Saturday, January 29, 2011
So now I just want to STOP and catch my breath and maybe take a minute (or a day or a week) to reflect and remember to breathe, breathe, breathe. And oh yeah, take care of all those things that were completely abandoned, like say that thesis proposal deadline that blew past or the pile of dishes or grocery shopping that needs to be done. But back to the taking time to breathe :) I read a delectable book tonight: Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler. This is one of the most passionate and realistic romance stories I've read in awhile, woven among a really wrenching narrative of one family's growth and healing after years of silence and still-raw wounds.
My husband is currently sitting at his desk across the room from me whispering answers at an online tutorial about linear algebra. This is how he spends his free time, no lie. He's so frickin' ADORABLE, I guess that's why I've kept him around the past nine years :)
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton:
Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.
She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her. Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.
Ari heads into New 2, the dangerous secluded sector separated from the rest of the US in what was previously New Orleans, a place riddled with rumors of dangers and the supernatural. Determined to find out more about her mother’s mysterious past, Ari doesn’t flinch as she enters the shady gothic realm. New 2 is a bit like the island of broken toys where all the misfits are collected together, forming their own fiercely protective families. The sense of home that Ari finds among them is endearing and makes events at the end of the novel all the more gripping.
The story starts fast and the heart-racing pace just picks up further and further as the book continues. At the same time, amid the action, there are unusual moments of beauty. The narrative takes unexpected twists and turns, with a slowly revealed past and mythology that unfolds naturally, eventually taking on epic scope. This is seriously some of the best story-telling I’ve read in a long time. As for the sexy Sebastian, I have only one word: YUM.
*I got this ARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab. Releases Feb. 22!!!
So, yeah. The climate might be a tad bit different from where we live now: Texas. I was hoping we'd get to move somewhere north--you know, where strange white stuff falls from the sky occasionally. But Minnesota? Sheesh, pretty sure the snow overload is gonna take some getting used to. Then again, I've wanted out of Texas ever since we moved here from Chicago, so I'll take whatever gets us out of the baking, sweaty sunshine.
Friday, January 21, 2011
“On the contrary, the measuring of worth and success in terms of time, and the insistent demand for assurances of a promising future, make it impossible to live freely both in the present and in the ‘promising’ future when it arrives. For there is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one cannot live anywhere.”
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Another blogger mentioned the on-going popularity contests we engage in, even as adults. Which makes me think, spot on. Believe me, to anyone who's still lingering in the morass that is Jr. High and sometimes High School: IT DOES GET BETTER! Sometimes I read intense YA books or watch shows with teen characters, and I think, lordy, I'm so glad I'll never have to re-live my teen years!!
But at the same time, for better or worse, so much of who we are, how we respond to life situations, is formed during those angst-ridden, hormone-raging years when you feel equal parts invincible and terrified every moment.
Friends I'd had in the preceding years ditched me, and as much as it's a cliche about 'finding a seat at the lunch table', I was one of those 'seating optional' people. Some people had the established seats, but there were a couple at the end of the table that if I scurried quick enough, I could grab, but if I didn't, it was lone dining for me!
For years afterward, through a lot of my college and early adult years, I was wicked shy because of it, a total people pleaser, would be a doormat if it could ensure I'd have a spot at whatever adult version of 'The Table' is. I was meek and quiet, made a mask I knew was socially acceptable, didn't voice my real opinions. And yeah, if you can't tell by my loud pink hair and unapologetic love for tattoos? I finally got over it. Grew comfortable enough in my own skin to be okay if people didn't like me, to be loud enough to finally make my voice heard, and to have enough confidence in what I had to say.
But oh, it still lingers, that awkward Jr. High girl's voice in my head, wanting to be liked, to have an established place at life's table, to have incontrovertible evidence of my popularity out in the world! So let's all raise a glass to all those scrambling voices inside us, and maybe I don't want to entirely 'overcome' that shy girl I was--I had plenty of awesomeness inside too, I just didn't realize it till later :) --but maybe we'll learn to embrace our past selves and let it make us more compassionate in the future.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
First, some of my favorite things: playing with my munchkin and my favorite tree out my window:
And then there's all the stuff currently nesting in our living room, to get rid of in another garage sale, or Goodwill, or recycle:
I worked on my outline for my book:
and organized the tons of books I got from the university library in categories for my thesis:
And last but not least, several lovely things that have come in the mail, let's call them belated Christmas presents: kick butt new purse (it's not nearly so shiny in person) and Florence and the Machine album :)
Friday, January 14, 2011
And last, thoughts from the always-inspiring-and-sanity-reminding Natalie Goldberg:
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I barely got any fiction writing done, and only now, a week before classes start, am diving deeply into working on my thesis. Oh well, 'the best laid plans of mice and men'...
There's this tree outside my window that I've been spending a lot of time with. In Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg's friend says to her: "Natalie, you have relationships with everything, not just people. You have a relationship with the stairs, your porch, the car, the cornfields, and the clouds." (118). I love this, and it's not in some cheesy new-age way that we are one with everything in the world (well, in part it is exactly that, but not in the cheesy way!). So me developing a relationship with my tree is about... well, I don't know exactly what it's about, part of the beauty of all this is not having to fight to put things in words anymore.
I might not know what it's about, or what it means, but I love looking at this tree. I love the way, that no matter how heavy the branches, every one curves up at the end of their arm, reaching up toward the sun. I like it's naked winter form, the way the tiniest wind can shake all the hundreds of little twig branches, different ways all at the same time. I like the way that near mid-trunk, there are these two branches that look exactly like a ballet dancer or a gracious host or entertainer with arms outstretched to the tips, beckoning you forward.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Click here for John Green's YouTube post about this book. Nerdfighters forever!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I'm in mid-process of change too, trying not to figure out what I want, but how to want what I should want. I want love and compassion to grow in me organically, not trying any more to force myself to feel something, which only produces guilt and bad feelings. So I'm trying out meditation again, or as Natalie Goldberg describes, getting to know one's own wild mind.
I love the trees in winter, and winter as a whole in Texas. It feels clean, fresh. I know those are adjectives usually reserved for spring, but winter in Texas is a whole other animal. The grasses turn golden in the hills, like fields of wheat, and when the wind blows, they move like an ocean. It's quiet, serene. I want to let it soak into me, to live in my expanding chest. It's beauty, and it is very good.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
We're doing a lot of purging around here, taking trunk-fulls of old paper and cardboard to the recycling center, putting stuff aside for a big garage sale next Saturday, listing furniture on Craigslist--taking all the tangible steps to lighten the load of STUFF to prepare to sell the house. It feels cathartic getting rid of the old, and looking forward toward the new.