Archive for November, 2011

November 27, 2011

you finally got me

We students of children’s literature are often called upon to consider what it means to be an adult reader of  books for children.

The classic leading question we are often asked is whether or not we would be comfortable reading a picturebook in a bar.

The answer we adults are supposed to give is, “Oh my, of course, that would be strange! How weird it is for adults to enjoy children’s literature! The rest of the world must think us creepy.”

Me? I think

A) Um. Who cares.

B) Wait… picturebooks are actually almost inherently awesome works of art that regularly render me speechless with my lack of understanding of fine art! Why would I be ashamed of appreciating ART among other ADULTS?

C) Why am I reading in the bar anyway? If I wanted to read, I would buy a bottle of wine and put on more comfortable clothing…

We also occasionally talk about what books we had to read for class that we were embarrassed to whip out on the T. Again, I am so predictably oblivious that I didn’t notice I read a book with a naked person on the cover until I’d finished 50% of it on the 65 bus and 50% of it at a bar.

Today was somewhat notable. Today was the first day I felt inappropriate, under the microscope, like I shouldn’t be reading a YA book in public.

It’s for class! I promise!

November 26, 2011

thanksgiving weekend 2011



  • Working 5 hours today, 4 hours tomorrow
  • Putting up a book display about American food culture
  • Reading The Changeover
  • Working on my time travel paper


  • Buy normal-eating food for the week. Preferably nothing carb/sugar/potato-based.
  • Read Twilight
  • Watch The Family Stone while putting up my silly blue Christmas tree
November 23, 2011

miss michigan

This Thanksgiving, I am staying in the land of soda, while my family gathers without me in the land of pop.

I miss you, Michigan!

I will see you at Christmas!

amazing art credit to Meg Walsh
and the Wish You Were Here Michigan postcard project

November 22, 2011

writing, recharged

I am thinking a lot about writing, lately. Maybe because it’s November. Maybe because I’m always thinking a lot about writing.

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on a long, fiction project, but I am still writing.

I write every day, actually. Emails. Entries. Papers. Paper journalling.

This stuff counts, I think. And the work I do – helping others with their papers, answering questions at the library? Essentially, these tasks are advanced communication exercises.

Writing a novel: also an advanced communication exercise.

There are some things I miss about working on a book:

  • The pleasure of self-directed, self-motivated work
  • The ritual of regular writing – the assembling of gear, the blocking off of time, the routine
  • Staying in tune with the writing and publishing community online
  • Watching the word-count in the corner of the screen go up and up and up
  • The way it changes my relationship with reading
  • Feeling like I’d finally found a challenge
  • The sense of having a project that is 100% your own, where nobody else can “enter”

It’s more intense than my daily writing, more personal than academic. But it’s also quite a bit riskier. Even if you tell yourself that nobody has to read this draft – or any draft – fear & doubt & insecurity & demons inevitably enters your psyche.

People say a lot of things about writing, about writers. That you shouldn’t try to be one, because it’s painful, it’s difficult, and you probably won’t succeed. You need a thick skin. That you aren’t a writer unless you are writing. That if you were a real writer, you wouldn’t be able to keep yourself away from your work.

I hope this isn’t true. I hope that I can do the kind of writing that engages me, not that pains me. I hope I can still be a writer even if my fears and demons keep me away from the craft for awhile, that the words will be waiting for me when I get back. I hope that I don’t need to undergo an entire personality change to succeed.

I remembered how to get up early again (see: French Press). Originally, these early hours were for exercise, but it got too dark, too cold. Lately, it’s been for reading and re-centering and kitty-cuddling and the DVR.

When this semester’s madness is over, and I suddenly have no classes and fewer job hours, what will fill this morning space?

I am thinking a lot about writing, lately.

November 20, 2011

picturebooks: rock on

November 18, 2011

up next

Reporter: “So, Jessica. You’ve turned in your abstract and annotated bib for your final paper, and your website is in for peer review. You don’t have anything due until after Thanksgiving.

Tell me:

what will you do next?”


“Play Yarn Kirby.

And maybe… read a book?”

November 11, 2011

Reading Wishlist – November 2011

You guys, I am six books away from reading freedom.



I may have celebrated this realization by going a little crazy with my library holds. Apparently there’s this wide, wild world of 2011 Young Adult Book Releases (or YA-ish) that I have been kept from… and apparently, I want to read them all? News to me.

Please do not question how I will read 16 entire books in a month.

1. Level Up by Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham

2. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

3. Habibi by Craig Thompson

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

5. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

6. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

7. The Returning by Christine Hinwood

8. Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

9. The Sweet Life of Stella Madison by Laura M. Zeises

10. The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman

11. Tighter by Adele Griffin

12. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

13. To Timbuktu by Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg

14. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

15. Pearl by Jo Knowles

16. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


November 8, 2011


I have been caught up trying to do a mass amount of reading for class this week.

Sabriel, why are you such a long book?

I didn’t know anything about necromancy until reading this book, and I am not sure that I am glad to now have such extensive knowledge on the topic.

Listen to this song. It’s creepy!

Also, I have a newfound suspicion of gates. Like the one at the new Whole Foods that has little fruits and veggies made of wrought iron.

And I am feeling inexplicable urges to ring bells at things. And sing this song.

The semester is more than half over. Registration time is a busy time at Job #1. Midterms and final papers are a busy time at Jobs #2 and #3. I have to make a 20 page website and an abstract&annotated bib for my final paper in the next 3 weeks.

Hopefully it won’t kill me.

November 6, 2011

a moment of mush

Unless you have an infant or are a sickeningly early riser, weekend early mornings should be spent sleeping.

If you are bothering to be awake at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday or Sunday morning, your choice of activities for this early hour is telling.

Example #1

On Saturday morning, my noisy, noisy neighbors were still/already awake at 5:30 in the morning having a lively screaming match (directly below my bedroom).

Example #2

On Sunday morning, I was awake at 5:30 because I was suffering from some kind of debilitating congestion/neck-pain/too-much-wine&carbs headache. I was fairly miserable, trying really hard to sleep it off, laying on an icepack, and trying to formulate what kind of medication would soothe me most effectively, since the best choice (Sudafed + Excedrin) didn’t seem like a great choice for 5:30 a.m. and I drank all the Nyquil already and the whole standing-up/walking-around thing is not feeling too great.

At 5:45 a.m., my boyfriend rolls in the door. He is awake because he likes to pretend he is 13 and stay up all night playing video games with friends.

At 5:48 a.m., my boyfriend is attending to my fatigued requests, pouring me an actual shotglass full of Dayquil in the dark, offering to heat up my hot-corn-bag, and generally being a saint.

I will say “thank you” by letting him sleep in.

I know, I’m too kind.

November 4, 2011

but i am quite sleepy

This week’s major accomplishments:

1. Successfully avoiding my boyfriend’s stomach flu,

but instead contracting a more run-of-the-mill upper respiratory infection!

2. The noisy downstairs neighbors only waking me up after midnight TWICE with their signature unhealthy combination of loud fighting and loud somethingelsethatstartswithaneff-ing.

In other news: it is Friday, and I am tired.