Books From My Closet

"I Love Books The Way Some Girls Love Shoes"

Author Archive

My Own Physical Exhaustion

Hello Dear Followers,

It’s pretty late right now, but after a few weeks of not writing or sharing a blog post with you, I thought I’d hop on for a moment.

I am in the middle of reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, and she is now deep in her hike in Pacific Crest Trail.  She’s now talking about the physical toll this hike is doing to her, and all I could think was, I could never do this much physical labor on my body, or take a hike.. exercise.. whatever.

But I realized as I went on reading that I had. Ok, so maybe not the same as Strayed had, but her account brought me back to 2005.  This was the year I left working retail to work at a spa and salon…( okay, so you’re probably wondering how on earth there is a similarity.)  Trust me there is.

I had gone through some terribly depressing times then, anxiety ridden,  angry, sad… you name it.  And working in my hometown’s mall, just wasn’t helping any.  I always saw someone I knew!  And all I wanted to do at the time was getting away from seeing people I didn’t necessarily want to see.

This is when (by the Grace of God) I got a job a salon and spa in a town away.  I didn’t work as a front desk girl either, I worked as a spa attendant.  I worked folding laundry, washing laundry, serving food, cleaning the spa and salon.  This was unlike anything I had ever done or ever dreamed of doing.

It was physically challenging, I was on my feet five days a week, constantly cleaning, washing, folding etc.  It was physically draining.  But what did it do for me?  It helped me work through my shit.  Work through the intensity of the pain I was feeling at the time.  I found a new part of me, and one that was coming back to life as time went on.

I was eating a lot again, ( I hadn’t eaten properly in months),  I was sleeping (because I was exhausted) and I was thinking of better things than before.  It was my life saver.

Now, you’re probably still wondering what the comparison is, well it’s the working of the body to calm the mind.  And I think by what I am reading of Strayed’s account, this is exactly what she is doing, she’s on a new path (no pun intended)  as was I during that period in my life.

When you are in this state, it is so important to find your outlet, whether it be a hike in the woods or some other meditative exercise. I did.

Until next time.

Advertisements

Take a Hike… Why Don’t Ya?

HikersonknifesedgeHello Dear Followers,

I finished part one of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed  and I have a mixture of thoughts about all that has happened so far.  As I mentioned in my last post, the over-arching theme was “survival.”

I still believe that to be true about this woman, who suffered such a great loss that she decided she was going to work through this loss by taking a hike.. for 3 months!

As I had read on past the point that she had lost her Mom, I read about what lead her to want to hike the trail and I began to become judgmental,  I didn’t mean to.  I had to figure out what was making me judge this woman’s journey,  what made her leave everything she knew behind to hike a huge trail when she’s never hiked before.

At one point I found myself saying, “But is she nuts?” Take a trip to Europe, lay on an island for three months, but I had to stop myself and realize, this wasn’t my journey to take and it was clear she had to work through some pretty tough stuff and what better place than on a hiking trail.

In the midst of my judgement, I often found myself  saying, “Another aimless wanderer.” And I couldn’t grasp it. I wanted to, but I couldn’t.

When “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert did her soul searching expedition, I thought “Wow, that’s brave, I want to do that.”  Leave everything behind and just go and figure stuff out, figure life out.  I felt this way for a number of years, she became my idol.  I can’t seem to relate to Strayed in the same way.   I don’t understand why she wouldn’t stay and help her family get through this difficult time?

I also don’t know her nor do I really understand her loss.   Again, her journey.

In my judgment I also find curiosity, how is she going to make it through? What will she learn from the experience?

Have any of you been on a soul searching journey that took you to exotic places like the Pacific Crest Trail or somewhere else in the world?  What did you learn from it?  Where did you go and why?

Please feel free to comment in the comments section below! I’d love to hear more stories like this.

Until later…

Image by PCTA.org 

One Word: Survival

Hello Dear Followers,

I have begun reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.  So far, so good. It’s a memoir which tells the story about how Strayed embarked on a hiking trip through the Pacific Crest Trail which is a 1,100 trail which spans the states of California / Oregon / Washington, USA / British Columbia, Canada. She started this journey in 1995 in an effort for “self-discovery” after losing her mother.

I found the story to be very fascinating, brave and eye-opening, because here is this young woman embarking on a journey she has never embarked on before (this reminds me of another woman I have read... let’s see if you can guess who I am thinking about, they’re friends too!).

So the first chapter, the one word that kept circulating throughout my mind was – SURVIVAL.  This word is ingrained in this woman’s DNA. She has had to know how to survive since she was a young girl, through many trials her family faced.  Whether it was poverty, an abusive father, and later a sick mother. Survival didn’t begin when she decided to take this trip, that is definitely for sure.

Is survival always that hard like Cheryl’s? No. Survival can be simply dealing with our own inner demons that get claw their way into our minds on a daily basis, and waking up every morning is survival.  Our lives however, aren’t meant be survived, they are meant to be lived.

Anyway, I plan to continue on after I finish this post with “Wild” if you are joining along with me, or have read the book already, please feel free to chime in!

Until next time…

 

“And I Love That” – Kyle Cease

Hello Dear Followers,

KyleCeaseBook

Image by Amazon.com

I just finished the book “I Hope I Screw This Up” by Kyle Cease.  I was reading this for a Facebook book club I am part of.  I thought overall the book was pretty good,  however it didn’t move me like other “self-help” books have in the past. I am not sure why. I found it hard to take him seriously, maybe he made too many jokes or put too many pictures in his book.

One thing however stood out. He said whenever you have a fear-based thought add “And I love that” to the end of the sentence.  I just about started laughing hysterically. Because it changes the thought entirely.  It makes the thought easier to bear and puts a different spin on fear.

I also took part in some of his exercises where he asked readers to name their assets, the things they loved in life and that was heartwarming.

I think if you are looking for a light read that is both helpful and humorous, I do recommend this book.

Finally Finished American Wife

 

Image courtesy of http://www.ew.com

It’s late and I just finished “American Wife”  by Curtis Sittenfeld. I have been reading this book for almost three years now.  I am not sure if it was my lack of focus, my disinterest in the story past page 62 or what, but I finally finished it.

Ok, that’s a lie, I didn’t truly authentically finish it.  I skimmed the last 30 to 40 pages and said, “That’s it I’m done, I can’t take it anymore.”  No offense to Ms. Sittenfeld, I think the story was great, but honestly it was just too long for a story that had so many dull moments.

I think the premise of the story was great, I really do,  a fictional/non-fictional story about the life of Laura Bush,  excellent story.  You got a good look at life as a First Lady, the fictional life of Laura Bush, but the author talked way too much, to a point where I forgot what she was talking about when she would recapture a memory from 200 pages ago.

A lot of my friends (those who read anyway) believe that if you are this dissatisfied with a book, you should just quit reading it.  The idea of that bothers me, because I feel that every book we open should be completed entirely.

However, I just couldn’t anymore.  It kept me from reading other books or at the very least enjoying them because I felt guilty for not having finished this one.  So at this ungodly hour of 1:33 a.m. I have decided I am finished.

I don’t think she is a bad author, I just think she could cut her stories down a bit, a lot less talking.

 

Until next time!

Smart or Beautiful?

lovewarriorHello Dear Followers,

Over the years, my best friend and I have had several conversations ranging in various topics, in one of our conversations, I had asked what I thought was rather a simple question, “Why can’t people just be themselves?”

She answered immediately with, “Do you know how fuckin’ hard that is to do?”

I replied, “No, I don’t.” Because I didn’t.  I didn’t know because I was always myself.  Maybe it was pure ignorance, but I just didn’t know how to be anyone else.

She then said, “Well, I guess you have had a higher sense of self.”

I began to think at that point, whether there had been a time I wasn’t myself. But I couldn’t think of a one.

I recently began reading “Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Melton.  A book that everyone (including the author) is calling “a book about marriage.” I suppose that is true, I just haven’t gotten to the marriage part yet.

I am in the beginning, where the author talks about who she was growing up or rather who she wasn’t.

She talks about how in her younger years she was always considered beautiful by those who came in contact with her.   As I was reading this, several things she said struck me and it’s this:

“When strangers admire me, I practice returning their attention. I understand that beauty is a form of kindness. It is for giving away and I try to be generous.”

She goes on to say that her parents tried to instill balance in her life by telling her she was smart as well.

“I’m an early reader, and at four, converse like an adult.” “But soon I realize that smart is more complicated than beautiful….”  “I begin to understand that beauty warms people and smart cools people.” 

Let me preface this by saying, I am smart. Always have been, somewhat absent minded, but smart just the same. I grew up loving to read, I enjoyed history and studying people and the world around me. Beautiful wasn’t a word I would exactly use to describe myself.

As I have gotten older, I embraced all of these “smart” aspects me and accepting that I wasn’t physically beautiful.  Sure, I have physical traits that I love, but I was never completely happy with it all.

People reading this might say things like, “Beauty only runs skin deep.” or “Think more of yourself, Daniela.”

I never wanted to play the dumb blonde to get noticed, I never knew how to flirt or if I did, I didn’t use it.  I loved that I loved to read, I loved that I knew I thought differently than most girls my age, but does this get the attention of the opposite sex?  No. You hardly get noticed.

Glennon goes on to talk about how she became someone else as she got older, having a “representative” of sorts, getting involved in things that could destroy anyone.

Anyway, I think this is an excellent and easy read, definitely worth diving into.  While this is one of six books I am reading right now, I will definitely get back to you with more thoughts as I continue on with this book.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writers: The Wanderers of Life

elizabeth_gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

Hello Dear Followers,

I am on vacation this week so I thought I would drop in and write a new blog post.  I am currently re-reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I promise this blog won’t turn into an Elizabeth Gilbert fan page, I am still in the midst of finishing her new book, “Big Magic.”

I stopped “Big Magic” to return to “Eat, Pray, Love” for some life advice.  I assume many of you know, she keeps an active Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, so I follow her regularly on all three.

I love reading her words of wisdom daily or almost daily and trying to figure out how to infuse what she tells us into my own life.  She is so wise.

I read “Eat, Pray, Love” for the first time around the time when it came out, in 2006.. I read it because it was the book to read at the moment.  But I never soaked in what she was trying to say in her book.

This time around, I read it again because I needed to.  I needed my dosage of Liz on a grander scale than just her daily posts on Facebook.  I needed her mentoring about life.  I wanted to know how she went through some tough times and got through, what was her method?

(Spoiler Alert ahead!)

Anyway, she recently announced that she was getting separated from the man she met in the last chapter of “Eat, Pray, Love.”  It was shock to all of her followers I am sure.  But it made me applaud her, she always ran to the beat of her own drum, a wanderer of sorts through life.  She was inspiring.

I then began to look back at other writers I loved in my life… with the exception of Laura Ingalls Wilder,  most of my favorite writers weren’t married.   Jane Austen, not married.  Louisa May Alcott, to my research… never married.

Liz was married once, and now this would be her second marriage.  These famous writers have something in common – independence.  They are strong enough in their own minds and hearts to carry on their own away from the confines of marriage.  I applaud them.

So many women these days, particularly women my age (33 and older)  feel that it is a must or be viewed as some sort of failure in life.  I am not married, even though I so want to be, but I also enjoy this life.

I am a successful writer, living on my own doing my own thing… I have good friends and family. I have accomplished a lot in my life.

I don’t pretend to know the reason behind Liz’s separation from her husband, it could be a myriad of things, but I still applaud her strength and ability to move forward with her life.

I applaud all of the other authors before her too, that found the strength to remain independent in their own lives and in their craft.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

150 Pages of Big Magic

Hello Dear Followers,

Big MagicIn the short time I’ve followed author Elizabeth Gilbert, (particularly after “Eat,Pray,Love” came out),  I realized she isn’t just some author she is a good friend.  So it is no wonder when she wrote the following words that I thought of my dear friend who has been imparting the same exact wisdom that Liz is bestowing upon those reading her wonderful book “Big Magic.”

The passage that struck a chord with me is this:  “Let people have their opinions. More than that, let people be in love with their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your creative work.”  

The line that struck me is this (wait for it) – “And always remember that people’s judgements about you are none of your business.” 

Done.

For me personally, this doesn’t only speak volumes in terms of my “creative work” but also in my personal life.  I have struggled tremendously with this over the years, and as I have gotten older I realized that I can’t stop anyone’s opinions no more than anyone can stop mine.  So why bother getting all bothered by it?

When I read this entire passage, I said,  “what did my friend have a chat with Liz about this?” Because she has been telling me those exact words forever.  And I still don’t think I can wrap my head around it.

Of course Liz had some other wonderful passages to share with her readers, but I will not give it away because you definitely need to take the time to immerse yourself in her book, especially if you are like me who is trying to live a creative life though writing and reading regularly.

To add to the passage above, here is another line I love – “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to. Actually don’t even bother answering, just keep doing your thing.” 

Until next time folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Cat for Cathy

Hello Dear Followers,

It’s been a while since my last post, but I wanted to share with you a new author that has recently published her first children’s book titled “A Cat for Cathy” by Theresa Miller with illustrations by Christina Sanchez.

It is simply a delightful book for children and adults alike will definitely enjoy.

It tells the story of eight-year-old Cathy who wanted nothing more than a pet cat.  She didn’t think her parents would get her one, so she hatches a plan to get one. Cathy finds a stray cat and took her home in hopes her parents would let her keep it.  But little does she know, her Dad has a bigger surprise for her.

I enjoyed the book so much, and I think any parent who has experienced their child wanting a pet will enjoy this too.  Who doesn’t remember being a kid and wanting a pet and trying everything you can to get one?  I certainly do!

What I also loved about this book were the illustrations by Christina Sanchez.  It is vibrant and alive and really catches the true essence of the story.

Theresa Miller isn’t just a book author, she is also a wonderful co-worker of mine, and I just found out she was an author a few weeks ago and thought I would give her a little shout out here on my book blog.  I thought the best way for me to do that was to interview her myself, so here you go and enjoy!

A Cat for Cathy

 

DF: What made you start writing?

TM: At a young age I enjoyed reading. I remember in middle school, I picked out a book by Langston Hughes and I loved it. I can’t recall the name, but his poetry made me want to write. I started then. Whenever the teacher gave us an assignment to write an essay or story on a topic, my stories were always considered way to long. I remember one time the teacher said, great story but too long. Try cutting it down, I always thought if I cut it down, then there’s no story. That was the hard part. But at home I kept a notebook and just wrote, whenever something popped in my head, no matter what time it was I had to write it down. I have folders and folders of my poetry and other stories.

DF: Where did your inspiration come with “A Cat for Cathy?”

TM: I was visiting my mentee one day and she didn’t want to read. She was having a bad day. I said alright, how about I tell you a story. She said ok. I starting making up a story about a little girl that wanted a cat. My mentee said, hey you’re not reading out of a book. I said I know, it’s coming from my brain. She said I like it. At that very moment, I said to myself, hmm…if she likes it then what other child would. That’s how A Cat for Cathy was started.

DF: What have you enjoyed most about writing this book?  And Why?

TM: Thinking of different ideas, how to organize the book. Thinking of how Cathy should look as well as the cats. I rewrote the middle part several times. I wanted something that I knew I did as a child, and what my nieces and nephews did when they really wanted something. My older son wanted a toy so bad when he was young and I remember stick figure pictures on my dresser and he placed one in my purse one time. Those memories made me rewrite the middle. How Cathy came up with her game plan.

DF: What message do you hope to convey with this book and books going forward?

TM: I want children to be able to read about different experiences that children may go through. But enjoy the story as well. Every child has a story to tell. This story may relate to a child who actually thought of doing this or actually did.

DF: What do you think children and parents alike will enjoy about this book?

TM: How Cathy was determined to get a cat. How you don’t give up on what you want in life. How Cathy and her mother hung flyers about the cat she found in the park.

DF: When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?

TM: Reading. I love to read. Barnes & Noble and I are the best of friends.

DF: What was your favorite children’s book?  And Why?

TM: I can’t just give one answer. I will say this; my author when I was a child is Judy Blume. I loved her books. From Freckle Juice, Blubber, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge and many more. Her books were exciting and I remember waiting for the book order form that was handed out in class and I always ordered her books.

DF: What are your plans going forward?

TM: Going forward I plan to continue writing more children books. “Andy’s Ant Farm,”  my second book, is with my editor now. That should be available in March or April. While that is being edited, I am currently writing my third.

DF: Is there a part of this book you want to highlight?

TM: Yes, when Cathy finds the stray cat. I wanted children to know how important it is to find the owner. The fact that flyers were hung and a number was given, it showed that she tried, but more importantly they gave Forrest a home.

DF: What advice would you give other aspiring writers?

TM: Keep writing. Don’t give up. There is always a way to get your stories out. If you tried to get published, but received letters or an email saying no, not interested. Don’t give up. Keep going and keep writing. I did self publishing. I read up on it, I watched videos on you-tube. My support system, my family, encouraged me. Once A Cat for Cathy was completed, they were amazed, shocked and I was told it’s about time. Never give up and let a no discourage you.

Theresa’s book is available as an e-book on Amazon.com.  I also strongly encourage you  to visit her Facebook page  “Reesee Books”  too!

The Next 50 Pages of Big Magic

Hello Dear Followers,

As I read the next 50 pages of “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, so many thoughts came to my mind.  This book,  is very much like a tutorial on living a creative life and has been at times all over the place with thoughts and ideas that it was often hard to keep up.

Here are some main points that caught my eye that I think are worth sharing:

Read more…

Post Navigation