So middle school wins, sort of…

Wow. According to my completely unscientific poll, readers of this journal voted middle school way harder than high school. Top reasons were hormones raging out of control and social pressures.

I was in different schools for 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. Maybe I was caught up in the drama of being the new kid, but middle school didn’t bug me that much. I actually loved 8th grade. For me, high school was much harder. *shudders*

Yesterday marked my last middle school visit of the season. Thanks to Librarians Elaine and Angela for making it wonderful as usual (I visit their schools every year), the girls who joined me for lunch at Snyder, and Clay and JJ at Armstrong for their great questions. I think I have two more elementary school visits this month, make-up days for visits that were postponed because of snow in March.

My bronchitis flared back up, probably because I was on my feet and speaking all day yesterday. I promised my lungs I’d take it easy today. I have a date with the couch and a new library book. Life is good!

Speaking of books, I recently finished All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. (Listened to it on audiobook.) Has anyone else read this? I enjoyed it except for one scene which bugged the heck out of me. I’d love to talk to someone about it to see if I missed something.

The Philadelphia 76ers (basketball) are out of the playoffs. I won’t even dignify this with a comment. How many days until football season starts?

39 Replies to “So middle school wins, sort of…”

  1. I also listened to All the Pretty Horses, but it was a long time ago. What scene bothered you? Were you listening to the unabridged version?

  2. I also listened to All the Pretty Horses, but it was a long time ago. What scene bothered you? Were you listening to the unabridged version?

    1. Yes, it was unabridged. What bugged me was the scene in which John Grady goes back to the Mexican ranch after he is released from the prison. During his meeting with the aunt (great-aunt?) of the unattainable girl he loves, the aunt goes off on a rant. A very, very long rant. In this rant she gives the reader her lengthy backstory – her childhood, education, and an interesting chunk of the history of Mexico.

      It was a fascinating rant delivered by a fascinating character.

      But I thought it did not fit into the story at all.

      Did I miss something?

      1. Nope. You didn’t miss anything. If it’s the scene I’m thinking of, it did jump out at me and I think I kept trying to find the reason for its use. Kept trying to compare it to Grady’s family’s own back story or even wonder about it metaphorically. I don’t think I ever resolved it. I remember liking the book as a whole and finding it very evocative, but I felt it kept me at arms length.

        Though they are two very different books, I got the same evocative feeling (for the west) from the book Seabiscuit. I know, I know, two VERY different books, but for some reason the (back) story of Seabiscuit’s trainer Tom Smith reminds me of Grady. If you haven’t read it, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s wonderful.

        1. Thank you, both for the confirmation that I am not being dim about the book, and for the Seabiscuit recommendation.

          I wonder… I wonder if in an earlier draft, the aunt had a bigger role, or if there were more places where her story meshed with John Grady’s. Or maybe all the backstory given us in that scene was one of those things the author had to write for himself to figure out who the character was (even though the details were not crucial to the plot) and then he fell in love with the writing and he couldn’t bring himself to cut where he should have.

          BTW, I agree with you about the “arm’s length” feel of the book.

          1. “I wonder if in an earlier draft . . .”

            It’s funny that you say this. When I listened to Horses it was before I began writing stories myself. Previously when I came to passages that stuck out, I just mentally filed them away. It’s interesting now to see these things from a writerly perspective. Now I realize that an awkward passage may have less to do with intent, and more to do with “seeing the seams” from a revision.

            Do try Seabiscuit! It’s a terrific page-turner (and character study).

  3. I also listened to All the Pretty Horses, but it was a long time ago. What scene bothered you? Were you listening to the unabridged version?

  4. Yes, it was unabridged. What bugged me was the scene in which John Grady goes back to the Mexican ranch after he is released from the prison. During his meeting with the aunt (great-aunt?) of the unattainable girl he loves, the aunt goes off on a rant. A very, very long rant. In this rant she gives the reader her lengthy backstory – her childhood, education, and an interesting chunk of the history of Mexico.

    It was a fascinating rant delivered by a fascinating character.

    But I thought it did not fit into the story at all.

    Did I miss something?

  5. Yes, it was unabridged. What bugged me was the scene in which John Grady goes back to the Mexican ranch after he is released from the prison. During his meeting with the aunt (great-aunt?) of the unattainable girl he loves, the aunt goes off on a rant. A very, very long rant. In this rant she gives the reader her lengthy backstory – her childhood, education, and an interesting chunk of the history of Mexico.

    It was a fascinating rant delivered by a fascinating character.

    But I thought it did not fit into the story at all.

    Did I miss something?

  6. Nope. You didn’t miss anything. If it’s the scene I’m thinking of, it did jump out at me and I think I kept trying to find the reason for its use. Kept trying to compare it to Grady’s family’s own back story or even wonder about it metaphorically. I don’t think I ever resolved it. I remember liking the book as a whole and finding it very evocative, but I felt it kept me at arms length.

    Though they are two very different books, I got the same evocative feeling (for the west) from the book Seabiscuit. I know, I know, two VERY different books, but for some reason the (back) story of Seabiscuit’s trainer Tom Smith reminds me of Grady. If you haven’t read it, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s wonderful.

  7. Nope. You didn’t miss anything. If it’s the scene I’m thinking of, it did jump out at me and I think I kept trying to find the reason for its use. Kept trying to compare it to Grady’s family’s own back story or even wonder about it metaphorically. I don’t think I ever resolved it. I remember liking the book as a whole and finding it very evocative, but I felt it kept me at arms length.

    Though they are two very different books, I got the same evocative feeling (for the west) from the book Seabiscuit. I know, I know, two VERY different books, but for some reason the (back) story of Seabiscuit’s trainer Tom Smith reminds me of Grady. If you haven’t read it, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s wonderful.

  8. Thank you, both for the confirmation that I am not being dim about the book, and for the Seabiscuit recommendation.

    I wonder… I wonder if in an earlier draft, the aunt had a bigger role, or if there were more places where her story meshed with John Grady’s. Or maybe all the backstory given us in that scene was one of those things the author had to write for himself to figure out who the character was (even though the details were not crucial to the plot) and then he fell in love with the writing and he couldn’t bring himself to cut where he should have.

    BTW, I agree with you about the “arm’s length” feel of the book.

  9. Thank you, both for the confirmation that I am not being dim about the book, and for the Seabiscuit recommendation.

    I wonder… I wonder if in an earlier draft, the aunt had a bigger role, or if there were more places where her story meshed with John Grady’s. Or maybe all the backstory given us in that scene was one of those things the author had to write for himself to figure out who the character was (even though the details were not crucial to the plot) and then he fell in love with the writing and he couldn’t bring himself to cut where he should have.

    BTW, I agree with you about the “arm’s length” feel of the book.

  10. Hi! I just recently friended your lj after finding it, because I adore your books 😀 I haven’t read Prom yet, but Speak and Catalyst kind of blew my mind, in a good way.

    It wouldn’t happen to be a coincidence that Melinda Sordino gets her last name from the notation in orchestral music used to mark when a mute should be used, would it? I was in orchestra today and I made the connection when I saw “con sordino” on my sheet music. It nearly made me laugh out loud in the middle of the piece 😀

  11. Hi! I just recently friended your lj after finding it, because I adore your books 😀 I haven’t read Prom yet, but Speak and Catalyst kind of blew my mind, in a good way.

    It wouldn’t happen to be a coincidence that Melinda Sordino gets her last name from the notation in orchestral music used to mark when a mute should be used, would it? I was in orchestra today and I made the connection when I saw “con sordino” on my sheet music. It nearly made me laugh out loud in the middle of the piece 😀

      1. wow, that is amazing that you related it like that! it’s true though, few people would figure that out, unless they are very into music.
        I absolutely loved Speak, wonderful! A few of my friends who i gave it to did as well. you captured the teenage outcast perspective perfectly!

  12. Hi! I just recently friended your lj after finding it, because I adore your books 😀 I haven’t read Prom yet, but Speak and Catalyst kind of blew my mind, in a good way.

    It wouldn’t happen to be a coincidence that Melinda Sordino gets her last name from the notation in orchestral music used to mark when a mute should be used, would it? I was in orchestra today and I made the connection when I saw “con sordino” on my sheet music. It nearly made me laugh out loud in the middle of the piece 😀

  13. Hey, it’s Sadie, one of the girls from lunch at Snyder…

    Just wanted to say thanks again for coming, I absolutely loved hearing what you had to say. Definitely the best speaker in my history at Snyder, hands down.

    Xoxo

  14. Hey, it’s Sadie, one of the girls from lunch at Snyder…

    Just wanted to say thanks again for coming, I absolutely loved hearing what you had to say. Definitely the best speaker in my history at Snyder, hands down.

    Xoxo

  15. Hey, it’s Sadie, one of the girls from lunch at Snyder…

    Just wanted to say thanks again for coming, I absolutely loved hearing what you had to say. Definitely the best speaker in my history at Snyder, hands down.

    Xoxo

  16. “I wonder if in an earlier draft . . .”

    It’s funny that you say this. When I listened to Horses it was before I began writing stories myself. Previously when I came to passages that stuck out, I just mentally filed them away. It’s interesting now to see these things from a writerly perspective. Now I realize that an awkward passage may have less to do with intent, and more to do with “seeing the seams” from a revision.

    Do try Seabiscuit! It’s a terrific page-turner (and character study).

  17. “I wonder if in an earlier draft . . .”

    It’s funny that you say this. When I listened to Horses it was before I began writing stories myself. Previously when I came to passages that stuck out, I just mentally filed them away. It’s interesting now to see these things from a writerly perspective. Now I realize that an awkward passage may have less to do with intent, and more to do with “seeing the seams” from a revision.

    Do try Seabiscuit! It’s a terrific page-turner (and character study).

  18. Hey, It’s Christy. Another one of the girls at Snyder. Thank you sooooo much for visiting. It was very cool. I agree with Sadie that you were the best speaker in Snyder history….Valley history too.(that was our elementary school). Get well soon! I know what a pain recurring bronchitis can be.

  19. Hey, It’s Christy. Another one of the girls at Snyder. Thank you sooooo much for visiting. It was very cool. I agree with Sadie that you were the best speaker in Snyder history….Valley history too.(that was our elementary school). Get well soon! I know what a pain recurring bronchitis can be.

  20. Hey, It’s Christy. Another one of the girls at Snyder. Thank you sooooo much for visiting. It was very cool. I agree with Sadie that you were the best speaker in Snyder history….Valley history too.(that was our elementary school). Get well soon! I know what a pain recurring bronchitis can be.

  21. wow, that is amazing that you related it like that! it’s true though, few people would figure that out, unless they are very into music.
    I absolutely loved Speak, wonderful! A few of my friends who i gave it to did as well. you captured the teenage outcast perspective perfectly!

  22. wow, that is amazing that you related it like that! it’s true though, few people would figure that out, unless they are very into music.
    I absolutely loved Speak, wonderful! A few of my friends who i gave it to did as well. you captured the teenage outcast perspective perfectly!

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