Coming Home Again

I just bought some books of poetry from the poet Nikita Gill. Whenever I see poetry online, they are mostly from Gill’s work. So I knew I had to buy a book or two of hers. I got them today and sat down to read them.

Guys, I already think reading a book is like making a friend. Learning their quirks, smiling with them, and sometimes crying on their pages. But reading poetry is like coming home again.

I used to write poetry in high school and college, and I thought it was what I wanted to do with my life. Now, I don’t think I could write a poem to save my life.

But I almost cried with joy when I realized that your passions as a kid and as a young adult never leave you. They just wait for you to remember and come home again. Poetry has been waiting for me. All I had to do was find it again.

So, go home again. Color. Draw. Write. Read. Sing. Do whatever that used to make it feel like you are home again. And feel like a curious child once more.

Love,

Bailey

Hype

I don’t know about you, but I don’t often let myself watch, do, or read things if I’ve heard too much hype about them.

There’s something that just turns me off from any book or movie when I know that other people have liked it. Which sounds like a personal problem, I know.

But I think what that really tells you is that when people really want you to like something they do, it all comes down to your personal experience, no matter what they say to convince you. Recommendations and reviews are no match for your experience.

So, don’t ever take someone’s word for it. See for yourself. In that way, you’ll live your best life, experiencing things the way only you were meant to experience them.

Love,

Bailey

To Do

In this time of staying inside, it’s easy to look around and see the things that you need to tend to and that should be on your “to do” list.

But the problem with that is that you end up not really seeing the things for what they are.

For example, I have a large pile of TBR (to be read) books. Actually, most of my bookshelves I haven’t read. So, when I look at my ever-growing pile next to my bed or on my reading cart, I can’t help but want to feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment for when I finish them. When what I should feel is excitement and anticipation at reading a new story.

So, the next time that you look at your “to do” list, try to feel a sense of gratefulness and appreciation instead of anxiety. See that pile of laundry is actually a gift that you were able to afford all of those clothes. Think about the great meals you had on the dishes you have to wash. And remember the joy in growing things when you look at the dark patches of dirt out in your garden.

Don’t see it as a chore but a chance to see something beautiful.

Love,

Bailey

On My Way!

As I was commuting to work on Friday, you know, taking my car to the train to the bus that gets me to work, I realized we’re always on our way somewhere.

We’re always on our way to finishing a movie or a book. Me personally, I’m always on my way to growing out my hair or losing weight. And everyone, everywhere, is on a road to a better them. Or just on a road, driving.

But I’m asking, why can’t we ever just be here? You have arrived at your destination. Why can’t we accept ourselves in the present tense?

So, I am asking you to forget all about your to-do list and your destinations. Consider the journey. And know that wherever you’re going, you’ll get there in time. As soon as you enjoy the ride.

 

Love,

Bailey

Night Reader

I grew up surrounded by books. I became an English major, and I’m even trying to write my own.

This weekend, I spent a whole night discussing books with a great friend. A whole night.

And it all comes down to one turning moment in my life: my parents read to me. I wrote my college essay on the beauty of my Dad coming up to my sister and me’s bedroom and bringing the book we picked together from the library only days before. Whether it was Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, my Dad always read to us at least a little every night to give our mom a break. And when our eyes started to flutter close, he would check on us to see if we were still listening. And the next night, he would inevitably have to go back and reread parts that we had missed.

I can’t say anything about my math skills. Maybe if I had rehearsed my timetables at night, I would be better. But I can say I’m a good reader.

So, if you do anything for your kids, make sure you read to them. They won’t forget it, and neither will you.

Love,

Bailey

The Girl Who Loved Alan Rickman

Back in the day, I used to have a job at Barnes and Noble.

It was my dream job – working with books, and getting to recommend my favorites to others.

At least, it was until they stuck me back in the music and DVDs section.

Back there, I mostly kept to myself. My job was to organize the DVDs and CDs and stock them on Tuesdays. And once in awhile, a customer would come in and ask for a particular DVD and I’d personally escort them to it, to which they would reply: “Oh, it’s cheaper on Amazon.”

A glamorous life, for sure.

But one day, when I was lamenting my lot not being able to be out with the book people, a girl about my age came up to my counter. She had dark hair and red lipstick. And she asked a very simple question.

“Can you look up a specific actor in your database and tell me what movies he’s been in?”

I wasn’t sure the system worked like that but I was willing to give it a try. And sure enough, it did.

“Who are you looking for?” I asked.

And she said, “Alan Rickman.”

Well, I started to rattle off many a name. Too many to count, too many to remember. I started with the most obvious, like Harry Potter and Die Hard, and went to the less obvious like Dogma and Sweeney Todd.

To all of the ones I suggested, she said:

“Yup, seen that one.”

“Yup, own that.”

“Yup, loved that.”

And so, I started to get frustrated with this girl. Why was she asking me when she’d already seen them? As I continued to recite the movies with a modicum of boredom in my voice, I finally reached the end of the fifth page of movies, and said, “there’s no more.”

Thrilled to finally be rid of her, I looked to her and saw a bright smile on her face that stopped me from anything I would have said to her.

“That’s okay,” she said, “I guess I’ve just seen them all.”

And she floated away, like a bubble.

So, why do I still think about this experience? Sadly, Alan Rickman has since died, and I did think about her on that day and wonder if she was devastated, somewhere.

But the real reason I remember her is because I could tell, from our infinitesimal interaction, that she was a passionate person. She would stop at nothing to make sure that she had experienced and lived Alan Rickman’s work. She was willing to reveal her almost obsessive passion to a complete stranger, just so that she could make sure she’d seen it all.

I, too, want that passion. I want to scare people with how passionate I am about something. I want to be the girl who loved Alan Rickman.

I hope I find that passion some day. And I hope you do too. But mostly, I hope you’re not afraid to ask the bored counter girl about it, just in case there’s something you might have missed.

 

 

 

Anti Book List

You know what random thought I had today? I’ll tell you. But you have to promise to remember that these are my opinions because it’s my blog. Got it? Good.

I thought about why does everyone talk about their favorite book? Oh you just have to read (blank)! It’s my favoriiiite. You’ll never guess the ending! Ok, ok I’ll tell you! It’s …

Which is great and fine. But have you ever met someone who hated the same person you did? How strong was your bond over the person you both hated? Like a bundle of sticks: unbreakable!

So, I’m going to tell you my 4 LEAST favorite books of all time, and you can thank me for it so that you can steer clear of them. You’re so welcome. It’s like anti good reads (which I’m not sure why no one has thought of that yet.)

4. The Last Days of Magic

I was literally shaking my head over this book the entire time I was reading it. It was a complete information dump with absolutely no plot and a terrible ending. I was expecting the best because it was about Irish folklore (my sweet spot) but it read more like a dictionary than a novel. Do not recommend.

3. Catcher in the Rye

– Who is this whiny kid and why do so many English teachers stand by him? Listen, if I wanted to hear someone curse and act childish, I’d watch home videos of myself. Is there anything else that I’m supposed to feel other than frustrated with this kid? Do not recommend.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

– Listen, before you judge or grab a wand, go back and read it. I promise that it wasn’t as good as you thought it was. I actually had to see the movie in order to pick the book back up again when I started it for the first time. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but if there was a way to understand the whole series without the first book then I’d recommend that. But since there isn’t and the books eventually are awesome, I have to mark this one as recommend with reservations.

1. Where the Red Fern Grows

– Oh. My. God. Who let this book be read to children?! I read it in the fourth grade, for crying out loud! The kid in the story saves all his money to buy two hunting dogs and then THEY DIE. HORRIFICALLY. What lesson is this supposed to teach me again? Don’t work hard, kids! Whatever you buy will just die after awhile! Ugh. Do not recommend.

So what about you? What books do you hate?

Happily (Unhappily) Ever After

One of my greatest fears is that I will die before finishing the book I’m currently reading. I mean, how tragic, right? Not knowing what happens in the sequel, let alone if there is a sequel? It’s like reverse George R.R. Martin syndrome: We think he’ll die before the last books are written; I think I’ll die before I finish reading them.

(Come to think of it, that will probably be my first question when I arrive up at those pearly gates:

God/Higher Being/Morgan Freeman: Ask me anything, Soul #389482923.

Me: Yeah, I know it was supposed to be a shocking ending, but what happened in Gone Girl? I had like 20 pages left. Should I just skip to the movie?

Morgan Freeman: Rosamund Pike is a babe.

Me: Tell me something I don’t know.)

And that’s not because I walk around with an intense premonition that I will die any day now. It’s just that I ensure that I always finish the book I’m reading. I may put it down for months at a time, but I very, very, very, very, very rarely stop reading it altogether. Which means that I’ve read some really awful stories. I mean, like, terrible.

What were some of the worst?

Three Cups of Tea

Crime & Punishment

Izzy, Willy Nilly

 

And the best?

Stargirl

The Book Thief

The Knife of Never Letting Go

 

And as you couldn’t see but could probably guess, my favorites sprang to mind and were typed out much quicker than the bad titles. The good ones certainly stick with me while the bad ones fade to black.

But I can tap them out all the same because I’ve read every word of them. I’ve analyzed their metaphors, I’ve caught their drifts, I’ve found their extensive typos. And so I am able to make an informed opinion about their excellence or mediocrity.

Of course, I know what you’re thinking, what’s the point of reading a book that isn’t very good? That you hate, even?

The short answer? Because it has something to teach you. The long answer? It teaches you empathy. When you read a small bit of a book, you’re only getting one side of the coin, a spoonful of the truth. When you read the entire thing, you suddenly know what the weaknesses and strengths of any character in it are. And you can defend or condemn them as easily as you want. (A skill you can translate to reality, too.)

But really, reading an entire book is having the ability to say I know the shape of another human being’s soul. And I have not played God/Higher Being/Morgan Freeman by passing judgment on it until the very end. Which is the only thing that any of us can really hope for when we truly bare ourselves to an audience.

25 Things I Learned At 25

Well, I’m almost 25. Which is why I want to count down some of the most valuable life lessons I’ve learned. You know, from being a quarter century old. That should make me really wise, right? You can be the judge.

25. Spend money on quality clothes. They’ll last longer and be a better investment.

24. In that vein, separate your laundry and check all of your pockets before you chuck it all in the washer. (I learned this the hard way…several times.)

23. Stress will kill you slowly. Find something to channel your energy into.

22. Go with the flow as much as possible. Resistance isn’t futile, but it’s exhausting.

21. Repeat after me: grades. don’t. define. you.

20. Do anything that makes you feel beautiful. Wear make-up or don’t. Do your hair or don’t. Life is too short to not feel like a goddess.

19. You may despise your sibling now, but give it time. You’ll need him/her one day. For everything.

18. Your parents have given you so much. Thank them whenever you get the chance.

17. Talk to everyone and anyone. Learn their life’s story. It’ll make you more empathetic.

16. Indulge in your pity parties. Sometimes that’s the only way to get over things.

15. Read every book from cover to cover. Every author has something to teach you.

14. Don’t feel bad about buying music you like. It’s always a good investment.

13. I’m not saying everyone needs to date their significant other for 10 years but…it worked for me.

12. Remember to be excited about things. Apathy is for people who don’t enjoy life.

11. Sing in the shower as much as possible.

10. Own a soft blanket. Trust me, you’ll need it.

9. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Make a mistake, learn, keep going.

8. Step on all the crunchy acorns and leaves you see. No, this is a rule.

7. Throw some things out once in awhile. You don’t need material possessions as much as you think you do.

6. Be the weirdo. If people aren’t friends with you, they’ll at least remember you.

5. Work out. I promise that you’ll feel better after. Even if you really, really, really don’t want to.

4. Good friends are hard to find. But once you find them, make sure you make time for them regularly.

3. Chocolate will keep the dementors from getting to you. So keep it on hand.

2. If you put out positive vibes, positive vibes will come back to you.

1. Be who you are, no matter what. It’ll make all of your decisions really easy when you know who you are.

Love,

Bailey

A Screw Loose

Tonight, I’d like to give you a little taste of my nightly routine.

After I’m showered and calmed for the day, I crawl into bed, tuck the sheets under my chin, and start reading. Ever since I was a kid, someone would read to me until I fell asleep…until I could read by myself. Thankfully, I now don’t have to position a flashlight over my head so that I can read in the late hours or beg my parents to read just one more chapter. I have a set-up. There’s a little electric candle that sits on my windowsill, secured by a single nail, that lights the pages by night, way past everyone else’s bedtime. The light doesn’t shine in my eyes, and I don’t have to get up to turn it off. It’s perfect.

Except

It blinks out. I have to position the wire so that it stays on continuously, but sometimes it still winks out like morse code. I’ve often wondered if the neighbors think that I’m trying to communicate with them (and if they are wondering if there’s actual intelligent life in my room.) And most nights, it’s slightly annoying. Because all I have to do is rest my head on the pillow, and the light goes off, but if I wiggle slightly to the left it will come back on…for a second.

The kicker? I know what’s wrong. The little box that holds the control has a screw loose, so there must be some misfiring going on. I figure that all I have to do is give it a couple quarter turns to make it work normally.

The problem with the problem? It’s that I’ve gotten used to my malfunctioning fake candle and the trouble it causes me. I actually look forward to figuring out how to sit just so in order for it to keep shining. It’s like this little lighthouse with a serious attitude problem that guides me home each night. It has character and spunk, even though it doesn’t have much reliability.

And so, I wonder what other little quirks do we have in our life that we feel need fixing but really add such character to our lives?

Like the leaky faucet, for instance?? Yeah, it’s an environmental cost, but how many times has the drip drop lulled you to sleep? Or what about that squeaky step on the staircase? Maybe it got you into trouble when you snuck in late, but it can definitely alert you to robbers if they ever try to creep up the stairs.

Really, at the end of the day, I think we have a lot to learn from the imperfect. I think it has an important place in all of our daily lives. And maybe, just maybe, we all need to take more time to appreciate things (and people) who have a screw loose.