Sadism Sells?

got8At the urging of oh, say, most of the people we know, Wes and I started watching Game of Thrones a few weeks ago. Aside from the copious nudity, we love it. The acting is great, the story is interesting, it’s a fun show.

I’m starting to have a bit of a problem with it, though. We’re in the wilds of season three and all the violence is starting to seem a wee bit torture porn-esque to me. Granted, I’m a softie. I have a hard time with violence in general. When I was researching North Korea for my newest book, I suffered frequent, intense nightmares. Really, I have no stomach at all for the depths of human evil.

Maybe Game of Thrones isn’t the show for me, then. Other people seem able to handle the violence just fine (except for the infamous Red Wedding scene. I’ve been told I should probably skip that one) so maybe I should stop watching. It’s hard to imagine doing that, though, because I really like the chessboard they’ve set up here. I want to know what happens. I even sort of like some of the characters (unlike with Breaking Bad, where I actively dislike almost everyone on that show).

Let’s not kid ourselves. I know I’ll keep watching, and I’ll keep being upset and disturbed by it. The story is just too interesting to abandon just yet.

I suppose it’s just naive on my part to wish the show makers (or maybe it’s George R. R. Martin?) weren’t so dedicated to violence and gore. I’m not sure I buy that’s it’s an integral part of the narrative. Is it even safe to say that this kind of thing sells these days? Would the show be any less popular because it was less…well, for lack of a better word, sadistic?

Fans of the show, what do you think?

(By the way, I can’t wait to see what kind of spam comments I get from this post. With words like “sadism” and “Game of Thrones” and “violence” and “Breaking Bad.” Oh man, it’s like skeeve bait.)

Eroding in the Right Direction

imagesI think often of what comes next for me. What the rest of my life will look like when my focus can shift from diapers and laundry and meal prep. It’s not because I crave escape (though some armchair psychologists might say that’s what my writing is), it’s mostly so I don’t lose myself to the thousands of little demands of life with two young children. I think stay at home motherhood is a lot like being a coastal California cliff side. Life crashes against you day in and day out, shaping and eroding you a bit at a time, until you’re a thing of beauty that looks much different than how you started.

Still, I’d like to make sure I’m eroding in the right direction. I don’t want to end up with grown children and no earthly idea of who I am or what I want from my life, because as long as each day can seem, I’m all too aware of how fleeting this phase is. There will come a day (Lord willing) that my kids will be independent and won’t hang on my pant legs any more and I’d like very much to ensure that phase of my life doesn’t freak me the heck out.

On Sunday, I was struck with a sudden craving to play my clarinet so I dusted the old girl off and made my way through some scales. I need new reeds and my chops are so weak I made it about fifteen minutes and had to stop, but it felt really good. Especially when Wes brought his acoustic guitar down and we made up some songs together. He’s always encouraging me to be a musician. We have this discussion often, about how he’s a musician who is original and creative and capable of making new music, and how I’m just a trained monkey who knows how to play the notes she sees. I’m a better sight-reader than he is, though, so I guess I have that.

Once I got the cobwebs cleared out of that part of my brain, playing music felt just right. Different, but similar enough to how I feel when I write that I can couch the two loves in the same sentence without feeling too weird about it. I think that whatever I end up doing in the next phase of my life (when I have no marketable job skills because I’ve been out of the workforce for twenty years) is going to have to involve music. And writing, of course.

Maybe I can be an author by day and a member of an amateur symphony by night. Or I could go back to school to realize my adolescent dream of becoming a music teacher, and spend my free time writing thriller books that make the parents of my students nervous because they’re somewhat violent.

It feels good to think about these things. My day dreams remind me that this is not going to be the sum total of my existence, that there are miles upon miles of life to be lived beyond the day to day demands of my current occupation (loving and teaching my two tiny humans).  As for how to get there, I can’t really say yet. I suppose it’ll depend on what happens between now and the future.

I’ll just keep writing where and when I can, playing where and when I can, and hope that what comes next contains more of the same.

Surgery is an Expensive Way to Get Drunk

For the record: Wes’s company did not win the big fancy award. They remain finalists, however, which qualifies them as cooler than 98.1% of the other companies in the world. In my humble opinion.

As for me, I’ve had an interesting week. My surgery on Thursday went well; meniscus was removed, I was drugged, I ate lots of soup. I have to say, getting anesthesia is way more fun than I thought it would be. I thought I’d go to sleep and wake up groggy and disoriented.

Instead, I got a shot through my IV that made me feel instantly drunk. Then, my anesthesiologist told me he’d send me on a trip and asked where I wanted to go. I giddily replied, “Hawaii!” and then it was Goodnight, Erika. Hello, Hawaii.

I dreamed I was on a beach in Hawaii, sipping a Mai Tai from a lounge chair. When I woke up in recovery, I still felt drunk (from what I thought was the Mai Tai but was, instead, just the residual effects of the anesthesia). I thought everything was HILARIOUS. I giggled at everything, I smiled, everyone and everything was my very best friend.

Then I got home and found out that my Mom had baked me homemade bread and made me chicken soup from scratch. I ate a whole bunch, laughed some more, and then went to bed. Sleeping on painkillers is a pain, by the way. Like bungee jumping into sleep only to be yanked back from it a dozen times a night.

I survived, however, and the only evidence of my foray into the OR is a trio of black marks surrounding my knee. Oh, and a gimp that makes me look like the Hunchback of the Suburbs.

Deep Breaths and a Well Charged Cell Phone

My husband is in San Francisco right now. Right at this second, he and his company‘s CEO are presenting their technology at the CloudBeat 2013 Innovation Showdown to a room full of experts and investors. If they win the showdown, it’ll completely change our life and the future of their company.

So, you know, no big deal.

So what am I doing? I’m sitting on the couch typing while my children sleep upstairs. It’s so weird to think that my husband is hundreds of miles away, doing what is arguably the most important presentation of his life, and I have no idea how it’s going. My ears are pricked up like an outsized Corgi’s, waiting for the phone to ring, but it probably won’t ring for a few hours because Wes will be caught up in a whirlwind after the presentation and then the award ceremony shortly after.

Hours. Hours I’ll have to wait, wondering and conjuring every sort of outlandish outcome in my overly imaginative brain.

It’s not that I don’t have other stuff to do. I entered my book, Blood Money, in a contest today and I’m revising my newest book (since I haven’t touched it since April). My parents will be here tomorrow and I have surgery on Thursday. Believe me, there’s plenty to occupy my mind and yet all I can think about is Wes, standing on a stage while his friend (the company’s CEO) delivers the speech I helped write.

Are you tired of thinking about it yet? I could keep typing about it but I suppose I should go back to my revisions and stop fixating out loud on my blog.

Deep breaths are called for here. Deep breaths and a well charged cell phone.

The Week Erika’s Head Exploded Like an Overripe Melon

This week is going to be the end of me, the absolute end of me. Not only do I have the last few scraps of work to do to get my friend Ben’s book proofed and out the door in time for the book launch party next month, I have a baby shower to throw on Saturday, my son may or may not be starting preschool in a couple weeks, Wes is traveling for business for a few days, and I have surgery next week.

Oh! And my back went out today while I was buying supplies for the baby shower and now I can barely move. Ex.Cru.Cia.Ting.

There’s something wrong with me, though, because man sakes alive I do love being busy. I love it when my brain is buzzing and working at high efficiency and I can delegate and prioritize and plan and scheme. Wes asked me why I keep signing on to take on more and more responsibilities and I think it’s because it makes me feel like I’m still using my brain and being helpful to people.

I mean, I know I’m helpful to my kids, but sometimes I like to use my brain for something other than coordinating appointments and sandwiches. And no, planning a baby shower and (maybe?) getting my kid ready for preschool certainly isn’t on a par with neuro surgery, but hey. We all have our strengths. I’m gonna go put a bunch of adorable baby shower favors together, which requires something akin to the dexterity of a surgeon, no?

This week might just be a little too much of a good thing, though. Especially with this crippling back pain. I would dearly love to know which Indian burial ground I parked over that has resulted in me sporting a big old health issues bull’s eye on my back. Between the gimp knee and bad back, I don’t know which malady is plaguing me more.

Oh yes, that’s right. Both of them. They’re both driving me crazy.

Wish me luck as I plunge once more into the breach. If it helps, you can picture me wielding baby shower decorations and school district forms like some kind of strange, stay at home viking. It actually helps me a little too. Huh. Rar?