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Friday Five3

I thought it was time for a new picture. I may be trying out several pictures for Friday Five.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I’ll be showcasing poets and books of poetry and activism through poetry – basically, if there’s verse to it, it’s fair game.

  1. First up is a book that feeds my obsession with food writing. Nicole Gulotta has a new book out called Eat This Poem: A Literary Feast of Recipes Inspired by Poetry. It’s so gorgeous. I could live in the pages of this book.
  2. Nayyirah Waheed is the author of Salt and Nejma, and her words can slice right through you. Her poetry holds treasures such as:
    “i am mine.
    before i am ever anyone else’s.”
    and
    “you
    not wanting me.
    was
    the beginning of me
    wanting myself.
    thank you.
    -the hurt”
  3. For those who write poetry, Entropy has compiled a list of markets with no reader fees accepting submissions.
  4. If you’re not following Button Poetry, you should fix that. Click like. You know you wanna. I love spoken word, and they highlight a lot of newer poets, which I like as well.
  5. And because ’tis the season – The Mother Warns the Tornado by Catherine Pierce. “I will invent for you a throat and choke you.” Whoa.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

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This is Diane. She was a birthday gift from the parents. 

March is the best month. It’s a month full of days off (because Spring Break) and usually not terrible weather. Also, I get to celebrate my birthday, so there’s lots of cake and wine.

And this year, there were new boots:

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I love them. I also love that they were on clearance. Double happy.

So that was what I spent most of my month doing. Celebrating the birth of me.

I also read a couple of books. I loved Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, and Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I had high expectations for both, and I am pleased that they met them.

I’m rewatching Parks and Rec, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it (yet today), but I love Adam Scott. He’s adorable and hilarious. I love reliving all my favorite moments.

One of my coworkers Jessica (*waves*) gave me a flashcard of the Despicable Me chicken, and I hold it up in staff meetings every time someone tells a bad joke. This, of course, prompted the creation of several other flashcards that I can use to express myself even if I haven’t had enough coffee to verbalize my thoughts. They heavily feature Grant Gustin and Michael Rosenbaum and various other superhero/villain-related folk. I’m not even sorry.

What was your March like?

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Hop over and read what others are into!

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Friday Five2

Title reference – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Well, I did it. I turned 42, which really does feel like an answer to something. Getting through this year has felt like an accomplishment. I wonder if this is how every year from now on will be – more aches, less patience with the world and its ridiculous ways, more unlearning and relearning. It’s not so bad, I guess.

Last year at this time, I was freaking out over my blood pressure being high for the first time ever. This year, I am happy to report that it is back to normal (but my heart rate still runs high…because anxiety…working on it) and that my food and activity choices have had a lot to do with that. I have a number of pounds lost, which will make my doctor happy, but I’m happier about other things.

Today’s list is made of stories with which my 42-year-old self identifies.

  1. Addie Zierman’s Of Lent and Emptiness – On fasting/not fasting and Whole30, which I still refuse to try but if I were to try it, posts like this would be what would change my mind. Also, I weirdly miss fasting for Lent.
  2. Shawn Smucker’s On Seeing a Neighbor Hit Their Child, What Maile Did Right, and What I Would Do Differently – I’m mentioned Green Dot training fleetingly, but it is not fleeting in my mind. Scenarios like this go through my head all the time with questions of what would I do, whom would I call, how would I respond.
  3. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – Our church is starting the second annual collection of books for our Book Bag Project. We give three or four books to graduates of a local preschool to encourage their love of reading. More and more, I am convinced that writers (and artists and musicians and etc.) have incredible power to unlock story and innovation and progress, and I want to be a part of that.
  4. Cat principles. This is basically a to-do list. Also…I remain resolute in my coffee consumption (just…shhh…).
  5. Sometimes, Ray Palmer is my spirit animal. Also, I love Legends of Tomorrow. And Flash. And even Arrow. And especially Supergirl (i.e., Cat Grant)And will always rewatch Smallville and will always, ALWAYS be angry at Season 4. Fandom squee for life.

Hello, 42. Happy to meet you.

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Title is from Britt-Marie Was Here. I’m glad the library had this one available, but I’m just going to buy it. I’m sure I’ll be reading it again.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I love Fredrik Backman. He quickly has become one of my favorite authors. He writes impossibly sweet books that leave me teary-eyed and laughing and relaxed and grateful, which is a stark contrast to how I feel most of the time, particularly after reading the news.

This post contains slight spoilers, so if you haven’t read Britt-Marie Was Here or My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry or A Man Called Ove, you might want to rush immediately and read all of them before you come back here and read further. If you’re local, I have A Man Called Ove if you want to borrow it.

About mid-book, Britt-Marie Was Here starts a chapter with the statement, “At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing: how should you live your life?” This also pretty well sums up Backman’s writing. He weaves the faults and the triumphs of his characters together to reveal their impact on each other and the world through the small, everyday choices they make.

  • The police officer who helps out a local kid with a shifty record because he didn’t become an officer because he loved rules so much as because he loved justice.
  • Britt-Marie’s prim assurance to her unlikely friend that he’s not “the only one with tendencies to live a wild, irresponsible existence.” I love her so much.
  • The social worker who tells Britt-Marie that she puts up with all the stress of her job because the sunny stories make it worthwhile…and that Britt-Marie is her sunny story.
  • The confirmation that it’s not only okay to be different but that different is actually the best way to be – “Because all the best people are different – look at superheroes.”
  • The usefulness of being a bit chaotic, because “when the real world crumbles, when everything else turns into chaos, then people like Elsa’s granny can sometimes be the only ones who stay functional.”
  • The beautiful relationship between Ove and his wife, described with wonderful sentences such as “People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had,” and such exquisite moments as “She had a way of folding her index finger into his palm, hiding it inside. And he always felt that nothing in the world was impossible when she did that.”

And then gems such as this are sprinkled throughout: “The Monster looks at her as if she has just asked him to get naked, roll in saliva, and then run through a postage stamp factory with the lights off.”

You must read these books. I’m just going to keep gushing at you until you do. And then probably a little afterwards, too.

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feb-wii-final

Books, coffee, and wine. Yep, sounds about right. Books pictured: Furiously Happy and A Man Called Ove. 

February is one of my favorite months, because I get to celebrate some of my favorite people. Officially, I mean. I can celebrate them any time, really. But they were born in February.

Michelle and I hung out one weekend for Galentines. There were movies (Both Pitch Perfects and Antman), wine, and junk food. And then my sister’s birthday was this last weekend. We went to see La La Land (meh – see below) after trying to see it for a couple of months.

In related news, February is also when I watch more movies than usual.

La La Land was what I expected. It was cute, and there was singing/dancing, which I enjoy. I also like the 10,000 nods to old films. But also – the savior of jazz, should ever such a person actually be needed in the world (i.e., such a person is not. Jazz is fine. It is both respectful of its roots and excited about its future. It is wild and vibrant and often experimental – *cough*aswereitsroots*cough* – and it doesn’t need saving) is probably not going to look like Ryan Gosling, adorable as he may be. If the roots of jazz are really what his character wanted to go back to, it might have been helpful for said character to remember that jazz was born of struggle, so maybe white, straight male is not the most appropriate face of that.

I have watched less TV this month, but what I have watched is still superhero-y and This is Us. I can’t get enough of that show. I love seeing a depiction of what it’s like to live with anxiety. I love the cast and that they play with the fans. I love their sorry/not sorry video, although what they really need to apologize to me for is Jack Pearson. TV has been waiting decades for Jack Pearson, and frankly – so have I. Except…he’s fictional. So basically I’m never getting married because this show has raised my already lofty standards, and a Jack Pearson sort of guy, if such a person does even exist, is probably already married or dead. Either way, he’s unavailable, so I’m going to be alone forever. Thanks, This is Us.

I didn’t finish a lot of books in February, but I read excerpts of quite a few. I currently am reading eight different books. James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and bell hooks’s Killing Rage are on my nightstand, and I recommend both. I always love Jenny Lawson’s work, and her Furiously Happy is no exception.

You may have noticed I have not been into blogging this month, which is funny, since I’m talking about blogging at my mastermind writers group tomorrow. I also haven’t been writing a lot. I blame the ridiculous springtime weather we’ve been having. It always inspires me to withdraw (because allergies and because spring is hard for me). This is where the discipline of writing comes in handy, because I scheduled two writing nights this week, and they were more productive than the rest of the month put together. It was a good reminder that I don’t have to wait for inspiration to do the work of writing.

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Hop over and read some other posts, and share with us what you’re into this month!

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photo-2-13

When all else fails, raid the recycling bin.

January was intense. A lot has happened in our world and to my friends this month. While I have been active and keeping informed, I’ve also enjoyed some downtime.

Books

This month, I finished up some books I had started and read another book by someone who is becoming one of my favorite authors.

I enjoyed The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery (Cron and Stabile). That is, I enjoyed it after reading the part about Ones, which I am now 97% certain I am. I can’t really call my experience through that chapter “enjoyment,” but it was helpful.

My favorite book I’ve read this month is Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. I have a whole separate post planned about this book, but for now I want to talk about this author. I love his characters and how he develops them. I need to buy all of his books and study them with fervor. I want to write characters that well.

TV

This is Us. I am firmly seated on this bandwagon. Stupid awesome show. It makes me cry and cry. I love  them all, but Randall is my favorite. Also, I am happy to see Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley throwing off shirts again. I support this.

I’ve also been on a superhero kick (I mean…even more than usual). So clearly I am rewatching/binge-watching Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and Smallville. For some reason, I see the need for heroes these days. And by heroes, I do mean Cat Grant, Iris West, and Felicity Smoak.

Life

I had…fun? That’s not exactly it. I had moderate anxiety and the tiniest of panic attacks graciously buffered by camaraderie and humor and overwhelming kindness and the joy of seeing both old and new friends at the Women’s Rally/March in Denton. I enjoyed lunch and dinner with friends to talk about it, and my hope was given a little boost by those conversations.

My parents visited last weekend. We ate a lot, and my mom and I watched romantic comedies, and before they went home, my friend Margarett brought them a puppy to take with them. His name is Butch, and he is corgi/shepherd, and he has got that whole puppy eyes thing down. I’m sure there will be pictures aplenty in the months and years to come.

I’ve taken up my seasonal knitting habit again. It’s so calming. This year, I’m obsessed with blankets. If you visit, I might try to pawn one off on you. Many of them will be going to supplement the United Methodist Church’s donations to homeless shelters, because how many blankets do I really need? I am currently working on one in blues and grays that will act as a bedspread:

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Writing

I totally skipped my January newsletter this month, but I had something to share at my Mastermind group, so there’s that. I am working on about four very different projects. I think I can finally admit that having several projects going at once is the key to my sticking with a writing schedule and ever getting anything done. I am exhausted, exhilarated, and happy.

What I'm Into button

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer – hop over, read what others are into, and share your own post!

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Friday Five2

“Five” is more of a guideline, really.

Because I believe in reaching beyond limits and breaking all manner of ceilings, I’m not going to limit my links this week to five. I believe we can all benefit from going beyond our limits today (and also tomorrow…and for the next four years…). Going beyond our limits and doing and being more is something it would be good for us all to learn to practice.

Things I saved from the Internet this week:

  1. Happy birthday to Michelle Obama on Tuesday. BookBub lists five books she has mentioned loving, because reading and knowledge are power. And I love people who read to kids. This year, I want to follow her example. Reading to children is the only thing I miss from working daycare.
  2. Off the Shelf compiled a similar list of what has been on Barack Obama’s bookshelf.
  3. Ann Patchett wrote a touching goodbye tribute to the Obamas.
  4. My friend Bola has created a character that I can’t wait to see on the screen. A black mermaid? Yes, please. Follow The Water Phoenix on Facebook.
  5. I am not your Teachable Moment – from Everyday Feminism.
  6. Dallas is getting a new independent bookstore – Interabang Books, coming in May!
  7. Another reason to get a piano – studying/playing music is linked to increased civic engagement, improved reading comprehension, and better math skills. While I am firmly in the camp that believes that defending the study of music because it’s good for other things is “like defending kissing because it gives you stronger lip muscles for eating soup neatly,” I also recognize that it is good for other things. And we may need it to be good for other things…
  8. …because Betsy DeVos. Tell your senators no. Here are some ways.

And my favorite thing I’ve read this week – it’s long, but so worth it. To Obama, With Love, and Hate, and Desperation.

Edited to add – my friend Jamie Wright Bagley has a poetry e-course that is up on her website. It’s free, but it’s only available for a limited time. You want to do it!

 

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