2021/04/29

2021 – Day 119

Da Goddess @ 14:08

There’s one place on earth I don’t like to visit. It’s a “goddess temple” in the middle of nowhere in Nevada. What bothers me most about this place is not that there are bad vibes or negative energy there, but that there’s nothing there. It’s a void. It’s as though someone took a great cosmic vacuum to this plot of land and pulled up every last mote of emotion, of energy, of soul. I end up feeling physically ill and injured every time I’ve visited (the 1st time for a photowalk, the 2nd & 3rd times with others to see if they felt the same as I had). When I walked beyond the border of the property, I would suddenly feel a burst of fresh, cool air in my lungs and my body would straighten, my mood would brighten, and I felt as though as veil lifted from my vision. I would wander around, my camera to the eye and I’d want to photograph everything, from the sky to the gnarled exposed roots of a plant that had forgotten what it had once been. I’d walk and walk until my travel companion would have to come looking for me, having called out for the past hour and getting no response. Then came the agonizing walk back through the void. I’d approach it full of hope that I’d just had a momentary lapse of health or mood, only to suddenly feel ill once more the very instant my foot crossed some unseen but very real plane. At that point, I’d hurry as quickly as my now hobbled body and soul could toward the car and drive as swiftly as possible away from the wretched place.

I’ve never been able to figure out how a location could feel so absolutely empty while surrounded by glorious mountains, hills, skies, flora, and fauna. Oh, and that reminds me of the lack of animal life in that space. No insects, lizards, birds, or any other sort of creature was ever spotted on that property. Beyond it, life was practically teeming in the air, on every surface. How could that be?

It’s been over ten years since I last visited the site and I’ve considered a trip out there again to see if anything has changed. But then I wonder if I really need to experience it again and think of several other locations I’d much prefer to see once more.

I think I’d like to try Jay’s Grave* instead. At least I would be able to identify the sensations and give them reason to exist. Plus, fog! And apparitions!

* * *

* Word for word the comment I’d left for Tom Cox’s “GHOST” entry.

Please consider adding Tom to your list of regular online visits. He’s a marvelously evocative writer and his podcasts are lovely.

* * *

There is another post I started a week or two ago explaining my absence, but this was more important. Shall post that one soon.

2021/01/09

2021 – Day 9

Da Goddess @ 12:27

So, back to the eye appointment.

Turns out I have to have a separate appointment for the optometrist. I can’t get in until almost the end of February. Ugh. I need new glasses now. My eyes are crossed and foggy and aching and I have to wait? Oy vey!

But that’s nothing compared to what happened with the ophthalmologist.

Remember me saying I didn’t like the puff of air to test ocular pressure? They don’t do that anymore at this office. Noooo. Nope. They give you numbing eye drops and then stick this penlike thing ON YOUR EYEBALLS to test ocular pressure. What the fuck is wrong with these people? Who the fuck came up with this means of torture? I wanna know! I wanna do horrible things to them and curse them for eternity!

Since I’m a big goddamn baby, I wussed out. I tried. Yes, yes. I tried, gentle reader I tried to let them touch my eyeballs. But I couldn’t do it. I was practically in tears by the end of it. All I could see was this thing coming at my eyes and I would flinch and squirm and turn my head. I tried to hold my eyes open. No luck. I tried summoning every ounce of willpower from the deepest part of my soul. All to no avail. I. Just. Couldn’t. Do. It.

And so my appointment was incomplete on that count. I got through everything else they threw at me. I did it with aplomb. With elan. I. Did. It. But I couldn’t do that one thing.

At the end of the appointment, while waiting for transportation, this lovely woman walked in. She was built like me. Traditionally built, if you will. She had on the greatest pair of plaid leggings, awesome knee-high boots, a black mid-thigh length sweater, and she was sporting the most glorious red-magenta-ish hair. I don’t even know if there’s a name for that particular color; I only know that it was spectacular! As I got up to leave, I tapped her arm and complimented the hair and the outfit. I stopped short of giving her my number and asking her to be my bestest friend. Just barely. Just. I’m kicking myself now because, frankly, we’d totally be besties for life. I know it with all my heart. And I missed that opportunity. I was still too rattled from the eyeball trauma, thankyouverymuch.

Yeah, I’m an idiot. Through and through. An absolute git.

One positive note: while waiting for my appointment, I was seated outside and was reading a book. A man stopped to ask me about it.

“Is that any good?” He queried.

“Oh, yes! It’s my third time reading it.” I replied.

“That sounds intriguing! Who’s the author?”

Well, friends, the author is Hannah Tinti. The book is The Good Thief. It’s reminiscent of writings by Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, Daniel Defoe. It’s beyond a wonderful adventure; it’s just amazing! I urge you all to pick up a copy and lose yourself in it.

Anywhoodles, the man went in for his appointment of torture and I wrote him a note with the information about the book, tucking it under the windshield wipers of his car. I also wrote another note and gave it to the gal behind the reception desk. I really hate for anyone to miss out on something so wonderful. And that includes you lovelies. So go get a copy!

If you like The Good Thief, also check out Last Smile in Sunder City and the follow up book Dead Man in a Ditch, both by Luke Arnold.

2020/10/15

A New Favorite

Da Goddess @ 09:46

I couldn’t love this site more if they paid me!

My two favorite stories thus far are from Henry Herz and Kathleen Jowitt. I think Jowitt’s piece is especially gorgeous.

2020/08/07

Waiting for Doggo

Da Goddess @ 12:59

Mark B. Mills wrote the most perfect story. I laughed, I cried, I wanted so much more. I’m Waiting for Doggo to make another appearance because it is simply so captivating.

I have to say I hated that it was such a quick read, but I loved it, too, for the same reason.

Everything about the improbable love story fell upon my heart wonderfully and it’s a book I’ll return to whenever I need a little pick-me-up.

2020/08/05

I Hold a Wolf by the Ears

Da Goddess @ 09:04

I just finished I Hold a Wolf by the Ears by Laura van den Berg. A collection of short stories, it’s absolutely delicious!

Each tale is perfect on its own, but as a set: magnificent. At turns intriguing and heartbreaking and as simple and complicated as humans are, the characters are given a chance to speak for themselves, to recount their own stories in their own way.

Every protagonist is someone recognizable and familiar as if made up of the parts of ourselves and our known world. They’re us, or a part of us, and this is the common thread tying the stories together (although a couple do happen within the same immediate vicinity).

I found myself returning to the beginning and starting over again, compelled to find new clues within and perhaps discover the secret to slipping into the stories myself, getting lost in the fog alongside my new friends, holding them when they need it the most.

Deftly crafted, I Hold a Wolf by the Ears is my newest and strongest recommendation to anyone who loves to read and appreciates finely told tales.

2020/05/08

Da Goddess @ 00:49

I’d like to take this moment to say, “fuck you, Lucy Ellmann. Fuck you very much.” This is the first time it’s ever taken me a week to read 42 pages of a book I don’t actively loathe.

Ducks, Newburyport is 998 pages long and I’m only on page 49. It’s taken me a week – a W.E.E.K. – to get that far in. And I’m a speedy reader. Not Evelyn Wood fast, but pretty damn fast. And this is an excruciatingly slow fucking read. 98% of the book is one long run on sentence, which stops being a clever storytelling device about 1.5 pages in. Rather, it becomes a tedious method for driving the reader mad with unnecessary nonsense in the middle of what seems to be a decent story. Instead of allowing the readers to easily keep track of characters and plot, we’re forced to assemble the pertinent details from an overworked stream of consciousness blather that truly detracts from the essence of the tale.

I’ve stopped all other reading, set aside puzzle books, kept Netflix off, just to focus on forty-fucking-nine pages. And I’m made about it. Angry. ANGRY. It makes me wonder how the book was shortlisted for the Booker prize.

You know those comedians who run with any irritating joke to the point where it becomes painful and then keep on with it until it becomes kind of funny? That isn’t happening here in book form. Knowing I still have 949 pages left of this only makes me want to waterboard the author. If your story doesn’t allow the reader to come up for a breath of fresh air, you’re going to have bodies strewn across the country – nay, the WORLD – from asphyxia and your readership is going to dwindle. To the publisher, I must say this, “you made a big mistake. HUUUGE.”

Honestly, if not for the fact that I’ve invested actual hard-earned money on this book, I’d have chucked it into a fire or offered to sell it for toilet paper.

And here’s another thing: if your story isn’t strong enough to stand on its own, without this exhausting nonsense with which to prop it, then perhaps the author and publisher ought to take a step back and examine their entire lives and ask themselves where they went so very wrong. What led them to thinking this was a good choice? And what led the Booker prize committee to shortlist this work of drudgery? Is the fact that this massive run on sentence of a book really that innovative? Did they actually enjoy the read? I can’t believe they found this enjoyable.

As I previously mentioned, the bit of the story I’ve “extruded” (that was a deliberate jab at the author, dear reader) hasn’t been bad, just exhausting. I feel I deserve better than this. If I hadn’t splashed out the cash for it, I’d have quit reading and made a fortune selling the pages for toilet paper. Really, I would have. Still might if I finish before the quarantine is over. I guess I just found my motivation.

2020/04/21

Better to Laugh

Da Goddess @ 23:55

My frustration level has peaked. I have so many things I’d like to do, so many people I’d like to see, and many places I’d like to visit. Since none of that’s possible, it comes down to lots of tweeting, reading, TV, and movies.

Of course, now is exactly when shit hits the fan. My landlords have moved off the property and out of state. I have missed them a great deal when they drove up to Oregon to be with family. I miss their daughter’s little voice and adorable giggles. I miss hearing the baby fuss and then coo. It’s just so weird without them here.

And I now have to set up my own internet and cable. That was one of my favorite things about renting here: those were included in the rent. Now, they’re reducing my rent to make up for not providing it. But I’d rather just keep it the way it’s always been. I’m THAT horrified by having to figure it out for myself. When manlord was down to pack up the house, I got him to extend the service until they have someone move into the main house. Except, here’s the thing, internet works and cable doesn’t. I’m watching Netflix until they get it figured out.

And I’m reading a lot. Right now, my favorite site is McSweeney’s because I end up laughing for hours. Current favorite article is Frasier & Niles Tell Their Dad to Stay Home. Go read. You’ll like it.

Ta for now. I have to go look for ants. I had three extremely tiny ones show up earlier and I’m obsessed with killing any others that may exist.

2018/08/20

Monday Musings

Da Goddess @ 00:01

We all judge ourselves by what we deem effortless by other people. It’s terribly unfair to ourselves and terribly unfair to those whose work or lives we admire.

Chris Addison wrote the best post about this very subject and I can’t think of a single thing to add to it. It’s brilliant as is.

Another thought: if you admire what someone else has created, let them know. Even if they never get your message, be it spoken or written or whatever, your thoughts add to the power and energy of goodness in the universe. We need that more and more every day.

2017/04/04

Random Facts: If I Were to Scream

Da Goddess @ 12:00

If I

    were

to scream because I had to define “subjunctive mood verbs” I’d be well within my rights to do so. Mostly because I had NO FUCKING IDEA there was such a thing!

I love the language of writing. I love that it’s often tricky and sometimes even downright ridiculous. But I also hate it when I come across something about which I’ve never even heard. Or, if it had been covered during an English course, it was so convoluted I simply blacked out from sheer confusion and lunacy of the whole shebang.

I mean, c’mon! Subjunctive mood verbs? When did someone find themselves so bored that they had the time to conjure up such a thing?

Was is used in the first and third person singular past. It is used for statements of fact.

Were is used in the second person singular and plural and first and third person plural. It is used in the subjunctive mood to indicate unreal or hypothetical statements. The words if and wish usually indicate the subjunctive mood.

Ridiculous, right?

At least I now know. And because I took the time to find out, my head hurts and I think I deserve some relief.

Sigh.

2017/03/02

Happy World Book Day!

Da Goddess @ 15:06

If you know me, you know I absolutely adore books. I love the written word. I love getting lost in the written word. I love the feeling I get from reading, even if that feeling is of frustration or anger at the writer (if I’m involved enough in a story to get upset, then the author’s done something right — they made me CARE!).

My mom gave me the second greatest gift of all when she taught me to read. The first gift, obvs, was love. But even if she hadn’t loved me, I’d still have reading. And reading is power.

A good story will draw you in. It will make you FEEL. It will make you forget the real world for a while. It will open your mind. A good story will open your heart. It will take you to places that only exist in the imagination. It will help develop your imagination. And, dare I say, a good story will inspire you to reach for the stars, and beyond.

There are no goals without imagination, without dreams or dreaming. How do you learn to dream, to believe something is possible if not for the stories other people tell?

I often ask kids about their favorite books. I ask them what they like about the story and the characters. Many kids tell me how they’re inspired by the ideas set forth in the books they read. They tell me how the story could continue, what adventures the characters might find in a new chapter (or seven!). When a kid can tell you what they’d like to have happen next? Well, my friends, that’s magic! That’s imagination. That’s the sign of a child whose brain has been engaged. And that’s a big win in my (pardon/no pardon the pun) book.

Whether our children are reading physical books or on an electronic device, WE ARE WINNING! They’re learning. If their minds are engaged in reading, they’re developing tools they’ll need to become whoever they dream they can be. Because, and here’s the secret, when they read, they can become the characters in the stories, if only for a while. And if they can do that for a while, they begin to believe it’s possible more and more often…in real life. That astronaut in the book? That could be me! That brave knight/princess in the story? That could be me! The character who just discovered a new tribe or animal? Me! Even when the author includes a physical description of a character, while you’re reading, that description falls away and you begin to inhabit the character. If you were to close your eyes in the middle of the tale, your face is the one you’d see if the character looked in the mirror. That’s the power of reading, of imagination. That’s how you start teaching kids to dream.

When I was little, I loved stories that inhabited colorful lands full of colorful characters. Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing. Sneeches, with or without stars upon thars, were fun playmates on days I was kept inside. Or maybe one of the twenty-twenty Daves would come by to save…the day from absolute boredom while stuck in my cave. Chances are, the Cat in the Hat would also stop by, if only to help me find trouble to squeeze out of by the lash of an eye.

As I got a bit older, Trixie Belden became my muse. With her and the Bobwhites, I solved neighborhood mysteries that no one else could have solved. I traveled with her, laughed with her, cried with her. When I felt lonely, Trixie was there for me.

Always, always have a book. When you’re watching TV, have a book to read during commercials. Going to the doctor? Take a book. Got a lot of books and spend a lot of time at the doctor’s like I do? Ask if you can bring in a few to start a lending library. Old magazines will only last so long.

As soon as possible, get a child their own library card. Make the library or bookstore a regular part of your week. Investing in a child’s mind is investing in the possibilities of their future. Let them become invested, too, as they tell you what they’ve read and what it means to them.

I know I’ve told the story many times of how Mojo would walk into walls because her nose was stuck in a book. And how LD was potty trained with the help of book on dolphins, porpoises, and whales. He was so proud the day he was allowed to take that book everywhere he wanted because he was finally out of diapers. And let’s not forget how my kids would do their chores or finish dinner because their reward was a trip to the library or bookstore!

As my kids grew up, people would give them gift cards for Borders or Barnes & Noble so they could choose their own gifts. Instead of ONE present, they ended up with many. And they were the kind of gifts that kept giving because they turned out to be creative, thoughtful, and funny people. Had they only had TV or video games, I doubt I’d be saying the same (or I’d be lying about them).

I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as a kid. I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as an adult. I do know I’d never have dared to dream of becoming a nurse if I hadn’t read books about candy stripers and nurses. I’d have never dreamed of being a photographer, either. I wouldn’t be passionate about wildlife if not for reading “Born Free” or even “Misty of Chincoteague”. That’s how powerful the written word can be.

I wish you a very happy World Book Day today — and every day! May the book be with you.

* Inspired by Definitely Dreaming

2017/02/26

Closed Borders

Da Goddess @ 05:11

Back when the bookstore, Borders, was still around, I’d often take the kids over for storytime and to just look at/read books. It was a wonderful way to spend the day. It was a treat for all of us.

Borders was brilliant in that they always had carts and racks of books on clearance set up at the entrance of the store. I always stopped to take a look. ALWAYS. And 99.98% of the time I’d end up with a stack of books to sort through and purchase.

Best part? I’d find so many $2 books for the kids that I’d always have a special treat/reward for them at the end of the day or week or after they accomplished something special.

Two of my favorites were “Showdown at Lonesome Pellet” and a book of mazes. A long time ago I blogged about “Lonesome Pellet” and I may have even mentioned the maze book. I’ve found where to get a copy of “Pellet” but haven’t yet solved the mystery of the maze book.

I don’t recall the name of the book (which, of course, makes finding it nigh on impossible) but I recall quite clearly the look and premise of it. It was colorful, inside and out, and to get from one page to another, you had to “jump” through a hole. A literal hole. In the page. There was always more than one, too. Sometimes you went through to the next page, sometimes you went through a few. No matter, it was FUN! Each hole took you somewhere new, kinda like a choose your own adventure story.

I’ve tried googling the book using every description under the sun to no avail. Why can’t I find it?! Why did Borders have to close? WHYYY?? They were so helpful and informative when it came to researching even the vaguest book description.

Someday, maybe someday, they’ll be back.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

2017/02/04

My Official Valentine’s Day/Early Birthday Wish List Item #1

Da Goddess @ 03:41

I’ve written plenty in the past about my love for Honeyboy Edwards. I’ve talked many an ear off several unsuspecting friends about Honeyboy.

At this point, if there were even the merest chance that anyone I run into DOESN’T know Honeyboy is part of my heart, my soul, my very DNA, I’d be surprised if they were surprised by this first item on my not-so-distant wish list for Valentine’s Day, or birthday.

It is, of course, a brand new release of David Honeyboy Edwards. I want the CD. I want the DVD. And, God help me, I need another copy of his book in my collection (I foolishly loaned it out and never got it back, the bastards!).

So, there it is.

What do YOU want for Valentine’s Day?

2016/12/16

True Love

Da Goddess @ 21:20

I laughed myself silly over this.

2016/11/30

Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

Da Goddess @ 07:09

Everything You Want Me to Be is a tragic, but oh-so-true-sounding novel about Hattie Hoffman’s life and death in a small town.

Whereas I normally don’t care for books with multiple narrators, Mejia deftly uses the construct to tie the not-so-distant past with the present and how Hattie’s death came to be, what impact it has on those left behind, and how her murder is eventually solved.

The teens ring true to those we know, especially in a world consumed with fame. The digital age plays a significant role in both the events leading up to the murder and in solving it.

Touching, disturbing, and heartbreaking on many levels, you won’t be able to put down this gripping tale until the last word is read.

2016/10/28

Flexible Wings

Da Goddess @ 17:14

I recently won a giveaway on Goodreads.com for Flexible Wings by Veda Stamps.

Despite the fact this book is for tweens, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the lead character.

Here’s my quick review:

Flexible Wings is the charming story of Summer Stevenson and her struggle to find her place in a new neighborhood.

Being the daughter of a military parent is tough, but both of Summer’s parents have military backgrounds. Dad is recently retired and Mom is still serving our country. While many admire the Stevensons for their service, Summer just wants to have both parents at home and she wants to live in one place for a change. So, when her parents move the family to Valencia, California, Summer is NOT pleased. She has to leave behind the one home she really loved, has to leave behind her best friend, Esperanza, and worst of all, she’s going to have to navigate a new school and new kids.

The only shining light in the midst of this doom and gloom is – finally – the chance to join a swim team!

Stamps beautifully captures the voice of tweens and deftly illustrates the conflicting feelings of being a military dependent. Her characters are engaging and the story moves along at a good pace. Middle grade readers will easily make their way through the book, hopefully finding the strength and courage to tackle new situations and deal with bullies just as Summer does.

I look forward to reading more from Veda Stamps as she’s proven herself to be a wonderful storyteller.

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