Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bloggers, Do You Do This Too?

On more than a few occasions especially when I have been writing and posting, I check the blog stats for the newly written post. What I find most interesting is where the trail leads after that. To which older posts.

I love this part of blogging because I am forever curious and intensely interested in people’s behavior and topics they read most often and trying to understand why. What elements of or about certain posts makes them more highly and routinely visited?

For instance, I write quite often about the books I am reading. Those interested in that kind of thing, books, check out several of the “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” entries. Others follow a chronological path. They may read everything from the entire month of November, 2013. I get "rabbit holes".

The next most fun thing to do is go back and read some of the older posts that are generating activity for some reason. I have written almost 600 posts. I don’t remember them all. Some don’t even ring a bell. Some I know like the back of my hand. Fun stuff.

I did this right now. Read some of the old posts visitors visited today. Can’t believe I wrote some of the things I did.

But the very, very tippy top thing that keeps me coming back for more is reading the comments left on old posts. On any post, really. Thank you to all who have visited and commented. Ever. I love what you've said to me. I love that you have taken the time. You make this blogging thing the bomb!

Monday, May 2, 2016

It's Monday, May 2nd! What Are You Reading?

Hosted by The Book Date

Here it is, Monday once again! It was an exciting weekend indeed. I met one of my idols/girl crushes. The Chicago Humanities Foundation event on Saturday night was Mary-Louise Park who wrote the amazing memoir titled Dear Mr. You. My feelings about her, the book, and the evening are fair too extensive and deserve a post of their own. If you want to read a great and recent review of her book, check out this fun one over at a favorite book reviewing website, Dunce Academy.

What have I recently finished?

Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson. Here’s what I said about it in last week’s post. This book. So many feelings. I’ve been there. 

Felicity by Mary Oliver. I am a devoted Oliver fan. Her poems make my heart sing. This is my third collection. I will continue to seek out her words as long as I live.

What am I currently reading?

I am just about finished listening to The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. I forgot how sociopathic Tom Ripley truly is. 

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Mara. The four stories I have so far read have been outstanding! Here is a review I enjoyed.

The Little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg. These are essays translated from Italian. Recommended by Zadie Smith (who wrote White Teeth), in an article I found in this link.

Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys. This one is touted by Lauren Groff, of Fates and Furies fame, in the article mentioned above. I loved that book. How could I resist?

What will I read next?

No one knows but the shadow. My mom says this a lot.

Tell me, tell me! What are you reading?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

100 Word Challenge: "Let's Get Crazy"

I had this boyfriend whose last name had seven consonants. During the day we’d sell engagement rings, gold chains and watches at the mall. At night we danced. “Let’s Go Crazy” was topping the Billboard. We took those Prince words literally.

Once, in a deserted club lot, we got caught twice by the same cop on top of each other (Kissing!) in the passenger seat. Flashing a glaring light in the window he yelled, “Move it!”

These were messy times. I didn’t know what I wanted, or who. But what I remember mostly was he loved to brush my hair.


Using the word  "Job" as inspiration for a 100 word piece. We could use the word, or it can be implied. Thanks for the prompt, Tara (Thin Spiral Notebook)! It is always fun to participate in your 100 Word Challenge!

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's Monday, April 18th! What Are You Reading (Tax Day Edition)?

Hosted by The Book Date

Since we last discussed books back in February, I really have been reading even though I haven’t told you about it.

What have I finished recently?

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 

The Pharos Gate by Nick Bantock (the very last in the simply stunning Griffin and Sabine series) 

Valletta78 by Erin Fitzgerald (Yikes!). 

I am sure there have been others, but my feeble brain is blanking.

What am I currently reading, you ask?

I am getting ready to finish a few. Specifically:

Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson, who, by the way, was a finalist over at Literary Hub's Tournament of Literary Sex Writing. Yes! 

Felicity by Mary Oliver. This is my third collection by her, and I have loved each and every one.

Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta. Here is the description from Goodreads. 

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. I am listening to this book, and it is fascinating. Remember the movie? Yeah, ME TOO!!!

What will I read next?

I am heading out of town at the end of this week. I plan to bring two short story collections and one novel. I seem to do better with novels in airports and on planes. Short stories work better, for me, poolside. They are:

What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (short stories with a key, actual or symbolic, at the center)

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra (short stories)

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (novel about a dysfunctional family fighting over inheritance (isn’t that the way it seems to go?)).

What are you reading these days?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

100 Word Challenge: What Hurts the Most?

slapping your face
so hard my skin stings
and yours more
leaving a temporary tattoo
of my fingers on you 
somewhere your cheek
your heart something you feel 
is not my style

so i run to the bus stop
drift off at night
wake up earlier still
penning words that do 
justice equal to the pain
though elusive as dreams

my fingers do the talking
some way they are
the same ones 
that would write the words
to express this palpably

slaps bite a short while
written words singe eternal
you hold your breath
but i won’t be doing either


The word from Tara of Thin Spiral Notebook was POWER. We can use the word in our piece or use it as inspiration. I have been struggling with how to write down my feelings here. The power of the pen can be wicked, and I am so fearful that I will hurt anyone's feelings by writing what I am truly feeling! Lots going on. Lots to write about. I need to figure out how to put it all into words I can live with.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

100 Word Challenge: Two Years Past A Quarter Century

Halfway back I answered, “Pick the best one, choose for love, then cross your fingers.” I meant it.

No one has a pellucid view at the altar all stargazed eyes, flushed cheeks, and Ode to Joy belting from organ pipes. You are, in many ways, the purest version of yourself. And them to you.

Not until you’ve watered the lawn and tended the weeds. Grown beautiful things. Glimpsed the amplified worst and best possible versions is the true veil lifted. (Because we all change, don’t we?) 

At some point if you’re lucky, your breathing relaxes, and you uncross them.



This week, Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook gave us the word "change" as our writing prompt. I wrote about an anniversary one other time HERE.

Monday, February 22, 2016

It's Monday, February 22nd. What Are You Reading?

Hosted by The Book Date!

I was away last week so I had the opportunity for quite a bit of reading due to travel time.

I have recently finished:

The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. It is no secret that I am absolutely nuts, and obsessed, with this author and her books. This one was gobbled up on the travel day to my destination. It is classic Ferrante. Dark. Gut-punching. Compelling.

Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux. This I devoured poolside over the course of two days. I believe I first became aware of this journal-like novel from a Book Riot post. Translated from French, Ernaux chronicles what it was like being emotionally, physically, and mentally obsessed with  a lover over the course of two years. It isn’t so much about her feelings, but more of her actions and thought process. I understood it to be more of a memoir. I can’t say I have felt or done these things in relation to just one person, but I certainly saw glimpses of myself over the course of multiple relationships. It was fascinating, familiar, and gripping.

Troubling Love by Elena Ferrante. Again, I love her though this wasn’t a favorite of mine. The writing felt cumbersome and disjointed. There is always an element of discomfort and the unexpected in Ferrante’s stories. You come to expect it, and this novel had it as well. I will read anything she writes.

The Story of a New Name by…guess who?…Elena Ferrante. Thank goodness I brought a fourth book because I needed it halfway home. This is the second of four books in the My Brilliant Friend series. I loved My Brilliant Friend and care about these characters, and I continue to feel the same way with The Story of a New Name.

I am currently reading:

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (of Pulitzer Prize winning note for Olive Kitteridge). I am loving it. Strout has such style. I just get her. If you’ve ever read anything by her, you’ll know what I mean. Like Olive Kitteridge, it induces strong visceral feelings and reactions. I am always on the edge waiting for the other shoe to drop. Call me crazy, but I like that feeling.

Since I should be wrapping this up today, my plan is to start The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Now this is supposed to be cray-cray! Don’t know what’s going on with me, but I am craving unstable characters these days!

I want to get my hands on:

Felicity by Mary Oliver and Forty Rooms by Olga Grushin. But before I do that, I need to finish up H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, which is sitting right next to me.

That’s me! What are you reading? Any recommendations?


My Name Is Lucy BartonMy Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just like her writing. She leads us gently through the dynamics of a mother/daughter relationship, and others of equal importance, without ever hitting us over the head. We get to do the discovery. The epitome of subtlety.

View all my reviews