal to the author and her story and thus willing to follow it where ever it ended up, and those who were loyal to the community and the spirit of what fanfic was supposed to be grounded in.

"classic" Twilight fanfiction stories

“classic” Twilight fanfiction stories


The Twilight community was dealing with it’s own issues and incidents of drama at the time, so if you happened to be involved in both communities, the burden was becoming a little too heavy to bear. One “Big Name” fanfic author had had enough, all the way around, and wanted out. This author chose to set the record straight on some things, go out in a blaze of glory, before she bowed out for good- and one of those things was sharing who she knew the writer of the Master of the Universe story, aka E.L.James, to really be. Her claims painted Ms. James as someone who didn’t care about the fanfic community where “Fifty” was born, didn’t understand how or why it worked, and had never been all that interested in trying to adapt-someone who had dreams of making it big and was using the fanfic community to get her there. The Big Name author chose to release private conversations between herself and E.L. to illustrate her claims. A shitty thing to do, some might say, but what those conversations showed was the last straw for many in the community. Where had my happy place gone? Was it all about money and fame now? Had it always been and I just didn’t realize it? The readers were sick of getting yo-yo-ed around and a big portion of them threw in the towel. The blogs dedicated to reviewing fanfic were focusing more and more on the flourishing YA genre in traditional publishing instead; it was safer and more readily available. The Index sites couldn’t keep up with the ever changing information that the Pull to Publish trend created: tracking down story locations, knowing which stories you were allowed to feature and which ones you weren’t, what the published stories and authors were now named, etc. etc. And a new normal, a new balance, was struggling to be found. It wasn’t my happy place anymore, and so I left.


I still read Twilight fanfiction from time to time. I enjoy my fanfic Edward too much to give him up completely! but I read completed stories only now, ones that fly under the radar and don’t have huge followings. I play it safe.

So when Fifty Shades of Grey took the world by storm,FF I struggled to keep my bitterness at bay. I did still love “Fifty”, even if he’d changed his name to Christian. It was odd seeing so many go ga-ga over him years after I did, to have them implore me to read the book and then watch them fidget as they try to explain it to me while skimming over the fact that it’s actually Erotica…I think a lot of people genuinely didn’t know that it was racy in content, until they read it. The word of mouth and promotion campaigns that I had seen conveniently left the Kink label out- ah, the world of marketing! I moved on to another fandom and my PDF copy of Master of the Universe got shoved into a folder and collected dust. Then “Fifty” signed on to become a movie star, accumulating new drama all his own- the politics of respecting women, misrepresentation of BDSM communities, the popularity of “Mommy Porn” and whether it should be shamed or celebrated, not to mention the general drama that happens behind the scenes on any movie set. But underneath it all, he was still Fifty-the one that had been the topic of many a discussion between my fanfic friends and I as we quoted him, photoshopped him, shared inside jokes about him; it was the same Fifty.


In the end, I’ve had to let all that past history go. Did I really care about all the baggage that went with it anymore? Nah, not really. It was what it was in a time that has since passed for me, in a fandom I’m no longer involved in. The fanfic community didn’t fall apart because E.L.James decided to try and make a name for herself. Just like the Twilight community didn’t fold because “real life” Bella made some not-so-wise choices. Both communities were in the process of dismantling long before those incidents happened. I needed someone to blame though, so E.L.James stepped into that role for me. I’m over it now. It’s not so important to me how she got where she is. I’m finally willing to let the bitterness go and enjoy seeing Fifty have his moment a second time around, on a much larger scale this time. Do I want to see the movie? Hell yeah, that’s my Fifty up there on screen! And better yet, he now looks like Jamie Dornan- win/win!

So why hasn’t my bum been in one of those theater seats yet? Because “good girls” don’t watch skin flicks in public, they do it in the privacy of their own homes when no one is looking. Because just like the story was in it’s fanfic form, 390283574v4_225x225_Front_padToSquare-trueit’s dirty and it’s wrong, and it’s “fifty shades of fucked up”…which is what makes it all the more thrilling!

I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold out for the dvd, the anticipation is strong. So I might see it in the theater eventually-preferably alone and sitting towards the back. In the dark…




Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Books


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