My reading challenge on Goodreads is starting to look like an actual challenge. I only read 4 books in March. A bad reading month two months in a row, to me, equals an official reading slump. I had made a little pact with myself to only read books that I had actual excitement for- not books that others had recommended or books I felt like I had to read because “everyone else” is talking about them. For some reason, I can’t hold myself to that seemingly easy goal. In March, I forced myself to continue with a series that I gave up on years ago and read a novel that has been frequently recommended to me even though it wasn’t even appealing to me. I never really had the feeling this month of being excited to get back to my book during daily life, which is really quite sad. Reading is my hobby, not a chore or a job, and hobbies should be fun- right?
Some good news- as I type this it is the 14th of April and I am more than halfway finished with my 4th book of the month. I broke myself out of the reading slump by actually sticking to reading books that I am excited to read.
All of this being said, there was one book I read in the month of March that was beyond amazing- in fact, it is the best YA Contemporary novel I have ever read. Let’s start with that one (as always, my reviews are as spoiler-free as I can possibly make them):
I read 3 novels and 1 graphic novel this month- incredibly low numbers for me. It was not a good reading month, obviously. Out of the 4 books I read, there was one that took most of the month for me to finish. I’ll delve more into why that happened in the “review” for that novel. At this moment I have completed 20% of my reading challenge goal for 2017 on Goodreads (75 books). I feel a little weird posting such a small wrap-up, but (I assume) most avid readers have experienced being stuck on a book. Once I start reading a novel there is something in me that refuses to let me just give up on it. My DNF (did not finish) shelf on Goodreads only has 2 books on it (“Haunted” by Chuck Palahniuk and “The Mercy of Thin Air” by Renlyn Domingue); which goes to show that no matter how bad a book is I will almost always trudge through to the end before I pick up another book, even if that means it takes me weeks to finish it.
As usual, if I posted a photo of my current read on social media I will include that- otherwise the photos are from Amazon.
On with the as-spoiler-free-as-I-can-make-them reviews:
I wrote this piece, “My Worst Enemy” for an assignment in my first college writing class. The assignment was to write a highly descriptive essay or story. When our papers were being handed out, mine was set on my desk with a deliberate smack. I immediately noticed that the paper was missing a grade. I looked up at my instructor who then said, “I need to see you after class”. I panicked, thinking that the subject of my “story” was so personal that she was going to demand that I see the counselor.
Here’s the thing: I was 19 at the time and living with bulimia and anorexia. I still deal with ENDOS, which is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified- basically a fancy way of saying I have a fucked up relationship with food.
I approached her desk after class with my heart feeling as if it was going to pound straight out of my chest. “What’s wrong with my paper? I understand the subject material is kind of intense. . .”, I trailed off, nervous and shaky. Well, more shaky and nervous than my normal 19-year-old baseline of constant anxiety.
“Lori, you didn’t write this. It is above college level, and while I have yet to find any evidence that you plagiarized this piece, I do not believe you have it within you to write something like this”, she scrawled a large B- on my paper and handed it to me without another word. I received a B because this woman thought my writing was too good. I was enraged and yet flattered at the same time. Enraged that an instructor would squash what she saw as talent for no reason other than she herself was a failed writer. An instructor who started every class with a recitation of one of her cringe-worthy poems. An instructor who later on in the term gave me a C on a narrative assignment when the only red mark was her correction of “Uncle” to “Oncle” (I suppose this was because she was from New Orleans. I suspect it was because she hated me). Part of me, though, was flattered that she thought my writing was “above college level”, whatever that even means. I ended up receiving a B in this class solely because of those two assignments.
The following is that “infamous” (in my world) essay, unedited, from 2004:
MY WORST ENEMY
A January wrap-up posted at the end of February? I suppose it’s better late than never, right?
I am currently writing a short story that might end up turning into a novella. It was inspired by some truly terrifying episodes of sleep paralysis I experienced for quite a few nights in a row. My ideas keep expanding as far as the plot goes. I am very hard on myself as a writer and often give up and throw away half finished stories. I thought it might be a good idea to post a rough draft of the intro to this story, tentatively titled “The Nightmare” (this will absolutely change if I end up finishing it). There will be a lot of blood, death, and sex (there’s your disclaimer). I would appreciate any thoughts you might have on this very rough draft of the intro- I am a very insecure being and encouragement is basically all that keeps me from trashing everything when it comes to art in any form. Help with any grammar or syntax errors would be much appreciated, as well.
Without further ado….
I live in Southern Oregon, and in addition to it being hellaciously conservative and devoid of any culture- we also are rarely blessed with fun things from nature…like snow. It started steadily snowing, but not sticking, on New Years Day. At 5 pm on Tuesday, it began to stick. For all of you who live in areas that frequently receive snow, and lots of it, the town of Roseburg’s reaction to a whopping 6 inches of snow will leave you thinking we’re a bunch of babies here. EVERYTHING SHUT DOWN. Today, it has melted some but you’re basically looking at the amount of snow that shut down an entire town in this photo. Okay, maybe we are a bunch of (unprepared) babies.
The extreme cold coupled with my being home a lot had me itching to deep clean Jason (my amazingly talented boyfriend of 2+ years) and my (very) tiny apartment. During the cleaning frenzy, I picked up my little bag of “empties”- as beauty vloggers/YouTubers (I feel like a fossil when I try to describe this profession) call the used up makeup/beauty products you should have put in the garbage can or recycled but instead show off and review…your trash. I absolutely love bingeing on makeup tutorials and any beauty related YouTube channels. I have loved makeup and beauty my entire life. My mother had to hide her makeup on high shelves to prevent little me from dousing myself in foundation and blush. If you would like further evidence of how long I’ve been beauty obsessed; this is me at 8 years old, in 1993, after my sister (the taller one who is standing in that magnificent dress nabbed from my mother’s closet) and I begged my 16-year-old cousin to do our makeup.
Both of these loves have caused a desire, or more a hesitant interest, in making my own beauty videos- but, as I am forever awkward and do not feel like that would be something I could excel at (with the exception of possibly “going viral” with the most cringe-worthily awkward makeup tutorial ever)- I decided that since I like to write, and again, I love makeup and beauty and talking about these things; why not use my long neglected blog to review my “empties”, or “beauty trash” (I am blatantly stealing this description from one of my favorite YouTube personalities, Tati of GlamLifeGuru). Let’s delve in!
“I want you to adore me
I want you to ignore me
say hello, MELANCHOLIA“
First post on my first real blog in over a decade & I have absolutely no clue what to say.
This blog is a work in progress, as is the main domain, as am I.
I will be trying to write daily, almost like those 30-day writing challenge images I see everywhere (except this is more like a, “write every damn day, Lori” challenge). I will pick some of the items I see within those challenges, sometimes I’ll pick creative writing prompts. & (insert overly dramatic sigh here) some days I will work on my dauntingly grandiose novel that is basically jumbles of notes in multiple notebooks at this point.
I am obsessed with makeup and cooking, so on occasion there might be reviews and recipes. I’m even considering (with a heavy dollop of trepidation) doing some vlog posts at some point.
As soon as I finish writing anything, I will do my best to post it here. Please keep checking back in to both the blog and the main domain, as I have exciting things planned.