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Viewing Blog: Allison Fraclose, Most Recent at Top
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The Unnamed Forest
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1. Saturday

About a week ago, I ended up sifting through some old LJ entries looking for a bit of information. I don't think I realized it at the time, but I did write some funny shit back then.

Maybe there's hope for me yet.

It's about time I sat down, took a long, hard look at my computer, and decided what to do with my online life. I had a conversation with someone about this just recently. Where's everyone hanging out these days?

The real question is, if I get some good information, will I use any of it before it's outdated and everyone's moved on to somewhere else? I get the feeling that I need to start from scratch, though. Sort of rebuild everything from the ground up. Nobody cares about book reviews that were written for defunct websites five years ago.

Oh, and I won't be doing it on this laptop. My husband got hold of a couple of Windows Surface tablets to test for work, and he loaned me one since I wanted to try it so badly. Sad to say, they suck for actually using on one's lap. <^U^>

Hmm. I haven't made an elf emoticon in so long...You know, I almost named my blog "The Emoticon Forest." But then I started receiving books for "The Unnamed Forest" and I realized I was sort of stuck with it, even though I'd finally settled on a name.

Just got done watching Bridget Jones's Diary, since I was craving a viewing. I realized too that I miss carrying around hardbound, blank, leather journals. I miss drawing. I miss feeling free on paper.

My son and I painted rocks on our front walk to welcome spring. (And yes, I'm really proud of this and blab it to everyone, because it makes me sound like a good mommy even though I never, ever think of fun stuff like this to do. For someone who's been told she's creative all her life, it sucks how absolutely UNcreative a mom I'm turning out to be. My son has no imagination, and I'm sure it's my fault.) It's washable paint, but I sort of wish it wasn't. I had a lot of fun just blending the colors. It's weird how the smell of tempura just comes back and floods your system, making you miss paint stained cement floors and the dusty corners of art studio space.


I had dinner in a house today that I felt I completely belonged in. The house wasn't mine.

I don't know how to make my house look like that house. It would require a lot of money. A lot of antiquing. A lot of care.

I don't think I'll ever have that within reach. I wish I could accept that. I'm doomed to live in a suburban home forever and always live paycheck to paycheck. Destiny sucks sometimes.

Its got a lot of nice stuff sometimes. A lot of love and unexpected niceness to be grateful for. But the irony of the parts you can't change is just so bothersome. A sign of the modern times, I suppose. A week of reading books about the Depression and I still can't just feel happy with my suburban miniature comfort zone. (I would say "paradise," but lets not take it that far. Although it really IS to some degree. Most people don't have it so good. Gah, I'm an ungrateful whine.)

Why yes, I was treated to a few rum and cokes while we were at that house. Why do you ask?

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2. For anyone watching "King of Nerds:"

Don't you just sort of....feel for Alana?

I mean, everyone else in that house is either classic quick-brain-smart nerd or looks-good-in-convention-costume-trendy nerd. But her...she's like so many people that I know! I think that nearly a third of the Tucson Nanowrimo community resembles her.

I have a theory about this. Now that being a nerd is actually viewed as an asset in popular culture, a new version of scapegoat had to emerge. Now there's cool nerds and nerds that even the other nerds won't touch. No one in that house seems to like her very much. They're the cool kids among nerds.

So, in many ways, she's the ultimate nerd.

Unfortunately, that doesn't means she wins the competition (although she did win the first immunity by NOT EVEN BEING PICKED FOR TEAMS BY THE OTHER NERDS)(which was a brilliant twist on the old trauma, I must say). And, to be honest, I doubt she will.

But I just think it's interesting to see this other layer emerge. Her type is the nerddom that I've known as home for years. We're specialized. We love fandoms, but only know a few by heart. We love fantasy, but don't speak Orcish. We love costumes, but look rather pathetic in them. We're not quick or brilliant (unless we get caught in our element), and kind of caustic at times, but total sweethearts if you get to know us. Unfortunately, our lax habit of dress and off-putting manneurisms prevent that for most folks.

So, watching her through the eyes of these other "cool kid" nerds--seeing their painful reactions to everything she does that the camera captures--has been a real eye opener for me. And we're only on the second show tomorrow!

It's been a little disconcerting for me. I just didn't realize how few skills I really have.

At least none that make me nerdy enough to succeed at a show like this.

And I can't help but wonder: Am I a traitor to my nerd roots by being turned off by a person like Alana? Or have I just grown out of it?

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3. Departed ones

It's weird, but whenever I think of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting that happened two years ago, all I can think of is this picture:

That's our dear friend and fellow writer, Julie Prince.

The caption on USA Today reads: Julie Prince of Tucson lights a candle at a makeshift memorial for shooting victims in front of the University Medical Center in Tucson.

I'm sad about the precious people who lost their lives in front of Safeway that day. I'm sad for everyone who was personally touched by this tragedy. I know several, like the guy across the street who was a first responder to the shooting, and the preschool librarian who taught Christina Taylor-Green in his Sunday school class. I drive by that Safeway frequently, although I never go in.

But all I can think of is that I should have gone to the vigil outside the hospital that evening. I thought about it at the time, but didn't go. I should have.

It might have been my last chance to see Julie when she was still alive.

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4. Where are we now?

David Bowie just celebrated his 66th birthday by presenting his first new song in 10 years.

Where are we now?
The moment you know
As long as there's sun
As long as there's rain
As long as there's fire
As long as there's me
As long as there's you

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5. A new year

I just realized a movie mistake in Sleepless in Seattle, one of my all-time favorite movies.

I was thinking that, here in Arizona, The Wiggler could watch the ball drop and then go to bed right afterward. For some reason, it just occured to me that, because of the time change, the Times Square ball drops at midnight there and 10pm our time.

In Sleepless in Seattle, it shows Sam trying to shake Jonah awake to watch the ball drop, since its' apparently so late there. But the ball would be dropping at 9pm their time, in Seattle, and we all know from the infamous black widow spider scene that Jonah is used to staying up until 10pm on some nights. 9pm would not be so late for him.

Oh, the things it takes you years to notice...

Happy new year, everyone!

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6. Speechless (except for a few nasty words)

I don't even know what to say about today.

What can you say, really?

Aside from, "No way is my kid ever going to school or leaving my side, like, ever" (which is completely unrealistic), I have no words.

Except a few really nasty ones:

Fucker's lucky he killed himself.

There's a special, special place for him in the afterlife, and I doubt he'll have an easy time of it his next go around.

At least if there's any justice.

I felt the same way after 9/11. Yeah, I could try to understand where he's coming from. Yeah, I could try to apply my rational mind and look at both sides like I usually do.

Not this time.

Fuck him.

...I guess Im' not as speechless as I thought I was.

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7. Seriously wondering...

...is there honestly any way to carry both a purse and lunchbag gracefully? I still can't quite get the hang of it.

It's even harder when trying to lead a three year old by the hand.

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8. afraclose @ 2012-11-20T20:37:00

So I think I've reached a decision about my writing.

It occured to me a few days ago that one reason I'm feeling so much resistance towards finishing this damn novel is because I get out of practice.

I've tried writing every day. Just can't keep up the momentum.

I've tried every other day. That seems to work...for awhile. And then something comes up that throws it off and I inevitably end up going three, four, five days without writing and then suddenly an entire month has gone by that I've avoided the work.

I've tried Nano this year. Although that was slightly more successful than JoNowrimo (5k and still counting!), it's still nowhere near my old output. I mean, pre-baby output.

I don't have daycare options. Preschool isnt' in the cards for at least year. I've no break, except on weekends. I'm working more hours now that I did when I worked full time.

We're slowly, ever so slowly working towards the "quiet time after lunch" thing, where I may be able to get in a few minutes of not trying to keep a certain Wiggler's hands occupied, but (and here's the catch), I'm out of practice. Every day.

I'm not thinking of the story at all hours of the day like I used to. I can't. This isn't a mindless paper pushing job where I can easily let my mind wander to jot down storylines and plot twists. I take the time to do that and something either gets broken, bruised, or stained.

Therefore, when I sit down at the end of the day and try to get "all caught up" with the story (especially after a day or two of not thinking about it), it takes awhile to get in the groove. By the time I'm in the groove and on the track to actually be productive, it's time to go to bed. If I go beyond that for more than a couple days (i.e. going to bed at 2:30am), then that's the point when I reach burnout.

So we'll try something new here. Novel-length stories just aren't cutting it now. There's too much going on and too much to keep track of.

I'll push myself to finish the damn Lake story, then I'm leaving it alone for a few years and sticking to short stories and PBs. I know I gave up both a few years ago, when I realized my heart wasn't in those two categories, but times change. If that's all I can manage these days, then I'll give it a shot.

Regaining some sort of ground on the blogging front is an entirely different story though. Not sure what to do about that.

Addendum to that last part: I am sort of developing a plan for that, but since my enthusiasm for all things online has been pretty low lately, it may be awhile in coming. Oh yeah, I have a lot of plans, but they don't necessarily get anything done.

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9. And, because I just saw this...

Hungry Jack syrup truck spills onto Buttermilk Pike

Another news story this week gave me a chuckle:
Scottish village of Dull becomes sister city to U.S. town of Boring

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10. Hey, a meme! (and a really good article to get you writing!)

So, ever since that sad last little entry of mine, I've been meaning to write some big post to get back in the swing of things. Y'all are very sweet. <^^>

Unfortunately, I just haven't done that. But I do have this!

From [info]janni "Go to page 77 (or 7) of your current ms. Go to line 7. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating.":

meeting. “I’m not…used to having so much…stuff in this room. It was so much easier to keep things neat and tidy before their intrusion. I mean---” He looked up at the guards, who snapped back to attention, wiping their faces clean of any expression. “Before I was granted such responsibility.”

Callah nodded, her eyes slipping down to the top page of the stack in her right hand. (What to put here? Some political stuff that indicates unrest in the people. Maybe some

And then there's this, which has been making the rounds since [info]blackholly posted about it a few days ago. A guest post at http://www.sfwa.org/ by author Rachel Aaron about how she upped her daily word count from 2k to 10k. I haven't managed to implement this overhaul yet, and we're going out of town next week for my sister's wedding, so I don't plan on seriously sitting down with these ideas until we get back. But, seriously, go read it.

You're welcome.

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11. Smile Smile Smile!

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the awesome moms I know out there!

I've been meaning to put this up for a few weeks, but I dunno. While I'm absurdly proud of it, I'm still a little embarrassed to admit that I've sunk back into a fandom again (even though I'm not completely mired in it yet).

The following video is a collaboration of many artists in the "Brony" community. They took a song--the most awesome song in the whole series so far, by my own opinion--and created a We-Are-The-World type version featuring some of the most prolific music makers who are fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Here is the original song, sung by Pinkie Pie, the carefree, crazy, and slightly bipolar optimist in the series:

This song has become rather special to me. Not only are the lyrics cheerful and uplifting, but the music is particularly peppy and catchy (at least for me, since I like that poppy stuff). I sing the song so much that The Wiggler is now familiar with it, and we dance along in the kitchen while I change the lyrics to include his name.

The new video, dubbed the "Massive Smile Project," is below:

Now, I know it won't make much sense to most people, and yeah, it's kinda weird if you don't know anyone in the community, but, you do know someone in the video. I made it as one of the chorus members. <^m^> I'm listed in the credits under the name Lady Grey.

You can catch a glimpse of my pony self at the 3:28 mark.

The best thing about this song is that it's been included in a charity album entitled, "Seeds of Kindness." They've already reached and exceeded their first goal, which was staffing a clinic in Uganda. Now, they have their sights set on building a self-sufficient village in Burundi for civil war orphans.

More information on the fundraiser and these projects can be found at Seeds of Kindness, Bronies for Good, and themassivesmileproject.com.

Keep on smiling, everyone!

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13 recipes using Cadbury Creme Eggs

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13. Secret below--Please don't read if you drool for The Hunger Games

I am so frigging tired of hearing about The Hunger Games.

I have no wish to see it.

I have no wish to READ it.

I've already read Battle Royale. I LOVED Battle Royale.

Battle Royale was good. Yeah, the translation was kinda sucky and the movie stunk, but the manga? Excellent. And if you can get past the poor translation job, the novel is kinda stellar. Real people with real reactions to a horrifying event set in the near distant future. The SAME event.

I don't know if the story has really been ripped or not (apparently, there's a huge debate on it), but the idea of this heroine--strong and independent, trying to survive the event and get the best of her totalitarian government by breaking the rules that everyone has to die, and actually succeeding--just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In Battle Royale, you see the kids (a classroom chosen from a district that "won" the lottery) breaking down in all sorts of ways--the only kid that really "gets the hang of it" is a complete sociopath. This just seems so much more real to me, and much more believable.

The kids in Battle Royale make mistakes. They screw up and die. They deal with their inner demons and those that some of their classmates become. They protect the ones they have crushes on and die with them. They try to play the game and play their alliances, and still die. They go nuts and shoot eat other, or try fruitless escape attempts, while the world bets on who will win.

I dunno. After reading that, and witnessing the full range of believable reactions, I have trouble suspending my beliefs enough to enjoy something like The Hunger Games. Yeah, maybe they go through training or whatever, and I know she's had a rough life so she's built up for something like that, and she's protecting her sister and the friend who gave them bread. I've read all that. I just get the feeling that, while reading The Hunger Games, I'll be rolling my eyes the whole time. And then everyone will be like, "What's wrong with you? How could you NOT like the Hunger Games WTF???!"

Maybe I'll change my mind eventually. Who knows?

All I know is, I'm damn tired of hearing about it.


Please don't flame me.

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14. Book Giveaway: Tomo Anthology

Debbi Michiko has a giveaway for the new anthology Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction – An Anthology of Japanese Teen Stories which is edited by Holly Thompson. Click here to read her interview with Holly and find out about the creation of this anthology to aid in the relief of teens from Tohoku, one of the areas hardest hit by the tsunami last year. You can also find more, including author interviews, at the Tomo blog here.

I just watched a documentary about the tsunami a few days ago, where they showed footage shot by a few of the survivors. Simply amazing how much their lives have changed, and how they lost everything. I remember one of the survivors saying how it's so easy to take nature for granted, and forget about how much sway it really has in our lives.

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15. Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful I'm older, wiser, still learning, and have found love.


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16. Feeling better.

Thank you, guys. <^^>

And, in case anyone wondered who the heck Derpy is... Read the rest of this post

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17. Epic ice cream! And ponies!

Ben and Jerry's Cake Batter in a waffle bowl, with sparkly blue frosting and rainbow sprinkles! And a new My Little Pony episode to watch while eating it! Does it get any better?

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18. What Teens Are Really Reading: A librarian’s informal survey uncovers the hottest YA fiction

My writer/librarian friend Karen McCoy recently had her article published in the School Library Journal. She surveyed school and public librarians to find out not only which YA titles they see in the highest demand, but which they are recommending to young readers. It's a pretty fascinating read, and you can find the article online here.

Read more at Karen's blog, The Writer Librarian.

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19. 1 in 3 in 31--10/31

10/1-3: THE WISH, Gail Carson Levine ✓
10/3-7: SO YESTERDAY, Scott Westerfeld ✓
10/7-9: STARGIRL, Jerry Spinelli ✓
10/9-12: THE EVERAFTER, Amy Huntley ✓
10/12-15: CUPIDITY, Caroline Goode ✓
10/15-19: THE BLACK SHEEP, Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout ✓
10/19-21: PRADA AND PREJUDICE, Mandy Hubbard ✓
10/21-23: LETTERS FROM RIFKA, Karen Hesse ✓
10/23-26: AMONG THE HIDDEN, Margaret Peterson Haddix ✓
10/26-30: CRUSADE IN JEANS, Thea Beckman ✓


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20. A new attitude shift

I've always wanted a collaboration. At first, when I decided back in high school that I wanted to be a story sketch artist for Disney or Warner Brothers, I pictured myself working late into the night with gallons of mountain dew, pouring over ideas and pencils and pads of paper with my fellow artists, and coming up with stories that would make the screen. I'd get to see my vision in multimedia form, walking and talking and singing, and, even better, the story I'd built together with friends.

When it became clear that I wasn't meant to draw, I turned to the written word, and decided to tell my story that way. Yes, writing is a lonely process, but I still wished to share it with someone.

I'd already had the fun. My cousin and I started out back in our middle school days making girlfriends for the Ninja turtles and drawing out their stories. A good friend of mine in high school and I talked endlessly about alternate plots for Sailor Moon and old Popples cartoons. I craved to make this interaction part of my life's work. Something I could do for a living.

Writing is lonely work, but I still kept my eyes open for kindred spirits to share the vision with. I've befriended artists, built comic book ideas, written rpgs hundreds of pages long, and, up to a few years ago, still asked writer friends if they wanted to collaborate. Write a story back and forth, each have a part. It was always something, always the idea that I needed someone else along for the ride to make the experience complete.

I'm starting to realize, with my nano project this year, that no one can truly share that with me. Sure, I can have a finished draft to bring to a crit group, or I can brainstorm with friends for ideas. But the writing, that butt-in-chair, actual work, is all up to me. When you come right down to it, there's no giggling with pads of paper and cups of coffee late into the night. It's me, with a keyboard, and a pot of tea beside me. I'm the only one who drinks from it.

It's hard work, this going alone. But I think I may be okay with it now. I'm starting to get it.

It's all up to me. It won't get done unless I do it, and I can't wait for others to join me. Even taking part in Nanowrimo activities, going to write-ins and such, seeking crit groups online...it's always been about finding friends to share in the experience. This year, even the write-ins have lacked luster for me. I find myself annoyed. I want to be back at home writing, and not having to choose between forging friendships and getting the work done.

I'm up to 14k this year, most of it done here at my home computer. I've been right on track with the word count this year, but I feel like I've jumped the train car clear to the engine. I'm driving now, whereas in past years, I've just tried to hold on to the caboose.

It's kind of nice. Solitary, frightening, but freeing as well.

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21. The Symbolism Survey

In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. And he actually got responses!...

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22. FB is teh sux0r

Why people like me shun Facebook.

I hate that it's the new "social norm."

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23. Thanks to that article on FB...

...I've discovered Hipster Ariel.

And I can't stop laughing.

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24. Mall Santa surprises boys with the one thing they want for Christmas...

...their mom.

OMG, I can't stop crying.

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25. afraclose @ 2011-12-25T21:01:00

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas!

And, while I love the holidays, I'm ecstatic that it'll be another year before I hear "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" again.

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