Kids Grown Up

I was so happy and lucky to win a contest on Instagram–I enter a lot giveaways, so to actually win something was such a thrill!

But this wasn’t just any old contest–the prize was a copy of Sophie Jo’s (@sophiejowrites on Twitter and Instagram) Disney-inspired poetry book, kids grown up. 

POETRY. INSPIRED BY MY FAVORITE THING EVER. DISNEY. This literature-loving girl’s heart was SO happy to win an item I’ve been eyeing for months.

First of all, the aesthetic of the book is so simple and clean, and I can’t wait to get more furniture so I can get a little stand for it and display it forever. I have a small collection of Disney books, and this is the perfect addition to my menagerie of magic.

Second of all, the poems are wonderful. (I know I’m using a lot of italics for this post, but bear with me). She posts a lot of the poems on her social media, but there were a few I hadn’t seen before. One poem, “windows and doors,” left me teary-eyed. The persona of the poem captures the essence of visiting my favorite place–I think the poem refers to Disneyland Paris, but I can see my beloved Walt Disney World when I read it. There are some lines that really touched me and conveyed how feel about Disney parks:

“and four went strolling, hand in hand: / through pinks and golds and clouds and swells / of music.” (Such beautiful language that puts me right on Main Street.)

“for days inside my head was calmer.” (YES!)

“he waved at me! / he remembers me!” (Me with any character I’ve ever worked with/met.)

There’s so much more to this poem, but I should stop quoting. Go. Purchase this book to read this poem;  I love it so much. Whenever I get “homesick,” this will be my go-to.

The star of the show, in my opinion, is the title poem, “kids grown up.” This little poem completely describes my everyday existence in every way, and it’s full of humor that any adult Disney fanatic can understand. My favorite lines:

“…then i can / think happy thoughts / and fly, and fly, and / thank my second star that i / take joy in stuff like how to store / my cheese baguette and how to pour / my ~CHILDLIKE~ self into the day…” 

THAT LAST BIT…ISN’T THAT BEAUTIFUL?! I hope I pour my “childlike self” into each and every day.

To Sophie Jo: thank you for selecting me as one of the winners of your contest. I am over the moon about your precious book–it will act as a source of inspiration for me as I make my way through graduate school and work on achieving my own writing goals.

To my readers: CHECK THIS GIRL OUT! I hope she publishes more in the future, because I just love the language she uses to describe my favorite thing in the world.

As always, have a magical day, and please pour your own childlike self into every second of it. That’s an order.

 

 

 

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Currently Reading: All Things Anne

Note: the following post contains a lot of random musings about everyone’s favorite imaginative redhead–I would like to emphasize the word “random.” Enjoy! 

I finally carved out the time to read (almost) the entire Anne of Green Gables series. FINALLY.

Took me long enough. I was inspired by Netflix’s adaptation of the beloved series–while it was grittier than the books, the series did capture Anne’s ability to survive life’s hardships through optimism.

Disclaimer: while I loooooooove reading and writing and all things literary (former English major and current creative writing grad student here), I’m the kind of girl who can read a whole lot and then fall into a year-long slump in which I can’t seem to find reading material I truly enjoy. It’s been one of those years, but I’m working on it.

Anne has helped me discover reading again; returning to her world is like taking the first sip of morning coffee, sleeping in on a weekday, or having nothing on a must-do list.

I just love her. I love her, I love her, I love her.

Anne is so plucky and ambitious, especially early on. I adore the third book in the series–she attends Redmond College and learns what it means to live on her own away from Green Gables (with a group of delightful “chums,” of course), and she finally opens her eyes and her heart to the boy who has always loved her. She becomes a young principal of an entire school in book four, and she continues to win the heart of every reluctant soul around her. She marries Gilbert in book five and establishes her quaint and Anne-ish “House of Dreams.”

I have to admit, I love Anne the most when she’s single, books one through four. I love how she grapples with the world’s challenges on her own, and I love the relationships she forms with others along the way. Anne has a way of connecting with the misunderstood among society, and audiences aren’t treated to those relationships too much after she is married. Most often those difficult, “kooky,” or tormented souls are her “kindred spirits.” I love that about her–she’s unafraid of going against the grain, and she can win almost any heart with her unconquerable spirit.

Anne still has a way with others when she’s married, but she’s certainly more confined–not necessarily by Gilbert or her children, but by society at that time. Even though she was a successful educator and loved the world of academia, she does as societal custom requires (at least for the era) when she enters the world of marriage. She keeps an impeccable house: she grows gardens, sews clothes, has and raises babies, and keeps the House of Dreams and Ingleside in tip-top shape. She’s the matriarch of her little home(s), and while I know she loves it, I miss her free-spirited Green Gables or Redmond days.

Anne begins to settle as she grows older, which is both admirable (why not be content with the life you have?) but also bittersweet. She forgoes her childhood dreams of successful novel authorship, settling for the few publications in ladies’ magazines and newspapers. Those are still a wonderful accomplishments, but I wish she could have done a little bit of everything–I believe Anne could write the next great Canadian novel and still be a fantastic wife and mother.

No matter. Anne still has my heart, and I aspire to embody her optimism and grace.  Revisiting Anne’s world has been so refreshing and so inspiring–L.M. Montgomery’s dreamy prose and Anne’s spirit is like a drink of cool water on a sweltering Prince Edward Island summer day.

Does P.E.I. ever even experience a good swelter? Probably not, but the effect of the Anne series on my soul is that of contentment and delight nonetheless.

What are you currently reading? I could use some suggestions for future library excursions.

As always, have a magical, imaginative, and zip-a-dee-do-dah day, my friends.

Take Me to the Moon…

No. Not really. I’d be terrified.

I am, however, newly obsessed with the Space Race of the 1950s and 60s, all thanks to the book and television series The Astronaut Wives Club. My mom and I decided to watch the show on a whim, and now we are hooked. We hustled to Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of Lily Koppel’s book, and the obsession became completely ingrained.

We’ve been enthralled with the fashion of the past, captivated by the relationships between the real-life astronauts and their wives, and busy googling and wondering about the real people behind the space craze.

I’ve never been a girl fascinated by space; I’ve honestly always been terrified of the “last frontier.” The thought of a whole lot of nothing and dark matter and stars just floating out there to infinity and beyond scares the living daylight out of me. I hate thinking about things that are unknown–my future, ingredients in the food at sketchy restaurants, and space, of course. It’s all too much.

The Astronaut Wives Club makes space seem a little more…human. Feasible. Nostalgic. I can empathize with the wives holding their breaths and wringing their hands as their husbands blasted off to dabble among the stars. I can’t imagine the anxiety, the not knowing, these women must have felt. I admire their bravery to face the press for the sake of beating the Russians to the Moon. I have nothing but respect for the women behind the heroes–some put up with infidelity (at least until after the Space Race) to help secure their husband’s spot in history; others battled inner battles (such as Annie Glenn’s speech impediment) to upkeep the essential ideal American appearance. They put on brave faces for the press despite their feelings of terror and apprehension.

Long story short, these women are lofty hero[ines] themselves.

Thanks to the ABC drama and the biographic page-turner, I’ve even conjured up a slight interest in the stars. About a week ago, I ventured out after sunset and marveled at a celestial phenomenon–Venus and Jupiter were in sight, so close to each other that my pinky finger could cover them both. Scholars believe this phenomenon could have been the star of Bethlehem. I wouldn’t have even cared if it weren’t for the Astronaut Wives, real women who would look at the Moon knowing their husbands were so desperate to walk its surface for the sake of fame, country, and history.

If you haven’t watched the TV show or picked up the book, I urge you to do so. These were real women living in a time when women had limited rights. They were supposed to be the perfect homemakers and have things just so, but they also had a voice. I love learning about different times in history, but I never paid much attention to America’s space craze. Now I know what an incredible time in history it was, and I also know a little about the people behind the Moon walks and the missions. It took a whole army to make history–men and wives included.

I’ve Learned “How To Be a Heroine”

I recently devoured one of my favorite books of the summer: How To Be a Heroine: Or, What I Learned From Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis.

Oh my goodness, how I loved this book!

It’s a mix of literary heroines, an autobiography, and a touch of feminism, all of which I love.  Ellis proves to be quite the heroine herself; we, as an audience, discover how she learns to stand on her own two feet and discover her own voice despite some pretty rough circumstances. She learns who she truly is, in spite of and because of the influences she encounters throughout her life.

Throughout her journey in life, she draws inspiration from some leading ladies in the literature I love. Some of these heroines include Anne of Green Gables, Scarlett O’ Hara, Jane Eyre, Franny Glass, and the Little Mermaid (the Hans Christian Anderson version). There are more where that came from, and I loved hearing what she loved/learned about each one–it’s amazing how two people (she and I) could admire many of the same literary heroines in similar, yet decidedly different, ways. That’s so cool, if you ask me; literary heroines are ours for interpreting. They are like gifts to the unsuspecting reader, relatable and inspiring characters that started out as ideas and a few scribbles on a piece of paper.

Isn’t writing just so incredibly cool?

I don’t want to give too much away about this book; I want you to pick it up from a local bookstore and hungrily devour each and every page. What’s also so amazing about this book is it makes you want to buy more and more books, a desire that I see no problem with.

I’ll leave you with this: I’ve learned how to be a heroine, and what’s incredible is that I am the author of my own story.

You are too. Now go and compose your best essay/short story/novel/novella/poem/haiku yet. You are a heroine, and you can do some pretty amazing things.

Happy reading, my friends.