So I used to post book reviews on here a couple years back, but I decided that I did not love doing book reviews so I stopped. I do however like taking pictures of books all lined up in a pretty little row, AKA the shelfie. I think at the beginning of each month I’m going to share a photo of what my to-be-read bookshelf looked like at the beginning of the previous month, along with cover shots of any books I finished that month or at least made serious headway in. I might write a little about the books or I might not, but I will definitely be posting at least one traditional book review on my blog in the next few months because I just won an advanced reader copy of a book that I am so excited about, which will hopefully translate into being excited about writing the review for it once I’ve read it. Stay tuned for more bookish delightfulness.
“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
This quote hits me hard. I read The Fellowship of the Ring last year and this quote didn’t stick out to me enough that I remembered it, but now the quote makes me think of R, but then if I go deeper I think of myself, and I see that I said farewell long before he did. But I did it in an awful way, I left my body behind as a reminder to R of what he lost and he tried desperately to revive my heart. When someone wants to be dead, whether figuratively or literally, it takes something like a miracle to bring them back to life, and even then it’s an improbable outcome. When I dig deep and go all way down to the core of my being, I see that I am the only one that left, R fought up to the last and even after he let me go he continued to fight for my happiness and still to this day he puts me fairly high on his priority list. There is another Tolkien quote that I absolutely love:
“He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”
-Gandalf the Grey
Not sure which book this is even from, I didn’t write it next to the quote in my journal. But this quote makes me think of myself and what I did to R and our relationship, which is the sad side of it. On the brighter side of it, it is a reminder to never do the awful parts again.
So the task for Day 12 of Everyday Inspiration was Critique a Piece of Work and honestly I didn’t want to write a full-on critique, I’ve already learned that I’m not much of a book-reviewer and doing a write-up on a movie or a song didn’t sound appealing either, so I’ll calling this my post for the challenge.
A few weeks ago I started reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, tonight I am just pages from finishing it. It has been a pretty intense read. And my two year old now picks the book up off the coffee table and says “Jack Care-oh-wack” in his precious little voice, it’s pretty darn cute. Well anyways, I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
- “Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk- real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.”
- “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? -it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
- “Dean took out other pictures. I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would like look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered, stabilized-within-the-photo lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, or actual night, the hell of it, the senseless nightmare road. All of it inside endless and beginningless emptiness. Pitiful forms of ignorance.”
I saw a copy
of Catch 22 in a thrift store.
I picked it up to see
if anyone wrote a story in it.
I thought about writing something
and maybe you’d pick the book up
because you thought of me
and the night we first met.
Everything changed that night.
I heard the Last Night
in my headphones
and it hit me,
harder than ever.
You were my reason why.
A promise that I’d be better
You believed when I didn’t.
But that day
on a dirt road
when I told you
I’d always struggle,
your heart seemed to break, again.
I’m better than I was,
but I’ll never be all better.
At least not in this lifetime.
God’s working on me
and I’m working on me.
You kept me alive
long enough for me to learn to breathe.
That line feels familiar,
like deja vu.
I stayed for you.
A while back
you said J requested a song,
I wondered if it was Ocean Wide,
I couldn’t tell you though
because I was worried
that it would hurt your heart
you’d feel nothing at all.
“We’ll swim in the tears we’ve cried.”
I’d put books in kitchen cabinets
and love under the dinning room table.
Extra blankets on the coffee table
and laughter all over the couch.
Selfies behind the mirrored medicine cabinet
and orgasms on the bathroom floor.
Suitcases on the bedspread
and an empty closet.
Tip toes on the step stools
and motor oil hand prints in the dresser drawers.
…a husband gave a wife a book of poems.
I love when books have inscriptions, it leaves a tangible piece of someone’s life with the book (even 3/4 of a century after), adds a piece to a story. This inscription is what I found when I opened up a beat-up old book with “A New Anthology of Modern Poetry” printed on the spine, it’s weathered red and water-damaged on the outside, but the pages promise beauty and wonder enough to fill a thousand souls and more. I’ve only read thru the introduction and the first two or three poems. “poetry often communicates when one does not understand it, and even when written in a language which one knows very imperfectly.” I like that.
And I’ve still got a ton of work to do. But it’s a start and it’s way better than the haphazard stacks of books that were scattered all over the room. I used to think that owning interesting books would make me an interesting person, it hasn’t really. I used to think reading interesting books would make me an interesting person, it has to some degree, but not as much as I thought it would. But I’ve discovered during the past 2+ years that I am intensely interesting to some and intensely boring to others. I find myself fascinating, so I guess that’s what really counts. Think I’ll get another set of shelves to stack on these because I’ve still got some books that won’t be able to call this set home, maybe invert the colors for the top set.
I’m in love with C. That sucks. I don’t know if he’s ever gonna come around again, but if he does I’ve worked it out in my head how to stay just friends. If he never comes around, I’ll be okay, I’ll miss him, but I’ll be okay. I’ve learned how to let go and recover, I might cry a little, I’ll write poems about him, maybe I’ll always love him with a little piece of my heart, but I’ll always love him, I know this. I hope he’s doing okay. I deleted him from my phone because I didn’t want to risk saying stupid things to him. He needs time to heal and maybe he doesn’t know how to be friends with a girl he’s into, and maybe he’s into me too, maybe. I don’t know if I’m right, but I think C picks a certain kind of girl, and he thought I was that sort of girl, but I am not. This thought brought forth a line:
Maybe damsels in distress who
can’t won’t save themselves shouldn’t be rescued at all.
I had a great day today. I hung out with H. Coffee, bookstore, sushi and saki. It was really great. H is weird, excuse me, creative. We were going to get Pink Ladies at Starbucks, they were all out, H was devastated. We got white mochas instead, his hot mine iced. He’s reading Almost Home by Jessica Blank, I’m reading Me Before You. I gave H Blue Like Jazz. H bought 5 books, I bought 3. H claims he’s not very bookish, yet he ended up with like 10 books in the backseat of his car. I got Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (who apparently also wrote a book called In Cold Blood, which the bookstore lady described as a rather graphic crime story), Animal Farm by George Orwell, and The Taming of the Shrew (the No Fear Shakespeare edition). I don’t remember all of the books H got, but it seemed like a pretty good selection. I almost walked out with Message in a Bottle (Nicholas Sparks), but put it down in favor of picking something with more depth and street cred, hence my three final choices. H went pee in the bookstore, in the restroom of course. He texted me from in there – “It’s good to use the restroom here”. Apparently the bookstore has an amazing facility – the walls are wallpapered with book pages, it is beautiful. H treated me to sushi. I actually managed to kind of sort of use chopsticks okay. And I tried saki for the first time, not a fan.
After, I took the bus to my brother’s house and hung out with my family. That was really great too. I love my family. They are so weird, I mean, creative. I laughed so hard. I spent some time looking after my three little nieces, they are all so precious. Everyone said they were glad I came. My family hasn’t always liked me, they used to think I was stuck-up. I don’t think they think that anymore. We talked about taking over this town as a family. We’d have a coffee/burger joint, a bed and breakfast, a tow service, and I think an auto restoration service was thrown in there too.
And I decided I’m going to splurge on bookshelves for myself next month. Sometimes I refuse to spend money on myself, but this time I logicked this out and it makes sense to buy the bookshelves. I have tons of books, I have no intention of getting rid of any books (except occasionally giving one away to a friend, and then I’ll probably buy myself another copy of the book), I buy new books often (this week I got 10 total, I think, and I should be getting one more in the mail on Monday), books enrich my life, books widen my vocabulary, books help me process difficult parts of life, books are important to me beyond description. So my books should have a lovely place to call home.
On Saturday I started reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. It is amazing. I want to read everything he has ever written. I’ve only got a few pages left and I seriously want to just start reading it again as soon as I finish, it is that great. I can’t type the whole book here because that would be plagiarism or something like it and plus it would take a really long time, but I do want to share some of my favorite parts so far.
- “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love can love it yourself.”
- “I spent an entire week feeling bitter because I couldn’t breathe underwater. I told God I wanted to be a fish.”
- “(They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz.)”
- “I want to marry a girl who, when I am with her, makes me feel alone. I guess what I am saying is, I want to marry a girl whom I feel completely comfortable with, comfortable being myself.”
- “What great gravity is this that drew my soul towards yours?”
- “Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid, and too little is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe.”
- “They were books themselves, all of them were books, and what was so wonderful is that to them, I was a book too.”
So my “break” only lasted 3 days. I’ve never been very good at taking breaks from things like this. I’ve got too many things in my head that I wanna share. Like the events of the awesome day that today was. A non-chronologically ordered summary of my day:
I wrote two poems today, one short and one long-ish (typical anony style), but I can’t share the long one because I let someone in and for safety sake I want to keep a wall up, even if it’s only paper thin. I had an amazing afternoon talking to an amazing person, H, who I mentioned a week or so ago. We sociologied (yes, no, not a word, I know, but I’m entitled to creative liberty sometimes) M and M while waiting for the buses to return. It had some intense moments, but overall it was pretty chill. We made a game out of tossing rocks at the second M’s empty suitcase. Oh and I bumped into C at the grocery store this AM and told him about my car and he offered to help me paint it, so that’s kind of cool. Went book shopping with my mamma: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, The Shack by William P. Young, I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! by Dr. Seuss, ‘What time is it, Mother Bear?’ by Gina Bencraft, and a Tonka board book about numbers and vehicles. Started reading Blue Like Jazz, I’m loving it. When I got home from school, I found that UPS had left me my next book review book. Gonna try H’s sticky note approach while reading it. And in between C and the bookstore, I bumped into a childhood friend, J, at the gas station. He is a story all his own that would take a lot of keystrokes to tell, maybe someday I’ll type it. In between the bookstore and the afternoon with H, there was class, which was pretty good, lots of lively discussion, and no one died, which is always a plus in Sociology class. Capped off the day with a trip to the local bar and grill with my mamma for some late night nachos. Other things happened, I’m sure, but those are the highlights. So many parts of my universe collided today, I had to remember to keep my spacesuit on. And now for my short poem:
I used to ask a lot of questions.
I ask a lot less now.
It’s because the less I know,
the less there is to like.