Baggage Claim


Baggage Claim

I’ve got baggage—
under-eye baggage,
vacation baggage,
fucked up childhood baggage.

It’s not even the expensive kind.
A broken zipper,
a frayed seam,
and don’t even get me started
on the duct-taped handles.

Once someone asked
where I was going
with all that baggage.
“Wherever I want,”
I said.

JOE by Larry Brown… Tugs at the Heart Strings


JoeJoe by Larry Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

JOE is a perfect example of Southern Literature at its finest. The story begins with a boy and his family. They’re tired, dirty, and without a home. The boys father is an abusive drunk who refuses to help his family survive, and his son steps in to help out by asking for a job from Joe Ransom. Joe has problems of his own. He’s a stubborn, stoic man who doesn’t feel that he deserves happiness. His only ambition is to never go back to prison, but there are people out there who’d send him back in a heartbeat. The relationship that forms between Joe and Gary, the boy, will tug at your heart. They balance each other out and provide exactly what the other is looking for, even though they don’t realize it. You will become emotionally attached to these characters, and Larry Brown did an amazing job of making that happen.

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NEVER COME BACK by David Bell… Couldn’t Put It Down!!


Never Come BackNever Come Back by David J. Bell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NEVER COME BACK by David Bell is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I literally couldn’t put it down. The suspense is masterfully done, and the characters are so easy to fall in love with. But I quickly learned that not all of them could be trusted. When Elizabeth’s mother dies, she is devastated, and she finds herself responsible for taking care of her brother who has Down’s syndrome. While she struggles to keep up with her Master’s program at school, take care of her brother, and cope with the loss of her mother, she learns that the police suspect foul play in her mother’s death, and it wasn’t a robbery. What could a sixty-something woman who keeps to herself possibly have been involved in that would have gotten her killed? Could her sweet brother have done this in a fit of rage? Or was it the new person who suddenly shows up and destroys everything Elizabeth had thought to be true? By the end of the story, I felt Elizabeth’s shock and betrayal as strongly as I could only imagine she felt herself. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a great thriller and who doesn’t mind having uneasy thoughts like, “How do I know this isn’t true for me too?” Because the truth is, you may never really know…

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A Friday Afternoon Spent in Bed


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Whoever coined the phrase “get out there and enjoy life” failed to consider the joys one can gain by simply staying in.

After a very successful week of getting back into the school groove, beginning some new classes, and starting a brand new, exciting internship, I’m spending my Friday afternoon in bed.

Normally, an afternoon in bed means I haven’t the motivation or desire to do anything else. I deal with my share of depressive episodes that make it very difficult to appreciate the best parts of life, so when I find myself fully relaxed, engrossed, and at peace, I’ve learned to recognize and appreciate it.

Have a wonderful Friday!  I am.

Just a Piece of Paper


Just a Piece of Paper

There’s nothing more frightening than a blank piece of paper. It’s the unsurety of it all really. What begins as something seemingly simple, like 28 or 30-something impossibly straight, horizontal lines printed across a blank slate has potential. That’s the scary part.

A piece of paper’s life span can be reduced to the time it takes someone to write two or three sentences, read them over, and hastily scribble through them before the paper is wadded up and thrown away forever. Those two or three sentences could have moved mountains, but they cease to exist in that one frustrated moment following conception and rejection.

A piece of paper can be the backdrop for the scribblings of a 4 year old or the inpatient doodles of an important executive. Which is more powerful? The four-year-old might grow up and one day find his/her scribbles stashed away somewhere safe, among many other treasures that were saved out of love. Those incoherent scribbles could be worth more than the executive’s $15 million deal he/she was negotiating over the phone as they mindlessly doodled. Nobody saves those doodles.

A piece of paper can hold a love letter, a thank you note, an invitation, an apology. It can be used to form relationships, mend broken ones, and just as easily destroy seemingly healthy ones–a folded up phone number left in someone’s pants pocket, or a letter meant for one person that falls into the wrong hands.

A piece of paper can be powerful, insightful, and inspiring. It can hold knowledge and allow others to learn and share in the knowledge of someone long dead, across the world, or just down the street. This knowledge can encourage enlightenment and betterment, and it can ruin people. Knowledge is power. People abuse power every single day.

A piece of paper can form a religion. It can hold powerful words that people will worship and be willing to die for. The paper can encourage people to be good, humble beings, or it can demand assimilation. It can promote self-acceptance or it can promote genocide.

A piece of paper can hold the deepest secrets of a teenaged girl–who she has a crush on, how her parents just don’t understand, and the fact that she thinks she might be ready to have sex. Another piece of paper a little further along in the same notebook may be stained with tears and realizations that came too late.

A piece of paper can be the only conduit for someone who’s suffering. They can put their feelings on that paper and then they can say they’ve shared them. They can use the paper to reach out for help, or they can use it to lie to their families and say everything’s okay. Some might even use that paper to say their final goodbyes and “I love you”s before they leave the world that has always been a hell for them.

A piece of paper can begin an epic journey, a heart-wrenching love story, a deeply emotional poem, or a hilarious comedy. People live and die on these pieces of paper. They love and mourn. They exist.

A piece of paper has potential… The potential to begin, end, mend, destroy, teach, create, learn, get lost, find yourself or something that’s been missing, hold memories–good and bad, and record lives–real and imaginary.

A piece of paper has potential, and it’s magical.

Stepping Out of My Zone: A Biography of My Reading History


I wouldn’t exactly call it my comfort zone, but I am definitely stepping out of my most commonly occupied zone.

When I began reading wayyyyy back in fifth grade (1990ish), I quickly became a Sweet Valley High junkie. Next was The Babysitter’s Club. I literally read hundreds of those teeny bopper books and loved every bit of them. Now that I think about it, it would actually be interesting and probably a bit horrifying to read one now.

Later during high school, I read every single Danielle Steele novel she’d ever written. Eventually, I got to the point where I could no longer tell them apart. Later, I would realize the reasoning behind that was basically the same reason she’d managed to be so prolific. Most of her novels were pretty much recycled plot lines where the characters had different names but the same voice and they were facing a somewhat different conflict in a different setting…. but when you’ve read them all and you look back, you realize they’re all essentially the same book.

So I decided to take a leap, and I had a spin with Nora Roberts and Karen Robards. Admittedly, they are both very similar to Danielle Steele, but there was more action and more to the stories… more variety, the characters had distinct voices and personalities, the authors had different writing styles.

Eventually though, I grew tired of the entire romance genre. I was sick of the happily-ever-afters, the cliche sexual tension, and the stubborn characters who denied their feelings for stupid reasons. I made a vow; the next book I chose to read would definitely not feature some cheesy cursive script on the cover with two impossibly attractive people embracing in the background. Continue reading