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Books=Love

Event A: Netflix comes out with a new series on how to declutter your home featuring Marie Kondo.

Event B: A lot of backlash happens when she advises her audience to cut down on the number of books they own.

Event C: A post appears on my Facebook Newsfeed about how the trend of “decluttering” your living space is very much geared toward people with money, because it assumes one’s ability to simply go out and buy a replacement for whatever gets lost or damaged at the drop of a hat (e.g. pens and highlighters)

Event D: I see this post shared on my Facebook Newsfeed: Going Against the Decluttering Craze: The Book Hoarders Who Defy Marie Kondo.

Event D is the one which inspired this post. I wanted to share that article because it includes some beautiful stories from book lovers (not hoarders, because it’s not hoarding if it’s books!). I also wanted to share my story and add it to the pile because books are something I take very personally, and not only because I’m a writer.

Growing up in the old country, my family lived in a 2-bedroom flat at the heart of a good-sized town. Our living room also doubled as a dining room for our Christmas dinner when my relatives came over. We had an obscured view of the town center, and an L-shaped wall-to-wall-to-(almost)wall storage unit with open bookshelves filled with books. All of them were my mother’s and all of them were meticulously arranged by series, their covers in chronological order, perfectly uniform.

My mother inherited her love of books from her father. My grandpa didn’t have a big library wall like we did; he didn’t have the space. Instead, he borrowed from his brother, who bought books like they were about to go extinct. My great uncle was the collector, acquiring books so he could have them. My grandpa was the reader. He would borrow a book, finish it, then take it back to exchange for another one. I have never seen that man without some form of reading material, whether it was a book, a newspaper, or a crossword puzzle.

My uncle on my mother’s side, his wife, and their daughter are also huge bookworms and they always share books among them. If one reads a book they like, the next person picks it up after them, then passes it on to the next. They share not only the stories, but a deep love of the written word. Like my grandpa, none of them have much room for books in their flats, but they make room for them, and often give finished books to another family member.

My family has taught me a lot about books and reading. They have taught me that there are different ways to read books, and own books. Some people, like most of my family, read a book for the momentary enjoyment and then move on to the next. Others, like myself, fall in love with books and treasure them forever, re-reading them often, the same way one would visit with an old friend. And still others never really catch the reading bug–until the right book comes along. For those people, that one book will forever hold a place of honor in their lives and memories, whether or not they cultivate their newfound enjoyment and expand it to other books.

When we immigrated to the United States, books became cheaper, more accessible. I didn’t have to go to a library or bookstore, I could just grab one at the grocery store checkout counter. That convenience changed everything for me. I became voracious and read up to 4 books a week sometimes (which to this day my mother  blames for my nearsightedness). When we went to the mall, I’d make a beeline for the bookstore and come out with 7+ books and not a penny left of my pocket money.

This led to boxes and boxes of paperbacks stored all over the house because they wouldn’t fit on the bookshelves anymore. I developed a system. If I didn’t pick a book out of the box in 6 months, the whole box went to Goodwill. I donated 2-3 boxes of books every single year, but my favorites I kept and re-read so often they began to fall apart. I’ll tell you, it broke my heart every time I had to give up a book because it became a stack of loosely arranged dogeared pages.

When I got my Kindle, I thought I would never buy a paper book again. Oh, the lies we tell ourselves… After re-buying all my favorites in digital form and donating the paperbacks, I now find myself hating the impersonal experience of reading eBooks. Where is the smell? How can I fan through the pages and open the book at random to seek out a beloved passage? What am I supposed to put on my bookshelves now, knick knacks??

So I’ve started re-buying all my favorite paperbacks right back again (and being much more careful with the spines). As a result, my bookshelves are now overflowing (and I have a few extra copies of the same books because I got a little over eager #IregretNOTHING). I have stacks all over the house and I’m losing track of my TBR list order.

This makes me incredibly happy. Except it also makes me yearn for more bookshelves… That’ll be my next home improvement project, I suppose.

One day, when I’m all growed up, I’ll have my own library with walls of built-in bookshelves and one of those ladders on wheels. But I think when that happens, I’ll still end up with stacks of books all over the house.

Because books are not clutter.

Books are magic. With the turn of a page, they transport you to a different universe where you can live a magnificent, exciting life without ever leaving the room.

Books are passion. They make your heart pound just thinking about them. You know them by their smell and it’s such a visceral thing I honestly don’t understand how I could have given it up in favor of a flat piece of plastic with buttons and a screen.

Books are love. They introduce you to people you never knew you needed in your love. People who are always there for you, no matter how long you go between seeing each other. You get the privilege of an unguarded glimpse into their lives, with all the defenses stripped away and you can fall in love with their souls again and again.

Books are the best and the worst of us, and I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without them.

So read on, my friends, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad about your library. Books are far too important to be treated like an extra throw pillow.

Until next time! ❤

It’s Not What You Think: My Epic Writer Fail

In preparation for my two book signings this year, I was forced to notify my day job that I would be gone for a few days and had to endure some obligatory small talk which quickly turned to a question I damn well should know how to answer by now but still don’t:

How many books have you written?

Intellectually, I know all they wanted to know was how many books I’d published. Because they don’t care about anything not published, and they shouldn’t. There’s a reason why I didn’t publish it, after all. But on an emotional level, I took that question literally and started a futile internal effort to quantify everything I’d ever written since the very first poems I’d scribbled into an autograph book when I was 9 years old. Because I’m a writer and that’s what I do.

Talk about an awkward conversation stopper.

And that got me thinking about how different things matter to different people. And then I thought about the lists I used to keep of everything I’d written, and how I don’t have time to do that anymore, and my train of thought naturally drifted off the rails to things like multitasking and math, which ultimately led me to this momentous conclusion:

Multitasking is for worker bees

Study after study have been done on the subject of multitasking. For years it has been marketed as a valuable skill (because it gets employees to do more work in less time). But it’s recently been exposed as the fraud that it is. The more tasks you have to do at one time, the less effective you are at performing each individual task. Workload goes up, quality of work goes down. Simple, straight forward concept.

This is why multitasking is only feasible for work that relies more on habit and muscle memory than active problem solving. You can collate files and still talk on the phone if you’ve done it hundreds of times before. You can stuff envelopes and pay attention to a webinar. You can type a generic email and tell someone where the copy paper is stored without breaking your WPM stride.

But you can’t formulate a complex multi-dimensional world with multiple religious sects and social strata while simultaneously organizing a multi-step out of state travel itinerary and actively participating in pre-event promotion.

Which is my way of saying I’ve fallen behind schedule on Prince of Deceit.

Right now, I am maybe 3 or so chapters away from finishing the story, but I went back to have screaming fight with this bitch because it is giving me enough attitude to make a hormonal teenager jealous and I need to teach it who’s in charge. Again.

Seriously, it’s one of those moments where my internal dialogue goes something like this:

Me to manuscript: Is it me? Was I a bad writer to you? Did I not give you everything you ever wanted? Why are you punishing me like this?

Manuscript: Screw you! You’re not my mom!

Me: Yes I am, you little brat! I brought you into this world and I can take you the f#ck out again!

There’s a lot of door slamming happening right now. I’m hoping it’s a phase because I can’t handle this for much longer. It’s time this royal pain of a freeloader moved out and got a job.

It doesn’t help that I’d made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t work on anything else until this book was finished, which now means not only will PoD not get published this year, nothing else will, either. Ya know, just in case I didn’t feel like enough of a failure already. Good thing I don’t have a release schedule breathing down my neck. Score one for being my own publisher.

Anyway, this is just a small authory update for those of you keeping track. 🙂  Since I haven’t been very active online lately, I just wanted to reassure everyone that I’m still alive, still writing (or rewriting), and still very much an introvert, public appearances notwithstanding.

And now I go back to my red pen (I think it’s running out of ink…)

Until next time!

Encore! Encore!

It’s happening again! Saturday at 12pm will mark my second in-person author appearance at the GA Sweet as a Peach Author Event!  Clickety click the link for more info and tickets.

There will be tons of amazing authors with tons of amazing books to sign, goodie bags, raffles, giveaways, and something extra special to benefit a wonderful organization called The Place. I have to tell you, I’ve been watching the lengths to which the organizers are going to make this event amazing and you definitely won’t want to miss it. These ladies are superhuman, I tell you! ❤

As before, I’ll try to memorialize the occasion with photos and social media posts, but the best way to experience it is to  come see me! I’d love to meet some of my readers. If you’re in the area, please do stop by. Not just for me, but for all the authors and guests. Check out some books, and support a great cause. 🙂

A handful of days is standing between me and a nerve-racking flight to Atlanta, GA. I’m not packet yet, and there’s still so much to do, it’s no less stressful than the first one. Does it ever get easier?

I hope so!

The Fallacy of “Possible = Acceptable”

I haven’t written a philosophical rant in a while, so I thought I’d indulge. And when I say rant, I really mean it. LOL Sometimes it helps to vent my frustration in written form. I don’t expect it to change the world, but I’m also not willing to change myself to fit the world, or meet it half way. At least on this one point. Read on to see what I mean by that.

Continue reading “The Fallacy of “Possible = Acceptable””

Indy Author Event This Weekend

It’s happening! Saturday at 12pm will mark my very first in-person author appearance at the Indy Author Event. Clickety click the link for more info and tickets (they will not be sold at the door, so purchase online before you head out).

As this will be a Huge Big Thing for me, I thought I would share some of my trepidation. I’ve been putting out fires and setting contingency plans into motion for two weeks now. But this is good! It means I can get all the stress out now so that by the time the event starts, I’ll be emotionally exhausted, pleasantly numb, and mentally present to put on a good show. Yes, my hands are, in fact, shaking as I’m typing this.

What you’ll find at my table:

  • Great books ready for signing
  • Pretty bookmarks (or, as some call them, “quitter strips”)
  • Printed book lists with covers, ISBNs, and handy check boxes to mark what you already have and what you want to get. 😉
  • Versatile tote bags
  • Wolfen “inspirational” dog tags (when you see them, you’ll understand the quotes and why it’s funny)
  • Rebel Court bracelets
  • Chocolates (while supplies last–which likely won’t be long because I’ll probably stress eat them all)

As you will notice around the good ole website, I have dressed for the occasion and updated some book videos. You can check them out on the Books page and admire the pretty animations and kick ass book covers. 😉

Come see me! ❤ Seriously, it’s shaping up to be a massive, and massively fun event with tons of amazing authors and goodies to be had. And I’ll be there! That’s gotta count for something, right? Share your photos and videos, too. I’ll definitely be sharing mine.

And now I think I need a stiff drink. Or pizza…