So, I had to write a response to a book published in the past ten years that is in the non-fiction genre and I wrote about Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. Here it is:
I’m not sure if it is because of my mother’s avid reading habits or my early devotion to (read: obsession with) the Harry Potter series but, at twenty-one years old, I identify myself as a voracious reader. I’ve read the classics, I’ve read the satires, and I’ve even fallen into the fad books raved about on the Internet, much to my own intellectual detriment. Most of the time, I find myself immersed in pieces of literature that lead me out of my own life and into ones that are much more complex than my own. Rarely do I find myself with a renewed sense of life or thought, post-turning of that final page. However, rarely does not mean “never” and when I finished Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, I found myself swaddled in the clichéd cloth of a life-changing epiphany.
If you’ve never read the piece, it follows the emotional journey of Didion after her writer husband, John Dunne, suddenly dies of a heart attack at the dinner table after visiting their only daughter, Quintana Roo, in the hospital. Quintana was battling septic shock at the time. The entire work is not particularly long but as a first-hand account of dealing with grief, it is an exhaustingly beautiful novel to finish. At the end, I found myself drained, tired, and suddenly hyperaware of what it means to live.
Posted in Essays, Life, Writing
Tagged creative writing, death, friendships, joan didion, living, love, mortality, parents, relationships, siblings, the year of magical thinking, writers, writing
Here’s what our parents never taught us:
You will stay up on your rooftop until sunlight peels away the husk of the moon,
chainsmoking cigarettes and reading Baudelaire, and
you will learn that you only ever want to fall in love with someone
who will stay up to watch the sun rise with you.
You will fall in love with train rides, and sooner or later you will
realize that nowhere seems like home anymore.
A woman will kiss you and you’ll think her lips are two petals
rubbing against your mouth.
You will not tell anyone that you liked it.
It is beautiful to love humans in a world where love is a metaphor for lust.
You can leave if you want, with only your skin as a carry-on.
All you need is a twenty in your pocket and a bus ticket.
All you need is someone on the other end of the map, thinking about the supple
curves of your body, to guide you to a home that stretches out for miles
and miles on end.
You will lie to everyone you love.
They will love you anyways.
One day you’ll wake up and realize that you are too big for your own skin.
Don’t be afraid.
Your body is a house where the shutters blow in and out
against the windowpane.
You are a hurricane-prone area.
The glass will break through often.
But it’s okay. I promise.
a stranger once told you that the breeze
here is something worth writing poems about.
Posted in Writing
Tagged beauty, cigarettes, creative writing, liars, life, love, poem, poems, poetry, reading, shinji moon, strangers, writing
I’m not afraid to break your heart. I’m not afraid to break anyone’s heart, really. I’m even fairly certain I’ve already done it before. It wouldn’t be too strange to do it again, I suppose. You’ve already broken my heart once before so why shouldn’t I return the favor? I guess because I know I really don’t want to return the favor. I want to keep you and hold onto you with every fiber of my being because, oh god, I don’t want this to end like it did last time.
I’m not putting any weight on this, whatever this is, this time. I’m not going to hem and haw and berate you with things like labels or titles. A title won’t bring you any closer to me and if it pushes your farther away from me, then I don’t want it anymore anyway. I’m trying not to invest myself or jump in too deep because I know what lies at the bottom of this well and I need to stop praying for a soft water landing. There can’t be expectations but, dear lord, you make me want to make a thousand plans for today, tomorrow, and every day after. Continue reading
Posted in Essays, Life, Writing
Tagged 500 Days of Summer, creative writing, dating, essays, fake dating, false love, friendships, heartache, heartbreak, Ikea, life, love, manhattan, new york, relationships, romance, twenty-somethings, writing