The Mark of a Good Character

I first saw the movie Mona Lisa Smile when is was about 13 years old, mom was watching it, and I was sitting on the floor with my nose in a book (what else is new?)…I remember not really paying much attention to the movie back then but that there was one character in particular that stood out to me, and that my odd, nerdy, 13 year old self was able to identify with…Connie Baker, played by Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time’s Snow White/Mary Margaret).

Connie is a somewhat awkward character who clearly has (though it’s never stated outright) some self-esteem issues, is introverted, and relies very heavily on the opinion of her friends played by Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

That was me to a T…still is sometimes. I’m still kind of nerdy and introverted…and sometimes have a low opinion of myself, and put too much stock in to what people think of me, even though I know that I shouldn’t.

Watching it now as an adult and understanding more of the content of the film, I still identify with Connie – she’s the low woman on the totem pole that is her circle of friends but in the end Connie ends up being the happiest – she is their north star, she keeps the girls grounded, she is spunky, and in the end she gets what she wants…because instead of resting on her laurels, she gets up and goes after it despite the fact that (mean girl) Betty does everything in her power to put Connie down.

I knew a Betty – she was someone who would compliment you one minute and in the next point out everything that is wrong with you…it was someone that I considered a friend back then.

The fact that 13 year old me and now 21 almost 22 year old me can still identify with Connie is – to me – a sign of good writing and, the mark of a good character. In this movie the story is not about Connie at all…its about Katherine Watson, the art history professor but each of the girls is so well written, so striking that you can’t help but be completely taken in by the supporting cast as well.

Mona Lisa Smile is a movie that – when I watch it now – always makes me think; there are so many subplots dealing with social issues, societal norms, and a woman’s place in society. Many taboo issues for the time period – divorce, a woman going to law school, sex in general.

I will even go so far as to call this film timeless.

It’s a film that you can always learn something from, there are characters that will teach you something…

Connie Baker has taught me to get up and go after what I want…don’t back down regardless of what those around you think.

Even now whenever I see Ginnifer Goodwin in something I think back to this film, and to Connie Baker who will forever be one of my favorite movie heroines.


Friday Favorites: Alone On Valentine’s Day Edition

Happy Friday! I’m linking up with Andrea today to share my Friday Favorites and since I’m already late getting this done I will spare you a long introduction and just get right to it….

(small intro, sorry!!) I’m single and will be spending Valentine’s Day at home catching up on things for work and school, editing a novel, working on the development of a new series, and enjoying a relaxed, not at all stressful Saturday at home…the first such day in a VERY long time….

1.) I will be watching this movie:

My all time favorite romantic comedy, a twist on Pride and Prejudice, starring the amazing Tom Hanks…you cannot go wrong with this movie.

2.) I will be cooking dinner for my family – one of my favorite things to do and we will be having Chicken Pitas with Whipped Jalapeno Feta courtesy of Janssen at Everyday Reading.  I prepped these tonight – the feta and tzatziki sauce are probably two of the most delicious things I’ve had in a while!! I highly recommend this recipe!!

3.) I will also soon be making a batch of Shay’s Chocolate Chip Neiman Marcus Bars – they are my dad’s absolute favorite and a close second is her S’Mores Bars. These are the most baked things in my house even though I have tried to explain to my dad that there is a new recipe every week that I would like to try…these two are favorites in my house. Mom and dad both love them and I love to make them!

4.) Here’s the thing – I’m not actually going to be “alone” on Valentine’s Day, I’m going to spend the day surrounded by family, sure I’m single but that’s okay. I’m not defined by my relationship status – I know that God has someone out there for me, that someday I will get to share my life with a husband, make a home for a family, and I’m content where I am in my life right now. I’m single, I’m happy, and I’m loving my life right now!!

Thank you so much for stopping by! Happy Valentine’s Day!




Random Ramblings

Hello!! It’s been a while since I posted something here other than a Quick Takes post, and I figured I need to get back here and keep things up, so here I am…and let me apologize right now for the random ramblings that are soon to come…..

 I’m actually here hiding…hiding from actually writing…the blinking line on the word document in the other window is mocking me. It knows that I have writer’s block…it knows that I have nothing of substance to add today, but that I need to add something…anything. Now, I should be honest and tell you that I don’t have total writer’s block…I’m just blocked on this first book. I’ve written out a great (at least in my opinion) scene for the third book, but can’t seem to get the first to move forward, and I have well, nothing for the second book. Well, not nothing…I have a concept….and a few characters but I don’t know how it will fit with my timeline. It needs to fit nicely between the first and third while also staying true to the history and the right time period and so far it doesn’t. That means that I have to either adjust the timeline of the first one, the third one, or scrap the second one all together. I don’t really want to scrap it so right now I need to do a good bit of research and figure out what will work for the second one.

At this point I’m basically doing everything I can to force myself to write…I don’t really write in order so that helps. I’m stuck in a scene pretty early on, and I’ve just moved forward to another chapter farther on in the book. That seems to help when it comes to beating the block, but this time I just can’t seem to get the early scene to move… That’s not to say that it’s slow, or hard to follow, or bad (at least I hope not) it just means that I need to sit down and really work on moving the scene forward.

I’m also doing everything I can think of to avoid writing; browsing Pinterest, scanning Facebook, texting my friend and fellow writer about BBC’s Robin Hood and how AWESOME it is, texting that same friend about our mutual love for Marvel villian Loki, and watching the Hobbit as I sit and type this. Can I tell you how much I love the Hobbit? Because I really love it. Of all of Tolkein’s works The Hobbit is my favorite…not just in terms of the movie adaptations but the books as well. Bilbo Baggins will forever be my favorite Hobbit, and I love Martin Freeman in the role. Also Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield doesn’t hurt : )

Captain America: The Winter Soldier starts in theaters this weekend and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited about this one. Pretty much anything Marvel does is good in my book, so I’m really looking forward to this one, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out next summer which is also quite exciting!

It is officially baseball season! (that has nothing to do with anything really, I just thought I’d share my excitement with you)

Okay, that’s enough random rambling for one night…I really do need to get writing! If this blog is good for anything, it sure does help me work through my creative shut-down…and now for a cute picture from the web…