I saw John and Hank Green (for the second time!) when they stopped by my alma mater, Western Washington University, on John Green’s book tour for TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN. Which I haven’t actually read yet, because I’ve been reading library books and also things for class. But SOON.
Anyway, one thing to know about their tours – which they also did jointly for the release of TFiOS – is that it’s really a variety show. John talks about his book and reads from it, but then we also get Hank singing songs about science, and they do things together. This time, they answered pre-submitted questions in a sort of podcast format. (Which – it was news to me they have a podcast now? I’m out of the loop.)
The evening as a whole was really fun. They both do a great job getting the audience excited and involved, despite hating audience participation, according to John. Thinking about it, I guess there really wasn’t any audience participation involved. They just did a great job making it SEEM like we were participating, simply because they made sure we had fun. And I will say, while I felt a little weird being a lone adult attendee, it was cool seeing how many teenagers convinced their parents to take them, and how many of them were singing along with Hank’s science songs, and generally being excited about nerd stuff.
John also took some time to talk about his OCD, and how it made him less creative because not taking care of it made it harder for him to write, and he urged the audience to get help if they, like him, felt like their brains were spinning out of control and were feeling scared. Given how many people in the audience were teenagers, I’m glad he spoke about his experience so honestly, because a lot of those kids who were there really look up to him, so his words have the potential to have a really big impact on them.
So, um, I guess I haven’t updated this blog since May? In all honestly, I have so much going on so much of the time, that this tends to get pushed all the way onto the very far back back burner. I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon, but I’ll make sure to update with a post or a book review or something every once in awhile. (Probably mostly book reviews, because I’ve been doing way more reading than writing lately.)
And now, here’s what I’m currently…
Colourpop. Specifically, their lipstick. I got one of their Lippie Stix in one of my Ipsy bags, and it was AMAZING, so I ordered a couple more. They’re matte, super pigmented, and SUPER long-lasting, which was all super surprising because they’re also only $5 each.
Right now, I’m juggling a few different things. Right now I’m focusing mainly on All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson because I have to return it to the library. It’s a
middle grade graphic novel about an eleven-year-old girl trying to navigate the wilds of middle school while also working with her family at a Renaissance Faire on the weekends. I love everything about it.
I’m also working my way through The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It’s an absolutely gut-wrenching story about family and identity, and what it means to be black in the United States. I can’t recommend it highly enough…and I’m only halfway through.
The other book I’m working on is Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas. Which I’m enjoying, but also have mixed feelings about. As always, I love how richly imagined the world is, but at the same time, I’m only 200 pages in (out of almost 700) and I’m pretty over Chaol thinking about his “manhood,” and there are some overlong descriptions and internal monologues that feel unnecessary.
The boy and I started Twin Peaks and got about three episodes in, but I keep falling asleep so I’m not sure when we’ll finish it. I think we’re mostly waiting for The Crown to come back at this point.
We also watched Harlots and The Handmaid’s Tale last spring, and I strongly recommend them both. Harlots was created, written, and directed entirely by women, and it really shows.
I’ve been listening to the new Taylor Swift album today and I’m not sure what I think of it yet? I feel like I don’t like it as much as her other albums, but “Look What You Made Me Do” and “…Ready For It?” really grew on me after I listened to them a few times, so that could change.
That being said, “I Did Something Bad” IS MY JAM. So.
Getting through the rest of this quarter. There’s only a month left and now the big projects are really picking up. In my Information and Society class, my group has to write a white paper about student privacy while accessing information at school, and how it intersects with digital access at home, and how both of these factors interact with privacy policies. And then for my Multicultural Youth Resources class, I’m trying to fundraise so I can donate a few #ownvoices books about POC to a middle school classroom.
So, in my last Currently… post, which was back in December, I said I was anticipating
2017 because “I would like to think things will be at least marginally better for the world in 2017. But who knows? Maybe we’re in for a crappy sequel.” I’m just going to present that without comment.
So, in August, while in the process of moving in with the boy, we took out the broken wood stove taking up entirely too much space in the middle of the living room after one of the toddlords fell and cracked his head on the bricks. (He was fine, just had staples in his head, and a noticeably depleted supply of f**** once said staples were in his head. Which is fair.)
Anyway, one of the thoughts that occurred to us was that, now that there’s no stovepipe for the cold air to come in through during the winter, maybe the house will stay warmer this winter. And so far, we appear to be right. So that’s pretty happy-making, because I really hate being cold.
It’s been a really long time since I posted! I’m happy to report that while this quarter sucked, I survived it. Here are some of the things I was up to when the state of the world didn’t leave me paralyzed by anxiety and/or depression:
I went to our Women’s March with the boy and his toddlords, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen so many people in one place in Bellingham. The energy was really positive and I’m glad I slacked off on homework for the day to go.
Western Washington University Children’s Literature Conference
I took advantage of having weekends off (and the student discount) to go to the annual Children’s Literature Conference at my alma mater and I’m so glad I was finally able to make it! The speakers were all incredible, although Laurie Halse Anderson (!!!) almost made me cry. Christian Robinson’s talk made me laugh so hard I almost cried. I’ll definitely be going to the conference again next year.
I loved all of the discussions of each author/illustrator’s process. My favorite advice was from Laurie, who said that she always tells people to write fifteen minutes a day, on anything, just to stay in the practice of writing. It made me feel better that, while I’ve been writing, I haven’t necessarily been writing on my WIPs.
Doug Ericksen Town Hall
In the interest of being more involved in local politics, the boy and I took a nice, romantic drive out to the County to go to our state senator’s town hall a couple weeks ago to politely inform him we disapprove of the job he’s doing. It was a very tense atmosphere, as many of the people who attended were people who drove up from Bellingham who were also displeased with him, and that irritated many of the people from the rest of the county who keep reelecting him. Senator Ericksen was very articulate and, for people unfamiliar with his Facebook posts, sounded very reasonable. He kept his cool even as people heckled and booed him (although not like the clips going around the internet from Mitch McConnell and Jason Chaffetz’s town halls). He gave very scripted-sounding answers to questions about well rights, climate change (which he believes is up for debate), his double duty (continuing to serve as our state senator while working for the EPA transition – which is what many people are angry about up here), and education funding, among other things. The only point at which I became well and truly angry was when he discussed how unfair it is to experts that if they want to teach in a public school in our state, they’re required to get a teaching certificate just like everyone else. His tone as he explained his position to my NBCT colleague felt dismissive, not to mention his response betrayed a profound lack of knowledge about the fact that teachers are experts in so much more than content. (I spent a good two hours later that afternoon crafting a letter in response to that position that was simultaneously polite and shade-filled. As expected, my wayward senator has not responded [another thing people in Bellingham are angry about].)
Grad school. It is SO MUCH WORK (which I expected and still signed up for), but I love being around people who are so passionate about things like children’s books and wanting to make the world a better place. This quarter, I especially loved my children’s lit class. I don’t know as much about picture books and middle grade and everything in between, so it was really fun to read all sorts of new books, not to mention apply all of the things I’ve been learning to the elementary school kids I work with all the time.
My other class last quarter was a research methods class, which was a little more challenging for me because it was all based on social science research methods, and as a humanities person, most of it was completely new to me.
Anyway, that’s where I disappeared to. Grad school and also working two jobs and trying to, like, sleep. I’m hoping to get more writing done now that I have a better handle on things and I’m actually in the process of launching a Patreon where I’ll post the random things I write (like short stories and poems) and some behind the scenes things.
Right now I’m reading The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I love that, while Kvothe is clever, it’s more a source of trouble than it is anything else. He’s an extremely clever university student and gifted musician, but he’s also a teenage boy.
I just finished The Crown on Nextflix, which was like Downton Abbey in the 1950s. I wanted Queen Elizabeth’s entire wardrobe.
I also saw Rogue One on Wednesday and loved it. I’m so glad little girls have Rey and Jyn to look up to. I had Padme. Who was awesome until she got with Anakin, but at least she had a fabulous wardrobe, I guess?
I’ve been intermittently listening to Welcome to Night Vale but since I usually listen to it before bed, I mostly end up falling asleep and having to re-listen to episodes.
All of the bad things in the world and how powerless I feel as more and more things pile up. I mean, I know it’s not physically possible to do EVERYTHING and to focus on the things I can do, but it’s still disheartening.
2017. While 2016 was a good year for me personally…well, AT WHAT COST? I would like to think things will be at least marginally better for the world in 2017. But who knows? Maybe we’re in for a crappy sequel.
I had a Time Turner because I always have so much I want to do and so little time to do it in.
Making Me Happy
I went to the Northwest Chocolate Festival last month and it was so much fun! The panels and tastings were a little lackluster because they were held in a giant, echoey room with no walls so it was hard to hear. But the exhibits were nice. It was like Costco with chocolate, at least as far as free samples went.
Also, we’ve been getting snow these past couple weeks. We don’t generally get that much – once or twice a year, and then it melts by afternoon – so having it stick around was a treat…at first. It’s getting a little old now, but I guess it’s nice to look at.
The weather we’ve been having lately. Even though it’s pollen-y and it feels like I got punched in the face a lot of the time. (Thanks, allergies!) And even though it feels more like July than May. Days like the ones we’ve been having remind us all around here why we haven’t left.
I’m still reading THE NAME OF THE WIND. I have about 300 pages left. I’ve returned an embarrassing number of books to the library unread in the past month. I’m enjoying it, though.
I saw the new Captain America movie on Friday, and had way more feelings than I expected to have, all thanks to the complexity of the character relationships. Also, there was tons of moral ambiguity to go around. I think I still liked Winter Soldier more, but Civil War was up there.
Also, Game of Thrones is back, so I’ve been watching that. I really want to see Sansa actually get to DO something with all that awesome character development that’s been going on. Also, I actually felt sort of bad for Cersei, for once?
Revisions. I’m about 13k into the new draft and it’s going much better. The pacing at the beginning has improved a lot since I cut a lot of things and consolidated some scenes, and I’m feeling a lot better about where the story is going now.
Summer is SO CLOSE. We’ve only got about five weeks left of the school year and it’ll probably fly by because I’ve also been super busy lately. It’s already been feeling like summer for the past couple weeks, so that should make things…exciting.
I had a money tree. Because grad school is expensive. (But not sleeping for three years sounds cool, too.)
Making Me Happy
I’m doing the YA Buccaneers Spring Writing Bootcamp and it’s always nice to have people to check in with and cheer you on! And I love cheering other people on. (Shout out to Twitter for adding GIFs because this has upped my cheerleading game considerably.)
CLARIEL by Garth Nix: I mostly just want to reread the other books now? I enjoyed it, but not as much as its predecessors, although I did appreciate reading a book with an asexual protagonist.
ENDURE by Sara B. Larson: I enjoy this series because it reminds me a lot of Tamora Pierce’s books, although the character development in the villains was lacking for me.
QUEEN SONG by Victoria Aveyard: I was out in public earlier today when I finished this one. Otherwise I probably would’ve thrown my phone across the room.
Now, I’m starting THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss, which I bought awhile ago and just hadn’t gotten around to reading yet.
I discovered the other night that THE PRINCESS BRIDE is on Netflix, and I immediately watched it (even though I own it on DVD). Last night I watched BEFORE WE GO, which Chris Evans directed, so OF COURSE I had to watch it, and I loved it.
Revisions, always. Last month I mentioned deciding to scrap what I had so far and rework the beginning, and then I didn’t really get time to work on that until this week.
Also, a couple weeks ago, Washington had their Democratic caucuses, and I was thinking about how lucky we are that we even get a say in who runs for president. Even if many of the choices we don’t have this time don’t seem that appealing, at least we still get the chance to choose the least-awful of the bunch?
I might not have been thrilled at waking up early on the weekend to go participate, and then going immediately to work a nine hour shift afterward, but it was cool to see how many other people were also willing to give up four or five hours of their Saturday mornings to make their voices heard.
So, in this section last month, I said I was waiting to hear back about grad school. And I did. I got my acceptance email literally right as I hit “publish” on this post. So, I’m doing my MLIS online starting in September, and I’m excited to learn how to be a librarian, and I’m also excited because I already feel like I’ve found my people. I mean, I love teaching (that’s why I want to be a school librarian), but I feel like I BELONG in a library.
Okay, but, like, does spring break have to be ONLY a week, though.