The Wake

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Image Source: southernghosts.tumblr.com

My flash horror story, “The Wake”, is out today in Jamais Vu, a Post Mortem Press newsletter. It appears alongside an interesting bit of history behind Mozart’s Concerto in C minor number 24,  some fun Halloween poems, and a tense labyrinthine story that seems to take place in an M.C. Escher painting. I had the pleasure of encountering Post Mortem Press at the World Horror Convention last year, and I am ecstatic to be included in their revamped monthly newsletter. You can sign up to receive it by email here.

This story is a special one to me, as it is based on one of the outrageous stories my Grandma was always telling me. Have fun trying to decipher the fact from the fiction. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Click here to read “The Wake”.

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

Posted in Writing | 5 Comments

The Importance of Self Care

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“Sit and Enjoy” by Marc Benslahdine

This was a pretty large section in my Baby’s First Year book when we brought the girls home from the hospital. It’s so easy to put yourself on the back-burner in those simultaneously  manic and foggy first days and weeks. Funny thing is, self care isn’t really something you pay much attention to until you are no longer the center of your own world. Even now that the babes have grown a little, and we’re getting more than one hour of sleep a night, day-to-day life and trying to balance the demands of work and family has a similar effect on self care as two newborns did. As in, self-care is often relocated to the back-burner…again.

I have had neck tension and pain for the better part of the last two years. This morning, my alarm went off at six so I could go to the gym before work. I did what I often always do and turned off my alarm and tried to fall back asleep, but because I went to bed so early the night before, I really had no excuse. I got myself up and walked to the gym in the cool morning, while listening to Troye Sivan (like a more pop-y, romantic, less straight The Weeknd), and it felt good. As I let Sivan’s lyrics inspire me for my WIP and pushed my muscles, I actually felt the tension receding from my neck and shoulders.

Earlier in the week, desperate for something to relieve the pain, I set up a chiropractic appointment. I have horrible posture, and I work a desk job, so I am screwed at every turn with regards to my back. The thing is, I haven’t been to any doctor, chiropractor, dentist, or optometrist appointments since before I got pregnant. And after having my daughters–well, everyone who is a parent out there knows–I kind of lost myself in the first months. And whether you have children or a lot on your plate, in general, you have to reclaim yourself. Going to the doctor is damned important. If you have a tooth bothering you, or you think your glasses a may not be the right prescription anymore, by God, get thee to the ‘ist doctor, go!  You’re the only one there to take care of you, the only one who can know what you need and when you need it. Taking half an hour to go visit the chiropractor and an hour before I got ready for work to hit the gym reminded me of the importance of self care.

Maybe you don’t work out. Maybe that’s not how you relieve stress. Instead, take a ten minute walk or ten minutes to sit on your porch and read a book or ten minutes to go into your bedroom and unwind with some deep breathing. Just the fact that you’re claiming that moment for yourself could be all you need.

I am also learning that self care includes being good to yourself in your thoughts. You cannot constantly cut yourself down and expect to feel good  as a result. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to do or achieve, don’t belittle yourself for not getting it done. Instead, enjoy whatever you’re doing instead and make time to do the other thing. Take action rather than slinging internal verbal abuse at yourself. If you’re like me, you might have to constantly, consciously remind yourself to do this.

I know what you’re all wondering. Is the neck tension gone? I have one-year-old twins and I field complaints for eight hours a day at my job. What do you think? 😉

What are some of the ways you’ve slacked off on self-care? What have you done or can you do to take care of yourself?

 

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Stranger Things

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If you haven’t started streaming Stranger Things, you need to. Like, now. Still not convinced by that epic promo art? Then allow me…

Fellow Children of the 80s, if you cannot watch the opening scenes and credit sequence without feeling it strike a cord in the deepest pit of your stomach, then you might have been in a coma for some of your childhood. This shows speaks in the language of our yesteryears through the set, the clothes, the homes, and the technology (rotary phones and Christmas lights…just wait). It speaks the language of Stephen King–even if you never read any King, you were familiar with that language, because the movie adaptations of his books were just as influential as the novels themselves. Stranger Things is also fluent in 80s cinema, and you may recognize a lot of images, themes, and motifs. If you aren’t into that stuff, that’s okay. Maybe you’re like me and will just recognize those familiar things in the back of your mind, even if you can’t put your finger on why you love it so much. The show is rife with echoes of E.T., Goonies, alien film staples such as Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and They Live, and a score–let me gush about the score for a minute–that takes cue from John Carpenter, which makes a huge impact on the overall tone. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, a pair of relative unknowns, know their shit and they liberally apply that knowledge. As for the Duffer Brothers, the genius creators, they are familiar with all of the above sources and paying hefty homage.

I gotta be honest, I fall in love with movies all the time, but TV shows have to work a lot harder to capture my heart without reservation. It was only after consuming the first season that, in my awed state, I went on a search for what it was that had so endeared me to this Netflix gem. After stumbling around the interwebs, I realized it was nostalgia. A thick, goopy layer of nostalgia poured like honey over phenomenal casting, an engaging, expertly simple story line, and a heavy atmosphere with a self-aware and direct aim.

Who Stranger Things is for:

Everyone: People who love iconic sci-fi, horror, adolescent adventures; Stephen King fans; Goonies fans. The setting plays a huge role in the show, so those who grew up in that decade will find a special place in their hearts for ST.

Please don’t disregard this show because you don’t consider yourself a sci-fi/horror fan. Stranger Things steps outside of its genre(s) to deliver something truly unique. How does it do this? Well, let’s see…

Why Stranger Things is awesome:

PLOT

A great story with a tight plot. As my husband pointed out, there is not a single wasted scene in the eight episodes. The story is so good that even without dramatic cliffhangers–a cheap device to keep viewers watching–you must keep watching.

CHARACTERS

The show is often described as being about the disappearance of Will Byers in small town, Hawkins, Indiana. While that is certainly what drives the plot, it’s such a watered down description in light of the life-like, deftly crafted characters.

My favorite character arc is Chief Hopper’s. Jim Hopper is the unexpectedly observant Chief of Police in this small town where the worst thing that ever happened “was when an owl attacked Eleanor Gillespie because it thought her hair was a nest”. But there’s also the double-shift-working, end-of-her-rope mom, Joyce Byers (Wynona Ryder), who will do anything for her children, including let the entire town think she’s insane. #NoRegrets

Then, you have the healthy dose of adolescent drama, via newly-elevated-to-cool status Nancy, her “what exactly are your intentions, young man” cool guy boyfriend, and social outcast, everyone-probably-thinks-I’m-responsible-for-my-missing-little-brother, Jonathan. And we mustn’t leave out the mute-when-it’s-convenient little girl who loves Eggos and has awesome but also truly terrifying superhero abilities.

I bet you’re wondering why would I compare a show with these characters to the Goonies? Well, it’s because of the trio of D&D-playing, sneaking-out and rule-disobeying friends of the disappeared Will. They provide a lightness of boy wonder and comedy that offsets the heavier themes of the show. But don’t let their jokes and scuffles fool you. They are serious about getting their friend back.

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With this motley cast, see why Stranger Things is for everyone? I don’t want to say too much, because I don’t want to give anything away. But I will say that even when these characters make mistakes, you forgive them, and you may even love them more.

INFLUENCES 

The long line of cinematic lineage it takes inspiration from–how can you not appreciate something so broad in scope and beautifully executed? [Potential spoilers in that film reference list–watch the show first.] There’s also covert pop culture references like Silent Hill and Scarlet Johansson’s 2013 Under the Skin.

MULTI-GENRE

Stranger Things has a little bit of everything: humor, heart, sci-fi, adventure, horror, and, of course, romance.

I’ve been on a hunt since mainlining the show for similar shows, movies, books, anything. These two lists suggest what to read and stream after obsessively binge watching Stranger Things. Again, watch the show before perusing these lists lest you be spoil’t.

A Reading List for Everyone Who Is Now Obsessed with Stranger Things

What to Stream After You’re Done Watching Stranger Things

Have you seen Netflix’s latest masterpiece? Why do you love it? If you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for?! Or I guess I should ask, what are you watching instead? o.O

 

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Giveaway winners!

My Blogoversary giveaway ended last night at 11:59 PM PST. And the winners are…

Drema Drudge –You won House of Leaves, my most favoritest novel ever! (After reading your most recent post, I think this is perfect for you, you theory-head!)

Annie Neugebauer  –You won The Catcher in the Rye, my most beloved, well-read, old friend of a novel. I hope you like it!

Carie Juettner –You won Jane Eyrecontender for my favorite novel (against Villette) by my favorite author, Charlotte Brontë! I wish I could get a copy with that cover from the previous post…

Congratulations to the winners. Thank you for being part of my blog family, everyone. And for the winners, you will soon be holding three pieces (horcruxes) of my soul. Take good care.

Lastly, it appears my timing could not have been better, as it is also National Booklover’s Day today. Please go tweet a shelfie, make a book recommendation on goodreads, or just go to the library and read something, you bibliophiles!

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Courtesy of BookBub

 

Posted in Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

3 Year Blogoversary: Recap and Giveaway!

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To celebrate my three year blogoversary (who knew these existed!), I want to thank you for taking your valuable time to come here and interact with me and my work. 

Thank you for your encouragement and feedback these last three years. Thank you for all of your wonderful blogs out there which have inspired me. Thank you to those of you who may not make your presence known but who are lurking reading nevertheless. 😉  I’m sure other bloggers can agree that it all makes a huge difference to know you’re not posting in a void, to know that others are out there, on the other side of the screen, listening. I appreciate it all.

Before we get to the goods…

Recap

You can always see my highest traffic posts in my side bar on the right there, but here is a small selection I think pretty well represents what I’m about.

Writer’s Lot

This was one of my top five posts for a long time. I enjoyed writing it and it hits close to home for me. I was a little surprised at the serious and thoughtful responses.

The Dissonance Between Experience and Writing Place

The discussion this one garnered was enlightening and enjoyable. Yet another topic that bears quite a bit of significance for me: travel.

An Object is Never Just an Object 

A short fiction piece.

Night Fishing

Less of a blog post, and more of a nonfiction vignette about my first experience night fishing.

Sharon Olds: Writing the Extraordinary Ordinary

A current top post, this is a review of the poet and two of her bodies of work.

Recovering from NaNoWriMo

As I revisit these most frequented posts, I am seeing a pattern. Writing-related, non-fiction/fiction/personal essay, and reading-related. This is another one of those posts geared more toward writers than people who I hope will be my future readers. But hey, other writers can also like my work. And apologies for so many of these kinds of posts, but as a writer I need a community, people. We can be a sad, lonely bunch.

The things I focused on in the beginning have changed as I have learned what my audience is more receptive to and interested in (this is an ever developing learning curve). I have changed so much as a person and a writer. And that’s what the giveaway is about.

Giveaway Rules

I will be giving away three favorite books of mine, each representing different genres that have had huge effects on me as a reader, writer, and human being, each continuing to shape me, years after reading them.

 

Catcher in the Rye–The one book I’ve read 10+ times. A staple in YA and literature
House of Leaves–my favorite horror story ever. Gritty, literary, and chilling

Jane Eyre--I immediately fell in love with this novelTaking in into account any writer’s entire body of work–though I have not yet read Shirley–Charlotte Bronte is my favorite author.

Please note these will be second hand books; I appreciate books that have a history to them. Or maybe I’m just short on cash. 😉

To enter the giveaway, comment on this post. Earn a second entry by sharing this post on social media. If you use Twitter, include my handle, @shleybdavis. With any other social media, email me a link (email on my contact page). If you want to comment on the post, but do not want to be entered, please let me know. The giveaway ends August 8th, 11:59 PST. I will randomly select winners, who will have to provide me with their address for shipping (only US, as I cannot afford international shipping costs). Or, if you’re not in the US and you win, I will gift you an ebook version of your prize–though that might be a little awkward with House of Leaves, if there even is an ebook version.

Looking back, do you think you’ve changed in the last three years? If you blog, what are some things you’ve learned that you’d like to share? Whether you blog or don’t, have you been grateful for any recent experiences?

Posted in Life, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments