I admit it: I’m addicted to YA fiction

I just finished reading this book a couple of weeks ago, after wanting to read it for years. I admit it. I have an addiction to Young Adult fiction.

This book was everything that I expected it to be and more. It’s a coming of age story, a story about a boy who’s quiet and often left out. Stephen Chbosky’s character Charlie says,

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

I like Charlie’s introspection, like the way that the book is set up as a series of letters he sends anonymously to a guy who’s a friend of an acquaintance of his. The book really allows the reader to get into Charlie’s head.

What I like best about Young Adult fiction like this is its honesty. When viewed through a YA lens, life seems so much clearer to me. Is this because I missed out on so much when I was a teenager? Am I trying to relive those years to pack more into them? I’m not certain. I only know that books like this one make me wanna read more, make me wanna write more, make me wanna connect with someone else and stop hiding in my shell.

I liked that Charlie was a reader and a writer, that he thought deeply about the people around him even to the point of over-thinking things. I wanted to take him out for coffee and a doughnut, wanted to sit down with him and Sam and Patrick and talk about life for a while.

I’ve always felt that I too was on the outside looking in, always felt like I didn’t quite belong. Through books like this one, I am able to access parts of me that I keep hidden and realize truths I didn’t know I believed until I read them and realized, “yes, yes, me too!”

 

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a home for a nomad

one of my favorite books

I’m frustrated today because I came across a reference to this book, and I was unable to find my copy of it. Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones is one of my favorite writing books. It’s one of the few (no, I think it’s the only) writing books that I’ve bought more than one copy of. When I read her writing, I’m inspired. It makes me want to try again just when I’ve come close to giving up. She writes,

I write because I am alone and move through the world alone. No one will know what has passed through me… I write because there are stories that people have forgotten to tell, because I am a woman trying to stand up in my life… I write out of hurt and how to make hurt okay; how to make myself strong and come home, and it may be the only real home I’ll ever have.

She really speaks to me in these words. I have always felt like a nomad, endlessly traveling, without a place or a home I could call my own. I think, though, that my home is something that I carry within me. Maybe it is found only there where it cannot be destroyed, where it cannot be knocked down or devalued, devoured or pissed upon. Maybe it is a hidden gem within me, one of the few things that is mine and mine alone.

I take comfort in thinking that my home cannot be destroyed. When so much else of what I love I have lost, it is a relief to know that there is something important, something necessary that I can’t lose or gamble away. Whenever I need it, it is there waiting for me, fresh as an early morning rain, consistent as the ocean’s waves.

Reading Alice Walker’s Poetry Again

The World Will Follow Joy

I picked this book up from my library a couple of weeks ago, and I just opened it today. It’s inspiring in how it lifts the spirit and makes me feel like, simply because I am alive, I am part of something greater than myself. It made me want to pull out my old Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis CDs and let the music soar around me like her voice does in these poems. She writes,

We will turn our madness into flowers […]

and I think to myself that the world needs more of these poems, that the world needs more love, always more love.

In these poems she writes of odd magic and of golden music, of a man who fixed not only the leak in her sink but also the leak in her spirit. It is a magical sort of person who can, without being able to physically touch the spirit, still somehow manage to fix it, as if applying a sort of spiritual salve to someone’s soul.

Right now, I am only halfway through this book, but I am certain that I will finish it today. I want to keep reading these poems that speak of people who’ve been loved, people who’ve been lost, people who, against all odds, form bonds that cross oceans and continents because, deep down, their spirits are cut of the same fabric.

I want to take this away from this book. I want to remember that my full heart and her full heart and their full hearts are all the same, that we all need clean water, air to breathe, love to wrap around us and laughter to lighten the burdens we bear.