From My Bookshelf: Upstream, Lake, Ocean

In celebration of the first month of summer, I’ve pulled three books from my bookshelf that each feature a body of water in their title: Upstream by Mary Oliver, The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Learn more about the From My Bookshelf series here on my blog, and keep reading for some of my thoughts on these three books.

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It Always Stays Like An Old Friend | Unfold and Begin

Thank you to Jennifer from Unfold and Begin for this creative prompt, inspired by September and fall (my two favorite things about the year).

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Vanity Fair and Preservation

William Makepeace Thackeray lived during “the age of the magazine,” and personally contributed a number of articles to a few publications, as well as a couple of books. The most well-known book, and thus the novel he himself became famous for, was first published serially in Punch magazine. It is of course, Vanity Fair.

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For Beverly

I wrote this at the end of 2014, which was an arduous time for me. I was realizing that the Master’s program I was in was not something I wanted to continue, I was broke, and more terrible thoughts inhabited my mind than positive ones. Then, my grandmother passed away. 

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Reactions

This Wednesday morning, November the 9th, 2016, I took a breather before heading into work. I sat down with my coffee, rather than carry it around my apartment as I got ready. I actually made, sat down with, and ate breakfast, watched random episodes of Parks and Recreation as I checked my email. Finally, I was calm enough to tune in to the rest of America and find out the results of this monumental election.

Shock. Then shock of feeling shocked that Donald Trump will be entering the White House in January. One thousand thoughts flew threw my mind, and for the next hour, one thousand tears flooded out of my eyes.

After fixing what was left of my makeup, I drove to work and avoided the radio. Instead, I continued to catch up on my favorite podcast, The Librarian is In.

I walked into my office and automatically shut my door. Most of the time I keep it open, but I felt shutting the door to separate my miserable attitude from whatever feelings were floating around the rest of the office was best. Fortunately, when I’m trying not to think or feel or react, a wave of motivation comes over me and I am able to stick to working without distraction. It’s amazing, really.

So no distractions for a few hours. Until I couldn’t stop myself (cringe) from entering the seas of social media on my break. And, shocker, my reactionary instincts started creeping out among those on the screen. Here are some of those candid reactions, preceded by the source, now. This isn’t meant as a “holier than thou” listicle, or a rant with no end; it’s simply a transcript of thoughts that passed through my mind.

“I’m leaving America”

  1. For those of you I personally know: You don’t really mean that. You’re either in college, starting a family, or don’t know the first thing about visiting – let alone moving to – another country.
  2. For those of you who may never see this/I’m acquainted with/I admire from afar: I don’t know you as well, or at all, but I’m also pretty sure you don’t mean that. If you do, if you feel like your only option is to leave America, then I won’t judge you. I don’t know what that is like, and I am sorry America has only left you with that option. If you are saying it to be ironic, well I won’t judge you either. Because it’s none of my f***ing business whether you leave or stay. I do wish you would take another look at the situation we are now in and feel like you should stay to improve the state of the nation, but my wishes are not commands.

“I don’t want to hear anyone say they are ashamed to be an American/want to leave”

Well, maybe if you listened to people you wouldn’t be so demanding and restrictive of their freedom of speech. Maybe if you listened, you would find out why they want to leave, or why they are ashamed to be an American. Maybe, if you got off your soapbox, and they theirs, you could have a conversation about your semi-conflicting views and get to the root of why people are saying these things.

“Hillary supporters will have to shut up now!”

  1. Are you demanding that “Hillary supporters” be silenced? Are you encouraging the undermining of the First Amendment (that’s the freedom of speech one)? Are you saying that people who don’t share your beliefs cannot express their resistance, their disagreement, their frustration? WAIT, I’ll answer for you – YES, you absolutely are.
  2. Oh, give me a break. If you think “Hillary supporters” are going to “shut up” now, you are horribly delusional. Also, “Hillary supporters” seem to be on the side of civil rights, the rights of women, acceptance; so are you saying you want to silence all of those conversations and movements?
  3. I hate myself for allowing the anger behind this statement fuel my own anger and outbursts.

#NotMyPresident

Guess what. If you are an American citizen, he is your president[elect]. That’s just a fact, and this hashtag, if used by other supporters for the opposite candidate, would not be acceptable in that instance either. Here is my suggestion for a hashtag: #DownWithTheElectoralCollege

“No matter what, we all need to be kind to each other, and love each other through this.”

  1. Are you out of touch? Hate/anger/bullying wins! It is now proven!
  2. I hope there will be enough peace and love to get us through the setbacks I feel we are going to face with this president.

“It’s in God’s hands now.”

  1. Oh for f***’s sake. *EYE ROLL*
  2. I’m sorry. I constantly exclaim “Thank God” and “God, please let the library be open an hour longer than I think it is,” but I do not put my trust/belief in God for anything. So I am sorry, for publicly cutting at the deity that you (and millions of people) may put every ounce of faith and trust in, and lean on in times of struggle. That is uncalled for, so I am sorry.

I want to avoid painting with a broad brush and believing that everyone who supported Donald’s Trump campaign is also racist, also misogynistic, also hateful. I want to believe that reasons behind supporting him were rooted in frustration towards corruption, a dislike for the “rigid” two party system, discontent caused by the failures of career politicians (although I will never truly understand how this beat out his glaring flaws). But it’s hard, because I am surrounded by people who support him because he blindly “speaks his mind” and isn’t “politically correct,” those same people who are now calling for everyone to come together in support of making America great again. I have been worried about what this “again” means, and I don’t think that worry will cease in the near future. I accept that Donald Trump is our president-elect, I accept that the people in our country are unhappy, I accept that there are views different than mine.

But I will not accept hatred. I will not brush off homophobic, sexist, and racist remarks – no matter who they come from. I will not ignore the obvious disparities of the American experience. I will not allow myself to continue crying while standing idle – what’s the point? I can accept the path chosen for the next four years by our democracy, but I will not accept backpedaling, reversal, prejudices that will launch us back into the past.

The American dream is inclusive. It’s an institution. It’s not being destroyed from the outside, it’s being attacked from within. It should not be grounded in hate and assault, but in peace, in understanding, and intelligence. Selfishness will only breed the former, reaching a hand (or two!) out to pick someone else up inspires the latter.

Jezebel has published “A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support.” Donate, volunteer, or at least become more knowledgeable about a cause or group of people you know little or nothing about. Spread your own knowledge [read: FACTS] and grow – maybe even change – because of the individuals who make this country great.

 

Despair and Writing

“Piece of shit!” – THUNK – and then, “Sorry.” – the creaking noise an old door makes when it’s being open – At least, that’s the sound I imagine when I open my tablet back up after my motivation sort of side-steps the frustration I feel for how terribly this “innovative” piece of technology is working. Or not working. Back to my precious alter-reality.

There’s nothing you can say that will change my mind. I’m bored, in the least crass and all-encompassing respects of the word.
Well what can I do to interest you? How can I change the way you feel? How can I change?

I wish the keyboard’s communication with the inner workings of this square, flat tool would keep up with the speed of my fingers. And that’s not just a brag about how fast I can type.

Nothing, nothing, and I don’t want you to. I’ve changed. I need something different. I don’t know what, and I don’t know what it is I want. But I know what I don’t.
Well I wish you would explain this to me more clearly, it just doesn’t make any sense.
I wish I could too.

SERIOUSLY?! Please just work more smoothly – it’s so distracting. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather stay away from you and rely on my faithful notebooks and pencils. But here I have more guts to actually post and publish. Maybe this is a sign. Maybe you’re telling me I’m full of crap and should just start from square one and do something with my life that people [my family] will actually understand?


Despair. It truly is an unmistakable and overwhelming feeling – even though it may not show its true face at first. In dealing with technology; with feelings and more specifically love; and with life. Oh, and writing.