Archive | July, 2012

Summer pleasure reading wrap-up.

31 Jul

It’s hard to believe that my summer is almost over (though I still have about 2 weeks left). However, since I spent as much time as possible reading as many books as I could, I thought I’d do a summer/pleasure reading wrap-up for the months of May, June, and July. Also, since I love quotes, I thought I’d include quotes from the books that I could find quotes from on Goodreads. 🙂

May

  1. The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons: “I believe that anything is possible if you have the combination of love for what you’re doing and the will to sit down and not get up until it’s done.”
  2. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver: “In a world as wrong as this one, all we can do is make things as right as we can.”
  3. Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten
  4. Pigs In Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver: “No matter what kind of night you’re having, morning always wins.”
  5. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks: “Stories are as unique as the people who tell them, and the best stories are in which the ending is a surprise.”
  6. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver: “I thought I wouldn’t live through it. But you do. You learn to love the place somebody leaves behind for you.”
  7. How To Be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward: “When you are small, if you reach out, and nobody takes your hand, you stop reaching out, and reach inside, instead.”
  8. Beyond The Waves by Miranda Marek
  9. A Soft Place To Land by Susan Rebecca White
  10. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

June

  1. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson: “That is what literature offers—a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.”
  2. Fifty Shades Of Grey by EL James: “Laters, baby.”
  3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: “Perhaps the unattached, the unwanted, the unloved, could grow to give love as lushly as anyone else.”
  4. If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland: “I found that many gifted people are so afraid of writing a poor story that they cannot summon the nerve to write a single sentence for months. The thing to say to such people is: “See how *bad* a story you can write. See how dull you can be. Go ahead. That would be fun and interesting. I will give you ten dollars if you can write something thoroughly dull from beginning to end!” And of course, no one can. ”
  5. On Writing by Stephen King: “Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”
  6. The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank: “Sometimes you’re loved because of your weaknesses. What you can’t do is sometimes more compelling than what you can.”
  7. Fifty Shades Darker by EL James: “You’re the only person I’d fly three thousand miles to see.”

July

  1. Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos: “But sometimes, a boat needs to rock; a boat needs to head straight for the heart of a storm and come out on the other side, weather beaten but with flags flying.”
  2. Fifty Shades Freed by EL James: “I want your world to begin and end with me.”
  3. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger: “Listen, sometimes when you finally find out, you realize that you were much better off not knowing.”
  4. Sam’s Letters To Jennifer by James Patterson: “What are we but our stories?”
  5. The Map Of Love by Ahdaf Soueif
  6. The Tenderness Of Wolves by Stef Penney: “It just goes to show you can’t leave anything behind. You bring it all with you, whether you want to or not.”
  7. Harvesting The Heart by Jodi Picoult: “Perhaps he d always known that the truth of a person lies in the heart.”
  8. Belong To Me by Marisa De Los Santos: “You know what he said? He said that being away from me is less like being away from a person than being away from other people is. I don’t know anyone else who would say something like that. And he was right. When we were apart, I missed him all the time, but he didn’t feel faraway. He felt closer than the kids at school.”…Certain people are like that, I guess. They’re together no matter where they are. They just belong to each other.”

Total: 25 books. Not too shabby, especially considering I was studying abroad for 5 weeks and going to my internship for 5 days a week. 🙂

What have you read this summer that you’ve really enjoyed?

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An Emotional Whirlwind.

30 Jul

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” -Henri J.M. Nouwen

I feel like I’ve been through an emotional whirlwind recently. I had a tough travel day on Thursday (even though I did finally make it home), I came home to find out that one of my dog’s has a tumor, Delta lost my luggage and I didn’t receive it until today, and a limb went through the windshield of my car and it has to be replaced (but thankfully I wasn’t in my car when the limb went through my windshield). For the past few days, it’s felt like nothing has gone my way. It’s almost as if anything that could possibly knock me over has slammed into me with full force.

However, the one thing that I am holding on to is the fact that I get to see my best friend Skidmore on Friday. I’m holding on to that one simple thing with every fiber of my being because if I know that if I give myself even a small chance to stop and think, I’ll just fall apart. Though I know that once I see Skidmore I’ll most likely finally break down, I’m trying to hold it together to some extent until then. Not because I don’t want to appear weak. Far from that, actually. I just know that if I give in to what I’m feeling right now, I’ll just start crying and I won’t be able to stop.

Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t seen my friends in what seems like forever. Either way, this feels like the eerie calm before the storm. But waiting to break down until I get to Skidmore’s is exactly what I need. Though the waiting wouldn’t really change much, it would change everything all at the same time. Skidmore is the easiest person in the world for me to talk to, and I know that if I was talking to her through body-heaving sobs, she wouldn’t even say anything. She’d just hug me and wait until I was able to get out what I was feeling. I need that kind of patience, that kind of willingness to listen. For so long, Skidmore has been the one person that I’ve turned to for everything, and even though it’s never a good time to feel like your world has been flipped upside down, I feel like it couldn’t have come at a better time since I’m going up to see Skidmore this weekend anyway for her 21st birthday.

Either way, all of this is hard to grasp right now….especially the weight hanging on the fact that my dog, Roxy, has a tumor. My family put our oldest dog, Max, to sleep at the beginning of this summer, and the fact that Roxy may not be far behind is the most heartbreaking thing I can even imagine right now. I want to cry….and scream…and run…and throw things….and hold on to Roxy for as long as I possibly can. None of this is fair. I understand that losing a pet never is. However, it’s just as if all of this stress has hit me like a bulldozer, and I don’t even know what to feel. So I’m just hanging on for a few more days…hanging on until I can fall apart in the company of my best friend.

Ireland detox: not as hard as I expected.

29 Jul

I returned from Ireland late Thursday night, or more accurately, during the wee hours of Friday morning. Even though I wasn’t quite sure how I would adjust to being back, I’ve drifted back into my life in North Carolina pretty nicely. However, at this point I’ve also realized that it’s only been a few days. A week from now I could be longing for Ireland in every fiber of my being. For now though, I’m loving being back.

I think it also has something to do with the fact that I’m jumping back into routines soon, so it’s not as if I’m sitting around for a few months before really getting back to my life. For instance, I start back at my internship with Lark Books (a book publisher in Asheville) tomorrow, I move in to my very first apartment on the 15th of August, and classes of the fall semester and my first day back to work at the bookstore both begin on the 20th of August. Therefore, I have things to look forward to and prepare for, which I’m thankful for. If I came back from Ireland with all this time to sit and think about what I was missing, I think it would be a lot harder to adjust to being back.

I also just love where I live, so it’s not as if I left the beauty of Ireland to come back to a place that I didn’t like. I absolutely love living among the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and I’m even more anxious to head back to Asheville so that I can be among my friends again. However, there are definitely things that I miss, most of which are the people who I met and got to know. Even though I know that I won’t keep up with all of the people who I met in my study abroad group, I know that there are a few that I’ll keep up with just because we connected so well when over in Ireland. In terms of smaller things, it’s a bummer that I have to go from being able to drink in Ireland to not being legal yet in the states. However, when I was Ireland, I talked to this Irish guy who said that he went over to the US when he was 20, and it sucked that he had been able to drink for 2 years in his home country only to come to the US and not be able to. Yeah, I agreed with him that that would have been much harder.

Despite knowing that there will be things that I’ll miss about Ireland, I know that I’ll find a way to go back one day if it’s something that I really want. However, during my time in Ireland, I also realized how many places there are in the United States that I’m longing to visit too. Therefore, maybe when the travel bug bites again, I’ll settle to head somewhere in my home country. I’ve got so many options regarding terrain though. I think that’s what’s so great about the US. There are so many different places that are a relatively short distance apart, especially compared to the distance between the US and a place like Ireland. Now that I’ve been to Ireland, I have no doubt that I’ll want to explore all the different areas in the US as much as I can.

Writing advice from Maya Angelou.

28 Jul

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 

This quote has hit home for me recently, and yet I know that I’m doing something that not many people can do: I’m attempting to get my life on paper. At this point, that’s all that matters to me, the fact that I’m trying. Even though I was worried for a while that I haven’t even touched my memoir in what seems like ages, I’m okay with where I stand. As many people have told me over the past few months: the words will come when they are ready. I’m sticking to that thought. At least for now.

I’ve been published again…sort of.

27 Jul

Okay, let me clarify. I haven’t published anything new myself. However, I’m once again published in that my name is in the paper again. As I said a few days ago, my writing mentor and friend, Mike, wrote an article about me that was to appear in the Columbia Star, the newspaper where I interned back in 2009. I’m happy to announce that as of yesterday evening, that article is now in print as well as up on the Columbia Star website, so I thought I’d share it with all of you. 🙂

Meeting Amelia By Mike Cox

Saying goodbye to Ireland tomorrow.

25 Jul

Since I’m flying home tomorrow morning, this song seemed appropriate. Gotta love James Taylor! 🙂

When in Ireland, find a quote that fits.

23 Jul

I’ve been thinking of my writing mentor, Mike, a lot today. One of the reasons is because he has written an article about me that will appear in this week’s issue of the Columbia Star newspaper. I’ve read the article multiple times, and it brings me to tears every time. Since there are no amount of words that can convey how grateful I am for his support in my writing and in me, I thought I’d settle for a quote I just found:

“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because
someone else thought they could.”