Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

At the time this post is being published, it is the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Despite the holiday’s questionable origins (a discussion not for this blog), this is a holiday for being thankful for all you have. And while a lot of us are surprised by how fast this year has gone by (seriously, how the hell is it already late November?), for many of us it has been a stellar year. I know that’s the case for me. I’ve got plenty to be thankful for this year.

And if it’s not too much trouble, I’ll run down some of those things I’m grateful for (I swear, this won’t be too long, and I’ll try not to turn it into bragging):

  • I’ve published two stories, the sci-fi novelette Gynoid and the fantasy romance short story What Happened Saturday Night, on Wattpad, and both were very well received. I also wrote half of the novel Full Circle, edited the entirety of Rose (and will probably edit it again, as soon as I have feedback from both my beta readers), made good progress on a new story, and had more ideas for other stories than I could ever write.
  • While I work on my writing, I also have a good job that allows me to do really rewarding work with a great team. That job also has great pay and benefits, so I can afford to pay my rent and my bills, never go hungry, and even put away some cash into savings. And every now and then, I can even afford a little splurge for things like wall art, a new addition to my doll/figurine collection, or even awesome shows (heck, sometimes the job gets me discount to awesome entertainment in town).
  • Speaking of rent, I have a great apartment in a good area near where I work. I can afford to live on my own, and do what I want within my apartment, so I don’t have to worry about anyone seeing me at my kookiest. And since I’ve lived here for nearly a year and a half, I’ve had time to settle in and make it my happy place, a great place to relax, be creative and occasionally entertain friends (Joleene Naylor knows what I’m talking about).
  • My health has improved greatly since the New Year. I’ve been eating healthier, cutting back on the sweets, and so have lost about thirty extra pounds. My back problems have also improved, thanks to the ongoing treatments of a really good chiropractor and my improved diet. I feel better than I have in ages, and as long as I keep things up, I’ll continue to get better (though I doubt I’ll ever be fit enough to be a prima ballerina or a bodybuilder).
  • I don’t have a driver’s license, but I’ve made incredible progress towards getting one. And with a bit more practice, especially with maneuverability and parking, I could have my license within the next year (though whether a car comes with that is another issue entirely).
  • I live close to my family, and we’re all on good terms for the most part (though I would not want to live with any of them again if I can help it). I also have plenty of friends, and I’m glad to have their love and friendship everyday. I know that if I need them, they will give me their support, and help me through another day.
  • Finally, I have you, my Followers of Fear. Over the six-plus years I’ve been blogging, you’ve stood by me, seen me at some of my best and worst moments, and posted your thoughts and encouragement, and even bought some of my published work. And over this past year, Rami Ungar the Writer has grown significantly, to the point where I’m less than fifty followers away from hitting the thousand follower milestone. It gives me such joy to write for and interact with you guys every day, and I hope I can continue to do so for ages to come.

Of course, this is just a fraction of the many things I’m thankful for, but I’m thankful for them all nonetheless. And I’m glad I’m aware of them and thankful for them, because I can think of a number of people who are just as lucky as me, or even luckier, and yet are miserable. They’re not satisfied with what they have and they constantly want more.

My mother and me when we went to see Swan Lake this past weekend. Not only was it an incredible show, but I got to experience it with someone I dearly love and who gets me on so many levels. I’m incredibly thankful for her and our relationship together. Also, I’m looking at the button on my phone camera, in case you’re wondering where my eyes are looking.

 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting more than what you have. I want to expand my readership, write more stories, and get more of them published. Heck, I wouldn’t mind being able to write full-time if I could. But some people, they just don’t appreciate what they have. They could have a loving family, a big house (or several), a nice car (or several), and enough money for vacations abroad and fancy gadgets and whatever. But they aren’t happy. They want more. More stuff, more sexual partners, more fame and prestige. A friend once told me he talked to a man who was depressed because he didn’t receive as big a Christmas bonus as someone else in their office, even though he felt they did the same work and the same amount of work. Both bonuses were in the five-figure range, which boggled the both of us. How could anyone be in a position where that sort of money is given as a Christmas bonus and NOT be happy?

And that’s why I’m thankful for one more thing: I’m thankful that I can recognize what I have. Some people can only recognize what they don’t have, and that bites deeply into their happiness. They may feel good when they get a promotion or they bed someone deeply attractive or they get that new house on the Italian coast, but it’s only a temporary drug high, and the crash they feel after the high wears off just leaves them as empty as before. It’s not a true happiness, not at all.

And that’s why I’m grateful for one more thing: that I’m capable of recognizing all that I have and that I’m grateful for. Yeah, I’m not rich or famous (though I could be someday), but I’m glad for everything I have. I worked hard to get it, and I know it could be taken away all in an instant with one bad day. So when something new comes into my life–a new follower, some good news on the writing front, the chance to do something fun with friends or family, or even a new doll for my collection–that drug high will go away, but a good feeling will remain. I’m grateful for it all, and I hope I remain that way for the rest of my life.

So this Thanksgiving, my Followers of Fear, let’s all be grateful for what we have, and express that gratitude as best we can. Because we could have nothing at all, or we could have plenty and not realize it. I prefer to have some stuff, and be glad that I do have them. And if you ask me, that’s a good way to go about things.

Happy Thanksgiving, and until next time, pleasant nightmares.

Me being thankful for all that i have. And thank you, Sailor Moon, for constantly giving me so much to work with, from entertainment to story ideas to illustrative GIFs.

Advertisements

It’s Friday again, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday! And since yesterday a good number of Americans stuffed themselves full of turkey, I’ve got a special Thanksgiving edition for you all! Woo-hoo! I would also make it a Black Friday edition, but that’s just a horrible practice that’s unfair to both customers (apparently the sales on Black Friday are no more special than sales at any other point in the year) and to employees (you can guess why).

As always, here are the rules of #FirstLineFriday: on Friday you write up a post titled #FirstLineFriday (hashtag and all), and then you write out the rules. Then you post the first one or two lines of a potential story, story-in-progress, or a completed or published short story. Finally you ask your readers for feedback. It’s a lot of fun, and I enjoy hearing what people have to say about it.

Here’s this week’s entry. It’s from an idea I had for a bloody and very strange story that I came up with the other day. I hope I get the chance to write it out someday soon. Enjoy:

Jake scooped out three slices of pie and some whip cream. The pie and cream were the only parts of Thanksgiving dinner that hadn’t gotten blood on them.

Thoughts? Problems? Let me know in the comments below.

That’s all for now. I’m house-sitting till Wednesday while my dad and his wife are on their fifth wedding anniversary trip (congrats, you two!). I think I might throw a wild party while they’re gone. Or maybe I’ll behave myself, edit and write, and watch Doctor Who. We’ll see what I’m in the mood for.

Happy Thanksgiving and have a great weekend, my Followers of Fear!

It’s Thanksgiving in America today, when you’re supposed to be thankful for what you have in your life. Well, you should be thankful for all that year round, but especially today, because…the government made this a national holiday with that sort of connotation.

Well, in the holiday spirit, I’m going to write about all the things I’m thankful for in my life. There are quite a few, but I think I can get keep the list down to the most important ones.

My friends and family.

Whether I met them online, through school or work, or if I’m just related to them by blood or marriage, I love my friends and family. They keep me strong and help my mood stay up. Yeah, sometimes we have our disagreements. My sisters and I can get very nasty towards each other if we spend way too much time together. But it’s the people in my life that keep me less insane and are why I get up each morning. Love you guys. I’m so thankful you’re in my life.

My stories and those reading them.

Understandably, my stories are very important to me. They’re almost like my children. I’ve put so much work into them over the many years, and I always feel so happy when I get to a new stage in their writing process or when they get published. I’m so thankful that I’m able to write these wonderful stories and to work on them. It’s my passion, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

I’m also thankful for my readers. Whether you’re on my blog or checking out my books, you people are important to me. Every writer is a bit of a narcissist (why do you think we’re so desperate to get our work read by others?), so you guys tuning in every time I publish a post or ordering a book off Amazon just bring the biggest smile to my face. Thanks for coming at all and coming back again and again. It means so much to me.

The experiences I’ve had.

I’ve been to Germany twice. I’ve also been to England, France, and Israel in my time. I graduated from a good school with a great sports program (Go Bucks!) and I got to study fields I love. I’ve had great work experiences, with Ohio State, the building I lived in for two years, and the US Army. There’s a good likelihood that I might get that with my next job, once I find it. I have a blog with hundreds of followers and it’s growing, slowly but steadily. And of course, I’ve published a few books and I’ll hopefully publish a few more in the coming year.

There are also a bunch of bad experiences that I’d rather not remember, but they helped me grow as a person, so I’ll acknowledge them too.

To say the least, I’ve had the pleasure to see and do a ton in my short life, and I probably will get to do much more in the future. I’m thankful for my experiences, good and bad (though I could always use less of the bad). They bring quite a bit of spice to my life.

How good I’ve had it.

There are a lot of people less fortunate than me. I’ve never been persecuted because of the color of my skin, what country or region I’m from, or my religion. No one tells me what I should do with my reproductive organs like they know better than me when they don’t. I’ve never lived in a violent neighborhood or feared for my life just by walking out the door. I went to college and I’ve been able to earn a living except for short periods here and there. And there’s a growing amount of people in the US who don’t think I’m sick in the head, unholy, or after their children just because of my sexuality. And I’ve had a bunch of people in my life supporting me and showing me right from wrong and offering me their advice when I need it. I’ve had it good.

And there are people out there who cannot say the same thing as me. Plenty of people the world over suffer because of their race, their religion, their gender, their sexual orientation, their ethnicity. They’ve been hungry, or lived in war-torn areas. They’ve experienced violence in their own homes. Some, through genetics or accident, live life without the full use of their bodies or minds.

I’m aware of how privileged my life has been, and how so many people struggle through life because of some form of unfairness or another. That puts me in the unique position to try and help them. Whether it’s raising money for charity, advocating for a certain change, attending meetings, writing blog posts, or simply weaving an issue into a story, I’m making a difference. Perhaps it’s pretty small, but it’s better than nothing, right? And just because it’s easier to let other people handle the problems of the world, doesn’t mean I should.

So I’m thankful that I’ve had a good life. And I’m thankful that I know it, and that I’m in the position to make a difference. Because if I don’t, then I’m basically contributing to the decline of the world and of humanity. And I don’t want that to happen.

 

I’m not exactly sure who I’m supposed to be thanking on this day (God? The Founding Fathers? Whichever President who made this holiday a thing? It’s never really discussed), but I’m thankful. I can’t take for granted anything in my life, because it could be taken away at a moment’s notice. You never know what will be thrown at you. And here today, I’m making sure people know what I’m thankful for and that I don’t forget it.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll see you all tomorrow. It’ll be Friday, and you know what that means. Goodnight, my Followers of Fear.

What are you thankful for in your life?

Back in 2011 and 2012, I did two reviews on different book series that I’d come to enjoy. I was still in the middle of them, but I was pretty much hooked on them, enough that while I hadn’t finished either series at that point, I wrote reviews on both of them. Sadly though, the reviews didn’t really do either series justice. I was still figuring out the components of a good review at that point in my blogging career, so that probably explains why they weren’t as good as they could be.

In any case, I read the last book of one series earlier this year and last night I finished the last book of the other. In honor of these achievements, and because I haven’t done a proper review since August, I thought I’d do a double review on both of these series.

So, let’s begin!

Kieli by Yukako Kabei

Volume 1 of “Kieli”. I swear, the series blew my mind when I first started reading it.

Everyone loves a unique story, something that has never been seen before on the printed page. We felt that way with Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings, and so many other famous stories. Kieli does just that. A light novel series* out of Japan, Kieli mixes just about every genre possible: paranormal, science fiction, steampunk, fantasy, romance, Western, and then some! All while telling a very compelling and heart-wrenching story.

From a young age, Kieli has been able to see ghosts, but she doesn’t tell anyone lest her theocratic society think her a heretic. One day she meets an immortal soldier named Harvey, who is delivering a haunted radio to a battle site so that the ghost haunting the radio can finally be at peace. Thus starts their adventures together, as Kieli joins Harvey on his quest and ends up helping him fight off ghosts, Church soldiers, other immortal soldiers and a plethora of other antagonists. At the same time, Kieli starts learning about her past and about what it means to grow up and be an adult.

While at times it may frustrate readers that Kieli has a hard time separating her own identity from being with Harvey, it’s a compelling story. The characters are troubled and have to learn to sort out their own problems as well as the antagonists facing them, and the mix of genres is done almost seamlessly without looking too weird or contrived, and the relationship between the two main characters feels real. You’ll want to keep reading all the way through the final book, which nearly made me come to tears.

All in all, I give Kieli a 4.5 out of 5. This was a series that made me want to create fantastic worlds like the one depicted int he series, and I wanted to create characters that felt just as vibrant and complicated as Kieli or Harvey. Maybe thanks to Kieli, someday I will.

Book Girl by Mizuki Nomura

The Japanese cover for the first entry in the “Book Girl” series, “Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime”.

Another Japanese light novel series, Book Girl is told from the point of view of Konoha Inoue, a troubled high schooler who actually published a massively popular novel under a pseudonym in junior high. However his success came at the great cost, and he swears never to write again.

That is, until he meets Tohko Amano, a girl who literally eats the stories told in books to survive. After Konoha sees Tohko “eating” a story, she forces him to join the literature club and write stories for her as snacks. That’s only the start of his problems though, because a lot of strange stuff tends to happen around Konoha, including missing students and attempted murders. Against his will, Konoha is often dragged into solving these mysteries by Tohko, who often finds a literary equivalent to the mystery being investigated (such as Wuthering Heights or The Phantom of the Opera, in some cases).

While Kieli made me want to create worlds, Book Girl made me want to tell incredible stories with wonderful language. Nomura is able to weave words together in order to make you feel like you really know the characters, especially Konoha, and become really attached to them, as well as attached to finding out how the mystery is solved, as well as how Konoha confronts his past and learns to stand on his own two feet again. It’s a great series if you happen to love mysteries as well.

For telling a compelling story with wonderful clarity, emotion and language, I give the Book Girl series a 4.8 out of 5. I really will end up missing this series now that I’ve finished it, but hopefully I took enough away from it so as to improve my own stories.

We can hope, right?

 

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve got some homework to do before I go over to my mother’s house, so I’m going to get to work on that. Happy Thanksgiving, my Followers of Fear. This year, I’m thankful for you guys.

*A light novel is a form of literature that was born in Japan and grew out of the pulp magazine industry. Light novels are usually around the length of a novella (40,000-50,000 words), have dense publishing schedules, are often serialized in anthology magazines before being published as cheap paperbacks, and usually include illustrations, about one per chapter usually. The format is very popular in Japan and popular series have been adapted into numerous formats several times over. There’s also a growing market in the English-speaking world for light novels, and many companies have begun licensing and translating these series for new audiences. I’m hooked on the genre myself.