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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

From Goodreads.....

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. 

Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. 

Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.


Last year, I found out through a blog post that Lauren Graham was going to publish her first novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe.

What?

I was first introduced to Lauren Graham back in the early 2000’s when I started watching Gilmore Girls.  As Lorelei Gilmore, she was funny and could think of snappy comebacks on the spot.  She lived in the quirky fictional town where everybody knows your name and your personal business.  Lorelei had a close relationship with her daughter Rory, while her relationship with her mother, Emily Gilmore was a bit complicated.

I recently started watching her play the role of Sarah Braverman on Parenthood.  It just hit me that on both shows, Lauren  plays the role of single mom.

I haven’t read a lot of reviews for Someday, Someday, Maybe.  I generally don’t read reviews, but I have read that Someday, Someday, Maybe is a must read.

I eagerly picked up this novel from my local library without reading the first few pages. Someday, Someday, Maybe is the story of Franny Banks who is striving to become an actress in New York City.  She has given herself six months to make it big or move on.  

The story is set in 1995.  I find it interesting that Graham chose to set the story in 1995. I am guessing that the novel is loosely based on Graham’s humble beginnings as an actress.  In 1995, I was 12 years old reading the Baby-Sitters Club series.  In 1995, people called each other on the phone, used Filiofax and weekly planners to keep up with important dates and appointments, and wrote letters when they needed to.  Now, we keep up and communicate with our smartphones and tablets.  However, in 1995 Franny Banks kept up with her important dates, appointments, and randomness in her Filofax.


To be honest, I was bored during the first 100 pages of the novel.  After the first 100 pages, the story began to pick up speed.  Acting doesn't really interest me, but despite wanting to abandon the book, I was willing to see it through to see what happens to Franny.

Readers watch Franny struggle to find acting work.   It seems that the only work she can find is a sweater commercial and dish washing detergent.  Franny has her friends Dan and Jane, and her father for support, but it doesn't seem to be enough.  

Some parts of the novels were funny and it reminded me of Lorelei Gilmore.  I kept picturing Lauren Graham playing the role of Franny.  Franny's father reminded me of Richard Gilmore because he is into classical music and literature.  

There were moments when I wanted to reach out and hug Franny and tell her that everything will be okay.  She thinks that she is on her way when she lands an agent, but he doesn't return her calls.  She looses her waitressing jobs and has to pick up temp work to make ends meet.  Spoiler altert: Franny finally gets an offer, but it is for a zombie movie.  She is desperate to accept, but a classmate talks her out of it.

Franny wonders if being talented is enough to make it in the acting business. She wonders he needs to change the way she looks in order to be noticed.  This story shows the importance of perseverance despite the struggle whether you want to be an actor, writer, artist, musician, or start your own business.  You just can't give up.

I'm glad that I finished the book because Franny finally does land work that is not degrading and can be proud of-all because she didn't give up.

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 30-Hopes, Dreams,and Plans For the Future

Yay! I made it through the 30 Week Blog Challenge.  I can honestly say that this is one task that I have been able to be consistent with from start to finish despite lack of Internet access for the last month or so. It has been really fun.  There were a lot good topics, and I revealed a little bit more about myself here on the blog with integrity and class.

What are my hopes, dreams, and plans for the future?  I hope to find a job where my vision impairment is not an issue.  I plan to face my fears and go back to school to pursue new skills that will enable me to fully support myself.

It has been my dream to publish a novel. While I still struggle with the novel-the actual finding the time to sit down and writing it without getting discouraged, I have made strives toward making writing a reality.  Within the last five years, I started writing for web content sites, also known as content mills.  It's not always the best way to go, but it gave me experience and helped me to make baby steps toward being a writer.  I became a blogger and published some of my short stories through Smashwords.  I've only received a few sales from Smashwords, but it is not going to stop me.  It just means that I need write better stories and strive to be a better writer.  I was once told that I didn't have what it took to be a writer, well, I can say that I have proven otherwise.  I'm not going to become famous or big money over night.  I have done well with writing product reviews and consumer reports over at Knoji.  I guess it's because I am writing about topics that people care about-shopping and saving money.

I also plan to visit Europe one day.  I have planned to go to London this summer, but it didn't work out.  Maybe next year or so.  I have been to Canada and Mexico, and for many that's a big achievement.  However, I want to see more.  I want to visit Paris, London, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, etc.  Taking World Geography back in college was my ticket to seeing the world through books and photos.  I want to be there for real-taking in the smells, sounds, and sights.

I also hope that within the future that there will be some kind of technology that will enable me to drive.  It would be nice to be able to be spontaneous and hop in the car and just go for a ride.  I have to plan everything-how I'm going to get there, who's going to pick me up, and bring me back home.  If I want to use public transportation, I have to consider if my destination is near a bus stop, and if I need to call a taxi, I have to calculate how much it is going to cost.  Sometimes it is easier just to stay home and avoid the hassle.  I do good to get to places I need to go.

There is one hope that I have for the future.  I hope to get married someday.  I would also love to have children, if I'm not too old to have one.  I want my very own family.  I hope to find a husband who loves me for me, accepts for who I am, and doesn't think I act like an intellectually challenged person. (That sounds wierd I know).  Let me explain.

I am often viewed as intellectually challenged.  It seems that all physically challenged people are lumped into the same category.   People think that I can't do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for myself-do my own hair, pick out my own clothes, dress myself.  People think that I have to sit in the front seat all the time.  If I tell people that I went to college, they look at me strange and say, "Oh really?"  Oh, if I say that I am looking for a job, I usually get this response, "Oh, you wanna work," or "Don't you get government assistance?"
All of this sounds crazy unless you live through it.  I know some physically challenged persons who dated and married within the physically challenged community while others married non physically challenged persons.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  My hope is to find someone won't be embarrassed by me and won't be afraid to be seen with me.  Why be with a person like that?  I don't understand it.

I would like to learn how to make jewelry and hair accessories and open an Etsy shop.  I'm not so good at making things, but I am sure that I can learn if I take my time.

Oh, I would like to meet my favorite authors Sarah Dessen, Susane Colasanti, and Sharon M. Draper.
And go to an actual concert.

Most of all, own my own home and have a place to call my own.

There are tons of other things that I could write about, but those are the major ones.  Hopefully, I can achieve most of them.

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 29-Someone You Love

Can it be just one person or a group of people?  I love my family.  As a little girl, I had a very large family. There were always family functions, but things changed over the years.  Despite all of the changes, I know that I can always count on my parents to be there through thick and thin.

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 28-A Place You Love

I love going to the bookstore.  For many, that seems boring, but for book nerds like myself it makes perfect sense.  I like being able to shop for books online, but there is nothing like shopping for books in person.

I usually visit my local Barnes N Noble or Books-A-Million. I use to go to the Borders at the mall, but sadly they shut down. I actually had an awards card that I never got to use.  When I visit B&N, the smell of coffee hits me as soon as I walk in the door.

I can wander through different section and look at books.  If you want to read a magazine, you can find a quiet place to sit and read.  The last time I was at Barnes N Noble, I noticed people chatting in the cafe. One young woman appeared to be studying while others were catching up with friends or previewing a book.

The best part about shopping at the bookstore, is that you can sit and read the first chapter of a book or skip around to see what the book will be like.  With ebooks, you can't do not.  You can download a sample, but you can only read a few pages of the first chapter or so.

I hope that bookstores don't go away any time soon or in my lifetime.  It took me awhile to warm up to e-readers.  I like being able to read books on the tablet because of the convenience and portability.  I also enjoy the feel of a new book in my hands.  I enjoy receiving them in the mail and opening the package when it arrives.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 27-What's in Your Bag

What’s in my bag?  As I think about my bag or the purse that I am currently carrying contains the following:

  • Jolly rancher wrappers from Saturday (It’s sad I know. I need to clean out my bag).  
  • Pens
  • Chap stick
  • Lip gloss
  • Magnifier 
  • Phone
  • Comb
  • Wallet (Can’t forget that)
  • keys
  • Tablet 

Okay, the contents seem it bit boring, but it's my bag.  Yes, I have been carrying my tablet around with me lately.  I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  I don’t have Internet access on my phone, so it is nice to be able to check my email if there is Wi-Fi available.  However, I don’t do a lot of Internet activities on my tablet.  I mainly use it to read books.  This is better than trying to fit a hardback or paperback into my bag, and no one can judge you for what you are reading.  Having books on your tablet can be convenient, especially if you have to wait somewhere like the airport, beauty salon, the DMV, etc.

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 26-Admiration

Who do I admire and inspire?  It is difficult to pick just one person. I admire my favorite authors and various persons in real life. First and foremost, I admire my mom.  I admire her because she overcame many obstacles.  She could have easily made excuses and took the easy route out.   A few years ago, she went back to school.   She juggled school, a full time job, and responsibilities at home.  She stayed up late and or got up early to study.  My mom graduated last year with honors.  She was on the dean’s list every semester. I often hear people say, “I don’t know how people do it-go to school, take care of their family, and work full time.” Yes, it is tough and a lot of sacrifices are made.   I remember a conversation a father and son had in the  The Great Debaters movie ,”You do what you have to do, in order to do what you want you want to do.”  In order words, there are times when you have to pull up your boot straps in order to make improvements for yourself.  There are times when you will have to make difficult choices.  I imagine for adults or anyone who has been out of school for awhile that going back to school is a daunting task. Especially when everything is so technology driven.  You have to do research online, access your grades, assignments and more online, and if you need to communicate online with your fellow classmates and teachers-well you have to do that online too.  My mom survived through all that.  I hope to be like her someday, or maybe I have already gained those traits.

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 25-Favorite Photo

My favorite photo?  Well…..I don’t have many photos accept various photos I have taken on vacation.  As I was searching through some photos I saved on my thumb drive, I found this one.


Two years ago, I went on a road trip with some friends out to Tyler, Texas.  We visited a rose garden where you can see all sorts of roses in different colors.  I like flowers.  I like the way flowers smell and I love their colors.  I took a lot of pictures that day.  The nice thing about this popular tourist attraction is that they have a gift shop where they sell everything related to flowers.  You can even have a wedding or other special events there.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

30 Week Blog Challenge: Week 24-Your Childhood

Yes, I know that I am behind on the 30 Week Blog Challenge.  I have been unable to access the Internet, so that is why I have been missing in action.

This week’s challenge is to talk about your childhood.  Okay, this is going to be a long one. So here it goes.

I was born June 22, 1983 in Greenville, South Carolina.  I was an only child until I was 9 years old when my brother was born.  I had cousins to play with, but the ones closest to my age were boys.  I have a girl cousin who lives who is two years younger than me. I don’t get to see her that often.  I have a big family, so there was always something going on.  We use to have family gatherings and make trips to Newberry.  My family was a lot closer than.  It was difficult to imagine anything different.

My parents, brother, and I took family vacations.  We have been to Disney World three times.  We visited our family members in various locations around the country including Virginia, Georgia, Texas, and Washington D.C.  Before my brother was born, we went to Mexico.  It was our first visit to a foreign country.

I was born visually impaired.  I spent a lot of time in hospitals and doctor’s offices.  I went to daycare and preschool with other kids who weren’t physically challenged.  I don’t remember how they responded to me then. I imagine that it didn’t matter as long as there was someone to play with.  When I was about four years old, I was on the monkey bars one day.  I remember falling to the ground, my head was bleeding, and the teachers had to wrap my head and drive me to the hospital.  (I guess EMS couldn’t get there in time).  I remember going to the hospital seeing my mother waiting for me, and receiving a big bandage on my head.  I also remember waking up at home, overhearing my mother calling to get my glasses fixed.  I still have a small scar above my eye brow

I was enrolled in kindergarten in 1988.  I rode the school bus to school every day, and I know that it is a very young age to let a child ride the bus.  The bus I was on was for physically challenged children only.  So I guess my parents thought that this was safer than riding the “regular” bus.  I started off in a small class with three other visually impaired students and I was the only girl in my class.  We would partner with the other special education classes for art, music, and etc.  In the first grade, another student and I spend the afternoon with other classes for science and social studies.  They call this mainstreaming where a special education student participates in classes with other students (general population). I’m sure that there is a better explanation for it.

I started off as an honor roll student.  I won lots of awards and my parents and or grandparents would reward me. For instance, they would take me to Belk’s department store.  Back then, if you showed your report card, they would give you prizes.  So it was always something to look forward to.  It was shocking to learn that I was going to be held back in the first grade.  It wasn’t because of my grades.  I always thought that maybe it was because I spent so much time in the hospital that school year.  It was never really explained to me.

Honor roll kept up until the second semester of third grade.  I don’t know what happened to me that year. When I started the third grade, I was in for a big surprise.  On the first day of school, I found out that I would be mainstreaming full time.  I was going to be in a class with other students.  I was leaving our close knit nucleus and was going to be in a class with more students.  It wasn’t so bad because I had my childhood friend Chris with me from my class of four years.   We had a teacher aide to come sit with us in class and we would go back to the old classroom to check in with our teacher.

Chris and I spent a lot of time together at recess.  The other kids kind of kept themselves at a distance.  One day, my teacher encouraged the class to start playing with us.  Chris began to make more friends and wellI didn’t.  I would spend recess alone.

By fourth grade, I knew that I wasn’t fitting in with the students and I would get made fun of.  My grandmother bought me a Barney book bag, but this was a big joke to my classmates.  Fortunately, I had another book bag at home to use.  My classmates would talk about music and other stuff and I felt clueless about what they talked about.  What I knew about music was from what my parents played in the car, etc.  I started listening to the radio more and learning the titles and artists of songs.  I started watching music videos on BET and MTV.

Despite this, I wasn’t connecting with my classmates.  I often times spent recess alone.  My teachers thought that it was necessary for me to talk to a guidance counselor.  My teacher also handpicked two girls for me to hang out with-Rasandra and Allison.  This only lasted until the end of the school year and we went our separate ways in 5th grade.

In 5th grade, there were no more counselors and matchups.  I guess that teachers didn’t have time to worry about my social life.  A girl named Christy, who rode my bus started talking to me.  We would have to do all of our socializing at school or in the library before we got on the bus, because our bus driver didn’t allow us to talk.  All I could do on the bus is sight see or take a nap.  We  started talking on the phone and passing notes and this was a big deal.  Folks, it was the mid 90’s, so there was no Facebook, Twitter, email, texting, etc.  We had face-to-face, notes, and phone.

Life changed in middle school. I guess that I can say that the innocence of elementary school was a thing of the pass.  Christy was at the same school, so I had someone there.  She would bring me magazines and we would exchange/borrow CD’s. Music was our common interest.

I still wasn’t connecting with the other students.  Kids made fun of me more.  I use to have to sit really close to the board to copy notes.  One person said, “I had a dream that I could see again.”

Seriously.

In seventh grade, my classmates made fun of my socks.  I had colored socks to match my outfits.  I decided to switch to all white socks.  But that made it worse. They thought that I have worn the same socks every day.

There was one thing that I could always count on and that was books.  I developed a love for reading in elementary school.  I remember receiving a tape recorder and an audiobook from the library about a girl named Jenny with glasses.  I loved going to the library to check out books.  I liked books about different countries.  I also loved the Baby-Sitters Club series.  My middle school library had a few books from the series and I discovered other chapter books.  I looked forward to book fairs.  So I was sad when I discovered that high school didn’t have book fairs.

I use to love to draw and I could spends hours in my room or in front of the TV drawing pictures.  I use to make up stories and draw pictures for them and called them books.  The drawing stopped in middle school, but I started writing stories and poetry.

In the 8th grade, I peaked academically.  I was on the honor roll again and won lots of awards at the end of the school year.   I was in the spelling bee, and despite being a pretty good speller, the only reason why I got to be in it was because no one in my English class wanted to do it.  My teacher was furious with my classmates that day, but was glad that I was willing to do it.  I would have been a fool not to go.  I didn’t win but it was a good experience.

Life in high school shifted again.  I made good grades in my freshman year-A’s and B’s in most of my classes. However, math and science became my downfall and hurt my GPA.  So I had a 2.5 to 2.8 throughout high school.  I still didn’t have many friends, but I was okay with that.  I had my little group from special ed that I pretty much grew up with.

At the end of freshman year, we had our award ceremony and I didn’t win one single award.  I realized that I had tougher competition.  I decided that I would go out for yearbook and newspaper staff.  People thought I was crazy. I had one person tell me, “They aren’t going to accept us anyway.”  Unfortunately I was rejected.  I tried at least one more time, but I was rejected.

During my sophomore year, I developed a crush on one of my teachers.  It was an odd time for me.  I survived junior and senior year.  Senior year, I made a friend.  But sadly it was short lived.  Senior year bought on a lot of changes.  Once the cap and gown was off, it was time to move on and grow up.  My little group and I went our separate ways.  We try to keep in contact, but it’s not that easy.