Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Circe by Madeline Miller—My Latest Good Read

S.R. Karfelt, Books, Stephanie Karfelt, read, tbr
Another one for your TBR pile!

First, Bibliophile Details

I read Circe in hardcover. I'd also put a copy on my Kindle App. It's something I often do in case I go on a trip in the middle of my book. In this case I never opened the Kindle copy. I got the book from the Book of the Month Club. The subscription was a gift. 

It's a Little, Brown and Company book. The cover is matte and pleasant to the touch. The paper is a nice quality and the pages are easy to turn. Reading it was a pleasant visceral experience.

Beware, there be spoilers ahead

Circe is about the immortal goddess, daughter of Helios. The story world is one readers will be familiar with if they know their Greek myths. Even if you've never read them you'll probably know more than you realize from movies and pop culture. 

The author does a lovely job of giving it her own twist and provides excellent details about the hierarchy of the gods from Kronos to Zeus, and from Titans to the "new-squeaking gods upon Olympus who had not seen the making of the world". 

The details are delicious and the fate of the nymphs brings an excellent arterial vein take on subjugated females to the tale.

The Ugly Truth

Immortality is an idea that's intrigued me since I wrote my immortal warrior story. So I loved Miller's ruthless, spoiled, childish gods. They are heartless to each other. There's no love between them. They're cruel and delight in inflicting misery on each other. 

It makes sense to me that an immortal would lack empathy, but occasionally the chronic meanness was a heavy read.

Circe is a goddess and nymph with less than perfect looks and no discernible talents. The other gods can barely tolerate her. She's loyal but aware of her situation and reads her people well. 

After wreaking revenge on a fellow nymph Circe gets banished to a Greek Island. (That's my personal dream scenario. What god do I need to offend for that?)

You Go Girl

Most of Circe's life passes alone on that isolated island. She discovers her strengths and weaknesses there. Her father is Helios who rides his chariot across the sky as the sun each day. He can see her if he cares to, so he and other gods can know what she's up to though they ignore her even when she needs help.

Shipwrecked mortals occasionally knock on her door. Circe has a weakness for them though they disappoint her possibly more than the gods did. 

What worked for me was both the world Miller detailed and Circe's depth. She recognizes her faults as well as the faults of those around her. Despite having the ability to eternally be as selfish or comfortable as the other gods she constantly searches for meaning and growth despite the judgement and misery she brings on herself. 

Not that she's perfect. She has a real talent for vengeance. 

I'd give it four stars

The five star system doesn't work for me. Since I write too I always see the hard work behind the story and want to give five stars for
Book review, the glitter globe, reading
Stephanie Karfelt
that. Yet I think of all the stellar literature I've had the pleasure to read and drop it down a notch to be fair. 

Circe is a good solid read. I'm glad I read it and I enjoyed it. If you're into mythology you'll want to dig in. 

Next! Bring on another hardcover!

You and I both know I'm chapters into that next book already, but we'll talk about that one another day. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

One Tenacious Bitch—Three Side Effects of Writing for Publication

Three Things Writing Takes, Karfelt, Writerly Status
S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

1.) Just Doing It Isn't Pretty

There was a time not so long ago when I'd have cringed to call myself a tenacious bitch by any definition of the word bitch. Female dog, meaning you're what? Rabid? Aggressive? Protective? Bitchy dogs are usually protecting their puppies. There's also bitch as in bitching, meaning complaining. A harpy. A nag. All negative.

Tough then. I'll own it now. Consider my stories my puppies. I have to fight for my time with them. Know what else? I'll bet harpies get the job done. 

It took me a while to embrace my inner bitch and give her the respect she's earned. I think I'm there. 

She's fearless. I love myself as the tenacious bitch I've grown to be.

2.) Writing means TAKING the time, MAKING the time, not WAITING for the time.

I work hard. Whenever I say that my mind flashes to that scene in Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation when Audrey Griswold says, "He worked really hard, Grandma" and the Grandpa Art goes, "So does a washing machine."

Sometimes I do work hard like a washing machine. Churning out load after load of shitty drafts, getting nowhere. Sometimes I blog to the void with no responses. Sometimes I network or make contacts to no avail and waste time barking up the wrong trees and chasing my tail. But sometimes I work hard like a smarter machine—let's say The Terminator. I know what I want and I just keep moving forward. 

What I want is more readers. I want my own clan of readers. I want feedback for my work. I give up a lot for that goal and I work smart for it. Sometimes I tell myself I don't have to work this hard. It's a choice. I gave up an excellent parking spot for this terminator washing machine gig.

But the truth is I do have to work this hard. It's the only way to get it done. THIS writing thing haunts me. It's what I've always wanted to do. I see story worlds when I fall asleep at night and when I wake in the morning. Story whispers to me while I'm going about my business in the real world. My husband is always quick to say, "Hey! Where'd you go?" 

How does he know? Do I drool or something?

There's a cost to writing so much, making it publishable, and getting it published. Treating it like the job I've always wanted is how I get it done. 

3.) Writing Requires Sacrifice. Sacrifice isn't Painless.

Mostly I ask for grace from my family, but I lose friends quick as I make them. I can't keep up with everything. I'm not a good friend. I can't be. I put my writing first. Some people can handle that. Most can't. 

I want to write. I need to. This is my thing. My dream, my passion, my life's work. 

I love my friends, but my family comes first. Writing second. No excuses, no sorry, no time for long goodbyes. Do I feel like a bitch for it? No. Regret? Sure, but I've made my choice.

I write. It's what I do.

Writerly Status, Tenacious, Writing, Sacrifice

This week I had a spate of vestibular migraine. It's been a while since I had such terrible ones. I'd forgotten. They really are the devil. I should not be up writing at 2:34 a.m., I should be sleeping but I do this so I can get the job done. If that require one tenacious bitch, okay. Sometimes the cost is more than I want to pay. I pay it anyway. I've made my choice. You in?