Archive | May 2013

Breaking Bad Episode 405 “Shotgun”

405imagesIt’s been established in the past that Walt should probably not make speeches or take any sort of pain or pre-op meds, and this week we add two more items to the list of things Walter White should not do: drink heavily after his ego’s been insulted and drive a forklift.

The onslaught to Walt’s pride just keeps coming. Has Walt been successful at anything this season other than staying alive? It seems that every attempt at moving in any direction since then has been thwarted and put down in one way or another. He gets nowhere trying to save Jesse, and it turns out Jesse doesn’t even really need saving, he storms in to see Gus who turns out not to be there; he hooks up with Skyler then she decides, without checking with him, that he will move back in and when; then after all Walt goes through trying to save Jesse, Jesse comes back and sorta bosses Walt around; and then Jr drinks out of a Beneke mug and that just does Walt in. But if all that isn’t enough, Hank has to go on and on about what a genius meth chef Gale was.

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Memoir in Review: Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

Since memoir and personal essay are some of my favorite genres to write and read and contemplate reading and writing, I thought I’d start putting up some reviews of different memoirs, and use that as a way to dig into discussing different aspects of writing. I can almost guarantee there’ll also be some fiction reviews at some point. As I said from my very first post, whether a post on here is about blindness or Breaking Bad or organic chemistry or a book review, I always want the underlying focus to be on storytelling.

citationWinners04_lucyGrealyBefore reading Autobiography of a Face, I’d only read one thing by Lucy Grealy. It was “The Country of Childhood” from her As Seen on TV essay collection, and it was about her experience becoming an American citizen (she was originally from Ireland). I was hungry for more of her work, and then once I found out a little bit about her story, I picked up her memoir. I was definitely looking for a personal connection because though my story is different from Lucy’s, I knew that getting inside the skin of someone else who’d grown up being very physically different was going to make me feel less alone. But I didn’t actually read the book until it was assigned for a class this past April.

Autobiography of a Face tells the story of Lucy’s struggles with her face. She got Ewing’s sarcoma in her jaw as a child and spent lots and lots of time in the hospital. It’s a window into another world, the friendships and hierarchies of hospital patients. There is even a chapter where she and a hospital friend sort of con a hospital volunteer into taking them to see the animal lab and get somewhat traumatized by seeing the vivisected and caged animals.

Lucy details the excruciating pain of chemotherapy while also conveying her childhood ignorance about the seriousness of what was going on. For most of the early stages (maybe even years) of her disease and treatment, she has an almost blase attitude toward it all, takes things in stride, doesn’t really understand the significance of what’s going on even though adults try to hint at it. She has to have a major surgery to remove the cancer in her jaw, and then spends years and years, operation after operation, trying to reconstruct her face.

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The Perfect Couple: A Complete Short Story

southernlightsI am sick. Yes, very sick. My psychological problems go well beyond any normal adolescent developmental problems or troubles. I doubt my condition could even be classified by any therapist. I fondly refer to it as the Unconditional Love Disorder. I think it started the moment I read my first cheesy romance novel, at age seven. Ever since I have been totally obsessed with finding unconditional love, someone who would do absolutely anything for me.

Ironically, I have been in some of the worst relationships ever, even though my standards are so demanding. My first boyfriend, Charley, after two months, told me he had to leave me to find his inner self. I’m not stupid, though. I knew he really just wanted to spend more time with his “cult,” whose only purpose was to play Dungeons and Dragons day in and day out. I wonder if that can even really be called a cult, probably not.

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This one’s from my senior year of high school. It was my first attempt at writing a satirical story. I knew so many girls (myself included at times) who were so over the top melodramatic when it came to love and boyfriends and I wanted to take it to a whole new level to sort of poke some fun.

Angie suffers from UCS, Unconditional Love Syndrome, a mental fixation on love and romance beyond any normal teenager’s. When she expresses concerns to her best friend, Jade, a science geek who wants to perform Frankenstein experiments on frogs, about her new boyfriend’s loyalty, Jade concocts a contraption and a scheme for Angie to test her new guy’s devotion.

As always, for more writing samples, you can always check out the Samples page. There’s also a section for Published and Early Work (most of this latter section is downright mortifying, but you know, oh well).

~Emilia J

Breaking Bad Episode 404 “Bullet Points”

breaking-bad-episode-4x4-bullet-points-02All right yo, things are starting to move and get more dramatic here. Every season it takes a few episodes to start moving forward more quickly after the huge dramas at the season change, and now is the time to bring in new twists and turn up the heat.

Walt and Skyler go public with the family and come clean, errr appear to come clean about Walt’s gambling winnings and about buying the carwash. Some people say that Walt is a careful man. Gus wouldn’t agree and neither would I, not really. Walt has a giant genius brain and is very good at getting out of situations, and he’s a master manipulator, but he doesn’t usually think too far ahead. Even Saul has chastised Walt in the past for not having plans for certain eventualities (RV). Sure, he likes a clean lab, but that’s not the same as being a careful man. I discussed this more in the post for 508 “Gliding Over All” because Walt does something that Mike might call “uncautious,” and I argued that though Walt is a meticulous chemist, he is not, at his core, terribly careful and has often left loose ends. Thinking far ahead is not Walter White’s strong points.

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Warding Off Eclipses with Sex and Music: A Memoir Chapter

My Binder Cover

My Binder Cover

I was fourteen. I was an alternative rock goddess. I’d found Nirvana. I was in love with a dead man.

I sat with my brother Randy, my neighbors and my friend Lissa from blind camp in the very back of the backyard on pink plastic chairs. “So, which would you rather do?” said Ryan from across the street, turning to me. We were playing Questions. “Have sex with Kurt Cobain for one hour, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam for ten hours, or the guy from Silverchair for twenty hours?”

I was a loyal girl. “Kurt,” I answered without a thought. “Okay, Lissa. If you were going out with a guy and he wanted to 69, would you do it?”

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Hahaha, so, it only continues from there. This chapter was published in Shark Reef a few years ago and so is also available through the Published page on the site, but I know sometimes those things can be hard to find so I thought I’d bring it out for this week’s writing sample. Fair warning: it’s not a particularly easy read. Still though, I once was reading a passage from this piece at an Open Mic type deal and was laughing so hard I was crying and could barely read and almost peed my pants.

As always, for more writing samples, you can always check out the Samples page. There’s also a section for Published and Early Work (most of this latter section is downright mortifying, but you know, oh well).

~Emilia J

Breaking Bad Episode 403 “Open House”

403imagesGale’s coffee machine is still operational and Walt is still using it.

One thing that really strikes me about “Open House” is that in a way, nothing moves forward. Nothing changes. Everything just deepens, but putting it that way sounds too pretty. Everything goes deeper into a dark morass. The only plot point that moves forward here is the buying of the carwash. And that’s big, but it also feels more like sinking deeper than moving forward. Other than that, everyone’s situation is just getting worse.

A lot of things in this episode resonate later this season, especially this bit of Skyler and Walt’s fight about whether or not he’s in danger. And then several of Saul’s suggestions for how to inspire some “motivation” in Bogdan and Skyler’s objections to them come back later. So funny when she says, “We do not do that, that’s not who we are, right?” re: violence.

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Josie – Sunshower Chapter Four

To start this book from the beginning, click here.

josie4images“Josie, talk to me. What’s going on?”

“What do you mean?” I asked. Ray Ann and I were unpacking in our room, after a late lunch and a morning in the control room. I took a shirt from my bag, folded it and then placed it in the open drawer in front of me.

“Don’t you think you were a little cruel to Arden before?”

“You heard that?”

“Yeah. I could be mistaken, but I think the guy was trying to be nice to you.”

“Well, I don’t want to be nice to him.”

“Why? Is there something he did that you haven’t told me about?”

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