Posts Tagged ‘Books’

That’s a picture of me thinking, Oh no, is this story even working? Ah!

Here is another installation of Snell. I’d love to hear some feedback from you guys—is it all making sense? Do you like it? Are the characters consistent? Do you like it? Do you like it?


Also, I dreamed last night—again—that I was signed up for Marine Biology next semester. This is the second time I’ve had that dream, and I woke up more stressed out than I do when I dream about getting devoured by hot pink velociraptors. Marine Biology? Really? Why brain, why?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On my first day of work at Boys Ranch of the Appalachians, I discovered that for basically my entire life, the books have been lying to me.

In my time, I have read quite a lot of these. Books, I mean. If I had five dollars for every book I had ever read, then Mom would have never even needed to write Hans the Great and we would be living in a palace in Rome being fed grapes by godlike Italian men and none of this would have ever even happened. For the sake of my education, Mom had even hired a team of metaphorical Clydesdales to drag me clawing and scratching and biting through some of the classics, an experience I had yet to fully recover from.

I had read fantasy books with covers sporting mostly naked women carrying swords in the middle of a forest and science fiction books displaying mostly naked women carrying laserguns in the middle of a spaceship. I’d read historical fiction, historical nonfiction, steampunk, cyberpunk, realistic fiction, realistic nonfiction, nonrealistic ish-fiction—you get the picture. I simply loved to read.

But for all the smörgåsbord of literary delicacies that I had sampled, I had noticed something which, in my new life in the bustling metropolis of Meat Camp, was glaringly and inexcusably misrepresented in almost every case.


Don’t get me wrong. I like horses. They can’t talk. They don’t make me act in awkward and blazingly home-schooler ways. They don’t care if you look like the unholy offspring of Sasquatch and Frankenstein’s monster because you just rolled out of bed. Their noses are really soft, and they mostly do what you tell them to. Unless they’re a stallion and there’s a hot mare around, but I won’t even get into that.

But being a stable boy—let me just tell you, there is absolutely nothing you can glorify about that, no matter what the books say about it being peaceful and simple and earthy and satisfying. It’s all crap, both the lying books and the stinking job. If you can find something poetic and laudable about shoveling horse crap, standing in horse crap, smelling like horse crap, or anything else about horse crap, send me an email, and I’ll give you a prize. Because that’s what being a stable boy is about. Lots and lots and lots of horse crap, with a little straw thrown in to, you know, stick to the horse crap that’s sticking to you.

And also being bitten by Tolon, that blasted four-legged terrorist. It was all I could do not the get out the mane shears and lop off the two enormous baubles hanging between his legs and hang them on one of the trees outside like Christmas ornaments, just to piss him off.

So in case you haven’t figured this out yet, I was in an absolutely diabolical mood by lunch. If looks could have killed, Boys Ranch of the Appalachians would have been turned into a nuclear waste field.

I was sitting on a bench underneath a Bradford pear—I hated Bradford pears—eating a turkey and salami sandwich—I hated turkey and salami—and drinking strawberry lemonade—I hated strawberry lemonade—glowering down at an ant crawling across my lap and trying to fry it with my laser vision of Bad Mood Extreme Addition when someone sat down next to me. I was surprised, in the way that a polar bear might have been surprised if a five-year-old with cerebral palsy came up and petted it.

“Hi!” said the person brightly.

I looked up. A girl, maybe two or three years younger than me, was smiling broadly at me. So broadly, in fact, that her eyes almost vanished into her cheeks. She had dark, olive skin and a sheet of glossy black hair that fell almost to her waist.

“Uh,” I said. “Hi.”

She was sitting on her hands and staring at me unashamedly.

“What’s your name?” she asked.


“Oh, wonderful!” she exclaimed. “I have a weird name, too! My name is Risso. Oh—not that your name is weird in a bad way, but I’ve never heard of anyone named Snell before, and I’ve never heard of anyone named Risso, either. But Risso is sort of weird in a weird way, if you know what I mean. My mom named me that. She wanted to called me Rizzo, like, after the Muppet. But my dad put his foot down so she changed it to Risso because he said no daughter of his was going to be named after a rat, even a cute one. Then he left right after I was born but by then the name stuck.” Suddenly she frowned, her eyes getting enormous. “Oh. I’m doing that thing. Where I talk too much.”

I wondered if the unholy stench of the horse manure had actually caused me to hallucinate.

“It’s okay,” I said. “I, uh, don’t talk too much. So you’re making up for both of us.”

Her smile returned immediately, and her eyes disappeared again. I’d never seen anyone who wasn’t Asian do that.

“I like you, Snell,” she said. “I think we’re going to be friends. I work here, too, you know.” She looked critically at my poo-spattered jeans. “But, um, not in the stables. Thankfully.” She laughed. “Because no offense, but you reek.”

Maybe I should have taken offense at this, but I didn’t. I guess the offense done to my nose by the stables was all the insult that the rest of me could take for one day. I grinned, too.

Strangely, Risso’s ability to talk the hind legs off a horse—or hopefully, in the case of Tolon, the testicles—actually made me talk more, rather than less. Before long, I found myself telling her all about the move, Bob, and Mom’s purchase of The House.

Again, her eyes grew round when I mentioned The House.

“I can’t believe someone has finally bought that old thing! It’s going to make all the stupid teenagers in Boone sad that they can’t come and camp in there and break the windows and smoke pot in the back yard.”

Hmph. That explained the small plot of rather questionable plants in the very back corner of the garden.

“But that is so exciting! There’s always been a sort of… mystique about that place. I like that word—mystique. No one has lived there for over forty years, and before that it was just this ancient old crabby woman that no one liked and who never came out. Apparently she died there and had lain in there for, like, a month, rotting in the summer heat before they found her.”

“Oh,” I said bleakly. I decided not to ask her in which room the crotchety old hag had decayed, not wanting to start having nightmares about a figure with strips of flesh hanging off her standing over my bed.

She chattered on about two boys at her school that she missed dreadfully because they were off working at a summer camp in Texas. They were also identical twins, which complicated her feelings even more. Almost accidentally, I told her about my encounter the previous day with Dimitri, and how I was supposed to meet him for a party at his house that nice.

Again, the round eyes. I was beginning to notice a pattern.

“Oh, but this is so exciting! I’m going too! Dimitri is, like, my best friend for forever.” Then maybe she noticed something in my face, something I hadn’t even meant to show or even consciously thought. “Don’t worry though, Snell, he’s like an absolute brother to me.”

She winked.

So it happened that that night, after I scraped off the horse manure and tried desperately to scrub the stench out of my hair for nearly half an hour, Risso and I rode together to Dimitri’s house in her “ghetto jeep,” which she named thus due to its cacophonically broken muffler.

I’m not sure if “cacophonically” is a word, but if it’s not, just call me Shakespeare. Cacophonically could be the new bedroom.

Anyways. Dimitri lived in Boone, the bigger town about twenty minutes south of Meat Camp. Over the heinous sound of Risso’s engine, she blasted 90s music as loud as the rather substantial speaker system could go. I tried not to goggle as she belted out “Oops!…I Did It Again” and Shania Twain like the salvation of the universe depended on her pure volume.

“Sing, Snell!” she shouted above the wind, and the engine, and the music, her hair blowing like the branches of a palm tree in Hurricane Camille. “Sing!”

I just grinned sheepishly. Maybe this was one of those things you learned in public school—how to sing really loudly with someone you’d barely even met and not give the first sign of a darn.

We parked outside of a lovely little apartment complex. I slid out, looking uneasily at the number 16. No backyard gardens to obliterate here.

Risso marched around the side of the ghetto jeep and placed her hands on my shoulders, looking intensely into my eyes. I liked Risso, but the concentration in those eyes almost made me take a step back. Then she smiled broadly and said, “You’ll do just fine.” Then she flounced towards the door marked with the big red 16.

And to my greatest surprise—you know, the kind of surprise when you’ve been expecting your parents to give you a new shirt for your birthday and instead you get a Maserati—I did. Just fine, that is.

Dimitri opened the door right as Risso was raising her fist to give what undoubtedly would have been a resounding knock, grinning so widely that I thought his face might split in two. He immediately pulled Risso into an enormous bear hug. I prepared myself to feel awkwardly out of the loop, but then he pulled me into one, too.

“You made it!” he said happily. “And I was hoping you two would become friends tonight and, as usual, Risso, you’ve beat me to it.”

Risso bowed deep and then punched him lightly on the arm. “Of course! Any time.”

He ushered us inside, and for a moment the street lights illuminated his eyes, and again I was struck by the infinite kindness there in those ocean-deep eyes, swimming there like fish in a sea current. Something inside of me loosened and relaxed—later I rather thought it was the abnormal tendon that had been constricting whatever organ gives people the ability to be smooth and normal—and I stepped through the door.

“My parents are out tonight, gone to Asheville for the weekend,” he said. “So we’ve got the place to ourselves.”

“Hooray!” shouted Risso, and she immediately leapt onto the loveseat and began leaping up and down, chanting, “No parents! No parents!” at the top of her lungs.

Dimitri looked at me and shook his head, laughing.

“Is she always like this?” I asked.

“Oh, you know, usually worse,” he answered. “She’s on her best behavior because you’re new.”

We grinned at each other, then quickly looked back at Risso. The tips of his ears, I noticed, had turned a pale shade of pink.

Risso quickly bored of couch-jumping, though no before she had come close to destroying a lamp that Dimitri seized deftly when one of her wildly flailing limbs threatened to send it into orbit. She then ran—going fast, always, seemed to be her primary mode of transportation—into the kitchenette and pulled down three packages of chewy chocolate chip cookies. Then we launched into a rather ferocious game of charades, which according to Risso’s rules always had to depict dying in some terrifically gruesome manner. Points were, of course, awarded according to how gruesome our ideas turned out.

Dimitri fell behind almost immediately in the points, or at least he would have if we’d really been keeping score. It was like that kindness bubbling up out of his eyes came from a place so deeply ingrained in him that it prevented him from even imagining anything truly horrendous. The best he came up with was a witch burning. His depiction of it, however, left Risso and I rolling on the floor in laughter fit to fracture our ribs.

Risso and I, on the other hand, went for each other’s throats like wolverines with toothaches. She started out with being ripped to shreds by Tasmanian devils while having the lower half of her body slowly disintegrated from an expanding pool of battery acid. Inspired by Dimitri’s rather pitiable attempts, I savagely followed up with being trampled by horses after escaping from a witch burning and having my scalp ripped off by a particularly vindictive horse who decided to take a bite of my hair. (Which was perhaps a touch inspired by Tolon as well.)

By the end of the game, we had all collapsed in a heap, tears streaming down our faces from laughing so hard. I felt so at home with them you would have never thought that I had only just blasted in from outer space (also known as Alabama) and landed in the middle of a friendship that was over a decade old. Our companionship felt seamless, something I had never experienced with anyone outside of Mom, and this was even different than that, newer, fresher, a taste of wind blowing up from a deep valley of pine trees.

After we had progressed to the inevitable point in charades where everyone starts picking subjects that are completely incomprehensible, Risso bounded up and pulled out the drawer under the television and started flipping through movies. She pulled one up and held it out like a trophy.

“The Notebook!” she shouted, eyes disappearing into her cheeks.

Dimitri and I both gave her such identical looks of horror that she immediately shoved it back in the drawer.

“Okay, I guess not,” she muttered, and I thought I caught her saying something like “too soon” under her breath. Suddenly, the room felt too hot.

Eventually she settled on some old John Wayne movie that Dimitri said belonged to his dad, who was obsessed with John Wayne. Apparently Risso was too, because she started giving us all the background to this particularly film, including the names of all the obscure actors and actresses and what other equally obscure 60s movies they had played in and—well, lots of other stuff. I wasn’t really paying attention, because Risso had chosen the only armchair in the living room, leaving the loveseat to Dimitri and me.

What a stupid, stupid name for a piece of furniture.

Risso immediately snuggled into the armchair and sunk into the movie, leaving me and Dimitri stranded in the corner. He looked at me sort of shyly, his mop of curly hair falling into his eyes so that he had to push it back out of his face.

“You aren’t much of a John Wayne fan,” he said. It wasn’t a question, but from the bored-out-of-my-gizzard look on my face, it didn’t really need to be.

“No,” I said, “but it is light-years better than The Notebook. I don’t know of a worse movie in the history of Hollywood, unless you’re counting those B- and C- and D-rated zombie-vampire-werewolf apocalypse films.”

He chuckled. “Those are definitely preferable to even the previews of that movie.” He looked at me, a bit of puzzlement in his eyes. “I was wondering—do you think we’ve ever met before? You look sort of familiar.”

I shrugged. “Probably not. I’ve lived in the super-city of Charming my entire life and not hardly ever left except for one hellish trip when I was eight to visit my Aunt Fiona in New Jersey.” I paused for a moment. “Aunt Fiona is a cow.”

He laughed, causing Risso to hiss, “Shhh!” across the room at us.

“Tell me about Charming,” he said.

I raised an eyebrow. “There’s not much to tell. It’s too hot in the summer and rains a lot in the winter. The only thing that’s smaller than the town itself is the minds of the people who live there.”

As soon as I’d said the words, I regretted them, wishing I could reel them back in like ugly fish on a line.

“I mean,” I said quickly, “People are just not that… open-minded. If that makes sense.”

Still looking at me—his steady gaze was the tiniest bit unnerving—he nodded slowly. “Tell me about it.” He said this not like, “Oh my gosh, like I know,” but as in, “Go on.”

So I did. I told him about Melissa’s farm and her horses and dogs that I spent my days with, wondering the trails and streambeds in the acreage she owned as well as the large swatches of land that had DO NOT TRESPASS signs posted around the boundaries that I tended to ignore. I told him about Charming Hills Apartment Complex, and the two restaurants and how good they were, and the way everyone thought Mom and I were something like Satan’s ambassadors because I was black and she was white and uninterested in men.

In turn, he told me a little about growing up in Boone. Both of his parents were professors at Appalachian State University and he’d grown up with a never-ending stream of college students coming in and out of their apartment, the down-on-their-luck ones sometimes staying in the guest bedroom for a semester or two before they got back on their feet. They always got back on their feet, he said, because that’s just the kind of people his parents were—the kind that helped people find their sea legs and learn to walk all over again. He told me about going to Watauga County High School, and how half the teachers spent their time gossiping about the students and the other half talked bad about the first half gossiping about the students and how mostly no one ever got taught, unless it was football or baseball.

He asked me where I had gone to high school and what it had been like in Charming.

“Oh, I was a home-schooler,” I said.

“Really? I wouldn’t have guessed.”


From the armchair, Risso hissed at us again.

Whispering, he said, “No, really. You really don’t seem like a home-schooler.”

I realized with a touch of surprise that he hadn’t intended to be sarcastic at all. With time, I realized more than that—Dimitri didn’t have a sarcastic bone in his body, not even one of the really small ones in his fingers or ankles.

“Well,” I said slowly. “At least I’m not like the other Charming home-schoolers. They all thought that one plus one equaled Jesus.”

We eventually lapsed into a comfortable silence, enjoying each other’s presence much more than the cowboys and shoot-outs playing out on the television screen, no matter how nice looking John Wayne had been in his younger years. Once, I caught him smiling at me out of the corner of my eye, and I smiled back, and I did not feel even a hint of a blush hiding under my dark skin. I felt… content. At peace. I didn’t even feel the need to obliterate my feelings under a slew of  internal sarcasm.

That was a new one for me.


The past week, I’ve been listening to a rather wonderful audiobook called East, a retelling of the Norwegian folktale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” by Edith Pattou, which is essentially the Nordic version of Beauty and the Beast. Essentially… well, okay. This needs its own separate paragraph.

Essentially, a young girl named Rose lives with her family in ancient Norway. Her sister Sarah becomes extremely sick and her family is going bankrupt when one night a white bear appears at the front door and offers to make the family prosperous again and to heal Sarah if Rose will come away with him. Despite her family’s protests, Rose goes with the white bear to Fransk, or France, to live in a huge castle within a mountain. Of course, she comes to love the white bear, and it’s very Beauty and the Beast, but very original and with lots of new twists. For instance, the man who had been turned into a white bear had been transformed by the Troll Queen who lived in the farthest reaches of the north with all of her troll subjects. The Troll Queen is very beautiful, powerful, and smart, and also very politically intelligent.

Even though I positively loved Rose for her spunk, ingenuity, and sturdiness of both body and mind, apparently the idea of the Troll Queen got pushed deep into my psyche because last night, I dreamed that I was something very much like her. I was beautiful, with long straight hair and always wearing lovely ball gowns. There was a prince who was visiting from another realm who had come with a delegation to my castle, and apparently a marriage between us was a desirable political move for my family.

So what did I do? Did my absolute best to make him fall in love with me, using feminine arts that in real life would have either been totally ridiculous or utterly impossible for my personality. For example: walking straight up to him, entwining my arms around his neck, and forcing him into a rather nice kiss.

(Here’s the funny thing about whenever I kiss someone in a dream… which, of course, is the only way I’m kissing anyone. Every time, I nearly immediately realize at that point that it is a dream—har, har—and then I find myself kissing… nothing. They disappear, whether it’s some nameless prince or Damon Salvatore or Doctor Who or, rather less than pleasantly, Ron Weasley. Last night, when I kissed the prince, I found myself kissing the curtains where I, uh, might have shoved him. Innocently. Very innocently.)

Later, I was talking to my nurse maid/advisor—another throwback to the Troll Queen, who had one of these nurse maid/advisor people—and she accused me of hunting him down like a vixen. Yeah, she used those words. My brain is insane.

“But I actually do like him, too,” I told her. This was true. He was shy and quiet and totally terrified of my advances. It was sort of fun.

Anyways. Ah-hem.

Another Snell post coming tomorrow.

Hold on to your seats everyone, because this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for!

After years of silence from our dear J.K., we finally have the announcement that millions of fans have been dying to hear: There is going to be a new series!

We even have a title of the first book!

Drum roll please everyone….

And it is….

Hairy Otter and the Albino Dementor!

Hahahaha. Oh, I crack myself up.

Obviously I got into our old Beanie Babies, or at least the ones that didn’t get jettisoned in one of Mom’s Catastrophic Clean-outs (which are in the same category as her Destroy the Greenery Days, in which she decides that our trees have too many branches and starts lopping them off at random). And I was absolutely thrilled when I found these, and it was one of the rare moments when I thought I had come across something truly funny.

Maybe. I guess that is sort of up to you. And now you are possibly pissed at me because you thought there was actually a new series. Well, we can keep hoping, can’t we?

I still have my fingers crossed that she will write a couple of books involving the Founders of Hogwarts.

Hmmm. I have several other interesting pictures in my Photobooth. I think I’ll post them, just for kicks.

Me minus makeup minus doing absolutely anything with my hair. I kind of like it.

Me being mysterious. Probably one of numerous failed attempts to make a Facebook profile picture that would make all the boys like me.

Me trying to look dramatic and with straight hair. Zomg. And a freakin’ huge forehead to boot. But best of all… in Italy! Remember that, blog readers? Remember how it was awesome?

And then these are of my little brother, because my brother is awesome, and also out of his mind. He also doesn’t look anything like this, obviously.

Like I’ve said, he’s pretty awesome.

And now more me, because I’m feeling narcissistic tonight.

Here is me trying to look gansta and tough. I sort of succeeded, I think.

Dressed up for a social club mixer/as a prostitute, apparently. What does it say about me that I kind of like this look?

The time a zit went wrong. Really wrong.

Two Kellums. Both my fondest dream and my worst nightmare.

Okay, you get the “picture.” Hahahaha. I really need to stop.

Since I have nothing coherent to talk about during this blog post, I’ll just tell you what’s been going on in the world of me.

Tomorrow, I have my official training session at the Birmingham Humane Society, which means that I will finally, finally, finally get to play with some dogs. I don’t think that I can verbally express how much I miss having Merlin around, or how much I just want to be with dogs. Please, let me get covered in dog fur and slobber and dirt for a couple of hours. Please, let me get dragged around a trail with a wag-tail high energy fuzzy demon on leash. Please, let me get to carry a plastic bag around while walking said demon to pick up his poop. Seriously. I just want to have some dog time.

I have officially read nine books so far this summer. My goal is to get to fifty, which is kind of a tall order, but if anyone is up to it, then I am. Also, one of my library books kind of exploded the other day. It was completely unnecessary and I have no idea how it happened. One minute, it was sitting in the car seat next to me while I was texting Lisa whilst waiting the the Humane Society parking lot for part I of orientation, and the next second, over half of the pages were splattered across the seat. Not really sure how I’m going to explain that one.

Just in case you’re wondering, I’m currently in the middle of four books, some fairly inane fantasy fic book called Atherton: House of Power, a decent Diana Wynne Jones called House of Many Ways (which I’m still waiting for to get interesting), a rather typical teen drama called [Insert Typical Teen Boy Name] and [Insert Typical Teen Girl Name]’s Epic Road Trip (which I’m not even sure I’m going to finish), and the old classic Ender’s Game on audiobook.

Today I cleaned my room, because last night Mom told me she was ready for me to go back to college so my room would be clean again. This made me sad, so I’m going to try to keep it cleaner.

Tomorrow is also the first-half-of-the-season sort-of-almost finale for Doctor Who, which will be on hiatus until enough time has gone by for my hysteria to die down, or something. So basically, tomorrow is going to be an awesome day.

Because I literally am just rambling on, I’ll tell you about my new favorite game to play. It is called, Pick A Place to Live in Different States for After I Graduate and Work Out All the Necessary Parts, Like Where to Live and Where to Work and Does It Have a Nurse Residency Program and Where to Go to Church and Are There Parks Nearby Where I Can Walk My Future Dog. I mostly play it at work when there are two and three hour stretches where consecutive patients decide not to show up for their appointments.

In general, here are my criteria:

  • Needs to not be in Alabama, Mississippi, or Georgia. Tennessee might be acceptable.
  • Needs to be somewhere interesting topographically, as in mountains, lakes, or desert.
  • Needs to not be too big. Smaller is better.
  • If it’s got to be big, then it needs to offer some pretty awesome stuff in the other categories. Also, the crime rates shouldn’t be outrageous because I’d really prefer to keep my car and not walk out of my apartment one day and find it gone.
  • Needs to be relatively warm. Like, imagine an equator drawn from about the middle of Virginia across the nation. And nothing in Oklahoma or Kansas. Yuck.
  • Warmer is better. Just thought I would point that out.

Here are my first couple of options. I’ll even let you vote on them. Where do you think I should live if after I graduate?

Any other suggestions would be welcome. You’ll be saving me from endless hours of staring at the wall at work… trust me.

For those of you who know me, or who have ever met me, or who even just read my blog, you know that I can be… a little dramatic. My emotions tend to polarize somewhat to either end of the spectrum, so if something makes me happy, like riding horses, then I am really happy, and if something makes me sad, then I am really sad, like when Merlin died back in February. Sometimes it can be thoroughly irrational, too. I once cried for about an hour about a shower head.

I’m a little crazy. It’s okay, though; I like being crazy, because it does make life a lot more interesting. I mean, really—when was the last time you wept because of a shower head? Okay, I’ll admit… I did get on meds after that incident, but you know what I’m talking about.

Anyways, I have been tearing through books like a PMSing teenager through chocolate this summer, and about half of these books have been by one of my favorite authors, if not my most favorite, Robin McKinley. Most of them I’ve read before, but that’s the sign of a good book, that you feel compelled to revisit it again… and again… and again. (If I could count up each time I’ve read one of the Harry Potter books, it would probably total up well over fifty. Not kidding.)

But one of the books was new. McKinley came out with a new book last year called Pegasus about the special relationship between two different races, humans and pegasi, in the fictional country of Balsinland. I really liked it. It was definitely her best recent book. I also found it interesting that the last three books she has released have centered on difficulties in communication between different species, or at least profoundly different human beings (dragons and humans in Dragonhaven, humans and pegasi in Pegasus, humans and, uh, fire priests in Chalice).

Anyways, I got to the last chapter and… everything exploded. The bad guy won. All of the progress that had been made in the book completely went down the drain. The two main characters, a bonded human girl and pegasus who were basically two halves of a whole were separated and told they could never be together ever again. And then it… just… ended.

I pretty much threw the book across the room. The book had betrayed me. This has happened once or twice before, but usually you can sort of feel it coming. Generally, I don’t like the book that much to begin with, or it just has that rambling feeling of this-is-never-going-to-wrap up, or the whole story is so hopeless you know it’s going to end with many tissues and heartbreak. Or it’s about a dog, which is a surefire signal that the dog is going to die at the end, which is why I never read books or watch movies about dogs despite my great love for them.

This one, on the other hand, totally knocked me out blind. I did not see it coming. This was something of what was going through my hurt, confused, and blisteringly despairing mind after I’d reread the last page for the fifth time trying to see if I’d missed anything (I hadn’t):

Robin? Robin? What have you done? I trusted you! I know you rarely end your books with sparkles and lollipops but… This? This?

And McKinley never, ever, ever does sequels, as a rule. And I have known this ever since I finished her Sunshine, and wanted more, and The Hero and the Crown, and wanted more, and Outlaws of Sherwood, and wanted more…. You get the picture.

So after throwing the (library) book around a few more times and contemplating setting it on fire, then maybe sending an entire pack of owls carrying Howlers to McKinley’s house, and perhaps personally running screaming into the woods in my inability to accept such a base destruction of my basic worldview—that books are the best friends in the world!—I decided to take the dive. To go to Robin’s website. To see if, indeed, her rule might be broken for just this once to rescue Balsinland and Ebon and Sylvi, the pegasus and the girl, from lifelong misery. Which, probably, would not be that long at all, since it really seemed to be a Dragonriders-of-Pern sort of relationship in which one can’t exist without the other.

And… guess what? There is a sequel! Coming out next year!!!

I just about fainted from relief. I’m not kidding. My blood pressure had been so high up until that point that when it suddenly calmed down, I got a little dizzy. It’s sort of like finding out that the guy you’ve liked since elementary school has finally wised up and realized that you’re the best thing that ever happened to him (or how I imagine that scenario, anyways).

I went around and told everyone in my house that it was okay, I wouldn’t be giving in fully to my madness and spending the rest of my days locked up in a mental ward because of The Book That Sent Me Over The Edge. None of them really looked like they cared but… guys. This was a big deal.

Anyways… I write this mostly because absolutely nothing of interest has gone on for the last few days. That’s the biggest news I’ve got. And, also, I am currently trying to push down the roiling sea of seething jealousy for my brother, who is a week away from his trip to Greece, and for Kelsey and Brittni, who are currently in Scotland, and the Harding Hippies, who are living on an island off the coast of Seattle for the summer in a barn, and everyone else who is not in Birmingham this summer.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Birmingham, but man… I’d really rather be somewhere awesome.

Horseback riding tomorrow. That makes me happy. And then orientation for volunteering at the local animal shelter, where I will get to WALK and PET and PLAY WITH DOGS. So that is excited.

And also, Mom and I made homemade pasta today, which proceeded quite uneventfully, which means that there is no hilarious story but that it will taste good in my tummy for supper tonight.

Oh… I dreamed that I was Voldemort the other night. Talk about disturbing.

Even though this means absolutely nothing to anyone but me (and my mother), I would just like to announce that I am finally done with the unpacking process. All of my school items have been unpacked, sorted, resorted, thrown all over my room, buried me alive, been pushed off, sorted again, shoved into boxes, put onto shelves, hidden under beds, and piled in some resemblance of organization in (a very small) corner of my room.

I feel a little like a catepillar coming out of a cocoon. Or maybe a polar bear coming out of its winter den. And let me tell you, there is nothing like that first breath of fresh air and the feel of wind on your face—or the way you don’t fall on your face in the middle of the night tripping over some godforsaken container trying to get to the bathroom.

Have I ever mentioned that I generally drink four to five liters of water a day? Yeah—just try lasting the night when your appetite for water rivals that of camels and elephants. I dare you.

Today I finished my fourth book of the summer, a really awesome novel by Louis Sachar, known for Holes, called the Cardturner. It wasn’t as good as Holes—once you win a Newberry, it’s kind of downhill from there—but that didn’t stop it from being a lot of fun either. It involves family and friends and growing up… and channeling… and the card game of bridge, but don’t let that put you off, especially the bridge part. The narrator always warns you when a complicated section is coming up and then, if you don’t want to try to boggle through it, there’s a summary box at the end. I have to admit I appreciated this a lot because I got lost past the first explanation.

And I know—just the fourth book? I am just a little disappointed that I’ve been out of school for a week and a half now and that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Granted, I have two audiobooks that I’ve been listening to (or, as Lisa calls them, Little British Men, even though half the time they aren’t British or men), but still. Hopefully now that my room resembles a junkyard where college possessions come to die, I’ll be able to be a little more… productive.


I’ve officially started real work, not just orientation. Here’s the funny thing—the summer aide program at Children’s as a rule does not allow us to do vital signs. The specific people I’m working with, God bless their souls, found out that I’m in nursing school and have done clinicals, so they’re letting me do them. But I’m just curious—why not? It’s really a simple process with the automated machines they use now: 1) Attach cuff to patient (strategically labeled “This side to patient” on the side that, um, goes on the patient). 2) Push the little blue button to blow the cuff up. 3) Record the numbers that pop up when the machine beeps.

My second-grade cousin Caleb could do that, really. I just find it rather amusing that after a semester of cleaning central venous lines and starting IVs and drawing blood and giving shots I’m barely even allowed to read numbers off of a screen.

But I’m really not grousing. It’s great experience as far as patient interaction goes because, since I’m working in a clinic, I get to see tons of patients rather than the one or two that I work with in clinicals. I’ve learned how to use a data entry program (mostly) and I’m starting to figure out the overall system. And all of the people are extremely nice, even if only two are even remotely close to my age. I like that, people being nice.

Also… can I just say… get ready for this… I AM TAKING MY FIRST HORSEBACK RIDING LESSON ON TUESDAY. I went through a stage around second and third grade when I wanted a horse almost as much as I want a dog now and read every book that even pretended to have the word horse in its name (which is how The Horse and His Boy was the first Narnia book I ever read, and how I got into the series). But now… no more books. This is real life. Real live breathing horses that are always bigger than you expect them to be and which can be ridden and pet and have carrots fed to them.

I am so freaking excited.

Doctor Who is tonight, but I think I am going to spare all of you the Who Review this week, I think, since it’s really the lunatic fringe that watches the Doctor anyways. (I’m not going to follow that to its logical conclusion with you.)

But I am going to point out that I found a Dalek alarm clock that beams the time onto your wall and wakes you up by hollering “Exterminate!” in its singularly horrific droid voice loud enough to break the sound barrier. And probably rip a hole in the time-space continuum, too, at the times I have to wake up for morning clinicals.

I can’t decide if that would be cool or just plum terrifying.

A single candle

Posted: March 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Today begins the first day of the rest of the semester.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Despite the rather foreboding feeling hanging about somewhere behind my cardiac region, I am determined to seize the moment as much as humanly possible. Yes, I am extremely tired of studying. Yes, the long absence of Wesley and Caleb across the Atlantic Ocean is bothersome to a degree that the word “bothersome” does not even begin to compute. Yes, the call of summer and everything that it offers—the blessed and glorious heat and sunshine, the prospect of eleven insanely busy and joyously fun months working as youth group intern at Homewood, the whoosh of airplane wings as they carry me and said youth group to Honduras for two weeks, the thought of going to sleep in my own bed (mostly) for the entire time and spending good, quality, quantity time with my family—all of these things make me want very much just to wish away every last second of the remainder of this school year….

But I will not. I will show my classes who is boss, I will endeavor in making new friendships, I will live beyond myself and give back to the world around me.

And when all else fails, I shall order a book and bury myself in it until I have energy to get up and face it again.

I read three and a half books over Spring Break, by the way. The last-out Wheel of Time book, and two-and-a-half Robin McKinleys. I love to read.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.