words

Born with Teeth

Rip planted this red flag squarely in my field of vision, and still I could not see it.
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Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

How it begins: I started out in a green house with a red door in a small town, where mysteries abounded.

This book brought me back to my long-neglected blog. I got it in the mail yesterday and I sit her sad that I’m already through it and pleased to share it with anyone who is looking for something to read.

Already a fan of Ms. Muldrew (as Red on Orange is the New Black), I had no other expectations, other than the hope for kept interest, when I ordered the book to my mailbox.

It was a beautiful story and a true pleasure to read. Pain is woven into chapters with care and love. Sadness is captured with longing sincerity.

Her story is told with respect for the other characters, with passion for her work, her loved ones and for herself and with an openness to joy that is waited for, and never too far off.

Read this book. There is such beauty in the pages.

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 25

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FAVOURITE MONTH

She is warm and beautiful. As the colours change and the trees lose the coverings that came in the Spring the crispness is a promise of something new in the loss.

She is the month of my birth and the birth of my first babe as she watched me become a mother. She has been a month of great sadness and fantastic joy. She defines me in so many ways. She is where I find myself and where I find my strength. It is funny to say that about a month, thirty days in three hundred and sixty five, but they are my favourite thirty. They are the days that I feel most at home with myself and in the world.

I am always happy to say hello to September, and always somewhat reluctant to say goodbye.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 24

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. — Tolstoy

FAMILY

The family: Comes with no written, stated or implied guarantee. Oh, but I wish there was. I wish it did. I struggle to say that I think there should be. I am more at ease to say that I am wrong.

I think the best we can do is promise to try and do better. We can promise to love without condition, forgive without grudge and choose to always, always see the best. At least see those for who they are, rather than who we want them to be.

The family: these people who are part of us, who made us, who shape us, who damage us and lift us up. These are the expectations placed upon a unit who have been placed together by luck and  biology. Or some divine plan. For some, the luck was bad, the biology formed funny, the plan was flawed. Or it wasn’t. Maybe it was only meant for a while. Maybe the plan was to teach, to [hopefully] learn, to prepare for the next.

The family: Those who will share something – cells, memories, trials, tragedy, love, meaning, hope, pain – with us forever. Our stories are all different. Certainly our unhappy ones are.

My family: Built on a competition we were never going to win. I don’t know who decided upon the rules, but I remember playing.

My family: Torn apart by anger and immaturity, pride and a change come too soon.

My family: Marked now by loss and gaps of time that bring forgetting and remembering and moving on.

My family: Came with love but without a guarantee of receipt without condition. Came with a best before date, a warning of expiry.

It was me who left. It was me who could not stay. It is me who is now lost. In reality, I am not. In metaphor, there are betters to choose. In reality I am here, existing with my past and my experiences and my future. If you say that I am lost, that you have lost me – like a ship at sea? like a missing sock? like a misplaced object from such a time ago? We are not lost. We are trees. separated by a chasm too wide for our branches to reach. We are books that once shared characters, but whose stories have ended. We are windows that have been forced shut by time and weather and paint in neighbouring houses, without people who have the ability to pry them open again.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

 

 

The words you can’t find, you borrow. We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone.
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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

How it begins: On the Ferry from Hyannis to Alice Island, Amelia Loman paints her nails yellow and, while waiting for them to dry, skins her predecessor’s notes.

This book was just a simple read of pure enjoyment. It was a story for those who like stories, who find comfort in books, who get excited by a full bookshelf and a comfortable chair.

I was unsure what to expect when I started reading. Mr. Fikry is not easy to love at first. The characters are flawed, but smart. They face loss and trouble and are afforded happiness – some fleeting and some redeeming. References to other works of literary fiction, short stories and classics add depth for the real readers who find themselves lost in the Island bookstore.

Maya’s life is interesting and rich. Daniel’s (spoiler alert) end is one of the most simple and most beautiful ends I’ve ever read. A.J. begins with hardship, grows with duty and is touched with love in the end. The stories we tell those who matter to us, and the stories we keep from them were shown as meaningful and served to connect to the characters in a kinder and more empathetic way that I would in a normal, quick summer read.

If you enjoy sitting with a good book, do make sure you sit with this one.

Readers are the best…

They have access to hundreds of souls, and the collected wisdom of all them. They have seen things you’ll never understand and have experienced deaths of people you’ll never know.

I came across this article and there are so many important and interesting elements to it. Don’t only consider falling in love with a reader, but befriend them, seek them out. They are special and thoughtful folk.

Read this.

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 23

100 WORDS OR LESS

I hate being spoken of like I’ve gone somewhere. Like my disappearance was a surprise without warning. like I’m this spirit of a being that once was.
I wasn’t lost. I’ve pinched myself as evidence that I’m still very much here.

Our path was no longer meant to be travelled together, but my prints disappeared no more than yours did. I didn’t loose you, for I know where you are. It was too much, too heavy, too difficult to keep going along that path we were on.

Now we each have our own and I hope your journey is breathtaking.

 

100 words exactly!

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

CW CHALLENGE: DAY 22

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GOODBYE

airports see more sincere kisses than weddings halls. the walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches

We must stop saying that we hate goodbye. Of course a goodbye is not lovingly embraced. Our culture has attempted to lessen the blow with clichés like a goodbye makes room for a later hello or saying goodbye to something good makes room for something better. They are not nice because they come with loss. That is why change is so feared, so disliked, so distrusted — the loss.

I think the term comes from God be with you….God bye….Goodbye. It was a blessing once. It can be a blessing still. It’s a salutation to send someone or something out into the universe with care. With love. With longing. It is, however, an ending, a parting, a disconnect.

Hearing that ‘I hate goodbyes’ drives me a little nutty. Who likes them? At least when they happen. We may look back on them with deep breaths and relieved sighs, but not in the thick of the first utterance. We must remember that a goodbye is not required. It is not owed – to you or by you. It is a tool, a marker, a note for a moment in time, a glimpse before a turning, a word before none. It is not a goodbye that changes anything. It is what happens after.

I have had goodbyes and I have had great loss without them. They haven’t changed anything. Their absence hasn’t changed anything. They haven’t eased the feelings, nor have the ones spoken brought me any comfort.

I do not hate goodbyes. I do not feel I am owed a goodbye, from anyone, for anything. Their goodbyes are not for me, just as mine are not for them. Like a funeral is not for the one who has passed, the goodbye is for those who are still here.

If you need a word to capture the space before the change, you have it. Embrace it. It’s not the goodbye you hate, it’s what is coming. The change, the silence, the grief, the loss, the unknown.

The goodbye is the blessing.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

Ask the Passengers

It feels good to love a thing and not expect anything back.

Ask-the-PassengersAsk the Passengers  by A.S. King

How it begins: Every airplane, no matter how far it is up there, I send love to it.

This is a story about a teenager unsure about herself, unsure about her family, unsure about her friends – who finds strength in laying down on a picnic table she and her pot-smoking dad built, staring at the planes flying overhead and sending them love. Conjuring up goodness and setting it free into the universe. I loved the action, and believed in the intentions of poor, scared, confused, different Astrid. I found the story so empowering, considering this closeted teenage lesbian, facing a difficult, uncontrolled public outing, and a family so self-absorbed that they could hardly offer any help or the love that certainly could have cushioned the mess that took over – but dear Astrid still found love to send away. It is later revealed that her actions were guided by her feeling that her love was not needed in her life directly, and what a shame to waste it, so she sent it away. The sentiment is beautiful. The action is important. If nothing more is taken from this story than the goodness that comes from having the strength to wish others well, the ability to channel goodness and silently offer it to the universe and the patience to wait and see who you really are – that’s enough. A few appearances from Socrates spoke to my own heart…there is great growth that comes from questions and conversations and considering how your beliefs find you placed in the world.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

The most random things get her way too full of love.

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Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

How it begins: The first annothing thing is when I ask Dad what he things happened to Mom, he always says, “What’s most important is for you to understand it’s not your fault.”

This book sat on my reader for a long time before I started reading it and after finishing it, I had wished I had read it sooner. Although the cover doesn’t necessarily suggest Young Adult in genre, the story fits there, I think. With themes of family and independence, fitting in and standing out, the characters face typical growing up challenges with atypical actions. Crazy comes out of the woodwork and through the blackberry vines. Antarctica helps Bernadette remember her purpose, her importance and her own possibilities that have not passed her by. Bee knows to never give up on the mother who stays inside, hates everyone and would do anything for her daughter.

The set up of the story is interesting, the delivery is engaging and the characters are laugh-out-loud funny. There were a few developments that I would have rather done without, but they made sense and they made the entire story even more real.

This is a read that will make you feel, make you laugh, make you connect and make you want to savour the words, the message and the little bit of crazy we all carry that tends to make the world go ’round.

Mortal Instruments [Series]

That which was new was almost always temporary. And that which was temporary broke your heart.

instrumentsCity of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

I read the first five books in this series about a year ago. It took me about five days to finish the final book. That’s because it’s a busy time and it’s a long book, not because I didn’t like it.

This book tied up so many story lines from the previous instalments and incorporated the characters from the Infernal Devices series by Clare. I loved the subtle tie-ins, probably because I enjoyed the other series so much (maybe even better than this one). My biggest problem reading this book was having my thoughts drift back to the movie that came out last summer about the first movie. I found it to be a complete disappointment. It’s not that I dislike any of the actors in it per say, but I didn’t think that any one of them, except maybe Simon, were cast well, and while reading, I kept thinking about these actors in these situations and it became muddled and difficult. I wish I had never watched the movie because the pictures in my head were so much different.

City of Heavenly Fire was a lovely closer to the series. Love and loss, family and friendship — the themes are enjoyably woven together with the hardships and the sacrifices the story takes. The characters come to an end with a sense of hope and thoughts of keeping on.

Perhaps when I get through my TBR pile, I’ll revisit the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. For now, I’m ready to leave them behind. Perhaps I’ll start again with the next series coming from Clare, with some of the characters introduced in the final book of this one. I’m eagerly awaiting the dramatic death of the Seelie Queen. I hope it’s coming. She is wicked and terrible and needs to die….don’t you agree?