Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March Wrap-Up a Few Days Early ...

March has been a busy, busy, busy, busy ... (etc) month.

Grad School
I finished my first two-credit course and started my second course! It's been a confidence builder and I have finally remembered that I enjoy learning. For my final project, I need to create a short 8-10 hour course of study. Believe it or not, I'm already looking ahead to that since some of the course work I am doing now leads into it.

I am considering writing/creating a course of study for novelists who would like to strengthen their short story writing skills. Would you be interested? If so, please comment or e-mail me at tyreantigger (at) gmail (dot) com

The course would be free to anyone who would be willing to sign up as my students (lab rats) and I would need feedback on various parts of the course.

Or, I might design a course for my church, or for homeschool students on summer "break."

Comments and feedback on these ideas would be welcome.

Lenten Reading Journey
I'm going to cram in the rest of LOTR by Friday night and I'm in a good place to finish 1 and 2 Samuel, Psalms, and John by the end of the 31st.
The Chronicles of Narnia and The Narnian are going to go into my April reads pile.

Diet and Exercise
Down and up, I go. I am walking between 0 and 5 miles each day, it really depends on the day. I usually get in three to four good walks a week. The diet, well, I reverted to old habits, and then restarted again. I am still doing better than last year.

Please welcome Shannon Lawrence as the new IWSG admin!
Also, if you are into Instagram, here's a preview of IWSG in April:

Corners by Corrina Austin is my favorite read of the year so far. I didn't expect to love it so much, but Davy and Ellis filled up a dusty corner of my heart with their character growth and their actions. I was impressed by Austin's ability to flesh out in-depth characters, provide a mosaic of details, and create a plot that moved me to laughter and tears. At the end, I just smiled and knew I had to recommend it to friends. Do not let the Middle Grade designation fool you - this book is a good book for all ages.

Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner is a fast-paced scifi for YA readers (and anyone who likes YA themes) in which three teens race to decode messages from the future so they can stop an apocalypse. Success isn't guaranteed, especially since at first they don't understand the code beyond winning the lottery. I originally checked it out from the library because I wanted to read more fiction from New Zealand (one of my characters is from there in my current WIP) and I really enjoyed this fast-paced adventure.

I read Dragonsong for the first time in ninth grade and it made my soul soar at the time. This time, on my seventh-ish re-read, I realized that McCaffrey managed to suck me into the story despite doing a lot of telling, as well as showing. I was surprised to see that and I started re-thinking some of that show vs. tell wisdom. When is it okay to tell?

We re-watched Thor: Ragnorak after purchasing it, and oddly, my youngest loved it more the second time, whereas I loved certain parts more than the whole. I'm sure we'll watch it again a few more times this year ... because we watch movies like that. (Spiderman: Homecoming on DVD has been watched at least 4 times since we brought it home at Christmas.) I am still on my superhero movie kick, trying to both watch the movies for fun and watch them as a writer studying the craft of storytelling. 

If you are under 17 or you find nudity offensive, don't watch this movie (this is a warning to any of my students who may happen to read this post). I did have a "another nudity moment?" kind of reaction a few times and a "only women are nude?" reaction a few times. I think if we truly have the kind of society presented in this movie, then it will actually probably be far worse and more universal. However, if you've seen the original (like I have) and if you love scifi and the way that Philip K. Dick (author of the original book) purposefully blows our minds and makes us uncomfortable at the same time in his stories, then you will love this movie. It's both a thought-provoking drama and an action flick. It's also three hours long. We watched it in two sittings and discussed it during and afterwards. We like discussing movies anyway, and Blade Runner 2049 gave us lots of weighty stuff to consider. 

For those who might wonder how I can be a Christian and watch these kinds of movies, I invite you to read the whole Bible including the book of Judges. Think of how terrible our world can be (and is, and was) and then consider how stories and movies which show both a slippery slope of complacency and some absolute nastiness can actually help us realize how much we need Jesus. Really, movies like this are just a full-in-our-faces look at how awful things could be (and unfortunately are - consider human trafficking, refugee camps, and random violence). Books and movies that don't shy away from this can help us process what we see around us and stir us off our complacent backsides to consider changing the world with our actions. 
(I'm talking about my own complacency issues, too.)

For a way to change the world one small corner at a time, check out Corrina Austin's Corners - seriously, go get it now and read it for some actionable ideas on spreading kindness, love, and change.

So, what have you read or watched that impacted you lately? And, would you be interested on taking part in an instructional design experimental course in short story writing? 


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - well you've lots going on - congratulations on all your projects and good luck with the exercise/diet thing! I need to do that too ...

More importantly the course in short story writing sounds really interesting and I'm sure fellow bloggers will join you ... good luck with that.

Also welcome Shannon ... and both of you have good Easters - cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well said about how Christians can still watch these kinds of movies!
We re-watched Thor a few weeks ago and wow is that a funny movie.
I would definitely like to learn how to sharpen short story skills.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Hilary - Thanks! Happy Easter!!! I might send you a bit of info about the course once I get it going.

Alex - Thanks! Yes, Thor is hilarious!
And, I'm going to put you on my e-mail list for info about the course, once I get it more figured out. Thank you.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed Corners. It's just a wonderful and wonderfully written story.

I use an app on my phone to count my steps. It compels me to get at least 7000 steps a day.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Wow, you're on fire with grad school - way to go! I really want to watch the Blade Runner remake. I enjoyed the original and I've heard good things about this one. Why is it that only woman are naked in so many things. {Sigh}

Cheers - Ellen

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Excellent on all the grad school work/success!

Right now, I'm reading Lisa Genova's newest book, EVERY NOTE PLAYED, and it is heartbreaking and incredibly moving.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Diane - I've found my phone app for exercise and for counting up how many calories I've actually eaten helps me, too, but I have to actually use it. :P

Ellen - Thanks! And, I know ... what's up with that?

Madeline - Thank you! I'll have to check out that book.

CWMartin said...

Love your comment on Judges. Too many times we try to isolate ourselves from the world- then we find we have nothing in common with those we try to reach, at least from the "what's going on" standpoint. In the world, not of it.

krystal jane said...

You've been so busy! Good luck with deciding what course to do. It sounds like you're enjoying your classes. :)

I can't wait to watch Thor again! I'm planning on picking it up next month. I tried to read through the whole bible several years ago and lost all motivation to continue after Judges. I couldn't understand what the point was, so your commentary on it was really interesting to me.

Tyrean Martinson said...

CW - so true. It's tough to be in, but not of, the world. However, we need to know what's going on so we can have conversations.

Krystal - Thanks!
Judges is a pretty tough book of the Bible. I think it shows just how far people can fall away from God, even when they are trying to do their best. I suggest starting with Matthew first, reading the NT, then reading the OT, or reading a combination of New Testament and Old Testament together.

cleemckenzie said...

I haven't seen this Blade Runner, but if my ancient memory serves me, I loved the first one.