Five Things I Am Into Right Now, January 2015

This is Lightning. She only has bad daysSo I’m going through a thing with a video game.

Do you remember this post? (The reference is only a few paragraphs, it won’t take you long.) There I am praising Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

You can feel the love.

It could be argued that it was the honeymoon stage of my relationship with the game.

See, I’ve had a long relationship with Lightning and her role-playing world, playing both of the installments before starting on the third and final part (I’m sure it could almost equal entire months if the hours were embarrassingly added together). And, as you can guess from the post then, everything was going swimmingly in our relationship. We laughed at the same jokes, enjoyed discussing our past history…. Then this damn monster called Grendel appeared in a desert world and ruined everything for us.

Ruined, ruined, ruined!

Now, I love the literary reference in the monster’s name, so the creators get points for that, but that monster destroyed my infatuation with the game and world and Lightning and sent me away. (Actually, over to Gotham City and a Batman game.) It’s not often I leave a game unfinished, especially a Final Fantasy game, so it was rough. I like to think it felt that way to Lightning too.

So here I am, it’s a new year, and I am looking for new beginnings, new possibilities. And since Lightning and I have such a long past I decided to give it another shot….

Of course, this time I am wisely playing on easy.

I have no video game shame.

Here is my first list for 2015, and speaking of video games…


FitbitI am the video game.

Being a writer is a stationary life, spent in front of a notepad or a computer screen (sometimes I dream of the clatter of a typewriter), and you have to make the time to move, act like a normal person. It doesn’t happen naturally, it has to be planned. It’s honestly one of the reasons when you see an author in a picture or interviewed we rarely look like models (I’m sorry George R.R. Martin but it is true).

Anyway, I’m a sucker for new electronic health toys and I’ve recently jumped into the world of Fitbit. Yup, I’m wearing the electronic wrist band, and checking my results on my phone app every few hours. It’s odd how much fun it is! Has any human before me ever got such pleasure on reaching their goal for drinking water in a day or for walking?

One of the things great about it is that it feels like it centers me, helps me focus on what I need to do. This is more than just doing a series of exercises, but a lifestyle change in a way.

We’ll see if I am still wearing this six months from now, but for the time being I am loving this and how positive it makes me feel about me.


BoyhoodWould this film be as special, as wonderful, if it wasn’t filmed over 12 years with the same kids?

Honestly, I don’t know. (And since everyone is talking about this film, I don’t feel like I need to spend a few paragraphs on the plot. Let me continue with my rant.) The script has some great moments (like the end speech around moments), but most of the fun is seeing the shift from scene to scene and watching Mason (and Stephanie) age before our eyes. Each transition feels almost beautiful, magical.

Life seems to be the true star of the film.

Okay, now back to the script. This is not to diminish the greatness of this film, because it is great and should be seen by everyone, I’m just not certain how well it would stand without the wonderful (and brilliantly executed) gimmick of it.

Some of the characters are really solid like the parents with great character development, it just doesn’t feel altogether true with all of them.

This is my snobby MFA in filmwriting hat from USC. I’m sorry, I have to put it on from time to time (remind myself why I am paying back these massive student loans). I’m just not sure it is a film that will stand over multiple viewings.

Yes, I think Boyhood, while great, will age… just like the kids.

The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman

The SandmanOne of the few setbacks in being a book reviewer is that it limits how many other things I can check out. I have to make sacrifices, promising myself that I will get around to reading that one thing once I get through a few assigned books first (and many times works I wasn’t exactly excited to check out in the first place).

Ever since reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane (you can read/listen to my review of it here), I’ve been dying to check out what many consider Neil Gaiman’s greatest achievement, the comic book series The Sandman.

I’m two volumes into the series and am loving it. It really feels unique, not remembering before someone daring to tell the story of a god (or an immortal might be a better way to describe him). He is in many ways like a classic god, with his assigned task (dreams and the dream world), but after being captured and held hostage for decades he returns to his world finding everything in turmoil.

That’s the exciting bit about this to me- it feels new, original.

Plus, Death is a really interesting character.

I’m not sure how this will be made into a movie someday (for good or bad it is supposedly happening), but as a story this is just wonderful and I’m excited to see what happens next.

(Oh, and did I mention that Neil Gaiman once retweeted my review of his book? To think Neil might have heard my voice or read my review? AWESOME.)

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper

etta-and-otto-and-russell-and-james-9781476755670_lgI love being surprised by a book. It’s almost like a breath of fresh after being inside for too long.

I didn’t ask for this book to review, it just arrived in the mail. A nice little surprise by Simon & Schuster (or maybe it is them saying they are saying sorry for sending me the awful The Rosie Effect). And since I knew nothing about this book going in and it was not released yet, it all felt so special. Like I was handed a precious secret and it was my task to listen, smile and keep it in until my review airs (probably in February).

But the fact is, this secret is too good to keep.

This book is amazing, beautiful, wonderful, and my review is going to be three minutes of me gushing over this work. Emma Hooper is a new creative artist to reckon with.

Otto awakes one day to find his wife Etta gone, leaving only a note saying she is off to see the ocean. That is how the book begins, following Etta’s journey and Otto’s days at their home, awaiting her return. But the book is so, so much more, with hints of magical realism.

This book will be out later in January. Find it, order it, give it to a friend.

…And then come back to Current State on WKAR in February and listen to my review.

What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World by The Decemberists 

The-Decemberists-What-A-Terrible-World-What-A-Beautiful-WorldThe Decemberists almost lost me.

Oh, I have all of their CDs, loving many of them (and the vocabulary in Colin Melroy’s lyrcs always makes me smile). Then The Hazards of Love came out and everything went to hell.

For those that don’t know, The Hazards of Love was The Decemberists rock opera and it is… well… it is a nonsensical mess (and this from a guy who wrote a master’s thesis on Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, let me add). Yes, “The Rake’s Song” rocks, but really how many times can you enjoy a song about killing children.

The Decemberists came back after that with the CD The King is Dead, but it felt bland. Almost like they were going through the motions of being The Decemberists. (Did they feel spent as we did after Hazards?)

Okay, now it is four years later and truthfully, I almost didn’t even consider buying their new CD, What A Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. Then I heard “The Lake Song” and I was smitten. iTunes has been streaming the music from this CD free, and I can’t stop listening to it, reminding me again why I am a fan.

So get out of the cold, check out some of the stuff I wrote about here… and keep track of your steps!

A Jane Austen DaydreamIf you liked reading this post, why not check out one of my books? I’ve just had a book published collecting some of my most popular posts. It is entitled Me Stuff

If fiction is more your thing, I’ve had four novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen DaydreamMaximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous DareMy Problem With Doors and Megan

You can find all of these books via my author page 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

3 thoughts on “Five Things I Am Into Right Now, January 2015

  1. at the local library they got in the Sandman: Omnibus vol 1 and 2…so I got to read it full-immersion! Incredible couple of days…

  2. Pingback: Why is descriptive writing so hard? | Write on the World

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