I am smitten (fine, while I’ll admit that I was looking for a reason to use the word “smitten” this morning, I actually am a little in love with this book) with Matthew Quick’s book, Every Exquisite Thing. There have been three times (so far) that I’ve underlined something, wanting to discuss it with another person. Which is why I’m dumping it on you.
Welcome to my own private book club.
And, no, you don’t have to have read the book to participate. This first thought ties into reading blogs, and since you are currently reading a blog post, I’m going to assume you may have some thoughts on this.
Shall we begin?
The main character — Nanette — is having coffee with the author of her favourite book. She wants to know what happens with the main character in his book (yes, it’s a book inside a book), and the author admits that he doesn’t know what happens to this person he created because the story is over even if the character technically (at least, the reader assumes) lives on. This part of the conversation begins on page 17:
“See that nice woman who served us our coffee?”
I looked back over my shoulder at the tall cashier with the brown ponytail and the permanent smile on her face, and I nodded.
“Her name is Ruth,” Booker said. “Ever see her before?”
Kids my age never came into this coffee shop, so I said, “No.”
“Maybe you won’t ever see her again.”
“You only got to see five minutes of Ruth’s story. And that’s just the way it is. But Ruth, well, she goes on now whether you’re looking or not. She does all sorts of things that some people see and some don’t. But your version of Ruth’s story will be the five minutes you spent buying coffee from her. That’s just the way it is.”
In other words, we jump into a story, we remain with the character/person for a little bit, and then we jump out, each continuing but not knowing anything more about the other person.
We accept that reality in life; why aren’t we satisfied with the idea that stories end when it comes to books? Why do we keep imagining the characters continuing, either producing fan fiction, or in some cases, books like The Cursed Child?
So, yes, I have those questions but it made me think about returning to old posts on my blog and looking at the comment section. So many people there; some of them prolific bloggers several years ago, now somewhere else, their story continuing without my knowledge. Some of them were people I corresponded with weekly. Saw face-to-face when we were in the same space.
And now our stories have drifted apart because they stopped telling theirs on their blog. Maybe they still read over here but have stopped commenting. Maybe we’re still connected on other forms of social media so I get glimpses into their story, but more often than not, they’ve disappeared from my world even though they continue to exist in their own world.
There are stories I miss a lot because I liked the main character: the blogger. I’m sure you miss them, too, since we all read the same people. And it is strange to think that one day I will become like those characters and drift away because I stop writing my story. (I have no plans on this front; I’m just stating this because it’s a likely scenario at some point in the distant future.)
Do you miss old bloggers? Do you miss knowing the continuation of their story?
April 26, 2017 10 Comments
Sheryl Sandburg is an eloquent woman. I haven’t read her new book, Option B, but I’ve been drawn to all the articles about it (and added the book to my TBR pile) because I think she is excellent at articulating thoughts about loss. While her book is about death — specifically her partner’s death — many of the thoughts are applicable to any kind of grief, including infertility.
Especially the idea of kicking the elephant out of the room.
Which means telling people about your infertility.
Sandberg writes that the loneliness she felt after the loss of her husband was compounded by some interactions with friends and coworkers, who, not knowing exactly how to support her, either said nothing or said things that made her feel more isolated.
While death is obvious, infertility isn’t really as hidden as we’d like to think. Assumptions are made when you’re in a certain stage of life, and while these assumptions suck and I wish they didn’t happen (not least of which since having a child should be a decision, not an assumption), they are following you around like an elephant. Sandberg’s advice is to acknowledge the elephant:
And when they asked “How are you?,” she writes, “I started responding more frankly. ‘I’m not fine, and it’s nice to be able to be honest with you about that.’ ”
“I finally figured out that since the elephant was following me around, I could take the first step in acknowledging its existence.
I tried to imagine how that would change all conversations; if the problem was acknowledged and firm boundaries were set for the conversation. Would it guide comfort? Would it guide support? Sure, there would still be terrible advice given out, but that could be honestly and kindly dealt with as well because the tone was set at the beginning of the interaction. Telling, in this Sandbergian way, feels like control. It feels like a way to guide yourself to the support you need while heading off some of the more hurtful interactions.
The other thing I loved was her advice (by way of her rabbi) of leaning into the suck; of not being surprised when you’re in a moment of grief.
“If you’re facing loss or adversity, the first thing [you have to do is] lean in to the suck. This is gonna suck,” she tells PEOPLE of her rabbi’s counsel.
“It gave me the understanding that, this is going to be terrible, and I stopped fighting the terrible moments because I knew they would happen. And when I stopped fighting them — ‘Oh my God, I’m heartbroken, and I’m upset that I’m heartbroken’ — they actually passed more quickly.”
I sort of love that idea of knowing that — without a doubt — this is going to suck. And then allowing yourself to feel that and move through it vs. fight against it and try to convince yourself that you should be okay. Just lean into it.
Has anyone else read the book? Have it on their TBR pile?
April 25, 2017 12 Comments
Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.
Atlas Obscura had a post about wind phones: disconnected phones set up in Japan so people could call their lost loved ones. The article begins:
When Itaru Sasaki lost his cousin in 2010, he decided to build a glass-paneled phone booth in his hilltop garden with a disconnected rotary phone inside for communicating with his lost relative, to help him deal with his grief.
I clearly found the idea touching, but I also found it strangely comforting. Yes, I know it’s a disconnected phone and that I could just speak my words into thin air, but there is something about holding a tangible object as you speak. I would do anything to get to speak to my grandmother again, to feel like I’m communicating with her even if I don’t get an answer.
Who would you call on the wind phone?
Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored post.
April 24, 2017 21 Comments
Okay, here’s a question: If we (and by “we,” I mean people in general and not you and I) hadn’t invented the smartphone, would we have social media addiction? Meaning, if social media and email and searches and blogs — if all of that was only accessible via the computer — would we still have people shelling out $150/hour for digital addiction therapy?
Because I don’t remember caring all that much about who was trying to reach me before my smartphone. My assumption was that their email would wait until I sat down at the computer. I had the same feeling about Facebook or Twitter. I would intake whatever I could intake and leave the rest to drift past me unseen. My RSS reader ensured that I wouldn’t miss blog posts, but again, I read them on my own time.
Most articles reference the addictive nature of social media or apps; how they are designed to be addictive. While that adds to the problem, isn’t part of it a function of portability? Sort of like hookahs vs. cigarettes? Sure, cigarettes are designed to be addictive due to added chemicals, but isn’t the real power of the cigarette its portability? You can slip them into your pocket, take them anywhere. It’s the intake system more than the product itself, right?
At least that is what I thought about as I read the BBC’s article about social media addiction while on my smartphone.
It’s a weird addiction because an alcoholic either is drinking or not drinking; a gambler either betting or not betting. But if your job involves social media, you cannot avoid interactive with the object of your addiction. You can only restrict your access to it by limiting your intake system; going the social media hookah route vs. the social media cigarette route.
In other words, sitting down at the computer to access it, and then stepping away and going offline because you’ve deleted those social media apps on your phone.
Just something to think about as you move through your day.
April 23, 2017 4 Comments
We signed up for Hulu for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show went off Netflix, and we went through several days of the ChickieNob’s mourning before we gave in and said she could visit her vampire-stabbing gang on Hulu for two months.
This was before I discovered they would be releasing The Handmaid’s Tale over the course of 10 weeks. (I mean, if we have Hulu, I might as well use it, too, right?) So… maybe she can visit Buffy for three months?
I am so excited to see this.
It’s one of my favourite books; one I carry with me at all times. I didn’t love the movie they made in the early 90s, but it looks like Hulu nailed it. At least on the surface. I guess we’ll know more next Wednesday.
Who else is watching next week?
Stop procrastinating. Go make your backups. Don’t have regrets.
Seriously. Stop what you’re doing for a moment. It will take you fifteen minutes, tops. But you will have peace of mind for days and days. It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.
As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.
And now the blogs…
But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week. In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:
- “The Facts of Life They Don’t Teach You at School” (Different Shores)
Okay, now my choices this week.
Torthúil has a post about emotional sinkholes, those moments where you suddenly don’t feel like your whole self or know what you really believe. She explains, “I’m going about my day, doing things I ordinarily do, and it suddenly feels like… a piece of my identity, my self, isn’t there. I feel vaguely like a liar, when I try to talk about myself to someone, because I don’t know if what I’m saying is true.” It’s such an interesting way of explaining the phenomenon. Go over and read the whole post.
Countingpinklines wonders why it’s easy to play with some babies and others push her to the brink of tears. Is it tied to where she is in her process? The difficulty the person had in building their family? Older vs. younger kids? It’s a familiar situation; one I think will resonate with a lot of people.
Raven Rambling has a post about how she thought life would look at 30 vs. actuality. She writes, “I am trying to focus on saying good bye to things I am not, and focusing on the things that I am. If any of those things from the ‘not’ side are able to come over to the ‘am’ side, then I’ll be happy as a peach – but right now, they’re not on the am side and I need to make peace with that.” Yes to all of this, a thousand times over. Brilliant post.
Lastly, Ms. Infertile has a post about being in a chronic state of adjustment. The perfect line: “And you wish someone would ask you how you’re doing and mean it.” It is a beautiful and moving post. Read it.
The roundup to the Roundup: Handmaid’s Tale! Your weekly backup nudge. And lots of great posts to read. So what did you find this week? Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between April 14th and 21st) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week? Read the original open thread post here.
April 21, 2017 8 Comments