Books Read in March.

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“The Vexations” a novel by Caitlin Horrocks

Conrad doesn’t have the key.

I was looking for a story that I could lose myself in and this did the trick! I lost myself in the story, in anther time, in the settings, in the way she structured the novel, in her beautiful writing.

I actually didn’t realize that Erick Satie was a real composer and I am even more impressed by the depth and breadth of her research. 

It’s a novel about family and the need to belong, about art and the need to create, it’s about living a life on your terms.

Highly entertaining and boldly original.

A sentence I love:

Both men grope for some music that can fill death’s mute wake, as if a life is anything other than noise. 

“We Are the Luckiest-The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life” by Laura McKowen

On July 13, 2013, the night of my brother’s wedding, I left my four-year-old daughter alone in a hotel room overnight because I was blackout drunk.

So begins a story of addiction and the journey through it. She is brutally honest about what it is like for her. She doesn’t hide parts of it and yet I never felt she was beating herself up. She was finding clarity and within that clarity she found some grace.

I find it helpful to read these kind of memoirs as I continue my own journey of not drinking just to remind myself why and to remember that I am not alone.

A sentence the resonated:

Addiction was a learned behavior born of the natural, human impulse to soothe, to connect, to love, to feel good.

“Why we Can’t Sleep- Women’s New Midlife Crisis” by Ada Calhoun

One woman I know had everything she’d every wanted—a loving partner, two children, a career she cared about, even the freedom to make her own schedule—but she still couldn’t shake a feeling of profound despair.

So, I felt that same kind of profound despair as I read this book. Don’t get me wrong, it is well worth the read. It is thoroughly researched and I love how she shared real-woman stories as well as statistics.

It’s about Gen-X women. Now, I am just barley Gen-X. I was born in 1965, the first year of Gen-Xer’s but I could relate to almost everything she explored: that not-enougnness as we try to do everything, being the first latchkey generation, always looking outside of ourselves, the anxiety about money.

While I felt that despair she described, I also felt hope and power as I finished reading it.

I passage I could relate to hard:

Our problems are beyond the reach of “me-time.” The last thing we need at this stage of life is self-help. Everyone keeps telling us what to do, as if there’s a quick fix for the human condition. What we need at this stage isn’t more advice, but solace.

Ah-men, Sister!!!

 

Why Write Now?

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Image found via Pinterest.

I don’t even know what to write. Or why to write.

Why write in the midst of an actual pandemic? Why write when entire countries are shutting down? When states have closed entire school systems?

Why write in the midst of such anxiety, uncertainty and fear?

I write for exactly all of these reasons. To connect with myself, with what I am feeling. If I choose to share it, it connects me with other human hearts who may read my words and think, “Oh, I’m not alone. It’s not just me.”

I write to understand. There is so much confusion. So much chaos. Writing helps me find some clarity and order.

Why write? Because it brings me comfort. Maybe even some joy. It is familiar. It is my sanctuary. The place I return to again and again to rest, to vent, to explore, to recharge, to renew.

So, even in (or especially in) the middle of fear about what is happening, anxiety about what could still happen, I pick up my pen and connect it to the paper, to my heart.

The fire is flickering softly. I can hear the hiss. My husband is watching an old movie. The girls are getting ready to go in the hot tub, the dogs and cat are sleeping. We just had a delicious homemade dinner followed by a delicious homemade chocolate chip cookie.

I am remembering to breathe, to unclench my jaw, to move my body. To not get stuck in the endless social media feeds.

We have some time now to just be.

I take time to feel immense gratitude that we have a home to social distance ourselves in. That we have the means to stock up on food and sundries.

I pick up my pen because, as I come to the end of this particular journal entry, I feel a little lighter, a little more at ease, a little more present.

I am not picking up my pen in this time of upheaval to change the world. I pick up my pen to remember my place in it. To remember that we are all connected.