Sunday, January 06, 2013

sunday evening

mood: cheerful & creative. i've been fairly productive today.
weather: cold and windy, after all, it's winter. no snow though, unfortunately.
reading: paris, my sweet by amy thomas. (there are waaaay too many books out there i want to be reading right now!)
writing: working on my novel-to-be, trying to break down the main storyline into seperate chapters, and  figuring out the features of my characters.
listening: green day and the ramones.
watching: i just want my pants back.
 eating: scones made by my grandma.drinking: warm milk.
enjoying: the fun, relaxing, and productive winter weekend at my grandma's.
looking forward: starting my new job on tuesday. i am both excited and a bit anxious. fingers crossed everything's gonna be alright and i won't f#ck up anything.

shut up. just write the damn thing already.

 oh, boy. have i been lazy this past week. i am trying to focus on writing, writing something every single day, scribbling down at least a couple of lines filled with some random thoughts of mine. mostly it's been some hungarian scribblings here, a couple of emails finally answered, long overdue. no writing in english though, quite simply becasue i've been plain old lazy and escaping into the world of books and pointlessly surfing the endless oceans of the interwebs for hours every day. it's definitely high time i gathered myself though and came over my laziness. i most certainly need to disclipe myself and focus on being productive. not let time slip through my fingers without any trace. things ought to go back to normal here on this little blog, with at least three or four entries posted every week. the regular posts - top ten tuesday, friday favorites, random thoughts, in my mailbox, and sunday evening - shall also be back and appear as they are expected.

since i wrote this last post on new year's eve, not much has been going on, except that i overcame my holiday blues and bid it a not at all painful goodbye as the clock stroke midnight on new year's eve. i have also managed to escape from the influence of SZJG, and put the book behind me completely more or less. nevertheless, i am most certainly affected by it in a thousand different ways. as of december 31st, i quit my temporary job at the insurance company i had been working at for the past 3 months, so when january 2nd, the first work day after the holidays, rolled around, the new year found me jobless, technically. nevertheless, i had already found a new job, a way more suitable, interesting, and better paying one, which i had been trained and hired for previously, but the contract had not been drawn yet. my new employer had promised back in december that once the contract was ready to be signed, they would call me some time early january. so, i had nothing else to do in the first week of january than sit around, wait for the call, and enjoy these few more extra days i got after the holidays. 

i've surely been enjoying them, not being productive at all, just hanging around, surfing the net (and getting stuck in front of the bloody computer... damn you internet, and my never ending curiousity!), scribbling down all sorts of to do lists, reading a couple of books, going on some light hikes to the nearby hills and taking some pretty photos, redesigning both this and my hungarian blog, playing around with fonts (boy, do i love typography!), templates, and colours. i have also been trying to focus on writing, especially writing in hungarian. it's been one of my goals for the new year (more on that later in its own post), to read and write more, much more in hungarian. that is exactly why i have decided to bring back kapunyitási pánik into life, and making sure to write on a regular basis, looking for and finding something to write about every single day, even if it's only a couple of silly lines. and, hopefully, finding my own voice, my hungarian voice, in the meantime. i may even come across or dig up some stories that i can write about later.

as another big goal for 2013, i have decided to finally write this novel of mine - the story that has been lying around in the back of my mind for at least ten years, and some of the tale already figured out and written down in a notebook and printed on some plain copy paper, earthed deep in some long forgotten drawer of mine. in the last days of 2012 i unearthed that story, and started working on it. my original plan was to write a first draft in january - in nanowrimo fashion - writing 50 000 words in 30 days, without any kind of rewriting or editing in the meantime. this also entails writing about 5 pages per day. well, that was the original plan. needless to say, as of january 6th, i am already behind, way behind, schedule. but: i am working on it, figuring out all the many details and characteristics and ways of telling my story that need figuring out. i am determined to pen this story. it's highly unlikely that i'll finish the first draft in january, but i will not give up working on it. this shall be the primary project of the coming months. i must make it my primary project, no matter what, and not let my focus wander off into a thousand other directions as it usually does. 

and this is what my inner coach taylor has to say:

so now, focus, andi, focus, and discipline yourself, like you've never done before. just write, day and night, live in the skin of your characters and never let them go. write it all out, write down the bones, write your heart out. stop wandering off into a thousand other directions. just write  the damn thing already.

Friday, January 04, 2013

shameless self-promotion

hey guys, i'm trying to breath life into this other blog of mine, so if you are up for some hungarian scribblings, click here, and visit regularly.

thank you for your attention. now go back and enjoy your friday.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

under the influence (of SZJG)

the word of the week ( the past two weeks? the whole month?) must be mubblefubbles. according to a dictionary (that's a very specific citation, isn't it?), it's "depression of the spirits for no apparent reason, melancholy." also known unofficially and as i like to call it: the poops in the soul. but since mubblefubbles seems like a more ligit (and fun?) expression, from now on i am going to use it instead of the poops in the soul.

(yep, that is a heart shape  - the very one that i detest - in the picture.
but just for this time, it can definitely stay.)

 about ten days ago  i wrote this enormous post on my love and worship of the szent johanna gimi series by leiner laura. this very post will most likely be another one of the same kind, because i still have so many emotions and thoughts and anxiety in me about these books, nagging and bragging me to sit down already and write it all out. so i am trying to gather and let it all go at once and for all.

even though i was trying to keep myself away from the unread volumes 6 and 7, and i promised that i would not continue reading until it was after christmas, i did, of course. simply because i can resist temptation just as well as oscar wilde could. this is why and how i read  volume 6 before christmas, and then picked up vol. 7 on the 24th and finished it on the 28th. i cried and laughed through the last 100 (150?) pages, because it was both incredibly great and sad at the same time. just as i was done with vol. 7, mubblefubble washed over my mind and soul immediately. ever since then i just cannot get rid of the uncomfortable aching feeling in the bottom of my stomach. there's this constant anxiety lingering in me and around me, and this uneasy and irritating feeling is much like a strand of hair in my mouth or a pebble in my shoe. it's there, day and night, every single minute of the day, nagging me and reminding me of all these issues of mine and the issues of the leading characters as well. and i just cannot get rid of this feeling.

but then, somewhere in the meantime of my suffering it occurred to me that these books changed me in so many different ways. i realized that it's the growing pains i am suffering through and trying to deal with via writing. i am changing. this book has changed me and it is still changing me. i am also pretty sure that i will continue changing me in the future as well. my views, the way that i see and think of certain things. my taste taste in music, books, clothes and god only what else is changing. i am changing. i am growing up and growing old(er). it would be very easy to say that after reading all seven volumes of szent johanna gimi, all i am left with is my newfound love of the ramones and my rediscovered worship of the beatles and green day (and the fact that i have become a total basket case). but that's most certainly not the case. (or: it's not the only case.)

so, apart from wanting to go back to being a teenager again, being a part of that very class and group of friends and wanting to have a boyfriend like cortez, here are some of the ways SZJG influenced me in (listed randomly, as they came to my mind):
  • as i finished the last published volume with its huge cliffhanger, an enormous infinite emptiness took over me. i was done with the book, and there was no more lines to read, so i put the book down, and looked around, trying to figure out what to do next, how to go on with my life. i had no idea. but the world went on like nothing has changed. except for me, of course. because it changed me in so many different ways. an now i am trying to find another book that can and will fill that infinite void and a book that can mean so much to me as SZJG did. well, it won't be easy to find, that's for sure. 
  • SZJG made me miss my friends badly. being part of a group of friends. belonging to somewhere, hanging out and enjoying each other's comany, and having a jolly old time. laughing a lot and being mad in a good way. i am so so so friendsick (in a homesick kind of way). this whole long-distance relationship thing totally sucks on so many different levels.
  • it made me miss being in love. having someone to hold hands with (again, the beatles said it all, didn't they?) and share my thoughts with and living in our bubble, just the two of us. having the butterflies in my stomach. those awkard, speecheless early moments, going on dates, sharing memories, falling deeper and deeper. the constant yearning to be close, closer, the closest, each and every day again and again. i want happiness to hit me like a train on a truck (florence). i want it now, already, like there's no tomorrow.
  • due to the lack of any real person available and suitable, i fell in a hopeless, platonic love with cortez, the leading character. i don't think i have ever been in love with a fictional, literary character. (nope, not even with mr darcy. okay, maybe i had a crush on eric in the sisterhood of the travelling pants.) but you know, desperate times call for desperate actions.
  • i cannot get rid of identifying myself with the leading characters and their problems. i get up at the middle of the night worrying about their problems, and facing with their issues. i cannot escape from their world. but i am not even sure if i want to. there's a huge part of me that wants to get out and be over this whole addiction thing already, but there's also another huge part of me that enjoys living in that alternative universe too much to leave it just yet. i am already thinking about starting to read the entire series again (it's awfully hard to resist the temptation!). i do know, however, that it would only be a vicious circle with no good consequences. and i have to concentrate on my own writing now, anyway.
  • there's even a bustop in miskolc that reminds me of these books and the leading characters. since the bus i ride on a daily basis crosses that particular bustop (and the library where i got the books from) i am reminded of these books and characters at least once, every single day. when the bus passes that certain stop i get that funny feeling in my stomach. it's ridiculous, but still. it's there. i am that helpless.
  • SZJG awoke the urge in me to learn to play the guitar. i never had any kind of musical education, and i never learnt to play any instrument. i never even did any sports outside the mandatory p.e. classes in school. but i have always regretted not learning to play any musical instruments, because i truly belive that i missed out on something important and beneficial. so now i am trying to catch up and undo the things i regret. i am investing in an acoustic guitar and planning to learn it all by myself in the very near future. i may not succeed, but how can i know if i don't even try? after all, it's in the trying. (that's one thing we learnt both from the coldplay and coach taylor, respectively .)
  • SZJG introduced me to the ramones, the greatest punk-rock band in the history of music. baby, i love you! i am incredibly thankful for this discovery. (another reason to love cortez, of course.)
  • SZJG made me dig up my beatles and green day discography, and now i am playing these way-better-than-fine tunes on constant repeat.
  • SZJG made me buy a beatles t-shirt, and i am going to hunt down and buy a ramones t-shirt as well.
  •  SZJG made me dig up this half-written, half-forgotten novel of mine. when i was done reading volume 5, and my head was filled with the gazillion different words i had read in the previous weeks, and the pools of words on each page made my eyes boggle, i had an epiphany. i realized that this was the time for me to start writing and take the whole i-am-writing-a-novel-one-day thing seriously. that was the point when i knew that i have read all the books and i have had all the education and experience that i needed to write a novel. all these years i had been putting off writing because i knew that i needed to read, study, live, experience, and see  more before i started writing. but when i finished vol. 6, it just hit me that now i am ready to write a novel. i have planty of material to work from. so, i have decided to give that half-written novel of mine one last and final (as in: this time i am definitely finishing it) attempt, and finally write my first young adult novel. that's one serious project for 2013.
  • and, probably most importantly: leiner laura made me want to be a better writer. not only did it make me write, but, i believe, it made me write better, as well.
so, that's that list, those random but ever so important things about SZJG that have been nagging me and begging me to write them out and down. i may or may not amend and add extra items to the list, should they come to mind, though.

oh, boy, this must be the most bookish, awkward, and dorkiest post i have ever written. but what the hell, i am at (and beyond) that age when literally nothing is embarrassing anymore. especially literary stuff. 

and anyway: what is a superb book if not the one that makes you change in so many different ways and on so many different levels?

 so now i am off, keeping calm and finding my own cortez.

one last thing i would like to add is how clearly and obviously leiner laura was influenced by the tv show gilmore girls (which btw happens to be not only my all time favorite tv show, but pretty much my religion too) upon writing these novels and creating the leading characters. starting with the fact that the whole story takes place in a well-off district of budapest and in a rather prestigious non-public school where it's rather hard to get into as the seats are numbered and taken by wealthy kids. the protagonist reni takes after rory gilmore in numerous ways: in the beginning she's this very shy, anti-social, bookish girl, who doesn't even have the courage to look at boys, let alone walking up and talking to them. she is a weirdo dorky girl, who has no taste in music or movies, doesn't even know what she likes, except for reading and cramming. she is a total bookworm, she spends every single free minute of hers with her nose in a book. she is an excellent student, a true eagerbeaver, and gets nothing but straight a-s. also works for the school paper and enters different academic competitions. textbook definition of rory gilmore, eh?

reni has no friends when she starts secondary school, then she befriends a classmate of hers (virág), who is also rather dorky, but artistic, and worships all sorts of music (remember lane?) too. virág has a dog that she names after her favorite musician, but as her taste in music changes, the dog's name also changes with it. it makes a continous punch line in the book: the girls took pete wentz for a walk. not the person though, but pete wentz the dog (remember paul anka and lorelei's dream?). 

reni has another classmate who becomes her friend eventually: kinga.  kinga is the textbook definition of paris geller: a self-appointed leader, who bosses everyone around, and does whatever she wants, and excells in everything. she is exactly like paris, even to the point of her non-academic activities, like volunteering and protesting against certain political and feminist issues. the relationship between reni and kinga is also exactly like the one between rory and paris. they are the two best students in the school, kinga never stops competing with reni (though reni doesn't care about it), she simply wants to be the best. even though their relationship is a filled with fights, arguments, and all sorts of ups and downs, they clearly need each other because they push each other academically, and more importantly: they become best friend who can count on each other in tough times. then, as the end of secondary school draws near, reni ends up winning a scholarship and plans to attend the best university in the country.

(one big difference from rory gilmore: reni is not at all as determined as rory was, in fact she has no idea what she wants to do or become when she's graduated from secondary school. in this small detail lies an enormous weakness of the character. why doesn't she have a dream or any kind of goals, eh? if she's so smart and fills her head with all sorts ideas from all the many books she thumbs through, then how come she has no dreams, no goals, no purpose? what was the point of all that reading then, eh? how come her horizon isn't broadened? it's like she spends all her time studying and cramming and reading because she has nothing better to do. but she doesn't seem to learn anything from all those books, except for earning good grades. all good and strong literary protagonists should have a dream or a goal, and they should be determined to achieve them, especially if they are females.)

some other similarities to gilmore girls: reni's mom is an awful cook, basically she cannot cook anything edible. so every time reni gets a chance, she eats out and gorges on loads of junk food. she also has a cortez box, just like rory had a dean box, in which she collect random, cortez-related items. the tension between the two important boys in reni's life is also very similar to the tension between dean and jess. though arnold was never reni's boyfriend, they were really close friends, and arnold and cortez outspokenly despise each other and fight for reni, just like dean and jess did for rory. and one last thing: reni loves gilmore girls, on numerous occasions she mentions watching it.

now, how is that for similarities?

Monday, December 31, 2012

three days of christmas

 i have been meaning to blog, and post a dozen different end-of-the-year, let's-wrap-it-up fun posts. but i have been putting off writing for days, since the 26th at least. somehow i never managed to sit down and gather myself and my ever so random and zigzagging thoughts though, and form them into sentences that make sense, more or less at least. anyway, here i am now, making an effort on new year's eve. to me new year's eve is like christmas to jewish people: it simply doesn't exist in my universe. so here i am, on a random monday evening, trying to organize my random thoughts into less than random sentences. let's hope they actually make sense.

so, the holidays are over and i haven't written for over a week. christmas was all right. on christmas eve, with my mom and brother i went to sajóvámos where my cousins live with their parents, and along with my grandma and some other relatives we had a big christmas feast. this side of my family never really gets together, we are not at all close and hardly meet, let alone hang out together, so i had my doubts about how this whole get-together would end up. apart from a few awkward moments (and the fact that i am unable to make small talk with my own cousins), it was fun and i enjoyed myself. i had three glasses of wine and time flew by quickly. 

the following day i threw on my backpack and hit the road again: i visited my dad and family in tiszapalkonya. it was my little sister's 15th birthday, so we had a cake with a photo of adam lambert on it (my sister is pretty much the most devoted fan of adam lambert). she received a camera similar to mine for her birthday and christmas, which we fiddled around with all day long. we also had a christmas dinner of stuffed cabbage, took a long walk down the bank of river tisza in the mild weather, played a round of monopoly and watched this great chick-flick entitled morning glory in the evening. on the morning of 26 the entire family put on their sunday bests, got in the car, and payed a visit to tiszafüred, where my dad's mother-in-law lives with her partner and step-son. there we had another christmas feast, loads of alcohol in the form of pálinka shots and champagne, then a whole afternoon of hanging out with my dorky-cool sister and watching the various mtv channels on cable tv. these three whole days of christmas with neverending visits and eating and drinking was fun and felt much christmassy. much more christmassy than the christmases used to be in the previous years, if you know what i mean. 

but when i got home on the evening of 26th, i was glad to be back at home and sighed with relief, because christmas was over. and all of my christmas spirit was gone. actually, it was long gone, even gone before christmas started. it vanished into thin cold air sometime in early december and never came back. it really is a shame, because i am definitely one for christmas. but what can you do when the spirit is all gone, you've got the poops in your soul, and it doesn't feel like the season to be jolly at all? well, not much. enjoy the visits, eat well, laugh much, try not to pretend too many smiles, and let out a sigh of relief when it's over.

it's over and i am sort of glad. but i am sort of blue too, because it's january in a couple of  short hours, and januaries tend to be tough, dark, depressed months for me. i always sigh with relief when i survive januaries.

i tend to sigh a lot with relief these days when things are over. i would love to be very funny and say: i am about to sigh with relief yet again, since this pointless post is finally coming to an end. but since i like to finish my posts on a positive note: i am glad i survived this year (too), and i am about to embark on a new, hopefully eventful and jolly year in a couple of hours. i am also glad i've had a jolly little christmas, a christmas that felt the most christmassy i have ever had. so here's to more such christmassy christmases to come, hopefully with a bit more festive spirit left for the last week of the year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

thank you * happy holidays

dear very few people who come here on a regular basis,

i would like to take this opportunity to say thank you and wish you a merry little christmas.
thank you for taking the time and visiting my little corner of the world every once in  a while. thank you for having the patience and reading my often pointless and mile-long babbles, rants, whining, and the not at all substantial or lofty, but ever so random thoughts. i appreciate every single piece of feedback, especially the comments i get. thank you. 
and stayed tuned, because even more dorky bookishness and random bits and pieces of my super-duper awesome personality is on the way.:)

now let us enjoy this festive song from this great band i love, the ramones:

and now i am off, as the great christmas family tour of 2012 kicks off in a couple of hours. this evening with my mom and brother we are visiting my cousins' and my grandma's, then tomorrow i am leaving for my dads' to celebrate my little sisters 15th birthday (boy, is she growing up!). the day after tomorrow i am tagging along with dad's family (erm, that sounds weird, since they are my family too), and we are driving to tiszafüred where dad's mother in law lives with her partner. i will be back home some time wednesday evening.

jolly christmas to you all!

friday favs: the christmas wishlist edition

 i know it's waaay past the last minute, but i thought i would put together my christmas wishlist. so, instead of a belated, monday morning edition of the usual friday favorites, let me present you all the many things i don't need at all, but want anyway. and, as an extra super-duper gift, let me give you a piece of my mind about christmas presents.

you probably know by now that i love winter, snow, christmas, and all things festive in general. however, there's one thing i really don't care about when it comes to christmas: buying presents, getting presents, and giving presents. i think it's absolutely unnecessary fuss. spending all that money (and the time to hunt them down) on products that the gifted person might not even like is just plain pointless, isn't it? so instead i like to make some presents myself, but only for those whom i really feel close to and about whom i know that they'll appreciate my efforts. if i can't come up with the perfect (or close to perfect) gift idea, i won't even bother making or buying it. 

as for my family, we never really made a big deal out of christmas presents. sure, i'd always get something, usually books from my dad's, then later as i grew older, always some perfume or beauty products, and money in an envelope that i could spend on myself. from my mom most of the time it's something i bought for myself and then she'd give me the money for it. it's perfectly fine. becasue, honesty, i could not care less if i had not gotten any presents this year, or any year for that matter. they just don't matter to me, that's all. the things i yearn for and really want i buy for myself anyway, during the year, regardless if it's christmas time or not. and the other thing is that there's nothing right now that i need or want (and anyone of my family members could buy it for me. or i would want them spending that kind of money on me.)  right now i have all that i need. i am home. i am happy to be here. i have a family and friends whom i love and who love me. we are healthy, all have jobs, make a living, live well, and things are generally fine. (and i have my books. and my poetry to protect me. you know?) a bunch of christmas presents are the last thing that would matter.

 what i do care about however, is the preparation. enjoying the first snow of the season, listening to christmas music, taking a walk down in the christmas fair at the town center, picking the perfect christmas tree, finding the prettiest ornaments, decorating the tree, making gingerbread and other festive pastries; and, most importantly: spending the holidays together with those i love and care the most about. i know it sounds cheesy and it's probably the oldest and biggest cliché in the history of clichés. but the truth about clichés is that they are actually true and right. 

so, without further utterly philosophical or substential thoughts, here's my christmas wishlist. all the things i am definitely not getting for christmas, but sooner or later i will buy them for myself. or at least i hope i will, if i still want them then.

1. the perfect red nail polish - the brightest shade of red. the one that covers perfectly, even if it's only one coat, the one that doesn't get bubbly, or come off two days after painting them on.
2. red glitter toms shoes - i have never been the glitter loving kind of girl, but this holiday season i completely fell in love with sparkly things. i might get a pair for spring.
3. plaid toms shoes - i've been pining for them since last summer. shoes, more shoes, of course.
4. nikon d3100 dslr camera - i need a decent dslr camera asap. for all the obvious reasons.
5. sparkly slippers - sparkly golden shoes. they are super pretty.
6. vintage polaroid land camera - i already have half a dozen vintage cameras, among those 3 are polaroid. but i wold still love to get a polaroid land camera, it's the 'fold out' kind, for which it's still easy to get film.
7. ebook reader - my smartphone is perfect for reading ebooks, still, a proper ebook reader would probably be even more perfect.
8. red cambridge satchel bag - a red leather satchel bag. love at first sight. nuff said. ( i wish it wouldn't cost a fortune though.)
9. red hunter welly boots - okay, i already have a pair of welly boots, but it's hunters and red and classy. super rad. i want them.
10. polaroid 300 camera - it's the new generation of polaroid cameras, the one they still produce the film for which is relatively cheap. because one can never have too many cameras.
11. the perfect red lipstick - the kind that burns like fire on my lips. and the kind that i can pull off. (i still think that i am not classy, sophisticated, and confident enough for bright red lipstick yet. but i wear them every once in a while, anyway. pretending trying to be confident and all.)
12. film for my vintage cameras - it's pretty much mission impossible by now to buy film for my vintage polaroids, since they're not produced anymore. le sigh.
13. boxset of john green's books or any book from this list - becasue i love reading. duh.

what was on your christmas list this year? do share!

Friday, December 21, 2012

random friday thoughts

it's friday evening, and i should be doing a thousand other things, most of them utterly festive, like kneading gingerbread batter, baking carrot cake, making eggnog, wrapping the presents i haven't even bought yet, writing last-minute christmas cards and listening to the cheesiest, cheeriest christmas music.

but instead i am feeling exhausted, and i am wondering where has all this time gone? when did the pages of the calendar turn to the 21st, and how come there are only two days left until christmas eve? how come i haven't written any of the numerous silly holiday blog posts i've been planning to do for weeks? how come i haven't bought any presents yet (except for the single bottle of perfume i got for my mom; truth be told i never buy them earlier than the 23rd or even 24th of december.), haven't baked the gingerbread cookies yet, taken photos of all the festive prettiness filling the high street of miskolc, or done anything the slightest bit christmasy in the past two weeks? but to be honest, right now i don't care about all of this, any of this. because it doesn't really feel like christmas at all. (so, this song is back, huh?)

it's all because i got the poops in my soul. i am still heartbroken over this book series i got so helplessly addicted to (and yearning and dying to read on, but i am forcing myself to stay away, i'm still in rehab, you know?). by the way, how can you get so heartbroken from a book or a few books, eh? still, this great bitter sadness has overtaken my mind and it's weighing on my chest, and i just can't seem to be able to get rid of all that poops in my soul. so i am listening to not at all cheesy, cheery or festive music, but instead i am playing the most bittersweet tunes of the universe on endless repeat (okay, maybe it's a bit cheesy?). being the masochist that i am, i am actually kind of enjoying this great beautiful bitterness and wallowing in all of this trouble i have gotten myself into. oh, and have i mentioned that i get emotional and start weeping at the most random times in the most random situations? like in the office when i am writing totally unemotional news articles or when i am standing in the canned food isle of the supermarket and trying to pick out the best instant soups. 

still, i am trying to pull myself together, and get rid of the poops in my soul. after all, it's christmas time. this the season to be jolly, isn't it? and i have a whole lot of things to do in the next couple of days. like getting up early tomorrow morning, hitting the central market of the town with my mom and hunting down the cutest, prettiest, most beautiful smelling christmas tree. then doing some more shopping, finding the right presents, some more ornaments for the tree and another set of twinkle lights. then once i am home, i am baking a whole batch of gingerbread cookies, and once they are cool, decorating them with sweet white frosting. we are also putting up and decorating the tree in the evening. then there'll be some more baking and eggnogg making on sunday, and the beautiful festive scents of spices shall  fill the rooms of our home, along with cheesy christmas tunes in the air. and if i still have a teeny bit of free time on my hands and the slightest bit of energy in my bones, i am sitting down and typing up those silly festive posts i've thought out weeks ago.

but for now i am still wallowing. and writing in the meantime, like i always do when i need some serious therapy (who said writing was in no way therapeutic? must have been an idiot.) so i am scribbling stupid to do lists. and pointless blog posts filled with random friday thoughts. and words, loads of words in hungarian. which is kind of scary. but also kind of exciting because i am forcing myself out of my comfort zone, and that's where happiness starts, right? it's finally hungarian, because that's the scariest to me, it's the language that has got the truest of words. the truth sound truer and realer in hungarian. maybe it's time i faced it all, faced the truest of words, arranged them and put them down in the simplest expressions i have ever heard. i know it kind of makes things better and helps me healing. what i've been trying to say is that i have finally started writing this novel of mine, or restarted, or continued, or whatever the right expression is here. picked it up, and figured that i should give it yet another attempt. this time it feels more serious, more substantial. this time, maybe i'll find the right words, the right voice, and get to the end of the story. (erm, the only problem is that that's what i always say. but this time is different, really. see?) but that's a whole other story, for another day, for another post.

so don't you worry about me, enormous infinite void out there. i am going to be fine, just fine, like i always am. i just gotta write it out of my system, like i always do.

ps: i guess it's time i started this whole 'random thoughts' post-series, since the blog has got this title for over three years and all. you gotta live up to your name, you know.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

25 going on 15

 have you ever loved a book so much that you just wanted to give it enormous bear hugs and hold it close and never let it go? because it was so exciting and authentic and fun that you just couldn't put it down, you just could not stop turning page after page after page, and all of a sudden you found yourself having spent an entire three hours in a bathtub filled with bubbly water that had gone lukewarm in tha meantime. when every single free minute of the day is about reading, proceeding, going on, finding out what's going to happen next, because it's such a pageturner and so unputdownable. have you ever shrieked out loud on every other page because you were having so much fun and you could barely contain yourself to confess your ever so devoted and infinite love to it? and wanted to kiss it, every single page, becuase you felt you had such a close connection to it? because it spoke to you, and entertained you, and made you laugh out loud so bad that you had to stop reading and laugh for a solid 10 minutes, only then were you able to go on with the book, but then on the next page you had to stop again because there came another punch line, an even funnier one?

have you ever identified with the protagonists so much, that you lived your life like you were them? you felt their feelings, you faced their fears, you thought their thoughts, you shared their opinions, reacted their reactions, listen to the music they listened to? and that beautiful, cheerful feeling lingered around you day after day, 24/7 like the finest perfume, making the atmosphere sweet around you? and then all of a sudden you realized that you were completely, hopelessly addicted to it. and there was no way out, you were in this deep dark tunnel-like place from where there was  no way out, because you always wanted more and more, even more pages and chapters and volumes just so you could feed your addiction? and just like it's with other crack addicts, the addiction took over your life and you felt that you were losing yourself. sure, you were having fun while high on reading, but then as you stopped the rollercoaster went downhill and this great sadness and emptiness took over.

have you ever loved a book like that, that much, that bad? because i haven't in a very long time, and now i am, and it's awefully hard to find the rightest of words that could express completely accurately all these feelings i have in me, all these feelings that my body can hardly contain. and as i am typing this, tear after tear streams down on my face, because this book has unearthed this great bitter sadness in me and all of a sudden i am facing with all the many regrets and remorse about my teenager years i have tried to repress in the last ten years.

and the book i have been going on and on about is... a szent johanna gimi series by leiner laura. oh boy, have i fallen in love with it. never ever, not in my wildest dreams or nightmares have i ever thought that i would ever love this series this much. i only borrowed the first volume because i wanted to know what all that hype was about. curiosity got the better of me. so i read the first volume, and i most certainly wasn't impressed. i thought it was a silly little teenager book, a quick and easy read, loads of pop culture references, narrated in first person diary style, without any kind of real plot or character development. i thought it doesn't project any literary value, but at least it persuades teens to pick up a book and read the printed word. and then, when i was finished with the first one, the second one was also lying around on my shelf, becasue i borrowed the first two together from the library. so i read that one as well. and it pulled me, got me addicted, and there has been no stopping since then. i guess the author finally got the hang of it by the second volume (or maybe i did? i did bite the bate, i guess.), and found the real voice for her characters.

i really cannot remember when was the last time a book awoke such strong feelings in me. when did i have this much fun and when did i laugh out loud on every single page? it is, indeed, wonderfully written, and the author got rid of the growing pains by volume three. the dialogues are hilarious and absolutely realistic, mirroring perfectly how teenagers act and react; the plot is lively with unexpected twists and turns; and, most importantly: the developing relationship between the two leading characters are really well thought out and written wonderfully (still, it remains realistic, which is a huge plus).

 i have fallen in love completely and hopelessly with this whole world that leiner laura managed to create. it makes me want to go back and be a teenager again. i want to get out, stop being an adult, being oh so serious, and acting grown-up like with grown-up jobs and grown-up problems and and grown-up plans. i want to get out and go back, i want to be 14 again, and do it all over again. fix all the things i screwed up back then, do everything differently. do things right, and not miss out on a whole lot of things, and not let life and depression screw me up for the rest of my life. for the second time i would try harder and be a normal teenager, with normal teenager issues, i promise.

there's been 7 volumes published so far, and there's supposed to be an 8th (probably the final one) come out sometime in 2013. in the past two weeks i have read the first 5 volumes of the series, 3 of those in the past 4 days (see the kind of addiction i am dealing with?). i have already hunted down the 6th and 7th from various libraries, but now i am consciously stopping myself, taking a few steps back, trying to get my life back, forgetting about acting and feeling like a teenager, coming to terms with my regrets and accepting that i will never have the chance to do that period of my life all over again. i can never fix all the things i screwed up back then, and i can never catch up on all the things i missed out on.

nevertheless, i'll try to find and pick up my christmas cheerfulness that i have dropped along the way and forgotten about in the past few days, and focus on all the many things i should do before christmas. i'll try to read something that can cheer me up  and distract me, and make me forget about the kind of problems this series unearthed in me. and then, sometime after christmas i will read volumes 6 and 7. naturally, being such a big fan of the series, i am already thinking about rereading the whole thing all over again, but  - as fun and entertaining as it is and as much as an enormous part of me is dying to reread it - i don't think it will happen anytime soon.

for one thing, i have a whole lot of grown-up reading to do with the book challenges i signed up for; and, more importantly: i don't want to put myself through again all those terrifying and excrutiating emotions that i have recently suffered and still suffering through. it's just too exhausting and upsetting. not to mention that now my head is filled with the billion words i have read in the past week, and staring at oceans of letters on bright white screens or even hard copies make my eyes boggle. i need to take a break.

but i am still incredibly grateful and beholden to have found and read these books. and not just because they're fun, hilarious and entertaining and make me face all these issues i've been hiding from, but because i've also learnt a whole lot of things from them. about how to build and write a really superb book for teenagers, for example. and that's one really important thing i've been searching for and trying to understand and learn for a long time. ever since i was a teenager myself, i guess.

so, i salute you, leiner laura, there's no question about that. and i only wish i could ever write a novel half as fun, entertaining, realistic, unputdownable, and so valuable, as you did. thank you for all the fun you have provided me.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

sunday evening

mood: cheerful and festive. i caught a cold though a few days ago, so i have a sore throat, runny nose and caugh a bit.
weather:  foggy, rainy, wet, yuck. hopefully there'll be some fresh snow before/during christmas.
reading: a szent johanna gimi vol. 3. i am totally hooked. don't ask.
writing: just the usual blog posts + planning posts for next week.
listening: college prep carly's holiday playlist.
watching: it's still szomszédok time.
eating: szaloncukor (traditional hungarian christmas sweets). the orange flavored marcipan one made by szerencsi is among the best. my personal favorite.
drinking: liters of warm fruit tea with lemon slices and honey.
enjoying: the festive decoration on the bookcase among my desk + the little fake charlie brown christmas tree that i decorated this afternoon.
looking forward: to finally have the time to sit down and write in hungarian, do a couple of craft projects and bake some christmas confection, especially gingerbread.

capturing december, day 11: green

silly festive decoration from the office. (not very green though. i have failed to take a photo of anything nice and green all through the week. bahh.)

i've fallen a few days behind with my capturing december project this week, but i should definitely catch up in  a couple of days.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2013 book to movie challenge


the third  challenge i am entering is the book to movie challenge hosted by doing dewey. in this one the idea is to review books and the movies which they've been made into. i'm doing this because a, i love both books and movies (duhhh); b, i found and fell in love with loads of books because i saw the movies they were turned into and they awoke my interest in hunting down the originals; c, i tend to buy books which have been turned into a movie easier. it's probably because of the publicity. and for some reason i think they are superb books. most of them really are superb. but it also sort of entails that the movie adaptations are often disappointing and don't live up to the expectations. with this challenge, i will take a closer look at both the books and their adaptations. 
this challenge has different levels which are:
  • movie fan - read 3 books and watch their movies
  • movie devotee - read 6 books and watch their movies
  • movie lover - read 9 books and watch their movies
  • movie aficionado - read 12 books and watch their movies

as for now i am attempting the movie lover level with nine books listed below. i have the right to change challenge levels at any time though. so, the books and their movies i've chosen read, watch, and review:
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by  Lionel Shrivel
  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
  • 127 Hours by Aron Ralston
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
+ 1:
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
feel free to join at doing dewey.

back to classics challenge 2013

what does an english major do after graduation? finally reads all the literary classics she never had the time to do so in college.
 this was a silly(?) joke(?) i read somewhere a couple of years ago. but it definitely could have been a genuine observation as well. i like to think that i read quite a lot during my college years. but most of the reading i did was not on the mandatory reading list of the various literature seminars i was obliged to take. i have always liked to rebel against all things mandatory, and reading lists were never an exception, neither in secondary school nor at university. nevertheless, i did read some of the classics for the lit seminars - i read some shalley and keats, some shakespeare, the great gatsby and robinson crusoe, and a whole lot of 20th century american poetry. but it was hardly ever for fun, especially when my hours were painfully numbered before endterm exams. rushing through wuthering heights in one short winter day? then doing it all over again the next day, but this time with the scarlet letter? not exactly my idea of fun. no wonder i could never sympathize with hester prynne or catherine earnshaw. we never really had the chance or the time to bond.

then, as my final state exams fastly approached, i promised myself that i would read each and evey piece of literature that was included on the mandatory reading list of the history of american literature track. it's no surprise that i never had the time to do so before the state exams, and i only rushed through a teeny tiny fraction - most of which were poems and short stories. never mind, i thought, i would get to it once i graduate. i also made a mental note to dig up the reading lists of the various long-forgotten british lit seminars, and reading all the brit classics as well, eventually.

well, i graduated more than a year and a half ago, and haven't started my 'catching up on the classics project' yet. and why? because there are so many other, exciting, fascinating books out there, all begging me to pick them up and read them already, that i kind of forgotten about the classics. still, lately i find myself missing studying, you know, picking up a text book, sitting down with it, underlining the brand new thoughts and ideas that could broaden my horizon. knowing that i've just learnt something new. knowing that i've worked my brain a bit, and become a richer person by the new knowlegde. surely, all the chick lit, young adult, and travel books have been entertaining, i've had a whole lot of fun this year with them, but somehow they are just not substantial enough. not hardcore enough. i don't feel that i am high on lit when i'm done with them. i don't experience the feeling of satisfaction when i put them back on the shelf. i want to be higher on literature.

so i doom 2013 the year of the classics. the year when i go back to basics, i pick up all some of the books i skipped in college, and finally read them. without rushing, fussing, writing 10 page long essays or taking exams on them. me reading, slowly, just for fun. for the love of books. so this is why i decided to enter the back to classics challenge. (and i will also take enikő bollobás's az amerikai irodalom története /the history of american literature; my university textbook/ off the shelf and reread the entire thing. hopefully that will refresh my lit knowledge. i am also planning to finally read the bible. or at least give it a try.)

now some info: the back to classics challenge  is created by sarah reads too much. as the name suggests, the participants are required to read a number of literary classics in 2013. some specifics (copied from sarah reads too much.):

  • this year will feature 6 required categories that all participants must complete.
  • there are additional categories that those super-motivated participants can choose to complete if they'd like. 
  • all reviews must be linked on the appropriate pages at sarah reads too much, and those will be listed on the left hand side of that page. when you've finished, you will also need to link a wrap-up post. everyone who completes the 6 required categories and the wrap up post will be entered to win a $30US gift card or choice of book(s) from the book depository. any one who completes 3 categories from the optional list will earn one additional entry into the prize drawing. any one who completes all 5 categories from the optional list will earn two additional entries into the prize drawing.
  • all books must be read in 2013. books started prior to january 1, 2013 are not eligible. reviews must be linked by december 31, 2013. 
  • ebooks and audio books are eligible. books can count for other challenges you may be working on.
  • you do not have to list your books prior to starting the challenge, but it is more fun that way. you can always change your list at any time. you can read the books in any order (including mixing in the optional categories at any time).
  • you can decide to attempt the optional categories at any point (you can also bow out of the optional categories at any point as well).
  • please identify the categories you've read in your wrap up post so that i may easily add up your entries for the prize drawing.
the required categories:
  • a 19th century classic: Vanity Fair by Thackeray or Walden by Henry David Thoreau or Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • a 20th century classic: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • a pre-18th or 18th century classic:  Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe or Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • a classic that relates to the african-american experience: Uncle Tom's Cabin by Margaret Beecher Stowe
  • a classic adventure:  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • a classic that prominently features an animal: One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
optional categories:
  • re-read a classic: A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
  • a russian classic: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • a classic non-fiction title: On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • a classic children's/young adult title: Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery or Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott 
  • classic short stories: Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath

feel free to join and sign up at sarah reads too much.

Friday, December 14, 2012

the 2013 tbr pile challenge

it's that time of the year... when i find myself wandering about what i've been through the year, where i've been, what i've done, seen, experienced, taken photos of, and read. it's that time of the year... when i find myself compiling lists of the best books i read, films i saw or songs i listened to the most. and finally: it's that time of the year, when i find myself thinking of the new year's resolutions i might make, the changes i would like to make, and the challenges i might take.

not so accidentally i came across a few reading-related challenges, and being a devoted bookworm with at least two hundred books (half of which are hard copies whereas the other half are ebooks) in my ever so growing 'to be read' pile, i am way too eager to accept and take part in some of those challenges. just for the sake of reducing that enormous pile. and for my neverending, devoted love of reading. and because i love a challenge just as much as the next girl does.

so, the reading-related challenges i decided to take part in are (as of today. doesn't mean i won't take half a dozen other reading challenges in the coming fortnight.):

let me start off with introducing the to be read pile challenge, created by roofbeamreader. we all know that i have a ton of unread books, some of which have been abandoned and thoughtlessly left behind on my shelves. i have been making an effort to reduce the number of books in the pile this year, but being an incurable book-purchasing-junkie, because i can resist anything except the temptation of books (and bags and shoes), i could not help but buy circa 50 60 books (plus download a whole lot of ebooks) in 2012.    so, in spite of this honest effort of mine, this never-diminishing pile just keeps on growing and growing and growing until it reaches the hightest and bluest of skies. it just won't stop. but my love of reading won't stop either, and the bookworm in me just keeps on gorging on page after page, so i reckon that pile is going to be just fine. 

so, basically the goal of the challenge is to finally read 12 books from your 'to be read' pile within the next 12 months. some specifics (copied from roofbeamreader):

  • each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “to be read” list for at least one full year. this means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2012 or later.
  •  alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.
  • must write a proper review of each book read, and must sign-up at  roofbeamreader with a link to list  and add updated links to each book’s review. every listed book must be completed and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.
  • crossovers from other challenges are acceptable, as long as you have never read the book before and it was published pre-2012.
  • you can read the books on your list in any order; they do not need to be read in the order you have them listed.

after some deliberate consideration i came up with a list of books (i tried to select volumes that have been sitting on my shelves for years, literally):
  • Holy Fools by Joanne Harris
  • Blue Eyed Boy by Joanne Harris
  • Little Men and Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Sweetest Thing by Fiona Shaw
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • The Dutchess by Amanda Foreman
  • The Constant Gardener by John le Carré
  • Jigs and Reels by Joanne Harris
  • Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Puffin Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Madame Bovary by Flaubert
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • White Oleander by Janet Fitch
  • The Collected Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

without further ado: let the games begin.
and of course, feel free to join!

ps: i am creating a page out of this post with a title and link at the top of this blog, and i am planning to update that page as i proceed and write the reviews.
pps: i am introducing the other two challenges in the following posts.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

friday favorites

ladies and gents, please find below the freshest instance of the friday favorites - some of the neat and pretty things that have caught my eyes in the past week. i am an eager little bee this time, and can't resist posting before friday. this week's post is filled with thoughts to ponder, books to pine for, and quotes to be inspired by. 
just the usual bookishness, you know.
enjoy and be inspired.

these pieces of writing, ahh. i so get them, especially the first one. 



some amazing shots of the book storage area at amazon. for more photos click here. it's quite mind-blowing, i wouldn't at all mind getting lost in this book heaven. and stack up on some a thousand books as well.


for inspiration


a couple of new books on my wish list. (though i am not completely sure whether the second one actually exists, or it's only book art.)



thoughts to ponder. though i don't agree with the first one. to me creativity is the inability to sleep at night, because my mind is filled with a thousand different ideas zigzagging recklessly. 


and finally a thought to measure
The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” Albert Ellis

capturing december, day 10: wrapping paper

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

november reads

since the middle of december is just around the corner, i gather it's high time i did a bit of a recap of the books i read in november. although i have already written about most of them in various posts, it might be a good idea  to gather them in one post, just for the sake of  consistency. similarly  to october, november was also the month of easy reads with 7 volumes read, consisting of one biography, three young adult novels, two chick-lits, and a realistic fiction (?)/ travelogue kind of novel. 

  • one fifth avenue by candace bushnell - standing in front of the bookshelf and looking for some easy-read chic-flick early november, my finger wandered to the spine of this book. this is exactly what i was in the mood for, so i took it off the shelf and opened up the cover. after being abandoned and waiting to be read for at least a couple of years, i finally dove in and got lost in between the lines of bushnell's novel about the manhattan elite living on fifth avenue. as a big fan of sex and the city (not the book though, but the tv show starring sarah jessica parker), in one period of my life - about two or  three years ago - i decided to gather all books by bushnell and read them. well, with this one and the prequels of sex and the city read, i am finally done with bushnell. i highly doubt i will ever return and reread her books again.

  • summer in the city by candace bushnell - last summer i read the carrie diaries, a novel that accounts the teenager and pre- new york city years of sex and the city protagonist carrie bradshaw. summer in the city is the sequel of the carrie diaries, in which 18 year old carrie sets her foot on some serious big apple ground. the novel consists mostly of pointless dialogues, doesn't seem to have any kind of storyline, and the protagonist (carrie bradshaw, that is) appears as an obnixious little brat whom it's really hard to identify with or simply like and cheer for. but since i was sort of curious about the pre- sex and the city years and how the four leading characters met and became friends, i hate not to finish and to abandon books, and i had planty of free time on my hands at work, i made it to the last page. but never again will i return to this book. 

  • nanny returns by nicola kraus & emma mclaughlin - it's the sequel of the bestseller chic-lit the nanny diaries which was later turned into a big hollywood movie starring scarlett johansson. i don't remember when i read the nanny diaries the first time, but i liked it enough to buy its sequel a few years ago, and, finally, in november i was in the mood for this very novel. similarly to many other chic lit pieces, once the story pulled me in, the book became quite a page-turner, and all of a sudden i found myself on page 200 (out of 300). it is, indeed, chic lit, but with a sophisticated narrative and a rather advanced vocabulary. all in all, i wasn't completeley happy with nanny returns. i just couldn't figure out what was the point of it? indeed, it was a page turner, still, the plot was quite weak, i found no character development or any kind of entertainment for that matter. not to mention that during the last 50 pages or so i felt like it went on a bit too long and pointless. why was it written? what does the novel serve or what is the purpose with the sequel written? i never found the answers to these questions. nevertheless, i will hunt down other books of the same co-authors and find out what else they can offer.

  • anna and the french kiss by stephanie perkins - an excellent young adult book that i enjoyed immensely, and will definitely reread sometime soon. the plot is quite plain and simple: 18 year old girl is transferred to american boarding school in paris, where she falls for the cutest french/american guy with perfect hair and a troubled background. i know i know, it sounds way too cheesy and predictable. still, perkins managed to bring the best out of the classic - and thus predictable - girl-meets-boy-they-fall-in-love-and-end-up-together story with well-thought-out and three-dimensional characters, admirable, hilarious and realistic dialogues, and the best, most palpable chemistry between the protagonists that i have read about in years. and i haven't even mentioned the whole french boarding school atmophere set in beautiful paris. it's definitely a keeper, and on my to be reread list. 

  • dash and lily's book of dares by rachel cohn and david levithan - also a highly recommended young adult book, though not as great as anna and the french kiss. still, it's a must read for it's festive atmosphere, and because it's set in snowy new york city, it's utterly bookish, and centered around a red moleskine notebook and new york's most famous book store the strand. i had read  a handful of fairly positive reviews of this novel, so my expectations were quite high. well, in the end, my reading of the book did not meet those expectations, still, it's a fun and festive young adult read that's worth picking up and thumbing through around christmas time. 

  • a good year by peter mayle  - being a big fan of its movie adaptation, this book was a bit of a disappointment. the whole provence atmosphere and the busy london businessman settling into a laidback french country life theme work so much better on the screen while on paper i found mayle's two dry - similarly to other works of his. (and that pulpable chemistry between russel crowe and marion cotillard appears nowhere in the book.)

  • coco chanel by alex madsen - although i was excited to read about the life of coco chanel - especially how she made it from being a poverty stricken orphan to the queen of the fashion world -, i struggled with this detailed biography for about two months, and never managed to finish it in the end. the first third of the book was quite ineresting, but somehow i didn't find the later years of chanel fascinating enough. the last third of the book was a bit of a bore, to put it bluntly. when i abandoned the volume permanently there was still about 50 pages left unread, and i had lost all interest in all the pointless details of coco chanel's life.
what have you been reading lately? please share!