The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a ****: A Review

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Ah, Facebook.  Something I truly don’t give a flying … about.

(I swear that WordPress’ editor is trolling me right now.  The next post I’ll publish will be a rant on my phone regarding this stupid bloody editor!) 

Hey!  Yes you, reading this post right now.

Do you cuss like a sailor?  Do you like narrators that break the fourth wall to talk to you while they cuss like sailors?  Do you like self-help books with narrators that break the fourth wall to talk to you while they cuss like sailors?  No?  Well, this book isn’t for you.

The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a ****
by Sarah Knight (I’ll shorten to TLM) is a self-help book that does exactly what it says on the tin (or rather, the cover).  This book intended to be a parody of Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, but Knight’s version aims to teach us to tidy up our minds, by giving less f%$#s about things that aren’t that important to us.

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On the Internet’s Seemingly Favourable Writing Program, Scrivener

[Disclaimer: This ain’t a paid presentation!  I’m getting exactly $0.00 for this post.]

How’s it going, guys?  We’re now into February (almost March), and before we know it, it’ll be bloody Christmas again!

Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience with the writing program Scrivener.  Initially, I was a tad bit sceptical of the program because I kept seeing praise for it online in places like Reddit and writing forums, and I thought that there seems to be some sort of annoying circle jerk around it.  However, I’m currently on a trial version of Scrivener, and I’m definitely planning on buying the full version.  So here on this post, I’ll be sharing my experience (so far).

Well then, what is Scrivener?

Scrivener is a writing program that is specifically designed to aid writers to formulate and draft their writing.  Although I’m currently using the program for my current project (a fiction novel), it can be used to write essays, short stories, non-fiction books, screenplays, you name it.  You could use it for basically anything.

How is it any different to using Word?

For starters, I personally think that Scrivener helps me be a bit more organised with my writing.  Before using this program, I used to have a few related documents–one doc being the manuscript, another for character profiles, and another for ideas and notes.  With Scrivener, everything is in one place.  The research, multimedia files, the character profiles, and any other notes or miscellaneous things are all there; I don’t have to keep on switching between word documents.

Okay, so we’re only hearing good things so far… is there anything that you don’t like about Scrivener?

Yes.  To a newbie, trying to figure out the cogs and wheels of the program is quite a challenge.  Usually, programs are intuitive and user-friendly, but Scrivener isn’t like that.  What I did was look up tutorials on YouTube to get the gist of the program, and then I used it the way I wanted to.  So yeah, it’s kind of complicated at first, and it may be discouraging to some other users.  Additionally, there may be too many features– many other writers online seem to use these features all at once while claiming that they’re all useful, but sometimes I find these features a little distracting and I end up not using some of them at all i.e. side notes.  Like the old cliché goes, less is more.

How is Scrivener helping you as a writer?

I think that there’s a slight improvement with my narrative writing skills, and one way of it helping me is with characterisation.  There are templates to character profiles (or y’know, there are many other templates online that you can tinker with), but I like the template provided because it helps me make a character that’s much more “deeper”, rather than a cardboard cut-out of a trope (I admit that characters in my old works were like this, and I’m planning on writing about that in a future post).  This may also be some wack, psychological thing, but I’ve noticed that I’m starting to get my groove back as a (n amateur) writer.  I think I’ve said in a previous post that my passion and motivation has kind of dwindled down in the past few years or so, but now I find myself working on my story almost every day, simultaneously with my Business Administration coursework.

Oh ffs.  Did Scrivener save a bunch of orphans from a burning building?

Yes.  Yes it did.

Anyway, the overall outlook on Scrivener for me is positive.  I like it because it has been a clever, useful, and motivational tool for my writing.  Also, this goes for every other program that exists: use it however you want to use it.  There are guides out there written by others on how to use Scrivener, but I found that their methods don’t really mesh well with me.  By no means is this post a shit on Microsoft Word, because I still use it to write documents such as reports, and it has a number of useful features unique to it, that Scrivener lacks.

This review piece might sound very circle-jerky and like a paid ad/review/similar BS, but I swear on the little bit of earth that’ll be my grave in about a hundred years’ time, this is an honest review with no outer influence.

So, what do you think of Scrivener?  Love it?  Hate it?  What’s your experience?  Leave your comments down below, and I’ll see you in the next post.  Keep chewin’ through those books!

new siggie again

The Body: A Review

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I was going to insert a screenshot from Stand By Me, but… copyright.  So enjoy these train tracks instead.

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

Or, it could be the afternoon or the evening, wherever you are on this planet.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah/whatever you do during the festive season.  Even though I said in the last post that I was going to abandon this blog for a while, I now have some downtime.

Anyway, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, but…this particular review is way overdue!  In fact, there hasn’t been a book review on here for ages!  Well, I’ve been working on this review for quite a while now, but life gets in the way (I was really preoccupied with assignments and Christmas).  Sometimes there are times that I don’t have the motivation or the time to write, and frankly, I value quality over quantity.  I’d rather a decent post once in a while than shitty posts almost every day for the sake of posting.  Anyway, that’s just me.  I’ll stop rambling now.

So, let’s get right to the review, shall we?

The Body is the third novella in Stephen King’s quartet Different Seasons.  As the majority of us know, it spawned the movie Stand By Me (if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour).  Personally, out of all the novellas in this collection, The Body would have to be my favourite.  Out of the four, this one was the least dark, albeit death being a major theme.  The Body takes us back to the summer of 1960 and is narrated by Gordon Lachance, a writer who fondly remembers that summer.

(incoming spoilers under the cut)

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Apt Pupil: A Review

(First of all, I’m so, so sorry that this review arrived the time it did. It could’ve been finished and posted earlier, but a tumultuous combination of uni work, procrastination, and a temporary job made me chuck this review in the backburner) 

Usually, when it comes to reviews, I often keep them short, simple and intend not to give too many spoilers away; they’re just merely opinions that I have in regards to the narratives and I don’t want to turn them long-winded either.  Also, there are going to be a fair amount of spoilers in this review, so read at your own risk.

!!Disclaimer!!: this review ain’t for the faint-hearted and contains sensitive material.  If you or somebody you know (such as a family member) has been affected by the genocides and war crimes of World War II, or if the topic of war and death is upsetting to you, please proceed with caution.  Or otherwise, you can spare yourself from reading the post altogether if it’s beneficial for your wellbeing.

Without further rambling, let’s get right into it!

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T.S. 1888: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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Come one, come all, the first installment of my T.S. Eliot series is here!

Just to reiterate, T.S. 1888 is a series that I’m going to start on TABL.  Each installment will be a review on an Eliot poem and topics such as Modernism, themes, and potential context will talked about.  It’s also a reeaaaallyy good idea if you have a copy of the poems that’ll be discussed in these posts so you can read along and understand what I’m talking about, and which lines I’m referring to (because I won’t be posting the whole poems here, only snippets).  With your own copy of the poem, you can observe your own findings and interpretations, and most of them should be attainable online (Poetry Foundation, anyone?).  These posts will come up once in a while, and you’ll know it’s part of series because I’ll be putting the same graphic on the blog (the one above).  So, we will start with The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and then we’ll explore his other poems, well-known or not.  Now let’s get to it!

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock focuses on the musings of a man in his middle age, and silently vents his frustrations about life, love, loneliness, and growing old as he makes his way towards a tea party.  The form of the poem itself can be considered free verse, as there is no set metrical metre, but there are rhymes scattered within the poem, but those themselves are irregular; fragmented, in a typical Modernist manner.  Additionally, there are lines that are artfully repeated.

The Italian epigraph of the poem is a passage from Dante’s Inferno; words said by Count Guido da Montefeltro’s eternally damned soul, and is translated as:

‘If I thought my answer were to one who ever could return to the world, this flame should shake no more; but since none ever did return alive from this depth, if what I hear to be true, without fear of infamy I answer thee.’

So it can be stated that the epigraph foreshadows that Prufrock is or will be damned, and perhaps his Hell is on Earth.  Prufrock goes on a stroll to an evening gathering, but cannot bring himself to enter and participate.  He is an example of a Modernist protagonist because he is enveloped in his despair to the point it is almost crippling. He is tormented by the circumstances he is in, and does not attempt to overcome his insecurities and anxieties, and instead wallows in them without the aim to resolve them.

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Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption: A Review

Here is where I will state the obvious: I’ve put Heart of Darkness on the back-burner for now.  The draft is still hanging on, and one of these days I’ll re-read and review Conrad’s work.  Instead, I’ll be writing my reviews on texts that I’ve actually read, and hence I’ll be reviewing Stephen King’s novella.  I’ve started reading Different Seasons at the end of the semester, and so far I’m almost done with Apt Pupil, which you’ll also see a review on soon.

Now without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, here are my afterthoughts on Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption!

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(I was originally going to add an animated gif of shirtless Tim Robbins extending his arms to the heavens in the rain, but it is understood that some may be sensitive to the lightning flashes.  So instead, here is an artist’s rendition of the scene)

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Milk and Honey: A Review

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I added this book to my ‘on the fence’ list when I started up this blog, yet I forgot to rate on Goodreads.  I gave it 4 star rating, but that was because they don’t give you the option of giving out half-stars; so technically I would’ve given it 3. 5 stars.  On this blog, I don’t think I want to do star ratings when reviewing texts since I already do on Goodreads, but rather, I just want to talk about them and share my thoughts.

So, what are my thoughts on this book?  Why am I on the fence with this one?

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