Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Living Nightmare

I was home alone. (Isn't that how all these stories start?) It was evening and the house was turning gray in the advancing twilight. Only one light lit the house, and it shone in the bathroom where I stood in front of the mirror.

I heard a creak from downstairs, whose steps ended just a few feet from where I was. I stuck my head out and called, "Court," thinking my older brother came home without my realizing it. Silence was my only response. I went back in the bathroom.

After a few moments another creak sounded, this time louder and closer. I recognized the creak now as footsteps on the stairs. I pushed open the bathroom door and saw a man a third of the way up the steps.

The man was grotesquely fat and was making his way slowly up the steps. He didn't speak but only grinned at me. I felt evil radiating from him. My only thought was to get to my dad's room and grab his gun.

I ran passed the top step and around the corner, keeping the railing between him and me. Faster than I would've thought, his hand shot through the railing and grabbed ankle. His iron grip yanking me to the ground.

I woke up in my bed, relieved that it was only a dream but still immersed in the feeling of evil that permeated the dream.

A few days later, I prepare for bed in an empty house. I stand in the bright light of the bathroom, removing my contacts in the mirror. A creak sounds downstairs where there should only be silence. I leave the room to call out to my brother, thinking it's him. Standing at the top of the stairs, the memory of the nightmare washes over me. I retreat back in the bathroom, slamming the door behind me and turning the lock on the knob. I stay there until Court returns home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ebook Versus Real Book: The Pros

As soon as I posted last week's blog, I realized I would need to write a follow-up. A person who creates ebooks for money can't focus on all the negatives, especially when there are a lot of positives.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a car for ten hours surrounded by strangers. The library book I brought along lasted only for three. Thanks to my borrowed iPad, I downloaded two books for the trip. Most ebook providers provide the classics for free, hence, Dracula. But I was also able to download an old book from an author I just discovered for only $3.

There was no driving to the bookstore or standing in line. And since I'm not a fan of clutter, there's that much less stuff I have to look at. (For the record, I only consider books clutter when it's books I don't like). I actually did buy a hardcover Dracula.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ebook Versus Real Book: The Dracula Experiment

I create digital books (along with creating real books) for a living and I have a confession, I don't own an E-reader.

I have programs that simulate what my books look like on the Kindle, and we have a work iPad that we load books on to see how they look. Plus, the books I work on are a lot of cookbooks, so not necessarily conducive to reading. But I've never really read a book on anything other than, well, a book.

I took home the work iPad to really experience e-reading and downloaded Dracula. I've always wanted to read Dracula, but I wanted it to be October and I always managed to forget each October.

So here it is October and it's a cold brisk night. My apartment is quiet except for the occasional banging of the neighbors and I've just warmed up a bowl of soup and homemade bread. Other than the lack of a storm raging outside, it's the perfect setting.

One small problem, however, Dracula was NOT meant to be read on an iPad. It was meant to be read on a book that looks as old as the story itself. A book with a few pages that fall out every time you open it. A book that smells a little dank and its cover is nicked at the edge.

I think I'll head to the library tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Corn Maze

In Massachusetts, a family called 911 when they became lost in a corn maze.

"A police officer and his dog entered the maze with a farm manager on Columbus Day to search for the disoriented father, mother and two children, including a three-week-old infant. The family didn't realize they had almost made their way out and were just 25 feet from the street."

Apparently they took to heart the one rule of corn mazes, don't cut through the corn. It's just a rule, people. I love two things in this world: stupid people and corn mazes. When you combine them, it's awesome.

This week I went to the most amazing corn maze in Utah. It's called Black Island Farms and it's out in Syracuse. You might think you're so far west, you'd drop off into the Great Salt Lake if you take a wrong turn but you don't.

The only drawback to the maze is that it's designed after Twilight characters, but luckily you can't see the faces from the maze so it's easy to forget that part.

It's the largest maze in Utah but the best part isn't the maze, it's the two-story slide made out of corrugated pipe. I was in dread driving there because I was afraid it was ripped out since they don't mention it on their website. I thought, if some dumb kid fell off this thing and ruined it for the rest of us, I'm going to be pissed. No worries, it's still there.

The night I was there, it was raining. They laid out a big sheet of plastic at the bottom and when I hit the standing water on that thing, I flew another fifteen feet. Despite all the water I soaked up, there was still plenty for me to slide on the next several times down. Totally worth the drive.
They also have lots of activities for kids, including a petting zoo and a small farmers' market.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Failing to Plan for Success

On the Amazing Race this week, the self-proclaimed daughter of a tiger mother suffered an emotional breakdown when she failed at something. Her and her fiance won the first leg of the race and were poised to win the second when they misread the instructions on a clue.

The fiance immediately wanted to backtrack to fix their mistake and come back to the finish line. She instead had a meltdown. She called herself stupid, a failure. She, who had been confident with winning, was now incapacitated by this one error.

After much cajoling and dragging, the fiance got her running again. Since eight of the eleven teams did the same thing, their mistake didn't cost them the race and they were still in the running.

This week I found out that one of my books is going to be published. (Cross your fingers, I haven't contracted it yet.) It's an LDS nonfiction book so the market is small and the number of publishers limited. After refusals from all but one publisher, I accepted failure. Six months after pitching it at LDS Storymakers conference, I got a yes.

After the initial seconds of excitement, all I could think was, "Oh, crap. Now what am I supposed to do? I never planned for this.

She couldn't handle failure. I simply accept it as inevitable. But neither should hinder you from moving forward.