Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Halloween Ghost Story

I like ghosts -- and that's because I one hundred percent believe in them.  Not that I've had many supernatural encounters, but I've heard enough stories from friends and family to trust that there are spirits we cannot see.

I had a lot of ideas for a Halloween related post (you don't need me to tell you that YA books are the home of the paranormal), but I decided to simply tell a ghost story.  I heard it a few years ago, and I find it very haunting -- but that's probably because I pass by the place in question all the time.

The Ghost of Tucker Hall

Tucker Hall is an academic building at the College of William & Mary.  Like all the old buildings at the College, it was built in the colonial style, with impressive brick facades and unused chimneys.  Inside, there is a grand staircase flanked by two arched doorways.  It used to house the English department, but if you duck through a gap in the wire fence, you'll see that it hasn't been occupied for years, except to host drug deals or Greek hazings, as evidenced by the crushed cans of Natty Lite that litter the stairs.  No one is 100% sure why the school shut down the building, though most point to the ghost.

Many years ago a girl was studying for finals on the third floor.  She was so stressed that she went into the bathroom and committed suicide, but to this day, she hasn't left.  Since then, there have been several deaths in that very same bathroom.  It happens like this:  she appears behind you in the mirror, looking like a normal corporeal student, and she'll politely ask you how exams are going.  If you say they're going poorly, she will let you be.  But if you say they are going well, then she'll possess you and force you to kill yourself, but before you go, you'll write something on the mirror for others to find.  And you'll write it in your own blood:

."She made me do it."

Tucker Hall has been closed for several years now, but occasionally a light appears in the window of the third floor bathroom.  Sometimes it isn't a light at all, but a strange greenish glow.

There is very little evidence that the deaths happened, nor is there much evidence of supernatural events at all.  The only hard evidence comes from this article.  Who knows?  Maybe the ghost will show herself tonight on Halloween?  (Let's just hope she isn't as violent as the rumors say she is).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

November is Coming...

...and that means that a lot of writers will be participating in National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as NaNoWriMo.  As exciting as that is, I'm actually going to sit this one out.  Though I would love to jump headfirst into literary fun, I just can't bring myself to set aside my WIP for a whole month.  Not when I'm so close to finishing it.

But even though I won't be writing a NaNo novel this year, I'll still participate in whatever local events spring up.  Forums, write-ins, parties, whatever!  Should be fun.

Best of luck to all participants!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Inevitable Post: E-Readers

It was inevitable.  A post about e-readers.

I'll say flat out that I don't like them.  You know, for the usual reasons:  I like the feel of a book, the smell of a book, the sensation of turning the pages, having well-stocked bookshelves, etc.  Then there's my greatest fear:  what if the e-reader were to run out of batteries in the middle of the climax?  I'd probably throw it at the wall, and then I'd be in big trouble.

But I'm considering buying one.  I don't want to, but I might have to.  It's either e-read or don't read, and I'd have to choose the lesser of two evils.

You see, two days ago I found out that I'm going to Spain for six months.  I'll be living in Seville (or Sevilla) in the southernmost autonomy of Andalusia.  It's a beautiful city that dates all the way back to the Roman Empire, and frankly, I can't wait to live there.  While Seville will be my "home base," I plan to travel all over the place:  France, Greece, Morocco, Italy, and Turkey for sure, but also perhaps Germany, England, and Portugal.
From the top of La Giralda (2009)

Back to the e-reader issue:  I can't bring a whole library, and I'm afraid I won't have access to many of the books I'll want to read.  I'm not against reading in Spanish (in fact, I hope to read in Spanish), but 1)  If I purchased the books, I'd have to be careful about how many I could bring home with me, and 2) Will there even be Spanish translations of recently published works I want to read?  Forget finding English versions.  And what if I decide to go on a backpacking adventure?  Then I really won't be able to bring a lot of books.  So the question remains:  should I get an e-reader?

I don't know, but I still have two months to think about it.  Gosh, two months!  That's not long at all.

The city of Sevilla, taken on my last trip to Spain (2009)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Birthday Books!

Another photo of His Holiness (I actually took this one):

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on October 10th,  2012.
I was lucky enough to attend a special Q & A session with His Holiness directly after his speech to a much larger audience.  It was a much more personal, laid-back experience, and it was awesome.

It was also my birthday.  Unfortunately I didn't get any birthday blessings from the Dalai Lama, but I did get books.  Lots and lots of books, which is fantastic.

These five, as well as Stephen King's On Writing, Cassandra Clare's City of Bones, and Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle.  Quite a varied collection.  I already finished Stardust (and for the first time in my life, I thought the movie was much better), and now I'm debating what to read next.  Hmm...I recently finished J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, which was phenomenal, but so gritty that I'm not yet ready to reenter the real world.  So, I think I'm going to go with Smith's I Capture the Castle.

I love new books.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at the College of William & Mary.
What an amazing opportunity!  Today I got to meet His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama when he came to speak at the College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, VA.  Often viewed as the world's most important peace leader, he is the author of 72 books, winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, and leader of the Buddhist world.  I'm still in awe after hearing him speak on compassion, common humanity, and inner beauty.  What an honor!