Can We Discuss Disney Princesses Though

I was on the phone with my dad yesterday crying (surprise) over my lack of romantic luck recently. He gave me some really wonderful advice, the most hilarious of which came when he said, “The worst thing Disney ever did for society was write those stupid happy endings.” Or something to that effect — I tend to describe things a little more sassily than he does.

Anyway, it got me thinking: according to Disney, everything works out in the end if you’re a quiet woman in a patriarchal society. I am not quiet, and I’m actively attempting to smash the patriarchy at every turn, so I’m a little concerned about what this means for my love life. Also, I’m not exactly straight so I just wanna know what Disney would recommend if I’m trying to woo a mermaid, but I doubt I’ll be getting any answers on that front any time soon.

I’ve never wanted to be a princess, but I’m realizing that in a Disney world, I would have to be in order to fall in love, so uh…here we go. Now, there are a few (million) necessary adjustments I must make to my life in order to attain princess perfection:

  1. Become tiny. Which might be difficult since I’m 6′ and not exactly slender. Maybe I can cut my legs off at the knees, which would successfully reduce my weight and height in one fell swoop. It would also allow me to become helpless. Maybe my prince would be down to push me around in a wheelchair for the rest of eternity (which is obviously also how long our love would last).
  2. Replace my sweet mother with some horrible woman who wants to lock me in a tower or make me mop her floors and take care of her fat, evil cat. I could probably start looking for that type of woman at the local Chicos clothing store. The more chunky jewelry, the better, I’d assume.
  3. Become straight. And probably develop a dwarf and/or squirrel fetish.
  4. Don’t leave the house unless I look immaculate (note to self: find fairy godstylist). Only do housework if forced to. Allow mice to take up residence in my apartment.
  5. Immediately unlearn every self defense skill I’ve ever been taught. Walk into forests alone at night. Take food from strangers. Make deals with weird octopi in ocean caves. Make out with frogs even though they probably have weird swamp bacteria all over their bodies. Totally wander into random cabins in the woods without worrying about some racist hillbilly coming in and axe murdering me while I’m fast asleep.
  6. Let teacups teach me about love. Employ candlesticks for both light and therapeutic advice. Become easily impressed by silverware. Become way too obsessed with my hair for anyone’s good (this one might not be too tricky for me).
  7. Stop talking. This might be hard, as I don’t think I’ve spent more than 3 hours in silence at any given time. I even talk in my sleep, for goodness sake.
  8. Assume kissing men will always be magical and totally save my life. Because obviously everyone knows how to kiss me the way I’d like. None of them will shove their tongues down my throat (princes don’t actually possess tongues, anyway) or drool on me (and yes, before you ask, that has happened to me and I really don’t want to talk about it). Let random twerps kiss me just in case it helps my situation in life.

I think that’s it.

And yes, I’m super serious about the squirrel fetish.


Snow Globe

I want to rummage through stacks of books with you.
Dirty, musty books
so when we rustle their pages we choke with joy.
I want to sit on the floor, legs crossed
and pile adventures in my lap.
You’ll stand on a stack of encyclopedias and reach for
that perfect copy of Don Quixote
while I flip through Robinson Crusoe
until you reach down and say, “I found this one for you.”
I want to be lost with you inside a fiction more beautiful than the
huge snow globe we inhabit
always shaken by someone else til we’re displaced
tiny flakes in a fish tank.
So I think if I have to get lost, I’d like to be holding your hand
when my dreams for this life
seem so broken
like this damned snow globe
because aren’t they supposed to make you smile
and turn the sky white?
The sky was grey today. This snow globe’s defective.
I want to be poor with you
but only with you
because poverty isn’t romantic
unless all the riches in the world exist in the gold flecks in your eyes.
I want to be anything with you
because you’ll be anything with me
and that could stop this snow globe shaking.

With this, I revamp my current poetry series from one about my childhood to a poetry series about anything, because…why restrict myself? Poetry is freeing, and I need to be freed right now. Cheers. Let’s all work on making this snow globe a little better.

My Whole Body Aches

I went on a long bike ride today, and whenever I ride I have a lot of time to think. About the meaning of life, about new blog posts I could write, about what I wanna do with myself in the future…about how much my butt hurts… Today, I thought about all those things, in between riding past creeks and llamas (I’m not kidding), and I was really excited to write about it all when I got home. But. Y’all, I hurt. In the best way, of course, like when all your muscles feel like lead but it’s okay because it means you didn’t die halfway into the ride. Nope, here you are, aching like all hell, but knowing you finished that ride like a champ.

Anyway, I was gonna write about all that. But now I’m not. Because my brain fell out along the ride and I have to go get it in the morning. So instead, I thought I’d give you a list of books I’ve read recently and just say, “These are great, read them, take my word for it, read them.”

1. The Yard: So good! About Victorian London after the Jack the Ripper murders. This book was perfect for me because I’m super into serial killers (not to date, obviously…to psychoanalyze because I’m a psych major, duh!) and super into London, and it was so gripping and full of depth. The next book comes out tomorrow, and I can just about guarantee I will read the whole thing in two days.

2. A Midsummer Tights Dream: Okay, so this one is for 15 year old girls. But the author, Louise Rennison, wrote my favorite series (The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson) and it is absolutely hilarious. This one is the second in a new series about a girl named Tallulah who goes to Scotland to attend a crazy performing arts school and gets up to all sorts of antics (most involving her knees and owls). It’s a quick, light read for anyone with the sense of humor of a 16 year old girl trapped in a 62 year old’s body.

3. The Bhagavad Gita: This is the holy text of Hinduism, basically. Not exactly a light read, as I get through about 5 pages every time I sit down. But the reason for that isn’t that it’s boring, it’s that it is possibly the most thought provoking thing I’ve ever read. As of now, about 30 pages in, I’ve contemplated my existence and my soul and questioned about 40% of everything I knew to be true. I’d say that’s pretty good. I suggest the translation by Stephen Mitchell, as it’s really easy to read and is rated really well through Barnes and Noble as one of the truest translations.

4. The Name of the Star: This one’s by Maureen Johnson and I’m only 15 pages in but I’m already totally hooked. Surprise surprise, it’s also about the Jack the Ripper murders, but this time about a copycat murderer that only one girl can see. I have no idea what the hell is happening yet, but I love everything Maureen Johnson has written so I assume I’ll love this too. (Try Devilish – it’s a great read.)

Ok…I’m about to die, and honestly can’t think of any other books I’ve read recently at the moment anyway. I’ve got The Psychopath Test and The Skull Mantra on my bookshelf waiting for me, so I’ll let you know about those soon.

Love you, my muffins. Sleep tight :)

P.S. We should start a book club…anyone in?

Tom, Huck, and Cappy

I’ve been a pirate on an island with Tom and Huck, smuggled French Aristocrats with the Scarlet Pimpernel, jousted over a river with Friar Tuck and Robin Hood.

Whenever I see little islands in the middle of rivers or lakes, I tug my dad’s sleeve like a little kid and say, “That’s just like Tom and Huck’s island!” Y’all, I even named chipmunks in my yard after Robin Hood characters (Will Scarlet was my favorite).

But those experiences are not mine; they exist in the imaginations of authors past. I think that’s why I love writing; I’m constantly looking to create experiences like those in my own mind.

Anything that reminds me of childhood or wilderness reminds me of books. I can’t look at the Mississippi River without picturing a riverboat on it. It’s like my life and the fictional lives of every character I’ve ever encountered have blended together, and I really don’t mind at all. I have so many friends, and they’re all from so many places and backgrounds.

Traveling pulls them out of me, like they’ve been hiding in a cupboard, waiting for me to hop on a train and roll across the country.

I like that the term “train travel” reminds me of countless black and white movies: Marx Brothers Go West, The Song of the Thin Man, Sherlock Holmes, etc. I like that I have those references in my mind, that I can recall these films that most other people wouldn’t have ever heard of, much less watched over and over and over throughout childhood.

I’m on a train as I type this on my phone…what would Mark Twain think of that? He might be horrified, but he might also be excited that I’m using my phone to write, and not to fling little birds at green pigs.

I saw a lot of this country in the past few days. Glacier National Park, the Mississippi River (even Twain didn’t prepare me for how enormous it is), little baby towns on the edges of lakes, and a whole stretch of brown plains. We live on a gigantic continent, and I’m pretty stoked that I got to see a bunch of it, though I only got to see bits and pieces and I didn’t truly experience most of it.

But hey, maybe these memories can help me create my own characters. Until then, and even after, I’ll be hanging out with Tom, hustling people into whitewashing my fence for me.

Please excuse the fact that this post rambled on more than usual. I’ve been motion sick for the past 36 hours and am currently in a tunnel in Wisconsin. I love you, muffins!

I’m Nine Again

I was that kid who literally shoved her nose in a book and didn’t take it out until she’d flipped cover to cover. Most of my childhood memories are centered around lying on my couch, feet up, reading a book. On sick days, I’d make blanket forts in the living room and hide away, reading Zoo Books or Ranger Rick magazines.
I think we all lose a little of that as we grow up. Our day demands more studying and working, and allows for less free time. We get caught up in ourselves and our relationships, good or bad, and we forget that what really made us happy was that time alone, practically upside down on the sofa, reading Harriet the Spy, Tom Sawyer, Harry Potter.

And then this weird thing happens. We somehow come back around to those simpler times and remember how full our life was with them. Books fill that void, stop that gushing sorrow we feel in our heart, as a cork would stop a leaking rowboat in some terrible cartoon.
I accidentally found that 9 year old inside of me today. It took the end of a year-long relationship and a trip to the ocean to coax her out, but it’s been a long time coming, really.

That little girl is my personal Jesus. Because where some pray frequently, as I have occasionally, to find comfort and calm, I reach for stories and memoirs to pull me into their world and out of mine. But the escapism I get from books doesn’t lead inevitably to a denial of my problems, but more to a solution. Somehow, by forgetting them for a few hours, I work them out in the back of my mind. It feels good, lately, to let that happen.

As a child, I rode the bus 20 minutes home from school, then walked 3/4 of a mile to my house. I would read a book on the bus and, not wanting to put it away for even ten minutes, continue reading as I walked down my street. I lived out in the country, and rarely had to worry about cars driving past, so I could walk without incident. I have to admit, though, my walk would take twice as long when I had a book in hand. I barely noticed and definitely never cared.

I hadn’t done that in at least ten years until today. We’re staying at a house by the ocean, about a 15 minute walk from the beach. We had a beach house in the Puget Sound until I was about 10, and coming back here is so wonderfully nostalgic. The air smells briny, so much better than in California or Hawaii, and the water is too cold to enter but I always do anyway, like I’m still that little kid who didn’t care.  My mom, sister and I went wore our swimsuits and brought towels and books down to the water this afternoon, but I got cold after about an hour and decided to walk back to the house. It was nice to have some time with my thoughts, but after a while I really wanted to keep reading my book. So I did. And it felt wonderful. As if that little girl, so impatient to find out what happened next, just jumped out of me.

I don’t ever want that girl to go away. She’ll hide, maybe for years, but I’d like to think she’s here to stay.

Mary Poppins Pockets

My boyfriend keeps everything in his pockets. I guess that’s not unusual, since most guys don’t carry purses etc. It’s just always so hilarious to me when he pulls his phone and wallet, a whole cake and a small elephant out of his pockets at the end of the day.

What? How? How was all that stuff in there? They didn’t seem full…you didn’t look like you’d had a poo incident in the front of your pants…then how? Your pants aren’t weird or anything, right? There’s no “false bottom” in them? Is that possible?

How have you been carting all that stuff around all day? And can I have some of your magical powers?

There's an elephant in there, I swear.

Of course, I laugh at him, because I have no tact. And he may or may not strangle me (or throw his pocket elephant at me) in anger for writing a stupid blog post about his deformity unusually spacious pockets.

I laugh about it because I think it’s cute. I will never get over the novelty of his Mary Poppins/Hermione bag pockets.  I laugh because honestly, there’s no reason to laugh. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. I know what he keeps in there (elephants, I tell you!), so it shouldn’t be surprising.

I laugh because I laugh at everything, to be honest. I think the things I say are hilarious, I laugh at my own blog posts (way too hard), I laugh at people’s pockets…it’s just what I do.

It makes me wonder, does the novelty ever wear off? I hope not. I’d like to think that I will forever laugh at his pockets, and lots of other worn out and old jokes that we’ve formulated over the years we’ve known each other. Because it seems that as long as I can laugh at him, and he can tease me for it, we’ll always be in pretty good shape.

Leave it to me to turn a post about pockets into a lesson on keeping love alive, or some such rubbish.

But seriously, I always wanted to date someone like Mary Poppins.

I’m So Smooth

The one time I met a famous author, I got my arm stuck in a vending machine.


I was in 7th grade. Let’s also remember that I was fantastically awkward, had braces, and probably a horrible haircut. I also LOVED books. That part hasn’t changed, though I like to think the awkwardness and bad haircut parts have.

I hadn’t even read this guy’s book, and really, I barely remember him because before I wrote this post I had to ask a friend what his name was, but I was really excited because he was coming to our school to speak about writing, the environment (it pertained to his latest novel) and books etc. The first time I heard about Fyodor Dostoevsky was when this author held up a copy of Crime and Punishment in my little middle school gym. I feel like that’s kinda significant.

The librarian asked me to go buy Mr. Author a bottle of water from the vending machine so I could give it to him when he arrived. I was, in the words of Rebecca Black, so excited. I inserted the money, as one is supposed to do when buying water from a vending machine, and stood back to watch the machine do its work. Okay, I probably totally didn’t pay attention, because really, who would, but I’m trying to do a nice job of describing the scene for you… Anyway, point is, the bottle of water ended up getting stuck behind the little flap it was supposed to come out from.

I knelt on the ground, put my arm into the machine, and tried to pry the bottle loose. I didn’t. Instead, I managed to get my arm completely stuck inside the vending machine right as Mr. Author walked up.

He looked at me with distain and said, “Who the hell are you and where the hell is my water, you stupid cow?” I began to cry as he told me I was obviously incompetent and would never become an author if I couldn’t even pull a bottle from a vending machine. Oh, and he also kicked me.

Just kidding! He was probably really nice about it and laughed goodnaturedly or something as I finally pried myself and the water out of the machine. I honestly barely remember meeting him, just that I handed the water over and blushed a whole bunch. It’s funny, because you’d think I’d be excited to meet someone pretty famous, given that he was an author and I was obsessed with books. But it’s so much easier to remember the bad parts of situations sometimes. It’s sad how much bad stuff we remember. There probably ends up not being room for the good stuff in our memories, since all we do is remember when our arms got stuck in vending machines.

Maybe I’ll count that as a good memory instead.

The Hypnotist: A Book Review

Who, me? I just read what NPR tells me to.
Okay, not exactly. But recently, yes.

I heard about Lars Kepler’s The Hypnotist on NPR last week. It sounded intriguing, if a little gruesome. And that’s exactly what it ended up being. Except for the part where I was totally disappointed with the ending.

The Plot: A family is murdered, no…slaughtered in Stockholm. The murderer leaves one of them, the 15 year old son, for dead, but he’s later found barely clinging to life. The detective on the case, Joona Linna, brings in hypnosis specialist Erik Maria Bark (who 10 years previous had sworn he would never hypnotize again) to question the boy, who is too far in shock to respond to police questioning. When they finally question the boy through hypnosis, they find…well, it’s really surprising, that’s all. 
But that plot line is all but abandoned about halfway through when Erik Bark’s son is kidnapped. And I still don’t really understand how the two lines are related.

While the book served its purpose to simultaneously freak me out and show me that life (and crime) is never simple, I was left wanting more, and not necessarily in a good way. It was incomplete; I wanted 25 more pages. Just 25 to help me understand the motivation behind all the crimes that take place. Just 25 to tie the pieces all together, because I know they’re supposed to be more connected than Kepler left them. I was disappointed, because I had been adequately intrigued by the gruesomeness of the book, though I usually can’t stomach those kinds of bloody descriptions. I had enjoyed the POV shift, the writing, the fact that most of the book was in present tense, the short chapters…everything about that book had been technically sound.

But it was just lacking. Things that had been brought up in the beginning and middle of the book that I thought would have some impact on the plot turned out to be completely irrelevant (such as Joona Linna’s flashbacks about an accident/his father, which I still don’t understand…and I was paying attention).

The authors (Lars Kepler is the pen name of a Swedish husband & wife writing “team”) wove an interesting motif through the book: most of the violence and crime was carried out by women and children. It threw me for a loop, and I was shocked, mortified, and TOTALLY into it. But then the authors seemed to add plot points simply for the sake of establishing it as a motif. For instance, at one point Erik and Joona come across a woman who has two naked boys in a room with a video camera trained on the bed. But why is that included in the book? I understand that it contributes to the motif and the shock value of said motif, but it literally carried nothing else out, and ended up making me look for the reason it was included. There wasn’t one, as far as I could tell.

And the ending seemed rushed, like the authors knew they needed to end it and knew people would want to know the resolution, so they just shoved it at us. But honestly, like I said before, it could’ve done with another 25 pages. It wouldn’t have bothered me, since I’d already invested hours into reading the 500 page book.

Maybe I just didn’t get it. I want to doubt that, because I like to think of myself as a semi-intelligent person who can keep up with a murder mystery, but I can’t be sure. And even if I did get it, and the gaps really are present, you should still read it.  Maybe we can feel indignant about its flaws together.

Librarians are Superheroes

I have one thing to say: Librarians are superheroes. SUPER. HEROES. They can do anything! I bet when they’re at home they go invisible or fly around and stuff. They are modern day Clark Kents.

I read a book 3 years ago that I loved and wanted to read again, but I couldn’t remember anything about it besides possibly what the cover looked like, the fact that the main character was named Mick, and that the co-authors were married (but I couldn’t remember their names). So basically, I knew nothing. But I went to Jonathon, my favorite person on the planet (and reference librarian at my local library) and asked him to help me. Long story short, he found the book I was talking about in like 10 minutes. I think I’ll marry him. I definitely had a case of New Book High and wanted to jump up and hug him, but you know…he’s a librarian and a pretty quiet guy, so I wasn’t sure how appreciated that would be.

This brings me, totally randomly, to my next point. I don’t want my generation to stop reading. We’re so into being social now, and that’s wonderful because I’m a really social person too, but I don’t want us to forget that books are important too. Reading isn’t as often done in big groups or at parties as movies etc are. Okay, reading is NEVER done at parties anymore. Unless it’s reading off a karaoke screen. Point is, we aren’t as good at being alone as generations before are/were.

So let us not forget how important it is to cherish alone time and the little things. The naps, the books, the love we have. But mostly, the books. Specifically, books that I will write someday :) HA just kidding (but really). 

Let us always raise our books high in support of those superhero librarians’ jobs. I turn my page for you, Jonathon, superhero of the library.

New Book High

You like that new car smell? Fine, but I’m a little more partial to new book high.

On my lunch break today, after I’d eaten my little sandwich and strawberries, I walked a few blocks to my town’s local book store. I want to LIVE in that store. There’s a smell (possibly comparable to new car smell…) that I’ve never experienced anywhere else, even in other book stores. It’s like love mixed with paper and giddiness. Or something way more eloquent that I can’t think of right now…

Anyway, I walked over to a section of books and was just browsing for a few moments when I saw the 4th book of one of my favorite series.  That series got me through some of the toughest times in my life, which is strange to say since it’s a young adult novel about a girl in her junior/senior years of high school. But in the series, the main character suffers from massive panic attacks all the time, so when I had my first panic attack I was fairly certain that I knew what it was. I’m just glad I’d HEARD of the symptoms of a panic attack so I wouldn’t think it was a heart attack… And when the counselor I was seeing wasn’t really helping, I looked to the books again for guidance. I didn’t find it as much as I’d hoped, but I saw a little of myself in Ruby Oliver (the main character) and really liked what HER counselor was saying.

But back to the story. I found that book and practically peed. I thought the series had ended after the third book, but oh no, there was number 4 staring me right in the face, saying, “Buy me, read me, you know you want to!” And I DID want to. I never, ever buy books brand new if I can get them at the library. But I was not about to wait around for a few months for my library to get a couple copies of this book, so I spent 2 ½ hours’ wages on a 200 page book, and it’s all because of new book high.

New book high: (n) 1. The feeling one gets when one purchases/acquires a new book. Often, the person feeling “new book high” will squeal uncontrollably (thereby causing passersby to stare uncomfortably), jump up and down, or clutch the book to his/her chest like Gollum and his precious. 2. A feeling that literally turns the recipient of new book high into Gollum. Recipients’ hair immediately falls out and they begin mumbling to themselves while walking in a half-crouched position and petting their new book.

I was pretty much the definition of new book high. My adrenaline levels were positively through the roof, I was squealing a little, and I couldn’t stop smiling. All the way back to work, I admired my new book, and I seriously couldn’t wait to finish my shift (only four more hours…now three…okay, I have a ten minute break I can totally read 15 pages!) to get home and read that baby!

New book high: it’s like being a child again, only without the incontinence (okay…maybe a little).