five more books*

*that also more or less defined my childhood

Two weeks ago, I decided to write a #throwbackthursday post about books I loved as a kid (and, okay, true–books that also remained on my list of favorites). As is the case with most lists, I remembered everything else I wanted to add as soon as it was out of my hands. Today, I bring you another lit-style throwback: five books that should probably have been on that list, but weren’t (or: five more books you should all consider reading).

Interestingly, all of these received either a Newbery Medal or a Newbery Honor. Make of that what you will; I say it means my family knows good literature when we see it!

In any case, I present to you, in alphabetical order by author’s last name:

Five More Books That Basically Defined My Childhood

Continue reading “five more books*”


all is well.

A thunderstorm’s rolling overhead right now.

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I love thunderstorms: the slight give of the cushions in an armchair, the rustling pages of whatever book I happen to be reading, the scratch of my pen across a notebook as I sit by the window. Everything gains an extra level of comfort with every flash of lightning, with every echoing crash of thunder, with every minute spent listening to the thrumming sound of rainfall.

Mom popped by our front porch (where I was sitting with the door wide open… in the middle of a rainstorm.) and asked me, if you close your eyes, can you almost pretend you’re in North Carolina?

Almost, I told her.

Yes; almost. If I were in North Carolina, there would be no cars whooshing through the newly soaked streets: just the soft creaking of rocking chairs and the quiet murmur of laughter among friends. No rough carpet under my feet or memories of my dog curled up in that corner (that one; right there); just memories of hard work and laughter and tears and good fun–late nights, early mornings, starry skies, and thunderstorms.

Nostalgia aside–enough is as good as a feast. be where your feet are–I love a good thunderstorm. There’s something so quieting about watching the clouds roll in and stay for a while. Thunderstorms, for me at least, are somewhat like the sea. They instill a sense of smallness, a realization that we are tiny and fragile and oh, our lives are so short in the grand scheme of things. They give me a half-calming hope that everything will be alright–the sun will rise, the waves will pound the shore, the storms will rage, and all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

So instead of almost crying, as I am wont to do whenever the fact that I’m not at camp arises, I’m sinking in to where I am. There are letters to be written, and maybe care packages to be made. There are cookies and cobblers just waiting to be baked, recipes waiting to be attempted, stories waiting to be written–and, of course, there’s friends to be seen and books to be read. Even if I don’t quite know what they are, there are things to be done in this life of mine.

Big things. World changing things. 

Anyone can change the world. It just takes a lot of guts, a lot of gumption, and whole lot of support. And it’s okay not to go out to change the world, too. Sometimes you just have to work hard, wherever you are, and love fiercely and live–even if it feels small. Because we are small, you know, but you in your corner, and me in mine–together, I think, we might be able to do some good in this world of ours, whether or not we change the world.

What is it Galadriel says? Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

A few people have told me recently that the hard part of growing up isn’t always making tough choices between good and bad that a lot of stories seem to make it out to be. Sometimes it’s making choices between good and better. And sometimes, it’s just making a choice between good and good. You can’t win, you can’t lose–life is what it is and sometimes you have to roll in whatever direction it takes you, and that’s okay, too.

Just remember to watch the thunderstorms, wherever you are, if only just for me. Take a minute and think to yourself: I am small. My time here is finite, my days here are short: I am small, but I matter. My life matters. 

Then go out and make something of it. You never know whose life could change.

It might even be your own.

be where your feet are.

In the past two months, I’ve learned that graduating college means you’re put on the receiving end of a whole lot of life advice.

The occasion is positively ripe with platitudes. Sometimes graduation speakers help with this: solid life advice cushioned by beautiful language (think all you need is love meets “Ordinary People” and you have the commencement address from my school this year). At other times, though, they don’t (still trying to figure out what that one speaker meant by an anti-plan…? Ah well).

Basia and I forged our own advice, or at least found it for ourselves–her with Night Vale’s the future always flinches first and me with Lord of the Ring’s forth and fear no darkness–but that’s just us, and there’s only so many times you can give yourself advice before it starts sounding silly.

My friend Lizz sent me a letter that included the best piece of advice she’d gotten upon graduation: be where your feet are.

So far, I’ve found that one surprisingly difficult. I like to think I do a decent job of sinking roots into wherever I am at the moment, but the thing is–just now, there are so many places that my feet aren’t.

IMG_1578   Continue reading “be where your feet are.”

ten movies that remind me of growing up

Last week for #throwbackthursday, I presented a list of nine books that (pretty much) shaped my childhood. While I do have more such lists in the works (I do love books, you know), I wanted to do something a bit different for this week.

This list of films is not definitive, but there are plenty of movies in here that will either make you go Wow, I remember when that came out! or You watched that as a child? or even, you know, Wait, she’s young enough to consider Lord of the Rings movies from her childhood? Ack!

(I was nine when Fellowship of the Ring was released, so–yes. Yes, I am that young.)

Youthfulness aside, I present to you: ten movies that remind me of growing up–and that I’ve seen more times than I can count. In chronological order by release date, because that’s how I roll.

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