A Book for Your Twenties | No Matter the Wreckage

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 3.35.16 PMIn your twenties your smallest decision is “what size mug do I like for my coffee?” You don’t even get into travel mugs that day because it’s so overwhelming with all the big decisions you’re supposed to be making.

I like a very round mug.  When I lift it to drink, it covers my eyes, but not my eyebrows.  A perfect ‘coming of age’ mug.

But society tells us that we should have already ‘come of age,’ right? We should be finished with college somewhere around twenty-two.  We should be looking at marriage prospects somewhere around twenty-seven, or at the cusp of graduation because one celebration sometimes just isn’t enough.  We should already be done dating boys our friends call “losers,” boys that science has proven just don’t mature as fast, or just fast enough for each of us, men that “hold us down,” according to popular television series and internet slang.  This should all be figured out.  All the math of relationships, all the financial growth, all the decisions about where we might want to settle with all the trigonometry we’ve created with this significant other who makes us question if “soul mates” are real or a Disney broken promise.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 3.36.45 PMI think poet, Sarah Kay, reaches for this idea of an unfinished product that society expects to be whole.  In No Matter the Wreckage there are poems about girlhood, relationships, family ties and expectations, letting go, not giving in, and there are even trivial poems that I found were a little meaningless, but I think they still fit into the idea of this collection.

This book spoke to me, which made it the perfect book to end the year on.  It also had me waltzing down memory lane with my own twenties journey.  I’ll be turning twenty-eight relatively soon and this book was a good reflection on where I’m coming from, and where I want to go this year.  Only two years from thirty, AH! I’m adulting, constantly, which is scary, but also kind of refreshing because I know where I’ve been successful.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 3.35.33 PMSarah Kay is a turn key with words.  She can adjust a words meaning in three lines and it seems to fit perfectly in its new home.  ”

“Only once, he let it get so close I screamed.  I had never made / that kind of sound before.  He turned, his face a prayer wheel / atop his neck, a smile so foreign I could not speak its language / like water running in reverse, he spilled himself to safety.”

There’s so many moments that are a surprise in this simple quote.  A face as a prayer wheel, a man “spilling to safety.”  A world where each of us are puddles makes a lot of sense to me with water the way it moves and freezes.  I remember seeing Da Vinci working these ideas for science in his Codex at our state art museum.  He was trying to perfect hypothesis on the way water movies, the Biblical flood stories, the reasons fossils were at the tops of mountains, how to build bridges and rigs to stop water flow and what shapes work best to move water.  These ideas somehow go together in my head.  Humans can be liquid worries, people can be cold, sometimes even frigid.  Water is the way we describe ourselves at our worst (or best, like warm), and Sarah Kay uses this idea in a completely new way.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 3.45.54 PMWhen she talks about her relationship with her brother, I can’t help but think of my own.  This man that I compete with, and adore, but truly know very little of.

“You told me once that I was just the first draft / and I’m inclined to believe you, but you / came with a lot more pieces to assemble and / Mom and Dad never got the manual.”

This quote is from her poem “Brother.” Her titles weren’t the most interesting or effective.  (We wouldn’t study them in a high school classroom).  But I think this quote references the way a lot of people feel about their siblings.  There is a forced sort of love, then a biological love, and then the way we always look at each other’s differences until someone asks about our similarities. Plus, this idea that boys are more like Legos and girls are more “easy to raise.”  My parents just had this conversation with another couple.  I think I’m more of an emotional hurricane than my brother, but I think he was “harder to raise,” as the stories of grunge t-shirts, and car crashes tend to go. Brothers are something to be put together, sisters are something that have to be kept whole(some).

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 3.42.58 PMPoetry wise, I think this collection could be just as strong if it was written as prose.  Her line breaks aren’t spectacular or broken for any particular reason.  She is popular as a spoken word poet so I’m assuming that most of these poems were meant to be spoken, but even then, I don’t think they look like poetry on the page.  The sound devices can be moving, but the stereotypical rhyme expectations are nonexistent.  The ideas and the words are stronger than the lines themselves.

In “Jellyfish” I think she pinpoints twenties on the map.

“And somewhere in between then and now / irony slipped its way into my vocabulary. / Laughter became the antidote for guilt. Sacrifice grew to be the bandaid for shame.”

Also, in “The Moves,” I think she captures the amount of change we make in our relationships in our twenties.

“Leaving is an easy art to learn.  But the / advanced steps – the pirouettes and arabesques / are difficult to master.  / This is how I disappear in pieces / This is how I leave while not moving from my seat / tho sis how I dance away.  / This is how I’m gone before you wake.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 3.49.44 PMI keep coming back to this idea in my head, but Claire once said in a comment on this blog something along the lines of “Life is a series of attaching and letting go.” I think this is the basic premise of No Matter the Wreckage. I don’t think this is the same thing as loving and losing.  I think in your twenties you make (sometimes rash) decisions of who gets to stay and who has to go.  A conversation with Kiran over breakfast the other day went something like, “I literally have no friends with drama anymore.”  I don’t think this is because we’ve matured, even though that’s true, I think it’s that I just rid myself of the people who still held onto things that hurt them over and over, or who made decisions that were blatantly terrible for their humanity, or who just cared enough to complain over and over about the same thing.  I think we’ve all found the baskets to put our eggs and I’m thankful for the people who either stayed, or who I worked to keep, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t let go of quite a few along the way.

And this is okay.

It’s 2016 and this is okay.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 3.37.33 PMAnd if you need a book to further the “okayness” inside yourself, to calm the butterflies or the train on a hillside, pick up No Matter the Wreckage.  There are poems that won’t matter and poems that will matter so much that you have to scribble them down in the ugliest handwriting to keep from crying.  Sarah Kay isn’t the most immaculate poet, she doesn’t need a spot in the canon, but if you find her at just the right time, she’ll put her finger on that burning red button inside you and give you the strength to press down.

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Buy the book here.
Sarah Kay’s Poems on Tumblr here.
Sarah Kay Tweets.
Sarah Kay Official Website.


Dot to Dot [An Illustrated Poem by Sarah Kay]

Sarah Kay, Author

Sarah Kay, Author

Sarah Kay is her own genre. She has managed and created her own label and makes it practically impossible for anyone to now synonymously associate slam poetry and protest poetry.  In most Youtube slam sensations, a person creates a swell and soft tide of screaming, then whispering, both to keep the audience on their toes and to magnify the experience of emotions.

Sarah Kay talks with her hands. Sarah Kay Mona Lisa smiles every other line.  Sarah Kay is the girl next door of spoken word and has held stages grander than a coffee shop stool and louder than a bar brawl, but Sarah Kay rarely has to yell. This is probably why she was invited to TED to perform “B (If I should have a daughter)” her poem for her unborn daughter.

"B (If I should have a daughter) by Sarah Kay

“B (If I should have a daughter) by Sarah Kay

If you’re a girl, you might have imagined this, just maybe… about … seven thousand times.

At some point when you were seven and holding a plastic American Girl Doll in your arms, her hair perfectly braided and sewn in, you thought, “this here, this is my daughter, I shall push her in a stroller and take tea with her across the table.” As you aged, the fantasy became more real. In high school, after you saw a cute boy’s smile, you imagined the hybrid of your and his offspring in a scrapbook (think: Kate Hudson a la How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days). Maybe in college, you met someone who you suspected to be “the one” but you didn’t know if you believed in those sorts of things and you started imagining him not as a boyfriend, but as a father.  What kind would he be? Was he good with your niece? Can he handle a dog licking his face? Does he stank-face you when you say how cute a little girl’s outfit is? How does he show his love for his mother?

Flyleaf of "B (If I should have a daughter)

Flyleaf of “B (If I should have a daughter)

These are all imagined things, but sometimes these fantasies become so real in women’s heads that they have to write them down.  I have friends that have written letters to these children.  I have made her names known to my current boyfriend and my mother.  This might be a girl’s M.O.

Sarah Kay wrote “B” as a poem to be spoken. And then Sophia Janowitz made it a story on the page.

The book is an atlas of girlhood.  It’s the landscape of a woman’s imagination of what she can produce from her body and make into something new (not that children are craft projects).  It’s called “B” for the very first line, “If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s going to call me Point B. Because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me.”

Illustrated by Sophia Janowitz

Illustrated by Sophia Janowitz

I feel this exact way about my own mother.  She is my Point B. At one time in my life I lived the farthest I could possibly live away from her, almost four flights, countless layovers, six high blood pressure pills, and thirty-two hours at the minimum, away from her and she was still my Point B. I always knew the way back to her, she was a connect the dots of my life and this poem by Sarah Kay is that finished picture written down.

It’s all beautiful, but not always pretty.  Sarah Kay is raw with her audience.  She knows the daughter will be hit “hard, / in the face,” but tells the daughter that this is the only way she will know how much her lungs love the taste of air.  She talks about unfixable hurt, wider than poetry can solve.  The encouragement is in lines like, “Because no matter how wide you stretch your / fingers, your hands will always be too small to / catch all the pain you want to heal.”

She hits boys; the advantage of the bad boy and the one who needs to be saved, both different in their own way. The power of chocolate. The luxury of rain. The pinhole of a microscope for the expanse of the human mind. Shirelle’s lyrics that my Mom and I used to sing locked in the car in a car wash because I was deathly afraid and only Motown successfully let fear collapse.  (This was just a strange connection between Sarah Kay’s upbringing and my own).  Disappointment in people, in weather, in bruises, in pain. The authority of gratitude.

Little Bird Connect the Dots

Little Bird Connect the Dots

My favorite line:

“You will put the star in starting over and over.”  Last week, in a comment on my homesickness, Claire said, “Life is a series of attaching and letting go,” the very point of the beauty in these lines.

This poem turned printed story has a lot of word play (land minds / mind lands) and a lot of lessons without being forceful.

“Baby, / I’ll tell her, / remember your mama is a worker, and your papa / is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands / and big eyes who never stops asking for more.”

The illustrations are simple and brilliant like a kids crayon drawing when it’s complete, rain boots toward puddles, kites, hot tea, frumpish little girl bows.

I think this small diddy is the perfect fit in your pocket, to remind you your alive, to keep your thoughts in the future for just a few minutes, when the present is a task that’s not yet completed.

To hear the poem by Sarah Kay before purchasing the perfect partner in bench warming, click here.


August TBR

I thought maybe if I shared my complete August TBR, I’d actually get around to reading each one. I am going to push myself to reach my Goodreads goal (even though I believe less and less in the Goodreads reading challenge each year – that is for a whole other blog though). Really, can a sister just read literary magazines for the rest of the year and call it a day? It’s a shame that I can’t count short stories or spending four hours on the Poetry Foundation website. Poetry meandering on the interwebs should really count as a book. Oh well. Goodreads is a master manipulator so I will bow down and finish my challenge.

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A book to turn on your weird feels.

SomeEcards are not so funny, but so true.

I, too, believe the theory that all people are ruined by their first love, even if they do end up marrying and toting the title of “high school sweetheart” or “kissed on the playground at six.”  While I watched, Cody from Sister Wives talk to his daughter about how kissing leads to attachments that should be kept separate for a future husband, I was scoffing, no less. And then I thought about it and kissing is terrible for the human psyche, at least if you’re playing those “adult” games.

I used to be really good at these when I was young and wild.  I think it came from being a good liar as a child, I could work a chess board of dating emotions with the best of them.  I was a black widow of dating, per Iggy.  It could also be the obscene amount of Brandy and Monica I listened to, but really, we can’t blame them, they were playing a game of their own.

SomeEcards are always SO on point.

I try not to play those games anymore because I got burned from my own sick game which taught me a valuable lesson about honesty.  And now, I’m probably too honest, to the point of the negative connotation of it, “blunt.”

It’s these games that cause us, as American dating millennials, so much trouble.  We picture our future marriages to a guy who just smiled at us, we window shop in online dating and swipe left every time he has an out of place freckle, and we madly text almost-love messages and then get bored four weeks later.  It’s actually a disgusting way to date, I like to call it the “date and discard.”  I find this is the case with a lot of my single friends (now that I’m in that category and I’m restudying my kind).  One of my best friends would rather call the dating scene for late twenties-early thirties, “dick pic and discard.”  (Thanks, Tinder).

Thanks, Tinder. You do so much for the community.

And if we get an emotional response (wait, we still have those nerves) we quickly find a reason to self-sabotage and chalk the whole thing up to another Taylor Swift downfall.  Heaven forbid, we set ourselves up for that “marriage” thing that all our other friends who are no longer cool on a Saturday night have.  Every single girl knows, she jumps up and down at the engagement of a friend and then goes home to paint her nails alone and thinks “man down.”

Another Bad Man by Miranda July

This isn’t the Sex & the City.  We’ve cloned thousands of Samantha’s and their walking around attached to cell phones and pretending to read books and all dressing like their from Portland.  This is actually a long way to set-up the review for Another Bad Man by Miranda July out from Scribner on January 13th.  A fitting date for this strange pursuit at a novel.

I should preface this with, I’m obsessed with Miranda July.  She’s like the coolest version of Zoey Deschanel, except she’s actually artsy, and she pulls off an Annie wig hairstyle, and she has the eyes of an anime character.  She’s got that “dark and mysterious” thing going on that my cousin claims is the only thing a girl needs to hook him.  (Another disgusting thing about millennials is that we don’t actually want to know each other, we just want our significant other to look good on paper…and on the face).  Jamie Veron had all this right in his article for Thought Catalog.

I say all this, longwindedly, to say that I think this idea of adult dating as sick game play is at the heart of Miranda July’s newest novel.    A forty year old woman is searching for her own life through ideas she believes from her past lives.  For example, she must date Philip because they were a cave family together, and she looks in the faces of babies to see if they are really her soul-children.  I know this all sounds strange right now, but it all ended up being for good by the end.  I’ll admit, a little bit into it, when she started going to the therapist for this imaginary globus stuck in her neck, I was a little worried that July was way off base.

Miranda July // Creative Commons

A quick summary: Cheryl (the forty year old) takes on a fresh-out-of-teenagehood house guest and they begin an adult game of their own which alters Cheryl’s life forever, and quakes the lives around her own (though she did have few friends).

It’s really a story of love and strength at any age, but it has some strange romances, or blips of romance because that’s the only way us millennials can date.  I think Cheryl is a woman stuck in between this idea of a lifetime marriage, and a blip of dating/cougarhood.  And it takes the entirety of the novel for her to figure out where her soul fits in this mess called life.

“None of them had been pursued.  I had not flown to Japan by myself to see what it was like there.  I had not gone to nightclubs and said Tell me everything about yourself to strangers.  I had not even gone to the movies by myself.  I had been quiet when there was no reason to be quiet and consistent when consistency didn’t matter.  For the last twenty years I had lived as if I was taking care of a newborn baby” – Cheryl in The First Bad Man by Miranda July.

A Miranda July Art Project from a few years ago.

I think the quote above establishes my favorite part of this novel because it sets everything that we believe on ice and forces us to realize that life is going to happen, whether we join in, whether we’re playing some game, or whether we actually win.  Dating will happen, or it won’t. Saturday nights alone will happen, or they won’t.  Therapists will give good advice and then immediately follow it with terrible advice that we always follow, friends do this too.  I once told my best friend to stand outside of a grocery store in her pajamas to beg for a boy to talk to her.  Not sure what dating cycle I was in at that point in my life, but it obviously was not a good one.

The characters in the novel all work at a self-defense agency making videos that women can use to get exercise, but also use as tools to fight off attackers.  They come together when Phil (one of the board members) presents a secret to Cheryl and Cheryl takes on her not-so-teenage houseguest, Clee.  Clee causes Cheryl to unwind and live a life that isn’t so plain jane, but she also rocks her world with unanswerable questions and even more unanswerable life situations.  These are the three main characters, I would argue, but others pop in with advice, rich characterization, and just overall weirdness.  I’m still a little unsure about the weirdness in this novel.  It took about halfway for me to invest enough in it to ignore all that.

Miranda July family videos // Creative Commons

This is why I’m going to not recommend this to the masses.  I think it’s more for a pocket of people that will understand that we all make really strange decisions, (and sometimes those are closet sexual decisions) in order to just get by.  If you can’t face that main Google fact, then I’m not sure this is really a book you should pick up.  It’s like watching really bad dancing (like doing the 1990s worm with a stomach bulge), and hoping it will get better, but then it doesn’t get better in the way that you think it will, instead it gets better in this odd new way.

I feel like I’m not making sense.  This is a really hard book to review in any sort of adequate way because it’s so….its own. It’s original and quirky and a little brilliant.  Just don’t blame me, if you feel weird while reading during parts of it.  I guess this is basically a dare. I dare you to read this one and try not to be completely weirded out. Let’s get strange!


“Single women and men should be able to float toward each other on the waves of lust and goodwill!”

Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich

The number of post-it notes I used on this book alone could cover a small dog house. Can I say this is the best adult graphic novel ever without having read every other adult graphic novel? Do I sound like my mother after she praised that really bad eighth grade haircut and told me that we would just “run to Target and get some cute clips.”  Thanks for the alliteration, Mom, but it was disastrous, for both my seventh grade high-status at the lunch table and my personal beliefs in my own self-esteem.

My choice of reading space.

My choice of reading space.

God made my mom sorta-Catholic so she could lay down the guilt via lectures, missed phone calls, and sweetness (yes, even her sweetness is guilty).  I can ONLY imagine if she was a Jewish Russian Immigrant mother from the U.S.S.R like Lena Finkle’s mother in Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich.  The world would literally be quaking. Literally. Literally. Literally. Isn’t it annoying when people say that when you know they meant it literal to begin with and it’s not a hyperbole at all? Ask yourself that. Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel  is like the story of womanhood as it pertains to the male sex, and girlhood in general.  It begs several questions: *How many friends do you have that disappear as soon as they get boyfriends? *How many of those friends become the stuck-up dark, unknown regions of their boyfriend’s body as soon as they begin dating? *How many times have you been unhappy, and unable to be yourself because you’re trying to keep the peace between you and the obnoxious invaluable boy you’re dating? *How many times has a guy smiled at you and BAM you’ve planned your 3.7892 children?



*(Longest sentence ever) How many times have you let one small miracle of a man blast your entire view of manhood and your princess experience into this other-worldly category that no one will ever be able to compete with because he was too good at ________ and all others will miserably fail in comparison and forever be the “frogs” you have to kiss because OH MY SWEET LORD, HE WALKED ME HOME IN THE RAIN AND MADE FACES AT ME IN ENGLISH 101 which I, unfortunately, got a C in because I was too busy MAKING FACES AT A BOY who would ruin my whole ideal of what it is to fall slowly.  There is no slow with these miracle men who tell you fascinating things about yourself and then become chain-smoking losers. Yep. You know who I’m talking about. *How many times have you said, “Well, it isn’t really about how he looks?” Girl, please. It is 120% about how he looks in the first moment you meet. And you have already judged the scar next to his mouth and the way one of his eyes looks a little bit smaller than the other.  And you’ve already texted your equivalent to a Seth (my best guy friend) to tell him all about him…in the bathroom.

When Anya Ulinich originally illustrated in color. From her Tumblr BLOG

*How many times have you let your past experiences with men like all of the above dictate what kind of dater you are now? *How many times have you wished for a magic barrel? And no, I don’t mean online dating here. (Even though she does that in the story on OK Cupid…which reminded me to never, ever, ever online date, ever. “Vampire of Bensonhurst,” that’s all I have to say about that one). Well, ladies, all of your (desperate, berating, disgusting, upsetting, I-dont-want-to-be-this-girl-but-I-am-this-girl, when-did-I-become-this-girl) questions have been answered by Anya Ulinich and the story of Lena Finkle. Lena Finkle is an immigrant girl living in Arizona/New York.  During the story we learn about her childhood, a very disgusting happening in an elevator, and then her teenage love, Alik, who she continues to fantasize about …until she’s 36.  She has some bad habits; sleeping around on the first date, sleeping with married men in foreign countries, being too blunt with her friends when they don’t have the same feelings towards her month-long flings as she does, but she’s SO likable.  There were moments in this book when I had to remind myself that Ulinich wasn’t telling my life story. After reading it, I progressed to have a conversation with my best friend (Seth) about which countries we were because of the following images: image 3   I wonder if everyone has dated the “tourist.”  The guy that comes and goes without giving even a half-nod towards closure.  Which makes the girl stay up until 2 a.m. because she can’t quite figure out what she did wrong.  Turns out, it’s him. But she won’t know that for 7.2 years when she forgives herself for being “that girl,” and finally moves on. image 4 Seth said, “Cassie. you are Sweden. // but we both can’t be Sweden // I’ll be Norway. boys are more exotic there.” And then he said, “You are Santorini // white pale and stunning // and surrounded by beautiful men.” And that folks, is why you keep best friends since 6th grade.

Real Conversations. Between Real Best Friends

Real Conversations. Between Real Best Friends

By the way, he’s the following: “You are Alaska where they have 37 words for snow and only one word for love because when you feel it like that it doesn’t need 700 words.” ———————————- Anyway, enough about me. This book is wonderful.  It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this endless pool of Mr. Right/Soul Mate/Marriage business.  I don’t know why there’s so much pressure on women anyway to put on that white dress and take another last name.  Lena Finkle made me feel like that was okay.  Although, she was a little desperate, a little quick, and a little uncanny at times, so am I.  I had a 30 minute conversation today about how blunt one should be with their friends.  In case you’re wondering, I’m the blunt, bitchy friend in my circle of friends so usually people only come to me with a problem when they want the truth as I see it.  (That was all about me, sorry). The graphics in this book are stunning. Most of the time I just wanted to laugh out loud at the illustrations to the side of all the words.  I think that’s what makes this graphic novel so perfect, Ulinich found the perfect genre to tell a tale of sadness, pity, and redemption because there were laughable moments due to the comic nature of the graphic novel.  (I guess they can be dark and brooding as well).  When words got too dark on the page, I could count on an illustration that made it just that little bit better.  The hope was in the hand drawn panels, faces, and bittersweet graphics.

One of my favorite pages.

Penguin had the right customer when they sent me an ARC of this one.  It’s just beautiful in all ways.  I think every woman should have to read this book just to think a little different about their friend’s experiences.  Yes, we all get annoyed with that friend who’s constantly talking about a guy that is SO NOT RIGHT for her, but that’s what friends are for, because they’re forever.  Yvonne and Eloise lift Lena up to be a better woman.  She may not always listen to their advice, and they might not even follow their advice, but they give her that little nudge she may need to see things differently.  Not only are they gem friends in this novel, but Lena’s subconscious acts as another character as well.  At one point, Lena is obsessed with a man who already broke her heart, and she becomes the graphic image of a duck.  Her subconscious picks at her, tells her inner thoughts and her “what ifs” just like that small inner voice that we all carry that whispers “stuff” when we just don’t want to hear it. Mine always says, “Told ya so,” A LOT.

Lena as Duck

Her subconscious is an integral part of the illustrations (she’s small, the same size as the duck Lena becomes), but she’s also witty and forward.  She’s what we want to say to ourselves when we should put our foot in our mouth.  I really liked that real-life aspect of this novel because it’s true.  Our inner self screams everything we would never say aloud (unless we’re the blunt friend). In a world where no one is sure of themselves, this novel could make women feel just that little bit more accessible to one another.  And that, is golden. AND AH – ANYA ULINICH HAS A TUMBLR. GO HERE NOW. 

The Moon Is A Silent Killer

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

I hate it when someone is a better writer than me.  Or has just actually published a book, put pen to paper like a raging sword and ripped open the wounds of that lined paper to turn it into something typed in loud Times New Roman and quiet in its white space.  Marina Keegan hated this as well, hate might be a strong word, but she felt the same feelings I felt as a twenty-something trying to make it in the publishing world that taught us how to seek out mystery, relevance, and the good story.  She said, “I’m so jealous.  Unthinkable jealousies, jealousies of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel I’m reading and the Oscar winning movie I just saw. Why didn’t I think to write Dalloway?  I should have thought to chronicle a schizophrenic ballerina.  It’s inexcusable.  Everyone else is so successful, and I hate them.  There’s a German word I learned about in psychology class called schadenfreude, which means a pleasure derived from the misfortune of others” (204).   I wonder now if she’d be proud to know how very jealous I am of her.

“read to me” – sexts

Marina Keegan died in a tragic car accident days after she graduated from Yale and was headed to a cozy office job at The New York Times.  I don’t actually know if they have offices there, but one can assume that it isn’t a giant cafeteria filled with type writers instead of non-chicken chicken nuggets.  Although, that newspaper would be quite thrilling.  Her essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness” written about her feelings upon leaving Yale went viral.  And she’s right, there is no word for the opposite of loneliness.  No, one syllable stacotto thing that we could say to explain how we’re feeling when we’re vibrant in mass, vibrant next to a stranger, vibrant in a train car, vibrant walking down streets where it smells like home brewed coffee, vibrant at our parent’s kitchen table.

Image @ Tumblr

Whatever word that is, the opposite of loneliness, maybe one of the 96 words that Sanskrit has for love, Marina Keegan made me feel that when I read her brilliant new collection of writings, fiction and nonfiction.  I requested this one on Netgalley after reading her viral essay and I can say in a completely honest way, as you know that I am, that this book held some of the best short fiction that I have ever read.  I don’t care if she was in a creative writing workshop with a bunch of people who wrote about fast-walking zombies, or glittering vampires, these short stories edited in a college dorm room are breath-taking and stand tall next to the great writers that I’ve had the privilege of hiding in my arsenal.   There is a giveaway on Goodreads if you’re already convinced.

Image @ Tumblr

“Cold Pastoral” is my favorite story in the collection of short stories.  The book is categorized as viral essay, short fiction, and then essays that were published in the Yale Daily Newspaper.  This story is about a girl in an almost relationship, you know that sticky “talking stage” that teenagers do now, with a boy who tragically dies.  It’s actually quite ironic to Marina’s life, a lot of these stories and essays are.  It was almost as if her writing foreshadowed her own story.  The girl wasn’t even sure she wanted to date the boy, had late night wine conversations with the roommate over whether to continue the relationship.  He was just a boy in a room where she forgot sweaters occasionally. However, when he dies, she feels pressure to become the girl he needed and the girl that his parents expect her to be, the girlfriend.  I won’t give anything away, but she discovers his diary and already has discovered how “cool,” literally, his ex-girlfriend is.  This ex plays guitars in basements for shadowed bar-goers.  It shows the triviality of college hookups and those in-between relationships where the person is just waiting for the bigger/better to come along.  I felt the unsure voice of the narrator, I was the narrator.  I think a lot of college girls can relate to this story of learning to date for dating rather than learning to date for marriage.  It’s a hard step up when you’ve been told your whole life to hold out for “the one,” that boy pocked full of marriage material, and grow old swag.

Image @ Tumblr

I also really loved, “Reading Aloud,” where an old NY Met dancer finds herself reading to a blind college kid.  She reads in the nude because her husband has found old interests in his window office job and comes out of retirement to continue working.  The wife feels like this is a personal dig at the time he was spending with her and signs up for this community service through the local library.  She’s SUCH a character, the Havisham of short stories.  I could hear the whisper of her sweater leaving her shoulders, and the quick way her fingers fiddled with the buttons.  There’s something strangely alluring about silently undressing in a short story and even if Keegan didn’t type every sound on the page, I was still immediately intrigued with this woman.  Keegan writes these stories that you don’t want to believe can actually happen, but you know somewhere in some condo, or tenement building these characters are feasting on our brief images of them through the telling of their story.

I didn’t find the essays AS riveting as the short stories, but come on..that’s because they’re essays.  I actually found “I Kill For Money” and “Why We Care about Whales” to be the deepest essays of the collection.  “I Kill For Money” tells the story of a bug guy.  I think I enjoyed this so much because who would think to interview an exterminator.  He had an unmarked van, which I always find creepy because I feel like Law & Order makes this the vehicle of all pedophiles, everywhere.  And then…he was a little bit sad. I almost felt like he killed bugs to spare himself of some sort of aloneness, not loneliness because he had a wife and kids, but just this feeling of aloneness.  People were rude to him in Keegan’s presence and he was just expected to go on with his day, do his duty, and climb back into the leather seat of his white van and go on handling bug business.   It also broke my heart that he was an older man and it seemed like he almost HAD to work.  There was some odd debt crisis, or some reason he wasn’t retiring.  He repeated several jokes in the interview and seemed to be losing pieces of himself in each apartment where he poisoned bed bugs, and unclamped the squashed feet of mice.  I just wanted him to go home and take a bath.  You know it’s good writing when an essay can almost make you cry.

Artificial Creativity @ Tumblr

The “Why We Care about Whales” essay just made me think.  Why do we care about the deaths of animals more than we care about just another human death by car crash in the news.  The opening of this essay is, “When the moon gets bored, it kills whales.  Blue whales and fin whales and humpback, sperm and orca whales: centrifugal forces don’t discriminate.  With a hushed retreat, the moon pulls waters out from under fins and flippers, oscillating them backward and forward before they slip outward.  At nighttime, the moon watches its work.  Silver light traces the strips of lingering water, the jittery crabs, the lumps of tangled seaweed” (181).

Let me just say, I don’t want to look in the eyes of a whale who has been beached by the allure of the moon and watch its jaw lay open in a sandy death.  I do wonder why the death of a human this way doesn’t affect my soul as much as the death of a whale this way.  Maybe it’s that I can’t imagine this happening to a human, or it’s that the idea of animal deaths, creatures that can’t defend themselves against human stain, or now I suppose the laws of the universe, are much more sobering because who knows what they think, if they feel pain more intensely than humans, if they mourn their lost loves.  It’s too much mystery for my small mind to comprehend in bed at this moment with a tea bag and an ice pack.

I want everyone to read this book, not so that in her death, Keegan can know the fame she should have attained in this life, but because I’m so jealous of her writing, her thought-provoking themes and messages, that I need other people to feel that burning need of wanting to do that too, wanting to write like her.  I think it’s safe to say that that’s what Keegan would have wanted, people to go out and create something that will live in competition with her college creations.  To be inspired, one must inspire others.

This book comes out April 11th, 2014.  I DARE YOU to buy it.

Linger: The Story of a Noun.

Image @ Tumblr (Victor Hugo, I believe)

There are very few men that deserve to have poems written about them.  This is just a fact.  Swooning love songs, yes. Movies of the romantic comedy variety, yes.  Romance novels, yes.  Autobiographies on love affairs like that of Ella Fitz and F. Scott, yes.  Poems, very rare.  Looking at a man under that fine tuned microscope, the small specks of dandruff on the shoulders of their suit coat, the way their voice cuts off with hesitation at the most important moment because they filter their arguments, the voice of October for me forever being the slip of a sliding glass door and that hard push at the last few inches.   Now, women though, those beauts can be written about all day.

I won’t get into the logistics of this.

Tumblr Image

I’ve only written poems to two men and one is almost a mystical creature so he doesn’t count: God and let’s call him, scar tissue.  I have heard my words on the lips of neither of these men.  The physical man was written about in college and I think I was so determined to figure him out as a victim or a survivor that I couldn’t fathom his abilities to be neither, just pity.

Sometimes, I’m an embarrassment.  Like that time in English 101 when I made faces at a boy across the room because, let’s be honest, hot boys rule over the technicalities of research papers.  He walked me home in the rain and progressed to not call, the way boys play the game from the start.  When he did, I was holding heels in my hand running across the street with a girlfriend in heavy winds at 1 am.  He and a friend picked us up.  The friend had a collection of thongs hanging from the rear mirror.  This should have been when I said, “No, darling, don’t write poems about boys like this.  Their words are left in the strings of bikinis, if they even have words small enough to tie together.” But, there I was.  I didn’t do anything that night, this isn’t a story of lust gone haywire.  We talked, I walked home before it was morning enough to be called shameful.

Zooey Deschanel @ Tumblr

Two years later, he was stabbed and died twice on the table, woken, a new man, but not a fresh one.  He was damaged in more ways that human connection can fix.  I hope he doesn’t google me and read this.  I still wrote him poems because he lingered, and some men are just good at that.  In advanced poetry, he lingered.  At the teen center poetry class, he mulled.  Teaching students creative writing, I remembered chopping up and dicing through a terrible poem he wrote when he thought he could be a poet and I made it “sexy.”  My words exactly.

My point is, I’m telling this story, because few men are capable of this.

A woman looked at me at work today and told me that if her husband packed his bags and walked out the door tomorrow she would say, “thank you.”  That was the end of the conversation.  Thank you, period, silence.  He wouldn’t endure.  And I wonder if this is how other women look at the spectrum of men in their life.  (Let’s talk about it). 

The Beauty of The Husband by Anne Carson

Then, there’s Anne Carson.  I feel like I’m getting drowned in memories at the same time that I’m getting a literary education when I read her books.  Keats, that distant lover of mine, molded together in a fictional unloved story between women and husband.  I say woman because she never really had him anyway.

This woman, this Hilary Clinton, sticks by her man until there is no man to stick with.  She is mesmerized by his beauty.  Completely unfurled with his crumbs of love.  She is the Anti-Beyonce.  Living Pre-90s Girl Power.  Not an angel of Charlie.  There are so many ways to put this.  This woman who has not the strength to even throw away his letters that just keep coming even after he’s married to someone else, and what is this skill that he has to keep her locked up in this cool, whispered place, linger.  Linger as a noun.  That white space where memory curls like smoke.

He has made himself impossible.  He has proven that love can move, can finish, can spread through different fields, but stay buried in the first.  It’s the compartmentalization of a man’s brain and the lack of understanding in this woman.  Only Anne Carson can show you the despicable behaviors of both husband and wife, granted, I don’t know what it means to be husband and wife and the power that that sort of certificate and oneness has over people, but I can’t imagine staying with a man who takes me to Athens and calls the mistress from the bar phone when he goes to get me a drink.  I’m just not sure that that would fly with me.

Then, there’s Anne Carson’s language.  OHMYGOD, this woman.  Can I request to be her in a next life, or be friends with whatever she comes back as.  Lyrical genius.  I was almost more on the side of the husband than I was on the side of the wife because of his words, their lack of words, the brilliance in their one word arguments. This book is written in 29 Tangos.  It says on the back cover, “A tango (like marriage) is something you have to dance to the end.”  I’m not even sure the end of this tango was the divorce, in fact, I’m more than sure it wasn’t.  It’s that damn linger.

Writing porn.

Using a mix of Keat’s lines, her own background in classic literature, and her wired notebooks full of words she’s put together to create a hypnotic rhythm, she creates a marriage that has fallen apart, but never really moved from where the pieces have landed.  Each tango has a title that is even more beautiful sometimes than the tango itself.  Each tango has at least one full line of beautifully, poetic literature.  Each tango has lines that aren’t at all poetic, but make you immediately angry with this woman who takes this kind of shit from a man.  At the end though, you almost forgive her.  I wanted to forgive women everywhere actually.  This is a no judgment zone.  I couldn’t stay with someone who cheated, but maybe some women could and I would like to know their answers to that.  How they solved that issue within themselves, not between them and the husband, but in their own gut.  I want to know the equation for that.

Notes @ Tumblr

My diary description of this book, “high school <3 story turned poetic intellectual instead of slimy.”  <——-I have a way with words too it seems. Just read these quotes:

“We have this deep sadness between us and its spells so habitual I can’t tell it from love” (20).

“His letters, we agree, were highly poetic.  They fell into my life/like pollen and stained it.  I hid them from my mother/ yet she always knew” (37).

My mother and this fictional mother must be friends.  My mother used to say in high school, “it’s like you wanted me to find out,” because I would leave notes stained with the inside of my jean pockets flopped around on my dresser, hidden in my underwear drawer where my mom’s hands would stuff my folded laundry, notes left washed out in the dryer.  She could read everything.  I never hid it.  I once tried to hide something in my pillow case and I knew by the frozen form of her face when I came home that she’d seen it.  The rites of passage in my life were immediately known to my mother, she felt the cells of my body change.  Mother’s intuition is worth writing poems about.

“He can hear her choosing another arrow flow from the little quiver/ and anger goes straight up like trees in her voice holding his heart tall” (61).

“XVIII. Do you see it as a room or a sponge or a careless sleeve wiping out half the blackboard by mistake or a burgundy mark stamped on the bottles of our minds what is the nature of the dance called memory” (79).

“He still got his clothes at your house? / Some / Throw them out. / Can’t / You know what the rules are for this? / No / That’s because there are no rules for this.  A ship passes, there’s a bit of wake and some spray then it disappears” (111).

Still Victor Hugo, I believe @ Tumblr

I’m just not sure, Anne, that it ever disappears.  I might have ability to leave a man that’s done an absolute wrong to me.  I might have the strength to grab my 27 pairs of shoes, a clean toothbrush, and one bowl and one spoon and walk out the door (because my mother did and I have to live up to at least the totem of what I believe she is), but I’m not sure I’d be able to erase the linger.  I might let it eat at me.  I could so desperately want that man back that I wallow under a couch blanket for weeks.  Where’s the strength in that, I’m not sure, but a little linger, might be better than a lot of stay.

Read this book, learn yourself.

Life Was Easier When All I Had To Take Care of Was a Tamagotchi

Because every author I love should make lists like this one…(Thanks, Tim Manley).

This time around I will be supporting hipsters and their cult following.  I swear, that’s the snarkiest thing I will say about hipsters all blog.  If you haven’t heard about Tumblr by now, it’s pretty much the place that all internet memes, gifs, fangirls, people who take photos and then filter in “vignette,” girls in combat boots, Ryan Gosling “Hey Girls”, or Feminist Ryan Goslings, naked selfies sans face, and lots of sad grammar issues, go to die.  It’s the land of everything great and awful about the inter webs, and there is definitely something for everyone.

Chicken Little from Alice in Tumblr-land by Tim Manley

In fact, recently a lot of publishers have been looking to popular Tumblr sites to find first time authors.  My favorite one of these is 40 Days of Dating where two friends, and designers, chose to date for 40 days and write about the entire thing.  I won’t ruin it for you before you’ve checked it out, but you can read it from the beginning, or from the end and it’s still the same amount of broken at top or bottom.  I’m really looking forward to the pub date on that one, Abrams is supposed to publish it in the fall.

These are just a few of the fantasies you can have on tumblr.  However, there’s also a deeply seeded life of romance on Tumblr.  There are tons of sites with couples and fairytale pictures from weddings, and just people kissing each other square on the mouth.  And who are the queens of romance? That’s right; Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, and Little Mermaid.  Yes, I’m aware, that these girls have relationships equivalent to Romeo and Juliet, they were most likely teenagers who fell in love in a single night, hinged on a single moment that usually involved stars brilliant over a rising horizon, but I think it would be safe to say that the majority of girls look for this kind of blind spot in romance.

He also provides Christmas comics for the LOLers.

The newest version of these teen dramas comes in the form of a tiny and illustrated book called Alice in Tumblr-Land.  Tim Manley, a cog in the wheel of tumblr created Fairy Tales for 20 Somethings and it become this 90’s baby’s dream.

I read this book in one sitting and was hooked as soon as Manley mentioned Dunkaroos, a staple of my childhood packed lunches.  He has so many references to my childhood and teenagehood that I couldn’t help but laugh in glee.  All of your favorite Disney stars and even just some children’s book stars like Ugly Duckling are popped into modern times and expected to cope.  Peter Pan desperately wants his blog to be a hit and so he creates a viral meme (where was Wendy when he needed some guidance because we all know Tiger Lily would not put up with any of that SHIZZ).  Sleeping Beauty has self-esteem and self-expression problems, we all saw that one coming.  I mean for heaven’s sakes, the girl was raised with three babbling crazy aunts.  Usually, we only have one of those in every family, but she had a mighty and strong three.  I’m truly surprised the Ugly Duckling wasn’t mildly obsessed with the Aflack duck, but she did go to a high school reunion and take plenty of selfies.

Tamagotchi, YES.

Let’s be honest, I grew up in the original selfie generation.  First, we created juice packets that you had to stab in order to sip.  Then, we had the misfortune of letting acid washed jeans come back.  We led the boy band movement and wallpapered our rooms in Nick Carter’s face (okay, that one was just me). We can all sing the F.R.I.E.N.D.S theme song and when I have children, they will definitely yell “Smelly Cat” into the faces of Fromage and Jasper.  We kept small creatures alive on Tomagotchi.  Now that was a cool aspect of the 90s, proven by Sheldon on “Big Bang Theory” still carrying his Tomagotchi around on his keychain.  Tomagotchi was the last straw before AIM.  I believe my aim name was OompaLumpa76.  It changed frequently, but that was the beginning from dial-up to “dtf,” and here we are.

Memory lane can be so good to me sometimes.  Manley captures all of this in Alice in Tumblr-Land.  The Fairy-godmothers provide service through twitter.  The little beauties have self-esteem and jealousy issues because of this social media world of “only the happy” that we live in.  Listen, your ex boyfriend is on vacation, that doesn’t mean every moment of his life is a cheerleading session starring him.  Just because your frenemie is living in New York and making it work doesn’t mean that he isn’t, like you, drinking coffee at four am just to keep up with the amount of work he has.  We all wear socks with holes in them, we all cry sometimes in the privacy of a very small closet and if we’re lucky, in front of people.  And we all get let down, multiple times in a row.  I understand the power of social media, especially as it pertains to my students, heaven forbid a boyfriend forget to “Woman Crush Wednesday” his current girlfriend every. single. Wednesday.  Can’t we just go back to the camel, guys?

Snow White just….gets me.

Either way, this internet based fake reality has caused a lot of problems in our society (and a lot of gifts) and I think Manley covers these aspects really well in his new vignette collection with illustrations.  The illustrations are hilarious, the characters are stock and unlike everyone who follows us on instagram, we actually have a good handle of who they are, even if in this collection they’re not at all sure of themselves.  Would mermaids be mammals or fish?

Each moment in this collection is a conversation.  I posted snapshots as I read on Instagram (because I, too, live in this dry abyss of “likes”).   I found The Tortoise and the Hair to be the most accurate of our fast-paced and ever changing lifestyles.  Both animals really have to learn to love themselves before they can even promote the other.  Then again, were they ever really friends?  I ask myself that a lot about people I haven’t talked to since high school that I follow on Instagram.  It has to be some minor version of stalking, as in, I want to know you, I just don’t want to know you well enough to call you.

Author Autographs

Let’s get to the best part of why you should read this book; it’s perfect for your coffee table.  No not really.  He’s a high school teacher.  Bless the high school teachers of the world and promote and support this book.  It’s literal magic,  both with characters and the way that Manley analyzes the silent social aspects of our technological world.  It’s a book for the lonely and the aggravated.  When you’re alone in your apartment and you can choose pinterest, ex-boyfriend googling, or Alice in Tumblr-land, always choose the stories that give you the ability to laugh.  At least, enjoy the Little Red Riding Hood section because the poor girl just keeps meeting wolves, and none of your ex-boyfriends could possibly be that hairy.

Other cool things you can find on Tumblr:

  • Lol My Thesis: Maybe one of my favorite tumblr sites.  I laugh my juicy girl butt off when I read this one.  I will hold hostage a few for you on this blog to share in my glee.

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 7.47.47 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 7.48.49 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 7.49.35 PM

  • Facts and Chicks: Basically half-naked “chicks” with facts attached that have almost nothing (or usually nothing) to do with them.  However, the facts are usually crazy interesting and some of them come for actually reputable sources, not like Wikipedia.


  • Writing Prompts: Some super awesome English teacher aligning writing to common core one prompt at a time.  AND THEY’RE AWESOME.
  • The Typologist: A site of collections, leftover as they may be.
  • Literary Tattoos: Self-explained
  • Shit Rough Drafts: Just the best way to make yourself feel good about your writing.

“Wait What” – Shitty Rough Drafts

Resolution Recap @ Coloring for Grown-Ups

Newsday Tuesday (& An EXCITING Q&A)

Favorite Tweets:

This is sarcasm:

Favorite Search Terms:

  • what did people eat in uk circa 1800: Beans.
  • spanking themes in young adult literature: You got my blog?  That freaks me out a little, a lot.
  • farting competitions in bed: haha, welcome to my life.
  • virginia woolf car: She didn’t drive, she walked into the sea.
  • metaphors for instructor of yoga: the sun is like a window to heat.  my legs are like strong sticks; soft and golden as hay, crossed at the knee like two branches intersecting at a nest.  (BAD POETRY).

Book News:


Loved by Kimberly Novosel

Earlier this week I had the loveliest chat with new author Kimberly Novosel.  I feel like her last name pretty much explains why she’s a novelist since it seems a distant twin to the word itself.  She’s the author of upcoming book, Loved and has created a Kickstarter campaign to get the book printed.  Normally, I’m a snob about self-publishing and prefer publishing houses and agents, but the theme of her novel, Loved, is dear to my heart.  You’ve all heard me rant about self-esteem, usually in the young adult genre, but Novosel has written a novel dedicated to struggling women in their twenties.

We did a quick Q&A from questions I pondered while reading her bio and learning about Loved through the Kickstarter campaign.  I feel like everyone at readings always asked, “What inspired you to write?” or “What do you recommend to young writers?” Instead of asking these questions, I asked questions about Novosel’s own upbringing and how it influenced her writing as well as how other authors have influenced her.  Read our Q&A below:

How has being a small town girl gone big city shaped your writing?  What did the small town give to you as gifts for writing, and what did the city give?  And with this what are your favorite writers from both places and landscapes?

Audrey Niffenegger, who wrote The Time Travelers Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, is from South Haven, Michigan and has lived near Chicago most of her life.  A small town to a big city, like me.  I think in these cases the small town develops a unique kind of imagination, learning to fill the quiet with your own thoughts.  Living in a bigger city as an adult helps to surround you with more stimulation, more fodder for stories, new ideas and personalities and backdrops.  Nicole Krauss, who wrote The History of Love, was born in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn, where I live now.  If you read The History of Love, her deeply rooted knowledge of the city and the people who come to live there is apparent.  I think both can develop strengths in a writer in their own way.  What matters most is that the best writers write what they know.

What were some of your favorite mystery books as a girl in Pittsburgh and did this shape Loved?

I read a lot of Nancy Drew books and ghost stories, though the names escape me now.  I loved that stuff!  The little girl who is haunted by the girl who lived in the old house before her.  One favorite from those days is Ouida Sebestyen’s The Girl in the Box, about a girl who is kidnapped and held underground in a dirt hole with nothing but a little bit of food, water, and a typewriter.  I’ve obviously never been afraid of darker material, even as a pre-teen.  I also liked some fantasy stuff like A Wrinkle in Time, The Phantom Tollbooth and The Giver, which I recommend even to adults.

Why did you decide to self-publish Loved rather than shop around for agents and publishing houses?

My goal is just to put the book out there into the hands of readers. I’d love to be published on a large scale, but that wasn’t my immediate goal.  First I want to see how it does, what kind of impact it has.  Maybe big publishing will happen with this book or maybe the next one, as I continue to grow as a writer.

How did you come to novel writing?  Have you tried poetry, short fiction and other genres before ultimately writing Loved?

My earliest memory of writing is changing the words from the willow tree poem in the movie “My Girl”, and then writing new lyrics to Mariah Carey melodies.  I was probably ten or twelve.  Then I started to write my own poetry.  That turned into writing lyrics with musician friends at Belmont University, and then I jumped right into the process of starting this book.  I’d love to do short stories eventually, for literary magazines or my own full collection.

How did you come to the title, “Loved?”

Coming up with a title was one of the most stressful parts of writing this book.  There was one title in the beginning, and as a different theme began to emerge I came to a second title and stuck with that one a good while.  In the end I felt there was a better fit, and in the absence of coming up with the perfect clever title, I landed on Loved.  I just kept coming back to that word.  It just felt right to me, summing up the theme and evoking the right emotion, so I had to go with succinct over poetic.

What is your favorite quote from Loved and from literature?

From literature…oh how to choose!  I love so much of the mother’s dialog in White Oleander.  She’s such a fascinating character to me.  She has this one rant in which she says, “If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”  She’s practically evil but sometimes what she says rings true. Fascinating!  I don’t know the exact quote for this, but in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller, a young Pippa follows a man she’s attracted to down the street and into a café.  In such a short time, she imagines their future together, and when he leaves with out speaking to her, she’s heartbroken.  That is amazing writing.

This is one of my favorite quotes from Loved:

“The thing about secrets is that they can hurt you more than the person you’re keeping them from.  It’s like eating the last piece of caramel candy, a delicacy for you alone to experience.  You hold it on your tongue, savoring the layers of salty sweetness.  It makes you so happy while it rots your teeth.”

If you could tell women struggling with self-esteem or self-discovery, what would you say?  With this can you give book recommendations for girls or women dealing with these struggles.  

Forget what’s normal or what’s expected of you and decide for yourself.  Are you talking to yourself respectfully? Are you listening to yourself and what it is that you need?  For example, I need more alone time than most people do, and when I thought that was weird or that I was acting out of fear and not health by isolating myself, it actually caused me to be unhealthy.  Now I know it’s ok for me to take that time that I need, and it makes me better around people when I am social.  Write your own rules.

I suggest coming of age stories or stories of survival rather than the typical self-help books.  Study others’ stories of growing and overcoming and you’ll start to recognize your own.  Alice Sebold’s Lucky, Terri Jentz’s Strange Piece of Paradise, Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle, (all adult) Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep (adult or young adult).

What is your six word memoir?

“Present or absent, love moves me.”


Check out Novosel’s blog here.

Check out the Kickstarter Campaign here.

Newsday Tuesday

Month of Letters

Update: Month of Letters is going quite swimmingly.  Daily, I’m happy to unhook that black box at the end of my driveway, above where my mother has planted an assortment of peach flowers.  I’ve been enjoying rhyming #2 with “goo” on the lick line of the close of the envelope.  And what girl doesn’t love to doodle petals and leaves everywhere?  Thanks for being a part of my project, there are still empty days – no one is too late.  Feel free to send me your address now.

Favorite Tweets:

Favorite Search Terms of the Week:

  • Cassie M______: They love me, they really love me.  Or, they’ve received my resume and have immediately decided not to hire this quirky, curly haired girl because one of her blogs has “uterus” in the title.
  • Rush Limbaugh Picking Nose:  Clearly this person doesn’t need to hear anymore about cruelty to women, he/she just wants to know how Rush digs for gold.
  • Aggressive Business Cards: Are you a ninja?  Perhaps an evil villain? Maybe a zombie…
  • examples of metaphor poems comparing mosquitoes to fireworks: I almost want to google this myself, just to see.
  • Sylvia Plath handwriting: I would like this analyzed.  I did a project on handwriting for the 7th grade science fair.  I’m a professional.
  • southern girl quotes: I just like to be known as a southern girl, my grandfather would be proud.

Book News:

Favorite Tumblr:

Lovely Poem, Lovely Tumblr.

And that is it. Have a wonderful week.