Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reading and Rereading

I love books. I was an English major in school; I can't help but smell every book I pick up; I keep a journal of all the books I read throughout the year, so that I can see and remember what I have read. It's more than a hobby for me. It's a way that I sort out my feelings and beliefs. It's the way that I relax. I become fidgety and angry when I have forgotten to bring a book with me no matter where I go. It would be fair to say that books--both the concrete item and the ideas they contain--matter to me a great deal.

I love the Harry Potter series. The first Harry book came out when I was 11 or 12. I read it, tried to act cool about it, and secretly fell in love. I read the whole series, slowly caring less and less about how nerdy I was becoming with my love of these books. When the seventh book was published, I had recently found out about my unexpected and unplanned pregnancy. Two paragraphs in and I was already crying. After my man friend, R, (very reasonably and sweetly) suggested that maybe just maybe my emotions were running a little high, I proceeded to read him the entire series because he "didn't get it." I literally grew up with Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the gang.

I use to reread the series every summer or anytime a new book was coming out, but I haven't done that in a while. In fact, a year or so ago I traded my hardcover copies to one of my friends, A, for her softcover copies (I needed the shelf space, and A wrote her Honors Thesis on Harry and Peter Pan). I haven't opened them until recently.

I decided to reread the whole series a few days ago, and that's when I discovered that my new-to-me copies smell exactly like my friend. A moved away at the beginning of August to attend grad school. She is having a great time, and I get to live vicariously through her. But I miss her a lot. When I opened Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, A filled the room. The book smells like her; it has her notes scattered throughout. We have spent a good amount of time discussing this story, and sitting down to read her old copy of the novel reminded me of all of the wonderful times I have spent sipping coffee with A while discussing literature, movies, and life.

Books are wonderful because, for me at least, not only do they contain the stories recorded by their authors, which is pretty great all on its own, but they can also take us back to specific moments in our own lives, people we love, or lessons we have learned. The stories of Harry Potter do that for me. They remind me of what I was like as a kid and a teenager and how my understanding of the novels grew as I grew; they take me back to my pregnancy and the tradition that my act sparked (I still read aloud to R); and they remind me of friendships. Not bad for a book written for children that I first read 15 years ago.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Running - 1

My doctor wants me to exercise for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week. He hopes that it will help alleviate stress and that in turn it will help reduce my headaches. I'm all for it. I have a personal goal of being able to run a mile before my birthday, which is coming up. It actually works out pretty perfectly since a lot of beginner running advice starts with 20 minute workouts, 3-5 times a week. So that's what I've been working on. And man is it hard. I mean, really hard. Where did my ability to run go? I'm not sure, but it's definitely missing.

The bright side of the whole trying-to-run-unsuccessfully thing is this: it feels good. I mean, don't get me wrong, it feels horrible. My lungs burn; my muscles ache; I smell bad--but it feels wonderful in this weird, achey, awesome way.

It's also made me aware of how beautiful my neighborhood is. I know that the world is beautiful--I mean it's the world, it has to have something going for it--but there are occasions when I forget how lovely my surroundings are on a day-to-day basis. As an artist I want to capture that feeling for days when I forget. Thanks to technology, this is a fairly simple process: I'm going to run with my phone, and instead of only listening to music, I'm going to photograph the things that strike me. By the end of the year, I'm hoping to have a collection of photos showing both the places and distances I am running. Here are a few photos from my recent run:

The driftwood was in the most barren of all yards--barren except for a pile of driftwood. The stingrays are swimming in another neighbor's yard; this one a far cry from barren, but the stingrays are my favorite yard decorations that I have seen to-date. It helps that they appear to be made by hand. New project idea: weld yard decorations. Lots and lots of yard decorations.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Sometimes the world can feel like a terrible place. It can feel lonely. It can feel like all of your love is being rejected. I've been feeling like this. I graduated from a college that I loved with a degree in a subject that I love, and ya know what? I can't find a job that I love. The world does not seem to value the things I value. I've been visiting the doctor for a year trying to figure out why I have so many headaches. The best we have come up with is taking medicine that makes it nearly unbearable to be in the heat, and I'm still getting headaches once or twice a week. AND THIS IS AN IMPROVEMENT! Every time I read the news I feel like injustices and tragedies are accosting me. I vote; I write angry letters; I volunteer. Why doesn't the world (and my body) love me as much as I love it? Why isn't it improving?

I don't have answers to any of these questions, but I have realized a thing or two. The world doesn't owe me anything. It's this beautiful and big place of which I get to be a part. So this blog is going to be my place to write about the things which make my world lovely. The things that make my life worthwhile. The things I want to improve. In short, I want this blog to be my unrequited love letter to the world at large. A place to remind me of all of the things I love and have going on. So come along if you would like. It's going to be a wild ride...or what's more likely: a peaceful stroll.