Blogtober #12: Bookworming It.

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Welcome to Monday. Since this time of year–for me, anyway–breeds even more reading than usual, I wanted to share my top four favorite books of all time with y’all. (Fun fact: I declared that I would never combine you + all once moving to Texas. So, yeah. Y’all it is. Never say never.)

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To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. What can I even say about this inspiring book? You know it. You either read it and/or watched the film adaptation in your classroom growing up. You fell in love with Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. You were moved by this engrossing tale of lessons and race relations in the Deep South. You loved reading about Scout and Jem and Boo Radley and Dill. You were enraptured by the trial and case of Tom Robinson. This book was everything for me. As a budding writer and just as a person, I’ll never forget how this novel made me feel.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. Loooooookkkkk. Let me tell you. My 12th grade English teacher was the meanest lady this side of Planet Earth. I wish I were exaggerating. Nevertheless, I will forever thank her for inciting my enduring love for Jane Austen and her writing. Never have I loved fictional characters more (Elizabeth Bennet: personal hero; Mr. Darcy: husband), for one thing, and never have I adored the witty writing style and voice that an author created even more. It felt as if Jane was talking to me privately about these people she knew.

A Good Man is Hard to Find (and other stories), Flannery O’Connor. If Austen significantly influenced my writing style, then Ms. O’Connor majorly informed my desire to end a story with a bang. She knocked my literary socks off when I discovered her in college. Not only were her observations about human nature absolutely unrelenting, but so were the finales of her fascinating stories. (Seriously.) My love of writing short stories was also influenced by her; there’s nothing more enticing than fitting what could be a novel inside a short piece of work, which Flannery did over and over again.

Everything written by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and Lois Lowry. You’ve likely heard it before, but most writers begin as voracious, devoted readers. Well, these three authors began the ball rolling for me. Memories of ensconcing myself in library stacks surrounded by their stories of intelligent, verbose heroines, annoying siblings, and the pain and discovery of girlhood are never far from mind. They began the blueprint for me. And yes, I’d read all those books over again now and still relate to them.

I have tons of booky favorites, needless to say, so another post with a new batch of favorites will come. Here’s where I’ll tell you that gone are the days when I had stacks and stacks of actual books that my mother threatened to get rid of if I didn’t arrange them with some semblance of order. These days, I enjoy maintaining a digital bookshelf and read everything on my Kindle app. (I’d love an actual library, but the living arrangements don’t presently have room for that. Maybe in the next place I find with more room.) I also have a Kindle Unlimited membership through Amazon and yes, it is awesome. A friend of mine knew how much I loved the whole library book borrowing system and recommended Kindle Unlimited–and I’m glad she did. With this membership, I can borrow books and discover an array of authors whenver I like. At present, I’m reading Mindy Kaling’s latest six series essay collection, Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes), and the convenience of borrowing the titles and simply returning them when I’m done is the best. Gift the membership to yourself and/or to other bookworms in your life here.

Happy Reading and bon Monday.

Blogtober #11: Sundays.

Sundays were my favorite growing up.

Comics. Some of you out there remember newspapers. I still love them. When I was a wee Square Peg, my pops would buy the giant Sunday version of The Washington Post, which meant a voluminous comics section, which meant a color comics section, at that (the weekday comics were black and white), which meant me spending hours upon hours in our basement, reading and laughing at the antics of Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Cathy, and breathlessly seeing the latest in Peter Parker’s unrequited love for Mary Jane Watson. It was glorious. I also loved reading the Style section and perusing others parts of the paper, filling my mind with facts and people and stories. I’d wait for my Dad to finish reading and then he’d over a section to me. These were our moments and I remember them well.

Coffee. This didn’t only happen on Sundays, but the memory of Sundays and doing this is vivid: my mom would drink her warm cup of java and leave a little behind for me. I’d “sneak” into the kitchen and finish it up, swooning over her masterful mix of coffee, cream, and sugar. Glorious. These days, I can’t handle the caffeine like I used to, but boy, did I love standing by the kitchen counter and taking in that warm sweetness.

Feeling nostalgic today. Did you have a favorite day growing up?

Blogtober #10: but for why, Target?

Saturday means groceries and apparently, this Saturday meant breathtaking sticker shock when the lovely cashier pronounced my total at the Target register.

Are those numbers correct, ma’am?

Sure, there were a few things in my cart that I didn’t originally have in mind when making my mental grocery list. But still. Did I purchase furniture? No. So why did my bill look like I bought a gold-plated lamp?

Le sigh.

I enjoy Target for a variety of reasons, the adherence to masks and social distancing by most of the other shoppers being the main thing. But does anyone else feel a sting in the wallet when it comes to paying for purchases??

Ah, well. C’est la vie and bon Saturday.

Blogtober #8: She Writes.

A bit of self-promotion this fine autumn.

Did you know that I’ve written and published three books? Yes, you say, it’s on the Writing tab on your blog, TSP. This is true. But we’re highlighting my work on the main page today. All my books can be purchased on Amazon right here. Note that this Amazon link is also my author page, so all the books are lined up for you in a pretty row.

Raincoat For Your Senses is a compilation of short fiction and poetry. If you’re in the mood for, well, moody poems and somewhat autobiographical short stories from a 20-something writer, then this is for you. This was my first foray into publishing my work so all firstborns are special. Available digitally.

Short stories abound in The Loftiest Thing. Entirely a collection of short fiction, this book remains my ‘lil baby that could. Whereas RFYS was extracting works I’d completed in the past, this book is full of original, real time fiction that I wrote. Stories about sacrifice, love, relationships, and so much more. It awaits your library, both digital or hard copy.

My latest work, Your Elephant, After All, is 100% poetry. I used to consider myself a fictionista primarily, and then a poet when no story ideas were coming to mind. But I am both a fiction writer and a poet, and working on/publishing this book cemented the latter for me. These poems are personal, are about life and love and everything in between, and I wrote it at a time when I was personally drowning. So, working on it became a life jacket. You’ll love it as much as I do, I guarantee. (Available in hard copy only.)

That’s all she wrote for now. I’m working on some things, so I hope to expand this bookshelf. Until then, support your neighborhood authors and writers and artists, if you can.

Blogtober #5: Autumn ‘Fits.

So, I mentioned the intent to de-bum during this pandemic. It’s become a bit easier these past few days because I’ve been forced to actually get dressed and look decent for video meetings at work. All that said, largely being comfortable while working from home hasn’t stopped me from perusing Pinterest and pinning outfit inspo. Pandemic or not, planning to look fly remains a thing, no? Here are seven outfits that slayed my eyes. Commentary will follow.

Signs of Outfit Slayage

1. Color! This time of year tends to elicit (from me, anyway, when I left the house) plenty of brown and black. These outfits shutter all of that. I absolutely love all the color and shades I see here, especially mustard. Big mustard lover.

2. Patterns Shmatterns. Do you see polka dot against polka dot there? I mean, come on. Full on adoration. These ensembles are just creative and not tied to so-called “rules” of styling and fashion. Super stylish and unique.

3. Basics but not basic. It’s me, so you know a pleated skirt had to be in there. My tried-and-true styling pieces and general aesthetic are evident with all of these ‘fits: feminine, chic, modern with a still vintage-y touch. That said, I recognize a change, even in these outfit choices. My sense of style (and you’ll see this via my Pinterest page, too) seems to be shifting toward a more modern feel than usual. I welcome this. It’s refreshing.

I’d love to find my versions of these ensembles and play around with them this autumn. But: pandemic life. Nevertheless, I’m not above online shopping and in-home fashion shoots. Let’s?

Blogtober #3: Fall in the Time of COVID.

So, real talk: pandemic life is going to be a bit harder for me this fall. When I think of this time of year, an indelible image is spending cool evenings out with my friends and traipsing around town. (Yep, it gets cool here in the Lone Star state, although comparatively, it’s still Texas.) And lest you say I can still do all those things with a mask on: no, thanks. Staying in. Here are some things I plan on doing to still capture that electric feeling I love around this time of year.

I. Love. Walking. As I mentioned in a past post, my morning walks have been invigorating and fabu. I plan on adding some early evening, twilight walks in there, too, just to capture the changing of the atmosphere and taking it all in.

A few days ago, I headed out to grab something from the store and took the long way home. The sun was close to setting and I drove at my leisure. It was glorious. It’s been a long pastime for me: just getting in the car and driving. I plan on enjoying this fall by doing that more than often; a bit of sightseeing in the car. No need to get out, just taking my sweet time down a few long and winding roads.

Can I tell you how much I miss bookstores?!?! Strolling along the stacks and inhaling the lovely scent of book spines and pages? Settling down in the store café and casually flipping through my finds over tea and a croissant? Le sigh. Since a bookstore isn’t currently essential in the list of places I choose to go (read: grocery store and that’s about it), the cure: more reading than usual. Bookworm life is year-round for me, yes, but this time of year has an intriguing hold on me: I crave reading. So, I plan on adding more books to the bookshelf and just hunkering down. 🙌🏾

We’ve all had to adjust to this weird year. I long for familiar, unmasked faces and being in the company of folks I love and adore. The time will come for that. Until that: here’s to adjusting and finding some contentedness amid this crazy.

Blogtober #2: October.

Late entry this Saturday eve. It was a long work day and then this lady fell into a hard nap after work. I’m sure you’ll agree that naps hit different when you’re not 12 anymore. I basically slept. 🤷🏾‍♀️

Yesterday, I mentioned that October is my favorite month. Here are four reasons why:

1. My dear Ma gave birth to me in the month of October.

2. There’s something about the name of the month itself that I find pleasing to the ear. Phonics. October.

3. Back in Somewheres, VA, my hometown, autumn flourished during October; the trees bore endless shades of violent and burnt orange, the air was so crisp and lovely. It was unbearably beautiful.

4. October reminds me of James Taylor, my favorite singer-songwriter. Listen to his song Walking Man. Goodness. If the melancholy of autumn was ever put to song…

Your favorite thing about fall? Or your favorite month? I await you in the comments.

Blogtober #1: And Away We Go…

Blogging all 31 days of my favorite month. Can she do it? We’ve done it before, so hopefully, we shall do it again. (For past Blogtobers, shimmy over to the search feature and read up, if you like.) What Blogtober means for you, my dear reader:

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  • Expect 31 days of content from me
  • Even on the weekends! (😳)
  • That emoji simply means that we’re asking TSP to remember to do anything beyond excessive napping on the weekends, much less blog. But she shall. And she continues to refer to herself in the third person, naturally
  • Discussing a variety of topics, which we do whenever I post, but as in Blogtober past, focusing on autumn-y related topics and ideas. (See my previous post from this week; guess I got started early)
  • The point of it all: to focus on consistency and creativity. I’m all about this blogging life, and events like this allow me to push myself to stay focused. All good things.

Since today is Throwback Thursday, let’s go back to October 2015. I was in Europe for two weeks that month, adventuring in Germany and England, seeing the sights and experiencing the highs and lows of solo traveling. During one of our days of sightseeing, my hostess decided to drive me to Luxembourg! Certainly not on the agenda, but I was super excited to visit the country. There was a philharmonic performance that she wanted to take me to; although the performance was canceled, we got to walk around the beautiful concert area and still drive around. Lovely and picturesque, even despite the rainy day. Photos below.

One thing I love about traveling: some of the lovely surprises that come your way. Anywho, it was one of the best autumns I had in the past, spending the better part of it experiencing new places.

Your favorite place you’ve been? Share in the comments, if you please.

Happy Blogtober. Away we go.