Life Lately

front steps
I haven’t been blogging much lately because…we bought a house!

(Insert fireworks display, cymbals crashing, and triumphant trumpet sounds here.)

Yes, finally, after a year of looking at hoarder houses, smelly houses, and houses with naked people standing nearby, we finally found a house that wasn’t owned by a hoarder, doesn’t involve ANY naked people, and is only sort of smelly (it’s cigarette smoke and we’re fixing it).

The picture above is us sitting on our new front steps. That picture makes it look like I got some sort of edgy Jennifer Lawrence haircut, but I just had my hair in a bun (I have curly hair, so I can never cut it short or else I’d look like young Shia LaBeouf). I’m never going to post a photo of the house’s exterior anywhere on the Internet because I think people who do that are insane. Like, y’all know there are murderers and stalkers everywhere, right? Why not just buy a light-up sign that says “Hey, here’s my house! I’m over here for the murdering!”?

Other than that, here’s what I’ve been up to:

-Going to a baseball game. I still don’t know how baseball works.

I did, however, deeply enjoy the hotdog and the fireworks show.

-Enjoying a nice bottle of Dom Perignon with our friends. Okay, so you may have correctly guessed that bottles of Dom are NOT a typical part of my lifestyle because I’m not 50 Cent (sorry if you were under the impression that you were reading 50 Cent’s blog–life is probably very confusing for you). It was a wedding gift that we saved for a special occasion.

-Washing walls and ripping up carpet. I’m much better at writing and planning parties than I am at physical work (listen, we all have our weaknesses, and I’m VERY AWARE of mine), but luckily we have plenty of family and friends to help us. Which is good, because the first day that H. and I were working I laid down in our empty guest room and fell asleep for half an hour. Anyway, I’m enjoying the process and seeing our progress, but I’ll still be glad when it’s done.

-Playing sweet board games like King of Tokyo. I won the first time I played, but I’ve lost every time since. Maybe it’s because I have no strategy and I’m not competitive. Either way, this game rules.
games

-Crying so hard that H. thought something was wrong with me after I read this Buzzfeed article about this dog. In retrospect, it was a very bad idea for me to read that, but it reminded me why I’m 100% committed to getting shelter dogs! Also, my family has a black lab and he’s the best dog ever, so obviously I’m biased. I mean, look at him:
max

If I’m not around here much, that’s because I’m ripping carpet out with my brute strength. Please keep your thoughts with me. I’m wielding a utility knife and I’m feeling very vulnerable.

Lady Inspiration: Roxane Gay

By now, you probably all know and love Roxane Gay. If you don’t, then we are clearly using different internets. Either way, Roxane Gay rules and she’s one of my writing role models. I’m always in awe of her productivity, her amazing and emotional prose, and her great attitude. This interview on The Great Discontent just further illustrates her awesomeness.

The whole thing is worth reading, especially the part about the Midwest, but I’ve really been thinking about this:

“Writing is not a tortured act for me. I don’t have any angst about it, and I don’t find it to be a painful misery. Writing is the one endeavor that makes me purely happy, and it comes fairly easily to me. I don’t know why I’m that lucky, but it’s true.
There are definitely times when I have writer’s block, and it’s infuriating, but writers love to dramatize the suffering of the writer. I don’t judge them on that, because it’s their truth, but I’m suffering when I’m not writing: it’s what I do for fun. When people say I’m prolific, I think, “Well, it’s kind of my self-medication, and it doesn’t feel like work.”
I’m a happy writer, and although that hasn’t always been the case, I count my blessings. I’m finally in the place I’ve always dreamed of. Maybe my dreams weren’t that big, but I just wanted to write and have people read what I had to say one way or another. I have that, and I have been lucky to work with editors who let me be myself in my writing. I wrote the novel I wanted to write, I wrote the essay collection I wanted to write, and I haven’t had to compromise. I’m truly creatively satisfied.”

Pretty often, it’s easy to get sucked into this whole “writing is torture” thing, because that’s the way a lot of public writers treat it. It’s good to remember that it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s not how everyone views writing! Most of us started doing it because it was fun, or satisfying, or just because we were good at it, and I think it’s useful to reconnect with those feelings when we’re starting to get discouraged. Writing is work, but it shouldn’t be torture.

Ladyville Book Club: ‘Friendship’ by Emily Gould

friendship emily gould

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been reading Emily Gould’s writing since I was in college. I’ve always loved her voice and sense of humor, even though I live in Ohio and she writes a lot about very New York specific things. So of course I was super excited to read her new novel Friendship, and guess what, guys? I was not disappointed!

One of my least favorite things that people say about books (even though I’m guilty of saying this, even in this week’s HelloGiggles column) is “I really related to the characters!” I mean, yes, sometimes it’s really great to read a character’s thoughts and think, “Whoa, that’s me!” But, at the same time, I don’t really think that whether or not you relate to a character has anything to do with the quality of the book. This is all my way of saying that, although lots of the reviews I’ve read have praised the relatability of the friendship between Gould’s characters Amy and Bev, they didn’t seem like any friends I have. This is probably due to the fact that I’m a boring person living in the Midwest, not a hip person living in New York. All of my friendships are very Midwestern.

So I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to relate to these characters to really love this book. I didn’t agree with basically anything Amy said and I still loved reading every single thing she thought. I really loved Bev. This was a pretty short book, but honestly, it could’ve been twice as long and I still would’ve enjoyed reading it. It’s so funny and compulsively readable. Emily Gould is very good at writing dialogue that flows naturally and at making you care about flawed characters.

It just felt good to read a book that was primarily concerned with the relationship between two female friends. There isn’t really a romance in this book (I know, it’s not like me to read a book without a driving romance, but whatever)..it’s just about, as the title implies, friendship.

If you’re still on the fence, first of all, get off that fence. That’s dangerous. Then listen to this great interview with Emily Gould on Julie Klausner’s How Was Your Week. It starts off with a lot of cat talk, so you know it’s good.

This Week on HelloGiggles

sisterhood of the traveling pants BFFs
I’m still writing about YA for HelloGiggles, and this week I had two posts up!

I wrote about my favorite BFFs in YA (obviously I spent most of my time talking about Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants because DUH).

I also read and really enjoyed Katherine Howe’s Conversion (and now I want to read Megan Abbot’s The Fever, which I hear has a similar subject).

If you’re looking for YA recommendations, my column usually goes up on Saturdays. And if there’s anything you want to suggest, just send me an email at youngadulteducation@gmail.com!