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Message In A Bottle

1funny907To me, blogging is a version of the old-timey message in a bottle.

The blogging world is a vast ocean, we throw our message out there and hope against hope someone finds it.

Some of us are trying to connect, share, find others, teach, or maybe even send out an SOS.

So how do you start your own ‘message in a bottle’ and make it reach others?

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1. Don’t think about if your readers will love what you write or you’re going to be discovered, just make sure you love it, then hopefully, they will. If not, there’s always chocolate.

2. Remember as you send these bottles out, those you’re trying to reach are never far from the madding crowd (hearing people mispronounce the title, Far From the Madding Crowd is actually more fun than the book/movies, is that wrong?). People are busy, so when they open their email to see a hundred billion bottles washed up on their shore, it can be overwhelming.

3. In this same vein, posts can be vampires, sucking away time. Or maybe sometimes a vampire is just a vampire.

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4.  Posts can also be zombies, shuffling into our readers or mailboxes, taking bites out of the day. I don’t know if I Fear The Walking Dead so much as opening my email, in other words, know your audience…it can be a grave error to write long or many posts if your readers don’t have time to read them. You make your readers snooze, you lose.

5. Adding images to posts amuses me, makes me laugh, makes a point, or just makes me happy. Hopefully they resonate with others.

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6. Sometimes readers won’t get what you’re saying or don’t agree. Sometimes your jokes fall flat. Maybe they haven’t read the same books, watched the same movies or TV shows…Some are trolls, actively dislike you, perhaps even use your Gravatar at which to throw darts – the internet is built on people being offended, appalled, shocked, and downright grumpy. Just do what you do.

7. How can you expect people to have a deep relationship with a shallow person? Be real, write your own stuff, if that makes people think, learn, laugh, smile, cry, or even spit their coffee out…they’ll want to read more.

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8. Like it or not, successful blogging has a degree of popularity. Let’s jump back to vampires, they depend on brooding, pouting, sparkling, hotness, intensity, and overacting with a penchant for black clothes, especially black leather, but blogging can’t all be about flash and no substance.

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9. Get out there, enjoy other blogs, find those messages in bottles and answer them, don’t be timid about liking, sharing or commenting – let others know you’re out there. Make them feel like they’re not alone in being alone.

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10. Most of you are part of a large, sprawling, at times dysfunctional, human race family, so you’ll be part of the blogging family. Like vampires, family can sometimes be a pain in the neck, but still we hunger for the connection.

11. When the unexpected or unwanted happens, say, your computer breaks, you have a dental emergency, you can’t get a song by The Police out of your head; out of town company; Fibroflare; anxiety about a coming event; a sinus infection and the list goes on…um, write a blogging advice post?
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/04/10/im-hooked-on-a-feeling/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/05/12/i-cant-make-you-love-me/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/09/to-blog-or-not-to-blog/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/03/26/why-i-will-never-be-freshly-pressed/

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12. Wow, that advice is bloody awesome…or terrible, depending on your point of view. Forget all of it, just do whatever feels right to you.

And I hope that someone gets your…I hope that someone gets your message in a bottle. Here’s mine.

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Everybody Wants To Rule The World

1funny898Why is everybody so gosh darn anxious to rule the world?
I guess the pay and benefits would be awesome, but I can’t imagine there’s any time off.
It would be high stress and thankless, well, unless you paid or forced people to thank you.
And look at all the decisions you’d have to make; I don’t always know what I want for breakfast.
Then there’s the meetings, slogans, pillaging, fear-mongering, plans, plots, the overthrowing, and feeling like you had to wear a fancy military-looking outfit and get giant pictures of yourself to hang up everywhere.
Sounds monotonous and a lot of work.
Tears For Fears might have been exaggerating, for effect, but humans do want what we can’t have.
We can’t seem to help ourselves, it’s a yearning that lives deep inside us.
We want what’s beyond our reach.
It’s what makes us magnificent, but can be our Achilles heel.

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Still, the applicants for ruling the world continue to line up:

  • Terrorists, dictators, villains, supervillains, megalomaniacs with delusions of grandeur, evil scientists, and smarmy government types, admittedly, life could be boring without them, but wow, I’m willing to give it a try.

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  • Corporate types who are working so hard on helping everyone, even the homeless, to give their lives a purpose, maybe as a Wi-Fi hotspot, hybrid car/cellphone recharging unit, or solar panel holder. The sky’s the limit!

  • Pirates and vikings, whom I suspect weren’t keen on hygiene, but apparently look like supermodels when portrayed on-screen.

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  • Supernatural beings and aliens seem to have an unnatural interest in ruling our world, hey, guys, go rule your own worlds!

  • Laboratory mice whose genes have been spliced, oh, wait, that might have just been a cartoon.

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  • Presidential candidates, sure, let’s include Donald Trump. I wonder, will future GOP debates come with a warning label: Watch at own risk, to your brain.

  • Criminals – I finally watched Lucy, unsure if it had a pro or anti-drug message, but there was a certain ‘be careful who you hang around’ feel to it.

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  • Hackers, who, for all we know, have tried to save us from some alien invasion or apocalypse and we’ve been all testy with them.

  • Scammers, who teach us how to weigh pros and cons just by sending us a weird email. Pro, click on it and the subsequent links until all curiosity is satisfied. Con, don’t open it, you’ll always wonder, what if, what if…

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  • Computer software makers who rule the world through versions, chat, and accessories.

  • Leaders in dystopian futures – I just watched Insurgent and Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1  – definite everybody wants to rule the world vibes and songs.

  • Cats and they’re doing a purr-fectly fine job.

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  • Vegetarians – unlikely world rulers, but sometimes we just want them to leaf us alone…see what I did there?

  • Hunters, ok, the loss of Cecil the Lion was sad, but humans directly or indirectly kill animals, humans, and other forms of life on this planet everyday, right or wrong.

  • Gamers, but at least they don’t care if it’s the real world.

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Don’t we all rule the world? You know, in that moment, that moment when you make someone’s day with a smile or kind word. Help someone. Do something you didn’t think you could do. Care. Answer that toy phone when a child hands it to you. Grow food instead of a portfolio. Don’t try to control, but to take part. Show patience, compassion, understanding. Offer help, comfort, support, or inspiration. Don’t give in to anger, greed, fear. To be part of something instead of needing to run it.

That’s ruling the world.

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Shout! Shout! My 2 Year Blog Birthday! Let It All Out!!!

1funny652It’s been 2 years since I started blogging and I feel like I’ve won the lottery…accept without any of the money, so yeah, I’d still like to win an actual lottery.

I’m so thankful for your support, likes, comments, shares, advice, encouragement, comfort, and more. I’m also thrilled and privileged to be able to read and view your works. Thank you all.

So come on, I’m talkin’ to you, help me Shout! Shout! Let it all out to celebrate my 2 year blog birthday by leaving your blog address or a link to a post in the comment section below…please!

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Now to play catch-up. I’ve fallen behind on my Changes for Happiness project, not the doing, just the writing about it. Will a weak, ‘it’s been hot’ explain the lapse?

Here’s the first 5 weeks:
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/03/dont-worry-be-happy/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/09/to-blog-or-not-to-blog/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/15/rock-me-amadeus/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/25/in-my-life-i-loved-them-all/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/07/03/how-to-be-good-to-one-another/

Week 6

1. What happens at Costco stays at Costco.

2. Looked at some old photos, I cried, but remembered to be happy it happened, not that it’s gone.

3. Watched something I wanted to watch, but didn’t feel I had time.

4. Bit the bullet (not literally, high dental bills) and made that appointment.

5. Tore up that shirt I loved, to use as rags – it lived a full life.

6. Craved a burger – If I liked it then I should have put an onion ring on it.

7. This was the birthday of my friend of 30 years, Rose, who recently passed away; she would have wanted there to be music and cake.

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Week 7

1. Cleaned first…then checked emails.

2. Decided on 3 fun things and did them (within the limits of time, budget, circumstances, etc.)

3. Broke a bad habit, snapped it over my knee (not that knee, the other one).

4. Don’t like to go shopping, don’t do it often…going to do it even less.

5. Time is flying…going to catch a ride.

6. Added 15 minutes more exercise, Tai Chi and yoga per day.

7. Hell On Wheels is back – I was frontiered and I liked it.

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Week 8

1. Rewatched Jaws – that shark was a handsome devil, wasn’t he?

2. Picked up a random book (eyes closed) from the new release section of the library.

3. Was it weird the random book ended up being Stephen King’s Finders Keepers?

4. Tried again to learn how to juggle.

5. Remembered why I don’t juggle – kept ice on my cheek.

6. Sang Shout! by Tears for Fears at the top of my lungs (received odd looks).

7. My hair is edging toward the Mary Tyler Moore look, unless I’m planning on wearing a hat and tossing it in the air – I need to think about getting a haircut.

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Week 9

1. Kept writing that book.

2. Tried to accept the idea of Ben Affleck as Batman – isn’t doing the impossible good for the soul?

3. Wrote down 5 things that make my life tough…tried to eliminate or mitigate their effects.

4. What would I do for those Klondike ice cream cones on sale? Don’t ask, don’t mmmm, ice cream.

5. Tried to go cold turkey to stop binge-watching Haven…mmmm, stuffing and gravy and biscuits.

6. Wrote about Haven, sadly it didn’t work it out of my system.

7. Rewatched Clueless – wow, Paul Rudd is now Ant-Man, 20 years can really be harsh. Whatever.

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Week 10

1. Little brown bird landed on my shoulder as I was walking, then flew off (and no poop) – briefly like Snow White.

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2. Thought about going to a movie; watched one at home instead, cheaper and just love the staff.

3. Dreamed about sleeping in.

4. Noticed that it’s my 2 year Blogiversary/Blogaversary/Blog Birthday on WordPress, since I’m having company for the weekend – invite everyone to the party early!

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5. Pack up a box of stuff and give it away.

6. Trying to accept that some people will never change…and would I trust them again, even if they magically did?

7. Deep breathing. Note to self, don’t do this while calling people.

Thank you for dropping by to celebrate with me – you realize, of course, all of the above involved chocolate, right?

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Never Tear Us Apart

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People talk about troubles, sing about troubles, write about troubles.
We try to solve troubles, outrun them, avoid them.
Troubles can tear us apart or bring us together.
I’ve worried over the years that I might be a trouble magnet, or that I brought on troubles…or even that I was troubled. As I got older, I realized troubles find most everyone, in one form or another, it’s how you meet those troubles, that’s what matters. I’ve had varying degrees of success with that part.

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Distracting ourselves from our troubles by thinking about the troubles of others, isn’t that part of the magic of books, TV, and movies? I recently got captivated by “The Troubles” of a small supernatural Maine town…Sounds Stephen King-ish, that’s because Haven, my new addiction, is loosely based King’s The Colorado Kid and is crammed full of King references. Haven, going into Season 6, with it’s hilarious X-Files meets Twin Peaks meets Psych meets Supernatural à la Stephen King, but with more romance, just keeps getting better, unlike King’s Under The Dome.

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Syfy’s Haven is bursting with talent, much of it Canadian (filmed in Canada), including the incredible Colin Ferguson (I miss Eureka soooo much), Adam Copeland (WWE’s Edge), and rumour has it William Shatner will soon visit Haven – that will be the icing on a wonderfully weird cake. And the complicated bromance between Nathan (Lucas Bryant) and Duke (Eric Balfour) is a delight to watch (sigh).

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Should I have escaped some of my own troubles by falling into a Haven, or enjoying a 20-year-old pop culture burp (aka Clueless based on Jane Austen’s 1815 classic, Emma), or a war between angels and humans in Dominion? Perhaps not, but as it turned out, it gave me the excuse to slow down, take a break, and start to feel ever so slightly better.

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Like most books, TV, and movies, these programs are actually about the characters, about friends, family, romance, and the choices they make, that we all make every day and how we face those choices, handle them, and the fallout (good or bad or neither or both). The supernatural stuff  is added as a cool hook (yes, I’m including Clueless as supernatural, wouldn’t you?).

So I’m glad to be back, more or less, and here’s what I got from my mini-break…

  • Life is for living and the living…small towns in Maine might be the exception.

  • Turns out they can tear us apart, literally and figuratively (you lied to me, INXS).

  • Life is short and unpredictable…enjoy the ride.

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  • There’s always more than what we can ‘see’.

  • Little is as it seems.

  • You never know what’s going to be a trigger – for memories, anger, sorrow, joy, pain, hope.

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  • The things you own can own you.

  • Sometimes what seems like a haven isn’t and vice versa.

  • Apparently angels, especially archangels like to dress in black leather, a lot.

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  • John Lennon was correct, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

  • Love is the best and worst thing that can ever happen to you…sometimes both.

  • And last, but never least, you don’t need to be afraid of what you can’t explain…except Donald Trump, some things are just too freaky.

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Plan To Be Spontaneous Today

1blog32In the summer, readers run away from blogs like swimmers running out of the water away from the shark in Jaws (We’re going to need a bigger blog).

So what do you do in a blogging slump? Post more? Less? Write longer or shorter posts? Add more pictures of cats? More tweets, likes…eat more chocolate? Or just accept it and take a break for the rest of the summer? Acceptance is such a strange thing, isn’t it? It can be positive – you accept a gift, get accepted into a club, accept an award, or it can become something you feel forced to do, such as compliance or acquiescence.

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I accept The Imitation Game was a brilliant film starring Benedict Cumberbatch (who apparently can’t be anything but astonishing) about WWII. I don’t accept it’s completely factual, clearly they took certain liberties such as Cumberbatch portraying Turing as though he had Asperger’s Syndrome. I don’t know if that’s Hollywood pretending everyone who’s a genius has Autism, or because they wanted Cumberbatch to play Turing more like Sherlock.

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Joan Clarke (played with dazzling brilliance by Kiera Knightley) wasn’t recruited by Turing, crossword puzzle or otherwise, but was engaged to him.

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They did concede Turning’s machine was based on a Polish cryptologic machine (the Polish broke the Enigma code years before), but that he’d built a better, faster machine for the more sophisticated code.
This is Hollywood. They add drama.

Unlike previous films about the Enigma code, this film didn’t cause international snits like U-571, or put us to sleep like Enigma (despite a stunning performance by Kate Winslet, wait, wasn’t she in another famous historically inaccurate film, something about a ship?).

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I don’t take umbrage to movies that play with history. Most of history is changeable, written by the victors and those who want to cast themselves in a positive light. I read history books and watch documentaries, but even those should be taken with a grain of salt. Movies, TV shows, and books, even those based on real-life people and events, those are for entertainment.

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This delightful movie wasn’t actually about the war or codes, it was about acceptance. Alan Turing was a gifted mathematician and cryptographer and yet, in the end, it didn’t matter if he saved millions of lives or gave us the basis for modern computers, it mattered that he was gay. He was only 41 when he committed suicide after being forced to endure chemical castration. His future work, his life, all lost because no one could accept he wasn’t their definition of ‘normal’.

Fear and discrimination are the real enemies. People refusing to accept the differences of others. Differences should be encouraged, supported, celebrated. Different isn’t less, most often, it’s more.

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As for the blogging, who knows, maybe this is a good excuse to write that book I’ve been putting off.
So plan to be spontaneous today, here’s some, er, blogging advice to hold you over.
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/04/10/im-hooked-on-a-feeling/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/03/26/why-i-will-never-be-freshly-pressed/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/05/12/i-cant-make-you-love-me/
http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/09/to-blog-or-not-to-blog/
And snap out of it, WordPress, you’re driving bloggers insane (perhaps a short drive, but still a waste of gas).

Anyway, this was rather delightful excuse to post lots of pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch. You’re welcome.

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Support Bacteria – It’s the Only Culture Some People Have

1funny778The occasional broken heart (some courtesy of good-for-nothing teen heart-throbs leering suggestively from glossy magazine covers), the enforced cleaning of my room, scrapped knees and elbows, the tedium of school, bullying, losses…still, I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a time where we knew little.

Sure, pesky facts sometimes showed up, but we were quick to scare them away and defiantly let our ‘ignorance is bliss’ flag fly!

Of course, I knew horrible things had happened and were happening, but for inexplicable reasons (I blame chocolate and kittens), I seemed to believe things would get better.

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I don’t know, maybe it was growing up in a small town, but even with all my extensive sci-fi reading and viewing I could never have imagined this strange new world I would someday live in where Donald Trump could be President of the United States; someone would list their dog as a job reference; Kardashians are deities; people fawn and argue on social media over food while many don’t have any food at all; we would still believe governments and corporations who regularly and flagrantly lie to and cheat us…where fiction is fact and fantasy masquerades as reality.

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The news, entertainment, internet, politics, business, sports, relationships – it’s like we’re watching The Tudors or The Borgias and the only thing that has changed are the outfits…and the quality of the acting. Lies, intrigues, shifting alliances, hypocrisy, machinations, double standards (like when someone does whatever they want, but when someone else does the same thing or less, they’re outraged, shocked, appalled – insert Fox Newsworthy propaganda rhetoric here).

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Tired of the daily circus, I eagerly plopped down on my couch, green tea in hand, sore feet on the exercise ball (hey, it has to be good for something) to distract myself from the distractions and marvel at Colin Firth’s magnificence in Magic in the Moonlight.

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But alas, I found the movie full of philosophical questions about the meaning of life. Sigh. Is nothing sacred? While enjoying the witty banter, I also had to think about whether this is all there is. This day-to-day, this cycle of life, the collective cultures, religions, the systems and wealth of knowledge obtained from human history and common experiences…Or is there more? A higher power, a divine plan, magic, a metaphysical world beyond the rational. Are there plans or is it all spontaneous and just happening as it’s happening? Perhaps I should have just revisited the pastoral peace of Pride and Prejudice, but then, I’d probably wonder again whether I would really like Mr. Darcy if I met him, or think he was a rich, pompous jerk.

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My brain was awash with questions…and green tea. Do we need illusions or even delusions to survive and then more and more as stress levels build?
Is that why the world is looking more like the final days of an empire?
It might also explain why pop culture has become an avant-garde-Spanx-clad-Salvador-Dali-painting-on-Viagra.

Oh well, off to Outwit, Outlast and Outplay another day.

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Tomorrow Tomorrow I Love Ya Tomorrow

1funny758Young
I dreamed
I read
Anything
Everything
Young
I danced
I sang
Motion
Rhythm
Young
I loved
was loved
Possibilities
Passion
Promise
Young
Invincible
Unmarred
My mind full of me
Fearless
Thoughtless
Until youth ran from me
~D. Parker

Have you ever had one of those odd weeks, where you had to choose from odd choices? I did, and it seemed as though my viewing and reading, though vastly different, all had a common theme, at least, in my mind: choices.

Gone Girl. Mesmerizing, mostly due to Rosamund Pike’s luminously disturbing performance. The choices in this film and the fall-out of them had me speculating, head-shakingly weirded-out, kind of appalled and that wasn’t even by Ben Affleck’s ‘acting’. Pretty sure this goes into the movies-not-to-see-on-a-first-date category – http://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/02/14/20-movies-to-avoid-on-a-first-date/

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Zoo. Sorry, not Zoo Station by U2, but that would be a cool theme song, this Zoo is the TV adaptation of James Patterson’s bestselling-creepy-makes-Blackfish-look-like-Disneyland novel about how animal behaviours are changing and becoming more aggressive toward humans (gee, I can’t understand why, we’ve been sooo nice to them) due to choices and changes we’ve made.

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Annie. I love Annie’s gumption and her choice to never be limited, to meet her hard-knock life with a smile, a song, kindness, and courage. I tried to watch the latest version, I don’t care what you change, as long as you don’t mangle the songs…yup, they mangled the songs.

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Poldark. You’d think the trials and tribulations of people in the 1800s would at some point cease to be enthralling and yet…not even slightly, BBC, Masterpiece me some more! 40 years after the first run of this series, Aidan Turner (The Hobbit movies, The Tudors, Being Human, TMI, etc.) was chosen to take on the famous role of Capt Ross Poldark and he might give Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy a run for his money…might.

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1funny767Miss Emily: A Novel. Ireland’s Nuala O’Connor (Penguin) brings us this fictional re-imagining  of a time in the life of a writer known for her eccentricity almost as much as her poetry, Emily Dickinson.
When I read what I call a coat-tail book (a book that uses a famous historical or fictional character to bolster their success), I think, would this be as good if they hadn’t use a famous name? In this book, I found the main character being Emily Dickinson distracted from a well-written, at times disturbing, but ultimately intriguing story of overcoming trauma, adversity, and anxiety.
The story is told to us with the alternating voices of Emily and an Irish servant girl, Ada, who works for the unconventional Dickinson family in Amherst, Massachusetts. We see how the choices of the main characters and those around them affect lives, but more than that, how they respond to those choices.
With or without the charming voice of Emily Dickinson, an interesting read.

Our choices and the choices of others lead us down many paths, but none of those choices defines us, what we do after, that does.

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