So ever since I was a wee Square Peg, the quiet of night didn’t sit well with me. I couldn’t take it. Being a light sleeper since childhood, I can hear everything. Everything. (My Dad worked at night and loved to point out that he knew who would be waiting for him when the front door opened in the early hours of morning. Yours truly.) Unfortunately, that also includes silence. And nighttime silence has never been comfortable for me. It’s way heavier and ripe with the possibilities of my very active imagination. So, yes, I’ve always had issues with sleep; not sleeping well, not getting enough hours, so on and so yawningly forth.
Enter the television. And yep, I know it certainly doesn’t help with rest and incites the movement of my mind when I should be dreaming. But I need the white noise, y’all. Or episodes of Chopped, at least. I’ve tried the sleep sounds with falling rain and thunder and all that and…didn’t work. But what works? The TV. Utterly bizarre.
Since returning to my natural texture almost eight years ago (naturalversary is in December yay), I’ve had many, many, many hairstyles. Natural hair opened an experimentation door for me, undoubtedly; from varying lengths to color changes to everything in between, I managed to diffuse any boredom with styling and not shock my mother too much with my changes. All that said: I made a ‘lil natural hair compilation video: from 2012-2020. Music: Do Your Thing, ‘*NSYNC.
(This blog post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission for purchases made through these links.)
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.)
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.
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?
Saturday means groceries and apparently, this Saturday meant breathtaking sticker shock when the lovely cashier pronounced my total at the Target register.
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?
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??
• Crochet passion twists are my newest protective style. My first time with passion twists and they’re pretty great.
• My makeup for these looks: other than the lippies you see, none at all. I only wear lipstick and I’m good to go. I’m sure the foundation and blush are lonely. But I don’t see the need.
• Those glasses have no prescription. I’m a lover of fashion lenses that make me look like your nice but still-stern English teacher.
• I’m amazed by my eyebrows. Seven months without visiting my waxologist (I know we don’t call them that 😬); by now I thought I’d look pretty wolffish. But the shape is there and they aren’t out of control. Sure, the gray hairs are coming in and things of that nature, but perhaps they’ve become quarantine-trained. Can’t say the same about my toenails, though. Yikes.
So, styling in the age of Zoom and video calls has been easy, low maintenance, and pretty great. Not that much different from before, actually, but that inborn desire to look “polished” has significantly diminished. You know what I mean?
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.
A mouthful of a title, no? But let’s go over fourteen facts about yours truly that I likely haven’t discussed on TSP. I should say that I don’t tell y’all everything, because the Internet, but these are fun and/or interesting factoids (to me, anyway) that I don’t mind sharing.
1. Naturalistas will know what this is referring to, but I don’t hair-type my strands. I have about three different textures on this head so I’d be three different hair types, for one, and two: I don’t see the point of categorizing my hair. Some say the hair types help determine what products to use but look: the hair journey is allll about finding the right products. Being 3A, 5Z, whatevs won’t change that. (And some folks assign a level of “difficulty” based on the hair type. I don’t care for that. All hair is good hair. Work with what ya got.)
2. Needles. But for why? The fear is real.
3. My kingdom for a bagel. I first experienced true bagels in New York City when I was a young TSP, and nothing will ever live up to NYC bagels, but there are close seconds. A longtime favorite.
4. She doesn’t know how to roller skate, ice skate, or ride a bike. Perhaps my parents knew that I would rally against the loss of being on solid ground. I love solid ground.
5. I speak in my characters’ voices when I’m writing a story. Helps craft them better. Plus it’s fun.
6. I will forever associate Harrison Ford with Han Solo and Indiana Jones, and for those reasons, I’m prepared to love him forever.
7. Ocean life is so creepy to me. It just is. 😳
8. I watch reruns of Law and Order every single day. This is not an exaggeration. (The original, not SVU or CI.)
9. My obsession with ice cream sandwiches culminated when, in the 8th grade, my banker told me that I owed her $14 (14 shows up again) for borrowing the money to buy said sandwiches during lunch. I sadly informed her that my 13 year-old self had no money. What a moment. She dismissed the fee. *exhale*
10. Favorite superhero is Superman. I mean, can you blame me? (Christopher Reeve and Henry Cavill, in case you’re wondering.)
11. I once got locked in a restaurant bathroom. The door got stuck and I couldn’t get out. My sis and her friend had to jimmy the door. There may have been screaming.
12. Pinterest is literally serotonin for me, if you haven’t noticed. I adore pinning. I think the combination of bulletin boards and lovely inspo is what does it for me. Smiles galore.
13. I had to Google what “lol” meant when it became a popular abbreviation. I verbed (not a word) it at first. “Why are people lol-ing?”
14. Oxford comma? Yes, yes, and yes. (See what I did there?)