Blackout With A Book Out

Hello, readers.

Today is Thursday. Day two of an island wide blackout. There was a fire at one of the power stations and they shut the entire grid down. That happened yesterday, around 2pm. While some towns have gotten their power turned back on, most of us are still without electricity. So, what can we do? Read. That’s what.

I hadn’t read a book since the end of summer. So, you can imagine how excited I am to finally have an excuse to drop everything and read. I decided to pick up Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. And man am I glad I did! The book is nothing like what I expected. Somehow I thought it would be all parody and social commentary, and there’s some of that, but mostly it’s just gore and oozing all over self-assembled furniture.horrorstor_final_300dpi

The book follows Amy, an employee at Orsk – a furniture store much like Ikea. She’s 24, broke, and probably about to be fired. Except she’s not. Instead, her boss asks her and another employee to pull a graveyard shift so they can monitor the store and figure out who’s been defiling the furniture and breaking all the merchandise on display. What starts as an easy way to make money, turns into a giant shit show. There are ghosts, people get tortured, they nearly drown.

Suddenly you realized that the bright lights and the pre-designed shopping experience have turned into a darkness that’s crawling with bodies intent on murdering you. Holy. Shit. You guys. It’s unexpectedly horrible, unexpectedly engaging. My only disappointment has been having finished it. It leaves you wanting so much more. The book got a lot of buzz when it first came out and I can really see why.

On a day where the heat and humidity have made everything sticky. Where it seems like the entire island is on pause. Where there really is very little to do but read and drink (that comes later). I’m thrilled to have picked up a book that effectively made me forget my surroundings. It’s still early though, so now the question remains. What will I read next?

Until next time, readers.

Minutes past

Hello, readers.

Ten minutes to eleven. It’s been over a month since I’ve written anything. It’s been over a month that I’ve read anything that doesn’t talk about Biostatistics or healthy public policies. Life has become a whirlwind that seems to stand still. Like going for surgery, disconnecting from the world only to wake up and find that the world has gone on without you. It has changed and so have you. And it’s not one of those emotional improvement changes, it’s a visceral/physical change.

Two minutes to eleven. Grad school is everything and nothing like I expected. Everything and nothing. I’m happy. My hands digging into the doughy bits, there’s no mold just the shapes your hands can make. And it’s liberating to feel that control, to grasp it firmly in your fist in a show of victory.

A minute past eleven pm. I miss my friends. Life has gone on without me, as it should. And in a few short weeks we’ve reorganized ourselves into new dynamics. It’s an exercise in anxiety management, these worn paths of friendship suddenly diverging. We’ve become many small roads, instead of a four lane highway.

Four past eleven, time flies. I miss the quiet moments. The not doing anything with someone else. I miss my wife, passionately and profoundly. Like I carved out my heart to make space for new knowledge. Like I was put under and someone scooped it out without my consent.

I close my eyes and panic a little because I didn’t know this would happen. I panic because I should’ve known. This heartache of missing people that are there, feeling whole in their embrace and shattered in the knowledge that you’re the one that’s unavailable.

Eleven past eleven. Make a wish. I wish you were here. Not so quietly playing The Sims, while that annoying Kim K soundtrack plays on your tablet.

Thirteen past eleven. I wish I could take you for granted again.

Short Little Nothings

Hello, readers!

This week has flown by in a burst of unexpected activity. Or rather, the activity was expected, what wasn’t expected was everything else. I didn’t expect loving my classmates, making a new friend, suddenly finding myself a volunteer, feeling completely at home in grad school. I didn’t expect there were people I’d miss so quickly. Mostly I miss my wife.

Grad school has truly felt like starting a new chapter. My hectic schedule means there’s quite a bit I’m giving up in order to pursue this degree. And the weird thing is, I don’t feel all that busy. At the end of the day, when I look back exhausted, I realize everything I’ve been doing. For the most part though, I feel kinda breezy. It’s an odd feeling to have, I realize. I don’t hate it though.

I’m in the process of settling in so I can get back to reading for fun. I refuse to turn into one of those people who stops reading for pleasure. (Although, I’m aware that’s what might end up happening, so bear with me). Once I figure my schedule out, I’ll start posting about bookish things and loving you all literary like. All seduction and poetry. Actually, a short poetry anthology might be good. What do you guys think?

I’m getting back to the books. It’s a short, not about anything exactly post, I know. I just felt like writing something for you guys. #KeepingTheHabit

Until next time, readers!

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On Realizations and First Days

Hello, readers!

Monday rolls around again, perfectly symmetrical. Like a geometric representation of our lives. Except our lives are anything but symmetrical and, really, it’s just mocking us. It’s no wonder everyone hates Mondays.

Does it ever happen to you guys, that you know something is coming up, but you can’t really accept it until it’s right there in your face? That’s how I feel about grad school. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for it, slowly figuring out new patterns and making my peace with losing 3/4 of my social life. And yet, none of it had felt quite real. Until today. When I woke up at 6 am (in a sad attempt to start getting my body acclimated to its new schedule) and realized I have to start getting my shit ready for tomorrow.

It’s happening, you guys. This is not a drill.

And I’m not going to tell you I’m not nervous enough that I feel like I could throw up. But I’m also not going to deny it… The truth is I’m freaking out a little bit, part nerves, part fear, all of it mixed with excitement. And that’s where it all gets better, because I’m so excited, you guys!

At some point my BA became what felt like a series of repetitive motions, a complex pattern that was still a pattern nonetheless and left me feeling like a hamster running around in a wheel that went nowhere. I learned to love it again, towards the end, but I had to go into another field to get some perspective. Public Health Education, which is what my Masters degree will be in, is a completely new world for me. I can feel the challenge building and I’m thrilled, like taking a step into the unknown.

I know I’m not the only one with a first day this week, maybe yours is in two weeks or a month. Enjoy what’s left because what’s coming isn’t easy. But also enjoy that moment of ‘holy shit it’s happening”! These beginnings are such a big part of life, I think. We often let the fear and nervousness get the best of us and they become nothing more than days full of stress and anxiety. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Be mindful of all you can accomplish because of it. And, whatever else you do, enjoy it.

Until next time, readers!

Sharing the love

Hello, readers!

Today I woke up to find my wife had written something. One of my joys in life is reading her. So, instead of reading me that’s what I offer you today, reading her. When I started blogging I used to write for her all the time, these woman who understands my train of thought like no one else does. Samples of affection as clear as ice and water in a glass. I might do that next week, so brace yourselves. In the meantime, check out her latest post.

AUGUST 3 Things seem to happen in alliterations for me, more so than in 3s. Even though The Wizard Of Oz is one of my favorite movies, I rarely get to say “something, something and something, oh my!”. It’s one of those satisfactions I’d really like to experience; I hear it’s all about the simple pleasures.

via August 3| On closets & conversations —

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Until next time, readers!

On Sudden Changes

Hello, readers!

These past few weeks have been full of ups and downs for me. Mostly downs, if I’m honest. I’ve gotten bad news and worse news. Relationships have changed, then changed again. I’ve had conversations that have sparked moments of panic and crisis. All in all, the last two weeks have been kind of intense for me.

Probably the worst part about the whole thing is that I took them for granted. As things that would obviously be there, people who would probably never change. But, of course, that’s not the way things work. People do change and the things you expected to be there are suddenly nowhere to be found. And as you’re falling, suddenly realizing your entire plans have to change, you start scrambling to find stuff to cushion you when you land.

Except, very few things can cushion heartbreak. Unexpected, incredibly painful, a broken heart is all about muddling through and trying to reach the end intact. It about salvaging the pieces and figuring out how to make them fit once you’re ready. Maybe it’s about relearning new patterns for love, channeling them into bigger and better things. Heartbreak is definitely a hard one to stick the landing with, mostly you land in a messy heap. Ice cream and mascara all over the place.

Fortunately, other things, difficult as they are, are much easier to deal with. They’re still messy and insanely frustrating, but they’re manageable. It doesn’t matter how big, how sudden, how completely bereft of options you feel, there’s always a way. Finding a solution and putting it in place, can be immensely satisfying. Especially when a few days ago you were scrabbling around for a way to keep the walls from crashing down.

I still don’t feel like I’ve gotten it all figured out. Sometimes I’m still angry and sad and hurt. Sometimes, my mind wanders into those places where hope lives only to come back and face the disappointment of reality. I’m dealing with it though, day by day. Sometimes, it’s the only thing you can do.

Until next time, readers.

Erika Swyler’s The Book of Speculation

Hello, readers!

Today is the first day of the rest of your lives. BOOM. What a way to greet the day, huh? With clichés and loud noises! A Monday has never been greeted quite so energetically. And that is probably a lie, but who are they to define the limits of our enthusiasm, right?! Right. The truth is this particular Monday will be a bit of a battle for me. So, if for any reason you’re going into battle too, just know I’m with you. We’ll do battle together and watch the world burn.

Speaking of metaphorical battles, The Book of Speculation took a whole bunch of ammo to get me to pick it up. I don’t know what happened between being excited about buying it and now, but I couldn’t even understand why it was there in the first place. And let me tell you, that was a mistake. Once I picked it up and got over the unfamiliar pace of the book (after reading familiar authors for so long), I really enjoyed it.

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The book introduces us to Simon, a librarian with dead parents and a wild child sister. One day he receives a book in the mail from a stranger and nothing is ever quite the same. Particularly after realizing the women in his family, mermaids by trade, drown young on the same day. He’s got 10 days to save his sister before the same fate that befell his mother, and countless other women before them, finds her.

I love books about the circus, about carnivals. I always feel they have a strange sort of magic woven into their pages. Maybe it’s the fact that so many things are spinning, the dim lighting and the smell of cotton candy. The promise of strange and fantastic things. Whatever it is I’m always drawn to them, it’s probably what drew me to this book if I’m honest. All these women working as mermaids, generation after generation of girls who drowned for a living, drowning seemingly without cause. The tarot cards that bind the narrative together, I can almost picture the colors and see the worn edges.

The book lets you see Simon’s present, but it also lets you travel through his family’s past. You get to see where everything began, just as it seems like everything is going to end, and they converge beautifully in a show of understanding. By the time it’s all said and done, you can see the delicately woven threads that make up the narrative shining up at you from the pages. Glistening like the water that ties all these characters together. It was unexpected, but thoroughly welcome.

Maybe this Monday, this battle, will be like almost drowning. Not being able to breathe and then, just when you feel like you might give in, you’ll find new courage and, most importantly, a new breath. We’ll see.

Until next time, readers!