Saturday, June 14, 2014

Book: The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

I've had the first Longmire novel, The Cold Dish, on my wishlist at paperbackswap for months - since I first watched Longmire on A&E's website.

I finally got it in the mail last week, and even though it's been probably more than a year since I read anything in print, I looked forward to reading this book so much that I started it that night. Reading at night by flashlight, reminiscent of my tween and teen reading years, when I had to pretend to go to bed at the appointed hour, and couldn't be caught reading after lights out. What fun.

This book seriously needs a better editor. I mean, really. It's not a poorly edited book, but it's not well-edited. Nope. Maybe subsequent reprints have been updated. I can hope.

Parris Island was misspelled Paris Island. Sight instead of site. Right of passage instead of rite of passage. Deep-seeded instead of deep-seated. Affect instead of effect. Multiple uses of sat instead of set. Grinded. Too many whos and thats making things more complicated, when the idea could have been communicated much more simply without them. A serious overuse of commas, much like I found in the first book I edited for someone who'd used Grammarly for their book edits before finding me. Sheath of papers instead of sheaf. Antiquainted, which is not even a word, instead of antiquated. Freeze de jour. If worse came to worse.

And oh, my gods. The dialogue. Dialogue and actions were mixed into paragraphs, such that I have a hard time sometimes keeping straight who is talking and who is acting, because both are done by different people in the same paragraph. He doesn't much believe in dialogue tags, which might be fine if there are only two people in a book, but there are dozens, and holy cow.

All of this had been making me crazy (er than usual), until I just want to throw the frakkin' book into the wall. Has everyone forgotten the English language, including editors?

Even crazier? I'm enjoying the book despite all those flaws.

Book Walt has a bizarre and twisted sense of humor that makes me laugh. Out loud. I love the relationship Book Vic and Book Walt have with each other - he appreciates her more than the show implies, and Book Vic is much more like a favorite scifi character than Vic is on the show. She's mouthy and independent and brash and competent (not that she's incompetent on the show), and drops the F-bomb a lot, and is more vulnerable and open with Book Walt than she's been on the show (understand that I've never seen the first season, only two and what's aired of three). Book Walt is spiritually-inclined and has a more interesting relationship with Henry Standing Bear - Henry is in many ways Book Walt's conscience. Their relationship is sometimes adversarial and sometimes cooperative, and there are moments that they don't need words to communicate, and underlying everything is a deep and abiding love for each other, in a way that is unusual in American heterosexual men, at least unusual in the sense that they love each other and are never awkward about it.

I'm just enjoying the hell out of this book, and it's been my oasis in the middle of a crisis, editorial mistakes notwithstanding.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

TV: Killer Women

I'll admit that I watched the first episode of Killer Women and let it go. That first ep was interesting, but not so interesting that I wanted to watch more right then. The most compelling relationship in that episode was the brother/sister relationship of Molly and Billy (Helfer and Trucco), and that includes the affair between Molly and Dan (Marc Blucas).

Figured since I was at it, and writing isn't happening, I'd go ahead and finish Killer Women. Luckily, HuluPlus is having a free trial week, so I could watch the ones that aren't on the ABC site any more.

Seeing all the episodes in a row (warning - episodes six and seven are reversed on Hulu - Demons should come before Daughter of the Alamo) makes the show much more compelling. Trucco and Helfer resonated exceptionally well as brother and sister, and the people cast to play his wife and children seemed authentically Latina/Tejana. 

The Parker family roots go deep into Texas history, and into local Indian history (note: they used the term Indian in the show, not Native American), and Molly in particular was driven by her history. I loved Marc Blucas in Buffy, though I didn't love Riley's relationship with Buffy, and I'm always happy to see him in something else. Here, he was rugged and believable as a love interest (despite the semi lack of chemistry with Helfer), and he was growing on me as DEA Agent Dan.

There were little things being woven in that could have reverberated through the rest of the season had the show not been cancelled. Perhaps most interesting was the myriad of ways they found for women to be the perpetrators of the crimes. I didn't get the second meaning of the show's title until three episodes in.

Lots of little things left open to interpretation, but since the first season was so short, the show also gets to go out on a high note - going out while it was getting better, not after it had jumped the shark.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Change is...change

Sometimes bad things happen for no reason. Sometimes, though...

Seven years ago, I had a decent job and a great boss, and then my life fell apart in a pretty spectacular way. I made a mistake, a big one (not job-related), and I've spent the last seven years paying for it. I'm not quite finished yet, legally speaking.

And here's the thing: I can't regret what I did. It served a greater purpose. My life was drifting along. I knew that my work was something I did because I was good at it, not because I enjoyed it. I longed for the satisfaction of doing work I loved, but didn't know what that might be. I wanted my life to mean something, to me and to the people with whom I might come into contact.

I had glimpses of this better life from time to time, and I wanted what I saw, but I was cozy, unwilling to step outside the safety of my comfort zone for long. What I was doing kept a roof over my kid's head, and food on the table, and responsible adults sometimes do work they don't like in order to fulfill their obligations. That's what I'd been taught as a kid, what I'd always believed. The universe knew that in order for me to find that extra something I was looking for, I needed to be shoved forcibly out of my cocoon.

The change has been painful and humiliating and the personal shame of making that choice has estranged me from both family and friends. My kid stuck by me. She was adult enough to tell me that she didn't like what I did, but understood why I did it. I withdrew and isolated myself from people I cared about out of the fear that if they knew what I'd done, they wouldn't like me anymore. Some of them have surprised me.  I've had friends who learn the whole story, from me or from someone else, and still welcome me into their lives and their homes. I'm grateful for those people, people who see me as a person who made a mistake, rather than a person who is that mistake.

Was it a bad thing I did? Sure. Did anybody besides me and my daughter get hurt? For the most part, that answer's no.

Did it need to happen?

I believe it did. The emotional, spiritual, and financial struggles of the past seven years have been critical to my growth as a human being.

My life is different now. I've learned and unlearned things about myself. I've forgiven myself for ancient transgressions that weren't even mine to begin with. I've fallen in like with new parts of myself, acquired and refined new skills, and have work I love to do. It's not enough work yet, but it's something that had I the means, I would happily do without pay. I do in fact do it regularly for nothing but the sheer joy of it.

Good things are happening now, small things here and there. It started slowly and is gaining momentum. I've been taking the shattered puzzle pieces of a boring, uninspired life and putting them back together into a new picture, somebody who can do what I've always wanted to do - help people. In as many ways as possible.