Friday, September 26, 2008


I spent five hours with my niece on Monday.

Each time I see her, it seems I grow more attached.
I was not wholly prepared for the overpowering surge of joy she would deliver to my everyday existence.
From the moment my eyes meet her tiny blue miracles, my face breaks into a helpless grin and I say "Hi honey!", I feel as though I am transported to an alternate universe.
Every movement, every sound, every posture and gesture a phosphorescent celebration.

Late in the afternoon, I sat in silence with her in the rocking chair, my hand like a giant's across her back, softly lulling her to sleep.
Her tiny fist beneath my chin, her cheek perched against my shoulder, I felt an almost-otherworldly calm wash over me.

All I could conjure in my brain, starved for words to express this most ineffable feeling, was Stevie Wonder's voice.

Isn't she lovely, made from love...

Friday, September 12, 2008

::Reading is FUNdamental

A survey stolen from Tiffany:

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

-- All

2. Amazon or brick and mortar?
-- I've never even heard of brick and mortar! I'll have to check that out.

3. Barnes & Noble or Borders?
-- Barnes & Noble

4. Bookmark or dog-ear?
-- I use makeshift bookmarks all the time...photographs, magazine subscription cards, etc.

5. Alphabetize by author or title, or random?
-- Alpha by author

6. Keep, throw away, or sell?
-- Keep!

7. Keep dustjacket or toss it?
-- I keep it, but I usually remove it while reading

8. Read with dustjacket or remove it?
-- See above

9. Short story or novel?
-- I love books of short stories and/or essays

10. Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)? -- I usually like collections better

11. Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
-- Harry Potter, I suppose...although I only read about 1/3 of the first book

12. Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
-- Whenever I'm tired, usually

13. “It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
-- Neither, actually

14. Buy or Borrow?
-- Both, usually...Heather and I love to trade

15. New or used?
-- Used is cheaper, but I usually buy new

16. Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
-- Recommendations, usually; though I love to browse

17. Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
-- Whatever serves the story best

18. Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?
-- Ordinarily I'm a nighttime girl, especially because it helps me sleep...unless of course the book is too addictive

19. Stand-alone or series?
-- Usually stand-alone.

20. Favorite series?
-- The Chronicles of Narnia, probably...although when I was younger, it was The Baby-sitters Club, haha

21. Favorite children’s book?
-- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

22. Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
-- I read a book when I was in 6th grade called What Happened to Mr. Forster? I loved it, but no one else seems to have ever heard of it...just found it here though!

23. Favorite books read in the last year?
-- Eat Pray Love ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
-- Sex God ~ Rob Bell
-- Into the Wild ~ Jon Krakauer
-- Choke ~ Chuck Palahniuk

24. Favorite books of all time?
-- An incredibly loaded question, too many to name, but here are a few:
-- She's Come Undone ~ Wally Lamb
-- White Oleander ~ Janet Fitch
-- Walden ~ Henry David Thoreau
-- A Grief Observed ~ CS Lewis
-- A Confederacy of Dunces ~ John Kennedy Toole

25. Least favorite book you finished last year?
-- If I don't like it, I don't finish it

26. What are you reading right now?
-- On the Road ~ Jack Kerouac
-- Velvet Elvis ~ Rob Bell (re-reading)

27. What is your secret guilty pleasure book(s)?
Every once in awhile I like to re-read the Judy Blume books I used to love as a kid

28. What book have you always wanted to read but not had time to?
-- Anna Karenina ~ Leo Tolstoy

29. What book do you hate the most that you've read all the way through?
When I read Jane Eyre for AP English in high school, I despised it. I appreciate it more now.

30. What are you reading next?
-- The Road ~ Cormac McCarthy

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I've decided that my niece needs one of these.

Her mother may kill me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

::I'm sorry...what were you saying?

This may be a "DUH!" statement on par with "The Internet is really popular."
But in recent reflections, I have been slapped afresh by this realization:
Listening is a lost art.

Never mind that our media-saturated culture moves so swiftly that we may have lost the necessary attention span.
Never mind that much of our communication is now accomplished electronically.

I often hear folks refer to some sort of mythical halcyon days when everything was simpler, transactions were deeply personal, and the proverbial red tape of modern interactions was virtually nonexistent.

But I wonder if maybe listening has always been a difficult task - regardless of cultural conditions - simply because of our essence.
Perhaps it's always been a perpetually lost art.

In order to truly listen, we must surrender our selfishness.
We must relinquish our personal agendas, empty ourselves of self-absorption.
We must render our minds completely porous for another person's thoughts and feelings to enter without obstruction.

I have always enjoyed listening, and have been told that I am adept at it, but I'm certain that I struggle with it as much as everybody else does.
Very rarely have I been able to achieve that elusive peaceful mindset wherein my brain is entirely focused on the other person.
Like everybody else, I often abide the words of others only as long as I can stand to be silent, my own words crashing against the gates like racehorses.

Artful listening requires profound patience.
Patience may be the rarest of virtues.


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