Saturday, February 22, 2014

To Be A Kid Again

I'm sitting down in a McDonald's trying to finally do something I always fancied myself doing, becoming a writer.    I'd love to say the words are flowing from my hands, but mostly it's just a bunch of navel gazing about nothing.    I feel like my mind has lost its imagination, and my ideas have dried up. 

Contrast that with my daughter.   Yesterday she told me she there was a big bug in her room.   I went up to see what it was, and she had simply drawn a large cartoonish bug on a piece of note paper with a brief bio of the bug.    I laughed at the simple ease with which she'd drawn this cute little guy on a page.    This led to her creating lots of other characters, with pictures, descriptions and names, all of them wonderfully silly and reflective of her imagination.  

I have to admit that I was jealous.   I remembered being her age and loving just to create my own little fantasy worlds (although never quite as whimsical as anything my daughter created).   I admired my daughter's ability to fully commit her mind to just creating for the joy of it without letting any other distractions get in the way, by chance of birth not having to worry too much about being hungry, cold, problems at school, or family issues.     It's amazing to me that even with all of the gadgets a kid can have, she can still bury herself in a book, or distract herself with pen and paper.    I can't even watch a TV show without touching my phone, laptop, and picking up a magazine.   

The question in my mind is how to regain that feeling of pleasure from creating.   How do you get back into the swing of simply doing something because you love to do it?  Is it even possible to rediscover something you haven't done in awhile and enjoy it again, or have I moved on and just not realized it?    

I've been here for an hour and nothing approaching brilliant, amusing, or pleasing has left these finger tips.  

Maybe I should use a crayon?  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: We Were Liars

We Were Liars
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

We Were Liars is the story of a Cadence, a privileged girl who spends her summers on a private island with relatives and three other teens who are her closest friends. One summer something happens that seriously injures Cadence, pulls her away from her friends, and impacts her ability to remember what happened. We Were Liars deals with her struggling to remember while dealing with a severely dysfunctional family.

The problem with We Were Liars is that the book relies too much on a gimmick and not enough on building characters we care about. As a reader, the relationships of four poorly sketched and spoiled kids don't draw me in enough to give any emotional weight to the big mystery, when finally revealed. Indeed, the twist seems forced and doesn't seem properly motivated by what has come before it in the book. After reading the book, I have to think that Lockhart could have fashioned a much better book if she'd have focused on building the events in chronological order, with perhaps brief chapters interspersed dealing with the aftermath.

Given the reviews, I have to say I was disappointed with We Were Liars.

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