Monday, February 25, 2013

Suicide - 13 reasons why...not

I had a different blog scheduled for today, but then I read the book:  Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher        this past weekend and it has really been on my mind.  So I decided to do a post on my thoughts of this book.  Not a review, but my actual thoughts and concerns.

I admit I knew the premise behind this book before reading it.  Basically a quick background:  Hannah, has committed suicide.  Before her death she put together a group of tapes to be listened to by 13 different people about the reasons they were part of the cause of her death.  Why her death is not her own fault but theirs. 

When I began the book I thought the reasons were going to be real reasons, full of slabs of meat to grab onto. They weren't.  Most of them were stupid petty things that we have all lived through, some of us worse things and we didn't kill ourselves over it.  I am well aware that we are all different and we all deal with the bad things in life differently, but really?  That was it? 

I could have finished the book and moved on to the next one in my pile to be read, but I could not get this book out of my head.  Why?  I’ll tell you why.  I am worried that with this type of book, kids and teens today will have one more reason to die than they did before.  There are very real issues out there in the world today.  Getting ignored, or having your butt grabbed in a store, or witnessing bad things happening to other people, should not be the death of anyone.  There are real and hard issues in the world today that so many teens and kids are facing.  What about the boy that is bullied for YEARS.  What about the kids struggling with poverty and hunger; surviving and beating cancer;  physical and sexual and mental abuse?  Those are real struggles.  The make or break you types.  The ones in this book are nowhere near the planes of suffering that so many kids are trying to get through and are living through.  Books like this put the real struggles on the same level of the mundane and they should not be.  Does anyone need one more excuse to end it all? 

Will we see more suicides that occur because a girl has a bad hair cut and someone laughed at her?  Will we see more death because one boy didn't get to be prom king and dance with the queen?  I know the book is really about paying attention to what you do and how you treat others as you never really know how it can effect them in the end, but why did all the “reasons” have to be so…so…simple.  I can see that they would affect a lot of people, but to the point of death?  Really?  Is that the world we live in, that we can decide to end it all and then blame everyone that was not perfect to us in our lives for doing it?  If so, all I can say is…wow.  I should have ended it all years ago then and it would be all everyone else’s fault! 

So maybe now that I have gotten this off my chest I can move on to something new. 


Monday, February 18, 2013

Safe Haven Replayed

So you know that movie, Safe Haven?  The one made from a book by N. Sparks?  Well, I wanted to see the movie, but I have this thing about reading the books before seeing the movies.  It’s just one of those things I do.  So anyway, I kindle’d the book this weekend and dug right in.  Good story, nice writing, but it seems vaguely familiar. 

Woman runs away from home due to an abusive husband.  Everything was wonderful, then the honeymoon happened and all went to hell.  She runs and starts a new life with no money, no prospects, etc., etc.  Woman meets new guy….they fall in love.  Husband finds wife, if he can’t have her no one will. 

So what does this story remind you off?  Here I’ll give you a hint….

(I loved this movie by the way.)

So, being a writer, this brings me to the point of my blog – when are similarities more than just similarities and bordering on copying.  Now I have not completed my read of the book, Safe Haven, so maybe it will veer a bit, but at this point, if I were to outline it, it would have the same basic outline as Sleeping with the Enemy.  Just add in two children instead of the aging mother and voila, match made in literary heaven.  I have to say, as a fan of N. Sparks, I am a bit disappointed in this read. 

Any thoughts?  Have you had this happen to you before?  What do you think of story lines that run the same paths?

P.S. - Haven't seen the movie yet.  Not sure if I will or not at this point.  I can just pop in the VHS of Julia Roberts and be happy.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Raven Movie and Edgar Allen Poe.

I watched the movie, The Raven, over the weekend.  I didn’t know what to expect, but as I am a fan of both John Cusack and Edger Allen Poe, how could I go wrong, right? 

I should begin with I am a fan of Poe, and I have read so many of his stories that I can’t even begin to count them.  Let’s just say I have probably read almost all of them.  Maybe not the more obscure, but mostly.  Now even knowing that I am a fan of his work, I had never once actually looked the guy up. 

So, I did this weekend while watching the movie. First, he is a bit of a nondescript fellow. Nothing outstanding in his form or hair or eyes, however, he does have a bit of a sad face.  It's in his eyes.  Don't you think?  Not so much the turn of his mouth even, but something there as well. 

That was my first impression, then I read his bio and go figure, he was.  Poor guy.  Born January 19, 1809, in Boston.  We know him as a writer of short stories, but he was also a reviewer and harsh critic.  Hey!  Me too!  See how much we have in common?

His early years, were rough.  His father left to pursue his career as an actor, and his mother passed away when he was a small child, around 3 years old.  He was sent to live with family in Virginia, separated from his siblings.  Doesn't say why he was separated from the rest.  He grew and went off to college.  While away and gambling away his money, his fiancée, Elmira Royster, dumped him and became engaged to someone else.  Edgar was quite heartbroken over this.  He joined the military and went to West Point where he was kicked out after only about a year.  Some say he wanted to be kicked out.  This was in fact his plan.  The military not being for him after all. 

After leaving the academy, Edgar went to live with his aunt Maria Clemm and her daughter Virginia. His young cousin, Virginia, became not just his inspiration but his love interest as well. They were married in 1836 when she was only 13 or 14 years old.  IIIICK!  Don’t get me wrong I understand people were married young at this time, but 14 and his cousin?  Eww.

Moving on.  After the death of his beloved, Virginia to consumption in 1847, Poe was overcome by grief.  He continued to work and review and be a hard critic, he continued to suffer from poor health.  He also continued to be financially a wreck.  He drank…a lot.  He gambles…a lot. 

Then you have his final days on this earth that are to this day cloaked in mystery.  On October 3, 1849, Poe was found in Baltimore quite upset (raving mad). He was taken to Washington College Hospital, and four days later he died there, on October 7.  His last words are reported to have been, "Lord, help my poor soul."  He also appeared quite desperate by calling out the name, “Reynolds” over and over.  To this day, no one knows why.      
At the time, it was believed that Poe died of "congestion of the brain." But his actual cause of death has been the subject of endless mystery. Some believe that his alcoholism led to his untimely demise while others offer up several other theories. Rabies, epilepsy, carbon monoxide poisoning are just some of the conditions thought to have led to his death.
 What a wild and sad life he led.  Constantly struggling throughout his life for money, for fame, and for love.  It is said that both his mother and his wife died in his arms.  Oy!  How sad.  It is also believed by some that he was haunted by the stories he created and that was part of what lead to his severe alcoholism. 

Back to the Movie.  It was interesting in parts, and boring in parts, but a thriller it was.  If you have the time and enjoy a good dark story, this would be a good. If you are a fan of Poe you will like it.  If you aren't, you may find yourself a bit...bored.  

Now I am off to see if I can hunt down one of my many books filled with stories by Poe.  I could use a good spine tingler. 

Have a great week everyone.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Dreaded: WHY?

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of the word “WHY” is as follows:  For what purpose, reason, or cause; with what intention, justification, or motive; 1.  The reason, cause, or purpose for which: 2. On account of which;  for which:

Seems pretty mundane a word, wouldn’t you think?  Well then you would be W R O N G.  I find continually that the word can cause perfectly calm people to turn into wild beasts of indignation in a span of one piddly second of time. 

Why is this?  I wonder it all the time.  For instance:  This weekend I had to stop into JP Morgan Chase to cash a check.  Now, I have been with this bank since before it was Chase and was in fact known as Bank One.  I have cashed many a check over the last..ahem….several years.  However this time, it was quite a different experience. 

As I wanted to be prepared so as not to hold up the line, I provided the check, signed on the back.  I provided my account number by way of my checkbook.  I provided my driver’s license to prove who I was.  I saw the account number keyed in.  The check was picked up and checked for signature.  My driver’s license sat untouched.  So I picked up my checkbook to put it away.  I picked up my driver’s license to do the same wherein I was snarled at:  “I’m not done with that!”  Well, pardon me.  She continued with, “I need to input your driver’s license number.”  Well, then I did the unthinkable.  I said, “Why?”

Oh my giddy aunt, the daggers shot at me over that simple question.  I was not questioning her authority, her place in the bank, her integrity, or her knowledge.  I was simply asking why they needed to add in my driver’s license number in order to cash a check on my own account when they know, who I am as provided by my license, and they have never that I am aware of done that before.  Why did she have to be so stinky and mean about it?  Why not just say, “Oh, that’s the new rule,” or whatever.  I just wondered.

The visit went down hill from there.  She processed my check without another word, stuffed the cash all in an envelope and shoved the envelope at me with a horribly scary smile and a fake and kinda mean sounding, “Have a nice day.”  Well, I was not impressed. 

I mean seriously, why?  I find this same experience to happen when dealing with educators.  No, not ALL of them.  Settle down.  Sometimes I just want to understand.  The stated “Do it this way,” usually causes me to say, “Why?”  Not because I have a better way, but because I want to know how that way was decided?  Or why is that way the ONLY way to do a task. 

So I guess what I am getting at people is that sometimes, why is just simply that:  Why?  Do we all get so defensive from that little word?  I admit that I have a time or two.  When I realize I have done it, I try very hard to back up, take a breath and lose the tude.  Why do we do that?  What is in us that hard wires us to freak out? 

On a separate note, I am on the last books within the Tressa Jayne Turner series, and I still am enjoying the reads.  I love that girl.  She is so…so…me.  Any hoo, just sharing in case anyone was on the fence as to whether or not to purchase or find the books.  Very fun reads.