Like I said, I want to try something new as I try to grow my website. Not only do I want to write blog posts and essays, but I also want to share what I’m loving each month. Just so you’re prepared: I won’t always plug new interests. But I’ll try to include different things: books, music, TV shows, movies, poems, authors, social media accounts, and clothing or accessories. I’m not seasoned, but I’m willing, and I think that’s what matters.
What am I loving this month?
Goodreads: Before I even begin to suggest new books, I have to make a plug for my favorite way to track them. When someone suggests a book, all I have to do is open my Goodreads app or site, search the title, and click “Want to Read.” Then it saves it for me! When I’m reading a book, I click “Currently Reading,” and it places it on my shelf. Right now, I’m reading Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members, and I’m rereading Sia Figiel’s Where We Once Belonged. Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club is next on my list. When I finish a book, I can search the book, click “Read,” and rate it between one and five stars with a book review. This saves me. Literally. If someone recalls a book I’ve read, I can go to my Goodreads profile to refresh my memory. When you become an avid user, you can create different bookshelves for genres, and people–like me–can scour them for reading suggestions. Let’s be friends.
Purge: Rehab Diaries by Nicole Johns: If you loved Girl, Interrupted, then I urge you to read this memoir. Nicole is honest, vulnerable, open, and even funny in this account of her time in a treatment facility in Wisconsin in the midst of her years as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. She touches on time and body image and the layers of eating disorders and their stereotypes. She unearths memories of sexual assault while coping with PTSD. It’s horrific, but oddly refreshing and inviting. She voices her concerns for not fitting the eating disorder stereotype: she suffers with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) rather than Anorexia or Bulimia, and she is older than society’s idea of the typical ED patient. Reading this memoir solidified my admiration for Minnesota’s program and its faculty, and it pushed me to not only write better, but to also be better. It encouraged me to be my healthy, full self. Buy Nicole’s memoir here or check out her website. If you like Purge, check out Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder by Nadia Shivack (this is a graphic memoir!), Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay, Darkroom: A Family Exposure by Jill Christman, and Lucky by Alice Sebold.
JOJO’S SECRET One Piece Rimless Sunglasses: I’m usually someone who likes ambiguous sunglasses to fit any outfit, but lately, I’ve been in the mood for something different. I wanted something to fit my weird sense of humor and my taste for things out of the norm. My winter style is usually dark–I rewear most of the same black pieces–and sometimes I wear a contrasting shawl. Then I came across these BEAUTIES on Amazon. They’re $12, rimless, and come in 11 different colors. I bought blue, and I’m loving them. They freshen any look.
Olivia Gatwood: I know I’ve never read at a slam or an open mic, but I go to a lot of poetry readings. My most-watched videos on YouTube are typically readings rather than music videos. Watching Olivia Gatwood and listening to her poetry gives me cold chills. It makes me want to storm the streets and yell at anyone who’s ever pissed me off. It makes me want to buy ten more copies of her books–I already own one–and pass them out to people whose lives are poetry-deprived. One of my favorite poems of Olivia’s is “Alternate Universe in Which I Am Unfazed By the Men Who Do Not Love Me.” Chew her words and swallow them hole. Pay attention to how they fulfill and stimulate and nourish you. If you like Olivia Gatwood, check out Melissa Lozada-Olivia, Ariana Brown, Blythe Baird, Emi Mahmoud, and Alysia Harris. You won’t regret it.
Trail’s End Camp: I know, I know. I talk about camp a lot. But they’re hiring for the 2018 summer! And I’m giving a shameless plug. It’s a two-month experience at Beach Lake, Pennsylvania, but it’s more than a summer job. This camp changed me: I met people from around the world whom I still love and talk to. My campers still FaceTime and message me to keep in touch, and they always make me laugh. Note: They made slime all summer, and, yes, they are still making slime. The difference? They’ve added more glitter. We made s’mores and stargazed and even covered each other in chocolate and sprinkles one day. At the beginning of camp, I was nauseous because I was so nervous: What if the campers didn’t like me? What if I was an awful counselor? What if I was way in over my head? The staff does a glorious job at preparing you to be the ultimate counselor–we even had Staff Education Week in which the staff completely immersed us in activities we would do with our campers, real situations we’d face, the inevitable homesickness, and so much more. It changed my life, and I want it to change yours too. Talk to me about applying!