Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Good Book

I recently finished Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants and I couldn't have loved it more. I've recommended it to all of my family and friends, and now I am going to blab about it here so everyone will know the splendor of this book. It follows the story of an elderly man who lives in a nursing home as he recounts the story of one season that he spent in the circus during the Great Depression as a young man. The vibrant and sensual, and sometimes brutal, world of the circus contrasts bitingly with the dull and slow life that the main character, Jacob, lives in the nursing home. The story really takes risks with the plot, leading the reader into a peep tent, and showing them some of the more horrifying effects of prohibition. There are characters that the reader will love, like Marlena, a horse-whispering beauty, and characters that they will loathe, like the mood-switching August and the greedy Uncle Al. At the center of it all is a mute and mischievous heroine named Rosie, who appears in the form of an African Elephant. Gruen brings her characters alive because she is not afraid to put them into painful situations, or to stretch them to their limits; really, she humanizes them at every turn of the page. There will be chapters will you cringe at the unfairness of it all, and where you feel you may burst with hatred or astonishment at the actions of some characters, but this is the main reason the book is so gripping. And in the end, you'll feel good. I promise.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


In my vast experience as a young woman, I've come across a variety of creepers. I would say I've been getting creeped on for at least these past 7 years, and I don't really see an end to it. Just in my past few months working in a book store in the local mall, I have been able to study the creeper up close, by hiding behind bookshelves, talking to them, and examining their purchases. Thus are my observations:
There are three basic kinds of creeper that inhabit book stores (and I believe this to be universally true):

1) The Old Man--This variety of creeper walks in, often carrying yesterday's newspaper, and begins wandering around aimlessly. When asked, ever so politely, "Hi, can I help you find anything today?" their answer will almost always involve the history section or a book of crossword puzzles, large print edition. After you help him to locate this particular tome, he entraps you in conversation, asking you pointless questions about your college and major and other sorts of things. Then he will talk about the book he has just picked up with you for another 10 minutes, incorporating bits of irrelevant facts about his life into the conversation, like he thinks that by telling someone that he used to be a professor at a college earns him hottie points or something. At the end of your interaction with him, he will lean a little closer than you'd like and tell you that you are "a lovely young lady" and that he thinks you will go far in life. This is old person code for "I think you are attractive." Now you know.

2) The Foreign Guy--Much less subtle than the old guy creeper, this variety of the breed is the kind that is unavoidable because of his overbearing need to express to you your attractiveness. If he does, in fact, speak English, he will insist on telling you that you are pretty, and other such compliments. He will compliment every girl that works in the store, so that no one feels left out. When he leaves, often with wife and several children scooting along behind him, he will say something like, "Goodbye beautiful ladies!" and wave. If the man does not speak a lot of English, he will simply smile at you a lot, and appear to be especially grateful for you help. He will say thank you especially genuinely, and add a blinding smile and some lingering eye contact for the extra creeper effect. Now, this may be appropriate where you're from, foreign guy, but in these here 50 United States, we don't go around randomly complimenting women (no matter how much they deserve it). Not that we aren't appreciative of the extra attention, we are, but instead of making us want to run lovingly into your often-mustachioed arms, we mostly just silently file the compliments away in our brains, and heave a sigh of relief after you have left us alone.

3) The Nerd--Now, here's the kind of creeper that is the most difficult to get rid of. These attention-starved, often mediocre-looking guys will not only be surprised that you are addressing them (until they realize that it's your job), they will be astounded that you may know just as much about a subject as they do. Well duh, I work in a book store. Of course I know about books, even if they are mystery/thrillers or science fiction. While it is good to give every customer direction and help, the Nerd is not one that you want to spend a particularly large amount of time assisting. The longer you hang around them, the more likely it is that you will hear something about that that you wish you hadn't, such as, "Oh, I see you have a mosquito bite there, you should have seen my legs when I went camping a couple weeks ago near a swamp, they were just covered in insect* bites." Then he will proceed to pull up his cargo pant leg and display the scars. Like the Old Man, the Nerd will ask you a variety of questions to keep you involved in the conversation, but with less self assurance and more awkward pauses where you are trying to think of a reason why you really must get back to the register right away.
*a nerd will always say "insect" rather than "bug," with the scientific nature of the word appealing more to them than the alliteration.

Well, there you have it. A complete guide to small book store creepers. I feel as though I should do a full-edition version of Creeper Varieties, kind of like that "douche-bag" book, that goes over every type of douche-bag that there is, but my space, and your time, are limited.

A note to the creepers mentioned above, you are all valuable customers and we appreciate your attentions greatly, we just get a little skeeved out by you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


A common threat to any poet or writer, narcissism is something I have attempted to battle throughout my entire writing career...or at least since I realized how incredibly annoying it was to hear cliched poems about (ex)boyfriends and combative mothers, insecurities and unrequited love. I mean, sometimes it's nice to hear these poems, but only if they are well-executed and completely original...and that's a task I really don't think I'm up to. My best work doesn't come from emotional baggage, there's much too much to work through there. I would say it could fill up an aisle in Wal-Mart. I can just see rows of stacked little red monogrammed suitcases, squished between the dozen varieties of Pop-tarts and the Solo cups (yea, I'm a college student, why do you ask?)

Anywho, what was I talking about? Oh...narcissism, yes. Well I basically just wanted to put up a disclaimer that I know I look like a total narcissist just by having a blog, and I understand how it makes it look like I think my opinions are overly important, that I love myself a little too much, that I think I'm better than other people, buttttttt I really just wanted a little summer project and some exposure for my writing. Maybe that's narcissistic, but I really just think it's a good career move.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


So has anyone else noticed the Six Flags trademark Old Man has changed? He's no longer endearing...but creepy. and even more obviously some young guy with layers of makeup and plastic on his face to make him look old. Bad move Six Flags, bad move.

All aloney on my owny

So tonight is the second night in a row where I ate dinner with my parents (sans little sister) and am sitting on the couch watching TV with them. I mean, it has been two delicious, free dinners in a row, and prime time hasn't been horrible this past two nights, but I am starting to miss my life a little. You see, my best girlfriends, my boyfriend, and my younger sister are all on vacation this week...leaving me at home to suffer alone. While they are off gallivanting across the sandy beaches, eating at amazing restaurants, lolling around in hot tubs, and surrounded by beauteous friends/family, I am at home/work, and it is far less relaxing/glamorous.

Not to say that I'm not enjoying my time at home with my parents. I am. We're talking, we're laughing, sharing stories... and they go to bed pretty early, so I mean, if I get tired of them, all have to do is hang out in my room until 10:30 or so and then I have the house pretty much to myself, as long as I keep the tv volume below 8. Also, I've been catching up on episodes of The Nanny (Nick at Nite, 11pm-12pm), and I'm finishing my latest knitting project at an almost inhuman rate (for a beginner, at least). Not to mention, my lovely and gorgeous blog is getting the extra special attention that it deserves.

I've taken the measures of adding a link to a full episode of The Nanny below for your viewing pleasure:
I know you'll enjoy it.

While I'm here, I think I'll post another poem...just for funzies.


Hey you,
Leave your pyramid
Of glossy words
At my door for
My neighborhood to see,
You’ve crafted it so brilliantly.

Bite your nails when you
Talk to me.
I should be the distraction.

p.s. I've submitted some poems to a literary magazine...cross your fingers that I get in! I wanna be published so bad! That reminds me, I should start working on some new stuff....

Monday, June 1, 2009

Alrighty, here we go

Welllllll I believe the time has come to own up to my first post and put a poem up here. My creative writing prof liked this one, soooo YOU SHOULD TOO. I was inspired by some african art involving mudfish in my art history class this past semester.


Well you live
In two places and one
Is in the dirt.
And I can imagine that it sticks to you
And rubs against your brown-and-white
Scaly flesh on your stomach and sides,
As the ribbed fins propel you,
And little rocks prick your belly.
You never quite can reach the grass
Which is fitting because it might only
Rip and split your delicate skin.
I do not know why you insist on risking
Your skin for a bit of sunlight.

Well you live
In two places and one
Is in the dirt, but
The other is in the mud.
The sludge of the bottom is a dark and cool
Envelope that you bury your scorched, pierced
Body in, soothing the pulsing flesh.
Rolling through the wet earth
Sliding fluidly, your abdomen slick,
The lack of traction suits you.
You can swim, but prefer to let
The shallow water glide over you,
Soaking your half-used gills that wish you
Would always let them do the breathing.

I sometimes wish
I had gills like you, so they could remind me
I was meant for one thing
And not another.

So there you go...