Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On Becoming a Whovian

  • Take a guy who still obsesses over his original Star Wars action figures...
  • introduce him to a girl who can't seem to stop reading books about faeries, Greek gods or intergalactic travel...
  • throw in two kids who constantly reference Gandalf, Dumbledore or Daleks in everyday conversation...
  • and what do you have?

Right! The Petersen household.

This summer my son turned me into a Whovian. (Thank you Netflix!) While some people may have wasted their summer swimming or getting tans, we watched back-to-back episodes of Dr. Who every weekend, making our way through several seasons before the end of summer. After all, we live in southern California. We can go to the beach any old day ;D

I'd like to point out that I introduced my son to the 10th doctor (David Tennant -- my personal favorite) years ago when I recorded a couple of episodes that we watched together. Apparently, he was too young at the time, but with the seeds planted at a young age, it didn't take much to nurture the curiosity into a full-blown mania.

These days he has become a walking repository of Who trivia. Not only does he know every current episode title and synopsis, he can also name the actors who portrayed the doctor and his companions from the very beginning of the series. And that's just the tip of his extensive knowledge. (His father and I are holding out hope that this somehow proves useful in two years when he starts writing essays for college applications.)

In November I took him down to Universal City to see The Day of the Doctor on the big screen in 3-D, and his father is making plans to build him a walk-in book case that looks like a Tardis. Seriously. If those plans ever get off the ground, trust me, there will be photos.

What are your current obsessions, books, movies or otherwise?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Year in Books and Numbers

Not sure what this says about me, but according to my husband, it says that I don't spend enough time sleeping :)

Books read last year: 89
Books started but not finished:15
Books reviewed on Goodreads last year: 10

Favorites (in no particular order):
  • Throne of Glass 
  • I'm Not Her
  • Eleanor & Park
  • Shades of Earth
  • The Rosie Project
  • The Promise of Stardust 
Books on my Kindle: 906 (a lot of these are freebies that aren't necessarily high on my TBR list)
Books in my TBR pile: 38

Words written last year: 40,000
Words written so far this year: 30,000

Books read so far this year: 7 (two were re-reads)

Books published last year: 0
Books to be published this year: ???

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Resolutions vs. Goals

I've never been a fan of New Year's Resolutions. They just seem to set me up for failure. And this year, I plan to succeed. Really.

Instead of setting resolutions, I made a list of concrete writing goals and pulled out a calendar to set guidelines for when I could reasonably expect to accomplish them. After being in a writing funk last year, I realized that I have several projects that I've abandoned along the way that I'd like to revisit this year. One book is complete, but needs to be totally rewritten. One is 75 percent complete but requires more research. Another one is fully outlined but only written about a third of the way. I set goals for outlining, research, writing and editing, to give myself time to focus on each story and get them finished.

Maybe it's just semantics, but I'm excited about putting these goals into action. I think writing out specific goals on a timeline will help me focus. And hopefully keep me from becoming another resolution statistic.

What about you – do you make resolutions or set writing goals for yourself?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Opening at the Close

A Christmas present from my brilliant hubby
Yesterday was a significant day in our house. I finished reading the entire Harry Potter series (for the second time) out loud for the whole family. And then, of course, we had to watch movies 7 and 8 back to back and discuss theatrical omissions and additions. Because that's how we are :)

We started in the spring, reading together at night. At first I thought it would just be for my 11yo daughter. I had already read the series with my son when he was in 6th grade, and read books 1-4 to my husband when they originally came out. Now it was Jasmine's turn. But my husband and son always managed to be in the room when I was reading and complained bitterly if we started without them. It became a family activity. During our road trip over the summer we finished book four. Since I didn't think we'd get through the whole thing, I hadn't brought book five with us. They insisted I purchase another copy because they couldn't go the rest of the trip without hearing more.

By the time we got to book seven, we slowed down. Not because we'd lost interest, more because we didn't want it to end. Reading together as a family has opened the door to some wonderful discussions and given us a shared reference point for viewing the world. Now when my husband answers telemarketing calls, he can be Stan Shunpike or Vernon Dudley. When we enter a dark room, someone will inevitably say "lumos" as they turn on the light. Next month when the kids have a week long break we're headed to Orlando. Not for the beaches or Disneyworld. We can't wait to revisit Harry Potter World to stock up on butter beer, chocolate frogs and Ollivander's wands.

There are people who have burned Rowling's books, claimed that they encourage kids to experiment with the occult. Obviously, they haven't read the books for themselves. They've missed the whole point. To me, those books are about love. They celebrate the love between parents and children, between friends, between teachers and students. The wonderful messages woven into the fabric of these amazing stories are so much bigger than the books themselves.

Now at the close of this series, I feel like I've opened my kids up to a deeper understanding of so many things: racism (mudbloods), looking past surface actions to deeper motivations (Snape), always standing up for what they know to be right. Rowling is a genius. It's no wonder her books are cherished and adored. And I'm so glad that I've been able to be able to share that with my kids.
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