Have you read a really really good book lately? One so great you want everyone to read it?
Have you stumbled upon an awesome blog post, a song that makes you cry or a movie that inspires?
It’s summer time. Have you been burned yet? Gone to the beach? Scratched off some mosquito bites? Have you made a summer bucket list, written in your diary, tried a new recipe?
Have you sent out pictures of yourself attempting to be creepy to guys?
Have you deleted Facebook, complained on Twitter, gotten a cold, bought new sun glasses, changed the background picture on your desktop, asked for time off, planned a trip to Myrtle Beach, boxed up most of your books into boxes that are sitting on the floor, drank enough water, lost the weight you put on after joining Weight Watchers, forgotten medicine and vitamins?
Has someone to like ignored your existence, someone else haunted your thoughts, more of the same old same old. Have you taken out The Secret and decided to manifest your own life? Have you looked at your old hoop that’s in the corner of your room behind your desk and thought about relearning how to dance with it.
Have you taken some ballet classes, thought about taking tap, asked about buying a condo, let your clean clothes pile up around you in your bedroom?
Has anyone asked you about you, blog, lately? Has anyone asked if you’re still blogging, where you are, how are you.
I’ve done most of these things in the past month or so. Or I’ve been asked these things. Stuff has happened. I have done things. I have lived or not lived. I have bought new prescription classes and got a new car.
I’ve eaten a lot of Indian food. Maybe I’m addicted. I also tried Ethiopian.
And somewhere in the middle I just disconnected. I turned off Facebook, I deleted (and then readded) my Twitter account. I stopped writing. I let an advanced writing class kind of go to waste as I sat and allowed work to pile up around me. I made a lot of outlines. And I gained weight. And kind of lost it. And lost a little more because having a cold is incredible on the appetite. I changed locations at work, I ate some lobster. I caught a fish, tried on some hats and sunglasses. I saw a swan in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts. I baked two cupcakes, attended a wake, signed up for graduate classes (did I already type this one?) and bought more books.
All of these are things, little things, big things, influential and trivial. They’re parts of every day. Parts of moments that aren’t always heard of.
How have you been spending all of these important moments?
ps. Can I add that I’m amazed that I still have a steady flow of readers here? Even after deleting my Facebook and only posting one other time in the entirety of June. This is the perfect time to introduce yourself, readers! (Or reintroduce, or just say hello). I can’t wait to meet you.
Penny Rose was named for a character I created in 2003. Penny was based off the song Penny & Me and the idea of Penny Days was also born. A “Penny Day” is a day that makes you feel the same way the song Penny & Me always makes me feel – magical. It makes me stop and remember to appreciate the beauty in life. When Penny & Me is playing, I automatically feel that way. When inheriting this nickname, Penny was given super powers that include, but are not limited to, coming up with ways to make real life magical. You can read her Things I Love Thursday lists right here.
When I was younger everything seemed magical – as I’m sure it does for many children. Magic could make five dollars feel like a fortune, turn a stick into a sword and a box into a castle, and send out mysterious GPS signals so that Santa, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy could all find your exact location. But as I’ve gotten older that magic has become depleted. Maybe its part of growing up – you know you are an adult when sticks are just sticks and five dollars hardly buys lunch let alone cover your car payment and rent.
So where do you find magic when it’s not peeking out at you from ever corner? When I asked myself this question I pulled out a sheet of paper and my colorful gel pens and made this list.
Where little Penny found her magic
Making potions with kitchen spices
Dress up and make believe
When I sat and looked at my list (covered in doodles by the end of this exercise) I realized none of the things I found magical as a child have really changed… the thing that changed was how I evolved that magic.
Now don’t worry, I’m not twenty something sitting in my kitchen with a bowl of water and bubbles from the sink sprinkling cinnamon and dried basil to cure my Barbie doll’s cancer while I’m fully clad in a pretend wedding dress and a playschool hard hat… remember that the magic grew with me so I am a little more socially acceptable and a lot less crazy than that mental picture I just shared with you.
My magical potions have evolved into fantastical sweet treats. I traded in my water and soap bubbles for flour and sugar (I still use the spices of course!) and even though my baked goods can’t cure cancer (yet…) there is nothing more magical than pouring wet and dry goods together, mixing in a lot of love and a few wishes, sticking it all in the oven and watching it transform into something that makes tummies grumble. If you are looking for a little grown up magic and some little kid fun – tie back your apron strings, break out some sprinkles, and mix up some of your favorite flavored cake batter and give someone who never smiles a cupcake; then watch the fireworks go off in their eyes.
As far as dress up and make believe, I no longer have a small toy box full of costumes – now I have an entire closet full them. It took years of musty vintage shops and hit or miss thrift store treasure hunts to create my style but it was well worth it. I guess I never realized magic lived in my closet because my clothing doesn’t feel like dress up anymore – it feels like me. But its not at all strange to see me out and about in a 1950’s inspired sailor outfit or a candy cane striped jumper and a red wig, so I suppose it looks like dress up to most onlookers. I’m sure many fashionistas would tell you that clothes can make or break you but I think clothes can convert the regular and mundane into the enchanting. Take a day and dress as a Russian spy and see if it doesn’t make you feel mysterious and seductive – my bets are that it will and those feelings will vibrate from you and bounce off of every person who crosses your path until you start wondering if it is really a regular Tuesday or if you woke up in a James Bond 007 film… if you’re not into the spy look try mimicking your favorite movie, song, or book – inspiration is everywhere!
When all else fails I have books. Even if I think the magic has run out in every other aspect of life; fiction has always been a staple for me because it opens doors to new lands and times where anything is possible and good always conquers evil – the way reality should be. Books are probably the most constant magic in my life. When I feel like my optimistic energy gauge is flashing red I pull out a book and read – it’s like an instant shot of happiness. I’m not sure what to tell people who don’t enjoy reading because I give them the same look as people who tell me they don’t like chocolate, the look that says “Has hell frozen over? Am I dreaming? Did you really just say that?” so if you are not a book lover you are on your own because I would probably run into a burning library to save my favorites. My go to magic guides include (but are not limited to) Francesca Lia Block’s Dangerous Angel series, Holly Black’s Tithe and White Cat Series, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, and Classics such as Catcher in the Rye and East of Eden.
Now that I’ve listed the magic I find fun every day and the most constant, let me tell you about the most powerful magic you can find – the magnetism of friends. We meet people every day and granted some of them are blind to magic but every so often you will meet someone who can open your eyes to the magic that you hold inside of you. You meet this person and you create sparks of enchantment that flow between you and when you catch those sparks together you can dole them out as you please. With them you can even make five dollars feel like a fortune, turn a stick into a sword and a box into a castle, and send out mysterious GPS signals…
Magic is a renewable resource if you know where to look. So put on your rose colored glasses (the ones that the whole world keeps telling you to take off) and see the world for what it really is – a truly enchanting place!
I wrote this back in 2005 or 2006. I stole characters from a series of novels I had written before, ones I couldn’t quite let go of and wrote many little side pieces. This is one of those side pieces I just stumbled upon on Monday. Also, it’s in the POV of a guy, and I probably suck at that. So you should know in advance.
It was a reunion of the four of us, all clean of our outside lives and huddled up in my Los Angeles apartment wandering from room to room drinking beer from cheap plastic cups like it was some big high school party. We were listening to loud music, the kind that doesn’t get radio play but sounds better anyway, and dancing at each other more buzzed than anything.
Marianna sat with her SLR camera perched on her lap like she was awaiting a photographic moment at any time. But in reality she was slowly falling asleep, her eyelids curtaining her irises until they touched and she opened them again quickly as if she were in class. Her cup of beer sat on the coffee table in front of her, but I was pretty sure it was entirely full of the same fermented liquid that was originally poured into it.
Tanner sat across the room, his head close to the speakers as he mouthed along to every single word. He was the DJ of the night drinking Dr. Pepper out of his “beer” cup. Three months and he was completely substance free. I walked up to him and sat on the arm of the recliner, singing along and stealing a sip of his soda. “Hey,” he finally said, his clear green eyes staring at me.
“Hey,” I responded. His eyes were just like his twin sister’s, my girlfriend, the girl on the couch – it was all the same. “Where’s Kyrah?” I should have said something else, and been the kind of friend who made conversation and asked if he wanted anything to eat.
“Are you two okay?” Kyrah, my best friend, his girlfriend, and the missing girl all the same, seemed spacey all night. She lost count of the beers she drank after eight when she started to dance longer and sing louder her purple hair swinging in the dim lighting. I hadn’t seen her in the better part of an hour.
“Yeah. I think we’re all lonely tonight.”
I didn’t think so at first, while we were all together laughing at each other and sharing cups but since the voices died down, the music got louder. We were separated in my apartment, four best friends just barely acknowledging each other while the beats played on just like we were mingling in a party full of people.
I glanced from him to his sister whose eyes had finally completely closed and stayed like that. There would be no more photographs tonight. I could feel the condensation around my fingers where I held my half filled cup, and the way my toes felt against the carpet. “We are,” I agreed quietly.
I stood up and walked over to my girlfriend, tempted to throw a blanket over her shoulders and leave her to sleep. I was too lonely, I decided, so I sat beside her, craving her skin against mine. I slipped the camera from her hands, careful to untangle her fingers from the strap, and held it to my eye. The lenses tinted all that was in my view in such a way that she, though sleeping, looked more alive. I contemplated on taking the picture, weary to wake her with bright light. I held my hand over the flash and took the picture anyway, mentally noting that I should name the picture “a sort of loneliness” in the morning.
I put the camera beside me and slowly slid my arm around her shoulders. Her body softened to my touch and she wearily opened her eyes. “Was I asleep?” She asked, eyes blinking, lips pouting.
“I didn’t mean to wake you,” I promised, blindly finding her fingers with my hand.
“No, it’s all right.” She raised her head until our lips met and thought it tasted like love the loneliness of the evening wasn’t filled by her existence. “I should probably move to our bed anyway.”
I nodded in agreement and we stood up, guiding our feet along the carpet, past Tanner who saluted, and down the hallway. I saw Kyrah sitting on the bed in the spare room, her back toward the slightly cracked door. I noticed the pictures that lined the hallway. They were mostly of my family and our friends smiling faces, pictures that Marianna took over the years. They stared at me with mocking grins as if they knew that I was feeling disconnected and lonely, they knew and their happiness couldn’t be spared.
Marianna’s eyes didn’t leave the bedroom door while she walked on, our arms around each other, her head leaning against my shoulder. “Are you coming to bed too?” she asked when we finally walked in through the door that was solely our own. In there the pictures weren’t mocking, and music wasn’t as haunting. We faced each other pressed and touching in a way that wasn’t lonely.
“I will in a little while, Mari,” I told her, my fingers tracing up and down her back. The image of Kyrah sitting in her own isolation haunted me so that I had to talk to her. This couldn’t wait until morning, but my loneliness I could hold off. “Don’t wait up for me, okay?”
Her eyes had already begun to close. “I won’t,” she promised and leaned toward me once again, our lips together tasting of love and beer and a little less loneliness.
“I’ll see you in the morning.” I tucked her in; her legs folded beneath jersey cotton sheets, and brushed her tousled hair from her cheeks. One last kiss, I told myself, otherwise the fluttering in my alcohol filled stomach and the filling of love droplets in my heart would take over and I wouldn’t move from that bed.
I forced myself away and walked toward the door. “I love you,” she said faintly, her eyes already closed. “I love you too,” I responded, clicking the light switch off. It had been more than a few years and those words still felt the same.
Outside the music still blared but it was of a mellower genre, one that reminded me of a sadness in the air. I entered the room where Kyrah sat, the same as she had been just a few minutes before. I could see the plastic cup in her hand and watched her take a sip before I announced myself saying quietly, “You shouldn’t be drinking alone.”
She didn’t turn to see me, but she responded, “Hi Zac,” so quietly I wasn’t sure if I had really heard her.
I walked around the bed stepping over the suit case she was living out of, kicking an abandoned pair of Chuck Taylors out of the way, and sat beside her. She took another sip of her beer then turned so I could see her. Her cheeks were glossy and streaked with purple and black from the full dark eyes that stared right back at me.
I knew she was crying before I saw her, but the watery proof made my heart sink. “What’s wrong?” I asked in a voice that didn’t sound like my own.
“He’s so distant.”
“We’re all distant tonight,” I said slowly, acknowledging the ‘he’ was Tanner.
“Not just tonight. Every night. Every day.” She paused then glanced away, taking a gulp of the beer. Was she intoxicated yet? I wondered. Was that the source of her tears?
“Talk to him.”
“He doesn’t listen.”
“Then let him talk to you.”
“He has nothing to say.”
“You know more than I do that isn’t true.” It had been months since I’d seen him smile for anything except her. I couldn’t say those words out loud.
“I want to go home.” She moved on like our last conversation hadn’t started.
“Away from California?” I reached forward and took the cup out of her hands.
There was barely a sip left swishing around in the bottom.
“I don’t have a home,” she sniffled, using her free hands to smudge bruise coloured eye make up across her face. “I want us to buy a place and move in and be home.”
“He doesn’t say that.”
“But does he say you won’t?” I put the cup on the nightstand and turned back to her just as she was leaning into me.
“He doesn’t say anything,” she reminded me, speaking into my armpit, her voice muffled by my T-shirt.
“He’s going through a hard time,” I reminded her. “Remember?” She nodded against my shirt. I tightened my arms around her. “Just let him talk to you okay?”
She pulled her head up and looked right at me, her arms relaxing until they moved around my waist. “Zac?”
“I’m really attracted to you right now.”
I didn’t expect that kind of comment, and I didn’t have the time to suppress a laugh before it escaped through my lips.
“Can I kiss you?”
“Of course you can’t kiss me,” I pulled her toward me and patted her head. “You’re over tired and drunk and you have a boyfriend to kiss.”
At that same moment the music stopped and we paused around each other. It was quiet enough for me to hear our hearts and our breaths and in that moment of time with such a heavy thumping against my chest and my best friend in my arms I realized that feeling of loneliness had washed away sometime after I entered that room.
I saw Tanner in the doorway, watching and thinking nothing probably; unaware that she wanted to kiss me just seconds before, unaware that she wanted a place to call a home with no one else but him. I whispered good night and slipped from her arms, pausing in the doorway to recognize my friend there.
I was tempted to hug him too, but that wasn’t what we did so I kept my foot distance while he asked, “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah,” I nodded, glancing back at Kyrah who had curled up onto the bed, her streaks of salt water make up smudged into the shoulder of my t-shirt. “We’re all just a little lonely tonight,” I added then padded my way back into my bedroom to slip between the sheets of comfort where I would remember nights like this as some sort of downfall that never ended in disaster.
Two Book Recs because I finished both of these today and they were totally worth my time, energy and money. I tend to buy books often, scooping them off the shelves of Borders and paying with coupons. Love it.
The Weird Sisters – Eleanor Brown
1. There are tons of Shakespeare references in here, but you don’t have to get them in order to enjoy the book. There are three main characters, their father likes to speak in quotes from Shakespeare .
2. The concept of coming back home. Being stuck in a small down. Wanting to escape for adventure. I can relate on many, many levels.
3. The POV was unique, it was in third person covering all three sisters yet at the same time referring to them as “we” and “us” but only in an overall general sense.
4. They all loved books. Come on, now. Why else wouldn’t I love that?
5. The writing style was simple but lyrical. It was very pretty to read.
6. Oh, and the book itself it pretty and shimmery.
A Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel – David Levithan
1. I like David Levithan, and I try to read anything he comes out with. He co-wrote Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist which is amazing as both a book and a movie.
2. Love is the general theme. We all know how much I love love.
3. Words! This entire story is broken into sections and evolve around words. It’s truly a collection of ways that words have been woven into the love in this story.
4. It’s a short and quick read, but it’s still funny and deep and honest. In the way that fiction can be honest.
5. ineffable, adj. These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.
Read any good books lately?
It’s my weekly love-list. Inspired by Gala Darling. Recognizing things you love is guaranteed to make you feel good.
♥ My bridesmaids dress for Shaylin’s wedding.
♥ Convincing Kristen to try Zumba with me
♥ A four pound weight loss (even though it was mostly countering the gain from last week)
♥ Lemony Flutter by Lush. It’s great on my feet. And lips. And cuticles.
♥ Texts in the AM hoping I’m having a great day
♥ Reading. (But this is always a given anyway…)
♥ The fact that it isn’t DARK outside when I leave work at 5:15
♥ Recommending books to people, it makes me so happy, especially since 90% of the books I read are Young Adult and that clearly isn’t everyones favourite.
What do you love today?