What I’m Into: January 2014

 

 

January was a big month.

For me, it wasn’t just a month to kick off 2014, but a rapid paced, do all the things, read all things while everything is fresh and new and I have energy kind of a month. One Word

I began January with a new semester, new students, and teaching online for the first time. And because I’m an all in kind of person, I’m teaching four college online courses. What I’m noticing is how much I really do enjoy teaching in my pajamas, searching for cool interactive tools to teach literature, but I also miss the classroom, its hodge-podge of students brought together, the in person community of learners.

Of course, it never hurts to be able to read Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Alice Munro for work and GET paid to do so. Although, I could have left William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” off the reading list because that story creeps me out. Every. Time. I. Read. It.

But January did bring some exciting news…

My short story, Three Tapes,  was published in Quaint Magazine! You can read it here.

For any writer, being published is one of the best feelings ever. Someone else loved your work and wants it. Of course, money sweetens the deal too. And it also helps that I adore the premise behind Quaint Magazine, a publication that focuses on female identifying writers.  You should read the first issue because it is amazing.  cupcake driveway

In book related nerdness:

I read four books in January. Yes, I know that doesn’t sound like a whole, but I also teach literature courses which mean plenty of my reading time is taken up by research and literary criticism.

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt: Any time a novel breaks the rules like telling who murdered whom in the first chapter, then I’m on board. The middle of this very long book felt a bit too sluggish for me, but I really did like the overall plot lines.
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple: Quirky, very quirky. Not entirely sure how I feel about the unusual presentation of the story, but I found myself thinking about long after I finished reading it.
  • Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach: I love food memoirs. I love food memoirs with recipes. I love reading food memoirs with recipes that aren’t overly hard and I might be able to cook.
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth:  My closet genre of choice, my real love will always be Young Adult Dystopian novels. Please, please don’t judge. I loved the premise of the book, and its kick ass female protagonist, but it lost me somewhat when she needed a cute, brooding guy.

If you want more of my thoughts on books I’m reading or have read or want to read, you may follow me on GoodReads.

In TV watching land,

I should point out that I don’t watch a lot of television. We gave up cable a long time ago for Netflix and Amazon Prime, and I don’t miss the bazillion channels with nothing on. But I do have a few favorites:

  • The Big Bang Theory: This month’s episode with James Earl Jones was the funniest ever. It may even eclipse the episode when Sheldon becomes the crazy cat lady.
  • Game of Thrones: I’m late to the party, but damn…my favorite characters are dying left and right and I have only made it through season 1.
  • The Taste (both US and UK versions): While I don’t do reality TV, I love watching Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, and Chef Ludo bicker over food. This go around, I’m siding with Team Ludo because Team Nigella was all crazy, Bourdain’s team isn’t as exciting as it was last year, and Marcus’s team could be feisty too.

In blog land,

I have been relatively quiet on the blog, but this year, I am going to be making a effort to be more consistent with my content. I did write about my OneWord365 and how it is really hard to live out. I took pictures of my dogs when it snowed because we don’t get a lot of snow in the South and we enjoy it to the fullest.

So, what did January 2014 have for you? Share in the comments section below. Then go check out all of the other submission for Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into Link-up.

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Living in a T.S. Eliot Poem

April is for Lilly, Dolly, Jolly and some foolsphoto © 2008 Challiyil Eswaramangalath Vipin | more info (via: Wylio)

 

Some days, I think I live next door to J. Alfred Prufrock and Sweeney and Madame Sosostris. In the depths of a T.S. Eliot poem, I make my bed, turn on the stairs, and ponder when the season will be right for eating peaches. As an English grad student, I ventured into the an Eliot class, unassuming and ignorant of the majority of his writings. Sure, I knew Prufrock and the Magi and the first several lines of The Waste Land:

April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain,

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow—The Waste Land

 

But, I never understood why “April is the cruellest month.”

What could be so horrid about Spring in bloom, the budding of fruit trees, the dormant tulips and daffodils pushing their way through the loamy earth? The thrust of new life coming forth, but how is this cruel? Spring is the most violent time of year, particularly April. As the rain showers nourish the seeds, the sprouts launch forth from the earth like rockets, leaving a path of destruction. Granted, the violence of Spring is so small that we hardly notice it. But it is there.

Spring reveals the truth that winter sought to hide.

Buried and forgotten, Spring brings to light truth in nature and sometimes our lives too. But truth can be just as sinister and violent as Spring. Truth doesn’t always reside in the flowerbeds of life, but lurks deep in some of the foulest, murkiest places. Just waiting for a chance to rise to the top, and wreck havoc, violence just like Spring waits quietly underneath “forgetful snow.”

 

So, why do we associate Spring and truth with non-violence and beauty?

 

 

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