Saturday, August 4, 2018

To reread or not to reread? That is the question.

I don't reread books that often. Sure, I've read the entire Harry Potter series too many times to count and a few others have snuck in a time or two, but generally, I think there are so many books in the world that I need to keep plowing on. But sometimes rereading can be a lovely gift and I'm coming to appreciate it.

In late middle school or early high school I started reading the MRS MURPHY MYSTERIES series by Rita Mae Brown. At the time I loved them for the quirky animals and the good mysteries. I stopped reading them as my interests changed and although I still have a bunch of them (unread) on my bookshelf, I couldn't restart the series without the first three books which had been missing for years.

I was in a sweet little used bookshop in Warwick, RI last week and found the first three books for cheap. I've spent the last few days binging them and I have a newfound appreciation. The animals are still quirky and fun and the mysteries are still good but the blade of truth with which Brown has cut all of her characters is so sharp it almost hurts. She uses murder mystery as a way to acutely examine the human condition and display interpersonal messiness and emotion in both subtle and overt ways that really resonate. I missed so much of this as a young teen reading them but now, in my late twenties, it makes the stories so much richer and reaches me in new ways.

Take Mary Minor Haristeen aka Harry. She's the main character and her small town life is so relatable it hurts. She's struggling to navigate friendship with her cheating ex husband, enjoying the chaste company a very attractive neighbor, working at a post office even though she's got a degree in art history, and sticking her nose everywhere it doesn't belong. As a teenager these were just character facts but as a millennial adult with my own set of challenging life issues, Harry is just the heroine I need.

I remember reading Sarah Addison Allen's LOST LAKE and being struck by the following quote about rereading books: "I've read them all. I want to remember them the way they were. If I read them now, the endings will have changed."

It seems a lot more than the endings can change... And it doesn't have to be a bad thing!

Do you reread? If so, do you think the characters/endings change based on the person you are when you read them?

Monday, May 14, 2018

bitty word #15

March, April, May, June. Four months of occasional late night encounters. Food poisoning, movies in bed, melty man, new sheets, forgotten jewelry.  So many encapsulated memories with Adonis. But just when I let myself believe that we had a routine - please note I did not say relationship - the text went unanswered.  I let the summer pass and in the fall radio silence continued. I vowed I was done.  I moved on...or back but that is a whole different story.
That vow was a lie. On an unseasonably warm night in November I was packing my car for a long weekend trip. It was late but I like driving when there isn't any one else on the road. My phone pinged and it was him. Just a little over a year from that first night, he was emerging from the depths again. I looked at the clock, weighed the social acceptability of being asleep at such a time and gleefully ignored him.
In the sunshine of the next day, I was glowing with the deep powerful feeling of being the one who cares less.  And then my phone pinged again. Damn, smells like desperation. That powerful glow intensified but this time I answered. There was a short volley but there was nothing to arrange with me so far away.  Despite wanting to be with him again, saying no was empowering in a way I couldn't imagine.
On Monday he texted again. Sorry, I got responsibilities.
On Tuesday. Nope, I'm side hustling.
On Wednesday, I finally said yes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

It's been a while

I can't believe that it's more than half way through March and I haven't posted a new year/old year reflection. But I shouldn't be surprised because I didn't realize I hadn't posted AT ALL since July. Moral of the story: I have no concept of time!
So let's do that reflection then, shall we?
Last year was HARD. I learned that I am incredibly strong but I do have limits. I can fail without being a failure. I can cry without being weak. Above all, I learned that I- and particularly my mental health- need to be a priority.
My job most of last year was soul crushing and so emotionally damaging that I was struggling in ways I couldn't fully talk about or put into words. I just knew that I wasn't okay and I kept telling people that.
In June I interviewed for new jobs and took a whole week off to attend the ArtEmotion Adult Ballet Summer Intensive in Salt Lake City. I saw a glimpse of happy me when I was away and dancing and thinking about alternatives. ArtEmotion was incredible full of dancers and teachers and experiences that I could pontificate on for a while but won't. Have a picture instead.
I ended up getting one of the new jobs I applied for and it has changed my life. I don't say that to be dramatic but simply because it's true. I've unpacked mountains of ugly baggage about my last job and don't dread a third of daily hours. My students are great, my principal is great, my colleagues are great. It's incredible the daily difference.
I know that I was so lucky to have this job and support network when my sister had emergency surgery and almost died in October. And my support from all of my ArtEmotion connections was uplifting as I stepped in you dance a lead role while my sister was still in the hospital. With support I came out stronger instead of broken. BTW my sister has made a full recovery and everything is fine now and we did Nutcracker together in December.
Last year was supposed to be about balance and in some ways it was. In others it was just about survival.  I hope that 2018 will be about self-care. I need to take care of me first instead of everyone around me.
I've already had a few rough emotinal spots this year but I am getting there. I'm figuring it out. And this year will be about me. About learning to say no. About finding what is important to me instead of what everyone else needs. I can do this and I have big plans for it.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Have you seen Magali Frechette's MY SOUL TO GIVE yet?

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When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her heart. An alluring demon, Mekaisto, offers an irresistible deal—in exchange for her soul, he’ll let her live long enough to get her revenge, but she must hunt and kill the murderers herself.
After sealing the contract, Celina digs into her husband’s past for clues about his murder, and what she uncovers makes her question everything she thought she knew about him.
His company never existed.
His family history was a lie.
And he was involved with The Lumen, a shadowy religious order whose members know too much about demons. As the life she thought she knew crumbles around her, Mekaisto's charms become harder to resist. Forced to face a horrible truth, Celina struggles against her late husband’s betrayal and the dark seduction of the devil she knows.


Evernight Publishing:

And check out the book trailer!

 Meet Magali!

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 I’m passionate about writing, reading, photo manipulation artwork, animals, anime/manga, video games, the fandom world of TV shows and movies, and stuff like that. I’m a proud Ravenclaw: I’ve always been sorted into this house, but the recent Pottermore sorting placed me in Gryffindor―I don’t care since the Sorting Hat couldn’t consider my choice, so I identify with Ravenclaw, and that’s where I’ll remain!

I have two main hobbies: writing and creating book covers. I’m also a gamer (Diablo, Zelda, Final Fantasy), enjoy listening to music (and always singing along to Disney), have a passion for Japanese culture, and adore reading. I love anime/manga, Japanese Dramas and consider myself a proud fan of many different TV shows including Buffy, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Game of Thrones, Outlander, etc.

I wrote my first story when I was 12 years old (and we’ll
never talk about that story), but started writing three years later. Since then, I always write, and this particular novel is my 19th story. It’s always been a dream to be a published author, and I can happily say I’ve reached that goal―I plan on continuing writing and publishing for the rest of my days.

Connect with Magali

Facebook Page:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I got scared at the beach and it wasn't because sharks have big teeth

I'm white. No amount of time spent teaching in an urban school district or working with a diverse ballet company or with incredible friends from all walks of life will change that. But it has and will continue to change my awareness and acknowledgment of my privilege.

Let me tell you a story.

Last night I went to the beach with one of my best friends. We've known each other since we were five and have basically grown up together. I have generally assumed that our lives and experiences have been similar. He's in the Air Force, college educated, from a traditional family, married with a baby on the way, and a bunch of other things I consider standard for our middle class existences. He's also black. I KNOW this makes our lives a hell of a lot less similar because I have privilege he doesn't but I admittedly FORGET it a lot. He feels like a brother to me in many ways and you expect brothers to be in the same playing field but if I stop to think I know we're not. 

Last night we were leaving the beach just as the sun was going down which is technically when the beach closes around here. I pulled off first, leaving my friend sitting in his car checking his phone. As I driving down the access road, I passed a sheriff's car pulling in, probably to chase off any stragglers before it was all the way dark.

I was raised to respect law enforcement and that they were there to help you. But recent atrocities carried out by police have clouded that opinion. When I saw the sheriff pull in last night, he waved to me but I was paralyzed with fear.

This particular beach is in a rural white neighborhood, was this sheriff a racist bastard who was going to think the worst of my friend on sight? I pulled over and texted my friend then waited until he'd pulled out into the main road too before leaving.

My friend laughed at me and said the sheriff didn't even come over to his car let alone give him a hard time. So maybe my fear was irrational and by texting him and waiting I wasn't really helping, but I was so scared. I thought if all the innocent blacks lives we've lost in the past few years, all the names I can't keep track of (but vow to do better at) and it was with horror that I realized it could happen in my backyard to my friend, my brother. And I'm still holding that fear pretty close today.

I hate that fear and I'm so incredibly sorry that there are whole portions of our population that live with that fear all the time. I don't know how but I have to do better, be better, change things for the better.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

bitty words #14

"Well, that answers that question," I murmured against his shoulder.

Our bodies were still tangled together. the sheets knotted and twisted around us, and I never wanted to move.

"What question?" he asked, only half engaged.

Why was I not surprised that he couldn't recall the catalyst for our urgent second round? I reminded myself, boys are ridiculous.

Reality started to crack the magic sex spell and I started to roll away from him. "Nevermind."

He made a soft noise of confusion and his arm around my back tightened ever so slightly. "Where are you going?"

A small laugh grew in my throat, clinging to the sweetness that was quickly evaporating like the sweat on our skin.

We stayed entangled for a few more minutes as I inspected the popcorn texture of his ceiling. It almost felt like I had been there the week before instead of more than three months ago.

"Remind me why we waited so long to do this again?" I asked before good sense could stop my tongue.

He half laughed. "I don't know. We were busy, I guess."

I was sorry I asked the question and his response was such a lame non-answer that I had to disentangle myself to distract myself for my own disappointment. I don't know what I wanted him to say but I knew that wasn't it.

Moving out of his grip, I moved to the edge of the bed. I saw my pile of clothes on the floor and hated myself for coming straight here in my dress. There was no comfy half-dressed option; it was either lingerie or fully clothed.

I chose the lingerie option because fully clothed might look like I was leaving and I wasn't sure if I was. I slipped out of bed and slithered into my panties as quickly as possible.

"I'm hungry," he said, behind me.

I turned to him, a little shy despite it all. "Seriously? You're ridiculous?"

He sat up in bed. "I'm tired, I just worked hard. I need nourishment and I don't have any food in the house"

I rolled my eyes so hard, I was lucky they didn't fall right out.  "I feel like this is a reoccurring thing for you."

He tilted his head to the side for a moment until he remembered. "Oh, that's right, you took me for tacos once didn't you?"

"In the middle of the night," I added. "That is an important detail."

He laughed and I smiled, too. It had been ridiculous at the time and it was even more ridiculous now.

"Do you want tacos again?"

He checked the clock above his bed. "I actually think I'm going to walk around the corner for pizza, they're open for another half hour."

"That is my cue to get out of here." I reached for my dress. Was I glad to have an easy out or did I want to be staying? Especially after all this time?

He still hadn't moved from bed. "You don't have to go, you can hang out."

"No worries,  I should get home."  I had already stepped into my dress, there was no turning back now. At least not without a more concrete invitation than "you can hang out."

Finally extricating himself from the bed, he grabbed his boxers off the floor. "I'll walk out with you."

"How gentlemanly of you," I said with a laugh.

He smiled. "You know it."

I had my arm twisted up behind my back trying to zip my dress but I had to admit defeat. "Could you?" I turned my back to him.

"What? Oh. Sure."

I could fell the warmth of his body as he stepped in close and fumbled with the tiny tab. His fingers grazed my back as he zipped me up and his breath danced across my neck. I inhaled, anticipating that he would kiss my neck but there was no kiss. After a long second, he stepped away and I turned back to face him, trying to keep the disappointment off my face.

"That dress really is great." His eyes were no where near my face.

"Thanks for the stamp of approval."

A touch of snark crept into my voice and we carried the banter out of his apartment and down the street.

He kissed my cheek on the corner. "Thanks for..." His voice faded.

I smiled. Was he really going to be shy about this on a dark street corner in the middle of the night? Apparently. "You too."

As we walked away from each other, of all the things we'd done together, him zipping up my dress was the thing I couldn't get out of my mind.

Monday, April 24, 2017

THE MAN OF MY DREAMS was all about reality

I read Curtis Sittenfeld's PREP a few years ago and loved the awkward honesty with which she portrayed adolescence. So when I found a hardcover of THE MAN OF MY DREAMS at a thrift store, I snapped it up and binge read.

The same awkward honesty from PREP is omnipresent in THE MAN OF MY DREAMS and was heart-breakingly relateable to my twenty-something self. Reading about Hannah felt like reading about myself.

The way Hannah refuses to follow a mediocre man even if she is comfortable with him. The way that she chooses "the love of her life" but take no action towards capturing it. The way she accepts inferior love because she is afraid to ask for more. All of this felt like parts of my own existence. I was so acutely aware of the detailed feeling that I filled in the gaps in the poetic prose, knowing the nuances underneath the broad strokes made by the Sittenfeld's descriptively sparse but when aimed sentences.

I also really loved Hannah's therapy experiences as well as her extreme reluctance to admit she was seeing a therapist at all. Although I have never been to a therapist, her experiences are exactly how I would want mine to go. Those scenes made me feel like maybe I don't need to be so scared to talk to someone.

Finally, I loved Hannah's ending or beginning. Whatever you want to call it. But I won't say to much about that because you should go read it!

To reread or not to reread? That is the question.

I don't reread books that often. Sure, I've read the entire Harry Potter series too many times to count and a few others have snuck ...