Three Things You Didn’t Know About Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

A long time ago, toward the beginning of the 2020 quarantine, I posted this joke:

And well YOU ASKED FOR IT.

So here are my top three break-down theories on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (Spoilers. But if you haven’t seen this movie yet, I really don’t know what you’re waiting for)

1 Cameron Fry is the protagonist. Ferris Bueller is the narrator

The last time I watched this movie, I thought to myself, “This would make an excellent YA novel from the point of view of Cameron Fry.” That’s when the dynamic really became clear. This movie is Cameron’s story. Not Ferris’.

At the beginning of the movie, we see Ferris Bueller… super cool, untouchable, clever, and mischievous. And at the end of the movie, we see Ferris Bueller… super cool, untouchable, clever, and mischievous. He remains constant throughout the movie, he doesn’t have an arc. He doesn’t change. And he’s not supposed to! He acts as a constant change agent that shapes all the other characters around him. (More on that in point two).

In the contrast, we see Cameron at the beginning of the movie- sick, miserable, “not dying, just can’t think of anything good to do”. The character has a problem to be solved, like all good and compelling protagonists. He’s about to make a change. It’s The Hero’s Journey. He’s had the literal “call to adventure” and is now being forced out of his comfort zone into this crazy escapade with his best friend.

It’s not even Ferris’ DAY OFF, if you think about it. Ferris has already missed school nine times up to this point. This is Cameron’s Day Off.

Ferris is the narrator for Cameron’s story. Even stylistically, he breaks the fourth wall to look into the camera and address the audience directly. If you still don’t believe Cameron is the main character, consider this: Ferris doesn’t talk about the other characters. He’s not telling you how he met Sloane. Hardly the only thing he says about Jeanie is that she got a car and he didn’t. Throughout the movie, he tells the audience about Cameron. His cold relationships with his parents, his character flaws. Cameron Fry is the focus because he is about to make the biggest change (AKA protagonist)

2. Ferris helps the characters grow up not down

At a quick glance, you might think that Ferris is encouraging his friends to go off on a childish adventure. But he’s not. He’s forcing them to challenge authority and assume their own identities as adults. They’re not skipping school to go to the local arcade (which is what Rooney thinks they’re doing). He’s taking them to art museums, fine restaurants, and even the stock exchange. At every moment he’s challenging them to give up their passive childhood for an independent adulthood. Even Sloane is challenged by Ferris in this way when he asks her if she wants to get married.

It’s not about the irresponsibility, although he knows how to do that well. As the active change agent in the story he has a motive for each person. For example, it’s not about stealing the car, he’s getting Cameron to challenge his father.

In the B story, Jeanie is also forced to change in this way. She constantly gripes and moans about having no control in her life (If I was BLEEDING out my eyes you’d still make me go to school). Then after a therapeutic conversation with Charlie Sheen, she has FERRIS busting his a$$ to beat her home and SHE is the one to save him from Rooney. In parellel to Cameron’s story, she takes back her control.

3. Ferris Bueller is actually John Lennon

You really think I could go one blog post without mentioning this guy??

Okay but this is FOR REAL. I know a fellow Lennon-obsessed writer when I see one. And Hughes no-doubt-in-my-mind modeled Ferris Bueller after John Lennon. He basically tells us upfront.

Ferris first directly name drops Lennon to the audience, by quoting; “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” Then he tells us, “I could be The Walrus.”

Ferris spends the movie as the leader, challenging authority and encouraging mischief and mayhem a la “A Hard Day’s Night”. Hughes even recreated the same shot of them jumping in slow motion with their arms raised.

Then of course to cap it all off. He lip syncs to Twist and Shout on the parade float. And I really don’t know how you can get anymore obvious than that.

If you don’t believe that Hughes would go to such lengths to model a character after Lennon, consider The Breakfast Club, when the janitor readily admits that he wanted to “grow up and become John Lennon”. Or when Brian the Brain whispers to himself about being The Walrus.

At the very end of the film, Ferris leans back in his hands and says the classic line, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once and a while you could miss it.”

…Which is supposedly a derivative of this quote…

BONUS!

I truly feel that I would be amiss to not lead you into this excellent conspiracy theory from the inner depth of Redditt. The theory is that Ferris is actually a figment of Cameron’s imagination. It’s a more compelling theory than you would think! I’ll leave the video here, so you can have your mind blown.

This is Me.

I’m very nervous about this post…

I don’t know about you, but quarantine became an introspection boot camp for me. For the past year, I have been going through an existential, incredibly spiritual, life changing process. And I guess I want to talk about that… I guess I want to talk about me. The real actual me.

Because what I’ve discovered during my introspection boot camp is that I hold back the real me a lot. I mean, it’s a human desire to please others and be likeable, but… I do that to SUCH an extent that… I think many people don’t know me very well. Even people who are very close to me.

So this is a very vulnerable post for me… because it’s real and raw… and it’s me.

Hello, I’m Val.

I’ve always loved being called “Val”. I feel endeared to anyone who shortens my name to “Val”, I’m not sure why. I think it’s because it feels warm and close. Like the person using the nickname wants to be my good friend. The name “Valerie” is always something that I’ve exceptionally liked about myself.

I’m an outgoing person who suffers from an overwhelming social anxiety.

I think this confuses a lot of people and makes me come off as a brat and a flake. (Or maybe that’s the social anxiety telling me how I come off). I don’t know if I’m actually an extrovert or an introvert. I get energy from being around others and desire to be around others. But I also hate leaving my house and often want to be alone. It’s strange. I will go minutes from performing on stage in front of hundreds of people to not being able to go to a cast party of a handful of people. Oh, parties… I’ve been called ‘The Life of the Party’ before… wut?… I am TERRIFIED of parties! Really, really terrified of big groups. I’ll be at a party and have to leave to the bathroom or to my car to cry… spend a few minutes in literal tears… fix my eye-makeup and return to the party. I’ve done this many, many, many times in my life. I don’t want to be an anti-social person, but I get easily overwhelmed and anxious. Really the only way I cope at a big party is if I tuck myself into a corner somewhere with one other person. One-on-one time and quality time are everything to me. And that’s when I really light up.

I am a Mormon.

Yeah, I’m pretty Mormon. Once I got lost in a Walmart and ended up in the alcohol aisle and I actually said out loud, “Where am I?”. HAHAHA!

I don’t post about my religion often, but it is truly me. And I truly am a believer of Christ.

Spirituality is more important to me than my religion.

I have found a personal spirituality and it is the foundation and forefront of my religious beliefs. I really have developed a strong love for exploring my spirituality. Meditation and introspection. I don’t know why I shy away from talking about it so much. I think I’m nervous that people will think I’m “kooky”. But so what? I totally am! That’s who I am! Hahaha!

I just really love communicating with The Divine. With The Spirit. With myself and the energies around me. I have a strong belief in communication. In intuition. It guides me in my daily life and choices. I don’t have to shy away from this part of myself. It’s A HUGE PART of myself. I love my church but my personal spirituality and relationship with God has become the priority for me. I can ask Him anything and receive wisdom and knowledge. It’s a constant battle to put aside my pride and be open-minded to this communication. Open-minded to the fact that I know so little. To the fact that others on Earth and their diversity have so much to teach me as well.

I’m artsy fartsy

Same with spirituality… I don’t know why I hold back this part of me so much, because it’s actually a big part of me! … I find meaning in everything. And everything is lovely and purposeful to me. The shape of the trees and the size of the moon. All these metaphors and lessons all around us. Art is everything. Art is civilization. The hippie culture resonates with me. I enjoy symbolic performance art unironically. (There, I finally said it!) All I want to do is create. If I’m not creating everything feels heavy and sad. I live to create and enjoy creation.

I have weird taste in movies…

Open apology but if you’ve ever asked me if I’ve liked a movie and all I said was yes… I probably lied. I never NOT have a really strong opinion about a movie! I think I lie because I would never want to rain on someone who has connected with a piece of art. I’m not trying to be pretentious or a critic… because the stuff that I actually DO like is weird as hell! I never noticed until Dan pointed this out but I “only watch old movies”. But he’s right! I really do prefer old movies to anything else. Just the same as music.

So I don’t know. It’s not anything shocking or unique. But it’s me. And I realized that I don’t have the easiest time sharing myself. I’ve been spending too much of my life trying to mold myself into whatever will make the other person the most comfortable… but why do that? Why can’t I be my artsy, new-age Mormon bundle of anxieties? There’s nothing wrong with who I am. Even these little things. And if it takes a year of pandemic isolation for me to love who I really am, then that’s okay. And I’m here. Writing these miniscule things about myself but feeling free to do it.

Love is accepting another person for who they are, especially the things that make them different. So this is how I love myself, by accepting these “weird” things about me.

The 20 Worst Things About Playing ‘Among Us’

My family and I are in love with this little game… but there are definitely some downsides… here are the top 20 worst parts about playing ‘Among Us’ online:

1 .02 seconds after everyone pops into your room and start bombarding the chat with this

RED: Start

PURPLE: Start

YELLOW: strt

RED: Start

RED: Start

YELLOW: strt pls

2 But then half of the players bail the same second they find out they’re not The Imposter

SelfAbsorbed has just left the game.

3 When someone slams the emergency button just to tell you this

WHITE: Guys, I have scan. Watch me?

4 Or when someone comes on the chat with this bullcrap

LIME: Who wants to date? How old are you?

CYAN: 12

LIME: Cool! Uh yeah, me too.

ME:

5 And all the preteens make fun of you when you lecture them not to give out their personal info

CYAN: lol it’s my phone number not my social security number

6 When you witness and report the murder and everyone votes you off instead

BLACK: self report

7 When none of the other ghosts want to have a spooky side chat

PURPLE: Pink did me, who killed u?

8 When The Imposter executes a perfect “stack kill” and you can’t tell who it was.

RED: skip i guess

BROWN: skip

9 When you’re fixing wires and you see someone run up behind you

10 When The Imposter keeps turning the lights off but AIN’T NO WAY YOU GOIN INTO THE DARK ELECTRIC ROOM TO FIX IT

11 When you sus the wrong person and then you look sus for getting them thrown off

12 When someone dies and their pet mourns them in the cafeteria

13 When the settings are on 3,800 tasks rather than 4-5

14 Or when the voting time is a full ten minutes…

15 And there’s always that one guy who takes the full ten minutes to vote

RED: BLUE!!! VOTE!!

PINK: Kick him!!

16. When the speed isn’t what you’re used to and you’re either crawling through mud or slamming around like a pinball

ORANGE: Purple sus he was running into walls instead of fixing reactor

PURPLE: Bruh! This 3X player speed is out of control!

17. When you’re waiting for the game to start and someone asks

BROWN: Hey can I have pink?

18. Even worse when someone responds with

PINK: No.

19. When someone shows up with the same cheese hat as you and you have to change into a pair of candy canes

20. When it’s two in the morning and you finally have to stop playing

ME: Okay one more game.

ME: Okay one more.

ME: One more game.

A Decade at a Glance

2010

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Where I was living: Cedar City, Utah. Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. Actress. Theater Tech. House Manager. Stage Manager. Assistant Director.
The career I wanted: Children’s Theater Instructor. Health Education Teacher.

A typical Friday night: Lounging in the jenkiest, ghetto cinderblock dorm. Hanging out with my boyfriend and watching a pretentious movie. Walking across the street to the cafeteria where we hope that the Football team hasn’t eaten every single chicken tender *again*.

2011

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah. Provo, Utah. Lima, Peru. Trujillo, Peru.
The job I had: Actress. Student. Theater Tech. House Manager. Stage Manager. Assistant Director. Theatre Teacher… so on and so forth… Full-Time LDS Missionary (volunteer service).
The career I wanted: Children’s Theater Instructor. English Teacher.

A typical Friday night: Before the mission, I can guarantee you I would have been with my best friend Landon. In 2011 we were basically conjoined and a typical Friday night would be us doing something stupid like breaking into an abandoned building or irritating full-crowds by just being a hundred decimals TOO MUCH.

2012

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Where I was living: Trujillo, Peru. Salavery Port, Peru. Neuvo Chimbote, Peru.
The job I had: Fulltime LDS Missionary
The career I wanted: Probably a teacher but ???

A typical Friday night: A typical Friday night as a missionary in Peru is a lot of walking. Chicken and rice for dinner and then back to back appointments until you collapse on your bed in your small one-room apartment (quarto). Stopping random people in the street to talk about really serious existential questions. Butchering through my Spanish and trying to make it up by being as animated as friggin’ possible. Meeting really great people and talking and thinking about Jesus Christ.

2013

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Where I was living: Neuvo Chimbote, Peru. Centerville, Utah.
The job I had: Fulltime LDS Missionary. Student. Box Office Manager. ArtsBridge Scholar – Theatre Specialist.
The career I wanted: BTS Theatre Specialist for K-6 Elementary

A typical Friday night: 2013 was a weird year for me romantically. A typical Friday night I would have been on a date. (Sometimes even two dates on the same night. YIKES.) I also spent the majority of my time at the University of Utah Insitute of Religion where I met some lifelong friends, did a lot of service and too many stupid pranks.

2014

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. Box Office Manager. ArtsBridge Scholar – Theatre Specialist. Receptionist / AR Clerk
The career I wanted: BTS Theatre Specialist for K-6 Elementary

A typical Friday Night: I met Dan early 2014. When we were dating we would stay up ’til three, four in the morning just talking and joking around. Any Friday night we would be watching a bad movie (on purpose) or confusing our friends with our elaborate inside jokes. SHMOOPIE.

2015

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Receptionist / AR Clerk
The career I wanted: Stay at Home Mom, Theatre Instructor, Writer

A typical Friday night: I would come home tired and cranky from work around six or so. Dan and I would almost certainly be having Beef Stroganoff for dinner. Binging Breaking Bad on the pull out sofa bed in our front room.

2016

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. ArtsBridge Scholar – Theatre Specialist. Stay at Home Mom. Fulltime writer.
The career I wanted: BTS Theatre Specialist for K-6 Elementary, Stay at Home Mom, Writer

A typical Friday night: When Jack was born, I started writing all day every day. He never wanted to be set on the floor (he’s still the same). I would lay him on my legs and taught myself to type one-handed!

2017

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah
The job I had: Student. Stay at home Mom. Fulltime Writer.
The career I wanted: An author / Stay at Home Mom

A typical Friday night: I remember Pharmacy School feeling like a backpack full of iron bars as we crawled toward the finish line. A typical Friday night would be, Dan in his office studying/crying. The baby mesmerized by music videos (he’s still the same). Vigourously researching story structure, plotting, and publishing.

2018

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Where I was living: Centerville, Utah. Mesa, AZ
The job I had: Stay at Home Mom. Fulltime writer.
The career I wanted: An author / Stay at Home Mom

A typical Friday night: It’s hard to even remember since it was so hectic. We spent a lot of time inside. A single mom. Dan miserable at work and Jack adjusting well to Arizona. Casey was an easy baby and spent most of his Friday’s asleep.

2019

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Where I was living: Mesa, AZ
The job I had: Stay at home Mom. Fulltime writer
The career I wanted: An author / Stay At Home Mom

A typical Friday night: As I write this post… it is a Friday night. Dan spent a long day at work (*the much better job that he loves so much). He fell asleep next to me, an interstellar space travel documentary is playing. Rain patters on the window. The boys are asleep, although, I am confident Jack will be up more than a few times tonight. And I am still writing.

And reminiscing.

 

 

Life Update: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

THE GOOD:

So last time I gave you a full-ish update, I mentioned that Dan had gotten a part-time job and we were still looking. Yo, Pharmacy is not a joke right now. Anyone thinking about going into it should know that getting a job is REALLY DIFFICULT. And not just for an unfinished resident. I mean, IN GENERAL, it’s incredibly competitive.

But something kind of amazing has been happening to us lately…

The job that Dan landed is a PRN job which if you are not familiar with the medical field it basically means “as needed” or like “a substitute pharmacist pretty much”. He was told that it would probably only be one weekend a month. Like ten hours or something like that. So yeah. It was a PANIC. Ten hours a month ain’t a real job. So we were up to our necks trying to find something else.

BUT THEN. Once Dan got all trained up, he started getting a lot of shifts… and then a second site hired him… and then they started giving him remote shifts. Now all of the sudden he’s working full-time.

I kept watching our Google calendar fill up month by month before finally, I realized… this is the job. Dan loves it. It’s the EXACT company that he wanted to work for. And he gets to spend a TON of time with the family. Like… this is it, dude. Why mess with such a good thing?

There are other little details that need to be ironed out since PRN isn’t a traditional job, but I think we can make it work and I finally feel… settled. I spent the last however many months feeling on edge and overly anxious about “THE JOB” when… it was there all along. He had it within the first six weeks.

THE BAD

I always have to mention the writing so here it is.

I re-read my last “Life Update” from May and it made me freaking whimper. EVERYTHING IS STILL THE EXACT SAME. LIKE NOTHING HAS CHANGED ALL SUMMER. Isn’t that dumb!? I work on stuff every day with like so little to show for it. And I know, emotionally, I’ve had a lot on my plate… like honestly a bowling ball on my paper plate. But still! It really sucks. Because through all the hard days the ambition has not gone away. In fact, I would say that the ambition has only gotten bigger and meaner. Like a fat, feral, untamed ambition eating me from the inside out. And all I do now is sulk around the house complaining that I don’t have ten more novels finished since May.

I just want something to happen. Anything. A big gust of wind in my sails. I need to feel like I’m moving forward.

THE UGLY

It’s been a very difficult time for me personally.

Someone very close to me has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. I don’t want to say who it is, to respect their privacy, but just know that it is a relationship that is absolutely irreplaceable. Every day I have to wake up and imagine what my life would be like without that person. And I don’t know what’s going to happen.

If you are the praying sort… or you vibe with vibes… or you’re a really cynical person but you’re good at sending funny memes… just keep me in mind, I guess.

Other than that kids are doing great! They are so sweet. Getting bigger every day! Life overall has been good… which is weird because it’s been the absolute worst year of my life.

Also in retrospect, I should have started with the worst thing and ended with the best thing. Welp. That’s what I get for trying to do some cutsie title. SORRY. Tune in for, hopefully, some cheerier updates down the road.

A Sappy Post About My Sappy Wedding Anniversary

Guess what day it is?

 

Five years ago TODAY Daniel and I were marrrrrrrried. Woooohoooo! In honor of this sweet, sweet, milestone, I decided to write a sweet, sweet blog post for my sweet, sweetheart. It will be so sweet in fact that it might make you sick if you ingest too much of it… so be prepared. CUZ IT’S ABOUT TO GET ROMANTIC UP IN HERE.

oneiwant

Dan. What up, bro?

Maybe no one else will read this post. And that’s okay. Because today is about you, my love. So I’ve been thinking lately, about all the times you’ve told me how you feel “boring”. And that’s just crazy. For me, you are the opposite of boring. You fascinate me. My life comes alive anytime you come home from work or wake up next to me or spend time with me (when you honestly could be doing anything else at the moment). My heart goes from zero to fifty, like, just at the chance to hang out with you, because you are just a big ball of FUN. And I wish I could think of a better way to say that… like, you know, if only I were some kind of an author or something and I knew how to write words.

I love the way your eyes crinkle when you smile. And I love your laughs. Sometimes you have this high pitched “HA” and then other times you sound like a freaking duck choking on a popsicle stick. I love it though. Like that’s when I know we’re on a super good inside joke, is when we’re both WHEEZING like we’re dying.

I love how at the end of the day when we put the kids to bed, our activity of choice is trashy reality TV with a side of cheesecake. Like, that’s all I want in life, honestly. But I also love the things you watch when you’re not with me. Like, documentaries about lions and people detailing their car or something. Videos with scammers scamming other scammers. And divers collecting stuff in muddy rivers. I just like the small interests you have. I don’t know. It’s attractive to me. Because, sure, like you could be SUPER into sports or something. And be that guy who’s into sports. Or working out or something that is some general interest. But I really like that you like weird things. I like when you want to show me a video about space or tell me a weird fact you learned that day. I really, really love that about you.

OH MY GOSH and how lucky that we have the same taste in movies? I mean, basically. All I want to watch are old movies. And you adamantly refuse to watch the same movie twice unless it’s Black Hawk Down or American Sniper (for some reason?).

dankids

I love the unique way you walk. I love your voice. I loved your voice when you called me up for our first date, even though I basically interrupted you to tell you I was on the news for doing a flash mob. Ah, the way you say my name too. When you’re talking to someone else about me it’s this nice soft “Val”. But when I’m in trouble it’s, “VAL-REE!”

This is selfish, but I really love the way you love me. I love that you confidently tell people that I’m an author. Like as if I already had a successful career or something. And when you want to bring me to all your parties because you think “I’m an ace up your sleeve”. (I wish!)

aww

I love the way you love the kids. You are a great dad. You worry that you’re not. But you really really are. You are always RIGHT THERE to take them and play with them. Give me a break or help me with something around the house. Ha. You are the Starsky to my Hutch when it comes to chores. I’m so incredibly lucky that I married a guy as helpful as you are.

Seriously, and it’s not just me. Like that is your legacy. I think you get a call every freaking day from SOMEONE needing your help and advice. Whether it’s about car stuff, or medicine, or a financial decision. YOU are the person that everyone turns to because you are competent AF!!

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You make me happy every single day, with all the puns. And all the pranks. There has not been a single day that I have not laughed since I met you. You are a hidden treasure in a lifetime ocean of day by day challenges. (Another “River Rat” reference?) Just when I think there is no possible way I could love you more, you do something else that gets me. I feel like the Grinch, except my heart is blowing up to like thirty sizes bigger.

I just love you. That’s it. I really do.

I Randomly Generated an Emotional Short Story using only Shrek References

shrek

Swamp Feelings

A Short Story
by Val Manwill

Shrek had always loved the stinky swamp with its bad, bitter boulders. It was a place where he felt lonely.

He was a green, scary, muskrat stew drinker with green skin and large hands. His friends saw him as an old-fashioned, obnoxious ogre. Once, he had even revived a dying, legless gingerbread man. That’s the sort of man he was.

Shrek walked over to the window and reflected on his muddy surroundings. Duloc teased in the distance like fighting dragons.

Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the figure of Donkay. Donkay was a big donkey with a hideous tail and powerful fur.

Shrek gulped. He was not prepared for Donkay.

As Shrek stepped outside and Donkay came closer, he could see the important glint in his eye.

Donkay gazed with the affection of 3765 ugly fine fairy tale creatures. He said, in hushed tones, “I love you and I want friendship.”

Shrek looked back, even more gassy and still fingering the Shrekish goblet. “Donkay, ogres are like onions,” he replied.

They looked at each other with angry feelings, like two breakable, burnt blind mice saving at a very ogre quest, which had Smashmouth music playing in the background and two shreky uncles swamping to the beat.

Shrek studied Donkay’s hideous tail and powerful skin. Eventually, he took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” began Shrek in apologetic tones, “but I don’t feel the same way, and I never will. I just don’t love you Donkay.”

Donkay looked god-like, his emotions raw like a prickly, pretty pitchfork.

Shrek could actually hear Donkay’s emotions shatter into 7420 pieces. Then the big donkey hurried away into the distance.

Not even a drink of muskrat stew would calm Shrek’s nerves tonight.

THE END
Many thanks to the plot generator for this piece of important literature:

Life Update: Hi! So, it’s been a secret disaster

Hey, remember when I had a weekly blog and then dropped off the face of the planet for a couple of months?

So it’s been more than two months. I feel bad about that. This is literally the longest that I’ve ever gone without posting anything since I started the blog. (Even after having a kid.) I was secretly hoping for things to settle completely before coming out and having to talk about this. BuUuUUuuUUuuut that hasn’t quite yet happened, so … I’m just gonna talk about it, I guess.

 

dep1

 

My husband and I play this game when we’re stressed out. I call it, “Lay the Cards.” When we’re anxious about something we come up with four different outcomes.

  1. The absolute best dream outcome that could ever happen in your wildest imagination.
  2. A good outcome that’s also realistic.
  3. A bad outcome that’s more realistic.
  4. The absolute, complete worst outcome you can think of suffering through.

We look at all the outcomes and try to come up with how we would respond to each scenario, therefore ‘laying out all our cards’ and preparing for anything.

Well, one night we played that game… and the absolute, complete worst outcome that we came up with… ENDED. UP. HAPPENING.

Of all the times we have played that game, that has never happened to us. Never ever.

I don’t want to get into the details of things, because overall I just feel like that’s unprofessional. (Even if it’s not my profession.) But basically what I can tell you is that a situation got to a point where it was completely out of our control and Dan was forced to end his residency only ninety days shy of graduating.

We were told from multiple sources that an early termination from a residency would result in being “blacklisted” from ever getting a job at a hospital or clinic. And if that doesn’t seem so bad, let me concern you by phrasing it another way… You could spend five years of your life, get into an unbelievably massive student loan debt and be told you’re not getting your dream job only 12 weeks away from qualifying.

BUT YOU KNOW FREAKING WHAT?

It’s been six weeks. And Dan GOT A JOB. AND IT IS IN A HOSPITAL BY THE WAY. Let me just rewrite that for any abused lil’ pharmacist. MY HUSBAND GOT A JOB IN A HOSPITAL WITHOUT A RESIDENCY. IT IS POSSIBLE AND REAL TO DO SO. The coolest part about the job is that it’s the exact same company that he wanted out of residency anyway. The un-coolest part about the job is that it’s part-time so… Foot in the door, but we’re still looking to take another job. 

Um. So yeah. It’s been hard to write. Upkeep simple things like this blog. In theory, it seems like I should have MORE time to write now that Dan is home to help with the kids. But I’ve been spending all of my free time elbows deep in Google job searches and ad posts. I’ve actually developed a long term twitch in my both my left eye and right eyebrow soooo… yikes? Daniel keeps telling me to write, but it’s been hard to motivate myself to do ANYTHING lately.

 

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It sucks. We have a lot of dreams and plans now idling behind a blockade. We’re likely going to be staying in Arizona for a good long while. But that’s hard to say as we’re still interviewing for full-time positions right now. So, sorry for anyone hoping for the Manwill return to Utah. And sorry for being a buttface and not updating this blog. But lots more news and interesting(?) posts to come.

How Unrealistic is this Romance-Genre Male Character? A Fun Rubric!

It’s no secret that women are often not written very realistically. And it’s easy to tell when the girl main character was created as nothing more than a fantasy trophy.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? Women characters are not exclusive to this. More prevalent and obvious, YES. But exclusive, no. Haven’t you ever noticed how every dude in a romance story has AN OUTRAGEOUS combination of “desirable” traits? It’s like the same formula over and over again.

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“Hey. I’m Liam. Captain of the football team. Want to hang out on my family’s yacht?”

Don’t believe me? Watch yourself a romance or pick up a sappy book and use this rubric as you go. Each trait earns ten points, the more points you get the more ridiculously written that character is.

 

+10 He is good looking. Obviously, this is a good place to start. Granted there is going to be some kind of attraction between characters when there’s a romance. But I’m specifically talking about a character who would be considered classically and universally good looking. Great hair. Nice smile. Chiseled chin. Tall. Modelesque rippling abs and pectorals. I mean, if the body type is even being mentioned, he might as well have “heaving bosoms”.

+10 He is smart. This character always offers witty dialogue and banter. He’s funny. He does well in school or inexplicably gets accepted to ivy league colleges. Maybe this character has a job that would need to require some serious intelligence. When he talks to the love interest he probably “surprises her” by mentioning authors/books that he likes or other smart and high cultured things.

+10 He is rich OR is in a high position of power somehow. Okay, this character either has a lot of money himself or comes from a rich family. This character could also be a boss or some kind of leader. Royalty is always popular for some reason.

+10 He is charming. This character is well liked. Popular. Has a lot of friends. Or fans. Usually, there are multiple girl characters who are obsessed with him. He is most likely confident in himself. Anyone who happens to not like him is probably jealous of him.    

+10 He is athletic. Lol. For some reason mentioning the muscles isn’t enough. This character shows ‘em off somehow. His adventuring and swordplay are effortless. He plays on the school sports team. He is probably mentioned to be “the best” at some type of physical skill.

+10 He is musically or artistically talented somehow. This is a character that sits down and plays the guitar or sings for the leading lady. Maybe he draws or paints her a picture. Maybe he immaculately decorates this outdoor area for her without any help. He might have a career as an artist or maybe his incredible talent is mentioned in passing and then never contributes anything else to the plot.

+10 He is passionate. This is an easy ten points. This is a character who is borderline berserk-o bats he is so in love. This character easily professes his love. He’s more than a little stalkerish, he follows her around everywhere even if she says no. His moods are all over the freaking place. He is sometimes yelling and punching antagonists. He oozes with jealousy, over-protection, kissing her roughly, having like zero control over his feelings. This character is SO unbridled that if she weren’t into him, she would take out a restraining order pretty quick.

+10 He is self-sacrificing. Similar to the passion trait but definitely deserves ten points on its own. This is a character who is willing to throw away anything and everything in his life for the love interest. He might give up his job, his family, his opportunities, his dreams. Maybe he gives up who he is- like he’s dangerous in some way, but gives it up for her. Sometimes he just straight up dies for her. The sacrificing thing is one huge wet dream for a woman.

+10 He’s a hero. I don’t care what context it is. If this guy rescues her from getting physically hurt in any way, shape or form. That is an automatic ten points for me.

+10 Despite having all of these characteristics he goes for an awkward underdog MC for no real reason. Yes, I’m a cynic. But COME ON. Real talk here. Why is this have-it-all-dude going to go for this rinky-dink no-one-has-ever-wanted-me-like-this chick? Right off the bat, he is in deep with her, but we never really get why. I guess because she’s attractive or something? You tell me.

 

And yes, before you call me out, I tried this rubric out with the romantic interest in my own novel and YES, I am in no way clean of this either. He scored fifty points… which is more than murkily cliché but still better than Noah from The Kissing Booth who scores an eye-rolling NINETY POINTS.

So what is the takeaway? The take away is this: As a writer, don’t be afraid to make your main characters less than perfect. We will still like them. IN FACT, we will like them MORE if we relate to their weaknesses. Is it sexy to envision a man sprawled across a worn couch, binging Netflix with Dorito dust all over his shirt? Not really. Do I want him to find love? HECK YES SO MUCH SO INVESTED. But why though? BECAUSE THAT’S MEEEEEEE! We’re the sticky gross humans looking for happiness in all the wrong places! YOUR AUDIENCE. Reach out! Connect! Don’t just give us one real person to cheer on. Give us two! Make me believe that both of them are better off together, not that one person is already swimming in the sweet life and his/her life can’t be upgraded by anyone.

Just an opinion of a half-cynic. Wink wink.

How I Motivate Myself

After the announcement of all my doings and goings on in the writing world, I’ve been hearing a lot of the same thing: I would love to do something like that, if I had that kind of motivation.

Motivation is an interesting thing. I think first and foremost the best motivation for something is having a sincere love for that thing. What is important to you? How do you prioritize your time?  I write because I feel absolutely uncontrollably COMPELLED to do it. If I don’t write for a long period of time, I get really irritable. No joke. It’s a part of me that I fully embraced a couple of years ago and haven’t been able to let go.

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But I will let you in on another secret motivational tool that I use… like a practical non-metaphoric one. It’s what got me to write a novel in twenty days. It’s the reason I’m producing short stories almost daily. In fact, it’s what is motivating me to write this blog post right now. Do you want to know what it is?

Brownies.

I buy a package of really good-looking brownies from my local grocery store. I set in on the counter where I have to see it all the time. And then I DO NOT LET MYSELF have one until I have written 1,000 words.

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These little suckers

I’ll put Jack down for a nap and be COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED… and yet, I cannot stop thinking about those freaking brownies. So I very quickly write a whole bunch of words until I’ve hit the goal. And then I can finally have one.

And then you know what happens? After I eat one… I want a FREAKING ‘NOTHER ONE.

So I end up writing another thousand words, because my pregnancy cravings are too strong for me to even handle.

And that’s how I do it. And that’s why I’m even writing this post right now. I write like a steam engine trying to get a DeLorean back to 1985… and then later I go back and edit that mess… for which I reward myself more chocolate.

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It’s worked SOOOO well that I’ve actually started doing housework for small bottles of Coke. You should SEE my house right now.

Utilize your vices. Make your weaknesses work for you. Are you a fatty like me? Dude. Set goals for baked goods and you’ll be SHOCKED at the results.

In reality, dreams are really hard work. Even your passion can flicker out every once in while and that’s okay. Dangle a carrot in front of your face and KEEP AT IT!

 

ALSO PS. If you didn’t catch last week’s blog post. I have a short story being published in an anthology that comes out next month. I made some promotional artwork for it because it was really late at night and apparently I hate sleeping.

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It’s a YA story about a girl who visits her all-time crush at work after he tells her that “HE NEEDS TO TALK TO HER”DUN DUN DUN! Ooh, gurrrl. You know she had a panic-induced cringe after getting that message on her phone. Anyways, the book is available for pre-order. You can check it out here:  https://www.zpublishinghouse.com/products/utahs-emerging-writers-an-anthology?variant=14625753694323