Don't Box Me In Bro

I was facetiming with my seven-year-old nephew the other night. We were talking about the show he had just performed after a few weeks in theater camp, a thing I found particularly fun because I, too, was a theater kid. But he’s seven, so after a few minutes, he was kind of done talking about it. So I asked “What else is going on?” and he said, “Well… actually, is The Mr there, because I want to talk about a videogame.”

Me: I mean, yeah, he’s right here, but… you know I like videogames, too, right?

Him: Really??!?

Me: Yeah, dude! I play videogames all the time!

He was so pleasantly surprised that it was almost concerning, but also, I’m used to this reaction. From him it was because I’m a girl, and I don’t really think this is anything that has been necessarily said to him, as much as he just happens to be a part of a family in which only the boys are into videogames. I don’t think anyone actually said “Hey, kid, only boys do this,” but that’s all he’s known. And to his and his family’s credit, it’s not like he argued with me when I was like “girls can like video games too, you know?” Instead he thought about it and was like “Huh, I guess…. cool! So lemme tell you about War Robots. I’m a level 23!”

But most other times that I get the shocked reaction is because I’m a bookworm who works in a bookstore and therefore couldn’t possibly and absolutely should not be into video games. No way. There’s no way that I could simultaneously value the written word and the pixelated, silly world of games. NO! BECAUSE BOOKS! BOOKS ARE THE ONLY PURE FORM OF STORYTELLING. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE.

Guess what, I also watch some reality tv.


And I like folk music and classic rock and punk and even some heavy metal and yet I also played classical cello and french horn for 9 years.

I’m a writer and a bookworm who barely graduated high school by the skin of my teeth.

I am so much more than the one thing some people want me to be and I have multiple interests.

And I’m sure you are too, aren’t you?

Let’s all be like a surprise lady in a cake and bust out of our spongey, frosting-covered prisons! Tell me all of your contradictions in the comments.


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Cold feet.

So yesterday my friend texted me a picture of a book that we have both been really excited about reading and it finally just came out and THE EXCITEMENT LEVEL IS HIGH, FRIENDS.

But, because it's me, there is an issue.

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So APPARENTLY The Mr is annoyed because he buys really nice socks and I have always opted for really cute socks.

His are warm. Mine have narwhals on them.

His are fancy moisture-repelling socks. Mine all have holes in them. 

And when we got married I was all "Yay! Free socks!" 

He did not agree. 

Which brings us to our next marital dispute... 

I have a lot of books. 

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IN MY DEFENSE many of these are free because I am a bookseller and I get a lot of Advanced Reader Copies from publishers, BUT I also buy a lot of these books too. Especially if I read the ARC and then really loved it, so I want the author the get dollars and I'll buy it just to be a good fan. 

Which brings us to today.

My sock drawer is full of holey socks (insert divine joke here) and my hold shelf at the bookstore is overflowing. 

But what am I supposed to do? None of the fancy socks have narwhals on them... But my narwhal socks are no longer providing any level of warmth. 

If only I could convince the two sock companies to join forces! 

Dear Fancy Sock Makers,

I have been forced to buy your socks in order to continue my love of buying books. Normally, this would not be a problem. Your socks are fantastic in all ways but one: THERE ARE NO NARWHALS ON THEM. 

While I appreciate your ability to include a wide array of colors and stripes - even polka dots! Go you! - I am saddened by the lack of cute animal patterns. 

Must I really sacrifice my love of the Sea Unicorn in order to have warm feet? 

Of course, it's not just narwhals that I enjoy on my socks. Puppies, sloths, and giraffes are also always welcome, just in case someone on staff has an aversion to narwhals. Although, why would you hire such a monster? 

Wishing you all the best,

Emelie

UPDATE: THEY RESPONDED

Hi Emelie,

Thank you so much for reaching out! I too love Narwhals, what an awesome idea :) I did share your feedback with our product team, we always appreciate customer feedback! I also want to make sure you've seen our Woodland Creature socks, they do have cute animals represented on them :) https://darntough.com/collections/womens-lifestyle/products/woodland-creatures-crew-light?variant=36489076295

Thanks for being on board with us and I hope you have an awesome weekend!

Thank you for choosing Darn Tough!

And for the record, I did NOT see those woodland socks before, but it's a good thing that they exist because now I can buy books again. 

Plus, I think we can all agree that if they do in fact add narwhals to their designs, I will be heralded as a True American Hero. 

You're welcome.

KABOOM

When The Mr picked me up from work today, I was just getting to the climax of my book, and I did NOT want to put it down, so I was naturally a little cranky about going to the gym. (Side note: I'm enjoying the gym way more than I thought I would, but that's another blog post for another time.) Me: Ugh, this is annoying because I want to finish my book, but I also don't want to be a slacker.

The Mr: Why don't you just hop on one of those loungy bikes and read while you do that then?

Me: OH MY GOD YOU'RE A GENIUS.

So I did. I hit the "Random workout" button, popped in my headphones so I could listen to the Stranger Things soundtrack while I read, and I stayed there for 45 minutes and finished my book/acquired the strongest legs in the world. It was amazing. In fact, I was just reading the epilogue when The Mr showed up to tell me that he was all done.

Me: THAT WAS INTENSE.

The Mr: The book or the workout?

Me: Both! I'm so sweaty!!

 

via GIPHY

On a related note, you guys should totally pick up a copy of Bonfire by Krysten Ritter (Yes! as in Jessica Jones!) when it comes out in November. It's a slow burn, but man, oh man, when that spark reaches the gunpowder, THINGS. GO. BOOM.

Another side note: titling this blog post was really hard because "Sweaty Books" sounds disgusting and "Books make me sweat sometimes" also sounded gross and all things involving sweat can just be gross, so... I went with KABOOM because that felt safer.


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I WANT TO DO ALL THE THINGS or What I Think About When I Can't Sleep

I have a friend who stays up all night thinking about every terrible thing she’s ever said or done in her life.

I tend to think about what I have left to do that I haven’t done. I worry myself into a frenzy about the fact that I’ll never accomplish it all. This is quite possibly because I want to do so many things. I want to write. I want to blog. I want to own a bookshop. I want to knit. I want to play more video games. I want to play more board games. I want to read more books. I want to hike more. I want to start a podcast. I want to volunteer at an animal shelter. I want to work with teens. I want to do yoga. I want to meditate. I want to bake. I want to throw grand parties. I want to travel.

I want to do all of these things, and the terrible thing is that there isn’t enough time or energy to go around. I know I simply cannot accomplish these things, but I try and tell myself that I can. I try and say “Wake up at 5 and read for one hour, then write for one hour, then do yoga, and then…” until all of a sudden I’m forgetting that I need sleep, and so waking up at 5 becomes difficult, and my daily routine that I’ve built is fucked from the start.

So how do I choose? How do I figure out what things I want to do more than ever?

The thing is, everyone always says that it’s hard to figure out what you want to do with your life. I always assume people are talking about careers when they say that and I always feel really lucky because I always knew that I wanted to own a bookshop, and maybe one day I still will. For now, being employed in one feels good enough. It’s now, though, that I’m realizing that I’m having a hard time narrowing down what it is that I want to do with the rest of my life. The parts when I’m not at work. The parts when I’m away from the bookshop. What do I do with that time? How do I parse it out? The options are endless. I have the books to read and the yarn to knit and the pantry is stocked with ingredients to turn into delicious treats. I have the laptop and the quick typing skills and the imagination to spin stories.

I just don’t have the time to chase all of these dreams.

But I think I’m starting to figure it out. I think I’m starting to realize that I just need to be structured and organized. I need to have priorities.

So here are the things I try and do every day:

I meditate. I read. I write. I work in a bookshop. I knit. I do yoga.

And then I have the things that I try and do on a weekly basis:

I bake. I blog. I read blogs. I submit at least one piece of writing to some publication somewhere. I play video games.

The rest? The rest I let myself do when I can. I work with a really great group of teens two Sundays out of every month and Fiance and I hike as often as possible. The traveling is something we’re trying to make sure we do semi-regularly, and the grand parties will happen when we have a house that can provide the space we want for things like that.

I’m trying to be easier on myself about these things. I am also planning my wedding on top of all this, after all, and it looks like that can be a time-consuming task (who knew?), but while I try and be easier on myself, I’m also trying to not let myself lose sight of these dreams and these passions. Maybe I fear waking up one day and realizing I never did so many things that I wanted to? I’m not sure, but all I know is that I never want to stop doing. I never want to stop creating. And I never want to be bored. There’s so much out there to learn and to do. So I’m doing my best to make something of this life of mine.

Anyway, that’s what I think about when I can’t sleep. What about you?

***

In related news, I'm still working on what I am affectionately calling "The Awkward Giraffe Project", a thing I'm doing to help save the giraffes because THEY'RE DYING AND WE NEED THEM YOU GUYS. Here's the deal: You donate to the Giraffe Conservation Society and I'll crochet you a stuffed giraffe and mail it to your house. Read more details in this blog post. No, I don't have a lot of time, but that's not your concern. It might take me a little while to get you your giraffe, but you will get one. I promise. So just do the right thing and worry about the giraffes, not me and my time management skills, okay?

Now, tell me about your life. What's new, friends?

Do you Litsy? You should Litsy.

If you don't love books, this will not matter to you at all. If you do love books, read on. There's this newish app that I'm in love with recently and you should know that I'm in no way being asked to or bribed to talk about it. I just love it that much.

Because it's social media for book lovers. And it's not GoodReads (which I don't use for many reasons). As many of you know, I'm a bookseller and I love talking about books, but I usually don't do so here because that's not what this blog is typically about. This is the exception. This is where I blur the lines between my goofy Internet self and my let-me-tell-you-what-I'm-reading-because-BOOKS! self. It's Litsy.

Basically it's as if Instagram and GoodReads met one night at some bookish photography thing and then that turned into drinks, which turned into a few dates, which turned into trading book recommendations via photographs, which became their relationship, and then all of that eventually led to a baby app that grew up to become it's very own awesome individual app that we should all be hanging out with.

And it's so wonderful, you guys. Every morning I wake up and I check through my various social media feeds, and by far, my favorite one is Litsy. I get all sorts of reading recommendations from people who love books. I'm following authors and seeing what they're reading. I'm mIMG_5225eeting other really bookish people on the Internet and my to-be-read list is overloaded in the best way possible. On top of that, there's this fun little game aspect to it: You can track your reading and gain "Litfluence" points based on how much you're reading and how many people are adding books to their stacks because of your reviews. So if you're into stats and improving your score, this feature is delightful.

Currently this app is only available for iOS devices, but hopefully that will be changing soon so that we can all participate in this bookish glory together. But you should totally get on this if you can and follow me over there for book stuff! In fact, let me get you started with some of my favorite accounts:

Mine: @AwkwardlyAlive

Liberty Hardy: @Liberty (You will  never read as much as her. Accept this and then read whatever she tells you to.)

Amy Stewart: @AmyStewart (As in the author of Girl Waits With Gun, which is SO GOOD!)

Rebecca Schinsky: @RebeccaSchinsky (Fabulously smart)

K.D. Winchester: @kdwinchester (She reads the most interesting things!!) 

So go and download this app, follow me and all these lovely readers, and let's start chatting about books! BECAUSE BOOKS!

 

NaNoWriMo Begins!

I've attempted NaNoWriMo in the past and failed. Maybe failed is the harsh term, but either way, I've never actually completed a novel. I've been working on the same book for the past few years on and off and I'm so ready to complete it. I don't want to be done with it in the sense that I want to wash my hands of it or anything, but I'm sick of listening to myself make excuses, so I've decided to do NaNoWriMo a little differently this year. Instead of taking the 30 days to write a 50,000-word novel from start to finish, I'm going to start at word 17, 787 and go from there. I'm going to use NaNoWriMo to freaking finish my novel. It's time to take all those notes and scraps of paper and post-its and actually apply them here and get this shit done.

It's going to be tough. I know that. I'm not one of those writers who just bleeds words and PRESTO!: There's a novel.

No.

I'm one of those writers who whines and cries and bangs her head against the desk and constantly texts her friends saying "I can't do this."

That's the kind of writer I am.

But dammit, sometimes I even text myself back and say "YES YOU CAN! YOU'VE GOT THIS!" and then sad-me responds with "STOP TOYING WITH MY EMOTIONS AND JUST LET THIS DREAM DIE!!" and then the cool-me says "NO! KEEP GOING!" and it goes on like that for a while.

What's my point again? Oh yeah, I'm determined to finish my novel this month and I'm using NaNoWriMo (albeit in an unconventional way, but still) to do it and I hope you're all okay with that.

And if you aren't, well then I'll enjoy being a rebel in your eyes.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? If so, leave a comment below with your NaNo name and I'll buddy you!

Happy writing, all!

***

In other news, here's the new Page Break episode, in which Cole does a book review of the new Garth Nix novel (yay!!) Clariel:

Book lovers!! You're Needed!!!

So some of you know that in addition to this blog, I aim to entertain people on the internet via YouTube, but in a wildly different way. No, it's not porn.

It's books.

But Cole and I are looking at sort of revamping our show a little bit and we're looking for some serious feedback, so if any of you are book lovers (which I know so many of you are) we'd really, really, really appreciate hearing from you!

K thanks! I'll be back to doing real posts about how weird my life is on Monday!

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