Friday, July 23, 2010

Girl Gone Wild

I'm headed to the mountains of Estes Park, Colorado for a full week! My parents and I will begin the trek tomorrow morning and I have a challenge for myself: (deep breath) I am not going to use the Internet for one week. Not gasping? Have you ever tried to live a week without the Internet since you knew what the World Wide Web was? This is going to be very hard. No online music, no Facebook, e-mail, online news, no stock photos for my graphic design projects, and, of course, no blogging.
Furthermore, I plan to keep my phone off all day long every day except for one hour in the evening. Not that I intecept a ton of calls or anything, but it will help me escape from the wireless prison I keep myself in at work and home. I might go a little nuts.
I will be using my computer as a natural outlet for my creativity is graphic design and I would be bereft without it. Other diversions include books: One Day, Sophie's World (for the umpteenth time), Searching for God Knows What, Possession which I need to finish, and my Bible; journal; sketchbook; stationary; and movies (but no TV is allowed either—will get news from the newspaper).
I don't feel I've ever really earned a vacation before this but now I am confident I have; I'm appreciating what a gift this time away from work and distractions will be and I will let you know if I get cabin fever in the mountains sans technology.
Have a GREAT week and I'll look forward to catching up on your blogs (for bloggers reading this) when I return!

Friday, July 16, 2010

My First Crush

I love this little animated interview set about first crushes and I really hope that Steve eventually found Jackie.

"I can still actually feel that smell."

"I just blurted out to her, willyousitwithmeonthebus?"

"I'm still in love with you."

I had my first crush in third grade and I was so enamored with the guy that when his shoelace broke after trying to tie his shoes on the playground, I kept the remnant. When he sat in front of me during a test, I would watch him instead of filling it out and have to rush and do it all quickly at the end (once I was even accused of cheating off his paper even though I was more clever than him though, evidently, not clever enough to focus on my test).

Finally, I decided to kiss him though I knew he would never kiss me. One recess, I ran into the school to get a drink and when I approached the water fountain, he was bent over it and drinking big gasping gulps (he played soccer every recess—I watched). So I looked right and left and seeing no one, I kissed his shoulder and quickly stepped back to see what would happen. He turned around and smiled dazzlingly and said "Oh, sorry, I didn't know anyone was waiting," and he sprinted off outside to get back in the game. I remember feeling really sad because I realized that he had registered the kiss as a tap on the shoulder and had no idea I'd even done it. Then I felt relieved and pleased that, in one way or another, I'd still kissed him. It was enough.

He grew up to play high school soccer and after a series of concussions he's significantly less clever (really, his repeated injuries cost him much of his ability to think) and he's living in a house with some of his elementary school chums and works manual labor somewhere. I still think he's one of the most beautiful men ever.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It Should've Been Called "Never Put Me Down"

Oh my word, the best read I've had in a loooooooooooong time. It kicked Little Bee's butt even, it was that good. Of course, I'm a HUGE sucker for a good dystopia novel so take this with that grain of salt.

Never Let Me Go, by British author Kazuo Ishiguro, was recommended by the same coworker who recommended Little Bee (it's not that big a coincidence, actually; we are in the same book club, we're called the "Edgies").

Never Let Me Go is a beautiful novel about children being raised in a British boarding school that eerily focuses on physical health while ensuring their students' knowledge of the outside world remains anemic. The reader soon figures out what isn't right about this boarding school and the narrator's mellow narrative, sometimes infuriatingly calm, tells a horror story with indifference and a resignation to the only normalcy she's ever known.

The book is a science fiction novel robed in praises from critics, stylish prose, and a sophisticated backdrop. Time magazine voted the piece one of the all time 100 novels written since 1923. Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth will be known by next generations as great figures in fiction; they are as hauntingly unforgetable as the story they inhabit.

I can't recommend this book highly enough, though, for those of you like my mother who don't read sad books, there's good news for you. The movie is coming out this fall! I am already singing its praises because 1) Alex Garland, the same screenwriter for 28 Days Later had the screenplay for the movie written in 2005 even before the book came out, 2) Cinematography is by Adam Kimmel wo did Capote and Lars and the Real Girl, 3) it stars Kiera Knightly who is discerning about the films she chooses and Andrew Garfield who is the new "it" import from across the pond. All I can say is get excited. The movie drops September 15, 2010.

Reading next: Brief Encounters with Che Guevara short story collection, People of the Book & The Hummingbird's Daughter

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ooooh pretty.

Just pretty things from Anthropologie.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Buzz

I just finished Little Bee, a novel recommended to me by my dear coworker, Kori. I like this book more than I can say (but, of course, that won't stop me from trying to articulate myself nonetheless). Kori said that it's the kind of book she just wants to read to everyone (part of it, that is) because it has so many beautiful moments in it.

If I were to outline the plot—which I never would because I try to never give away a story—it would read as a horribly sad book. Instead, the optimism of the narrator, Little Bee, and the excellence of the writing cover all manner of sins and sadnesses. Please take a moment to read this excerpt; you won't be sorry you did:

"On the girls brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.

In a few breaths time I will speak some sad words to you. But you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now. Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile.

Also, the plot could have been drawn from a grab bag of ideas at a writer's semniar: a nigerian refugee, a suicide, a four-year-old boy who refuses to take off his batman costume, an affair, a fashion magazine editor—it shouldn't work, but Chris Cleave ensures that it does. Cleave has given us a better-than-most sample of the new style of writing which, like most new things, points back to a more classic way of story telling that had almost been lost.

Don't read this if you truly can't tolerate sad things, but I'm pretty wimpy and impatient with sad books (no Oprah picks here, my friends) and I loved it.

Cleave is also the man who brought us Incendiary, a book set in England about a wife and mother who is making love to another man while the television in her apartment broadcasts a soccer match when both activities are interrupted by a terrorist act at the soccer stadium, the TV screen obscured by thick grey smoke and the wife and mother's horrible realization that her husband and son were surely at the scene of the attack during her indescretion. This book is famous for eerily predicting the bombings on the London Tube in 2005, the book hit British bookstores that same day. A coincidence which lead to a fair amount of criticism for Cleave.

What I'm reading next: People of the Book.