God, Swans and Teenagers

I am ashamed of how long it has been since I wrote to you here. As you can imagine so much as happened, with you as well, I’m sure.

Since January I have been student teaching at smaller high school south of Kansas City. It is incredibly time consuming – so much so, I wish I had time for something else – anything else. But, it has slowed since I will be finished in less that two weeks. I have one class to teach and everything else for the university is completed.

And I bet you didn’t care to read this hearing about teaching high school-ers.

untitledLooking to see what I last posted, I have read some since writing. I always wish I would read more than I have. Among those have been Ms. Kostova’s The Swan Theives. She is brilliant to no surprise. Definitely a title worth picking up. Mentally tortured painter shows up at a mental institute. His therapist tells his journey to find out what happened before he arrived, as his patient will not speak. It folds into a beautiful recollection of a story between a young woman and her uncle-in-law. Their letters, love and talents. Sounds confusing, but clearly evoked. 77203

I also read The Kite Runner, by Khaleed Hosseini. Brilliant depiction of a boy and his friend. How different they are, but so close, like brothers. One brother mistreats the other. I would not do justice trying to explain the story he shared. I will say I enjoyed is second book A Thousand Splendid Suns, a bit more (perhaps because I’m a woman).

I’m currently reading A Feast for Crows in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Thriving on the Season three premier of the HBO depiction. Have not gained much ground with the story, but will hopefully have more time soon.
In addition, I’ve been diving more and more into my Bible. As a result of fantastic role models, maybe a bit of self-pity and a desire for something else – knowing only He can fill whatever void is in my life.

Other things have happened as well. Pending graduation. Engagement. Photography for friends.

I would ask, as a parting wish, to pray for my bitterness. I find myself angry towards those who do not realize what they have, how blessed they are. A culmination of experience has given me an appreciation and independence – but I do not want a hard heart.

Until next time…

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The Library

It had been a while since I had even stepped into the Grundy Co. Jewett Norris Library, let alone checked out a book. Last week, while my parents were off to Haiti my 9-year-old fireball of a brother and I made our way inside more than a couple times. He mostly wanted to see what DVDs they had, but he tried out a book too. Getting him to read it would be the hard part. On the other hand, nerd that I proudly am, I even brought my own book to the library. Nonetheless, he found a book (and a couple movies) and even got some info on the summer reading program. Meanwhile I ventured upstairs to the ‘adult’ section – which isn’t dirty, it’s just for anyone who is above the eighth grade reading level. Geesh, get your mind out of the gutter. And in the rows and rows of books I found more than a few titles I’d been wanting to read, but hadn’t been able to add to my own collection. The Round House, by Louise Erdrich, Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, some Steven King titles. Of course I hadn’t been in so long, I lost my original library1044501_10151749673631823_1860074247_n card. Now, to obtain one, you need proof of residency and bills and a personal id – just to avoid buying one for $30+. Lucky me, I was in the system and had another card assigned to my account. Thanks to the wonderful librarian I now have this gem (along with one for the Maryville Public Library), and managed to take home my next book as well. Let’s just hope I find the time to read it before it’s due, a week from yesterday.

Summer Nights

“The exquisite art of idleness, one of the most important things that any University can teach.” – Oscar Wilde

After transferring to Northwest Missouri State last fall, I moved into a one-room apartment in early July. With only a part-time job to occupy my time, and a longing for my vast yard back at home, I made my way outside in the evenings to explore the new campus. Of course I would take my book with me in case I found a new place to relax. After my second or third venture on my bicycle, I discovered Colden Pond. Among the beautiful scenery of Northwest – and right near the ‘Kissing Bridge’ – the little pond became my go-to spot. One of my first nights there, I even predicted the engagement of a nearby couple. Now, spending another summer working part-time in Maryville, I find myself coming back to the familiar oasis. And although it’s not being taught in the classroom, I’m doing my best to practice that exquisite art of idleness.

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Birchbark Books

So, so much to write since I’ve returned from Minnesota (the farthest North I’ve ever traveled)! You may or may not know that I recently subscribed to TIME Magazine and it completely fuels my love for random facts. A few weeks ago, I came across an interview with Louise Erdrich, a half-Chippewa, half-American author. Erdrich has written upwards of 20 novels and her work has definitely earned her a good reputation. Her most recent book, The Round House is near the top of my to-read list, and describes a tragedy and how it is approached from the reservation. Also included in this interview was some information on a little place called Birchbark Books…

Erdrich started Birchbark Books, a small, local bookstore in Minneapolis, MN. The avid lit-lover than I am, I was sure to write down her new novel and her bookstore, in case I should ever be able to make it up that way. Thanks to my position with the National Postsecondary Agricultural Students Organization, some travel to that area was required. After navigating Minneapolis traffic during rush hour (following five other vehicles rather than a GPS), I felt capable of making my way to this little place. My new friend Trisha and I had an hour to kill, so I figured, “Why not?!” What we happened upon was a beautiful, unique, intimate nook in a strangely nostalgic, urban neighborhood. I hope these pictures give you at least a partial feel for this souvenir that warmed my heart. 🙂
And of course I got something to remember it by, despite being a struggling college student.

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Because I love you…

…and because I’m cheap.

images (1)Go to the link below and sign up for an Amazon student account! They will give you free shipping (without the $25 order minimum). It’s quite the bargain. I use it, and I love it. No, they are not paying me to do this. But, I do however earn $5 for each referral…so go sign up!

And I should add that this is not spam. Go be a referral, make yourself happy, and ‘pay’ for some more books to be featured on this blog. 😉

http://www.amazon.com/gp/student/signup/info?ie=UTF8&refcust=FN6L3QGCFK42EBAGXPJTNZH4OY&ref_type=generic

Okay, I’ll stop badgering you now. …A Clash of Kings is almost done, by the way!

The Journey Continues…

I have complete confidence that the movie you’re about to preview will be far more outstanding than the last movie that was previewed on this blog. Granted the trailer was pretty good, Anna Karenina did horrible justice to the book it portrayed. I was fully expecting for much to be cut out, as it was a book that had the thickness of a sub sandwich. But the way it was put together and executed was so disappointing.
I doubt my hopes for this film can be squandered. Mostly because I was mesmerized by The Hunger Games in theatres. After reading the entire trilogy, to say the least, I’m giddy for Catching Fire.
Get stoked.

Wisdom of a Wilde One

To compensate for my slight underestimation of Oscar Wilde’s cleverness, here are some of my favourite quotes from my most recent read…

“Yes; she is a peacock in everything but beauty,” said Lord Henry.

“In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place.” – Lord Henry

“Women have no appreciation of good looks; at least good women have not.” – Lord Henry

“They spoil every romance by trying to make it last for ever.” – Lord Henry

“She behaves as if she was beautiful. Most American women do. It is the secret of their charm.” “Why can’t these American women stay in their country? They are always telling us that it is the paradise for women.” “It is. That is the reason why, like Eve, they are so excessively anxious to get out of it.” – Exchange between Lord Henry and his Uncle George

“…I want to make Romeo jealous. I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir their dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain…” – Dorian Gray

“; and you have often told me that it is personalities, not principles, that move the age.” – Dorian Gray

“Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes.”

“…Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.” – Lord Henry

“Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze is lifted and by degrees the forms and colours of things are restored to them, and we watch the dawn remaking the world in its antique pattern. The wan mirrors get back to their mimic life. The flameless tapers stand where we had left them, and beside them lies the half-cut book that we had been studying, or the wired flower that we had worn at the ball, or the letter that we had been afraid to read, or that we had read too often. Nothing seems to us changed. Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life we had known. We have to resume it where we had left off, and there steals over us a terrible sense of the necessity for the continuance of energy in the same wearisome round of stereotyped habits, or a wild longing, it may be, that our eyelids might open some morning upon a world that had been refashioned anew in the darkness of our pleasure, a world in which things would have fresh shapes and colours, and be changed, or have other secrets, a world in which the past would have little or no place, or survive, at any rate, in no conscious form of obligation or regret, the remembrance of even joy having its bitterness and the memories of pleasure their pain.”

“…Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man’s face. It cannot be concealed. People talk sometimes of secret vices. There are no such things. If a wretched man has a vice, it shows itself in the lines of his mouth, the droop of his eyelids, the moulding of his hands even.” – Basil Hallward

“But youth smiles without any reason. It is one of its chiefest charms.”

“Gradually the events of the preceding night crept with silent, blood-stained feet into his brain and reconstructed themselves there with terrible distinctness.”

“You will never marry again, Lady Narborough,” broke in Lord Henry. “You were far too happy. When a woman marries again, it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.” – Lord Henry

“I like men who have a future and women who have a past.” – Lord Henry

“Every effect that one produces gives one an enemy. To be popular one must be a mediocrity.” “Not with women,” said the Duchess, shaking her head; “and women rule the world. I assure you we can’t bear mediocrities. We women, as some one says, love with our ears, just as you men love with your eyes, if you ever love at all.” – Exchange between Lord Henry and Duchess Monmouth

“I am so glad that you have never done anything, never carved a statue, or painted a picture, or produced anything outside yourself. Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.” – Lord Henry

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” – Lord Henry

Just because.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to read. I always have a book with me. Always. Not only do I always have my nose in a book, I’m discontented with the amount of literature I’ve read. Jane Bennett and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan are some of my favorite characters. However, I wish I was familiar with Mr. Heathcliff and Anna Karenina. So very little people see the value in reading anymore. And even less partake in it.

Not only does reading encourage my love for adventure, but inspires my enjoyment in language. Wouldn’t it be glorious if we all spoke as if we were from the 14th, 15th, or even the 19th century? Hopefully this little experiment will improve my writing as well. Fan fiction  writers inspire me, and I consider one of my best friends much braver than I for writing her own stories. She excels at it, of course.

So please, share your thoughts, criticisms, preferences, and suggestions. I want to read it all. 🙂