rachelcoker


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Ramblings category.

The Best Years of My Life

I’m graduating high school next month. OHMYGOSH. When did that even happen???? One hundred and sixteen long months of questions, papers, equations, projects, and late nights are all wrapping up in less than thirty days (give or take a few, haha). I’m going to be finished with high school. Finished with this phase of my life. Oh my gosh.

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Me being silly with my sister.

Being seventeen is hard. Gosh, still being a high schooler is hard. Sometimes I feel so stuck. I’m not really an adult, but I’m no longer a child. It’s like those awkward early-teen years when you find yourself fluttering between the kids table, stacked with pbjs and animal crackers, and the adult table, where fancy food and wedding rings and sophisticated talks about mortgages and marriage abound. You just feel so in-between.

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Me being silly with my bestie.

Sometimes, it’s hard to be content at this point in my life. I want to be doing things. To be working that much harder to accomplish something great with my life. Everything seems to be holding me back. School, commitments, age… I just want to close my eyes and wish on a star and wake up a few years older with a perfect boyfriend and a plan for my future and my whole life just together. (Or, in the words of Jenna Rink, “Thirty and flirty and thriving…”)

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Me being silly with my other bestie!

And it’s true. Sometimes I get so caught up thinking about the ever-elusive future, that I forget I’m living in the present. I forget what it’s like to live in the present. In the here and now. In the amazing and fun world of a seventeen-year-old girl.

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Me being silly with flowers.

My life isn’t super glamorous. I get zits every now and then and sometimes I fight with my parents occasionally I just get fed up and want to do something else and be something else. A grownup. A mature, responsible adult.

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Me being silly while my friend looks on and thinks I’m crazy.

But if I was a mature, responsible adult, would I still be able to sit in bed and do my economics homework in my pajamas? Would I still be able to go to the movies with my friends and laugh so hard that the cranky love-birds in front of us threaten to kick us out, and the old people across the theater wrinkle their noses in delight that there are in fact some decent young people nowadays who appreciate a good Billy Wilder film? If I wasn’t seventeen years old, would I still dance around to “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together” and think it’s not-even-funny how extremely funny it is to put a goat in a Taylor Swift music video?

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Me being silly while I clean the bathroom.

I have the whole rest of my life to chase after my dreams and climb mountains of success. I have (Lord-willing) years and years ahead of me to fill up with responsibility and stress and grown-up duties. But how much more time do I have to just be a kid. Granted, a very cool, very witty kid. But a kid nonetheless. In a few short months, I’ll be a woman. A very fun, very cute woman, obviously. But still. Time is ticking. How am I going to make the most out of this last month of high school?

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Me being silly with my cousin. After eating waaaaay too much turkey.

I’m going to laugh.

I’m going to dance.

I’m going to sing at the top of my lungs and not care that I don’t hit a single note.

I’m going to stay up until four in the morning with my best friends, and then make loads and loads of waffles for breakfast.

I’m going to take pictures of myself doing weird, weird things.

I’m going to blush when I mess up and then get over it and get on with my life.

I’m going to live.

And I’m going to enjoy every second of it.

-Rachel

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Back When I Wanted to Be a Broadway Star

[Caution: This post contains some very, very embarrassing old photos so please, no judgment]

broadway

You may have heard me talk before about my previous ambitions of being a Broadway actress/singer/dancer/all-around-star. It all started when I was about ten or so, and someone got me to watch “Phantom of the Opera.” Ding, ding, ding! There you have it, folks. I was hooked. I dreamed of being Christine and getting to wear pretty lacy dresses and sashay around candle-lit stages with the fog glowing in the stage lights. Seriously, it was all I ever thought about. I bought posters of New York City and hung them in my room. I begged my mom to let me go and visit. I begged my grandpa to take me to a Broadway play. And I memorized every word of “Phantom”, just in case I happened to get my lucky break when some talent scout randomly asked me to sing “All I Ask of You” in the grocery store one day. You never know. It could happen.

Anyway, when I was eleven years old, my grandpa announced that he was going to take me and my cousin Rena, along with our moms, to New York City for one long, adventure-filled weekend. There was only one slight catch. We were going in the middle of February.

To this day, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so cold in my life. Seattle in January didn’t have anything on a February day in NYC. We lasted about thirty seconds on top of the empire state building, because the arctic breezes nearly fast-froze us. We avoided Central Park, horse-and-buggy rides, and anything that would involve us being outside for more than thirty minutes at a time.

Thank goodness there was only one place I wanted to go that was completely indoors and very-well heated. And that was Broadway. Okay, okay, I know that Broadway is actually a street, and that there are tons of theaters that play tons of shows that range from the childish to the sleazy. But there was only one building I was thinking about, and that was the one with the big blazing signs that read, “Phantom of the Opera” out front. They dazzled, they glowed. It was love at first sight.

We got all dressed up and I distinctly remember that being the first ever night I wore makeup. My cousin wore bright blue eyeshadow and I somehow thought it would be cool to wear hot pink lipgloss and we both donned our best little black dresses for the performance. My grandpa even brought his own tux. Gosh, we were so sophisticated.

I remember that as being the best night of my life, up until that point. I knew every word, every line, every plot twist. But I fell in love all over again. With Broadway. With the stage. With my supposed future.

Well, if you’re reading my blog today, you’ll probably realize that I am, in fact, not a Broadway star. Why? Because one day, I realized I can’t sing. Or dance particularly well. And I don’t exactly have that “star-like” quality that makes people shell out big bucks to come and see your face highlighted in lights.

So I write. And take pictures. And do just about anything possible to stay behind-the-scenes, if you will. But I still have my little indulgences. I hadn’t listened to a showtune in years (Okay, okay, besides “Defying Gravity”, which I completely love and blast all the time, despite having never seen nor knowing anything about the play “Wicked”. Because I’m weird like that), but when my mom surprised me with the “Les Miserables” soundtrack for Easter, I lit up like a little girl on Christmas morning. And proceeded to play it five times in a row on our long ride to Cincinnati, and sing every single line with overly dramatic flair, just to make my mom laugh. “Had you seen her today you might now how it feeeeels… To be struck to the bone in a moment of breathless deliiiiight…”

We all need a little something in our lives to remind us of the dreams we once held high and lofty. And maybe it won’t always be my dream to be a writer, but I sure know I’ll never forget the “breathless delight” that I get from telling a good story. Even an embarrassing one. Like the one I can’t believe I just told you now.

-Rachel


Is There Such a Thing as “Girl Books”??

boy reading

In all the time I have spent traveling to different schools, libraries, and other groups to speak to kids, there is one thing I have observed: Both girls and boys enjoy listening to me talk. While this sounds totally egocentric of me to admit, I swear I’m saying it for a reason! That reason being–I never thought seventh grade boys would enjoy listening to me talk about anything! Much less sit there for an hour and a half while I regale the long and semi-humorous story of how I got published, explain in great detail the plot lines of my two books, and give advice on every writing topic under the sun. And yet–they do! They sit there with their faces pulled in a little half-smirk as they try not to let any of their buddies see just how interesting they find it all. They ask questions, like “So how much money do you make?” and “Hey, are you gonna write another book soon?” and then actually listen as I answer. It’s quite overwhelming, to tell the truth, and immensely flattering!

But as I was thinking about the boys who listen to my lectures the other day, I started wondering just how many of them actually go home and read my book. While it’s true that I have signed many a book to a young middle school boy, I can usually tell by that slight squirm or shift of the eye that those boys are the slightest bit embarrassed. What if their friends catch them with it? What if people can tell that they’re reading a girl book?

And so I started asking myself–Just what is a girl book? And why are boys so scared of them?

If you regarded every single book out there with a photograph of a girl on the cover as a sissified “girl book”, then yeah, no wonder we don’t have too many middle and high-school aged boys reading for fun these days. Because they go to book stores and get it pounded in their heads by all their peers and all the marketing professionals out there that these books are for teenage girls. They’re treated with the same scorn and rejection as the Twilight series, and boys either grab a thick dark book with a dragon claw on the spine, or they make a hasty beeline for the door.

And haven’t you noticed that the exact same is NOT applicable of female readers? You’ll rarely come across a book-loving young girl who wouldn’t jump at the chance to read a book with a dragon, sword, or alien on the cover. Those books aren’t marked “For Boys Only” or made strictly off-limits to anyone in a skirt. Instead, we encourage young women to stand up against the seemingly sexist book market and read those adventurous novels! Girls can basically read any book, any time, anywhere, and not get judged for it.

So why the double standard? Why are guys so afraid of looking “girly”, and girls so fearless about being adventurous?

It’s a question that took me a long, long time to think through, and even now I struggle with it sometimes. It’s always a challenge for me to sell my books to the male market, but it’s something I work long and hard at. I usually stand up in front of a room full of middle-schoolers and put my  hands on my hips and ask in deep voice, “Now, I know what you guys are thinking. You’re thinking, ‘Is this a chick book?'” And that will usually draw some chuckles and nudges from all the preteen males in the room. Then I’ll tell them a funny story about one guy friend of mine who told me that he read my book on an airplane and started to cry. But because he didn’t want anyone to know that he was crying, he started freaking out and trying to cover it. So he ended up making some kind of strangled sound in his throat and sat there staring at my book with a look of contorted horror on his face. The guys usually love that story, and if I make them chuckle, they start to realize that hey, if this cool girl’s friend really liked the book, maybe I would too.

It’s really just one small step, but I think it’s a big leap when it comes to opening up the world of middle-grade literature to both girls and guys. Boys need to realize that reading a book with a girl on the cover isn’t going to make them weak, it’s going to make them smarter. Maybe they’ll learn something about life, or friendship, or even just the way the female mind thinks. And you know what? If they don’t like a book, they don’t have to read it again. Hopefully they’ll just remember that.

Stereotypical “Girly” Books That Should Really Be Read By Middle School Guys:

  • “Chasing Jupiter” by Rachel Coker (duh!)
  • “The Goose Girl” by Shannon Hale
  • “The Two Princesses of Bamarre” by Gail Carson Levine
  • “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle
  • “Matilda” by Roald Dahl
  • “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare

-Rachel

P.S. And here is a fantastic blog entry on boys reading “girl books” by Shannon Hale, who really got me thinking on the subject!


Just to Make You Smile… :)

Hey, I think I’m going to post a new “Sunday Stories” tomorrow… How do you all feel about starting that up again? No fairytale this time, but still something interesting and semi-romantic. 😉

Hannah and I watched this movie last night with some of our parents’ old friends and nearly DIED LAUGHING. I couldn’t resist sharing. Hopefully “Franck” will put a smile on your faces this morning….

Happy Saturday!

-Rachel


So…. You Like Clothes???

Why yes. How very observant of you. I do like clothes. I’m not sure how you all figured this out, but maybe it struck you one day when you realized that I’m never photographed in the same outfit twice, and that my wardrobe resembles a rainbow. Not quite sure…

But anyway, I thought it would be fun to blog about clothes just once! Because, hey, I am a girl and like ninety percent of my followers are girls. (Sorry to the couple of guys who are going to have to breeze past this post!)

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Dress – Anthropologie, Sweater – J. Crew, Shoes – Aldo

The best way I can think of to tackle this topic is to approach it the way I do everything else in life. By making a list! So here’s the lowdown on what I like, where I shop, and what my secrets are. Maybe you love clothes and maybe they’re just something to put on your back, but I view them as a great way to express your personality and tell people a little about yourself without having to do too much talking! 😉

  • Firstly, I love *vintage* clothes.

A lot of people are scared of vintage because, hello, it’s basically old used clothes. I do have several friends who refuse to buy vintage or used clothes because they don’t want to own anything that once belonged to someone else, and that’s totally okay! I do realize that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. BUT, if your cup of tea happens to be beautiful, unique, high-quality clothing, then vintage might be for you! Plus, there’s just something so individual about vintage clothing. I hate the idea that I could show up at a party and have three different girls there wearing nearly the same identical dress as me. It might be snobby, but I think it’s more a uniqueness thing. I’m not exactly like anyone else, so why should I dress with them? Thank you, but I will take my 70’s rainbow striped maxi dress and 50’s lace tulle dress over that American Eagle hoodie anyday.

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Dress – vintage

  • I’m also afraid of department stores.

You will never find me in a Kohls. Or a J.C. Penney’s, or a Macy’s. On a random day, I might be found in Walmart buying groceries or cds, but in general I have a strong dislike and distrust of department stores. Like, they literally freak me out. I’m not sure what it is, but I get nervous at the idea of going in them! Maybe it’s all the racks and shelves of multiple copies of the same things… It’s a bit weird. Plus, don’t even get me started on Targets. I have this theory that all of Target’s and Walmart’s items are made in the same factory, then some woman goes around and wraps the Target stuff in fancy boxes and hires a fancy photographer to make it look good. So basically, Target is like a snobby Walmart. There, I said it! 😉

You all can judge me now…

  • I like to support independent designers.

There are so many amazing, creative, and super talented designers out there who no one ever takes notice of because they’re so busy snatching $7 cardigans off afore-mentioned Target clearance racks. There’s just something so impersonal about the general shopping experience of modern websites and stores. Everything is mass-produced these days. Compare that to the rare talented individuals who still have a passion for sewing their own clothes and selling these amazing finds to women and teens who are actually interested in high-quality homemade goods! And by homemade, I’m not talking about cheap hand-sewed mocks. I’m talking about crazy cool tulle skirts, printed dresses, and embroidered blouses! I love supporting independent designers, and even though I’m not a liberal by any stretch of the mind, I do buy into the “Sweatshop Free” movement.

Let’s stop supporting companies who may condone factories operating under long, dangerous hours with minimum pay and poor working conditions and give our money instead to the designers and small businesses who are creating items we can love and wear guilt-free! 🙂 Designers like my wonderfully talented sister Hannah, and her shop Hannah Everly Designs. (Giveway soon, by the way!) I also love and support several other independent designers! Their clothes may cost a bit more, but remember that you aren’t support a corporation, you’re supporting an individual. And every penny of your money is going toward encouraging and helping that person to continue their art. Which I think is a pretty cool thing!

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Dress – Moulinette Soeurs (ebay find)

  • I usually wear dresses.

Okay, in the summer I wear a dress EVERY DAY, I kid you not. Well, maybe I’ll wear a pair of shorts like once a week but other than that it’s a dress. I don’t even wear skirts that much. It’s pretty much all dresses. I mean, they’re so easy to wear! You don’t even have to worry about matching a shirt and a bottom, or whether or not your top is going to ride up. You can just throw on a cotton dress and a pair of sandals and go. Gah. It’s so easy that now I’m just dying for it to be summertime… And if you’re worried that the breeze might cause your dresses to be a problem, just wear those cheap Soffe shorts underneath them. That’s what I do!

  • I wear heels.

Even though I’m 5’8, I still wear heels every Sunday and sometimes other days of the week, too. Because life is just too short to worry about being taller than everyone else! If I spent all my time worrying about what other people thought about my clothes or my shoes or my height, I would miss out on a lot of fun in life. I just wear things that I like, even if it’s something weird like an orange velvet blazer or red polka dot heels. If it makes me smile and feel good about myself, then it’s worth it!

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Shoes – ASOS

  • I bargain shop.

It’s probably a result of the two million hours of Dave Ramsey lessons I was forced to listen to growing up, but I refuse to pay full price for anything. Like, I’m literally looking at my closet right now and I don’t think I paid full price for a thing in it. Okay, maybe the orange suede Mary-Jane heels. But they were the only ones left in my size! Other than that… Haha, but seriously, don’t expect that everything is non-negotiable! Even if you have to go to a department store *shudder* look for coupons or other promotions. And if you, like me, can successfully avoid the siren (?) call of department stores, many jewels are to be found in the world of online shopping. I have gotten soooo many designer, vintage, and even regular J. Crew and Anthropologie finds through Ebay. I’m scary good at navigating Ebay, it’s not even funny. (I even wrote an article on it for a friend’s blog here) Etsy.com is also an amazing goldmine, and whenever I find something I like on there, I just message the seller and make an offer on it. Never pay what they’re asking you, unless they won’t compromise and you can’t imagine life without it. (In which case, you’re probably too attached to clothes anyway and need to stop spending so much money!)

Dress - Dorothy Perkins, Bag - Kate Spade

Dress – Dorothy Perkins, Bag – Kate Spade

  • I read blogs.

Ugh. This is embarrassing. Yes, I am “that person” who reads style blogs. Let’s be brief about this, okay? My favorite is obviously one of my closest friends Elaini. She’s amazing. Her blog is here. I also love DesignLoveFest, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, and WishWishWish. Among others…

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Yeah, so that’s about all I have to say on this topic. I think. For now. 😉 But something tells me I’m just going to end up getting a bunch of comments asking, “Rachel, if you’re going to be so snobbish about Target, then where on earth do you actually shop? Are there other stores out there???”

Haha, yes. So here’s a list of my absolute favorite places to shop, both in-person and online.

  • Ebay.com
  • Etsy.com
  • J. Crew (outlet or clearance only)
  • Anthropologie (um, I will shop their clearance sometimes, but I usually just buy amazing Anthropologie dresses on Ebay, hehe)
  • Modcloth.com (an amazing resource for adorable vintage-inspired dresses all made from sweatshop-free designers!)
  • ASOS.com
  • Goodwill (don’t judge! It takes some hunting, but I have found some beautiful designer dresses at Goodwill! I just always take them to a tailor afterwards to make sure they fit properly)
  • Eshakti.com (my sister will kill me for posting this–a gold mine for dresses and where fifty percent of my dresses come from)
  • And of course, my sister’s etsy shop, Hannah Everly Designs!

Are there any questions? Where do you buy most of your clothes? And is fashion even a priority to you???

-Rachel


Looking for Book Suggestions???

Book suggestions

So, I feel like in my senior year of high school, I’ve hit a bit of a slump. I feel like I’ve run out of good books to read! Which I know is totally not true, but pains me nonetheless. I’ve worked my way through just about every “Literary Classics” list I can find, and I think I’ve read just about every great classic written by a dead author that I’ve heard of. So now I’m opening up the floor to suggestions from everyone. What books should I read this year?

Yikes, that’s kind of a broad questions, and I’m probably going to end up drawing a huge, unbearably extensive list of novels that I would in no way ever be interested in reading from some of my blog followers. But I guess that’s okay. I just need suggested titles that I can pick through and select a few promising books to read.

I suppose I should also premise this by admitting that I am NOT a fan of sci-fi fiction. Just thought I ought to throw that out there. “Lord of the Rings” is probably the most sci-fi-ish I’ve ever gotten, and I didn’t even like most of C. S. Lewis’ books because of that very fact. Um, I also don’t like trashy romance novels? You’ve probably realized that by now. 😉 I just thought I’d remind you.

At the end of the day, I love historical fiction, but I’m willing to try out some contemporary fiction if it’s written well and has high standards. I’m also willing to try out a few older classics that I may not have heard of before if you all suggest them. I’d also be willing to read children’s books, even though I’m seventeen, if they came highly recommended.

Basically, throw out some of your favorite book titles at me so that I can be entertained, okay? I’m totally using you guys for my own gain, and I’m not even all that guilty about it, to be quite frank…

-Rachel


In Which I Randomly List Interesting Things About Myself…

I feel like my blog has gotten boring lately. Boo! But some days I can’t think of anything interesting to write about. There just doesn’t seem to be too many interesting things going on to delight you all with. So, when brainstorming what to write about today, I had an aha! moment. Duh. I could write about myself! Then I groaned because that sounded so narcissistic and you guys hear about me all the time, but there has to be at least a few details you’ve never learned about me and my life! And since barely any of you actually know me in person, the least I can do is clue you in on a few of my more quirkier characteristics.

Ahem. Let’s make a list, shall we?

  • I’m an obsessive list maker. Obvs. You already knew this though, so moving on!
  • My best friend’s name is Tessa. She’s short and Asian and I’m rather tall and blindingly white, so externally we have just about nothing in common. But we enjoy being weird together. We take funny pictures. And give each other goofy Christmas presents. Like matching hats.

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  • I own my own photography business. Therefore I take lots of pictures. You can like my photography page here, thank you very much.
  • When I was younger, my dad honestly had me fooled into believing he was batman. Like, honestly truly believing. And I thought that one day I would become Batwoman and combat evil at his side. Then I grew up and got a brain and all my childhood dreams and hopes were shattered. But I’m not bitter or anything, no…
  • I passionately hate oranges. I do not like to eat anything orange flavored or with oranges in it. Yuck. While we’re on the topic, I hate fruit salad. Mingling fruits creep me out.
  • Bright colors just do it for me every time. Like I seriously believe that every single hot pink, yellow, turquoise blue, or blaze orange item of clothing in every store has a secret voice that only I can hear whispering, “Buy me, Rachel. Please, please buy me.” Therefore I have too many clothes. And my closet looks like this:

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  • Ray Charles is my favorite singer at the moment. Too bad he’s dead, or I would love to hear him in concert.
  • I love to dance the cha-cha.
  • Modern art is one of my favorite things to study and learn about. Jackson Pollock is my favorite artist. And I love to drag my poor sister to art museums and take random pictures by massive works of art. People stare, but we really do not care at all.

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  • The only pets I’ve ever owned were fish. They all died. I think I’m an unintentional animal killer, but I’m really not sure…
  • I make jokes that people don’t get a lot of the time. I have a reputation for people thinking I’m mean when I’m really trying to be funny. I have apologized for my humor numerous times and I think I will be doing that for the rest of my life.
  • My sister and I are spies. But don’t tell anyone.

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  • At sleepovers, I am usually the first to fall asleep and the first to wake up.
  • I like chocolate cake. It sometimes gives me headaches, but it’s worth it every time. 🙂 Also, this is how big we cut cake slices in our house:

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  • I can mimic just about any accent, from a North Carolina drawl to a British socialite to a Scottish warrior (Braveheart anyone?)
  • I can’t think of any non-awkward way of ending a list

-Rachel


Wishful Movie Thinking… Chasing Jupiter Edition!

Okay, so I got a really great response to my post last August outlining my dream cast and setting for a movie version of Interrupted. Therefore, it only seemed logical to do one for Chasing Jupiter, too!

Hopefully most of you have gotten a chance to read Chasing Jupiter by now, so I definitely want you to add your own imput and let me know what you think. This book felt a lot harder to cast, for some reason. I think because I had very vivid pictures in my head of how all these characters should look and talk, and it was difficult to find actors who fit my picky criteria. But after much searching and thinking, I’m pretty sure I’ve come up with a great cast.

But first off, the settings!

SETTINGS:

Scarlett’s Farmhouse: The Blaines aren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination, and their house definitely reflects that. They live in this small country farmhouse in Georgia, with a long driveway and lots of trees. In my head, I imagine peeling paint, a worn-in front porch swing, and several bedroom windows looking out over the front lawn. I think this is pretty dead-on perfect:

I love how rustic and homey it is. Definitely a house that Scarlett could have grown up in with her crazy family.

Frank’s Peach Orchard: This one is kind of obvious, but a lot of the pivotal scenes in the book take place here. It’s a very luscious, green, sweet-smelling place. Scarlett and Cliff spend a lot of time here in the summer.

I also thought about adding Dotty’s house to the list of settings, but I couldn’t find any photos that match the visual I have in my head. So you’ll just have to imagine that one on your own. If they ever make a movie of Chasing Jupiter, I’ll just have to dictate a big, lengthy description to the set designer or something… 😉

So now we move on to…

CHARACTERS:

The first and most obvious character is:

Scarlett Blaine, played by… Madeline Carroll

Have you ever seen Flipped? It’s like, this totally adorable movie that I absolutely loved and continually draw inspiration from. That was the first time I noticed Madeline and I have to say, I think she would play the role of Scarlett perfectly. In the book, Scarlett has reddish hair and freckles, but I don’t even care that Madeline doesn’t fit that description. Because her personality is so spot-on, it makes up for any physical differences. Scarlett’s the girl who is so perfect in her own way, but she always fails to notice it. I feel like Madeline would do a great job portraying that, and I’d love to see how she could progress Scarlett from the un-confident kid she is in the beginning of the book, to someone who understands her place in the world. Madeline could always dye her hair later if you guys are going to be that darn picky. 😉

Frank Leggett, played by… Lucas Till

Let’s just forget he was ever in The Hannah Montana Movie. I’m willing to forgive that. He’s such a perfect Frank. The book describes Frank as having “a wonderfully handsome face when he smiled, like the difference between a small flame and a blazing fire. His eyes were a gold-green, crinkling up at the corners.” Um, yep. Just stand there and look cool, Lucas. You know you have this Southern-farmer-meets-sweet-veterinarian-boy thing in the bag.

Cliff Blaine, played by… Seth Robert Dusky

Ugh. Cliff was such a hard person to cast in my imaginary dream movie. He’s a very critical part of the book, and he really carries a lot of the scenes. I needed an actor who could be sweet and innocent, but also incredibly intelligent and wise-beyond-his-years. I’m still not one hundred percent sure I’ve got it right. But I think I do. Seth seems like a pretty close-to-perfect Cliff. That expression in his eyes, just behind his semi-shaggy hair. There’s a certain amount of Cliff-ness in it. Do you think so?

Grandpop Barley, played by…. Ian McKellen

Because if you can have anyone play the senile grandfather in your book-turned-imaginary-movie, why not go for Gandalf? 😉 Mr. McKellen has the perfect face for Grandpop Barley, and I think he would just be adorable in a peanut-buttery red tie and glasses. Perfect.

Juli Blaine, played by… Carlie Casey

Juli’s the sister you love to hate. She’s pretty, and she knows it. She’s rebellious, but she doesn’t care that you disapprove of it. She does whatever she wants and flirts with whomever she chooses and dyes her hair a sweet shade of blue. Scarlett spends her whole life wanting to be like her without realizing that Juli’s not as perfect as she seems. I think Carlie would rock the turquoise hair, and she has that devil-may-care kind of look about her that would make playing Juli a cinch.

Dotty Greene, played by… Reese Witherspoon (of course!)

Yay!!! My super-celebrity pick for Chasing Jupiter would obviously be Reese for the role of Dotty, the preacher’s wife. I realize, of course, that Reese is uber-famous and would probably never star in my yet-to-actually-be-made movie, but I still think she’s perfect for the role. Check out the look on her face. Does that not have “Dotty” written all over it? And the bumped-up blonde hair? Reese, all you have to do is rescue a chicken and you’ll definitely get the part.

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So, that’s my celebrity and setting pickings for Chasing Jupiter. Gosh, it’s so much fun to imagine making a movie, I don’t think I could handle the gleeful joy of actually having one produced. It’s probably a good thing I live about a billion miles from Hollywood. 😉

-Rachel


Movie Bucket List

Being the notorious list-maker that I am, I made a bucket list of movies that I wanted to see last year way back at the beginning of 2012. It included great classics like “Psycho”, movie theater smashes like “Snow White and the Huntsman”, old-fashioned chick flicks such as “Pillow Talk”, and even random foreign films like “Pierrot le Fou.” And I am happy to say that I totally reached my goal and saw 24 movies that I’d always wanted to watch! Some I had to rent, others check out from the library, and some even buy or watch in theaters, but at the end of the year I felt so much more cultured! Not saying I enjoyed every film (in fact, there were a few I hated), but it felt so good to get that many more classic films and modern blockbusters under my belt.

So, in the same vein, I decided to make a list of movies I want to see in 2013. Some of you may have figured out by now that I am a huge film junkie, and absolutely adore movies for their creative directing, cinematography, and witty screenplays. So most of my favorite movies tend to be kind of off-beat and below-the-radar. Like, I’ve seen just about every Hitchock film ever made and I count random old French films as among some of my favorites. 😉

Anyway, I thought I might share with you a few of the movies I’m really hoping to see in 2013! Not sure if I’ll like any or all of these, since I haven’t even seen them yet, but here are some of the titles I plan on checking out. And if any of you have any great movie selections, I’d love to add to my list! I have seen a huge repertoire of films, especially old classics (I hate TV, so I watch old black and white movies instead), but I know there are still a few I haven’t heard of!

The Artist (2011)

The Artist

 

 

 

 

 

Life is Beautiful (1997)

Life is Beautiful

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bright Star (2009)

Bright Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thin Man (1934)

The Thin Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corpse Bride (2005)

Corpse Bride

 

 

 

 

 

Paris When It Sizzles (19647

Paris When it Sizzles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Castle in the Sky (1986)

Castle in the Sky

 

 

 

 

 

Have you seen any of these movies? What films or books are on your bucket list this year?

-Rachel


Books Versus Movies???

Les mis

So, I finally did it this week. I crumbled under the pressure and went to see Les Miserables, the supposed “movie of the year”. I don’t know what compelled me to go, because I absolutely hated the book when I studied it in literature next year. But my best friend was ranting and raving about how it was quite possibly the greatest movie of all time and how she owned the soundtrack in the London Symphonic, American Broadway, and film versions, so I figured I’d better see what all the hype was about.

Turns out, the movie was absolutely fantastic and absolutely blew the book out of the water. In my opinion, at least. Everything that had seemed creepy (like Marius stalking Cosette) or overly dramatic (like just about any death scene) in the book was nothing but heart-wrenchingly beautiful and touching on the big screen. Maybe it had something to do with the stunning musical arrangements and overly-talented actors? Or maybe (if we’re being truthful) it had something to do with the utter attractiveness of Eddie Redmayne (who, in the words of Hannah, we would watch eating cereal for two and a half hours). But, the more I thought about it, maybe there are some advantages to watching a story develop on a big screen versus between the covers of a book.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be a book junkie to the end. I refuse to ever break down and buy a Kindle or a Nook (although, hey, if you’re planning on buying one of my books on an electronic reader, you go right ahead–I’d never refuse that sale, haha) and I hoard classic hardback literature titles like a miser. For reals.

HOWEVER, I’m also a huge fan of cinematography and the art of the film. If you were to quiz me, you’d probably find out that I know an unhealthy amount about movies, especially classic old Hollywood films. I’m a visual person, believe it or not, and I identify with the beauty of a well-shot scene or the tears rolling down the cheeks of an amazing actor. I think we all do. There’s just something about seeing drama unfold before our eyes that has the ability to captivate and move us like nothing else. Don’t even pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. However snobbish you may be about your books, you have to admit that at some point in your past you’ve seen a movie that has impacted you like no book ever could.

But then again, it works both ways. Like my absolute favorite book ever, Gone with the Wind, has a terrible movie. Well, not terrible, but pretty awful compared to Margaret Mitchell’s literary masterpiece. Whoever made that film failed to incorporate the terrible beauty and deep sentimental threads that made up the book. The same goes for Ella Enchanted which, let’s face it, was every girl’s favorite book when she was about ten years old. I mean, that book rocked my world and made me almost cry. And the movie was totally lame.

So, at the end of the day, I can’t really take a side in the battle of books versus movies. Some movies are incomparably better than their books. Have any of you ever read Phantom of the Opera? Worst. book. ever. But the movie made me cry the first ten times I saw it. Sooooo….. I guess it’s a never-ending flip-flop. I’ll probably continue seeing all the books-turned-into-movies. And I’ll probably be way more lenient with the books I disliked, like The Hobbit. And then I’ll be crossing my fingers that my favorite books, like The Great Gatsby, will be reasonably clean and absolutely amazing.

Time will only tell!

So, what are your thoughts on books versus movies? Did Les Mis and The Hobbit fail to meet up with your standards of the book, or were they even better?

-Rachel