Sunday, February 5, 2017

Subplots and Storylines - January 2017



The first 2017 edition of Subplots and Storylines is here! It's a day later than planned, but January has left me a little breathless. To keep my head (and yours) from spinning, here's the month in list form.


  • Christmas holidays wrapped up, and college resumed on the 9th.


  • I started officially bullet journaling, and I'm loving it so far! I'm keeping up with it better than with my old planners, plus it's great for tracking habits. (Future post topic, maybe?)


  • I renewed my passport. Bleeeegh, paperwork.


  • Remember how I was in youth ministry during my first semester? Now I'm in creative ministry! I have discovered what a broad term "creative" is. So far I've tidied the warehouse, re-strung lights on garland being packed away with all the Christmas décor, painted signs, brainstormed spring/Easter/Mother's Day décor, and more.


  • Because of the abovementioned brainstorming, I was asked to join Pinterest. (See, I'm a social media hermit, basically. I intended to wait a good long while to make a Pinterest account, knowing how much of a temptation all those pretty pictures would be when I have productive things to be doing. But alas, my hand has been forced. I'm currently clawing my way out of a black hole of gorgeousness . . .)


  • Skating!


  • A random assortment of new experiences this month, like Skyping in a class because snow kept me home, stepping into a professional recording studio for the first time to help classmates record stuff for a promotional video, and being totally engrossed in a class about how to pitch ideas. (So many things I want to do with that info!)


  • My great-grandma passed away. She left a legacy of love behind, and was more than ready to travel home, so I'm honestly glad for her.


  • My class started working on our final project: a day camp for kids ages 6-12, happening during spring break! Though we're guided by our teachers, it's basically our responsibility to organize, plan, and build this camp. Lessons, crafts, outings, décor, everything. I've been placed on the admin team, which is stretching me like crazy. But it's going to be an incredible experience!


movies



Once Upon a Time // 14 episodes
Season 1: four episodes with my parents, six with my siblings. Season 5: Look what was under the Christmas tree! My sisters and I have watched the first four episodes and, um, wow. My mind's already being blown.

The Flash Season 2 // 5 episodes
Another Christmas gift. SO GOOD. If you like superheroes, fantastic character chemistry, and character development, and you haven't watched The Flash yet, DO IT.


Pete's Dragon
This one's going on the list of favorite movies ever! I've never seen the original, so I don't know how it compares, but this one is the sweet tale of an orphaned boy raised by a dragon in the woods. It's a beautiful, gently told story that hit me right in the heart. I need an Elliot now.



Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
After hearing mixed reviews, I wasn't sure what to expect. Though it was better than I assumed it would be, I'm not sure what my full opinion is. I'm more of a Marvel girl, let's just get that out of the way right now.


What else do I know for sure? This movie was dark. I skipped the unnecessary bathtub scene. Batman was more cruel than I liked. (I thought he had a no-killing rule, but he goes around brutally killing people and using guns no problem.) I liked Ben Affleck in the Batman role, however. Superman's human side came out, which was great, though it wasn't explored as deeply as I was hoping. I think that's my main bone to pick: the characters, the heart behind the story, got lost behind gunfire and villainous plots.

Speaking of villains, Lex Luthor was one of my favorite parts of the movie. I know, I know, he's dark and twisted and just plain weird. But Jesse Eisenberg did a great job bringing across a fascinating enemy with a warped view of right and wrong and God.


Oh, I'm also really hoping Wonder Woman gets fleshed out more in her own film. Yes, she's a kick-butt hero in a genre with few female supers. But I didn't get to know her. Prior to her action scene, she was the typical, personality-deficient gorgeous woman in a dress.


(Apparently I have more to say about movies that complicate my thoughts than I do about solid, I-love-this movies like Pete's Dragon. Oops.)


books




Knife // R.J. Anderson
I read this one years ago, enjoyed it, but never continued the series. Last year I won a copy of my own in a giveaway, so I figured it deserved a reread. It was better than I remembered, though the plot was a wee bit thin in places. I thought the story had some interesting things to say about the nature of art and creativity, and how relationships inspire that. Four stars.



The Purpose Driven Church // Rick Warren
Although the cover is outdated, the main thrust of the message (how you can grow a healthy church without compromising the Word) is something a lot of churches need to grab hold of. I'm doing a presentation on this book pretty soon. Four stars.





The Lightning Thief // Rick Riordan
One of my sisters picked this out for me, and I'm glad she did! I've been meaning to read the Percy Jackson books for a long time, but she gave me the push I needed. What a fun story. Percy's sass is A+, and I enjoyed how Greek mythology was woven into an urban setting. I did predict one of the twists, but overall, this was a five star book. I'll be continuing the series!




Blue Lily, Lily Blue // Maggie Stiefvater
Okay. I'm torn again. I loved all the same things I loved in the first two Raven Cycle books: fantabulous characterization and writing that slays me every other sentence with its gorgeousness. But I also disliked all the same things: tarot cards and profanity. (I confess, I did a very reviewer-ish thing, and kept track of the swear words. I wanted to get a handle on whether there really was as much as it felt like, or if I was being hyper-sensitive. There were over 140 swear words or rude references, plus one instance of implied sex. Argh.)


BUT. Tone-wise, I liked this book more than The Dream Thieves. It wasn't as dark. And Blue + Gansey = YES.

writing


Thanks to free time over the tail end of Christmas holidays, this was my most productive month ever! Well, ever since I started tracking monthly word counts. Compared to last year's best month of 12k, I wrote 17,000 words this January. Woohoo! I managed to meet my goal of reaching 100k in The Prophet's Key just in time. Griffins have flown into the story recently, which is fun.

I also did one session of The Creative Way. It was nice to return to it after a long absence. Another highlight was receiving feedback on The Prophet's Quest from a friend. (So many comments. It's lovely.)

okay . . . breathe.

If one month can hold so much, I'm excited to see what the rest of 2017 will look like! How was your January, patient questers?

A note about the blogging schedule: I foresee increased busyness with the day camp project and ambitious writing goals. So I'm giving myself permission to miss a few posts in February if necessary. Then the plan is to schedule a boatload of fun tags for March! I don't like bumping the blog lower down the list of priorities, but I need to keep a healthy amount of brainspace free for other things during the next couple of months. Not to worry, I hope to return to my normal schedule at the end of March, which coincides with Adventure Awaits' 2nd birthday!