On Reading-ish

Okay – I know I have been slacking about posting.  School this semester is *so* much busier than prior semesters – I took on a research position, one class has regular exams, and another has regular writing assignments – and I have some other stuff going on.  But, hi!  I’m here!

One thing that is kind of miserable about my schedule (beyond the lack of sleep and the whole hardly seeing The Boyfriend except for during the commute to school and a brief hello between classes some nights), is that I don’t have time to read.  I used to read everything I could get my hands on.  Seriously – everything.  I would spend hours going through the old Readers’ Digest issues at my grandparents’ house as a small child.  I read stacks of National Geographics that my dad had and all of his Hardy Boys.  Middle school saw me reading the classics and in deep adoration of Atticus Fitch (side note: is that why I ultimately ended up in law school?).  I spent high school collecting vampire novels and taking college literature courses and my twenties collecting books about murders and religion.  Throughout all of it, I have maintained an intense love of current events and reading the news.  And then I started law school and I wasn’t able to keep my reading for fun.  And I have to tell you, seriously, it sucks.

However, there is a bright spot – a tiny, shiny, bright spot.  I discovered audiobooks.  I spend hours in my car every day between going to work and going to school and while there are some days I really feel like listening to The National’s Boxer on repeat (seriously, such a good album), most days, I want to pull in as much information as I possibly can.  I listen to podcasts and highly recommend (some of) them.  But I missed reading.  I missed reading about horribly depressing religious experiences.  I missed reading interesting and somewhat dark fiction.  I missed reading light and funny memoir.  And so I subscribed to an audiobook service.

Frankly, I love it.

I know it’s not really reading, but it’s as close as I can get right now.  And for that, I am grateful.  I go through two or three books a month. Most recently, and so far one of my absolute favorites, was Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.  I adored it.  It made me laugh.  A lot.  It made me cry (more than a comedienne’s memoir probably should).  It was simply fantastic.  Ms. Poehler is so sweet and so relatable and so… rah-rah-girl, that I seriously wish she could be my bestie.  Listening to her made me want to be a better, slightly less snarky version of me.  She is amazing and funny and adorable.  And I highly recommend everyone read her book – but especially recommend the audiobook.  I’m sure there are differences, and I do love the sensation of turning a page, but I really loved having her personality come through in the audio.  I loved Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, but I think Yes Please takes the proverbial cake.  It is even better than the hype and deserves all of the ink spent on it.  (Also, it made me *really* sad about the impending end of Parks and Recreation – I want Leslie Knope to be my spirit animal.)

I finished the book this morning, a little sad to not have more.  Tomorrow, I’ll start listening to Jon Krakauer’s Prophet’s Prey.  Something tells me it will be a little less fun, but hopefully compelling nonetheless.

On Friendship

I haven’t blogged in a while.  I am slacking.  We’re on Spring Break this week, so it’s not even like I don’t have time, I just have been spending my time doing other things.  Things like acclimating our two new members of our household (kitties!!) and introducing them to The Puppy and spending time with The Boyfriend outside of the car and even regularly scheduled midweek time with The Minions.  In short – I have time, but am spending it doing things with the people I care about most. 

Speaking about the people I care about most, because I really don’t have a lot to talk about (as an aside, I haven’t done any work on the house lately, though I did pick up a sample of a paint color for the study.  I also haven’t made any new drinks lately – just a lavender water/grapefruit/gin thing that was good, but largely forgettable), I’m using The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt for today, Something So Strong.  The prompt reads: Tell us the origin story of your best friend.  How did you become friends?  What is it that keeps your friendship rockin’ after all these years?  So – today, I’ll tell you about my best friend.

A bit of history first though: female friendships have always been hard for me.  I’m kind of awkward and have a really strong personality. I can be abrasive, which isn’t always intentional.  I joke about being a bit of a b*tch, but really, I border on the Myers-Briggs personality types (if you believe in those sorts of things) as an ENTJ or an INTJ, depending on my mood when I take the quiz.  I am really more of an introvert, but once I feel comfortable around you, I’m kind of a spaz and am actually pretty outgoing.  All of this to say, I didn’t really start developing strong friendships until well into adulthood, and I don’t always have the best friend skills – this is all kind of new to me.  So, while six years does not an “after all these years” kind of story make, it’s the most meaningful friendship I’ve had in my life and I treasure it.

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So – Lynne.  (Pardon the terrible photo – I just saved it off my Facebook.)  She’s a talented writer and an all-around wonderful person.  We met in our non-traditional undergraduate program in Vermont in 2008.  My first memory of her is from our orientation meeting, she’s not shy at all and I love her for it.  She’s got this incredible (wicked) Massachusetts accent, unmistakable, and she took over our meeting with her stories and opinions.  On a subsequent weekend, we were sharing a meal together with other students, and she mentioned being encouraged by her professor to share a piece of writing at an upcoming variety show (I’m not really sure how to describe it – variety seems best) where other students would be sharing their talents and art and work.  She said she knew what piece she wanted to share, but was hesitant to read it to the group.  I, completely lacking any sort of filter in some situations, piped up that I would absolutely read it for her.  So, that night, in front of the entire student body, many of the professors, and a couple of visitors, I read a fairly graphic (sex) scene from one of her short stories.  For weeks afterward (and actually the next year or so whenever one of the variety shows would come up, even at the poetry slam), other students would ask me about it.  We caused quite the stir.  People were (very) angry about the selection, others surprised someone from our group had written it, others more surprised that someone had read it.  I think the reactions were a shock to both of us.  We were all adults.  Why the harshness toward the piece, and more openly, me?  It wasn’t my writing, in fact, I had said it was from someone else in the group.  My own professor was upset and cold to me afterward.  And Lynne stood up to it.  She made an announcement in a big mandatory meeting the following morning and stood up to the negativity.  From then on, I’ve carried a huge amount of respect for her and we’ve been fast friends.  Her opinion matters more to me than that of nearly anyone else.  I consider her and her family as my own family, having spent holidays and birthdays with them nearly every year since.  She has been there for everything – school weekends (which were not the same after she, my mother hen, graduated a year before I did), a big breakup in 2009, a move to New York in 2010, graduation in 2011, the law school application process, the relationship with The Boyfriend, the house hunt, the nearly dying last summer – all of it.  She and her family met The Boyfriend before my blood relations and her approval was important to me.  She’s wickedly funny, gives great advice, and has wonderful taste in food and a great eye for decorating.  I can’t imagine life without her.