Five Things I Am Into Right Now, October 2013

HalloweenEvery year around this time I always wish I had musical talent. Why? Because Halloween is a surefire money opportunity for a creative songwriter.

See, across this country, from kids to adults, people have Halloween parties, but there is no real Halloween music to play. Oh, there is “Thriller” by Michael Jackson and the awful “Monster Mash,” but what is there after that? Dance remixes of famous horror movie themes?… That’s not good enough!

And that is when an enterprising music genius steps in.

You make a CD that is family friendly, has some fun danceable tracks (maybe comes with its own dance move), add enough references to Halloween memories to stir a heartfelt response (think any classic Christmas song, most are built around memories) and you will be cashing a big check once a year for decades to come.

Sadly, I don’t have music talent and the extent of my songwriting skills only brings up corny titles like “I Want My Mummy” and “Do the Frankenstein Shuffle.” That is just embarrassing. It is even more embarrassing because I am literary enough to know Frankenstein is the doctor not the monster.

Sigh.

Here are the five things I am into this month…

Downton Abbey, Season Four

Downton Abbey_Season 4Okay Downton Abbey fans, don’t worry. I’m going to do this without spoiling the new season for anyone.  There is something else I want to talk about and it might be shocking.  See, I’m halfway through the fourth season and I’m starting to get a theory that might blow some of your minds; in the least make you angry.

Are you ready for this?

What if Bates really did kill his wife. Everyone assumes he is innocent because Anna and everyone else at the Abbey says he was. But we never saw his wife commit suicide and most of Anna’s arguments were based around her knowing in her heart he was innocent. She believed in him. It’s all kind of shaky when you step back to think about how little evidence there was one way or the other.

Also, Julian Fellowes before Downton Abbey wrote Gosford Park which was about a murder that was done by a servant and covered up… Are you starting to put the pieces together too? Seeing the picture the puzzle makes? What if Fellowes just pulled the biggest shocker/twists in television and we haven’t figured it out yet?

I won’t ruin any of the fourth season (it is a little slow in parts and has one highly disturbing moment), but it has made me think back to the last few years and  Bates.

Maybe… Maybe…

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The CircleI love being the book reviewer for WKAR.

Yes, I’ve had to work my way through teenage vampires and cliché mysteries, but now and then I get a wonderful surprise, something that makes it all worthwhile. The wonder of Neil Gaimon’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, the charming Brett in The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman… And now the controversial The Circle by Dave Eggers. (You can learn about my reviews here.)

I will always give an author/book a fair shake no matter what I thought of their previous undertaking (definitely true with A Dance With Dragons since A Feast For Crows was a disaster… sorry George R.R. Martin, but true). I can’t say too much about The Circle since I will be reviewing it on WKAR in the near future, but this is a book that would make Kurt Vonnegut and George Orwell happy.

Correction- Vonnegut, Orwell, and me. Just a lot of fun, disturbing and very now. Get it!

How I Met Your Mother, The Ninth Season

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHERSometimes I am wrong. It happens, we are all human. The trick is admitting when you are incorrect… Of course, it could be noted that I wasn’t incorrect at the time. Now it is a different story… Let me backtrack and explain this better.

A few years ago, I wrote this post dismissing How I Met Your Mother and the writing on it. At that time, the last few seasons of the show felt tired and worn out with plots that felt stretched to the point of almost being a parody of what the show once was.

Yet, I kept watching the show. Why? Because there is nothing on  Mondays (and if I have to watch another Antique Roadshow, I’ll scream). It is in many ways a good Monday night show because it is non-threatening, cozy, and just helps you take that deep breath at the start of a week. But I never cared as much as I did in the beginning and our DVR from time to time would collect episodes… until this year.

A lot of why this season works is that the show has almost reinvented itself. Forcing the characters into a new location, with time constraints. The writers seem inspired by this new challenge and the cast seems to be into it too. If they can keep this up this could turn into their best season.

So technically I wasn’t wrong in my previous post, it is just corrected now? There, now we all feel better and I am still always right.

Paul McCartney’s New

NewIf I’m lucky to reach 71, no matter what I have done or successes I may have found with my books, I could never be as cool as Paul McCartney at that age.

71 and his new CD (New) is one of the best of the year. Not only that, he had reunited the remaining members of Nirvana for a few different concerts! I mean, have you heard the song “Cut Me Some Slack?” It sounds like a freaking Nirvana song. Paul McCartney made a Nirvana song!

Okay, sadly, “Cut Me Some Slack” ended up on a soundtrack and not on this CD (You can still find it on iTunes), but there is a lot on this album to like. A whole heck of a lot, definitely showcasing an artist who continues to grow (“New,” Queenie Eye,” and “Everybody Out There” jump to my mind quickly).

Seriously, he is 71 years old.

EH350- Nonfiction Writing

Aquinas CollegeRight now in Grand Rapids, MI there is a class of students at Aquinas College assigned to follow and read my blog.

I kid you not!

They read, they comment. I’ve already debated fan fiction with one and discussed cheetahs with another!

In a few weeks I’ll be going in to speak to them about blogging and the like. I can’t wait. It should be a lot of fun. Or they might make me cry. Honestly, it could go either way. Whatever the case this is very flattering for me and I hope they are enjoying the experience.

Go Saints!

A Jane Austen DaydreamIf you liked reading this post, why not check out one of my books? I’ve had four novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen Daydream,  Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous DareMy Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here, or as an eBook on Google eBooks here.  Thanks for reading!

Need an editor? Dream of finishing that book but need some help? Learn about my editing services by visiting this page on my site. Or you can contact Rebecca T. Dickson and request to work with me by clicking the image below.

Rebecca T. Dickson, Editor

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15 responses

    • Wouldn’t that be a great twist. After two years of thinking he is innocent and, wham!, he says he did it. And honestly, he did say something like that already in a threat to his cellmate in jail- maybe he was telling the truth then??? The mind reels….

  1. I am glad you enjoy my class following you! In reality, I think it is really helping me far more than I anticipated. I even started my own blog that I am trying to keep roughly every day.

    Just a heads up, we will all probably be asking questions about writing and publishing that have no actual answers or too many answers to fathom. Though, if Elena Passarello survived us, I am sure you can, too.

  2. Lately I’ve been playing the theme to Halloween over and over again in my head and I have never seen the film. This had me thinking about all the things people say, and or do, that are references to things they do not know about. Tonight I am actually going to see this classic, I am rather excited to see the origins of such a famous franchise and listen to the music that is chilling to this day.

  3. Thank you for not giving anything away on Downton Abbey! I’ll have to send this blog post to my sisters and mom who all watch the show as well and discuss little details like that. The other day we were discussing how Mr. Bates & Anna have a house, so technically Mr. Bates is *Master Bates,* no? Say that three times fast. Yeahhhh.
    I think I should also apologize, for I am in the class at Aquinas and i’m waiting for the last day to comment. So, sorry for the clog in your email (i’m sure I’m not the only one doing this).
    If you’re looking for another good series to get into on Netflix, try Orange Is The New Black. I have roughly seven favorite characters, which is unusual for a TV show. Usually the writers only really want you to focus in on a few main people, but you cannot help but love so many different inmates. Check it out sometime.
    Karen

    • I’ve been debating whether to try Orange is the New Black or not for quite some time. I was really disappointed by the writer after the first two seasons of Weeds. It just felt so exhausting after a certain point. Maybe I will check it out sometime.

      Oh… poor Bates…

      Cheers.

  4. Unfortunately, there are only two thing I relate to on this list; one being part of the EH350 class, the second being How I Met Your Mother. Unlike you however, I didn’t even give it a chance when it first came out. I took one look at the title, rolled my eyes and vowed I would want nothing to do with the show. Fortunately for me, my housemate at the moment loves the show, so one day during a rigorous routine of procrastinating my homework my housemate flips HIMYM on Netflix and settles in. I didn’t pay much attention at first, but like all truly wonderful things, I eventually got pulled in and now I’m hooked. I’m only the fourth season in (though I’ve seen bits of the eighth season because of my housemate), and I can’t wait until I’m completely caught up to jump into season 9. It just goes to show how great being wrong about something can be 🙂

    • How I Met Your Mother, from season 5 through 8, really lags. Now and then there will be something good but there are long stretches of drab. And you can almost hear the writers spinning their wheels, struggling to keep the plot going. This year is all structured differently.

      Usually, I am not wrong that often. LOL.

  5. The best part of this post, GO SAINTS!!!
    Can’t wait for your visit to AQ to hear all about your process as you blog and how to translate your daily thoughts.

  6. Reading this blog is inspiring. It gives me faith that even if nothing super over the top exciting is going on, everyday life can still create great writing. Also reading your blog has made me think of how much tv, even more then movies, has inspired the literary tradition. I always felt guilty that I’d rather watch tv then read a book, but as long as the tv show has decent writers its the same. These people still have to sit Down and put words to paper. They have to come up with creative new ideas every week and pressure is on because if their writing is bad the show crashes and viewers across America are angry. I guess my point are even if nobody is reading what they actually write( instead we watch it on tv) they are still writers keeping the literary tradition alive through the 21st century as printed text goes to the wayside. As an aspiring writer myself these people are my heros.

    • I’m confused, do you mean TV writers are your heroes? Or people still writing books?

      Good TV writing can be an artform if done right; if not, it is like any other 9-5 gig. You get an assignment and you write it. I studied TV writing at USC and there is a science to it, but it is a business first. Always a business.

      Thanks for writing.

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