Currently Reading ‘The Help’

Prompt: What was the title of the last book you read?

My Response:

I recently started reading The Help by Kathryin Stockett, and I’m finding it very enjoyable and entertaining. I saw the movie first, but always wanted to read the book because I liked the story and watching movies about writers.

And this is a book/movie of how a writer wanted to write something important. She was more interested in writing than in getting married. Her mother is constantly criticizing her and pushing her to find a husband, while she feels that the more meaningful thing for her to do was to write something that would be read someday by people.

I find the way that Kathryn Stockett writes to be very engrossing, very detailed and realistic. The stories are told with chapters narrated by different characters, so the reader gets a peak into how they live their lives and what they experience. I’ve read chapters so far narrated by the characters: Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. Each of their voices is distinctive, affecting and deeply honest.

Each chapter and point of view is so clearly defined that you feel that you know these characters intimately right away. The story never drags and I find it hard to put the book down.

It’s been challenging to try to read it since I’m also in the midst of moving to a new apartment. But I try to get back to it every night because I just can’t wait to get to the part of the story when Skeeter starts to write the book detailing the experiences of the maids.

I’m only up to chapter six, but I would definitely recommend this book. The writing is crisp, real and humorous and it’s easy to imagine each moment as it is vividly described by the characters. I’m excited to read further on and see how the rest of the book is shaped. It’s already better than the movie.

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November 25, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . books, writing. Leave a comment.

Annie on Broadway

Last weekend I went to see the play, Annie on Broadway. I went with my sister, my little niece who’s only 2, my cousin and my aunt. It was a nice time since I haven’t been to see a Broadway show in forever. We were up in the second row of the balcony but luckily for me I have good eyesight so that didn’t bother me. I was glad we weren’t at the very top because then the height tends to make me dizzy.

The show was very cute and entertaining and the audience was full of little girls. While I was waiting outside the theater for my family to arrive, I overheard a young girl talking to her mom. She said “The girl who plays Annie rides her scooter here!” I thought that was so funny. I forget what it’s like to be a young girl of 9 or 10 years old without a care in the world.

My niece loved the show and sang along to songs like “Tomorrow” and kept pointing out Annie to my sister. It was her very first trip into Manhattan and by the last two songs of the show, she had fallen asleep. I was struggling to remember the movie Annie while watching the show, but barely could.

The storyline was changed a little bit for the play, but I didn’t notice because I could barely remember the original. It’s amazing how time and experience passes and makes you forget things. My sister and I used to watch that movie repeatedly as kids, and now I can only remember bits and pieces.

When the show was over, another little girl behind me called out “I want to be an actor!” I laughed and asked my sister and my aunt if they had also heard. My sister said, “Well, that’s how it starts.” Who knows, that little girl may be a big star one day, having been inspired by watching a young girl like herself play the lead role in a Broadway show.

The actress who played Annie was perfectly cast, her singing voice was soaring and perfect and just right. Those songs seem difficult to sing, but she never once faltered or lost her poise. It was very impressive.

November 15, 2013. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Inside the Actors’ Studio Prompt

Prompt: On the interview show Inside the Actors’ Studio, host James Lipton asks each of his guests the same ten questions. What are your responses?

My Responses:

  • What is your favorite word?
    Clientele (I just like the way it sounds)
  • What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
    Absolute quiet, meditation, writing, stillness and being in nature. Also, music
  • What turns you off?
    Excessive noise, people who can’t sit still, people who need an audience. Having to be social which exhausts me.
  • What is your favorite curse word?
    I don’t think  I have one
  • What sound or noise do you love?
    Shirley Manson’s voice, the sound of rain, the sound of quiet, the sound of leaves rustling in trees when it’s windy, the sound of people writing.
  • What sound or noise do you hate?
    The sound of trains at rush hour, or any other time. The sound of a noisy crowd.
  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
    Becoming a librarian.
  • What profession would you not like to do?
    Receptionist. I worked once as a receptionist for a temp agency and it was pure torture.
  • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
    You’ve lived a life that has please me and you shall now be rewarded. All the suffering was worth it because of this moment.

November 13, 2013. Tags: , . writing. 1 comment.

Meanness and Kindess

The other day, I got a really nasty phone call from my new landlady who was angry because I cleaned out the apartment I’ll be moving into next month. I left the rugs full of cat hair (I’m allergic) at the bottom of the steps and took down the curtains and placed them into bags. That stuff was hers so I couldn’t throw it out. Everything was in a neat pile. I also removed a small table and left it leaning up against a wall in the hallway.

She called and had a total fit, telling me that leaving the table there was a fire hazard and  illegal and warning me not to give her any problems because she has a good reputation with the fire department. This lady is 86 years old, but she can become a monster at the drop of a hat, and now I’m a bit afraid of her.

She was right to tell me that I should have told her about the carpets and table, but she could have done it in a nicer way instead of talking to me as if I’d killed her first-born. It was shocking and off-putting because my parents never spoke to me that way. And neither has anyone else, aside from a boss from hell that I had once.

Anyway, the call ruined my night and I was crying for a while, crying all through my daily meditation. I was praying that she would forgive me and not think of me as a problem or a troublemaker, because I am neither of those things. I like to think I am a good person who is just striving to be positive. I went to sleep crying and spent the next day in a totally dour mood, trying to work through my migraine.

After work, I was walking out on my street to go to a drugstore that is pretty far away. I didn’t realize it was so cold out (because my apartment’s heat is very strong) and so I only went out wearing a light sweater. I was walking down my street with my arms crossed, trying to hug myself with some warmth, and I came across the lady who lives across the hall from me now. She said “Aren’t you cold?” which made me look up. I was still in a bad mood, staring at the ground.

And I said “Yes, I didn’t realize how cold it was.” And the lady offered me the light jacket that she was wearing saying “Do you want this?” It was very sweet and unexpected and I told her “Yes, that’s very sweet, thank you.” She checked the jacket pockets to make sure she had her apartment keys, took the jacket off and gave it to me. She said “I don’t have far to go” since we were just steps from our building. And she smiled. It was so unexpected and so nice that it totally made me forget my anger and sadness over the landlady for a while.

It just goes to show you that just when you think the whole world has gone dark and is out to get you, someone can come along and be like an angel, restoring your hope in humanity.

November 8, 2013. Tags: . writing. 2 comments.

Failure Prompt

Prompt: Have you ever felt as if you were a failure or somehow ‘failed’ someone you care about?

My Response:

My answer would be yes. In a lot of ways I feel like a failure in my life. I was in a position with a boss from hell, earning a good salary but stressed and anxious by the day-to-day reality of the work and couldn’t handle it. In order to stay employed, I transferred departments and took a much lower paying job so that I could afford to still live on my own.

My pay now is close to $10,000 less a year than what I was making before. And at my age I feel that I should have succeeded in a more illustrious position, given that I completed college.

I guess I should have completed a master’s degree as well, but my priorities were not in the right place when I was in college.  In my previous job, the stress was overwhelming, so I am grateful that I was able to remain in the same company with some income coming in, even though I had to take a big cut.

I feel that I failed my parents in a big way. Yes, I live on my own and support myself but I know that they expected me to become so much more and accomplish so much more. My parents came here from Colombia and struggled to raise my sister and I and were always short of money. But we always had everything we needed.

They wanted us to have better lives and become successful after college. And compared to my sister’s career, I feel like a failure. She got her bachelor’s in education, plus a master’s on top of that which she paid for herself.

And I’m struggling every day to do a job that I don’t enjoy at all and doesn’t interest me in the least. It’s hard to be in a job you don’t like because you don’t know what else you can do well. I know I can do more than what I am doing, but it’s scary to put yourself out there to judgement and the possible stress of a higher paying position.

Hopefully if I keep searching, I can eventually find a career field that isn’t too expensive to study, and that gives me peace of mind and a bit more fulfillment, because corporate office jobs are just not doing it anymore.

Thankfully, working from home eliminates the idea of that ‘rat race’ mentality, but I still work for a boss in an office type of setting doing work that I do solely for the pay I get, not because it’s anything I truly chose out of my heart’s desire. And that becomes draining after a while.

November 6, 2013. Tags: , . writing. Leave a comment.

Handwriting vs Typing

I personally prefer handwriting over typing. Typing is faster, but when I type it kind of reminds me of typing on my laptop for work, and that steals some of the joy of writing away. I love to write in a journal by hand. It’s slow and meditative and calming. It feels more like the page is listening, like a communication. If that makes any sense.

I think the physical act of writing by hand is more satisfying. I feel the urge to write often and then it’s a pleasurable experience to pick out the right, smooth flowing pen and the journal that is currently in use.

There’s something powerful about the movement of writing by hand. It feels more permanent to me too. I know that journals can be lost or stolen. But it takes a very long time for ink and paper to fade. Whereas, you write on a blog and it can all just disappear one day.

It happened to me once. I was keeping a journal when I started college and kept it on Microsoft Word, I think it was. One day the file just deleted and I had no idea why or how it happened. It made me very angry. My first impressions of college were lost forever.

Writing by hand is more romantic in my mind. You can write by candle light, sitting at a special writing-table with only your pens, your cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy the thoughts pouring out of your mind.

Typing seems very cold and sterile to me, whereas handwriting is alive and filled with the breath of person writing. It captures a specific moment in time, much like a photograph does.

Writing moments are special because they can never be repeated. And how you experience something today will be very enlightening if you read it years from now, seeing your emotion in the way that you scrawled across the page. I love writing by hand because it reminds me sometimes of being in school and taking notes, a more innocent time. I can leave the typing for this blog and for my work hours.

I used to blog pretty regularly, and I often have a lot of ideas, but life has been getting in the way a bit lately. I’ll be moving soon and the holidays are coming, so this is a very hectic time. I guess a lot of writers both type and write by hand at different times, depending on what mood they’re in.

I tend to write by hand when I’m writing more private thoughts and things I’m not sure if I want to share. I just let the stream of consciousness happen and note it all down, and then decide if anything that comes out is worth typing up here. Do you prefer to type or to handwrite?

November 3, 2013. Tags: , , . writing. 1 comment.

7 things

Prompt: List 7 things you are grateful for today

My Response:

1. I’m grateful that I found a new apartment and will be moving soon.

2. I’m grateful for credit cards which allow me to afford to pay for movers and buy rugs for my new place,

3. I’m grateful that my nephew misses me. He asked my parents where I was this weekend since I wasn’t with them and he’s used to seeing me more now. He’s 7 years old.

4. I’m grateful that I’ll be going to see a Broadway show next weekend with my sister, niece, aunt and cousin.

5. I’m grateful that my Zumba class starts up again next week for 12 weeks.

6. I’m grateful that I meditated today.

7. I’m grateful for the walk in the park I went on today and the surprise of seeing a big group of ducks crossing along this big grassy area of the park by a lake. I took a picture of them on my phone. Sometimes nature is so entertaining.

November 3, 2013. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.