Confessions of a Teenage Reader: Beautiful Little Birdy

I like to pretend I fear very little. I’m not scared of heights or small spaces. I can handle flying and water and darkness. I can pretend that snakes and horror films don’t bother me. But I do have a rather public list of irrational fears. Some of the fears are ordinary, some are impossible, and some are just plain embarrassing. So here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Ceiling fans
  2. Birds
  3. Tape measures
  4. Cockroaches
  5. Someone closing a car door for me and getting one of my limbs caught and having it fall off
  6. A baby kicking out of a mother’s stomach

Yep. Those are my fears. In black and white. I know some of them are really dumb, but… whoops?

But anyway, I did bring this up for a reason. I’ve been doing some soul searching as of recently, specifically during my hiatus. Bloggers are supposed to be super into Twitter, right? I’m supposed to be scrolling through my feed constantly, reading author tweets and responding to fellow book bloggers and being cyberly social. I should be tweeting about how obsessed I am with Twitter.

The thing is, I’m not. I hate Twitter. I hate it with a burning passion. I see that little icon, their cute little Twitter logo, and I cringe. I “read” my feed by seeing how far and fast I can scroll on one swipe. I have a widget on my phone’s home screen that’s *supposed* to help me care about Twitter, but I have yet to set it up. It’s bordering on pathetic, my inability to care about it.

Then I connected something. This may be far-fetched. This may be a laughable excuse. This may be downright wrong. But here goes…

Refer back to my second fear. Birds.

Click the next tab over, where I know you have Twitter opened. What’s that little blue icon? Oh? A bird.

Bam! Mystery solved.

Oh but Erin, why do you hate birds so much? Good question. I have no idea. I had not traumatizing situation relating to birds, I’ve never seen any movies to harbor my hatred of them. I just came to the realization that their are two things that make my skin crawl: fluttering and scuttling. Birds flutter. Cockroaches scuttle. End of discussion, they’re going on my list.

So in some weird connect-the-dots shape, I’ve come to the conclusion that I physically cannot like Twitter because of my pathological fear of birds.  I apologize to the blogesphere in general, and I will work to curb my fear of both the app and the creature. But I make no promises.

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Confessions of a Teenage Reader: The Inevitable Hiatus

It finally hit me. The disease that threatened the greats and plagued the minds of students everywhere. The disease that seeps its way into library walls and wraps its cloudy hands among computer screens and lined paper and destroys the works of many.

Writer’s block.

I struggled with it for a while. The better part of last semester I trudged through posts and reviews and just felt drained every time I opened my laptop. The disease worked its way into my mind and destroyed all of my discipline. And not only that, it found its way into other parts of my life. If I had no will to write, I read less, I slacked on my quotes, I let my room be taken over by books and clothes and trash.

Then I decided the only way to curb said disease would be to withdrawal myself from blogging. I still wrote for myself and I read (though not as much as I would like to say), but I figured that taking a blogging hiatus would be good for me. I didn’t have a plan for how long, and I felt guilty for the amount of books I have stacked in my “to review” pile.

So then yesterday I cleaned my room. Mostly. And I updated Goodreads. And I reshelved all my miscellaneous books and tallied my bookmark collection. And today felt like the day to start blogging again because despite my loss of will, I missed it. I feel so detached now because not only did I stop blogging, I stopped tweeting and reading blogs and withdrew from the general bookish fanbase.

Today rolled around. And I knew it was time. The sky was overcast, everyone was out of the house, and my laptop called to me. My writer’s block may take a little work to shake off, and I’ll have to be on overdrive to catch up with everything, but I can handle it. I think.

So here it is. My obligatory sorry-I-left-but-I’m-back-now post. I’m not going to give myself any real goals, yet, and I think I’ll just let myself drift back into things. I figure it’s not a big deal if I’m not completely involved all the time. It’ll be okay.

But I think I am going to give myself a little bit of an out.

As I previously noted, I have a stack of books to review. A literal stack. It makes me cringe just thinking about it, and I always want to curl up and put a book over my head and pretend they aren’t there. But they are. And I want to review them, I just don’t want to write the reviews. Which is not possible.

So here’s my out.

I think for the summer I’ll do a series of  mini reviews. I’ll have my book review on Monday, Top Ten Tuesday on Tuesday, (maybe) a discussion post on Friday, and a mini review that’s plopped into any day I have time to do it. It’ll probably just be a paragraph or two about the things that really stuck out at me about the book (considering I haven’t read them in a while), which will allow me to review them without going through the lengthy review process.

It’s a win win. Right?

Well, hopefully. So that’s my plan of action. After posting this, I’m going to update my quote jar and plan a couple weeks of posts. And write some of them. And maybe get on Twitter if I have enough energy after that. We’ll see. But I’m definitely ready to start blogging again. I’ve missed it!

Confessions of a Teenage Reader: Ink-stained Hands

An idea sparked in my mind, promoted, of course, by a novel. This idea sparked and fizzled away for a while, until I read another novel. And I sat there, and I read a sentence over and over and over. And I needed that quote. And I wanted to remember that quote. And I wrote that quote on my hand, and I looked down at it periodically until it faded into my skin.

And that, my friends, is how my hands became perpetually ink-stained.

Ironically, I can’t remember the quote that made me stop and temporarily tattoo it into my hands. I do remember the book that started it all: We were Liars by E. Lockhart. For some reason, when Cady and her romantic interest (I can’t remember his name…) wrote words on their hands, I loved it. It was romantic. They wrote part of the sentence on the left and part on the right. Always something that would connect together. 

So, I read this fantastic quote and I thought, wow, I should write this on my hand.

Let’s back track. Some time ago, I watched this peculiar indie film called A Love Song for Bobby Long. I liked it well enough; it made me minimally uncomfortable, but it was okay. I think about that movie periodically, and for some reason, it’s been pretty influential. Bobby Long was a lost soul who used to be a college professor, and he dramatized everything and could quote long passages from famous writers without hesitation, and I’ve always aspired to be able to quote off the cusp.

And thus the quote jar was born. But I never took the time to find paper, write the quote, and stash it in the jar. I let it sit, collecting dust instead of words, for a year or so.

Flashforward again. Writing on my hands. Somehow, from this movie, the quote jar, and We were Liars, I realized that my arms and hands were perfect mediums to write on and be able to look at each day. For at least a day I’d be able to look down and read and reread these quotes as many times as I wanted. They’re comforting. A little piece of my novel when I can’t read. A snippet of gorgeous words to inspire or evoke emotion. I wish I started this habit when I was in the midst of We were Liars because that book is full of beautiful quotes.

Longer quotes I put on the inside of my forearm because a. that doesn’t wash off as easily as on my hands and b. I, unfortunately, am not ambidextrous, so it’s quite a feat when I write on my right hand. Usually the quotes that I write on both my hands are very short and cute and probably wouldn’t make sense if you hadn’t read the book. It’s like my own little inside jokes. Right now I have “(left) When I found (right) everything romantic” from The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. I like the way the quotes are broken in places that should flow. I think it adds to the effect.

Now I’ve been doing this for a good many books, maybe ten or so. Then I got those little bookmarks that are arrows that point to the exact line you stop at. And I had an idea. I’d use those arrows and bookmark the good quotes and write said quote on my hand. Once the book is finished, I’ll pick the best bookmarked quote (maybe a couple, depending on the book) and write it on a more permanent material (like paper) and put it in the dusty quote jar.

Eureka! I now had a system. A tedious, somewhat complicated system that, if attempted to be explained to non-readers or non-romantics they’d ask me the universal question of why? Why would I spend all this time on these words? Why do I want to stain my hands with a never-ending cycle of quotes? What’s so special about them?

Well, my dears, I’ll tell you why. I want to win an argument by quoting a famous writer. I want to look at a piece of artwork in some high-class museum and say to my comrades, “this reminds me of a quote by… ‘…'” In short, I want to have all the tools to be completely pretentious. If I decide to use this power, it’s up to me. But the fact that I can is all that matters.

And I guess in a practical sense I can use it on exams and such in school. But who cares about that?

Anyway, in all seriousness, I just really like words. And, no, it doesn’t completely work. I don’t remember all the quotes I write, and some I do remember aren’t that significant. Here are a couple:

  • “Us fight” –Alice Walker, The Color Purple (this is a quote in dire need of context)
  • “We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.” –Marina Keegan, The Opposite of Loneliness
  • “You can find ways to be okay with dying, but you can’t fake your way through living.” –John Corey Whaley, Noggin

And my personal favorite, 

  • “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never forget about the drops of oil on the spoon.” –Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The Alchemist was loaded with beautiful words and gorgeous quotes, but this is the only one I can recall instantly. I recommend the book, by the way.

I’ve decided, just now, that this can qualify as a hobby, and I adore it immensely. Sometimes I transcribe words that mean specific things to me, or cornerstones in the plot of the novel, or pieces of wisdom, or a beautiful line. I hope I’m not the only one who loves stealing these words.

Do any of you guys have an obsession with quotes? What’s your favorite bookish quote?