List o’ things to do

Posted in My life on June 29, 2011 by Julie Mangan

Friday is my last day out in corporate america for a while. I’m really looking forward to the change of venue but have realized something over the last few days as I’ve created my list o’ stuff to do. That realization: This is going to be way more exhausting than working for someone else. And I know exactly the reason why. My expectations are too high. There’s no way I can live up to them. But I’m going to try. Wish me luck.

What’s your theme? Otherwise known as: Something that’s bothered me for a long time.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2011 by Julie Mangan

Does your life have a theme? Because mine doesn’t. I don’t know anyone who’s life is so simple, so cut and dry, it can be summed up by a simple word or phrase. Even when talking about a specific moment or incident in life, there’s no theme. There is what happened. There are the facts. Why does everything have to have some deep underlying, cloak and dagger, hidden meaning? Why can’t something be taken at face value and deemed valuable for what it is, rather than what someone else thinks it ought to be? Maybe the point isn’t ‘what is this person not saying that I have to figure out’. Maybe the point is ‘something happened and the consequences are significant’.

When I read I don’t want something I have to analyze and stew over to get the full meaning. I want something I want to think about because the writer wrote it in such a manner that the characters were engaging, realistic, flawed and relatable despite the gap between my experiences and theirs.

My life doesn’t have a theme, so why should my characters’? If a story isn’t worth reading without a theme, then why do people force other’s to listen to their inane anecdotes that don’t mean anything? It’s all subjective anyway, depending on the person who reads it.

When Past Meets Present

Posted in My life, Something that got me thinking on March 7, 2011 by Julie Mangan

Facebook is in interesting tool, probably best left unused in some cases. People from your past are all over the place, begging for attention, and in some cases you can’t help but give it, in hopes that things are working out well for them. You go to their wall, read their last few status updates and big as life, there it is between the lines. Their tone and content is pleasant, even humorous at times. But you can tell, you can just tell, that it’s all one big farce.

The latest person I’ve read about will remain nameless, but some might be able to guess who it is. Please, if you can, don’t name him/her/it. We will call him/her/it The Topic. Now, The Topic was once a dear friend. We did lots of things together. Spent endless hours talking on the phone, hanging out at school, after school, at work, at home, on vacation together. Pretty much, we were inseparable for a few good years. Then, lives changed, circumstances changed, and we drifted apart. I made decisions, The Topic made decisions, and we have arrived at March 6 2011, both alive, thought having not spoken in ages. There was no scene, no horrid falling out. We simply grew apart due to our responsibilities and goals. We reconnected for a time, but during that brief time span it became clear to me that The Topic had changed. I didn’t want to judge. I still don’t. It’s just evident, (then, just as much as now) that perhaps The Topic had made a few regrettable choices. I too, had made such choices, and resumed the friendship after airing a few grievances and talking them over. No harm, no foul.

In the course of that period The Topic did some things I would never dream of doing. It caused irreparable damage to another friendship, and put me in the middle of a rather uncomfortable situation. Still, I tried to remain friends with The Topic. The Topic went about life, making choices, achieving goals. I supported The Topic as a friend, lending a shoulder to cry on when upset and never doling out recriminations for choices made. Then, after a serious crisis in The Topic’s life, ties were severed. I had nothing to do with said crisis. Yet in the fallout, I became a casualty. The Topic disappeared.

Years later, another friend and I found The Topic on Facebook through sheer happenstance. The Topic had changed last names to no last name we ever knew The Topic to go by, but the photo was unmistakable. Also by sheer happenstance, The Topic happened to be online at that exact moment and we spent a good hour or two chatting over the social medium. We friended each other and every now and then I see a post that sparks my interest, pinches my memory about something in our past, and I take a look at The Topic’s wall.

Absolutely depressing.

And not because I see The Topic doing things I would like to do (because The Topic doesn’t). It’s because I see The Topic doing things that I know are in direct contrast to who The Topic is. Or at least was. Perhaps that is who The Topic is now. If so, it makes me wonder what happened in between that time of crisis and now, to completely destroy that wonderful personality and turn it into such a phony facade. I know The Topic. I know The Topic is in a desperate place. I can see it dripping from every status update. And it’s depressing to think The Topic could get out of it, just by admitting a few things were wrong. By manning up, and saying “I was wrong. I need to take a step back and reevaluate the things I value in life. I need to give a few apologies and make a few amends. I need to make a few adjustments.” Why is that so hard for some people?

I’d like to help The Topic. But I don’t know how. Even if I did, I don’t think The Topic would accept it. I think the bitterness and despair is too deep. I can only hope someone else, Someone above or someone The Topic calls a friend now, sees it too, and helps where I can’t.

Allergies

Posted in My life on March 3, 2011 by Julie Mangan

They’ve started construction in the field behind my house. Initially I was overjoyed to see something going in back there. The prospect of a grocery store within a mile of my house makes me grin like a fool. The vicious rumor that a Texas Roadhouse would be joining said grocery store made me nearly giddy.

Then reality set in. They began digging sometime last week and guess what? My head pounds, my back aches, my nose runs and my throat feels like someone is using it for a pin cushion. Something they’re kicking up back there is kicking my butt. And before you think it, no, I’m not crazy, nor am I paranoid. The Boy is feeling the effects too. We’re both sickly, grouchy and ornery.

On top of all this, the digging in the field is sending furry creatures scurrying from the field into my yard. My dirt is probably inundated with moles, voles, mice, rats, snakes, and countless stray cats. It’s enough to make me want to cry, but that would just make my headache worse.  

All of this leads me to one thought: How long does it take to build a shopping center, and can I remain sane long enough to see it through?

Trials

Posted in Something that got me thinking on February 28, 2011 by Julie Mangan

During the last few months I’ve heard people talk about trials and tribulations a lot. Even more than food storage. It’s been said that trials are given to us to make us stronger. So my question is (and forgive me if it irritates someone) what if you don’t really have any?

I’ve wondered this before. I’ve looked at my life compared to others and I marvel at how lightly I’ve gotten off so far. And whenever I think this I instantly become paranoid, waiting for the axe to fall. But so far it hasn’t. Why, I wonder. Obviously the Lord has blessed me and mine. I don’t dispute that at all. It’s not that I want horrible things to happen. I just wonder what I’ve done to deserve such blessings, or conversely, why the Lord chooses not to utilize trials in strengthening me thus far. Why do some good people have such horrible things happen while people of questionable ethics and morals get everything they’ve ever wanted? And then there’s me, far from perfect but hopefully far from horrible as well. Just like a lot of other people I know, going through life-altering challenges.

What makes me so different?

books vs tv adaptations

Posted in Something that got me thinking on February 26, 2011 by Julie Mangan

I’ve read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies, and it never fails to astounded me how one can be so much better than the other.
The example that got me thinking on the subject is abcfamily’s pretty little liars, named after a book series by Sara Shepard. I’ve watched the show from day one, have had my issues with it, but nothing bad enough to turn me away. Yet in the first ten pages of the novel I was so irritated by the writing, the premises, and what I knew to be coming, that I put it down, with no intention of returning to it. And it wasn’t that I knew bad things were going to happen, it was more in the way the writer portrayed the characters as seventh graders. Now, anyone who’s watched the show can tell you these are not the type of activities seventh graders should be up to. So I have to wonder, why did the author choose to make them so young while engaging in such self-destructive behavior, and why did abcfamily choose to place them as juniors in high-school instead?
Imo. Abcfamily made the right choice, which in and of itself is a miracle considering current tv tends. But what about Ms. Shepard? Did she hope for a wider audience by making the girls so young, or is this simply insight into the type of skewed childhood she led? Or is it something else turning me away from the book, some personal preference?
Are these really great books, and I just can’t see it because of the age issues, or is it just a great tv show despite its disreputable origin?

Revising

Posted in Writing on February 25, 2011 by Julie Mangan

I’m on the last 40 pages of an 85,000 word novel and I’ve decided that revising is not my strong point. I’ve really got to work on that. This is just the first revision, and according to David Farland I’ve got at least five more to go. Eek! The very thought makes me want to cry. Still, who am I to argue with someone like him? So I’ll press on, do my next five revisions and hope to high heaven it doesn’t need another after that. By that point, I’ll probably be ready to toss the book in the fire.

As for my next project, I can’t decide what to do. Shall I go with vampires, YA romance, or LDS chick lit? Somebody, please make the decision for me.