Rangent: On Being Better

Hello, dear readers.

Wednesday rolls around yet again, all smooth curves and shiny trails. It’s 6:14am and I’m sitting in bed thinking about being better. Sometimes you fall under the impression that you’re doing things well, only to realize that you’re not. Not even a little bit. In fact, it’s kind of a hot mess that misses it’s purpose.

Heat was applied to it. So. Fucking. Messy.

Usually those moments of realization come with crippling anxiety, overwhelming frustration, and anger born of persistent feelings of inadequacy. And, while it’s true that some of that still remains, I’m surprised to find it’s coupled with a sort of calm acceptance and, most incredibly, a plan. There side by side with a jittery need to be better, I found concrete things I could do to get there.

And I know this all sounds like bullshit. You have a problem, you find a solution. Blah, blah, blah. Except, sometimes the anxiety and frustration can be blinding. It makes it really difficult to see past them and into what can only be called the light at the end of the tunnel. (It could be called many other things, but it’s 6am and I’m having an epiphany. This is no time to challenge clichés.) And sure, after it all subsides, you still get to a solution so you possibly end up in the same place. But now I feel relaxed about the whole thing, rather than landing on a solution after a panicky struggle.

Am I explaining this well? No, not at all. Is it still important? Yes, yes it is. To me it is at any rate. Because it means things are changing and they could possibly be changing for the better.  It means maybe this new and improved (Leave my clichés alone.) version of me could possibly have some chill, some zen, some “right thing at the right time” situations. It’s a nice thought, right?

Anyway, this self-serving post is brought to you by the knowledge that things are changing. Whether the changes will stick, whether they’ll be good or bad, whether this is all an early morning hallucination, that’s all crap for another story (read: another post).

Have a good one, readers. Until next time!

In the Break Room: The Hollows series Part II

Hello, hello readers!

Wednesday rolls around yet again to grace us with the hope of a new weekend!

I’ve been pretty immersed in The Hollows, the excitement of getting caught up with the books I haven’t read making me binge read. It’s a thing, a delicious thing. Anyway, I’m always focused on reading new books. There are so many good ones – written in the past, coming out today, being written to be published in the future. Re-reading books tends to make me feel a bit like I’m procrastinating.

The thing is, it’s not procrastination at all. Reconnecting with characters you’ve loved is much like embracing an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. And after enough time has passed the story feels new, sparking recognition here and there, but mostly surprising you with what you’d forgotten. It’s a great feeling to be able to go back to something you loved and be able to enjoy it differently with the glare of new experiences twining with the cool shadow of this story you thought you already knew.

Re-reading books, especially ones you loved upon first reading them, feels like coming home. The pages have yellowed and the spine is deeply creased, but nothing has changed really. Everything is right where you left it. And while I’m the first to advocate for change, searching out stories and characters that challenge you and push you out of your usual genres, having that comforting place to come back to can be really nice.

The book I’m currently on is the last of the books I’ve read before. The ones that come now will be brand new, taking the story from the steady assurance of knowing what’s going to happen and heading into the tension fueled excitement of the unknown. I feel like I’ve relaxed in the comfort of an old friend’s company and now I’m ready to run in the hopes of making a new one.

Stay gold, readers. Until next time!

Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County

Mid-week hello’s to you, readers!

This week actually feels really packed. I have an unnecessary amount of appointments, the ones you get for routine check ups you don’t really want. But you get them anyone because, you know, what if? I’m kinda looking forward to a quiet Friday and a not so quiet weekend!

We’re in Oklahoma, you guys! The sooner state, which is apparently what they called the people who settled in the land before the time that was designated for it. I never would’ve guessed that was the explanation. Still, I’m glad we’re here and ready to talk about our Oklahoma pick.

file_578458_august-osage-county-posterAugust: Osage County by Tracy Letts is actually one of those books I’d kind of been meaning to read for a really long time. Especially when the movie came out because, hello, Meryl Streep. Plus Julia Roberts. Just, amazing. I’d never gotten around to it, so I’m glad I finally did during the #24in48 Reading Marathon. It’s about a fairly dysfunctional family that comes together when the patriarch goes missing. Everyone is under the same roof for the first time in years and things are just going crazy.

It was a surprising book in quite a few ways. First of all, I had no idea it was a play. After the initial struggle of finding yourself having to quickly switch your mindset to a new format, I was actually glad about it. Not only does the author pull it off, but there were scenes that were just kind of mind blowing for me.

I remember at one point I turned to the wife, who was reading on the couch next to me, to show her the book and how it was organized. There’s a scene where everyone is talking at once, about three conversations happening simultaneously, but also constantly changing. Characters would move from one conversation to another, come back to the original one. I was mesmerized by how the dialogue had been structured.

And, when you think about it, it’s not such an incredible feat. I’m sure it’s not the first time it’s done, but it felt so real. So true, to who I thought these people I was reading about were. I could picture it, the loudness and the silences. Of course, that’s not the only scene that I enjoyed, but that’s the one that really struck a chord. Something about feeling all those voices speaking in disarray around you. It’s a very particular sensation that you don’t often or ever get through books.

The play itself was really good. It’s full of character, of raw things and unexpressed anger, some resentment. It was really different from the books I usually read, but in a good way.

I’m really happy I finally got to reading it. It was a pretty satisfying experience in the end.

That’s it for now. Stay golden, you guys.

Destination: Colorado

Hello, Hello readers!

It’s Wednesday. First week of October. And my excitement is mounting! Once October arrives awesome things just start to happen – Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Three King’s Day. This year, the months of awesomeness are being kicked off by my trip! It’s crazy to me that I’m leaving in like a week. Crazy! You’ll notice (or maybe not) that I’ve switched to posting at night, rather than at noon. I’m trying something out. For science. We’ll see how it pans out!

In the mean time, we’re still reading which brings me to….

Destination Colorado

We’re somewhere new, you guys, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s always fun arriving at a new reading destination and we’ve just made our way to Colorado! Looking into this state was an experience in falling in love, or as close as you can without ever having been there! Here are five reasons why Colorado is a state after my own heart.

1) South Park

Of course, South park is something (recently) dear to my heart. I’d never seen a full episode, up until last June when I started binge watching the show from the beginning. I’m currently halfway through the sixteenth season Not to shabby if I say so myself. Which I do. Because, why not?

2) Sex Change Capital of the World

There’s a place in Colorado called Trinidad which is known as the “Sex Change Capital of the World”, at one point they were performing approximately 65% of the sex changes that took place in the world. There’s even a documentary about it!

3) First Same Sex Marriages

Apparently Colorado was the first state to perform same sex marriages. Back in 1975, a clerk in Boulder, Colorado changed the gendered words in the marriage contract to “persons” and married about six same sex couples. Some of these marriages haven’t held up in court, but some haven’t been challenged which means they’ve remained legal. It’s pretty badass.

4) Weed

Of course, we all know that Colorado legalized Weed. While I don’t smoke regularly, I think legalizing weed is the right move. Also, I was reading that Colorado has the best medical grade weed available, which is definitely something to write home about.

And finally, although these things make Colorado a fine state, what really stopped me in my tracks was…

5) Breweries galore!

Colorado has over 200 breweries. Now, I’m not saying that breweries have more of an impact or are more important than anything mentioned up to now. I’m saying that I have a deeply committed relationship with alcohol and this is like discovering new dimensions to my life partner.

Ideally, I’d have taken a tour of a whole bunch of breweries, but since I’m broke as fuck I can’t afford a plane ticket to Colorado. What I WILL do is take a tour of my local bar this weekend and see how many Colorado brewed beers I can find. More on this as it develops….

There you have it, folks. Colorado seems like a pretty amazing place in paper. Do any of you live in CO? Tell me what you like most about Colorado in the comments below! And, if you have any beer recommendations don’t hesitate to share!

Keep it cool, readers. Until next time!

Book Introduction: Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem

Well, it’s Wednesday. More commonly known as Hump Day. Also known as the day of the week where everyone’s hopes start to rise because it means they’re halfway through and ever closer to Friday. It’s nice, right? I don’t have a set schedule anymore, so it’s all irrelevant, but I still get excited by Friday’s arrival. Like the remnants of a previous life where I was an actual person with responsibilities… That escalated quickly. Moving on!

As the title says, my pick for Wyoming is Jonathan Lethem’s Amnesia Moon! The books I’ve read so far for this challenge all rely heavily on setting, where it happens is directly related to what happens. This novel isn’t like that, at all. Place is something entirely vague, as is everything else, in this story. Reality has become entangled with dreams to the point where some dreams can become reality, warping the world according to each dreamer’s desires and fears.

Amnesia Moon mostly takes place between a Wyoming desert and a few cities in California. The other places you visit with the characters feel like vague, isolated worlds that try to entrap you within their particular delusion. According to all the characters, “something” happened in the world that changed everything, but no one remembers how long ago it was or what exactly happened. The main character, who goes by Chaos, Moon, Everett depending on where he is, has no recollection of life before “The Break” or any idea of who he is. Regardless of the places he visits,  it’s Wyoming and California that feel the most real to him. Wyoming is where he has the most memories of himself, even if it’s an alternate self, and California is where he feels everything began for him, his past.

So far, I’m about half way through the book. I can’t decide whether I like it or not, but I think that might be because I’m just as frustrated as the characters trying to figure out what happened! Which is good, in a way. The concept of the novel itself is really interesting because we’re always talking about dreams coming true. And they come true in Amnesia Moon, but in a way that limits and almost enslaves, not at all what comes to mind when thinking about the “magic of dreams”.

I’d never read anything by Lethem before, but I think I might pick up other books by him down the road. His style is simple and often funny, but what I like the most is the way he visualizes things. His imagery can be really particular. There are times when I’ve had to stop reading to really imagine what he’s written. Usually, that would be a negative for me because it means you lose your rythm, but in this case I don’t really mind it. Here’s an example:

“The rain had failed to disperse the fog; the house was still isolated, like a figurine in a milky fishbowl.”

It’s not a complex image, but it threw me nonetheless because I kept thinking of myself as a figurine in this opaque fishbowl and what that would feel and look like.

Amnesia Moon hasn’t been what I thought it would be like, but I enjoy what it’s delivered so far. I’m frustrated and partially confused, but it’s exciting almost to feel that way. We’ll see what the ending is like when I reach it!

Do you enjoy books that make you feel frustrated or would you rather read something that makes you feel relaxed and happy? Let me know in the comments below! Stay tuned for my Final Thoughts on Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem.

Keep it cool, readers. Until next time!