Book Review: Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine

“Someday My Prince Will Come” is a true-life story about a girl who has the courage to purse her childhood dreams.

I wrote this review for The Celebrity Cafe probably about seven years ago. I have notice they have clean their website of my writings so, over time, I’ve been posting some of my past work here.
Jerramy Fine grew up wanting to be a princess. Born in Colorado to hippie parents that named her a boy’s name, she takes the reader through her hippie, farm town childhood. She feeds chickens and never really fits in at school for her royal ways. At the age of six she picks her husband, Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips. She even writes letters to Peter in care of Buckingham Palace.
Fine grows up planning her life around going to England and fitting in among royalty. While most girls grow out of Disney fairy tales (her parents never allowed her to watch) she holds on to her dreams. She travels to London for grad-school, meets Princess Anne, and Earl Spencer. She spends a holiday in India, has struggles with flat-mates, expenses of London, and dating.
Fine’s insensitivity to her parents and small town did become a little tiresome half way through the book. If people compromise I guess there would be no book. At times she sounded a little naïve in romance and men. I felt she was trying hard to keep the fairy tale princess theme going and sometimes it came off flat. But she kept the story flowing with her humorist voice and dramatic adventures.
Jerramy Fine’s memoir is a very light and funny read. I found it refreshing to read a memoir that wasn’t all doom and gloom. She is witty and entertaining. I found myself laughing out loud many times. I admire Fine for her determination and endurance setting out and staying true to her goals.

3 out of 5 stars.

Inner Struggles of a Writer

People, I think I’m in a writing slump. I wouldn’t say I am suffering from writer’s block because I am still writing. I say slump because I sit down to write and nothing satisfying happens. I expect some goals to be accomplished but story idea productivity has become stagnant and frustration has followed.

I know I’ve been too hard on myself. With extra time to write I expected more work and have been creating less. My goals are too ambitious. With the extra time I expected a story to bloom on a page the moment I started writing regularly again and take shape, after editing, into a beautiful completed piece of writing. It hasn’t happen that way. The stories seem to stall soon after I’ve started. I’ve been trying to outline some work but struggle. To make good use of my time and not feel like an unproductive moocher, recently I’ve been editing an old piece from college. I’m not crazy about it. I have voices in my head that tell me, something doesn’t sit right, this piece will define my writing style, and this is not the kind of work I want to be defined by.

Okay Brain, shhhhh.

It’s time to just write. Even if it’s an edit, I’m writing. Just finish the story. Finish any story! Nothing saying this narrative will ever be publish but I must keep working. Not every morsel of fiction is meant for publishing. I do believe writing more will awaken my sleepy imagination. Got to stop this head of mind from mucking up my creative process. I must focus on a small task I can accomplish and use that positive energy to push through these anxieties. I know it’s not easy. Making mistakes is a part of the writing process but giving up is the worst failure of all.

Writing slump, come at me, because I’m pushing through.

Another Atmosphere

With the help of Google maps I found a cafe. Well, it’s a Starbucks but I can walk their, drink tea, and write. Well, I hope I can write. I’ll be by myself. I got used to the companionship of my fellow creative friends and lovely cafe people in New York. Also, sometimes people can’t help but think, “that person looks bored, typing away, let me help by being a distraction.” Happens if you read. Or wear headphones.

I guess you could say if I don’t want to be distracted I should stay home but sometimes a different atmosphere is needed and home is filled with distractions. The noise of a coffee shop is like static or rain. It can help focus. Help tune out the bullying voices in your head. And if you’re stumped there is always people watching. Need an outfit for your character? Look up and use something around you. Have trouble writing dialog? Listen. Being in a public place and just listening can help find rhythm, or accents.

Also, exercise. I like knowing there is something in walking distance. Days I feel like a lump or am having trouble breaking through the creative wall, walking  loosens my limbs and brain waves which helps writing.

But i’m getting ahead of myself. Have to get their and hang out a few times to see if this is the place for me. But there is hope. Hope and tea.

Just Maybe…

I dream up scenarios. I can’t help it! I like to live in my head and image a likely, positive (sometimes negative) direction with small life events. I guess I’m an optimism but this is why I see myself as a storyteller. I just need to fine a way to take these thoughts and put them down on paper where they can be a short story or pieces of fiction. That is the hard part.

I’ve written a few words here and there and nothing seems to come to completion. I write 500 words and the next day I realize I don’t know where I’m going with the piece but I write maybe another 200 and stop. The struggle is real and completely my fault. I don’t know if I should keep writing and see if an idea will present itself or if I should try to outline a story for more direction. Could work for the better except what is that story line. I guess until I figure it out I’ll keep tip tapping away. Who knows, a scenario can pop up and turn into something. The thing I hope to learn is, how to find a story? I keep trying, struggling, and failing.

I keep pushing myself to write everyday. I mean I know this is what other authors did but when did they realize a piece was something to work on and edit. Just have to keep writing and hope to have those answers in the future. Hopefully, sooner better than later.

The Tools Used

I usually prefer typing. I can’t explain but I seem to write more clear. Typing I’m less likely to skip words. During the last few creative groups I have been writing longhand and I think it has helped but in a different way. I feel I’ve been a bit lost with the writing direction I’m going. Longhand let’s me take my time during the session. I can let a topic flow in more detail. I still have major issues with longhand. I skip words, there are spelling mistakes, and trying to read back what I scribbled…ugh! 

So far this has been working. There is an ease to the group. We chat, laugh, and everyone does what they need. A scribbled page, a sketched panel, or reviewed research. Look at me. I hadn’t had a blog post in a few months and even when I did post it was far between. I had trouble finding the time and energy to write with the weight of my job’s increased responsibility and it’s crazy scheduling. Now, two in a short amount of time and I’m feeling good. Confident. I know I need to start rework on a story but I’m not upset because I’m writing and with every piece (Whatever the piece is) I can hear myself improving. When I’m writing and it’s all working out, it feels right. As if this is what I’m meant to do. I know the struggles of creativity. When you can’t string a sentence together and a story seems impossible. It feels like the worst job in the world. But right now it’s what I need to do. 

I worry what will happen when I don’t have this group of like minded struggling artists. Will I fall off again?  No! I have to believe that will not be the case. We hold each other accountable in a friendly/challenging sort of way. It’s not a competition. It’s team work. We encourage each other so we all produce. Whatever that should mean to each individual. For me it’s simple right now, I’m writing again! 

 

We Work

What do you do with a blank page? It is probably the hardest thing to fill. Only be creative. Right? Words form sentences that then tell a story. Finding the story is the hardest thing. Look at all those artist out there pushing their works like it’s the easiest thing in the world. But here I am typing away. Trying to find a story to make my voice heard. My voice.
The true problem, I’m unsure what to post. These posts have become too few and far between. I think I have a topic to write about, I want to post about my anxieties, but I don’t want my job to find out since some of my anxieties come from work. Also, I don’t want to sound as if I’m complaining. In the height of a moment it never sounds amusing. Humor takes work.
But I have been writing more often lately. I leave, take a bus to the train, to find encouragement from a creative group, to write. It’s fun, relaxing, and we also do work. More than I do at home. At home it’s easy to turn on the TV or search the Internet. TV is not the only problem. I don’t feel I have a space at home. My desk is a mess, my area cramped with objects, and a hole in the ceiling from a leak that gives a draft and amplifies the noise from the apartment upstairs. Upstairs the children run with heavy feet but the screeching or crying scream of a child, the yelling discipline that only seems to make more noise, and tense situations makes it impossible to concentrate. In a moment the thought hanging on the end of a sentence is gone.
A cafe is a space of noise but it’s static. Yes, people talk, and the machines make food and drinks, but it’s not familiar. There is no WiFi so my computer is only a recording machine. WiFi hasn’t been a problem outside my home. Cafe WiFi has only seems to encouraged me to write in the past. My words come faster. The conversation may be a little too long but its just the creative energy from pears with the same struggle. We all agree to work with easy and funny conversation, overcoming our insecurity whether it’s writing in public, not having a specific topic, or struggling with a piece.
We work.

New Year, Same Goals

Happy New Year! Checking in and happy to know people still follow my blog! Or at least I think you do. It could be the followers shown as following me have also disappeared from their blogs and are just a ghost of a follow, which is good too, I guess. One thing that hasn’t changed and is always a running theme, I will forever fight to post to this blog. It’s always been hard to find topics to post about. I’ve even posted when I wasn’t happy with the post but I was trying to post regularly so I would just post it. I have certainly found my theme for this blog over time, mostly writing about having trouble writing. And why not? There is a small section in bookstore with all such books.
I have big plans that will one day become a reality even if I can only seem to post here once every blue moon…or more often because blue moons happen less often then my posting. Blue Moons like my posting is not such a rare thing, just not an often thing. So, anyway, a New Year. Here we are again. Making promises we struggle to keep. So, this year, no promises other than write more. I’m pretty happy with making this the resolution of 2017 since I ended the old year on a good path of accomplishing more writing. I’m part of a creative group. It’s a writing/art group my co-workers organized. We have a few writers and drawers trying to meet once a week just to talk/do our creative thing, and encourage each other. It’s great. It’s the 1920s of Paris, France but 2016-17s (The years are not every poetic…oh well) New York/Ireland (Thanks Facebook and other internet programs).
I’ve found inspiration from author Gail Carriger. I tweeted her a writing question at the beginning of October and she answered! It was amazing for me and a big Thank you to her! Also, inspiration from Neil Gaiman, like his commencement speech and New Year posts. So, here is what I’m going to do this year…
Write more. About anything. Just create. I have a feeling it will be easier this year. More support, energy, and time. Try to stay positive through the frustration of work. Use that energy to write. If it’s exhausting don’t feel sad or mad just rest and try again tomorrow. Let’s get to work!

 

Book Review: Buffering by Hannah Hart 

I first learned about Hannah Hart on her YouTube show, “My Drunk Kitchen,” and I introduced her videos to many of my friends and family. I was hooked by her creativity, funny cooking puns, and life morals after every episode. On film she is a positive force. I didn’t know that from the comedy came a hard and trying life. She is an inspiring person with a story everyone needs to read.

Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded is a collection of journal entries, essays, and memories of Hart’s life experiences which lead her to who she is today.

This book is incredibly moving. She talks about growing up with a mother who struggled with mental illness. She talks about her sisters and her slow understanding they weren’t living like others. Her complicated relationship with her father and step-father. How that realization still affects them today. But she also still tries to help others by showing how she has overcome her battles with self-harm and stress. I felt a close connection to Hart’s struggles with depression. And was making mental notes to try some of the exercises she uses to work through tough times.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Hart did a great job of mixing the sad with the funny. It was nice to learn the beginnings of “My Drunk Kitchen,” the work that went into creating the business and the content she does today. Also, the meaningful friendships she has developed and the honesty of learning to embrace her sexuality, faith, and self worth.

She is an excellent writer. Her voice is strong and comes through as completely authentic through her writing. It reads as if Hart is sitting with you sharing her story. It takes a lot of courage to open up but by doing so she will help many others.

Thank you to Dey Street Books, HarperCollins, and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for this review which had no weight on the outcome of the rating.

Expected publishing date for Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart is October 18, 2016.

Upcoming Work

You may see an influx of book reviews. I’m on a reading kick and sometimes get Advance Reader Copies (ARC) from my job. I figure why not turn the love of reading into writing. Plus if I can support/help another author, why not?!

I’ve been struggling. Writing is always a struggle for me. I’m sure for most. And lately I’ve been frustrated with not having a point, purpose, or theme when writing. Fighting is what we writers do. Fight finding time. Finding a comfort. Fighting the mind. Negative or just no thoughts at all. I know I need to sit down at the computer and practice because with practice is improvement.

This hectic schedule I’ve been keeping up has drained me and made me anxious. I have always been one to look and plan too far ahead. That can hinder. I try to think back to Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Just take one thing at a time. This is not just with writing. I try to remember to breath. When sitting down at the computer, watching the blinking cursor is emotional. Especially when it only seems to blink. I don’t have the opportunity to write at the same time everyday and I have to fight that need. Just trying to find steps in the right direction. So, hello ARC! Let’s kick start my writing brain.

Maybe everything else weighing on my mind will also shift into place.

Throwback Thursday: Italian Survival Guide by Elizabeth Bingham Book Review

I worked for an online website CelebrityCafe.com back in 2009. I wrote celebrity news, TV recaps, and reviews. Recently I noticed my articles have disappeared off the site so I’m taking some of my favorite work, and posting it on this page. Below is one of my book reviews.

Italian Survival Guide: The Language and Culture You Need to Travel with Confidence in Italy

Elizabeth Bingham Ph.D.

0970373449

World Prospect Press

A crash course for new travelers to Italy. Learn culture and very basic language to help travel with confidence through a foreign country.

“Italian Survival Guide: The Language and Culture You Need to Travel with Confidence in Italy” is Elizabeth Bingham, Ph.D. second published book, the first book being “German Survival Guide.” Bingham’s “Italian Survival Guild” intentions are to help the reader learn the basics of travel, language, and culture in a little amount of time.

This is not a travel guide for landmarks to see or restaurants to eat at. This is a travel guide for language and culture. Bingham’s book is in seven sections each one on an important topic of traveling. The topics are sorted well and in a useful order. Bingham separates the proper vocabulary in the accurate sections.

The vocabulary is bare basics and all of it essentials. Bingham doesn’t riddle the book with “the dog is on the chair” examples. The terminology is what a person would use when traveling. If you are fluent in Italian, you may find this book ineffective. This book doesn’t come with a CD and I don’t think it needs one. Every term comes with the meaning and the phonetics so there is no question on how a word should be pronounce.

The end of every lesson, chapter, and the book is a review test to help keep what was just read in the head. Short on time Bingham says you can skip the quizzes but I feel you can’t really learn and retain the words without proper time on the subject.

It doesn’t look like this book would be hard to use in Italy either. On the front and back covers is a survival summary of all the vocabulary, meaning, and phonetics all neatly characterize in labeled columns. Located in the back of the book it also a small Italian-English and English-Italian dictionary.

I did skim over some of the sections when I felt they didn’t apply to me and I didn’t feel I really missed anything. If there is anything she had mention in an early section Bingham feels you should review she does tell the reader where to refer back.

The Italian culture was also separated into each section under the appropriate terms. Bingham has made the culture sections easy to read throughout the book and made the tips very practical. She talks about the differences that may be experienced between American and Italian culture. She teaches woman not to be shocked at hollering men, differences in coffee, and money. She gives safety tips to help the traveler stay aware of crime. Sometimes I wish she would have elaborated on certain subjects. For me the currency only made me more confused and worried about what I may face in Italy or what attire is suitable for travel since I cannot change what is in my closet. Also I didn’t feel confident on the directions given on church attire.

Bingham’s book set out to give confidence to a new traveler with limited time to learn language and culture of a foreign country. I think you do need at least a month’s time of everyday study to be confident in a foreign language completely. I do feel see taught a different culture with understanding and ease. I do feel a little bit better traveling to Italy with some of the knowledge and words I have grasp from this book.