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Fictional Escape Artist

Escape with me…

My 2017 Favorite Things: My Obligatory top 10 list!

 

guess who

 

I know, I know I have been gone for a while. I took a bit of a sabbatical, because I was having a hard time coming up with content and then would go into a shame spiral etc. Blogging stopped being fun and became another thing to beat myself up about, if you haven’t picked up on it I might have a slight self esteem issues… but I am back and applying less pressure on myself because ultimately I enjoy blogging.

 

Anyway! I wanted to take a few to talk about some of my favorite Fictional Escapes (see what I did there?) from 2017. Some I blogged about already, some I have not. Even though I have it in a list format, it is not a ranking. THAT WOULD BE LIKE ASKING ME TO PICK A FAVORITE CHILD! Here are 10 favorite things from 2017:

s1. Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

IMG_20170610_200337_094I blogged about this book, so I wont spend a ton of time on this one, my feelings on this book are well documented here, on Twitter and Facebook. BTW Taylor Jenkins Reid is a mega sweetie to her fans, I suggest following her. This book was absolutely amazing! I read it in like a day. I say read, but more devoured it. The book takes you through 2 stories of very different women and how their lives connect. It is beautifully written and so well done at times I forgot I wasn’t reading an Autobiography.

2. Reincarnation Blues

reincarnation bluesAnother one that I haven’t shut up about since I read it. Milo is the oldest soul in the universe, living nearly all of his 10,000 lives. We are taken through several of his lives as he tries to reach perfection, as well as his time between lives where he is in love with a Death who goes by Suzie. This book is magical, fun, and at times heart breaking. This book is reminiscent of Douglas Adams. The many different worlds Michael Poore has built in just one book is astounding.

3. Twin Peaks the Return

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What can I say about this show? Honestly I am never so happy to be confused then when watching Twin Peaks, and the Return took that up a notch or. Kyle MacLachlan playing several hard roles so perfectly, you forget its the same actor. Dougie Jones absolutely broke my heart on a weekly basis, while the bad Cooper was scary as hell. The fact they were on Showtime, they were able to get a lot darker then in the original show. Plus we so got this beautiful sigh-worthy moment:source (1).gif

#BigEdandNormaForever

4. The final season of the Mindy Project

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Mindy, Mindy, Mindy. There is nothing that Mindy Kaling has done that I didn’t love, this show included. I was hooked from the very first episode. The characters, the story line, the jokes, everything was perfect. Season 6 was the shortest and one of the best seasons of the show. They wrapped up everyone’s story line, with out every feeling like everyone was short changed or rushed. With out spoiling the overall story arch, I was nervous about how the show would end, the direction it seemed to head and they nailed it, with out sacrificing the character’s emotional growth as I feared they could. This show goes down as one of my all time favorites with 30 Rock, Parks and Rec and Scrubs. I will miss this show so much!

5. Season 3 of Playing House

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Ugh! I guess technically I should have titled this one “The final season of Playing House” but I’m not there emotionally and it is too soon. I knew the Mindy Project was ending, this one was ripped from my arms by the cruel USA. This show. THIS SHOW YOU GUYS! I have so many thoughts and feelings about it, and have blogged about it in the past. The entire show is amazing, but season 3 was something truly special. Season 3 had Emma being diagnosed with breast cancer and shows her and Maggie battle it together, in a story line “ripped from the headlines” as Law and Order likes to say. You see in reality the lead actresses Jessica and Lennon are best friends, and Jessica did have breast cancer. The way the show handled the story line was perfect. It was touching and informative. It was sad at times with out ever actually feeling too heavy. They educated us on cancer treatment options, with out ever pulling you out of the story or feeling preachy about things. Damn you USA Network for canceling it! If you have On Demand, I could not recommend watching this show enough.

6. Womp It Up! Podcast

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What? Jessica and Lennon get 2 spots on your list? Yes they do, because they are amazing people who rocked my 2017. Womp It Up! has been around for a while, but I didn’t discover it until this year, and luckily for me I didn’t have to wait a year and half between episodes like other fans. Womp I Up! is a comedy podcast that was birthed from Comedy Bang Bang characters. Jessica St Clair plays Marissa Wompler, a 17(ish) year old, not very well adjusted, student at the Marina Del Rey High School, the podcast is her senior project. She is doing some alternative learning in her school’s program called STARS, ran by her teacher and lets face it best friend Charlotte Listler, played by Lennon Parahm. Every week there is a new comedian on playing a person in the Marina Del Rey community. My favorite has been Andrew Daly as Joe Bongos, the Health teacher who has some interesting ideas on what to teach the kids.

7. Oh, Hello on Broadway

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Oh, Hello got it’s start on the Nick Kroll Show, where Gil Faizon and George St Geegland had a prank show on public access channel in New York. Their one prank was ordering a tuna sandwich with way too much tuna, ultimately getting the person say “That’s too much tuna”. What was the prank show called? Too Much Tuna of course. Somehow, in Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s brilliance they were able to make a super successful Broadway play based on these two dirt bags.

Gil (a writer) and George (an actor) have been best friends and roommates since the 1970s. They decided to write an autobiographical play telling their story. The brilliance of this show is the play that is happening around the play. It gets pretty meta at times, often Gil and George stop the actual play to have their own interactions, generally it is Gil giving George notes on how he is doing in the play. The sheer detail that has gone into this show is mind boggling. I can’t even describe the layers of the play. I highly recommend checking it out.

8. Wonder Woman

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Let’s not get into a DC vs MCU argument here, generally I am an MCU fan and haven’t been too excited over the last few DC movies, but this one. I will admit was a little nervous when I first saw Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman, but she won me over immediately in Batman vs Superman. I was still cautiously optimistic for the Wonder Woman movie, but it came out better then I imagined. In my opinion it was just awesome (I am aware of the issues people had with it, but to me the good outweigh the bad). I enjoyed the hell out of it, it made me laugh and cry. I also enjoyed the feel of it, different then the other super hero movies, it felt more like a war movie. If you haven’t seen it, check it out!

9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Thor: Ragnarok

I decided to combine these two into one, because well I didn’t want this list to be 3/4s super hero movies. I could also write a book on my feelings for these two movies and their directors. Guardians was written and directed by James Gunn and Thor was directed by Taiki Waititi, a kiwi writer and director known for his work with Flight of the Concords, What we do in the Shadows to name a couple. Also if you’re looking for a sort of weird but sweet movie, check out Eagle Vs Shark.

These two movies have a bit of a rag-tag team thing going on, and both delve into family relationships. They are both visually stunning, and laugh out loud hilarious, (yes I know that is a problem some people have with Marvel, but I love to laugh and they are right up my alley). Their similarities are one reason I decided to group them together. The first Guardians became my favorite Marvel movie about 10 minutes into it, and was thrilled that James Gunn actually made something better. I have always had a soft spot for Thor, and been sad at the state of the movies he’s had. I left Ragnarok thinking they finally gave him the movie he deserves, also Jeff Goldblum at his Goldbumiest.

My other favorite part of both of these movies, is they seemed to fix the villain problem. Hela and Ego managed to be interesting and complex. They didn’t seem to fall flat like others have in the past.

These two movies are all in all a good ass time!

10. Hamilton the Musical, paired with Hamilton the book

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 I know, I know. It’s based on true events, but some of it is changed for dramatic effect. I am so late to the game on Hamilton, but I just recently got Spotify Premium which let me listen to the soundtrack in order… and I am HOOKED. I decided to check out the biography the musical was based on by Ron Chernow. Combining the two adds a lot more depth to the play, certain lines in songs make sense. There is so much drama in Hamilton’s life, so much that the play never even touched on.

If you want to add to your Hamilton experience, read the book as well. Honestly, it makes the entire experience so much better.

 

Thanks for reading everyone!

 

 

Featured post

First blog post

Welcome one and all!

So this is my first attempt at a blog, I have been resistant to trying one out but the pull has gotten too strong. I’ll be honest, I have been distrustful of blogs because to me they always seemed like online diaries and I’ve never enjoyed keeping a diary. Mostly due to the fact I grew up with a really awful (and I mean AWFUL) sister and let’s just say my few attempts blew up in my face.

My eventual turn to the blog side came in the form of a very close friend of mine running her own blog, (plug time, check out booksvertigoandtea.wordpress.com for some great book reviews) and  actually changing my perceptions of what a blog could be. I was prejudiced to them, thinking that I didn’t want to read selfish ramblings about their lives. I like my self ramblings about lives limited to 140 characters on twitter thank you very much. In all seriousness, Danielle showed me that blogs were not always the shallow social media thing I thought they were.

I am writer, I write everything. Even my preferred form of communication is texting (Don’t call me, I don’t use my phone for that).  One day I would like to publish my book, the idea of walking into a bookstore or library and seeing my work out for others to read terrifies and excites me to no end. That is my dream. Writing has been a huge part of most of my life, until I let low self esteem and doubt stop me from writing all together for nearly 10 years. One magical day I discovered Fan Fiction. It literally changed my life, as a person who has a really hard time letting go of her favorite fictional characters this was heaven! I decided to pick up the pen again (or more accurately plug in the laptop) when I read a Sherlock fanfic that the author at the end actually asked for people to continue her story. I had an idea and thought, hey I could do that!

Fan fiction allowed me an outlet to practice writing stories with out the pressure of coming up with characters. Hey I know these characters inside and out, I just needed time to practicing telling a story again. Fan fiction gave me freedom to develop my own voice and style of writing. I was surprised when my stories started getting more and more hits and likes. At this point the only person I knew in  real life that knew I wrote and posted was my boyfriend at the time. He was very supportive, but my ego wouldn’t take his compliments for anything more than he was just saying they were good the way he told me I didn’t look fat. A funny thing happened, I started getting more and more likes and views on my stories. Fear of rejection and people making fun of me I wrote under a fake name and didn’t tell anyone else about my stories. I finally showed Danielle my stories one day, and she didn’t hate them! In fact she was excited about them, and really seemed to like them. She encouraged me to look into blogging about writing rather than hiding in the dark corners of the internet. I did more research about blogs, read A LOT of other writer’s and readers blogs and thought, I can do that too!

Which brings us to today and my first ever blog post. If everything works out the way I hope, I plan on posting once a week at first. I’m going to discuss writing, both fan fiction and my novel ( a story for another post). I will post some of my own writing as well as discussing my process and hopefully get some interviews with other writers out there as well. Stick around, I think it’ll be a fun adventure!tumblr_npjmu5ztJp1reqjk7o1_500

Featured post

Did Not Finish; a rant about a book

 Please excuse typos and any wording that feels clunky and weird, I am having a problem with WordPress where I am not able to go back in and edit a sentence with out it highlighting and ultimately deleting the other words around it. So this has been an exercise in free-writing

I hate the phrase “guilty pleasure”. I never feel guilty about liking something. Sonny and Cher? Crank that shit up, I’m going to sing it loudly and proudly (and if enough wine is involved I will sing both parts as Sonny and Cher)! Realty t.v.? Shas of Sunset all day,  Give me those beautiful garbage angels! Soap Operas? Please Days of our Lives is where I learned the art of shipping (Bo and Hope forever y’all). There is too many shitty things in the world to feel guilty for feeling joy. I say this because I don’t want anyone to think I am judging you for liking the book (or similar books) I’m about to discuss. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean I think there is wrong with anyone who does. With that said, let’s go! sonny and cher.gif

Recently I was in bed sick, I decided I should read a book. I have a to be read list longer then my arm, obviously the logical answer is get on Kindle Unlimited and borrow a new book. I wanted to find something silly and easy to read I wasn’t too invested in. I found this book, read the synopsis. I thought to myself “Hmm, I to am a 30 something introvert that needs to get out more, I think I can relate to this character”. It had 750 reviews on Amazon, 80% of them are 4 and 5 stars. It also is a trilogy, so I figured I’d be in for a good time, (I’m not going to post the title, being a writer myself I feel like I’m shit talking a co worker. I don’t like doing bad reviews because of my above guilty pleasure reasons) I was wrong. I ended up only reading 30% before just returning it.

I was able to suspend some disbelief, like a 32 year old who had never actually been on a date, and has lived in her parent’s basement for 10 years. I was able to look past the incredibly predictable plot, because that’s what I wanted something easy. It was the main character I had a problem with. She worked at a job she hated for 10 years at a software company. She thinks its a software company, she doesn’t actually know what they do. For 10 years she never found out what they actually do? She constantly talks about what gross nerds she works with, how disgusting they all are. She always talks about how shallow her only friend in the marketing department is, while judging everyone she works with. She decides that she wants to improve herself, move out of her parents house (sometimes. One page she talks about needing to move out and two pages later she doesn’t need to). Her plan for improvement is to get a new wardrobe and wear makeup. Somehow she starts to become a worse person during her “improvement”. She really gets into her “improvement” when her company hires a hot guy, that she was pretty sure he was gay because he likes gossip. But wait, he can’t be gay because he likes sports, so GAME ON!

I feel like this is an incredibly lazy writing with a real lack of knowledge and research. Its like the author just every stereotype of a “nerd” and “introvert” and smashed them into one book. She clearly had no thought to the bigger picture, was it too hard to research a bit about the technology industry and come up with a fake company to make it feel real? Did the main character’s personal growth have to be her make over and become worse of a person and employee? The entire thing felt very hacky and contrived. I tried to give the book some time and see if she had some growth, but no she literally is never once held responsible for her actions, she constantly screws off at work but because she bakes really good cupcakes people over-look it. She’s generally terrible to her family, her “bratty” little sister especially. But don’t worry, they bond over buying makeup. She refuses to pay rent to her parents, refuses to give up the basement so her sister who just got out of school can stay in there, despite having a stable job for the last 10 years. She acknowledges that she doesn’t pay rent, and still feels entitled to live there rent free. Now granted I only read 40% of the book before I gave up, maybe things will change but based off the predictability of it all I don’t think it will. I don’t think the writer sees the problem with her characters and plot. I hated these one dimensional characters so much that I couldn’t even stick it out to the end, which I usually do just to give it a fair shot (hello all 5 Twilight books).

That is the thing that baffles me, all those 4 and 5 star reviews. I mean, people wrote incredibly long detailed reviews praising this book. Honesty time, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me, see Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. I read the entire series of both, because so many people I know loved them and it just left me confused. It’s like there is a pass to be badly written because of the genre of romance or chick lit. We can have romance and chick lit with good strong characters, and a well driven plot, they exist I’ve seen them. I don’t know, maybe its me. Maybe I need to relax and just let it be, but for some reason this book really struck a nerve with me.

 

Girl Meets Book…

I’ve seen every Nora Ephron movie a hundred times, so naturally, I always knew I would find love in a good old-fashioned rom-com “meet-cute”.

I was wandering around the bookstore, not really paying attention (and certainly not looking for love) when we ran into each other. Honestly when we were face to face, well  I lost my breath. I shyly looked away and mumbled about being sorry and we went our separate ways. I’m not going to lie, I did turn for another look.

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I walked around the store a for a while, and we kept running into each other again. Somehow I kept finding myself back to where we first met. There was just something that kept drawing me in. When I took the time to really look, the inside was just as wonderful as the inside. I fell in love the more we got to know each other.  Honestly, I am guilty of judging a book by its cover and boy am I glad I did. reincarnation blues

Look at this cover! Seriously, the picture doesn’t do it justice. It is just striking, with the contrast of bright colors against the black background. What really made want this book was the excerpt of the book on the back:

“Milo woke up by the water, as he’d done almost ten thousand times. Death was there with him, sitting cross-legged. She was always there when he awakened, watching him with those watery, sensitive eyes, wearing her long black hair like a cape. She didn’t have to be there. She could snuff out his life and leave him to wake up on his own. But she never did. Not once. ‘Suzie,” he whispered. (She didn’t like to be called ‘Death.’ Who would?)” 

This book by Michael Poore is absolutely wonderful. The story is about Milo, the oldest soul. Everyone gets 10,000 tries at reaching perfection, and Milo is at around 9,995. The book starts walking us through the last day of one of Milo’s lives (and the day of the shark who eats him, a shark who was once the 1985 Strawberry Queen at a Strawberry Festival in Ohio).

The style of writing in this book is so good. It comes off as cool and casual like sitting down with a friend while they tell you a story. He has a very unique style of phrasing. One of my favorite lines is when Milo is a teenage boy and sees a girl he likes:

“She fit into her King’s College uniform like so many sleeping kittens. There was no place on her body that Milo didn’t imagine his hands, petting.” 

Isn’t that wonderful? The imagery it paints!

On top of being a truly interesting story idea, it is actually very complex. Michael Poore builds so many different worlds. There is the afterlife, as well as so many of Milo’s different lives. We see present time lives, as well as past and future and ALL of the worlds, feel so real and organic. We also get a peek into Suzie’s life being Death and being unhappy. All she really wants to do is open a candle shop. It is funny as well as touching, and even heartbreaking at times. It is incredibly hard not to fall in love with.

I have already brought it to work to show my co-workers and everyone I know is tired of hearing about it, but the 1 or 2 of them that have read it already have thanked me for pushing it on them.

I know what you’re thinking, and no me and the book are not running competing bookstores, as far as I know, this isn’t a bet or a stunt for an article. Although I do sometimes have the urge to take my glasses off and take my hair out of a ponytail when it is around.

 

 

Happy Anniversary!

 

Hi! Yesterday was my 1 year anniversary of this blog! To celebrate I wanted to post my most successful Fanfiction to date. I had 200 views of this story in less than 2 days on Archive of Our Own (steviewho)! I have a stories with more views, but I’ve never had that many views in such a short period of time! This is a Doctor Who story, 12 and Clara end up in the Alternate Universe at Rose and Tentoo’s wedding. 

Thank you everyone who has been with me all this time! 

 He didn’t mean to think of her when he slipped his hands in the console. It was purely by chance, he was trying to show off and Clara taking the mick out of him. She glanced up at him and smirked saying something about thinking he was so impressive.

So really it was Clara’s fault. She’s the reason he thought of another brown eyed girl saying something similar. If she chose any other phrase he wouldn’t have thought of Rose Tyler and they wouldn’t be making their way to Pete’s World.

“Hold on tight to something!” he shouted to Clara over the loud groaning and sounds of the TARDIS struggling.

“Where are we going? Who did you think of?” she yelled back holding on tight to the rails behind her, losing her grip slightly on a bump and laughing. “I don’t think the TARDIS wants to go there.” she laughed again.

“Oh she wants to go, I know she does, I just don’t know if she can go though. We’re breaking through the wall of another dimension.”

“A what?” was all he heard before they were knocked over. The TARDIS landed with a loud thud and they both lost their balance. He peaked around the console to see if Clara was okay, of course she was laughing loudly and holding her stomach. He got up first with a chuckle and went around to help her up.

“I imagine it worked then. Where exactly are we?”

“Pete’s World. Bad Wolf Bay specifically.” he responded distractedly, he was looking at the monitors checking the dates and comparing them to the last time he was here. Clara put a hand on his arm till he turned and looked at her. She gave him a small sad smile. She could always read him easily. Most companions he could fool, but never his Impossible Girl

“Pete’s World is on Earth in another dimension. Might want to change, because it looks like we are here for a wedding.” he pulled the screen around to show her a tent set up on the beach with rows of chairs. He ran both his hands down his face, he didn’t know if he could do this.

 

“Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked basically reading his mind again. She had the talent to know what he was thinking all the time. “We can go back, but if you want my opinion I wouldn’t waste this chance to see her again.” she smiled at him again. Sometimes he forgets she was in and out of his entire timeline.

“Do you still get flashes and memories from your other selves?” he asked, pulling his sonic screwdriver out and scanning her eyes.

“Occasionally, but not this time. I know the look of bloke about to see his an ex anywhere. I’ll go change, and I think you should wear your red velvet coat. You look very handsome in that.” she reached up on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek and walked away.  

Blissfully she did not take long to get ready, he was already pacing back and forth.

“Don’t fret Doctor. You look great.”

“Last time she saw me I was my 10th self. Much younger, much more handsome.”

“You’re still handsome, now you’re distinguished. Ready?” she held her arm for him to grab.

“I guess so, can’t be late for my own wedding now can I?” he chuckled at how quickly her head spun around, mouth agape.

They took seats in the back, and watched the commotion. He smiled when he recognized Jackie bossing the people setting up around. He saw Pete with a little boy about 5 years old on his hip, an exact miniature of his father.

“Jacks, let the men do their work sweetheart. They know what they are doing. Why don’t you go check on the blushing bride?” Pete called out to Jackie, setting the young boy down and going to hug his wife. “You’ve done a wonderful job planning this.”

“ Blushing bride my arse. She hasn’t been blushing for years. I don’t know why we had to come all the way out to the middle of bloody nowhere to do this. Oh! Guests are arriving!” she had finally noticed the Doctor and Clara sitting down. “Forgive my manners loves, you are a little early. I am Jackie Tyler, this is my husband Pete. Do you work with Rose and himself at Torchwood? I don’t think I recognize you.” she had made her way over to the pair and reached a hand out to Clara first.

“Hello Jackie, you’ve done a beautiful job. I’m sorry I haven’t had the pleasure to meet Rose yet. I’ve worked with the Doctor in the past.” Clara had stood up and shook Jackie’s hand. She nudged the Doctor out of stupor he was in watching Jackie and Pete. Surprised to lay eyes on them once again. He stood and Jackie squinted her eyes at him suspiciously.

“Lovely to meet you Clara. Would you and your Granddad like to sit on the Doctor’s side? He doesn’t have a lot of family here and I bet he would love to have some friends representing him.”

“I’m not her Granddad. The names John McKenzie. Associate of the Doctor.” he nearly pulled out the psychic paper but remembered he was dealing with the head of Torchwood.  

“Alright well, why don’t you come sit right up front then.” she took his hand and began dragging them forward.

“No, I don’t want to be any trouble. I think we should sit back here so we won’t be noticed.” he argued.

“Nonsense, there will be no one sitting on this side, if you are in the back then you will stick out like a sore thumb. The Doctor doesn’t have hardly anyone coming and his only  family he has will be standing up with him. I’m relieved he has someone to sit over here, between all of Rose’s extended family it would look a little odd for his side to be completely empty.” she tugged his hand again. The Doctor looked to Pete for some help, but he only shrugged his shoulder.

“We would be honored to sit up front for him. Isn’t that right John?” Clara shot him a look and he knew better than to argue with Jackie Tyler and Clara Oswald, especially if they were in the same side.

“I don’t want to ruin this day for him.” he whispered over to Clara when they sat down.

“For him, isn’t he you? Aren’t we seeing a past you get married?”

“Sort of. It’s hard to explain. It’s me, but a part human me. There was a whole thing with one of my severed hands and one of my companions touched it, the hand regenerated. Long story short, I ended up with two mes and left one here with Rose.”

“Rose? I thought she had died.”

“You know about Rose?”

“A bit yeah.”

“Jackie, I don’t know any Scottish men name John McKenzie.” came a voice to their right. He saw his Meta-crisis being drug by the hand over to them, wearing the same blue suit and red shoes he wore when the Doctor left him there. The meta-crisis eyebrows went up well into his hairline when he laid eyes on the two. He clearly recognized the Doctor who gave him a small sheepish grin.

“I’m sorry Jackie, this isn’t John McKenzie. This is the Doctor. How did you get here?” he turned to the older man and gave him an angry look.

“THE Doctor?” she asked. “Why didn’t you say so you plumb! Come here! You’ve gone and changed your face again! It’s so wonderful to see you again!” she wrapped him in a tight hug, ignoring the tension in his body and the fact that his arms reluctantly wrapped around her. It didn’t take long for him to fully embrace her. As much as they fought he always had a soft spot in his hearts for Jackie.

    “We didn’t want to distract from their day Mrs. Tyler.” Clara answered for him. She reached a hand out to shake the other Doctor’s hand. “I’m Clara Oswald.”

    “Jackie, let him breathe.” he pulled her off the doctor in red. “It is wonderful to meet you Clara.” he leaned over and kissed her hand the way his counterpart had after saving Gallifrey. She giggled and hit her Doctor on the shoulder.

    “This you was very much a charmer.” she smiled at the other Doctor.

“He’s just a ponce and a pretty boy.” her Doctor grumbled.

“You picked this face, twice I might add!”

“For her! I was tired of people thinking I was her dad!”

    “Speaking of her, does Rose know you’re here? Should I go tell her?” Jackie looked back and forth to each Doctor.

   

    “No, better not. This is her day, it should be about her getting married and not reuniting with me.”

   

    “I was going to say the same thing.” the brunette Doctor had folded his arms.

   

    “She will be angry if she finds out.” Jackie shook her head.

   

    “Maybe we tell her after the ceremony?” Clara added.

   

    “That is a great idea. Jackie, I will tell her after the ceremony. Can you go check on her and make sure everything is going alright?” the blue-suited Doctor turned Jackie towards another tent and gave her a little push.

    “AND DON’T SAY ANYTHING TO HER!” both Doctor’s yelled simultaneously. They were answered with Jackie waving them off.

    “How did you get here?” the younger man asked again.

    “Totally by accident I swear. I did not intend to crash your wedding. But I couldn’t very well go back without seeing her again could I? You wouldn’t and you know it”

    “I would take her and run off with her. You’re not planning that are you?” he folded his arms and scowled.

    “No, I wouldn’t do that. That would defeat the purpose of me leaving her with you here. She’s clearly built a life here, I couldn’t take her away from that.”

    “Are you scared she would leave with him if he asked?” Clara put a reassuring hand his arm like she does with her own Doctor. He frowned at her hand and looked up at her. “You can’t hide anything from me, no matter which body you’re in I recognize those big sad eyes.” she put an arm around his shoulders and gave him a reassuring squeeze.

    “How many regenerations has she met?” he asked the older doctor.

    “All of them. This is Clara Oswald, the Impossible Girl. She jumped into our timeline to save us all.” he reached out and pulled Clara to his side possessively.

   

    “Amazing!” he grinned for the first time since he saw his other self here.

    “Oh! We have a wedding present for you, don’t we Doctor? Can I tell him? No wait you better tell him!” Clara was pulling on his arm excitedly. Between the two of them they quickly told him the story of saving Gallifrey. It was met with hugs and shouts of excitement, then interrupted by a fiery red-head.

    “Oi! Spaceman! It’s time to take our places.” Donna Noble came to his side, she gave a quick smile to Clara and the Doctor.

   

    “Donna, this is my friend John and Clara. This is Donna Noble. My long lost half-sister. Rose found her for me and got us in contact. One quick DNA test and we have been inseparable ever since. She’s my best lady! She’s going to be standing up with me.” he happily put an arm around her shoulders and squeezed.

    “Pleased to meet you.” she turned to her brother, “It’s time. Take your place.”

   

    “Okay Donna.” he looked back at the Doctor and Clara, “Thank you so much for sharing the happy news. But it’s time to finally make an honest woman of Rose.” smiled again and straightened his tie before heading to the front. It didn’t take long for the seats on Rose’s side to fill up. A few people came and sat on the Doctor’s side but not many.

The music began and everyone stood and turned to see the bride proceed down the aisle on her father’s arm. Clara heard the Doctor swallow loudly and smiled at the gobsmacked look on his face. Clara watched the small flower girl ahead of the bride, she looked to be about 2, if that. She laughed at the little blonde girl in her fluffy dress and crown she wore in her curly hair. There was something familiar about the little girl, she couldn’t put her finger on it though.

She looked back to the bride. She was beautiful. She wore her long blond hair down in waves, it was darker than images the TARDIS had shown Clara. She had the biggest smile Clara had ever seen. Both literally and figuratively. It not only took over her entire face but lit it up as well.  Her gown was long and tight fitting, it was rather plain aside from the blue silk ribbon tied around her waist. Clara noticed the shade was the exact shade of the TARDIS, the thought made her smile until her eyes landed on the bride’s tummy. Large, round and heavy with child. Clara wondered if the Doctor had noticed that yet, she stole another glance at him and saw he was only staring at Rose’s face. The little girl made it to the front dumped her remaining flowers in a pile and went right over to Jackie and sat in her lap. Everyone laughed, no one harder than the groom who watched the little girl go sit down and then his attention was fully on his bride.

Clara noticed the exact moment Rose saw him, and somehow recognized him. She had been walking and smiling at everyone but once she reached the front row and caught eyes with the Doctor, she stopped and froze. She looked directly in his eyes, tilted her head and slow smile lit up her face. Her tongue poking out slightly and touching her teeth. His hearts melted, he never thought he would see that grin again. He smiled back her and gave her small wave before she began heading to the front again. Clara had looked to the front and  noticed the panicked look on the groom’s face during the interaction. She caught his eye and tried to give him a reassuring smile, he only flicked his eyes back to Rose and the Doctor. He schooled his features by the time the bride made it to him and grinned at her. She returned his smile with one of pure happiness and joy. He seemed to relax at that. Everyone sat down and Clara leaned in to whisper to the Doctor.

“She is absolutely lovely. She seems to be glowing. I wonder how far gone she is.”

“She is spectacular. She’s always had a glow about her.” His eyes finally broke away from Rose to look at Clara, “What do you mean how far gone?”

She only nodded her head to indicate he look at Rose’s belly. His eyebrows raised up when the pieces clicked into place. He made a silent oh with his mouth before his entire face lit up. “Fantastic” he said under his breath. Clara leaned her head on his shoulder and chuckled. She enjoyed watching him watch the ceremony. He mouthed along with the words during the handfasting, they vaguely explained was a tradition from the Doctor’s culture. Must be Irish the minister had said before performing it. Both Clara and the Doctor were in tears by the end of it. Clara let out a silent thank you that Rose had kept her attention firmly on her Doctor during the entire thing, for the sake of the groom.

They had kissed with many whoops and hollers from the crowd before the minister could finish saying husband and wife. The cheers only spurred the Doctor on more and he leaned her back into a slight dip when he kissed her. The little girl had gotten off Jackie’s lap and wandered her way over to them and tugged on Rose’s dress. They broke apart in a laugh and he bent to pick her up. He placed a quick kiss on the little girl’s cheek before taking his wife’s hand and heading down the aisle.

The party had moved up the beach to a hotel ballroom overlooking the water. The Doctor and Clara sat at a table towards the back watching the festivities.

“How are you doing?” she finally asked him. He had been silently watching the happy little family for most of the night.

“I’m fine. This is exactly what I hoped for them.”

“That doesn’t mean you can’t be sad that it isn’t happening with you instead.” she rubbed his arm. She spied a determined Rose coming up to them. The Doctor noticed her too and sat straight up and adjusted his coat. He heard the familiar chords of Glen Miller’s ‘Moonlight Serenade’.

“Does the universe implode or something if you dance?” Rose placed her hands on her stomach and tilted her head and smiled.

“Well I’ve got the moves but I wouldn’t want to boast.” he responded. She reached her hand out the same way she did all those years ago.

“You’ve got the moves? Show me your moves.” she grinned at him again. The Doctor looked to Clara who nodded and pushed him up.

“ Well, we’ve already learned the world doesn’t end cause the Doctor dances.” he said as he stood and took Rose’s hand and she walked him to the dance floor.  

He wrapped one arm around her waist and took her other hand in his own and began to sway to the music.

“Rose Tyler. Look at you, married and a mummy now. You’ve gone full domestic on me.”

“ Yep, we have a mortgage now, and curtains. But not carpets, the Doctor drew the line there. You’re Scottish now! I love it! Reminds me of when we met Queen Victoria” she rested her head on his chest. “Why didn’t you come over and say anything to me?” she finally asked.

“Cause I didn’t want to ruin your lovely day. Your husband didn’t seem to thrilled to see me.”

“Yes well, that is my fault. We had a tough transition. I had a hard time coinciding the two of you as being the same yet different. He’s always been insecure that if you came back i would leave him behind. Pale imitation of the real thing I believe he said. Took until I got pregnant with Sarah before he felt really secure. We had to build a relationship separate from the one you and I had.”

“How did you recognize me?”

“Your eyes. They are the exact same shade of blue when I first met you and they look exactly like Sarah’s eyes.”

“She has my eyes?”

“She does. I also sort of sensed it, I think the baby felt you. Remember how you explained what it felt like with other Time Lords and how you sense each other? The babies, both of them, seem to be able to do that. Sarah was the same way with her father when I was pregnant. Would you like to meet her?”

“I would love to.”

“Are you going to introduce me to your friend? My Doctor said she jumped into your time stream to save you. Pretty impressive, I mean it’s no holding the time vortex in your head but still.” she smiled to show she was teasing him.

“Her name is Clara, and she is very impressive. You would really like her. She also doesn’t wander off when I tell her to stay put, but she still seems to be jeopardy friendly. You have that in common.” a new song had started but the two continued to dance.

“How long has it been for you? Are you together? Do you love her?” she tried to hide the jealousy in her voice, unsuccessfully.

“It has been hundreds of years for me since the last time I was here. I don’t know. I don’t know what we are, I know there is connection there that feels deeper than Earth’s definition of love. I know I have a hard time without her and she makes better when she is around. She reminds me to be a Doctor and to be better than I am. Our relationship is everything at once without being anything if that makes sense.”

“I think I get it, friends, teacher, student, lovers, allies, protectors, partners, sometimes advisories. It’s what similar to what we had. Whenever mum or Mickey would hassle me for a definition of what we were I could never put a name to it. It was just more than any word there is.”

“Does it make you upset with me that I share that with her now?”

“Absolutely not. It is what I wanted for you. I don’t want you out there being alone, mooning over me. I want you to have a hand to hold. That life is better with two. I am happy here with the gift you gave me. I love my Doctor more than anything in the world. I have a job I love at Torchwood, and beautiful daughter and son on the way. I have a husband to grow old with, a beautiful wonderful life. Even if my husband won’t let me have carpets.” she laughed and wiped a tear from her eye.

“You’re having a boy?” he reached out and rubbed her stomach. Even though logically he knew it wasn’t really his child, in some ways it was. He had often dreamed of touching his child through Rose’s belly. He allowed himself a moment to pretend and rubbed her tummy, he was rewarded with  a hard kick. He laughed a little and looked up into Rose’s eyes.

“Hello little fellow, I’m very pleased to meet you.” he leaned down and spoke to her belly. “He says he’s pleased to meet me too.”

“That’s right, you speak baby. That trick was most helpful when Sarah was born. Mum thought she had colic but turns out Sarah didn’t like being in her own room. Come along, let’s go introduce you to her as well.”

They made their way to the table Clara was sitting at with the other Doctor who had Sarah in his lap. Clara and Sarah were chatting away about princesses and pretty dresses. She looked up and saw Rose and the Doctor approaching and stood.

“Hello Rose, it is wonderful to meet you.” she had put her hand out to shake it but Rose pulled her into teary hug instead. She just kept repeating thank you over and over again. Clara didn’t know if it was for the time line thing or just being with the Doctor. She finally released her hold on Clara.

“I’m sorry. Pregnancy hormones make me weepy.” she sat down next to her husband and held his hand and kissed their daughter on her forehead. “Sweetheart I would like you to meet a very old friend of mine and daddy’s.” the other Doctor handed his daughter over the older man to hold.

“ Hello sweetie!” he exclaimed taking her, “Rose she is brilliant! Look at her! You did a wonderful job!” he had sat the little girl in his lap was was examining her. “Look at these perfect little hands!”

    “Hey I had a bit to do with it too!” grumbled Rose’s Doctor.

    “Yes, yes we all know your contribution. Rose did all the hard work. Look at her she is perfect. She looks exactly like you!” he had waved a hand at his counterpart dismissively. “What is your name sweetheart?” he placed Sarah on the table facing him.

    “Sawa Jane Smith. You talk funny.” she giggled.

    “I do, I am from Scotland. I chose to be Scottish so I could be very very cross and no one would be surprised.” he tickled her sides and she giggled.

    “Blue!”

    “Blue what sweetie?”

    “Blue eyes! Like me! Mommy, Daddy, Gran, Grandad and Tony have brown eyes, no one has blue like mine!” she lifted a little finger for each relative she counted then patted his cheek with her chubby hands.

    “She speaks so clear for her age, she’s so intelligent.” Clara commented to Rose.

    “Of course she is! She inherited my large Time Lord brain!” his Scottish burr getting thicker as it does when he shows off.  Clara only rolled her eyes at him.

    “Oi! I think you mean my big Time Lord brain.” the other Doctor spat defensively.

“That you inherited from me!” he barked back.

   

    “Alright boys, that’s enough. Sarah sweetie, can you sing all your abc’s yet?” Clara leaned in close to the toddler who nodded excitedly and began singing. When she was done she asked if she could go play, the Doctor reluctantly let her go, but not before giving her a big hug, memorizing what she felt like in his arms.

    “You’re very good with children Clara, what do you do when you aren’t traveling?” Rose asked, mostly to fill the awkward silence that fell upon the table.

    “I’m a teacher, and before that I was nanny.”  another silence filled the space.

    “Can I see the TARDIS?” Rose finally asked. The Doctor looked up from playing with the ring on his pinkie excitedly.

    “Of course! I’ll go and get her and park her in closet so you don’t have to walk as far.” he stood up quickly and left the ballroom. A second later Rose and her Doctor heard the familiar whoosh of the TARDIS landing. They shared a look with each other and twin grins spread across their faces. Both got up quickly from the table and headed into the hall. Clara followed quickly behind them.

Rose was quick on her feet for being so pregnant. The Doctor came out of a door and nearly ran into the newlyweds, who were clearly excited to see the TARDIS again. He opened the door for them and stepped back. Rose approached the box and laid her forehead against the door. She rubbed down the corner of the box and felt a familiar warm hum in the back of her mind.

“Hello lovely. I have missed you.” she said to the TARDIS, this time the light on the top lit up and there was an audible noise from the ship. She had missed her Bad Wolf too.

“Darling, touch her. She recognizes you.” Rose reached out and grabbed her husband’s hand and placed it on the door. He too felt the warmth and the excited hum. The light began blinking repeatedly.

“Can we go in?” Rose’s eyes lit up with excitement. She pulled on the chain tucked into her dress and out popped a key. Without waiting for permission she stuck the key in the lock and it turned for her. The door opened and both her and her doctor rushed in.

“You’ve redecorated.” the younger man said spinning around, running his hands along various parts of the ship.

“She’s beautiful Doctor! Oh just wonderful! Look at how clean and shiny she is!” Rose had made it to the console and began touching all the nobs. The lights began blinking again. Clara sat in the jump seat watching the two admire the ship. Her Doctor came and stood next to her.

“Why don’t I get a welcome like that?” she jokingly asked him.

“Rose and the ship have always had a special bond, especially after Rose opened her up and looked into her heart. She held the time vortex in her head for several minutes.”

“Yep, my Rose is amazing.” the other Doctor put an arm around his wife and kissed her. Clara noticed a muscle twitch in her Doctor’s cheek. She assumed he must be more jealous than he was letting on.

“The TARDIS doesn’t much care for me. She likes to lock me out and move my room around on me. She doesn’t like my timeline, I’ve existed in too many places and times  for her. I’m a walking paradox” Clara explained.

“That’s not very fair.” Rose put her hands on her hips and looked up at the TARDIS scolding her. “You should take very good care of Clara, she takes very good care of the Doctor. Where would any of us be without her?” the TARDIS dimmed her lights in response and hummed. Rose rubbed the console again lovingly.

“Did you just scold my ship?” the Doctor laughed.

“I did! It works better than hitting her with a mallet.”

“Rose, we really should get back to the reception.” her doctor came up behind her and put his arms around her middle and kissed her neck. Clara could feel the tension from her doctor while watching the interaction. She reached up and took his hand and squeezed. He looked down at her and smiled tightly.

“We should probably head back too, Doctor.” Clara said softly. He lifted her hand and kissed her knuckles before dropping it and heading over to Rose and her Doctor. He shook hands with the other Doctor and thanked him for taking such good care of Rose. Clara came up and hugged the man goodbye.

“Clara, why don’t we go grab some cake for you two for the road and let these two have a moment to say goodbye.” the younger Doctor took Clara’s hand and began to lead her out. He stopped by his wife and kissed her.

“Say goodbye, however you must. Don’t hold back because of me. I will be fine.” he kissed her again quickly before taking Clara out of the TARDIS.

“Why the sudden change in heart?” Clara asked the younger Doctor who closed the door and leaned against it.

“It was Sarah. Before he put her down I saw the way he hugged her, I felt the longing and loneliness from him. I realized I have everything he cannot have. I’m the winner here. It’s a hollow victory but that’s what it is.” he shrugged a shoulder and looked back down to the ground.

“Sounds like this might give you two a fresh start. Close the chapter finally.”

“Yes. Besides, he owes her a few words and proper goodbye.” He put his hand out for Clara to take, this version was very tactile she noticed he was always touching things or people a bit like her first Doctor. The strode back into the ballroom hand in hand to get some cake.

      —————————–

“What did he mean by that?” the Doctor asked when the door closed.

Rose threw arms around the Doctor’s neck and buried her head in his shoulder.

“Thank you for being here. Thank you so much. You made today so special, and I am so thrilled I was able to share today with you. And I am so glad to see you have found someone to travel with and aren’t alone.” she squeezed him tight and he wrapped his arms around her and held her for a long time.

“Thank you for letting me meet Sarah and not kicking us out when we got here. Thank you for letting me apart of you special day.” they stood holding each other a few minutes more before she pulled away.

“Will you say it? Will you finally say it?” she asked him.

“Will it change anything if I did?” he asked

“No but I need to hear it, it took a long time for me to accept that you didn’t dump me here because you didn’t want me.”

“Well then, I suppose if it is my last chance to say it, Rose Tyler I have loved you from the very first moment I touched your hand. Although love was never the right word for how I felt, it was so much more and deeper than mere Earth love. My hearts were lost to you when you turned around and looked into my eyes before I said ‘Run’. You took a horrible broken lonely soldier and put him back together piece by piece. Even though it has been hundreds of years for me and a couple of regenerations, you are still so imprinted onto my hearts. I could never and will never forget you. I hate and envy your husband because he gets to have with you everything I ever wanted, Sarah should be mine, that baby in there should be mine. But, the life I lead I could never have that and I know it and you know I could never give up my life. I am grateful to him also, because he is able to give you everything you deserve, a life you deserve.” feeling defeated he went and sat down in the jump seat and began turning his ring again. She came over to him, stood between his legs and put her arms around his neck again. She placed a gentle kiss on his lips. He sat up a bit surprised.

“I was so mad at you for so long. I was so hurt, no matter what he said I couldn’t believe you actually loved me. It took a long time to finally realize what you did wasn’t because you didn’t want me, it was because you wanted what was best for me. You gave up everything to make me happy and safe, and I will always love you for that and for the life you gave me. Thank you Doctor.” she kissed him again, this time is lasted a little longer, and he pulled her close to him. He needed that feeling and that memory. The first time they kissed she was the bad wolf, the second time was because of Cassandra, the third it wasn’t even really him. He felt owed that kiss so he took it. They broke apart and she hugged him again. The tears were flowing.

“You don’t think I look too old then?” he asked and she laughed.

“Not at all, you are as handsome as the day I met you.” she squeezed him harder. They broke apart when the other Doctor cleared his throat. “Goodbye Doctor. Goodbye Clara. Hold onto each other, this life is better when you have someone’s hand to hold.” she wiped the tears from her eyes and walked out of the TARDIS holding her husband’s hand.

“How do you feel?” Clara asked him after the door shut.

“Content. She is happy and has everything she ever wanted. I was always afraid I made a huge mistake leaving her here, but I can see I didn’t.”

“I’m glad you were able to get that closure finally.” she had come around and leaned her head on his shoulder, he wrapped his arm around her middle to pull her closer. He hadn’t held her back like that since before his regeneration. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so open and honest before.”

“Well, I’ve had a long time regretting not being more open with Rose. I always assumed she just knew. This was my last chance to fix that. Did her husband see me snog her?” his eyebrows rose in question.

“I don’t think so, I walked in first and only saw the hug.”

“Good, I wouldn’t want to make things harder for them. Shall we go?” with a heavy sigh and a lighter heart he let go of Clara and went to the controls to put in the coordinates to their universe.

Art Imitates Life and it is Beautiful: A Love Letter to Playing House on USA

I wanted to talk about a show that I fell in love with from the very first episode, and have fallen even deeper in love with because of the latest season. Playing House is on USA and has just finished up their 3rd beautiful season.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is a show created by real life best friends (and super-cuties) Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair. They created it, they direct episodes, write episodes and star in it because let’s face it, they are awesome.

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The show is about Maggie (Parham) and Emma (St Clair) who are two childhood best friends that grew up in a small town in Connecticut. Emma is a wheeling and dealing, high-stakes, blazer_ wearing corporate _bad-ass living in China (Yes that was the appropriate amount of adjectives). She comes home for Maggie’s baby-shower where Maggie finds out her husband has been cheating on her. Emma decides to move home to raise Maggie’s baby with her and help her through her divorce (going through a divorce while pregnant is something I am VERY familiar with) and raise the baby together.

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It is a beautiful story of strong female friendships and being there for one another. These ladies are always each other’s champions, they build each other up and they help each other through the hard times. They fight with each other and for each other.

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Along with an amazing cast, the show is incredibly well written. Playing House also does a great job of doing joke call backs, like Arrested Development levels. It one of my favorite things when shows do that, it’s almost like a little reward for the loyal viewers. My favorite running joke is Bosephus, Maggie’s  country persona who comes in and…saves the day? I don’t know but he makes things better with his girlfriend Jandana. bosephus

Among all the hilarity and shenanigans of Emma and Maggie is actually a show with a lot of heart. There is so much love between these two characters, they would do anything for one another. Not only did Emma move home to raise a baby with Maggie, she also made sure Maggie could go through nursing school when she found herself having a bit of career crisis. The positivity and the building of others up doesn’t just pertain to the main characters, instead of sniping and having drama with ex’s wives and boyfriend’s ex’s they actually become friends with them. There is no negative competition. These women aren’t fighting for a man, there are no ripping people to shreds or shaming like in other shows. No, it is just acceptance. This is the show women need. They_Pee_Together_640x360_FINAL

During the 3rd season, Emma gets breast cancer. This is where the art imitating life comes in, Jessica St Clair who plays Emma was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Lennon and Jessica made a tough but ultimately amazing decision to write it into their show. I was blown away, aside from Scrubs, illness isn’t something you see in a comedy series often. It was handled splendidly, there was always enough laughter to not turn the show into a drama, but not so much that you ever felt they were treating cancer as a joke. I really related with Maggie so much during this. I have a friend with a chronic illness and completely understood Maggie’s struggle with feeling like she wasn’t doing enough for her best friend. Sometimes all you can do is things like find stupid little gifts to make her smile like socks with manatees on them (me) or travel to a paper supply store at 10:00 o’clock at night to make a kicking cancer’s ass binder (Maggie). I related with Maggie’s helpless feelings and need to do something.

The biggest win I think for this season was the damn education on cancer it gave us. I sat watching episodes with my dad and he kept asking me if that was true or saying he never knew that about a lot of different things relating to the treatment of cancer. I firmly believe the best defense we have against illnesses, mental or physical, is education and this show taught me a lot. Not just what constitutes a real brunch.brunch

 

As someone who has been through some tough shit; divorce while pregnant, depression, loved ones who are addicts, I firmly believe you must find the light in a dark situation. I often say if I don’t laugh I will cry. I admire anyone who can take a messed up situation and still find something to laugh about. I am really attracted to these type of people. It’s why I have seen Christopher Titus 4 times. We need to laugh, and when something bad is happening we need to laugh more. That is the draw for me with this show and has been since day one.

I realize they will never actually read this, but it is my love letter so I am going to pretend. Thank you, Lennon and Jessica. Thank you for this wonderful gift you have given us. Thank you for giving me back my smile on days I am fighting my depression hard. Thank you for helping everyone learn more about cancer and their bodies. Thank you for all the women who don’t feel so alone with your show and yourselves. Thank you for being wonderful and reaching out to interact with your fans.

You ladies are wonderful and role models. As a writer, I aspire to write something that can touch people the way you have touched me. Ok enough sappiness. Check out Playing House of USA network, all three seasons are on On Demand. Now, EVERYONE BODYROLL!9bijn

 

Book Love: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I’ve been stuck in bed for several days and was over the moon when my Book of the Month Club book came earlier than usual. I was excited to read this book about halfway through the synopsis while picking my book for June. I am so happy I picked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Here is the Goodreads blurb:

“From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth”

 

This book took me one day to read. I could not put it down. I have always been a huge fan of old Hollywood. Especially the secrets (I know I wasn’t the only one enamored with Feud). Taylor Jenkins Reid has done an amazing job of making her fake Old Hollywood feel like the real deal. So many of her characters felt so real, that I had to stop myself from forgetting it was fiction and trying to look up the movies she spoke about.

Evelyn Hugo is a powerful character. She is strong and fierce. She is unapologetic about her flaws, and she has many. In fact she wants the readers of her biography to be incredibly clear on that. She has made mistakes, she has hurt a lot of people, she gets that what she did to be successful wasn’t always right or okay but it’s what she had to do. Especially for her family.

Evelyn was a Cuban girl growing up in Hell’s Kitchen, she lost her mother at a young age and her father was abusive and a drunk. She developed early and fast, and made her way out to Hollywood. Like many starlets of the time, she had to shed her past and create a completely new person.

While reading I kept picturing Jayne Mansfield with her died blonde hair, stark eyebrows and large breasts (as well as her ability to stage photo ops, like Jayne and her “wardrobe malfunctions”.)

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Evelyn has lead a very carefully thought out and crafted public life and has decided to share the real story with Monique and only Monique. Part of the intrigue of the book is trying to figure out why she will only tell Monique her story. She decides to take us through each one of her husbands chronologically.

We go though Evelyn’s marriages we learn more about who she is as she learns about love and acceptance, not only of others but herself as well. quotescover-JPG-61

My favorite part of the book is the message of people are not just one thing or another. They are not just good or bad, they are complex. Situations are never simple and never what we think they are. I am madly in love with this book and its characters.

Evelyn’s seems to be equal parts Jayne Mansfield, Rita Hayworth and Elizabeth Taylor. She is not the only dynamic wonderful character. All the supporting characters are intriguing and very well fleshed out. Your heart broke for everyone. It is a great tapestry of people in Evelyn’s long life.

I cannot recommend this wonderful book enough! I really hope you check it out when it is released on June 13th!

 

 

FanFiction Friday!

Of all my Fanfics I’ve ever written is “These are the Days of Bub’s Life…”

Bub is so much fun, I woke up last weekend with a plot bunny for Bub. This story takes place between chapter 1 and 2.

I hope you enjoy it!

 

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“Oh! Toby hang on a second! I’m coming!” Sarah shouted up the stairs to the crying child. She ran back into the kitchen and turned the burner off,  then ran full speed to the stairs. She was stopped suddenly at the landing by the sight of Jareth holding a now laughing Toby. She froze in terror, it had been a year since the Labyrinth and Jareth visiting but this was the first time he had seen Toby.

“What are you doing?” she asked the King who was only staring at her. He noticed the panic in her green eyes and sensed maybe he made a mistake by picking the boy up.

“Young Master Tobias was crying for you, I happened to pop in at that moment and thought I would help.” he handed the boy to her slowly, not wanting to make any sudden moves and scare her.

“Thank you.” she held the toddler to her and hugged him tightly to her chest. She went down the stairs, went into the kitchen and placed Toby in his highchair. Jareth followed behind slowly, eventually sitting at the table next to Toby.

Sarah silently went back to the counter and finished getting the boys dinner ready. She needed a moment to collect herself. They had an uneasy truce but she couldn’t help the thought that he came back to take Toby from her. She schooled her expression and turned to find the sweetest scene she ever saw.

Toby was babbling, his hands moving around while he “spoke”. The high and mighty king was leaned close to the boy nodding his head in agreement adding the occasional “indeed” and “of course” very seriously. She giggled and placed the bowl of noodles in front of the kid.

“Are you telling stories Toby?” she sat down on the opposite side of the highchair from Jareth and leaned on her hand to continue watching the interaction. He spit out several more lines of incoherent gibberish, Sarah assumed it was joke cause he laughed a hard deep belly laugh.

“That was quite the tale lad. Here you need to eat so you can grow big and strong like me.” Jareth grabbed the fork and attempted to feed the boy. Toby leaned over and patted Jareth’s cheek

“Maji-babe” he said matter-of-factly before taking a bite of his food.

“No sir, you’re the babe in that song not me.” he smiled at Toby again handing the fork over to the tot. Finally turning his attention to Sarah “What are you smiling at?”

“Bub said he thought you actually love the children, I didn’t believe him. You’re very sweet with him.” she smiled at him again. “Tea?” she stood to and went to the whistling kettle.

“Please” he sat up startled at the loud thwap of the dog door. The large sheep dog ran through the kitchen victoriously with a bone in his mouth.

Bub followed the dog in and slammed the back door. He stomped to the table, loudly drug a chair out and climbed up. He mumbled goblin curse words under his breath.

Fully aware of the ongoing battle between the goblin and the dog, Sarah rolled her eyes and grabbed another mug to make Bub a cup as well.

Toby laughed and clapped his hands at funny words coming out of Bubs mouth.

“Bub I’ve asked you not to curse in front of Toby.” she sat his favorite mug in front of him and one in front of the King.

“Why is his mug so much larger than mine?” Jareth sniffed at the size difference and Sarah shook her head.

“Don’t worry Your Highness, you got more tea than him, that is his favorite mug and his nibs refuses to use anything else.”

“Why would a pet cat have any concept of what day of the week it is, especially have an opinion on Mondays?” the King asked examining Bub’s mug. She didn’t respond and just sat down in the only available chair, that happened to be next to Jareth. They sat in silence for a bit, both a little unsure of what to say. She watched the small goblin sulk and sip his tea.

“Alright Bub, enough pouting. What happened with Merlin?” she leaned over the table and grabbed his small hand.

“Horrible beasty. Bub was minding his own business, chewing bones and beasty came in and picked Bub up! He shooks me round like a toy then goes outside and drops Bub in a hole. Lousy beasty.” he grumbled and took a loud long slurp of his tea.

“Bub, you were chewing on his bone. I told you, if you want him to leave you alone than you need to leave his toys alone. I’ll buy you your own bone you can hide in our room, how about that?” Bub mumbled something under his breath that made the King choke on his tea, Sarah gasp loudly and Toby to repeat it loudly.

“Oh Bub! Stop saying stuff like that around Toby!” she shook her finger in front of his face.

“What’s the big deals? Woman and Man don’t know Goblin, theys don’t know what he’s saying!”

“I do though!” she stood and grabbed Toby from his chair. “Toby, say goodnight to Jareth and Bub”

Toby leaned over his sister’s arms and patted Jareth’s cheek again.

“Ni-ni Maji-babe”

“Good night my fine fellow” he leaned into the boy’s small hand. Toby looked at Bub and repeated the goblin curse and laughed. Sarah huffed and took the toddler upstairs

“Are you coming back with me?” Jareth knew the answer, but asked anyway. It was a weekly tradition.

“Nope, Bub is home with Lady, even if she has terrible beasty. Bub hates that avaricious beasty.”

“That what beasty?” Jareth cocked his head to the side in confusion.

“Avaricious, it means greedy.” the goblin explained, like his King was an idiot. Jareth laughed loudly, “I’m aware of what the word means, I’m wondering how you know it.” Bub just shrugged a shoulder.

“Lady real mads at Bub huh?”

“I think she is. What are you going to do about it?”

Bub scrunched his face up while he thought. Suddenly excited he exclaimed “I knows, I get her apology stick! She be real happy then! Be back!” he jumped from the chair and out the dog door flap.

“Where is he going in such a hurry?” Sarah came back into the kitchen and to Jareth’s surprise chose to sit next to him.

“Something about an apology stick.”

“Not another one! It’s not that I don’t appreciate what he’s trying to do but Karen thinks I’m a nut case cause I have a drawer full of sticks. She threw them out once and cried and sulked for a week! I finally had to ask Karen to not touch my sticks.” she rested her head atop her folded arms. Jareth awkwardly patted her back. He wasn’t sure how to console her.

“Goblins have strange ideas of what makes good gifts. I ended up adding a rock garden to my personal gardens at the castle, every year for my birthday I get a large pile of rocks from my subject. Luckily now they started taking the ones already in my garden, since they think those are my favorites. Now I just put them back into the garden after the birthday celebrations” he chuckled and she lifted her head and smiled at him, a smile that quickly fell at his next question.

“Why were you so scared to see me holding Tobias? Did you think I was going to take him?”

“Yes.” she looked down at her now cold tea, it was easier than looking at the hurt that crossed his face.

“You won him back. I’ve been coming here a year and have I ever given you any reason to think I would?”

“You took him once before.” she folded her arms across her chest and stared at him.

“I did not take him, you wished him away!” he sat back mirroring her posture.

“I didn’t mean it! You knew I didn’t!”

“Meant it or not you said the words! I was just doing my job! Words have power!”

“You tried to kill me!” she added defensively. She knew she couldn’t argue his logic, she did say the words and he did what she asked.

“I did not!”

“You sent the cleaners on me! And that fire gang was going to rip off my head!”

“You were in no real danger! I watched over you through the entire thing. Closer than I had any other runner ever. You had to think you were in danger to make you fight harder. I am a king!  I don’t have to justify myself to you!” they both sat scowling at each other when Bub came back in. He looked back and forth between Jareth and Sarah before climbing up onto her lap. He extended his stick out to her.

“I sorries I taught the Toby monster a bad word. I no curse in front of hims again.” he climbed onto the table to better reach Sarah and gave her a sloppy kiss on her cheek. He leaned to the King, whispered something in his ear and handing him something before jumping down to the floor. He left the room with a dramatic yawn, scratching his belly before heading up the stairs.

“How did you know he was swearing earlier?” Jareth asked Sarah. Mostly to break the ice after the argument, and also to feed his own curiosity.

“He’s been teaching me to speak Goblin!” she answered proudly. “For some reason he started with the curse words though.”

“And I assume in return you are teaching him new words too?”

“Yes, it’s been helpful because I’ve just been teaching him my vocab words for the S.A.T.s. Although he made me teach him all the english cuss words I knew first, and some French ones too.” they laughed together for a moment.

“What did he say before he went upstairs?”

“He gave me a stick and told me I needed to give it to you if I wanted you to stop being angry. Why does he assume I’m the one at fault?” she only scowled at him. They both stubbornly sat in silence. Seeing as he was the older being he decided he should be the bigger man. Well he uses the term man loosely.

“I’m not sorry that I took your brother or you ran my Labyrinth. I think deep down you aren’t sorry any of it happened too. I am sorry I raised my voice and argued with you.” he picked up the stick Bub had given him and handed it over to Sarah. She sighed and went to take it, but as soon as she touched it Jareth had turned into the most beautiful pink and orange lily Sarah had ever seen. She grinned at him and took his gift.

“I’m sorry I argued with you too. You’re right, I wouldn’t change what happened for the world. I understand you were just doing what I asked. I guess I’m just feeling guilty for wishing him away in the first place.” she offered him the stick in her hand in return for the flower. He smiled at her and took her stick.

“Thank you for my flower, I wish I could keep it forever.”

“You’re welcome precious. Now I must go and make sure the goblins haven’t burned down my castle.” he stood and leaned over giving her a much more pleasant kiss on the cheek then the one Bub gave her.

“Ni-ni Maji-babe” she responded mimicking Toby.

He rolled his eyes but before he disappeared he tapped her flower and it turned into a crystal in her hand. In the middle of the round orb was her a miniature of her flower.

“Be careful what you say, words have powers. Wishes have more power than anything.” with that he was gone.

Sarah sat at the table looking at her flower when she heard a loud crash, an even louder goblin curse word and then the pitter-patter of little feet coming down the stairs. Bub rushed through the kitchen but was stopped at the door by Sarah.

“Where are you going?”

“Bub needs to get a whole bunch of sticks for Lady.” he ran outside while she rushed up to her room.

Happy Mother’s Day to my Favorite Fictional Mama

**Spoilers for Pride and Prejudice. Enter at your own risk, also you really need to read it if you haven’t. Its like 200 years old, whats taking  you so long?**

 

 

Lets celebrate Mother’s Day by talking about my favorite fictional match-making mama: Mrs Bennet.

goodness

I know! I really adore this character. Sure she is brass and uncouth. She interferes in her children’s life. She doesn’t know when to be quiet and can be quite silly when it comes to officers and indulging her younger daughters. She has a flare for the dramatics.  Heck she even tries to force her daughter to marry an insufferable ass. vexing

But she is still one of my favorite mothers, because she does it all out of love for her family. They live in a time where women can’t own property and she has 5 daughters who will be out on the street when her husband dies. And being that their eldest is over 20 it will happen very soon. Mr. Bennet’s estate goes to a distant cousin (see above ass) when he dies and they will have nothing. Even Mary’s piano bench belongs to Mr. Collins.

Capture

 

The above quote was added into the 2005 movie and I it beautifully sums up Mrs. Bennet’s motivation. She is a character that often get portrayed as a mean, stupid or a villain in fanfic or P&P variations. When really all she is a woman panicking to make sure her children don’t end up homeless or worse. She is driven by a fierce protection of her daughters. Does she go about it the right way? Maybe not. But she is also wise to their situation, every reason Darcy gives Lizzie as to why he shouldn’t love her Mrs Bennet is well aware of. She does what she can offset the lack of dowry and poor connections to trade.

Darcy

I might be projecting but I like to think she is as fervent as she is due to a little guilt. It was her job to have a son to preserve this estate that Mr. Bennet’s family has owned for 200 years. She’s doing the best she can with a disinterested husband and a lack of education both in manners and in general. She married into the gentry, her family was in trade and (gasp!) law! What she was teaching her daughters was all she knew, and probably how she managed to catch the eye of a gentleman. She knew men generally didn’t marry below their status, so she knew it was foolish of Lizzie to turn down Mr. Collin’s offer. With a situation like hers there was very little chance she would actually be proposed to again.

Happy Mothers Day Mrs Bennet! You’re the best!

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Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History

Leave it to Labyrinth and David Bowie to finally pull me out of my dry spell. I know I’ve been missing, and I have no excuse other than I have been blocked both with writing and reading.

Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History came out last year for the 30th anniversary of the movie. I have been playing the waiting game before I bought it because the cost was rather high. This beautiful book finally became mine this week and I read it in a day. I say read but I more mean devoured it in a day.

This book is a beautiful love letter not only to the movie The Labyrinth, but also Jim Henson himself. It is a full history of the entire movie, from the concept to the reception of the finished product. It is 189 pages of history, amazing pictures and copies of memos and  scratch papers with drawings and notes from Jim during the production.

20170507_173313                                                      Would you look at these cuties? C’mon!

I am not much of a book reviewer, (I leave that to @booksvertigoandtea), but I would highly recommend this to not just Labyrinth and Jim Henson lovers, but all movie buffs. Along with all the history into the movie, there is also very technical breakdowns of how certain puppets worked and were made. There is an entire chapter for choreography and music. As someone who dvd extras were designed for (director’s commentaries give me life!),  one of my favorite aspect was the storyboards of the movie.

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To see so many notes, instructions and ideas written in Jim Henson’s own hand  was amazing. It doesn’t read like a history book, more like a story told by the people involved. There are interviews from recently and interviews from during the production. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the movie, but I was wrong.

This entire book was absolutely wonderful. I enjoyed every second of it.

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