Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Post Where I Get Melodramatic

Two weeks ago, I remembered why it is that I love writing, after so long of forgetting why it is that I like living. Maybe it was the smell of autumn in the air, or the pumpkin spice latte in my hand (decaf, because my body can no longer tolerate caffeine, but I’m trying to look on the bright side). Maybe it was that I turned a corner in battling dehydration; there are fewer moments where I stand dead-eyed, fishing for language in an empty stream. 

I want to open the windows and clean all the oxygen in this house, even though it will let the chill into my bones. We have lightbulbs that need replacing, and my clutter has become more cluttered because I haven’t had the energy to do, do, do. Yesterday I made a list of goals, and it was ambitious. Today I had plans and even hopes because I am excited (oh so tentatively) to exist. I am accomplishing things again. 

There is still a spider crawling around inside my skull, trying to spin cobwebs over my eardrums so I will only hear its voice telling me nothing is worth it. But for the past month and a half, it has held so little power over me. I will take anything for a win. 

Do you know how many posts I have drafted in an effort to bring you one, just one? I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count them out for you. Somewhere along the line, my vocal chords became barbed wire—it hurts to speak my mind. That does not mean I will be silent. Most days I want to crawl into some deep, dark cave and just be thought for a while. That does not mean I will set up camp there. 

For a time I had stopped reading and writing, because my attention span was so badly diminished, and with it, my ability to care and invest. I’m back, though. Slowly but surely I am leaving the darkness of starvation that told me it was light, and yes, I have miles more to go. Eight times out of ten, I still disapprove of my reflection. The difference is that now I don’t think that silhouette warrants a death sentence. Two months ago, I gained five pounds of muscle weight through eating more and exercising well, and the world didn’t stop spinning—didn’t even hiccup. 

Sometimes I think I was a better person when I was heavier; I think I cared more and did more and felt more. When I stopped eating, I think I carved more from my frame than just fat and muscle. 

What matters is, I’m trying. I’m pulling myself out of bed and bucking against the urge to numb it all, to do anything but think. I’m finding it’s scarier now that I’m leaving the woods than it was when I wasn’t out yet. I’m looking over my shoulder at what was chasing me, and I have no words to describe how ugly it is. 

In times of war, POWs have been starved as a means of torture, to whittle them down to the barest outlines of themselves. It is one of the cruelest acts of hatred a human being can commit against another. 

I treated my body like a prisoner of war. 

There are days I can’t stand to be alone with myself because I’m scared that I will do it again, scared that next time I won’t be able to stop. I don’t want to live there anymore. For so long I felt like I was failing at recovery, because even when I was trying to get better I was still losing weight. But inch by inch, I’m getting my life back, and I’m not letting go.

C'est moi

Monday, August 28, 2017

That Awkward Moment When You Forget Your Blogversary

Okay, so I didn’t entirely forget my blogversay. A couple weeks ago, I realized it was approaching. Then, in customary Liz fashion, I lost track of time and suddenly it was August 26 and I had nothing to offer you and no time to whip anything together. A few days back, I drafted a post updating you as to how I am, because I’m planning to start posting again, and you will get that update sooner or later. But right now I’m moving slowly in pretty much every area, and I don’t have the energy to celebrate my blogversary, or host a giveaway, or write something fun. Also, I get overwhelmed easily (which I will discuss more in the future), so I wanted to keep this low key. 

Anyway, I’m happy my blog is turning three, although it feels like it’s already older than that. Those terrible twos can really take a lot out of you. (Oh my goodness, I’m so funny.) I’m excited by how much Out of Coffee, Out of Mind grew before I sort of went on hiatus. I miss interacting with you, my lovely coffee beans. I miss this aspect of my old life—I’ve felt like a drafty, cluttered attic without it. And I want you to know that I am doing much better, mentally, than I have in years. Recovering from an eating disorder is a lengthy process, though, and I’ve needed—and will continue—to devote a good deal of energy to rewriting myself. But suffice it to say that, were this an actual birthday party, I would eat a piece of the cake.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Quick Writing Update

I'm behind on all of my deadlines, due to a variety of factors, most of them unrelated to writing. *sad face* Work has been crazy, my health hasn't been too fabulous, etc...

I will try to blog more in the coming months. But, for the moment, I just wanted to pop in and let you know that I've decided to combine the two sequels to DRACONIAN into one novel, thus making DRACONIAN the first in a duology. In all honesty, I've been considering this move for a couple years now, and I've spent the last few months evaluating and reevaluating. I'm excited (although a bit nervous) about the challenges that will come with this, but I'm confident my story will emerge stronger and better. 

That is all.

Monday, May 22, 2017

BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE // Nostalgia and Peace

Five Stars—ajklsdflk (when words fail to describe how wonderful a book is) 

As with THE RAVEN BOYS and THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater, I first listened to BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE on audiobook, and it was phenomenal. 

The Characters

Greenmantle // Greenmantle is an odd villain; he’s truly terrible, and truly dangerous, but he fascinates me more than he scares me. Danger and evil seem almost to bore him. The best thing about him, though, is that Stiefvater makes him feel like a real person. 

Piper // Piper is even more interesting than her husband. Though she conforms to some of the more stereotypical female tropes (not to say that any of those are bad)—yoga, book clubs, buying small ugly dogs (okay, small ugly dogs are bad), etc.—she is also her own person. Like Greenmantle, she doesn’t seem to be able to feel fear or love. But, as my sister says, they still make a cute couple. 

Jesse Dittley // *eyes turn to hearts* I love Jesse. I love how Stiefvater puts his dialogue in all caps because it’s so big and boomy. I love how Stiefvater shows his dialectic speech more than she does with some of the other characters. And I love how he calls Blue “ant” and wonders if she’s short because she didn’t eat her vegetables. 

Adam’s father // Adam’s father, when shown through the lens of distance, is harder to fear because he’s easier to see. That’s not to say that his actions become justifiable, only understandable in terms of who he is: a petulant person, more child than man. 

Maura // Even though this book centers around her absence, I felt like I learned more about Maura in this story than I did in the two previous. Maura is wise and gentle and something other. She is like Blue and she is like the Gray Man and she is like a cup of Earl Grey tea with cream. 

Stiefvater's Writing

When I was trying to decide whether or not to buy IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma, I remember finding that the biggest issue negative reviewers had was the writing style. They complained that the prose was dense and hard to get into (in so many words). But if you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you’ve likely seen me mention how much I love everything about IMAGINARY GIRLS. “Liz,” you say, “you’re getting distracted. We were talking about BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE.” 

We are, don’t worry. I mention IMAGINARY GIRLS because I’ve seen several reviewers, even ones who like Stiefvater’s books, mention that it was hard to get into THE RAVEN BOYS because of the writing style. Stiefvater’s style, like Suma’s, is richer and asks to be read more slowly. It’s meant to be savored. The sentences are more out of the box; when I get stuck in a sentence structure rut, reading their work helps me to view writing in a new light. 

Obviously, my stylistic preferences won't always be yours. But if you happen to like Nova Ren Suma’s style, Stiefvater’s will likely appeal to you as well. 

The Atmosphere

I know I touched on atmosphere in my review of THE RAVEN BOYS, but I want to mention it again. Very rarely, when I’m reading, do I get truly absorbed. I can be head-over-heels for a story and still forget to pick it back up once I’ve put it down. But the Raven Cycle blocks out anxiety-driven distractions and overactive thoughts. Stiefvater’s writing steals me from my time and lands me in some strange in-between place where it’s always autumn, and always spring, where there’s always a cool breeze and rain and the sound of moving leaves and bird song in the morning. It slows my blood. 

While I mentioned that I love living in Virginia because it makes me think of this series, I feel it’s also important to mention that I may have been living in Virginia and enjoying it for a few months before I picked up the Raven Cycle, but it was the Raven Cycle that made me never want to leave. 

What about you, my little coffee beans? What are some books that make you feel peaceful? Do you like books that make you feel strangely nostalgic?