First 100 of AC Moyer’s ‘Size Zero’

By Rhiannon Levengood

Admittedly, I’m a very slow reader. I’ve never been sure if I’m just physically slow at reading or if it’s somewhat intentional. I pay attention to details. My mind paints a scene as the words provide each stroke. An extremely detailed novel gives itself a film and takes me awhile to digest.

Which is why I’m only 100 pages into
Size Zero by AC Moyer.

But the first 100 pages have created such a story already that I have to write about it.

When I greeted Moyer at BookCon 2017, she was as mysterious as the black novel she was selling. Her booth was decorated in mirrors, casting back a distorted image of passerby. I had no idea the symbolism it reflected from her book until I started reading it.

Size Zero is a crime novel that is centered around the world of fashion and modeling. The story follows Cecil LeClaire, an heir to his mother’s modeling empire, as he discovers the truth to his childhood girlfriend Annabelle Leigh’s disappearance many years prior to her death. The story itself has depth that I haven’t experienced from a novel in quite some time. It’s well thought out, so far leaving no loose ends fraying, but just unraveling enough to keep the pages turning.

I am only 100 pages into this captivating story, but every chapter is as riveting as the previous, pulling me in deeper with every page. The only story I can compare it to is Henning Mankell’s Wallander saga, which happens to be my favorite crime series. I feel as if I’m diving into another one of his novels, and I could not be happier.

Stay tuned for a full length review, but if you’re interested already, you can preorder AC Moyer’s novel here! Be sure to follow Moyer on social media for updates!

Size Zero Website
AC Moyer Website
Twitter
Instagram

BookCon 2017: Destroying the Phenomenon of Writer’s Block

By Rhiannon Levengood

This past weekend, Moments Magazine had the absolute pleasure of attending BookCon 2017 in New York City. BookCon is full to the brim with not only literature in its various forms, wonderful and inspiring panels, and the chance to meet the creators of life-changing stories, but even some fan-made merchandise as well. Guests and exhibitors include new authors just starting out and advertising their brand new baby, and authors who’ve established themselves as a household name. BookCon presents an opportunity to meet your favorite authors, your future favorite authors, and the people who feel the same way about the same books.

What I got out of BookCon 2017 was community (and emotional nostalgia—thanks Bill Nye!). I saw a community of writers and readers and dreamers and people clutching onto hope found between pages of a book they were reading, or a book they were just starting to construct. I found inspiration from others, advice for curing creative blocks, and books. Lots of books.

However, my shiny BookCon moment came Saturday evening as the convention came to a whirlwinding close. It came to me in the form of a panel entitled Transforming a Bestseller onto the Silver Screen: The Book to Film Experience. Guest speakers included R.J. Palacio (Wonder), Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything), Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall), and the focus of this recount, Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower).

The panel in itself felt more like a writer’s workshop than a discussion of taking a novel and transforming it into a screenplay, and then finally portraying it on the big screen. Many fan questions focused on the process of writing a novel and the process of writing a screenplay, the difference between the two, and which was the most challenging. I’ve never been to college, but I imagined that this was what a lecture felt like.

Wisdom flowed from the mouths of the guest speakers like waterfalls: naturally, rushingly, and mind-alteringly so. I watched, mouth agape, as brilliant minds spoke directly to me in a sea of an audience eager to learn and soak up every word before they left their tongues.

Stephen Chbosky himself had some advice for writers in the form of four steps:

As the panel ended, I felt euphoric and inspired. A smile stretched across my lips that were accustomed to frowning at blank documents and unfinished thoughts. Words clouded my mind and for the first time in awhile, I wanted to get them down on paper. But first, I had to thank the man that motivated me most with his insight. And luckily for me, Stephen Chbosky stayed seated at the table, Sharpie in hand, ready to make dreams come true.

When my turn came, I shamefully explained that I didn’t have my copy of Perks with me for him to sign, but that I wanted to thank him for his wise words. I told him my struggle with writer’s block and praised him for helping me find ways to overcome it.

Stephen prefaced with, “Writer’s block doesn’t exist. Writer’s block is simply editing too quickly.”

If I had to sum up my BookCon experience in one sentence, it’d be: I came with nothing, and I left with everything.

An Open Letter To My High School Teacher

By Rhiannon Levengood

Dear Mr. Mellor,

It’s Rhiannon Levengood, but I don’t expect you to remember the quiet girl who got straight A’s in your class and never really gave you a problem. It’s been five years, after all. Even I forget most of the people from my graduating class.

I hope you’re doing well. Or, at least better than the Flyers have been doing. To be honest, I don’t follow them much anymore. A lot can change in just five years. For example, I think I wanted to be a cinematographer in 12th grade… Or had I finally accepted that I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life? Doesn’t matter. I’m a medical assistant now. I work in oncology and I absolutely love it. I want to go back to school for nursing, and my long term goal is to become a nurse practitioner. Long term. Eventually.

Oh, and I write for this online publication now, too.

I’m not writing you to chit-chat, though. This has a purpose. A long-winded, gotta-get-it-off-my-chest purpose. You see, I’m more transparent now, less quiet and more open. A lot can change in five years.

I recently watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. It’s fantastic, and while I’m sure you have heard of it, I’ll give you a rundown.

13 Reasons Why is a series comprised of 13 episodes that are loosely based off of the novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. The story is centered around a high school girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide and leaves behind 7 cassette tapes. Each tape has two stories, two people, two reasons why she killed herself. The tapes are passed along to each person who appears on the tapes; and in the TV series, we are shown those stories through the eyes of Hannah as her friend Clay listens through them.

It’s a really good series, I am obsessed with it. I watched all 13 episodes within a 24-hour period, that is how amazing it is. But, I’m not writing to you to sell you this tv show. I’m writing to you because it made me think of you.

I relate to Hannah Baker. Throughout the series, she is looking for a sign, a reason to keep going, to keep living. It’s like she has a T-chart with her 13 reasons to kill herself on the left and a blank list on the right, and if she can just put one reason on the right, she’ll fight longer. I get that, I feel it.

But that reason never comes. In the very last episode, her very last tape that she made the day she killed herself, she tries one more time to find that sign. She tries to find it at school, from someone who is supposed to recognize when a student is struggling or depressed, or calling out for help. She makes it clear, but he sees right through her. This made me think of you.

You probably can’t put a face to my name, and I don’t blame you. You have so many students every year, and it’s been five years. So, I doubt you remember the day you asked me if I was okay. Despite me being an overall quiet, do-no-wrong student with an occasional witty joke, you noticed a shift in my demeanor. And you asked me if I was okay.

I nodded, put on a happy smile, and said that I was just tired. I lied to you because I wasn’t okay. Just like Hannah Baker, I was looking for a sign and had been for months.

But I’m here. I’m still here. I’m happier now than I was in high school, and more grateful, too.

I’m writing to you, Mr. Mellor, because I want to thank you for noticing and for caring. I want to encourage you to always ask your students if they’re okay, if they need help. If they’re like me and deny that anything is wrong, tell them your door is always open because it’s so important for kids to not feel alone.

I might have busted your ass a few times in class, but I will never forget how kind and thoughtful you are. Teaching is something you are so good at. I am so lucky to have been in your class and I’m so lucky to know you. You’ve made an impact on me that I will never forget.

Sincerely, and with so much gratitude,

Rhiannon Levengood

P.S

As I was writing this, I remembered that we have a picture together. I searched all over Facebook because I was sure there was a picture of you with a group of students (and I’m still convinced that exists), but upon skimming the yearbook, I found this. I think it’s 100 times more fitting.

NgbZIXPS

If you’re feeling depressed, hopeless, or having suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. It always gets better, I promise.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Suicide Prevention Online Chat: http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx