*dial tone*

Sorry. You may not be familiar with this sound if you’re under a certain age.

I forgot to write my second post for February. Between it being a short month and me losing my g. d. mind it slipped through the cracks. I have a longer post in the works, but for now here’s a short, fun observation.

I watched the two most recent Jurassic Park movies in the same night and I have feelings and opinions that I want to share as a casual fan of dino destruction and a student pursuing an MS in Park And Resource Management.

First, the franchise is formulaic fun. And utter nonsense. I confess I never watched the two sequels from the 90s. I hear i didnt miss much, and I think the two Jurassic World films treated them as non-existent. Anyways, I really liked Jurassic World even as I sat and predicted each dino-induced death before it happened, much to my date’s amusement. I didn’t ruin anything for him; he’d seen them already.

Second, I have some reservations about the ending of the second movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, due to my growing understanding of environmental issues and ecosystem management. Those dinosaurs are invasive species, nay, genetically modified invasive species. Although the film is trying to make a point about the value of all living things I think they missed the mark a little here. Also, humans are now dino snacks in the film universe. Two species that have never coexisted naturally are now going to encounter each other on a regular basis. *spoiler alert ahead* They are not on an equal level with the cloned girl and I will stand by my argument. Neither asked to be brought into being by genetic experimentation, but Maisie is a human being with complex thought processes and no razor sharp teeth. It could be argued that the velociraptors have innate intelligence. However, they are dangerous and potentially may devolve back to instinctual behaviors regardless of training.

That being said, I still really liked the movies and the original that started it all. I’ll leave you with Dr. Malcolm’s slightly less well known quote:

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

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No Swimming

Dangerous water lurks below this bridge,

covered by a tranquil top

coat of slow moving water,

turbulence swirling wild beneath the boulders–

tilted and tossed carelessly–

upon the banks,

glacial remains like gravel in a deep scrape.

I haven’t been swimming here,

not even tempted to put in a toe;

those life preservers hanging every hundred yards or so

glare like warning eyes from posts on the shore.

I’ve lived here long enough to know the

stories of undertows and accidental drownings,

bodies getting stuck in the swirl and

rescuers needing rescue themselves.

That water is vicious, dangerous, mysterious as it runs on

toward the Allegheny, the Ohio, the Mississippi, the sea.

Death Comes

Please note: This poem is dark, and I would suggest not reading it if you’ve just lost a child, unless this sort of thing brings you comfort in your loss. The turning of the year saw a few people I know taken from this life in quick succession.

Death comes ravenously,

stopping little feet from running

through new summer grass;

not yet sated on the weakened breaths

rising from withered old chests.

Death comes quietly

in the night to steal all joy

from hearts welcoming a new

heart into this world, taken

too soon to be countenanced.

Death comes sure-footed

among the ranks of assembled soldiers,

touching this one on the shoulder or that,

seemingly at random, as if to say,

“Come with me, your service is at an end.”

Death comes finally

to gather home the long-lived,

the well-loved wanderer on earth,

who has at last spent all their strength,

and has one journey yet to make.

It’s Alive!*

I had a rough 2018. Friends have said the same. So let’s move past that. I haven’t made any resolution to start blogging again, but I am ready to write again and this happens to coincide with the new year.

I’m back to editing my novel. I started grad school in the fall. My second semester starts next week. I’m in the Park and Resource Management program at SRU. I enjoy it although it is substantially different from what I thought I would be doing. At this time last year I was trying to get into University of Arizona for a master’s in English Literature. I also thought I was losing my mind. I didn’t get in to that program, but I did go to counseling. They confirmed I was not losing my mind, just managing my stress poorly.

This post is simply a rambling reintroduction to IDEAS & INKSTAINS. I’ll be reviewing topics, format, and scheduling in the coming weeks so the next post will be back in line with previous efforts. I really enjoyed writing the world building post so I may jump off of that for my next post.

Updates:

Draft 6.2.8 is underway as I edit my novel.

I’m writing a collection of poetry with a common thread. I may explore self-publishing options for this project. The poems mean a lot, but poetry doesn’t sell well (unless you’re Sharon Olds, which I’m not). So yeah, you’ll be getting some cheap efforts at poetry from me sometime at the end of the year. The poetry collection has come from an interesting set of emotions. I’m at a place in my life where I’m looking for a lasting relationship, yet I’m learning to be content being alone. I’m also finally processing a lot of old hurts from previous, often toxic, relationships. I need to get this stuff out of my system., and it’s coming through as poetry. Writing can be therapeutic. In this case it has already helped so much. Look out for my book of angsty diatribes. I’ll update when it comes out!

I’m feeling productive in general. I spent 2018 getting organized (as a habit) in preparation for full time grad school + full time work, so I feel good about my time management.

Finishing novel edits, querying agents, and self-publishing my poetry collection are all feasible for this calendar year.

-Happy Writing!-

*Frankenstein (1931)

The Dunes of Enceladus

It snowed a lot here over the last week. One day it took an hour to shovel the drive so I could get out for work, and I spent that hour pondering Saturn’s frozen yet active satellite. I imagined snow drifts piling up like dunes on the icy moon, Enceladus. There’s surely a story hiding in that thought.

Given the presence of humans on these wintry days, maybe Hoth is a more apt comparison, but I’m not here to talk about Star Wars. I’m here to talk about reading challenges and nonfiction and hikes through snowy woods. I have some goals for 2018 and I’d like to share them. Accountability, you know?

Reading Challenges

I did the Goodreads Reading Challenge in 2016 and 2017. It’s a good, clear tracker that lets you set your own goal. Goodreads even sends me email updates to help me track my progress, stay motivated, and pick my next read. There are even group reading challenges you can join if you’d like to discuss your progress with a community of fellow readers.

My 2016 goal was 12 books and I read 7. Bad year. In 2017 my goal was 50 and I read 27. I increased my reading volume by nearly 400%! I’m sticking with the goal of 50 this year.

Book Riot also offers a reading challenge called Read Harder  It encourages readers to branch out and read widely and diversely. They have monthly themes with several excellent suggestions listed in each theme. I think January 2017 was ‘sports book,’ and it offered everything from a runner’s memoir to a book about the NBA by Bill Simmons (hello, sports people!), and everything in between. Book Riot does a fanastic job with their lists and suggestions, and they have a Read Harder group on Goodreads, too.

I listen to Anne Bogel’s What Should I Read Next podcast, and she hosts a reading challenge on her “Modern Mrs. Darcy” blog. I just learned about it this year so I have very little information on it. I will provide the link  I quite enjoy her podcast, and it’s worth a listen if you like books and bookish conversations in your podcasts.

I anticipate hitting my goal this year. I’m catching up on back issues of magazine subscriptions (Writer’s Chronicle/Poets & Writers), combing through my bookshelves and generally getting more organized. Life is fantastic!

Nonfiction

My first goal with my reading this year is to get more nonfiction in my book diet. I’ve had an increasing interest in narrative nonfiction, especially, of late. This year, I’m leaning more toward nature and outdoorsy titles. I read H is for Hawk and A Walk in the Woods this past year, both of which I enjoyed immensely for differing reasons. I also read Other Minds, which was more a philosophical work. I don’t have anything against philosophy, though. I just prefer the nature bits. 

Back to the nonfiction goal: I plan to read The Genius of Birds and Coyote America by the end of February. Lofty goals…have I said that before? 

On previous forays into nonfiction I tended to pick up medieval history with a European focus. I guess I tend to read in topics. One book I found fascinating traced the web of people and events that wove together the opportunity for William the Conqueror of Normandy to fight and win the Battle of Hastings in 1066. I might be the only one. I also read about Charlemagne, the Black Death, and a pope who quit the papacy (he got whacked for that). Maybe I’ll return to this period at a later date. I still have plenty of reading material on it.

Another realm of nonfiction I want to explore is the biography. Aside from kids “did you know?” books, I’ve never read a biography. My Charlemagne book was more of an overview, and I found it in history rather than biography. That book examined more about how Charlemagne set in motion the creation of modern Europe (politically speaking). There were still a lot of assassinations and intermarriages between the great Carolingian king and the most current map of Europe, but he was the first domino, so to speak. So reading about the lives of well known luminaries is now on my list. Maybe I’ll find a new reading love.

Hikes in the Snowy Woods

I’ve done one already! Here’s my end purpose: log terrain and how long it takes to cover a distance in different terrains and conditions. You were expecting, “To behold the austere beauty of nature in winter,” weren’t you? That’s nice, too. I plan on taking photos during my walks. There is plenty of wildlife in my neck of the woods, even in this weather. I do a little amateur bird watching when I hike and I have a pair of binoculars

So I’ll be hiking, and logging my hikes, and reporting on them. And reading a ton of books, including many about the natural world. 

And that’s the update!