A poem for your weekend: ‘Hope is the Thing with Feathers’

Hands up if you love Emily Dickinson. I thought I’d share a favorite poem of mine today, one that I constantly think of, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers.” I love the imagery of hope being a bird, a bird that never asks anything in return, and always comes back to help those who need it most. Just reading this poem is enough to infuse some happiness and hope in me, and it’s ironic and lovely that this poem is, in essence, hope. At least for me! It always lifts my spirits.

I absolutely adore this poem, and I know so many of you do, too! Enjoy, and have a wonderful Saturday! I’ll be celebrating Fourth of July here in the States, so just a lot of barbecue, beach, and beer. = perfect. 😉Read More »

Lit Quote // Know your flaws

To continue in the theme of Pride and Prejudice, I have a lit quote today from that book, the greatest of all books, that distinguishes between pride and vanity. The quote is spoken by Lizzy’s little sister Mary, the pedant who thinks she knows everything and is better than everyone, making this quote kinda ironic.

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It’s ironic because Mary is verrrryyy proud, and Lizzy is both proud and vain! I love Pride and Prejudice for a very many reasons, but one of them is because the two main characters are proud and flawed, and each has to come to terms with their own pride/vanity/what-have-you before they can get together. Title makes sense now, don’t it? 😉

It also reminds me that even though Elizabeth Bennet is one of the best characters in literature ever, she’s still so far from perfect. There’s a lot to learn from a character like that.

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Thoughts On Positivity

To say the least, it’s been a hard year for me. 2016 was the year when my life seemed to come to a crossroads, and everything from work to family and my love life seemed to get so much more complicated and more difficult to handle. And the biggest stressor, for me, was the question of what’s to come. I think that’s a very twenty-something problem to have, the “What am I actually doing with my life?” question. It came down to where my career was headed (seemingly nowhere), how attainable my dreams were (seemingly not very), and how close I was to getting the life I wanted (ditto).

positivity

All that insecurity, fruitless work, and frustration can really do a number on a girl. I had a lot of bad days, a lot of stress, and a couple of breaking points. Throughout it all, the mantra “stay positive” echoed in my head, but at the end of bad weeks or bad months, I couldn’t remember what it even meant anymore. But when I had really good days, I remember what I’ve actually learned about positivity.Read More »

Lit Quote // Do what you love 

Today I have a hashtag Lit Quote for ya! This quote comes from my favorite book (possibly of all time), The Crimson Petal and the White. It’s a book I’ve read a few times, and written about several times. It’s set in Victorian London with an amazing cast of characters, one of which is a talented prostitute named Sugar. She’s one of my favorite characters in literature ever.

But this quote was said by a frankly kind of terrible character, who thinks he’s a poet/intellectual/writer, but in reality is just kind of a blowhard (pardon my French). He says:

the crimson petal and the white

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Favorite author of the moment // Daphne du Maurier

daphne du maurierMy love for Daphne du Maurier has been a slow burn. In high school, like approximately 97% of us, I read Rebecca and utterly loved it. Then we read “The Birds” in class and I loved that, too. Last year, I read her other short stories in a collection, and those horror-infused short stories still haunt me to this day. Then later on in 2015, I visited a secondhand bookstore in the city and bought three of her novels: Frenchman’s Creek, Jamaica Inn, and The House on the Strand. I absolutely adored Frenchman’s Creek, her romance novel with themes of female freedom, and now I am looking forward to reading the highly-esteemed Jamaica Inn. Daphne du Maurier is my favorite author of the moment, and here’s why you should definitely put her books on your TBR.
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Happy May Day // a Sappho poem for you

Today is May Day, a day I have recently associated with spending time with my sisters, usually putzing around the Bronx Botanical Gardens and eating takeout, or reading my favorite books. May is my favorite month of the year; somehow it always seems magical to me, and May Day is an ancient, pagan ritual that goes back centuries. Now, we celebrate it for fun, but it used to mean a lot to a lot of our ancestors.

It was originally a celebration of spring and a day to worship Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers. It was also associated, at times, with witches and the occult, whether it was positively skewed (as in healers and mystics) or negatively (during Puritan times).
But that’s all in the past. Anyway, I digress. I would like to share a poem here from one of my favorite poets, Sappho. Her work only exists in fragments, but her capacity to describe love, desire, heartbreak, and the strength of nature is undiminished despite the works’ brevity. Her work reminds me of spring, so it seems fitting to share here on May Day.

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Some Shakespeare for your Saturday

So, today, April 23, is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and according to some sources, his birthday as well! To honor the Bard in a small way, here are his first and last sonnets.

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From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel:
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And tender churl mak’st waste in niggarding:
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

The first sonnet is addressed to a male friend of Shakespeare’s. He’s trying to convince his friend to have children, so his beauty and legacy can live on. He’s urging his friend not to be niggardly and end his family’s line, that it would be “cruel” to the world. Wouldn’t this sonnet convince you to have children? 😉
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A poem for your Saturday // William Wordsworth

Happy Saturday, everyone. I thought I’d share a poem here today, by one of my favorite poets William Wordsworth.

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

william wordsworthI wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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My new commute and my need to read

Last week, I mentioned here that I’ve started a new job. Prior to this, I had worked from home and so I basically went to bed whenever I wanted, woke up with just enough time to start a shift, and had zero commute, obviously! But this new job is over an hour away and so my schedule has changed drastically.

I’m such a night person, but now I wake up at 6 and I don’t usually get home before 7:30, and sometimes even around 9 o’clock. Since I really like the job, I don’t mind the hours, but it’s the fact that I don’t have time for much else that bothered me in the beginning. I’m used to my hobbies: reading, writing, obviously writing this blog, and doing creative things. So in an effort to multitask on my hour-and-a-half long drive, I’ve started listening to audiobooks.

And it’s awesome! I’ve never been an audio “reader,” and I never thought it would be easy to concentrate while driving, but it turns out that listening to a book is not only a great use of my three hours/day commute, but it’s also much more calming than listening to music is. I’ve made it my mission to stay as focused as possible on my hobbies despite the long hours of the job, and I feel like listening to books rather than reading them is a great compromise, and as an added bonus, there were so many resources I found online that offer free audiobooks.

Right now, I’m listening to Great Expectations, a book I have had on my TBR for years. I “read” about 200 pages (according to a corresponding physical copy I already owned) during my commute this past week, and I’m going to make it my mission to “read” the big classics like this.

It’s twofold: listening to books sort of takes away the effort of getting into a difficult novel. It’s more passive than reading since it’s being read to you and so it’s sort of mindless—in a good way. After Great Expectations, I’m going to read Charlotte Bronte’s Villette and then maybe War and Peace, both books I’ve been meaning to read forever but never had the time to devote to getting into it. Audiobooks and my commute turned out to be a perfect combination.

Here are some free resources if you want to listen to the classics on your downtime, and finally get around to reading those books you always meant to: Librophile.com, LoyalBooks.com (where I found Great Expectations), LibriVox, and Audiobooks.net. I considered an Audible account at first but the $14.95/month price tag put me off. Trying to be economical here!

Note: none of this is sponsored; I just like to read books. 🙂

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Inspiration by Paulo Coelho

I’m not one for motivational quotes. Sometimes, I think they’re simplistic and cheesy, but every once in a while, I’ll come across a quote that makes me stop and think and that gives me some hope, strength, or motivation. Usually, these quotes come from books.

paulo coelho

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