November trundled in with sullen skies of low-slung clouds. For a week it glowered in typical November fashion, all skeleton trees and dead leaves skittering in a northern wind. Grey. Bleak. Winter's prologue.
But at last the sun broke free, and Autumn revived itself for one last hoorah—a week of blue sky and leaf-raking and lounging on the front lawn just because I could. (In single layers, no less. At 15 degrees Celsius, it was positively gorgeous and rather uncharacteristic for November.)
"Ha!" laughed Winter, and his guffaw blew clouds back in on a high, chilly wind. The first snow arrived. Not much, but enough to initially make for slippery roads.
But you're not here for a weather report, are you?
These tidbits should be more interesting . . .
November saw me turn twenty! My wonderful family took me out for an elegant lunch at a place that served the most delicious wild rice and mushroom soup I've ever tasted. (Alright, so it was the first wild rice and mushroom soup I'd ever tasted. But I still think it was the tastiest.) I then spent the afternoon doing all the best nothings, such as reading. My grandma came over for the evening, I received thoughtful gifts, and then we all had raspberry swirl cheesecake. All in all, I consider myself very blessed.
This month also saw my youngest sister enter the teenage years. Happy birthday, Kit-Kat! I was originally scheduled to work on that day, but at the last minute, was able to switch shifts so I could stay home with her.
I've been working full-time. The store has been busy, especially on Black Friday. (Why, oh why, is that day cause for such a hullabaloo?)
A week ago, I spent an afternoon in the city with a very dear friend of mine—a kindred spirit—during which time we ate pizza, shopped, and had our nails done. Time spent with her is like a breath of fresh air for my heart. It's uncanny how often we're on the same page life-wise or thought-wise, and we constantly have "What? You too?" moments.
Christmas shopping has commenced. Can you believe Christmas is less than four weeks away?!
And questers. I have obtained my first ever little magical box, a piece of wizardry capable of long distance communication, the capturing of images, and the scheduling of days. Yes. I bought a cell phone! I know, in a world where even little children flaunt these gadgets, it seems a bit unremarkable. But this is my first phone, and my dad found me a fabulous deal. Much excitement.
Now then, as vastly interesting as those little life updates are (at least, more interesting than the weather report), you're really just scrolling down to read about the story-related stuff, am I right? The books, movies, and writing? I shall tarry no longer.
I watched only one, Inside Out. It was so good! Plugged In's review remarks that "Hollywood's bravest storytellers all work for Pixar," and I'm inclined to agree. Getting inside the mind of an eleven-year-old girl was fascinating, humorous, and definitely feels-inducing. Sadness was one of my favorite characters.
See, I checked it out of the library and started reading it, only to receive my own copy for my birthday. (The first book, Raising Dragons was a gift for my thirteenth, by the way. Getting the final book for my twentieth was kind of perfect.) Anyway, because I like to keep my books in good condition, I held onto the library copy to bring with me to work, to read on lunch breaks. At home, I picked up wherever I left off with my personal copy. So I went back and forth between the two books for a while. One morning, in a rush to get to work, I must have moved my bookmark one chapter too far. Because as I was reading on break, I had the strange sense that I was missing something. The characters were doing what they'd planned to do, but I was somewhat confused as to how they'd gotten there. "Perhaps Bryan Davis expects the readers to connect the dots," I thought. "And I am, after all, reading this book in choppy little spurts, so it could very well be that I've just forgotten a detail or two. I'm sure it will all make sense soon." So I kept reading.
It wasn't until that night, nestled in to read the final (28th) chapter, that I realized, "Oh no! I never read chapter 23!" Quickly, I read what I'd missed, then scanned the following chapters in order to iron out the sequence of events in my mind. Finally, satisfied and no longer confused, I read that last beautiful chapter and said goodbye to characters I've grown up with. So bittersweet . . .
One of these days, I plan to read all twelve books back to back.
Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz
Not nearly as epic or emotional as the previous read, but then, I wasn't expecting it to be. This one is more like a summer action flick--just there to entertain.
Young Alex Rider (a James Bond type of character, only fourteen years old) infiltrates a school for boys located in France. It's run by a crazy villain and his disturbing cement-block-of-a-woman sidekick. The story follows the same plot pattern as the first book in the series:
-Alex is forced into a mission he doesn't want
-There's a period of training/preparation in which he encounters a series of obstacles
-The real mission begins
-He eventually discovers the villain's plot
-Oh, and there are lots of neat spy gadgets disguised as inconspicuous objects, like a book or an earring or a Discman (yes, this book was written in the early 2000's).
I worked on a motley of projects this month, or at least more than this single-minded tortoise usually does. (Well, I'm not always tortoise slow, but never mind all that.)
- The Brightest Thread // I read over it twice, each in two sittings. I tweaked and fiddled with various things, worried over whether parts of it were paced too fast, and in the end declared, "I love this story!" The ending, you guys. It just makes me giddy, which, at this point, is kind of miraculous. Oh, I also caught wee mistakes I hadn't seen before, such as miscounting the fairy stewards in the first scene. And speaking of TBT, the beginning of it recently went up for critique on The Author's Chair (Bryan Davis's blog)! If you feel so inclined, you may hop on over and nitpick it for me. I'm up for big critiques, little critiques, harsh critiques, and I-love-it critiques. Seriously. Any thoughts at all are appreciated.
- That secretive 'Book 1' I sometimes talk about here // After so much time and effort spent on the aforementioned novella, this 'first love' of mine has been calling to me again. So, while in between projects, I read the first few chapters. I've a few more edits to complete before I can call it ready, so I figured that a read-over would help get my brain in gear for that. Turns out that the distance afforded by my Five Magic Spindles entry has caused me to fall in love with book 1 all over again. A break away was just what I needed, and now I'm itching to dive back into this thing!
- Darkened Slumber // Have I mentioned that my brother is entering the Five Magic Spindles contest too? I don't recall. Anyway, he is. His story is, in his words, a pseudo-feudal Japanese fantasy. I just spent a week editing it for him. He's done an amazing job cutting it down to size on his own (he was only 1400 words over . . . I's jealous), after which he turned it over to me. To give you a taste, the tale involves an awesome sword, big bad creatures, and an epic journey flavored with a sprinkle of humor and a dash of heartbreak. (Okay, more like a cup or two of that.)
And that was my November. How was yours, fellow adventurers? What quests have you been pursuing? Some of you are Nano survivors—come and collapse and possibly hibernate until Christmas. (In all honesty, I watched you with some envy at the beginning of the month, as you plotted and planned and psyched each other up. By the end of the month, after hearing about the short nights and sore eyes/wrists and rebellious plots, I'm more relieved that I chose not to shoulder that this year. Perhaps I'll join the insanity next year?) But do share the war stories!
And for those of you who did not Nano this year, what filled your month? Have you read any of the books I mentioned or watched Inside Out?
Oh, before I bid you adieu, happy belated Thanksgiving to my American friends!