Monday, August 7, 2017

Watching Sing Street Again

A friend asked for movie recommendations while she’s recovering from foot surgery, and I once again recommended my favorite movie in recent times, “Sing Street,” which I’d just been thinking about earlier in the day.

It’s a movie that often crosses my mind and it’s particularly relevant to Young Adult writing. My last book (querying now), and my current work-in-progress are both YA, and the movie “Sing Street” gloriously captures the reason I love Young Adult stories, even as an adult. 

The story itself isn’t that complicated. It’s about a boy who starts a rock band to impress a girl he likes. But his life is complicated. Parents, and school and circumstances are all getting in the way of his dreams. The story is told from such a realistic point of view, that upon watching for a second time, I was struck by how accurately the first viewing of the movie had portrayed teen experience, pushing even me, as an adult viewer, back into the point-of-view of teenager.

There are a number of moments in the movie when things seem particularly tense. When it seems like something dark and dreadful is being foreshadowed. Not every one of this moments materializes into the worst-case-scenario you might expect, but those moments of not knowing, along with Conner, perfectly capture that teenage feeling, of life hitting you full-force, and never knowing if this disaster is going to be one that blows over by Monday, or if it’s the pivotal moment that’s going to shape your future forever.

And teenage-hood is packed with those pivotal moments, each one—from what sport you play, to your grades to your friends to your free time—each one of them chipping away at the myriad futures that have been previously open and available to you ever since you were old enough to answer the question “what do you want to be when you grow up.” Despite promises of “it gets better,” vying with “these are the best years of your life,” the truth is these years are full of irrevocable decisions.

I’ll never get to go back and practice piano three hours a day instead of two, and maybe get that 1st prize scholarship and summer piano camp, instead of an honorable mention and dinner with parents who say, “musician isn’t a job.” Does it matter that “musican” may have been my escape and not my dream? All that matters is that, at some point in those years, the possibilities narrowed. 

Teens see this shrinking of the world that’s theirs for the taking. The talk of “you can be whatever you put your mind to,” tells them with certainty, that they are responsible for limiting their own possibilities, by how they choose to use their minds. It’s terrifying, and worse, outside of their own minds, are the obstacles out of their control—parents, money, teachers, friends, and abilities, who act in ways that further limit them.

Sing Street does a beautiful job of immersing the viewer into pushing up against those obstacles without knowing if you’ll push through. Without knowing if the path you put your mind to is even the right one, and without knowing if you’ll look back on it all someday and laugh. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Way I Am

I dabble, or I obsess. It's the reason I rarely get passionate about things, because honestly life's too short and too big to sink into one thing to the exclusion of all others. From time to time though, I indulge in an obsession. Possibly a TV show (Vampire Diaries) or a band (MCR) or a celebrity (Alan Rickman). Or maybe just a song or album (we won't talk about how many times I've listened to 'Light of the Seven' on repeat for at least an hour.)

And then there are things I dabble in. Like running. Which involved two 5Ks and one "Marathon Relay" and painful foot problems, and my subsequent realization that running just isn't my thing.

But in between dabbling and obsessing, I have the interests that have been consistent in my life, and although that interest may never get to the level of passion, these things are who I am:

Pop Culture

The stories I love and write are about people who are misunderstood and the ways they find to express themselves honestly to the world. 

My latest obsession has, unfortunately, been politics. I try to remind myself that this blends my interests in History and Pop Culture. But I'd much rather let this newest obsession lapse. Can't manage to close both eyes to it though. 

I have a Pinterest inspiration page for the novel I'm currently querying, THE LIFE YOU STOLE. 

Friday, July 14, 2017


Photo: Penguin's Paradise by Anne Froehlich

Line up in a flock of black and white.

Stand firm on ice cold principles
 the size of a small state.

We just broke off a chunk of Monticello
 but it’s only visible from space.

We’re cracked, we’re melting, we’re floating
 away on a world that looks to us
 like it hasn’t changed since ’76.

by Maria Mainero


Monday, January 2, 2017

In The Light You Make

From the debacle of November, leading into the holidays with the continued demented ramblings of our unpresident-to-be, I’m starting off the new year, rambling between hope and rage, and thinking as I usually do, of what kind of “resolutions” might be useful me to me this year.

My Aunt Mery died just before Christmas. She was a beautiful soul who I only saw a few times a year, but had a way of making a loving impact. Hearing the tributes at her funeral and remembering the impact she had in my life with truly only a few simple kind interactions, left me on the more hopeful side with thoughts of how our actions and love and outreach can ripple outward.

Thinking also about “the bubble,” a term so many want to use to try to explain the disconnect between conservative and liberal politics. But instead, I picture a bubble surrounding me with strength and hope and goodness. I feel like we are in for a fight against darkness, and I don’t want to fight from a place of darkness and anger and hopelessness.

I don’t believe in the political bubble, or that this detestable man somehow represents the will of the people. I think there is a calculated effort by certain people in power to ‘win’ at all costs, to continue to pit people against each other, in order to prop themselves up. This ekeing out an electoral victory, by hook or by crook, and for what reason? Certainly not to uphold any kind of morality or integrity, but simply to continue to enrich and reward those in power.

There is so much negativity out there, and I’m rebuking it now, going forward. I will call out the evil, and the corrupt, but I will not engage with it. I will manifest positivity and belief and continue to celebrate everyone who strives for love, compassion, kindness and the greater good, regardless of what system of belief they use to guide them to those goals. I want to call upon all the beautiful souls who left us in 2016, who have touched me with inspiration and hope, and surround myself with their light.

I want to encourage these ripples of love, circles of inspiration, and bubbles of goodness. Let evil and hatred and darkness shrink back into their rocks and caves, because they can’t survive where light shines.