Some Words I Like

I don’t know what to write about today. I could talk about work, but I don’t feel like it. I could talk about house progress, but I don’t feel like it. I could talk about job progress, but I don’t feel like it. I’m in a “I CANNOT WRIIIIIIITE” mood, but I committed to writing today. So here I am.

And since I can’t word, I’ll let others word for me. I’m gonna share some quotes that are special to me, and hopefully you’ll enjoy them as well.

Piss off. ~ Ezekiel

One of my personal favorites.

Become who you are. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

I love this sentiment. Love it.

Nourish yourself with grand and austere ideas of beauty that feed the soul…seek solitude. ~ Eugène Delacroix

No problem here, though sometimes I fear the ideas are too grand and austere!

If I stayed here, something inside me would be lost forever – something I couldn’t afford to lose. It was like a vague dream, a burning, unfulfilled desire. The kind of dream people have only when they’re seventeen. ~ Haruki Murakami

“The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time. ~ Haruki Murakami

It’s no secret I love Murakami. I know a lot of people think he’s overrated. To be fair, I had no fucking idea he was some famous author. Someone had Kafka on the Shore on a reading list, and I was transported when I read it. His words, his worlds, were enticing, maddening, emotional, real, surreal, transcendent. And the pursuit of his words and his ideas kept me going in dark times. I haven’t read all of his works yet – I was reading them back to back, but I had to stop because I am not in a hurry to not have any of his b0oks to look forward to.

Those two quotes above are probably self-explanatory as to why they’re meaningful to me. Dreaming and the pursuit of those dreams is what I’m clinging to right now. I cannot stop dreaming. I cannot stop pursuing those dreams. It is vital that I do not.

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Isn’t that the fucking truth? What a beautiful sentiment, and I like to think that this is part of why I’m wounded. I just hope I don’t end up destroyed…but in the end, that’s up to me, isn’t it?

Hemingway is another that is either loved or hated, and I have no shame in saying I love his work.

Quit assuming others have it better, or you have it worse. Everyone suffers tremendously in life. It’s rude to belittle someone’s suffering, thinking yours is greater. Don’t judge someone’s suffering as better or worse. A dark life can be lived brightly, because pain gave great perspective and wisdom. An average and easy life can be its own kind of tragedy, suffering a mundane deadness. A great life can spoil under great fortune. It’s hard having nothing. It’s hard having everything. It’s hard. Suffering is very personal and cannot be measured by someone from the outside. Everyone suffers in different ways. Life is not a suffering contest; the contest is for compassion. ~ Bryant McGill

I used to be a lot better at this perspective. In fact, I used to remind others about this – that you never know what others are going through, no matter what it looks like on the outside. As I’ve grown older and more storm-tossed, I’ve grown more bitter. I know this, but I’m more concerned about it now as it’s been brought to my attention by others. “Don’t get so jaded you can no longer see the light, Stephanie.” “Don’t get so self-righteous in your struggles that you forget others struggle, too.” Important reminders, and I definitely need to work harder on seeing the good in people again. I readily admit I see more bad than good, and it’s dangerous for the psyche.

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. ~ Anne Lamott

Whew. That. Right. There. Is so fucking important. I’m incredibly guilty of passing up on experiences and opportunities because of self-doubt, self-loathing, fear, etc. I already live in regret of things I passed up for those reasons, and yet I continue to do so even now. I’m not gonna lay on my deathbed upset that someone saw my fat rolls. No. I’ll be upset that I didn’t jump in the ocean because this is my life, and I want to jump in the ocean…but I didn’t because fear. We must stop allowing fear dominion over our lives.

And finally, yet again, because I must remind myself of this on the daily:

Rollins

~

GO

Ringing in the New Year: Book Tag and I’m it!

The Scene: A well-lit bedroom, strewn with clothes and books, drawing supplies and souvenir shot glasses, a Taylor guitar and an antique typewriter.

The Players: One Stephanie, sitting against the headboard in bed, laptop in place, surrounded by detritus of the evening – books, 2016 planner, prismacolor pens, iPad, chargers and Rolos. Two cats, both alternating between pacing and hiding under the bed in fear of the fireworks that have been sporadically going off all evening.

The Mood Music: Tricky’s Blowback album.

~

Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

Shaun at Tales in Anxiety tagged me to do this Ringing in the New Year Book thingy. I’ve been avoiding doing these – and please don’t be offended if you’ve tagged me to do something but I didn’t. I just couldn’t resist this one, though, cuz I’m nuts about books! By the way, carry your asses over to Shaun’s place – he’s a good writer. Not only that, but he’s a fucking cool dude – so go on!

Now. Y’all know how I do. Fuck the rules; let’s get right into the questions! (Which are really fucking tough, by the way.)

Best book/series you read in 2015?

I’m going to give you two books: one a non-fiction memoir and one literary fiction. These were my two favorite books of the year:

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, by Malala Yousafzai. Malala’s story is not only important for the advancement of basic human rights the world over, but it’s also some pretty fucking important perspective. Things can always be worse – and for far too many people, they are. Malala is a brave young woman who stood up for her rights, and the rights of others in her situation. For that, she nearly lost her life. And you know what? It didn’t stop her – nay, it bolstered her and made her voice into a powerful force for good. Her memoir is the perfect blend of Pakistani history and political climate for reference with the recounting of what happened to her.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami. Murakami is my favorite fiction author, period. He has been for a few years now. I haven’t read all of his books…yet. But that’s only because I’ve forced myself to slow down because I’m dreading the day I’m caught up and don’t have any new Murakami to read. Murakami is this weird, magical realist and surrealist author. I don’t really know what to say. Perhaps Kafkaesque. All I know is that Murakami gives me characters that I can relate to alongside most unrealistic characters. I love his jazz references and the simple scenes and detailed minutia. But I also love the mind-boggling surreal scenes that are insane…and profound. He always makes me think – and good lord the caliber of his writing. Just. Just read him.

Authors you’ve recently found and would like to read more of in the new year?

Both of these are authors that have been around for a long time, but I only read a book by each of them this year. Both of them drew me in and taught me about different cultures – which I love reading about. So I would love to read more by Amy Tan as well as Chinua Achebe. Fantastic writers and able to draw you in to different cultures and lands. I read Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

I’m also gonna take this as a chance to tell you about what’s next up from my TBR pile:

  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Kinda pumped about all four of those!

Most anticipated book turned movie?

Okay. This may be cheating, because the movie has already been out for quite some time. I don’t really keep up with books turned movies very well. But one I’ve been looking forward to seeing and haven’t gotten to yet is The Martian, based on the book of the same name by Andy Weir. I enjoyed the book – it was a super fast read. I kinda raced a coworker to see who could finish first. I know. Weird. Anyway! It wasn’t some masterpiece, but it was a decent book, and the main character was a snarky pottymouth. So I approved. I do think it’s one of those rare ones that could make a better movie than book, so I want to see it at some point.

Name a character you wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss with at midnight.

Westley from The Princess Bride. He’s loyal and funny and a smartass and did time as a pirate. He wins battles of wit, brute strength and sword fights. He comes back from the dead to rescue his true love. Definitely Westley. I want to hear, “As you wish,” to my silly little whims or shows of affection.

How many books do you hope to read in 2016?

I think my Goodreads goal for 2015 was 24 books. I’ve finished the year with a total of 42 books read. A couple of those were short comic books, but the rest were novels (or at least novel-length). I think I’ll keep my goal the same for 2016, because I like keeping track of what I’ve read – but I also don’t want to turn reading into a stressful thing that I feel I fail if I didn’t do a certain amount. 24 is perfectly doable for me, without being stressful or feeling I’ve failed myself. But it would be cool if I could make it to 50 this time!

Will you participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge? 

Yeah! See above!

Any New Year’s Resolutions? (Bookish or otherwise?)

Not really. I don’t really do resolutions. But, I do have ongoing goals that I will continue to work on. Goals such as: be a better person, be kind to myself, work on my health, and find courage to carpe the fucking diem! And somewhere in all of that, I will continue to be a reading machine!

~

I nominate all y’all, cuz that’s how I roll. Anybody wanna do it? Do it. You no wanna? No do it.

3-Day Quote Challenge: Day The Second

Alright Peoplleaneous,

I owe you a quote for Day 2 of the 3-Day Quote Challenge! But first! Thanks to everyone for sharing your quotes on the post and on your blogs. I love reading them – keep ’em coming!

Good god, that’s a shitton of exclamation points in a short time. I’m as hyper as five hummingbirds fighting over the same nectar. I’m as hyper as a ten-bee orgy. (OHMYGOSH Y’ALL. THAT’S WHERE THE BEE GEES GOT THEIR NAME FROM! THAT’S WHY THEY HAD NIGHT FEVER.) Take your pick. I’m hyper, y’all. And it doesn’t necessarily equate to good feelings. Just. Ass. Tons. Of. Energy. Woo!

I know y’all haven’t known me long. But surely you know me well enough by now to know that you’re not getting one quote. Nuh uh. You’re getting at least one and a half.

Quoth the Raven:

Somewhere, far, far away, there’s a shitty island. An island without a name. An island not worth giving a name. A shitty island with a shitty shape. On this shitty island grow palm trees that also have shitty shapes. And the palm trees produce coconuts that give off a shitty smell. Shitty monkeys live in the trees, and they love to eat these shitty-smelling coconuts, after which they shit the world’s foulest shit. The shit falls on the ground and builds up shitty mounds, making the shitty palm trees that grow on them even shittier. It’s an endless cycle.

~Haruki Murakami. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Those of you unfamiliar with Murakawind-up birdmi’s work, please do not let that off-color passage deter you from entering his world. He is easily my favorite current author. All of the books I own by him so far are littered with notes and stickies and flagged passages and phrases. He speaks to my soul like…well like only Murakami can right now. His works are serious and surreal and deep and thought-provoking. And no. No. I cannot continue, because this is NOT the kind of half-ass, poorly thought out review I wanna write of his works. So. The point is. The passage I just put as my next quote? It’s in the middle of this super-serious book, and it leapt off of the page at me, and I laughed out loud. I laughed. I snorted. I moved on. And then I lost it again. Funny funny. Can you see it? The shitty monkeys on the shitty palm trees of shitty island?

WHY AREN’T YOU LAUGHING?!

Fine. You don’t wanna laugh at my funny? Cry, then!

Quoth the Depressed:

But even so, every now and then I would feel a violent stab of loneliness. The very water I drink, the very air I breathe, would feel like long, sharp needles. The pages of a book in my hands would take on the threatening metallic gleam of razor blades. I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o’clock in the morning.

~Haruki Murakami. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Another of my marked passages from the same book and author.

~

I’m having a strange day. Mentally. Moodily. Tummily. And now there’s this little bit of work that needs doing, and I find my restless boredom doesn’t quite extend that far. But I have to force it. I’ll try to write more later. I have so much to say to you people!

~Stephanie