New Book Website!

I’m super excited to share that my published trilogy, “The Toner Family Series” now has its own website! It’s going to serve as a place for readers to visit, and won’t have very much being updated. This will remain my blog, which includes random updates on my life and interesting revelations that I see around me. If you’re interested in my novels, please check out the new website, at https://tonerfamilyseries.wordpress.com! I’m very excited!

Being Overly Emotional… About Fictional People

Fellow readers and writers, tell me I’m not alone.

Tell me that there are others who will get into slumps over people who don’t exist.

Tell me that I’m not the only person on this earth who regards fictional characters as people.

Tell me I’m not the only one who experiences that connection, and thus, am not a freak.

I can’t even describe how defensive and somewhat stupid I feel every time something happens to a fictional character I know.

Let’s start with Little Men and my two-day pout over a certain Dan.

I had to read a book for English as my final, and then make a blog about it. This blog was a lot of fun, because I chose a book that I had read before, but never really enjoyed before: Little Men. I loved its predecessor, Little Women, but had yet to regard it in the same manner.

I loved it. I’m telling you I fell in love with some of the characters. The narrator, Nat, for one, captured my heart with his sweet boyish ways. I enjoyed Daisy and how she loved her brother more than I, without siblings, could imagine. But most of all, I loved the character of Dan; this rough, rough boy who came from a bad situation with so much negativity, and turned his life around, ultimately being redeemed as a person and developing beautiful, wonderful qualities.

I mean, sure, he’s like, one hundred-something years older than me and doesn’t exist, but he was fantastic.

Another part of my final project was finding literary criticism on the work that you chose. I managed to dig up an article or two on Little Men, and was utterly horrified by one of them.

Not only did the article insult me, but it told me exactly what happened to every character in the third and final installment, Jo’s Boys. I cringed as I read of who died, who started schools, and then finally, settled on one piece of stone cold ice which drove into my heart: my Dan went to jail for manslaughter.

This stupid article didn’t warn me that it was about to spoil the entire next novel! It didn’t care who it offended!

And me? I was sad for at least two days. It was ridiculous. He didn’t exist, and even if he did, he’s one hundred years older than me, so it wouldn’t have ever worked out.

As I speak this to you, I’m getting sad again, so let’s move on to the television show, The Middle. As not to follow the horrible, non-spoiler-warning example that certain articles have shown me, I’m now warning you, my reader, that this will be spoiler-y.

At some point in one of the seasons of The Middle, the characters Sue and Darrin began to date. They had a rocky relationship, because Sue’s older brother was a jerk about the whole thing. Eventually, Sue developed a huge crush on Darrin, and for her prom, wanted nothing more than to go with him. Somehow, because it’s a television sitcom, she ended up with five total dates to the prom, so Darrin retracted his offer. When he found out what he’d done, how upset she’d been, he ran to the school and made it up to her. He explained that he didn’t care about prom–he only cared about her (again, television sitcom, but romantic none-the-less). They began to play this song, which was really beautiful, and Darrin ran all over his words and finally kissed her. For months, I associated this song with something good, something beautiful, something sweet and romantic and “awwww”.

Television sitcoms, why you gotta rain on my parade.

A season later, with Sue and Darrin dating again, Darrin proposes. Sue freaks out, and an entire episode revolves around how she can say no without hurting him. When, at the end of the episode, she finally gets a chance, the ordeal is sweet. She explains that she’s not ready for marriage, she has other things she wants to do (understandable, not being out of high school yet)–even though he might be her “forever”, she isn’t ready to start forever just yet. Darrin seems to understand, and states his point of view. He’s ready for marriage. Sue takes off the ring and again explains that she still loves Darrin, but she’s just not ready for marriage yet. They embrace. The song, which is attached to warm and fuzzy feelings, begins to play. As the beautiful melody floats through the air, Darrin breathes and says, “Goodbye, Sue Heck.”

What?!

These fictional characters are so good together. You want them to be together, just maybe not this moment in time. And now, every time I hear that song, I think of this beautiful moment of a relationship being reborn, and the next thing to envelop my mind is, “Goodbye, Sue Heck”–a moment of utmost finality and misery.

Again, I’m getting sad. The music makes me want to cry. And it’s the most beautiful song…

Am I the only one who suffers from this? This connection to people who don’t exist, people that I want to exist, people who endure so many trials?

…fictional is tough.

Three Ways to Look at Things

I just made it home from a FIRST Robotics Competition in Pittsburgh, PA. My team, just like thousands of other teams around the world, has been working around the clock for six weeks to complete this robot for competition. As soon as Bag Day came, we began to prepare for competition.

I’m going to be frank with you–we didn’t do so hot.

We approached the challenge with full force, ready and prepared to complete another stellar robot. We had very little time to practice with the second, practice robot we built, but we did administer a test to see who was prepared for driving. A few had the brief opportunity to hone their skills for Pittsburgh.

And I don’t know what it was, but we just didn’t do so hot.

Actually, no. That’s a lie. I know what it was. There were many, many things that “was” that made our rankings sink.

All of these can be summarized as places for improvement.

One of the greatest things about FIRST is that it’s not entirely about the robots. While these challenges prepare thousands of students for careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), when we return from competition each year, we see how we can improve.

These improvements are always vast and somewhat exciting, to know that you can recognize a loose nut and know how to tighten it down properly. (There’s a little mechanical-y reference for ya.)

And it was at this competition, when our robot ranked next to last, that I realized there are two ways of looking at things.

The first way to look at some negative situations is “Ugggghhh”. This is the tendency to place blame on everything around you rather than look to yourself for an issue. This is the down-in-the-dumps, negative attitude that doesn’t leave any room for growing.

The second way to look at some negative situations is, “Look how much we can learn from this!” This is the tendency to try and see things how they are–to look at each aspect contributing to the situation, and figure out a way to grow.

And finally, there’s also a third way of looking at some negative situations, courtesy of one of the most fun and interesting members we have. This would be, “YAYY!” (Though the majority of people probably don’t take on this mindset in such situations.)

I don’t know about you guys, but I like growing. I like getting an inch taller so I can laugh at my munchkin little guy friends. I like my hair getting longer, knowing that nearly six years of just trimming is paying off. So, as long as my body is getting taller, and my hair is growing longer, why not widen the scope of my mind? Learn to problem solve? Face problems instead of run from them?

This is all I have to say on the matter at this time. I am now leaving a pun-tastic joke for you, dear reader, at the bottom of this post.

Our team, “Biohazard”, was fortunate enough to have some really great spirit items produced this year. We have unique tie-dye t-shirts, beautiful hand crafted signs, and bandannas with our symbol painted on. I, being my awkward self, couldn’t figure out a way to wear the gorgeous bandanna without covering up most of the symbol. I finally settled on threading a ribbon through and turning it into an awkwardly small cape. The next day, unsure of what I wanted to do with it, I turned to my friend and said, “I need to figure out this thing’s capabilities.”