Posted in bout of books, HugoNebulaChallenge, readathon, reading, reading challenge

Rachel Is Reading: May 2018 TBR

Greetings, book dragons! What are you reading in May?

I’ve got an ambitious TBR list this month. I’m participating in two readathons (one of which is going on this week), have a couple of unrelated buddy reads, and also have a few books I started in April that I still want to finish. All told I’ve got 15 books on my list and I’d love to get to a bunch of graphic novels as well.

Like I said: ambitious.

Since it’s already a week into the month, I’ve already finished my audiobook reread of Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher, the first book in his Codex Alera series. I reviewed this in on my Instagram stories; you can find it in my IG profile if you missed it! And I read The Wicked and the Divine, Volume 3: Commerical Suicide, the first of hopefully 8 graphic novels I plan to read this month.

I’m in the middle of a reread of The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, the first book in the Wheel of Time series. I said over and over again that I wasn’t going to reread this series this year as I wanted to focus more on SFF books I haven’t gotten to yet, but here we are. Yes, I’m rolling my eyes at my lack of self-control. Maybe I’ll just read this one and wait until next year for the rest….? Who knows!

I’m also in the middle of The World of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, the gigantic companion book of history for his A Song of Ice and Fire series. This is one of 10 books I’ve made it a priority to read in 2018. I’m way behind on said priority reads, so I put Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte on my list this month as well. As a lucky coincidence, a booktuber I follow is buddy reading these two classics this month. Here’s a link to her GoodReads group: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/516094-readalongs-with-ange If I pick up the reading pace and get through those, I might start Kindred by Octavia Butler or The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde to help me catch up on that list a bit.

Buddy reads: I’m buddy reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin with a friend on bookstagram. This is a winner of both the Nebula and Hugo awards so it will help me make some progress on that personal challenge, not to mention finally introducing me to an author I should’ve read from a long time ago! And then I’m continuing my buddy read of the Percy Jackson books with another IG crew. This month I think we’re slated to get through books 4 and 5.

As if that wasn’t a long enough list, I decided I really wanted to participate in the Buzzword Readathon. The buzzword for this round is “girl” so I looked up all the books I own with girl in the title. I own four, so I figured why the heck not!? Those four are: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (also a Hugo-Nebula winner, YES), Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-32 by Joan W. Blos, and Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I know I am definitely going to read Bacigalupi and Blos, but if I can fit in the other two, I will.

And last but not least, I’m listening to Storm Front by Jim Butcher, the first book in The Dresden Files. Another reread that I blame my boyfriend for as he is constantly rereading Butcher’s books and I broke down and joined him.

Second readathon I’m doing is my first stab at the Bout of Books! Hopefully I’ll be posting to this blog all next week during the bout. I should be done with my “girl” books, but everything else I just mentioned is fair game during that week.

More info from their site: The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 14th and runs through Sunday, May 20th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 22 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Like I said, what are you reading in May? Are you doing any readathons? I’m so happy it’s warming up here and I can read outside again.

 

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Posted in readathon, reading, reading challenge

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon 4/28/18 Wrap-Up

Check out my last post if you have no idea what this is about! I’m going to wrap up the readathon (a few days late, oops) by doing the closing survey from the official readathon site.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Hours 21 and 22 were the absolute worst. I live in EST so this was 4-5 in the morning for me. When I did my first Dewey’s Readathon back in October, I threw in the towel at 0530. This time I was utterly determined to stay awake, so I made tea and switched my reading genre from fantasy to YA contemporary romance. Oh, and most importantly I sat upright in a chair with the window open instead of lounging on the couch or my bed.
2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read!

I finished two graphic novels: Rat Queens Volume 3 and Bitch Planet Volume 2. Both were great – Bitch Planet moreso. (Because I’m not a big fan of Hannah’s storyline in Rat Queens.)

I also read the entirety of The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan, which is the 3rd Percy Jackson and the Olympians novel. This was so fun to read; I’m really glad I decided to one shot it for the readathon even though I’m technically supposed to be pacing myself for the buddy read it’s a part of. Oops!

I picked up The World of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin in the late afternoon and read the first 30 something pages of it. Which should really count as 60 something pages because that book is physically twice as large as my other books and the font is the same size. I adore this book and hope to finish it in May.

My audiobook for the day was The Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher, which is the first book in his Codex Alera series. This is a reread for me. I haven’t picked up these books since reading the final volume when it was published in 2009, but it’s a magnificent fantasy series where each book is better than the last so I thought it was high time for another go at it. I managed to listen to 200 pages of it, so I’d say I was pretty into it.

And finally I read 292/320 pages of Geekerella by Ashley Poston. I put this on my TBR for variety as I figured having something contemporary and generally fluffy would be helpful. And wooooow was I right! I never would’ve made it through the wee hours if I hadn’t been reading this book. It was fun and surprisingly touching. And also a total nostalgia trip for me as the main character and I share a childhood steeped in fandom. The romance was cute, and I rooted for both of them throughout the story. In short, I loved it and I was so annoyed that when the end of the readathon came I only had 30 pages left. Obviously I finished it before letting myself finally fall asleep.

3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?

Of what I read? All of them! In general? I think short books are key to Readathon success. Especially action-packed short books with moments of humor and sadness. I got that from both of the novels I read this time and it made the readathon so much more exciting.
4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile?

I’d love some reading sprints on Twitter!

5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?

100% going to do the Readathon every time it comes around. It’s so much fun reading alongside so many other people. And a great personal challenge. I might be interested in volunteering next time…? It’d be good to give back to such a great community.

Hey, if you read all this and you did the Readathon, tell me what you read in the comments! And if you didn’t do the Readathon, might you do it next round? October 20th will be here before you know it. 😉

Posted in readathon, reading, reading challenge

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon April 2018

Last October I did a blog post about my Dewey’s experience that I updated every hour (find it here), but it took a lot of time away from my reading. This year I’m posting this opening post to say hello and hi and JOIN US. And I’ll have a wrap up about my experience for the next 24 hours sometime later this week.

What is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon? Well, you read as much as you can for 24 hours… with bookworms all over the world at the exact same time! I adore this readathon. Today honestly feels like a genuine holiday to me.

Enough with the chatting! Here’s the opening meme of the ‘thon:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Massachusetts! Luckily it’s sunny and warm today so I’ll be able to take a walk with my audiobook later. 😉
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

The World of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Is it weird to say veggies and hummus? I got some salmon for dinner too to treat myself.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I’m a writer, an army brat, avid bullet journaler, wannabe booktuber, Ravenclaw, INTP, glasses and long hair sort of girl.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Definitely more caffeine spaced out more evenly. More walks. More audiobook time. Also relying on graphic novels to give me quick finishes to motivate me into the wee hours. I made it to hour 22 last time and fell asleep and I’d really like to get all the way to the end this time. Wish me luck.

And good luck to all of you out there participating!! Let’s tear up some pages!!! Well, not literally. But you know… Let’s read… a lot. Ahhhh, I wish we could all hang out in a big cozy castle and read together. READ ON, BOOK DRAGONS!

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My bujo spread with my TBR 

I’ll have more updates on my Instagram and maybe Twitter throughout the day. @RachelIsWriting for both. Links in my bio!

Posted in readathon, reading, reading challenge, what are you reading wednesday

What Are You Reading Wednesday 1/24/18

What Are You Reading Wednesday – the nitty-gritty*

Share the book/s you are reading with their author, maybe even the cover… and then answer these questions for at least one of them.
  1. Why did you decide to pick up this book – cover or content?
  2. Who is your favorite character so far, and why?
  3. Will you finish this one?
  4. Finish the sentence:  This book reminds me of… (other books, movies, TV shows…)
  5. What type of read is this one? (slow but interesting, cannot put it down,…)

* I took this directly from Marissa’ blog! Find all three hosts of What Are You Reading Wednesday –>

  1. http://www.marissawrites.com/
  2. https://thegeekyyogi.wordpress.com/
  3. https://tsundokugirlreads.wordpress.com/

 

I’m still reading Dune but as I talked about that in my last WAYRW post, I’ll refrain from repeating myself. I finished The Whispering Skull on Monday night and gave it 4/5 stars.

Since my last post, I’ve begun another novel, two longform essays, and a short story collection. Because I have no self-control in a library. Oh! And I read an entire book: Just Three Words by Melissa Brayden, a F/F romance novel featuring a friends to lovers trope that I found genuinely adorable.

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

  1. City of Heavenly Fire (book 6 in The Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare
  2. The Bane Chronices (a Shadowhunter collection) by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson
  3. On Being Ill by Virginia Woolf
  4. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

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Why did you decide to pick up this book – cover or content?

All of these are content reads. (Actually I’m using City of Heavenly Fire for an ugly cover prompt in a reading challenge I’m doing.) The Virginia Woolf essays are ones I’ve meant to read for awhile. And I’m just continuing my Shadowhunter reading with CoHF and The Bane Chronicles.

Who is your favorite character so far, and why?

Well, the essays are non-fiction so no characters. And I won’t lie, Jace is my favorite character in the Mortal Instruments series. He continues to be a favorite in City of Heavenly Fire. (Although I find myself loving pretty much every character in that series. I still kind of can’t believe how totally I’ve descended into that fandom.) And of course I love Magnus Bane. I’m adoring every second of the the short stories about him in The Bane Chronicles.

Will you finish this one?

To all – yes.

Finish the sentence: This book reminds me of…

City of Heavenly Fire kind of reminds me of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in that the series has been building for five books to this conclusion and every scene is like returning home to familiar characters and waiting on tenterhooks to see how and if they’ll escape each new danger that faces them…!

The Bane Chronicles reminds me of the Harry Dresden short stories. Just a beloved character doing awesome and hilarious things.

Both Virginia Woolf essays remind me of nothing! Woolf had such a unique writing style, even in her non-fiction.

What type of read is this one?

I was actually getting so emotionally traumatized by CoHF that I put it down and read that romance novel instead! But it reads quickly, as do all of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books. I’m betting I’ll finish CoHF, The Bane Chronicles, and both those essays this weekend during the 24 in 48 readathon.

Yes! I’m doing the 24 in 48 readathon! I’m excited because it will be my first official event (I did an unofficial one last August just to see if I could.) The challenge is to read for 24 of 48 consecutive hours. It begins at midnight on Saturday (as in Friday night) and ends at midnight on Monday. I think I’ve convinced by boyfriend and my best friend both to attempt it with me so we’re going to have a cozy reading weekend at our place and see how many words we can devour between the three of us. Click the link below if you wanna join too!

24in48 Home

Posted in book review, reading

What Are You Reading Wednesday

I’ve really been enjoying reading my friend Jamie’s posts for “What Are You Reading Wednesday” so I’ve decided to hop on the train and Do the Thing! (Find Jamie here; she’s awesome: https://jrosewordsmith.wordpress.com/)

What Are You Reading Wednesday – the nitty-gritty*

Share the book/s you are reading with their author, maybe even the cover… and then answer these questions for at least one of them.
  1. Why did you decide to pick up this book – cover or content?
  2. Who is your favorite character so far, and why?
  3. Will you finish this one?
  4. Finish the sentence:  This book reminds me of… (other books, movies, TV shows…)
  5. What type of read is this one? (slow but interesting, cannot put it down,…)

* I took this directly from Marissa’ blog! Find all three hosts of What Are You Reading Wednesday –>

  1. http://www.marissawrites.com/
  2. https://thegeekyyogi.wordpress.com/
  3. https://tsundokugirlreads.wordpress.com/

Now for the actual post…

I am currently reading Dune by Frank Herbert and listening to the audiobook of Lockwood & Co.: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud.

Why did you decide to pick this book up – cover or content?

I’m reading Dune as part of a buddy read with a bunch of people over on bookstagram (#readdune). I’ve read it before, it’s actually one of the rare books on my all-time favorites shelf, but I haven’t read through the whole thing in years. It’s also the first book of my Joint Hugo-Nebula winners challenge, so yay!

The Whispering Skull is book 2 in the Lockwood & Co. series. I meant to read it months ago, but ended up returning it to the library in one of my many way too ambitious TBR months last year. I borrowed the audiobook because I try to always have an audiobook on my phone now for when I’m on the subway or working on my bullet journal or whatever.

The short answer for both is – content.

Who is your favorite character so far and why?

If you don’t know, brief summaries!

Dune is a science fiction novel following the teenage son of Duke Atreides as he moves with his family from their home planet to the spice planet, Arrakis. The Atreides are locked in a sort of blood feud with House Harkonnen who have just been forced to give up Arrakis by the emperor. That’s honestly a terrible summary and does nothing to touch on the religious and philosophical topics in this magnificent novel. My favorite characters remain the amazingly fleshed out side characters who serve House Atreides (Gurney Halleck, Thufir Hawat, Duncan Idaho) and the Fremen (and Dr. Kynes, the imperial planetologist!). The Atreides and Harkkonens are also great characters, just not as beloved by me.

The Whispering Skull is the second in the series so I don’t want to spoil anything… Suffice to say, my favorite character is the narrator, Lucy, in all of her psychic ghost-communicating sarcastic curious greatness.

Will you finish this one?

I plan to finish both of these! I might even finish The Whispering Skull tomorrow. Dune I am taking my time with and actually abiding by the weekly reading marks for the group read so I don’t get ahead when it comes time to discuss every Saturday. We’re due to finish it at the end of the month.

This book reminds me of…

It’s really the other way around, but Dune reminds me of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I was struck this read through by how much Eddard Stark reminds me of Duke Leto Atreides.

The Whispering Skull reminds me of Supernatural (the tv show) a bit in terms of the small group of characters hunting down ghosts while trying to solve a larger mystery. It’s not exactly a new concept, but Stroud’s writing and worldbuilding makes it so dang enjoyable.

What type of read is this one?

Dune is a beloved reread. I am taking my time with it, and mostly happy to be taking my time. There is SO MUCH in every sentence of this book. I often find myself rereading lines or paragraphs trying to wring all the meaning out of them. It’s wonderful.

The Whispering Skull is a fun audiobook. I like the narrator. The pacing a little slow… but I am expecting big things from the finale so I’m just fine with that.

Well that was fun! Maybe expect me to do this more often…? 😉

 

Posted in david bowie

Put on your red shoes and dance the blues…

January 8th was David Bowie’s birthday. I wrote a bit about why he means so much to me a few days after he passed in 2016, and I wanted to share it here on the second anniversary of his death.

bowie-blackstar-likeyousaid

This is going to be difficult to write.

I’m not even sure what order to do it in. Do I start with how I found out that he died? Do I begin with my discovery of his music at age 15? Do I list how many of his songs fill my iTunes?

What I really want to begin with is shock.

I’m shocked that he’s gone so soon.

I’m shocked that I’m in a state of grief as though he was a member of my family.

I’m shocked that my love of his music has yet to waver from its first blush of youthful obsession. I thought maybe it had, but yesterday proved me wrong. Horribly wrong.

Let’s take it chronologically. That will be easiest.

I don’t know when my parents bought Bowie’s double disc of “The Singles 1969 – 1993.” When I hit my teenage years, I started pulling CDs out of their collection to try out on my new stereo. The fact that this was a double disc was exciting (two for one!) and the cover intriguing (Andy Warhol-esque colored image of Bowie singing into a microphone). I think my parents had recently been listening to the first disc and I wanted to hear to “Space Oddity” again.

(I find it mildly poetic that “Space Oddity” was the first song of Bowie’s that I loved because it was his first number one hit. It truly wasn’t often that the hit songs drew me to artists. The Doors’ song that obsessed me was “The End”; with The Beatles it was the George Harrison-driven material “Within You / Without You” and “The Inner Light”; my favorite Led Zeppelin songs were “When the Levee Breaks” and “Going to California”. Not that those songs weren’t popular, but they certainly weren’t the signature songs of those bands by any means.)

What was it about Space Oddity? Number one, it’s a story. I was a budding writer and already searching out stories in every aspect of my life. Number two, it’s a tragic story. It only took one serious listen for me to be completely obsessed with the echoing, “Can you hear me, Major Tom…?” I love poetic tragedies and Bowie nailed this one. It was the kind of story I wish I’d written.

Anyway, I let the CD play on. It wasn’t long before my new favorite songs were “Changes” and “Oh, You Pretty Things” – listened to back to back, of course. Sometimes I still have trouble differentiating the first ten seconds of these songs. And I still feel really weird if I hear the end of “Changes” and it isn’t immediately followed by a bit of piano and the words “Wake up your sleepy head, put on some clothes, shake off your bed…”

But “Life On Mars?” quickly took over my life. Again, the tragedy of it drew me in like a moth to flame. Being the dorky new girl at my high school, it was not that difficult to feel like Bowie was talking about me when he called to “the girl with the mousy hair.” Every lyric felt like a condemnation of the society I knew and also disliked. This was the year of post 9-11 George W. Bush and fanatical Americana and Let’s Invade Iraq Because Of Made Up Reasons.

If it isn’t already evident, I fell in love with David Bowie’s lyrics. The man was speaking to my teenage soul. I wanted to be his “mellow-thighed chick” in Suffragette City. My school day was insane! I was a total blam blam! Soon I was dancing around my room at midnight to the strains of “Rebel Rebel” and doodling the lyrics to “Ziggy Stardust” in all of my notebooks.

(Speaking of “Rebel Rebel,” if you hear the first chord of that song and don’t immediately crank your volume, I’m not sure we can be friends.)

He made me feel like someone I didn’t know I wanted to be. He made me feel like more of myself as I was. Everything about his music spoke to me. Even the stuff I didn’t understand, I knew someday I wanted to.

I wasn’t alone in my newfound obsession for long.

I sat down on the floor of my living room in New York with the lyric booklet of this CD and wrote a letter to my best friend in Virginia. I waxed euphoric about my discovery and copied a bunch of lyrics and burned her the CDs for her very own. Soon we were doing what teenage girls do, trading gorgeous pictures we’d found of Bowie on the internet, detailing how he made us feel, sending each other favorite lyrics in the middle of all the other crazy details of our lives.

My dad and my brother both jumped in and out of my obsession with me. I began buying Bowie albums at Tower Records; EMI/Virgin records had recently released remastered copies of his discography and I wanted them all. My dad bought the anniversary edition of Aladdin Sane with its many live concert tracks. My brother and I rented Velvet Goldmine together (a Todd Haynes movie loosely based on Bowie’s glam rock career) and Alex painted his fingernails black. But he got into Bowie’s Berlin years before I did and drifted off into Lou Reed territory.

Meanwhile, I acquired a dozen of his records. I bought magazines about his career. I pored over my Rolling Stones for pictures of him and Iman and taped them to my walls. (Their Tommy Hilfiger campaign featured prominently near my closet.) I clipped the classic snapshot of the Unholy Trinity of Glam Rock (Bowie, Reed, and Iggy Pop) and stuck it in my wallet. I covered my school notebooks in pictures I’d printed from the internet; David Bowie on a pedestal, David Bowie smirking, David Bowie as Halloween Jack, as the Thin White Duke, as an immensely 80s popstar with an oversized suit and yellow hair. I obtained the classic Ziggy Stardust concert and watched his cover of “My Death” until I cried. I watched The Man Who Fell to Earth and Labyrinth and Basquiat. I quoted “I’m Afraid of Americans” to my classmates with glee. I didn’t understand 1. Outside as a whole, but I watched the music video for “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” until I had his every expression memorized. I tried to take apart Heathen and Reality when they were released. My mom got me posters of the gorgeous anime-like cover of Reality and let me scrawl lyrics around them to form my own unique art piece. I would’ve died of jealousy when Sara got to see him in concert during the Reality tour if she hadn’t written down every word of the night she’d experienced and copied the whole set list for me so that I felt like I was there.

When I went to college, one of the first things I told people was how much I loved David Bowie. He was basically a part of my identity at that point. If people knew anything about me, I wanted them to know I was a writer, a biology major, a military brat, and that I loved David Bowie more than anything else.

(I think they got the message.)

All of this, and I haven’t mentioned why. Why was it David Bowie? Why wasn’t I obsessed with someone else, or something else?

I’m still not sure.

Of course, there are all of the reasons that everyone else will mention. David Bowie truly was a genius at reinventing himself. He always seemed a step ahead of the music industry. He seemed to make music because he needed to, not necessarily for the paycheck or the fame (although he definitely indulged in both).

He was a cooler Bob Dylan wearing a dress. He made androgyny, homosexuality, and bisexuality not just acceptable but amazing as a glam rock god. He reinvented the world of 1984. He wrote apocalyptic fantasies before young adult fiction even existed. His cocaine, milk, and red pepper fueled Station to Station is still my favorite thing created by any artist ever. His Berlin years with Iggy Pop and Brian Eno are like music reimagined. He did the 80s pop star thing better than anyone else. He collaborated with and fostered other artists and reemerged in the 90s with more genres under his belt than any other artist I can think of.

When the Reality tour ended and no news of another album surfaced, I worried (along with everyone else) that he was done for good. But of course the surprise of The Next Day with all its triumphant nostalgia was perfectly Bowie. And then Lazarus and Blackstar…

And now we know what that was about. Again. Perfectly Bowie. It’s hard not to think that he orchestrated his career this way on purpose. That he chose his own path every time, and he ended it exactly how he wanted it to end.

Is it the story of David Bowie that obsesses me? He strove for fame, achieved it, and then steered his own course as he wished for the rest of his career. He had two marriages that formed perfect romantic dramas, one a bit crazy and one incredibly serious. He kept his private life private. By all accounts he was funny and intelligent and kind. Margaret Cho met him once and told us all that he “smelled like violets.”

As a writer, I think this is part of what I love about him. He did after all inspire me to my ultimate life’s goal: to write a book in every genre that I can manage.

As a person though… I think I love David Bowie because he speaks to me. Something about his lyrics, his voice. They resonate. There is a space in my soul that he filled with something that understands. I always felt like he understood love. He understood art. He understood life. And he knew how to tell us about it.

I feel like I knew David Bowie even though I never attended one of his concerts, I never met him in person, and I was never anywhere near occupying the same physical space as him.

Sunday night.

I was having a bad night. (Depression will do that sometimes.) I couldn’t sleep. I was feeling anxious and crazy and my thoughts kept whirling around in the way they do when I can’t turn anything off. I was trying hard to listen to zen videos and just go the hell to sleep so I could try to go to work when my BBC app sent me an alert.

I rolled over thinking that it was probably going to be something else happening in the Middle East or maybe some British political thing that I didn’t really care about. Instead:

Music legend David Bowie has died, his son says.

It was 2:06 in the morning.

I sat bolt upright, clutching my phone, staring at the word. I thought to myself, no way, there’s no way, this has got to be a mistake. I went to my other news apps and saw nothing and thought, okay, this is a mistake. I checked the news on Safari… And then everyone else caught the story too. I went to Twitter and there was Duncan’s tweet.

Very sorry and sad to say it’s true.

Immediate tears. I scrolled through the news stories and sobbed. I don’t think I was even registering anything; I was just crying and feeling numb. Wondering why it was happening.

Here’s the thing. I knew he was going to die someday. He’d had health problems before. I’d imagined it before. But. I just thought… I really thought it was going to be years away. Decades even. He’d just released Blackstar, for Christ’s sake. It didn’t seem fair or right.

So I put on Blackstar. (Of course, I’d preordered it back in early December and had already listened to the title tracks dozens of times.) This time I listened to the lyrics more closely.

Yeah. He knew. This was his way of saying goodbye.

I’m just… not ready to say goodbye. I’m not ready for there to never be new music. I’m not ready to realize that I will never get the chance to see him perform. I’m not ready to feel this kind of grief.

At first, I just felt shock. Disbelief. And it morphed into a kind of numb pain that just sat in my chest and reached up to make me cry every hour or so. I honestly spent most of the day in a sort of fugue state, crying, staring, trying to distract myself and failing. I’d listen to his music until I couldn’t stand it. I’d reblog pictures and tributes on Tumblr until I had to look away.

I wasn’t sure I deserved to be feeling this kind of grief until my friends started contacting me on Monday. They sent me texts and posts telling me how sorry they were. How they appreciated me introducing them to him. To let me know if there was anything they could do for me.

And it began to strike me just how very much my love for David Bowie and his art has become a part of who I am. Sara and I agreed; this is so much more than a beloved celebrity dying, this is more like losing a family member.

A part of me is feeling so destroyed by his death that I’m not sure how to move forward. Another part is telling me how grateful I should be that I will always have everything about him that is most important to me.

His music will always be a part of my life. That’s not something that can be taken away. Even if he doesn’t walk this earth, his music exists. His music, that speaks to my soul and makes me feel like I’m more than I knew I could be.

He makes me feel like someone I didn’t know I wanted to be. He makes me feel like more of myself than I am now.

So thank you, David. Thank you for being here while I am. Thank you for coming into my life when you did, and thank you for continuing to do what you did best for your entire existence.

I honestly don’t know who I’d be without you.

All of my love forever,
Rachel

blackstar britain bowie by frederic dumain

Posted in blogging, writing

Tenacious #amwriting Day 1

TENACITY

I’ve always looked down on New Year’s resolutions as a bit less than pragmatic. (As Cogsworth says: “promises you don’t intend to keep”.) And I maintain that choosing January 1st as an arbitrary day to make actual long-term life changes is probably setting oneself up for failure. Forming new habits and deciding to accomplish big goals require forethought and motivation beyond tipsy midnight declarations to friends and family.

That being said (she says with a severe side eye at herself) I have made a resolution for 2018. It’s something I’ve been contemplating for awhile. What can I do to make my life better moving forward into a new calendar year? 2016 was the worst mental health year of my life, and 2017 has been a very slow recovery from that personal chaos. The fact that the world has been in such turmoil hasn’t helped. I haven’t had much motivation (or, rather, ability) to work on anything beyond the next week or the next month let alone the next year. But I’ve slowly but surely been working out what I want and what I’m capable of when I think about the future.

My resolution is simple: be tenacious. 2018 will be my year of tenacity. There are specific goals I’m working on (like finishing and querying my novel), but tenacity encompasses all.

Tenacity is the determination to continue what you are doing. It implies having courage, spirit, mettle, and resolution. It means resisting opposition, being strong enough to endure hardship, being firmly determined to achieve goals and not admit defeat… All of that is what I’m striving for. I want to keep it at the forefront of my mind when everything seems too overwhelming for any kind of action at all.

In this vein, I am hoping to write more about my writing here on my blog. There is no reason why I shouldn’t finish my novel in the next few months. Today is day 1 of getting back to work on Grave of the Goddess in the new year. I’m switching over to Scrivener (finally) from Microsoft Word so today will mostly be about organizing that transition and rereading the last chapter I wrote in December.

I hope to do a little blog hopping later to see what everyone else’s writing goals are this year.

If you’re reading this, do you choose a word (or goal) to focus on when a new calendar year begins?