Truthful Tuesday: Chronological vs Non-Chronological

Truthful Tuesday

PCGuyIV’s Truthful Tuesday this week prefaces , then asks the following question:

In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine a one-and-done story line, as even books and movies that started off as one-off stories have turned into multi-part franchises, and film series we thought were done have gotten fresh material added. Star Wars comes to mind specifically. The first movie was presented almost as a stand-alone with the thought that sequels might happen, but no guarantee. After the first three movies were done, that seemed to be all. Then the prequels, for better or worse, happened, and now there are three more sequels, two ancillary movies, and related TV shows. With all that said, this week’s question is all about sequels, prequels, and tangents.

Regardless of the media, when it comes to stories, do you prefer those that are perfectly sequential in their writing, such as the seven original Harry Potter books or Frank Herbert’s Dune series, or do you find stories that skip around in the timeline, such as the nine central Star Wars films to be more entertaining?

I prefer sequential, but flashbacks or time changes are OK when they are done well, in literature. In movies, these time switches are more confusing. In this I’m referring to time switches within one book or movie.

When movies or books are in a series I enjoy, then I anticipate any of those that come after. But sometimes, it just seems like a movie studio’s way of capitalizing on a successful film, especially when the sequels or prequels are weak. The ones that come after the original usually are not as good and it’s as if the screenwriters can’t come up with anything new. But if the sequels/prequels enhance or add to the story being told, then I’m all for it. I loved all the Harry Potter movies and thought they were pretty faithful to the books. I also liked the original Star Wars trilogy, but then lost interest with the prequels,, although they weren’t bad. I guess I prefer sequential, or chronological in time.

With books, I prefer sequential – most of the time, authors write sequels that move the characters forward in time, even if each book can stand alone. I’m thinking of certain mystery series, such as Tony Hillerman’s novels about Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, cops on the Navajo Reservation. They were more believable that way. If they were static in time, I don’t think I’d like them as much, even though I didn’t read them in strictly chronological order. There are many classics, too, that I got interested in based on the first book and can look forward to reading the sequels – such as Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, as well as Outlander (although this last series got tedious after awhile, and the books kept getting longer. I had trouble keeping track of all the characters.). As a kid, I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” books, which I read in order. I enjoyed accompanying the lives of Laura and her family, and finding out how the characters changed over time and the experiences they had. I have never read a “prequel” in a series of books, but I don’t think I’d like it as much.

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Here are the first 8 books in the Outlander series. I have read them all, over a period of 20 years, but I had trouble getting through the last few. Too many characters to keep track of, like when a character is introduced in a scene in one book and then pops up in another book later on. My memory can’t keep track of all these people! Also, I got tired of Gabaldon’s writing style, so I tended to read the really long later books in spurts – when I got annoyed with either the writing style or the myriad of characters, I’d put it aside and read something else for awhile…which may account for why I can’t remember all the characters and their significance to the story line. (Sigh!)

Looking up images for the Outlander series, I’ve learned there is a NINTH book which came out this year! Should I read it? I probably will, eventually. (I hope the title means the series will come to an end.)

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SYW: A Depressed Dreamer Makes Someone Cry

Here are Melanie’s Share Your World Questions this week and my responses.

QUESTIONS

Would you rather be a super nice person and be depressed all your life, or be happy and a total *sshole?  (Credit goes to Cyranny for this question, aired on one of her “Cyranny’s Quickies” posts.)
I would like to rebel as some respondents have, and try to recombine these choices. But, having a loved one who suffers from depression and because I’m reading a book about the subject in order to understand it better (the cover of that book appears below), I do not see “depression” and “being nice” as a dichotomy. Yup, here I go, taking this questions perhaps WAY too seriously! But that’s what happens when I’m involved in something that is really a very complex question. So please forgive me for overthinking this seemingly binary choice!

I definitely would not want to be an a-hole in any condition and I doubt it would make me happy. Although I suppose there are plenty of happy people who are oblivious to the fact that they are cruel jerks – or they just don’t care. It wouldn’t be me, though. I have too strong a moral compass and always feel guilty when I treat someone badly.

That said, it is perfectly logical to be both nice and depressed. For one thing, very few people are depressed “all the time.” Depression comes and goes. When someone is in a deep depression, they often isolate themselves, cut themselves off from friends and family. People close to them see the warning signs and then may try to intervene.

When someone suffering from depression is NOT depressed, however, he or she seems like a completely different person! When they are not depressed, people who suffer from this mental illness are often quite nice people. Why, you may ask? It may seem like a contradiction, but actually it isn’t. Because there is such a contrast between the depressed and normal states, these people tend to appreciate life and other people more when they are feeling ‘normal’. They feel things acutely and tend to be very sensitive. They are often empathetic (that is, when they are not depressed). They know what it is like to suffer greatly, and know that during their normal state, they should enjoy life and accomplish as much as they can, because they also know that the darkness and isolation – the abyss – will return. The best time for them to seek help with their mental illness is when they are feeling good, because during depression, they can hardly get out of bed, much less do something constructive. When they are depressed and thus miss an event they looked forward to attending, they feel really bad about that, and know that most people at the event probably didn’t expect them to attend, but would have been pleasantly surprised if they had showed up. They live with a lot of guilt, but they usually take that out on themselves, not on other people. (It’s true that the suicide rates are much higher among depressives than non-depressives.) They do invariably hurt people, but usually unintentionally, so you can’t say they are fundamentally a-holes.

So if I had to choose, I would rather be nice and depressed. First of all, the depression doesn’t last forever, and nowadays there is plenty of help for depression, in the form of medications and therapy. New drugs are constantly being put on the market that improve on earlier ones, because medical understanding of depression constantly improves. If one medication doesn’t work, there are others, and different combinations, to try.

Believe me, I don’t desire to be depressed! I wouldn’t wish that on anybody! But as you have posed an either/or choice, this is my reasoning for choosing depression and being nice.

Have you ever made someone cry?
Of course – even though I’m nice and not an a-hole, I am not perfect! I’m sure I’ve made my son cry, but I can’t remember the last time that was.

Are you a dreamer or a go-getter?
I’m a dreamer and unfortunately, not a go-getter. It would be better to act on my dreams, and to some extent I have, but I am not one of those assertive, in-your-face types.

If you were in a band, what instrument would you play?
Probably the piano, because it’s the only instrument I have ever learned to play. But instruments don’t have to be external – I consider my voice an instrument, and so I would be the singer. I sing much better than I play the piano anyway.


GRATITUDE SECTION

Do you feel gratitude is necessary? 
Yes, or rather I feel it SHOULD be necessary. Everyone should feel gratitude about the good things in life, or the people who have touched them. It is necessary for ME, anyway, to feel gratitude. I try to stop and count my blessings or appreciate my life in some way every day.

I greatly appreciate the following song and am grateful that John Lennon gave us his talents until his tragic death in 1980.

Truthful Tuesday: More on Reading Preferences

Truthful Tuesday continues this week on the subject of books and reading.

  1. Are there any books that you can read over and over again, and never seem to tire of?
    Yes, but not too many times and usually there is a space of several years between readings. I have read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice three or four times, and some of her other novels twice. Like I said, I have to be in the right frame of mind, so it doesn’t happen a lot. There are just so many books and so little time!!
  2. Have any of your favorite authors written any books that you just didn’t care for?
    Of course. No author writes a masterpiece every time, and of course, what constitutes a masterpiece is a matter of opinion usually. One of my favorite authors is Barbara Kingsolver, and I will usually buy and/or read anything she writes that I come across, but occasionally it doesn’t interest me much. Not all of Jane Austen’s novels are great, but the worst is the one she didn’t finish, and the version I have, the author who finished it for her wrote a very dull tale. Sometimes an author will write a trilogy or a series of books about the same topic, or set in the same place or with the same characters, but then I decide to read something else he/she has written, and don’t care for it. This happens especially with mystery writers who then write something else. I’m sure there are other examples but I can’t think of them right now.
  3. When it comes books, do you prefer reading fiction or non-fiction? The genre is unimportant.
    I like both fiction and non-fiction. I actually got on a non-fiction jag for awhile, but non-fiction books often take more time to read so fiction is easier. But you know what they say: Truth can be stranger than fiction!

    Also I am in some book groups so I read whatever the book selected is, whether fiction or non-fiction. I like book groups because I get out of my comfort zone and read something different, and often it is wonderful!

    My favorite genre is historical fiction, where I can learn about a time and place and at the same time enjoy the story. The only problem is knowing which parts are true and which are not. But usually I don’t care too much.

Truthful Tuesday: Reading

Frank has some great questions this week for Truthful Tuesday about one of my favorite subjects: books and reading!!

The Questions

  1. Do you consider yourself an avid reader?
    Not “avid” but enthusiastic, for sure! (Avid is a woman in one of my book groups who checks out ten books a week and finishes them all! I actually have a life outside reading!) I grew up being encouraged to read, and I read a lot of the books kids, particularly girls, read in those days. But I wasn’t a great reader because it took me a long time to read most books. I avoided classes and majors that required a lot of reading, to my detriment. I now know why: I have ADHD, and get distracted, so if I’m not totally engaged, I will forget what I’ve read by the time I get to the end of a page or am thinking about something else and not what is on the page.

    When I was in my early 30s, I resolved to become a better reader, and set a goal for myself of 12 books per year – doable, only one per month, but more than I had been reading. One of the authors that inspired me to read more was Jane Austen, and I read all of her books as well as some “spin-offs” and “fan fiction.” My resolve to read 12 books a year put me on track to read more and regularly. Especially after I retired, I’ve been reading more and more. Now I have an account on Goodreads, which has a reading challenge every year. I set my own goal (which is now 40 books a year) and am conscientious about achieving it! I’m also in two book groups, so I read different types of books.
  2. What was the last book you read all the way through, and how long did it take you?
    Unmarriageable, by Soniah Kamal, picked by a book group I participate in. This book is Pride & Prejudice updated to Pakistan in 2000-2001. Being a Jane Austen fan, I found the story highly entertaining. It took me 4-5 days to read it. If I really love a book, I will spend hours reading, neglecting my blog for days!
  3. Are there any books that, try as you might, you just haven’t been able to bully your way through?
    I’ve been trying to get through a book of speeches by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I read a page or two, then go back to another book I’m reading (I often read more than one book at a time) that I enjoy more. I’ve been on page 204 for weeks. I want to finish it, but I don’t know when and if I will.

Monday Peeve

Paula at Light Motifs II has a weekly forum for people to let off steam!! It’s the Monday Peeve!

monday peeve kitty cat

Paula was talking about unreliable narrators in novels and it made me think about the book I just finished, which I really liked, called Homelands by Alfredo Corchado. The book is non-fiction, a memoir about binationality and immigration. Being an immigrant from Mexico, like three other friends, pulls him in different directions. Is he American or Mexican? Anyway, this isn’t a book review so I will get to the point!

He often injects conversations into the narrative. Although he starts a new paragraph, he DOESN’T USE QUOTATION MARKS! So it gets confusing when you are not quite sure if the person is speaking or not. He doesn’t make a distinction, except to start a new paragraph. Further confusing the issue, he will refer to the person who’s speaking only as he or she, and because he often goes on tangents, it’s not clear who “he” or “she” is. The use of pronouns isn’t enough when you are reading a tangent about something that happened in the past, with no real break between that and the “present-day” narrative.

Relatively minor, but it’s only a peeve after all! I will give my rating on Goodreads as I do with all my books, but he loses a star for this lack of quotation marks and the resulting confusion!

I do recommend the book, however, for readers who want to know what it’s like to be an immigrant, especially from Mexico, from the inside – that is, the immigrant him/herself, not a narrative of someone looking at it from the outside.

CFFC: Homophones & Homographs

English is such a crazy language! I’m glad I don’t have to learn it as a foreigner! We have many words with more than one pronunciation (homographs), and many words that sound alike but are spelled differently (homophones). Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week plays on the theme of red: a pair of homophones RED – READ; a pair of homographs READ (present tense) and READ (past tense); and another homophone pairing: READ and REED. So here are my REDS, READS and REEDS.

RED: (adjective) a bright primary color

Partial view of a park from a large sculpture with a red hole in the middle
An inviting little table at an Airbnb apartment near Paris
Our neighbor showed off his new toy: a snazzy, shiny, red sporty car!
An intelligent take off of MAGA (and red like MAGA hats!). I saw this sticker sign in Chicago.

READ: (verb) past tense of read: I read an entire book yesterday. But I have not read any of the books in the two photos below, which are written in other languages.

I wonder who has read these sacred Islamic books?
I wonder how many ancient Egyptians read The Book of the Dead in hieroglyphics?

READ: (verb) present tense. I like to read every day.

What book do I read in this photo? I don’t remember!
Sometimes I read magazines.
No one can read this book (except the pages I’m sitting on!) – it is a stone monument to the Russian author Pushkin, in St. Petersburg.

REED: (noun) any of several species of large aquatic grasses, such as those pictured below.

FPQ: Best and Worst of Book-to-Film

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is: What movie adaptation of a book you have read before you saw the movie has done the best job when it comes to casting the actor (or actors) in the movie to match your image you had of that character (or those characters) in the book. Conversely, what movie adaptation has done the worst job of matching the casting of the characters to those you envisioned in your head.

I thought it would be impossible for me to answer this question, because I really don’t see many movies these days. But then I remembered the Harry Potter series.

I read the first book long before the movie came out, but as I watched it, I remember thinking that the casting and set design were perfect – as if Hogwarts jumped out of my brain the way I had envisioned it and projected that way on the screen. I think overall I enjoyed all the Harry Potter movies more than the books, but the books were good, too. And the best adaptations (at least the ones I thought about) were the first four books.

Rupert Grint with his fiery red hair and zany expression was a perfect Ron Weasley. And Alan Rickman as Snape – nobody could have done that role better, with his deep voice and cynic tone. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry was perfect – his dark hair with bangs hanging over his scar, his round glasses – the glasses made him seem vulnerable and I think the author, J.K. Rowling, intended it that way. She was involved in the making of the films, so that may be the reason why the adaptations – characters, sets, everything – were so good. The photo below is how they looked in the first movie – so British and a look of mischief on Ron’s and Harry’s faces!

Now for the worst – it was easy to come up with several candidates for worst casting, but the most glaring difference, in my opinion, between book and film was A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson. The director of the movie, Ken Kwapis, cut a lot of the plot because it didn’t make sense with the actors chosen for the two leads – aging Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. While these guys are both fine actors, and perhaps their star status was what the casting director was thinking of, the story was ruined by the fact that these actors were TOO OLD! In the book, the two guys hiking the Appalachian Trail were middle aged, and one of them was quite physically fit. Some of the things that happened in the story (the book) were just not plausible for two old guys to do. As a result, the movie was nearly unrecognizable as the same story as the book. In fact, I read the book and saw the movie to participate in a Book-to-Film group at by our public library. While I was in this group, I saw several very good matches of book to film, but this was not one of them. The other people in the group had similar feelings.

Read the book A Walk in the Woods. Don’t watch the movie. Here’s a photo of the book cover:

LAPC: The Objects of My Every Day

P.A. Moed is the host for this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge: Everyday Objects.

I bought this little metal sculpture of a javelina at a street fair in Tucson, Arizona. Its home is in front of my fireplace. One of my cat’s toys is under her chin right now. (My cat’s favorite toys are balls that she rolls around the house until they get stuck somewhere.)
This is one of my ‘Covid-19 pandemic’ pictures. Our food is delivered to our door every day and often includes either bananas or oranges.
Another ‘Covid-19 pandemic’ picture – we had accumulated several masks and a pair of plastic gloves that had been sitting around forever, so I found a little basket to put the masks in. Now we always know where to find a clean mask!
I originally took this photo for another photo challenge – maybe favorite snacks?
Another pandemic picture from early in the lockdown – our TV set, mounted on the wall, tuned to our community’s closed caption channel which that day was broadcasting a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
An everyday object – a pencil – in an unusual place: stuck in a display of evergreens.

Here’s a gallery of some things I’ve photographed in the past.

FDDA 22: I Write Because I Must

Faandango’s Dog Days of August 22 prompt is: Why writing matters to you.

Why do I write? I always have and probably always will. I blog, I write a journal (although far from daily), I write poems, essays, and autobiographical pieces mostly.

When I hear something about Trump that is particularly egregious, I will expound on the topic in order to get out my feelings and frustrations. These rants are part of my journaling, but sometimes I can develop them into decent essays to use for my “public” writing – either my blog or in my writing group. I have even written letters to the editor to be printed in our local newspaper.

When I am pondering a big or serious problem, I write to organize my thoughts. Sometimes this helps me come up with a solution.

I write in order to remember things (and almost forgot that I intended to write “I write in order to remember things” just now!). I have a poor memory and writing things down makes meaning for me, fixes the information in my mind. Sometimes people will see me taking notes at a lecture and ask me why I do it – I do it to remember it! But not only that, I also write to keep me from getting distracted.

In other words, I write to focus my thoughts.

Writing has always come easily to me and I love to do it. I’ve been writing stories and narratives since I was a kid. Once I learned to write and spell, I began writing coherently (but even before that, I wrote random letters because I liked it). I usually illustrated what I wrote, because I also like to draw. I dreamed of being a famous author one day. That never happened, but it’s okay – it doesn’t matter anymore. Although I am working on a book about my ancestors, I have put it aside after writing six chapters but vow I will get back to it.

Writing is something I’m good at. I write because I must.

I love words and language and I’m a stickler for grammar and spelling!!

Reading is important too – reading helps a writer write better. I do a lot of reading now, but I didn’t when I was younger, because I got distracted easily. Certain writing styles inspire me and if I read a lot of books by the same author, I start imitating their style by injecting it into my writing.

Nowadays, I seldom write longhand – typing is infinitely easier and since word processing was invented, it’s so much easier to edit. If I don’t have access to a computer, then I will write longhand – such as when we are on an overseas trip. A notebook is one of the first things that I pack! I endeavor to write a journal every night when we are back from sightseeing, which lasts a week if I really persevere, less than that if I’m too tired. Plus my handwriting is deteriorating as I get older.

Now I usually write a few things during my travels, but mostly use my photos to help me remember what happened and when, and then I write about it when I’m back home. An example of this is my travel journal and blogging, notably my Journey to Egypt posts. It helps me relive the experience, which is even more important now that I cannot travel due to the pandemic.

Writing ties into almost everything else I love to do – reading, photography, drawing, making scrapbooks (nowadays these are photo books that I create online). Sometimes I am inspired to write a book review, and have been known to keep a food & weight journal. I would write inspirational things to keep me motivated on my “weight loss journey.”

Writing is part of who I am. That’s why writing matters to me.

45 Best Resume Tips & Tricks (Writing Advice & Samples)

All pictures downloaded from Google Images.