Category Archives: Uncategorized

Some really great YA books I have recently read

I love existential stuff and I really like existential stuff in my book reading. These are a few books I have read and enjoyed and been moved by. Books that burrowed into my psyche. Books that made me want to work harder at my own writing. Books about meaning and existence. How do we make the best of living in this crazy life?

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is quiet and sad and lovely. It dives into grief, loss, and identity. My first Nina LaCour book and I’m definitely interested to read more.

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold. I’m a big, big fan of Arnold. I love his other two books, BUT I FREAKING WORSHIP THIS ONE. It’s so good. Has all the ingredients I love: existential angst, humor, quirk, juicy characters, a touch of magical realism (sorta), and some music worship. It’s a fun read, but it takes you on a satisfying emotional journey, as well. I need to talk about this book with people.

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick is fantastic. Lots of identity exploration, meaning exploration, and incredible characters. I found this on a used bookstore shelf and I’m so glad that I did.


sometimes you feel sorry for yourself

These are hard times for a lot of people. Not you, so much. You are doing okay in your cozy house in your progressive community. But it hurts to see the pain around the world and it hurts to see the divisiveness and it hurts to know who our official leader is and the things he does and says and is willing to do. It hurts that people cheer and clap for him. And you worry. You worry that your daughter is going to be a grown up in this new world where rights are being taken away and no one is doing anything about climate change or gun violence. Where this leader says awful things about women and no one stops him. IMG_0782

And you might be crying because you can’t figure out how to get the can opener to work (the one that is supposed to be easier) and because you hardly have any twitter followers and because you put yourself out there so much and you don’t feel like you get what you need in return. Probably you are crying because your book won’t sell. The one you love and worked so hard on. You want to see it read. You want to see it on bookshelves. You want to talk about it. You want your parents to be proud. And because the years keep going by and you know that won’t stop. You cry because it hurts.

And then you see this old man and he’s playing on one of those pianos they put out on the sidewalks in the summertime. He’s got some sheet music in front of him and you can see “Bach” at the top in big letters. It’s a nice day. It’s breezy. There are things that are good.

I hope in my time

They figure out what dark matter is. And clean up that giant floating island of garbage in the ocean. And have fast trains up and running all over the U.S. And I hope I get to live in Oregon someday and spend more time in forests and near the ocean.


And now I’m up too late. I am happy for the winners and sad for those that didn’t take away a statue. I love Laurie Metcalf. My favorite dress was on Greta Gerwig. Frances McDormand rules! Can she me my professor in the how to live life like a badass class I need to take? Just seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda always makes me feel happy. Really, I should go to sleep now. Good night. Thank you.

sometimes this blog taunts me

With its lack of posts.

That big list of things to do before I can’t do them

I’m taking this idea from Alex Beauchamp who recently posted (reposted, I suppose) her list comprised of 101 things from karaoke to ride on the roof of a train in Ecuador on her website Hygge House. 101 things is a lot of things. (P.S. Alex takes the most beautiful pictures)(Side note: this is what I’m doing instead of writing. this is procrastinating.)

In no particular order (just how it pops into my mind), Ladies and Gentlemen….


  1. Visit Norway and see something too beautiful
  2. Take an eating and wandering and shopping trip to Brooklyn
  3. Own expensive linen sheets
  4. Turn the garage into a guest cottage
  5. Publish a book (or 17)
  6. Have a meal at The French Laundry
  7. ride the Empire Builder
  8. See The National in concert
  9. Meet John Green
  10. Stay in fancy treehouse
  11. Train ride across Canada
  12. Go vegan
  13. Spend a week in Quebec
  14. Take our daughter to Japan
  15. Make lamingtons
  16. Stay at the Ace Hotel in New Orleans
  17. Decide on a favorite cocktail
  18. Return to Austin for a visit, eat at all the new places, see the old friends
  19. Publish a list on McSweeney’s 
  20. learn how to like coffee black
  21. Sit in some natural hot springs
  22. Read Infinite Jest
  23. Kayak around the Apostle Islands
  24. Visit Door County during each season.
  25. Make a homemade pumpkin pie
  26. Rewatch all of Wes Anderson’s movies
  27. Rewatch all of P.T. Anderson’s movies
  28. Learn to play Pickle Ball
  29. And take tennis lessons, too
  30. Go to the Toronto Film Festival
  31. Make my perfect kitchen
  32. Ride Space Mountain (again. the last time I was 15)
  33. Go to Glacier National Park
  34. Vacation on a tropical island
  35. See my book for sale in a bookstore (see number 5)
  36. Have high tea in Savannah
  37. Be able to have a conversation in Spanish
  38. wallpaper the bedroom
  39. kiss a cow (on the forehead or cheek) (do cow’s have cheeks?)
  40. a stay at a spa
  41. Read every book written by Cormac McCarthy
  42. Meet Wes Anderson
  43. Meet Noah Baumbach
  44. Meet Greta Gerwig (which could easily be at dinner with Noah Baumbach. We will talk films and tv and pop culture and favorite things.)
  45. Be interviewed
  46. Donate a lot of money to one thing
  47. See Vancouver, pretend I live there
  48. a month long stay in Oregon (I wouldn’t make my sister have us for a month. We could get a rental/hotel for a good portion of that. In case you were worried, sis.)
  49. See LCD Soundsystem in concert
  50. go berry picking
  51. take brunch in a fancy hotel room
  52. paddle board
  53. cross country ski
  54. successfully make a loaf of bread
  55. successfully knit a scarf
  56. Eat a meal and drink something fun at Agrikol
  57. take a pottery making class. make something.
  58. See a live taping of a late night talk show
  59. eat a southern meal (breakfast sounds good) in Charleston
  60. Meet Spike Jonze
  61. Meet Jane Campion
  62. Have a comment or tweet liked by Win Butler
  63. Give a reading in my hometown bookstore
  64. Meet Abbi and Ilana
  65. See The Northern Lights with my kid
  66. Get a hot stone massage
  67. return to Amitabul for some soup
  68. own a velvet couch
  69. feel satisfied with my back yard
  70. View a coral reef from a glass bottom boat
  71. Love my wardrobe
  72. dye my hair blonde (but not forever)
  73. stay at a Waldorf Astoria
  74. See those dinosaur tracks
  75. Pedal through the Adirondacks
  76. See Crater Lake
  77. Try every entree at the Chicago Diner
  78. go on a ghost tour
  79. see David Sedaris live
  80. a stay at Blackberry Farm
  81. meet David Lynch
  82. have a reason to wear a fancy dress
  83. Be able to work from home
  84. buy an entire outfit from Gudrun Sjoden
  85. Visit an orange grove
  86. See the Grand Canyon
  87. Successfully grow flowers
  88. Write and send a fan letter to Philip Pullman
  89. see the New Pornographers in concert
  90. Look at space from one of the NASA observatories
  91. Visit a sloth sanctuary
  92. Hang with a happy elephant
  93. A meal at Katz’s in NYC
  94. Own a Marimekko dress
  95. Memorize a Yeats poem
  96. Go to all the Smithsonian museums
  97. swim with manatees (if they don’t mind)
  98. Do the iFly thing
  99. Attend a murder mystery dinner
  100. Attend a Comicon
  101. Attend a tea tasting




I have questions about Twin Peaks: The Return

I love it. I really loved it. Yes, the ending was uncomfortable. Yes, it was inconclusive. Yes, it was maddening. And maybe also brilliant. Totally David Lynch. Anyway, here are my lingering questions. It helped me to write this list. It was therapeutic. Humor me.

What happened to Audrey? Where is she?

What/Who was people eating demon?

What was the box in New York? Was it Evil Coop’s? For what purpose?

Why did Evil Coop have to go through portal to get to Sheriff’s office? Couldn’t he have just driven there? Walked there?

Did he get to the coordinates he was looking for? And that was to Sherrif’s office?

What did Chad have to do with anything? Other than being a jerk. Chad was the worst.

What’s going on with Beverly’s husband?

What is the sound she hears at the Great Northern?

Who are all those people having conversation at the Road House?

Why is Jeffries’ a teakettle? (I mean, I do like tea, but…)

How did Major Briggs end up headless? What happened in that hotel room?

Where did Cooper and Diane go? Where did they intend to go? What was that sex scene all about? Why did Diane see herself standing outside? Why did Cooper end up in a different hotel with a note to Richard from Linda? Who are Linda and Richard?

Is this an alternate reality?

What is going on with Sarah Palmer and her scary opening head? What makes the noises in the other room?

Why was that girl crawling on the floor and screaming?

How does the Roadhouse seem to schedule such awesome acts?

Again, what is up with the coordinates? What is everyone looking for?

Who or what exactly is Judy?

How has he Cooper previously met Judy?

What happened to the girl who had the frog bug crawl into her mouth? Who were all those people in that town and why did the grimy Convienence Store dudes want to murder them?

What did all the numbers mean?

What was up with Balthazar Getty and his magic tricks?

Why did Steven kill himself?

What kind of name is Janey-E?


Please feel free to help me/contribute to the convo. Fun!

I want to go to Brooklyn and eat

I want to go to Brooklyn with my husband and stay in a boutique hotel and wander the streets and eat many things and visits shops and look at the people and see art and music but mostly eat. I don’t even care if I see Manhattan.

I want to go to Norway and pretend for a moment that it isn’t 2017. It is ancient times. It is another world. I want to see the fjords and feel the earth’s magnificence. I want to lie by rushing streams and feel 16 and lovely and full of future.

I want to ride a train across Canada. I will admire the beauty of the landscape and have tea with toast and marmalade.

I want to kayak on Lake Tahoe and read and nap in a hammock by the water.


I’ve got a problem

Anyone who knows me well knows I’ve got quite a thing for the band Arcade Fire. I’m a big fan. Maybe I’m not a super fan. I don’t have any Arcade Fire tattoos and I haven’t gone farther than 5 hours (by car) to see them (though I sure would if given the opportunity and cash). But I’m a big enough fan that I make sure to see them on tour and maybe we did drive the four hours to Chicago (on a school night/work night) to see Win Butler DJ at a club and maybe I check all the twitter feeds and Facebook news and tumblr pieces every day. Multiple times. And I get really excited about new music and interviews and, well, anything.

I love them.

I put them in a book I wrote. Not as characters. They don’t have lines. But they do play a show and one of the characters is obsessed with them in the way I’m obsessed with them. I figure this is cool. Plenty of the books I read (YA or otherwise) mention bands and love of bands and identification with musicians. Even Franzen. And music and our music tastes define us in very specific ways. What we love shares about who we are. Are you a girl that loves country or a girl that loves emo? The poster on your wall–is it Gerard Way or Rihanna? Not that you can’t love both and all, but most of you won’t or don’t. Most of you out there know your people by the band shirts they wear and the playlist on their phone. My 8th grade boyfriend told me his favorite band was Heart. As a worshipper of the Violent Femmes, I knew our relationship was doomed.

I try not be weird about my love for Arcade Fire but I love them. Maybe too much. Maybe it’s unhealthy. I don’t know. I love them in that big way you love things that speak to you and keep you company through this life. Members of the same tribe, even though you might never meet, might never have a conversation. You feel understood and you feel lifted out of the mundane and the mediocre and even the terrible. Art helps us live better lives. Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, William Butler, Richard Reed Parry,  Jeremy Gara, and Tim Kingsbury make stuff that makes me happy. They make stuff that gives me meaning. They connect me with the universe.

They have a new album coming out. Finally! And a new song. I love it. Of course I do. Now I’m watching streaming of concerts happening in Europe, more obsessively checking all the things, and feeling that feeling I always get when this happens. That feeling of wanting to be part of it all and yet so far removed. Excited for the songs and the videos and news, but sad that I don’t really know them. I’m not invited to the party. I only get to see the pictures. Is that called bittersweetness?

Are you like me?

Do you find yourself reading the plot summaries of horror movies you are too afraid to watch but really need to know what happens?

Like this new movie coming out called Raw? It looks interesting. But based on descriptions in reviews I will never be able to watch it.

I also know what happens in Get Out. Because I read the plot summary.

I’m lame.