SHIT I LIKE: THE FIRST INSTALLMENT

Dear Reader,

Every once in awhile, something will catch my attention–a quote, an anecdote, a fact–things that are funny or interesting–I’ll hear something and I’ll think, that’s sick. I want to remember that.

So I’ll write it down. I’ll make a note of it wherever I happen to find it. Most of them end up in one of my journals or as a note in my phone, but some of them are all over the place. If I hear something cool in class, I’ll scribble it in the margins of my notes. If I see something interesting on Twitter or Tumblr, I’ll take a screenshot. Sometimes I’ll come across something in a book, so I’ll leave a sticky note to mark the page.

It’s a fine method that works for the most part, but it doesn’t do a great job of keeping them all in one place. And many of these spots are hardly revisited so they’re often forgotten, which defeats the whole purpose.

So now, whenever I come across a random note, I’ll add it to my growing list entitled “Shit I Like.” And I thought I might as well start sharing some of that list on here, as well. So here are some cool anecdotes and quotes from books and movies that I’ve come across lately and have sparked some thoughts within me.

No. 1: The idea behind Penguin Books.

Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin Books, was traveling and had nothing to read. He dreamt of good literature that was available everywhere and cheap. So in 1935, the first Penguin paperbacks arrived, featuring Ernest Hemingway, Andre Maurois, and Agatha Christie among others. They were color-coded (orange-novels, blue-biographies, green-crime) and cost sixpence–the same price as a packet of cigarettes.

The “Armed Forces Book Club” then began to spread joy & entertainment among the soldiers. The small size of these paperbacks fit perfectly in their uniform pockets. They were also prized in prison camps. (Information from Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend)

No 2: From a sign in the Shakespeare & Company Bookstore in Vienna.

“Penguin Classics opens the door to a treasure house of pure pleasures.”

No. 3: A revelation from the movie Into the Wild. 

HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED.

No. 4: The importance of a single book.

British writer Henry Green is largely forgotten & never sold more than a few thousand copies of his novels, but he largely inspired Sebastian Faulks, Eudora Welty, and Anthony Burgess. John Updike wrote that Green’s novels made “more of a stylistic impact on me than those of any writer living or dead.” Even a book read by only a dozen people can have a massive effect if one of those readers goes on to write a book read by millions. (Information from Books for Living)

No. 5: A message at the beginning of the movie Baby Driver. 

I went and saw Baby Driver in theaters a little over a week ago. Before it played, a man popped up on the screen and introduced himself as Edgar Wright. He thanked the audience for coming to see the movie that he had written and directed, but also thanked us for coming to see it in the form that it was created for. Watching the movie, it was clear what he meant.

The storyline was great and all the elements of the story were there. It’s possible that it could be adapted into a great book or graphic novel or translated onto some other medium–but it was also clear what medium it was meant for. All of the decisions Wright made were clearly intentional and he wanted us to know. He wanted to thank us for coming to experience his art the way he intended for it to be experienced.

Sincerely,

Sammy

FIVE REASONS WHY I BOUGHT A TYPEWRITER

Dear Reader,

When I woke up on Wednesday, I definitely did not think I was going to buy a typewriter. I had never thought about purchasing one before, actually, but I started to after watching this video. I spent the morning researching everything about typewriters, reading reviews and articles about where to buy them from, and going over my budget to see if I could swing it. At the end of it, though, I figured there were way more reasons to say yes than no.

[ONE] NO SCREEN: I spent the entire day on Tuesday behind a screen. It’s kind of impressive when I look at how productive I was able to be without even leaving my house–or the couch, for that matter–but I went to bed with bloodshot eyes and a pounding headache. Still, I need to set goals for myself if I want to improve my writing and make progress on my novel, and doing that always adds screen-time to my daily schedule. Writing by hand is out of the question because of how easily my hand cramps and how illegible my writing gets, but typewriting is the perfect alternative.

[TWO] FOCUS ON WRITING: The other benefit is that I can completely unplug. When I write on the computer, there are so many distractions–especially since I’m on Google Docs. Any time a random question pops into my head, I can just open another tab and look for the answer. Whether I end up on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums List or looking up why the QWERTY keyboard is set up the way it is, it’s way too easy for me to get sucked down rabbit holes.  With a typewriter, I can just play an album or put a playlist on shuffle, leave my phone charging in a separate room, and type for a bit, distraction-free.

[THREE] SLOW DOWN: One major reason why I started typing everything over writing down my thoughts by hand is because my brain moves so much faster than my pen. It’s much easier for me to ramble when I’m typing–I can write 1,000 words on a subject I’m passionate about without even breaking a sweat. But sometimes this is a disservice. This writing isn’t good by any means. It’s drawn-out and filled with tangents and by the time I’m done, I’m miles away from where I wanted to go.

When I’m forced to slow down, though, my writing improves. I choose my words more carefully and I stick to the main point. The added benefit of using a typewriter is that I have more stamina when it comes to typing than writing–even though it does require more force to push down the keys than what I’m used to with a computer. This adds to it as well, though, because it makes me want to write better. If I’m going to go through the whole process that involves everything from loading the paper to manually starting each new line to resetting it when the keys jam, I’m going to punch each key with conviction.

[FOUR] IT’S VALIDATING: Along those lines, the whole process makes it worth it. There’s something validating about the clacks and dings and something beautiful about having something tangible at the end of it. I can start the day with just thoughts and ideas and watch as it forms into something I can hold and say, “look at what I made today.”

[FIVE]: IT’S SO PRETTY: All of these reasons can be summed up to the fact that I think a typewriter will help me be more productive, and this one is no exception. I spent the entire morning researching which typewriters are best for beginners and capable of heavy use and I ultimately decided on one from “We R Memory Keepers” that I picked up from TJ Maxx for a total of $170. It’s brand new, mint green, and definitely a splurge, but it was easily the best deal I found.

So many people on the internet shared their bad experiences of purchasing typewriters from sites like eBay and Etsy. Some sellers don’t properly package and ship them and spent weeks trying to negotiate prices. I considered getting one from a reliable source like TypeWriters101.com–I considered the funky-looking 1966 Royal Safari from the Space-Age era as well as the pale blue 1960s Brother De Luxe, but I didn’t want to spend that much money or wait weeks to get it. I wanted to start writing immediately.

I think it’d be really cool to eventually buy one that has history attached to it, but for now, the one I have is exactly the one I need. It might not be cool and vintage, but I love the way it looks and it certainly gets the job done. When I look over and see it sitting on the desk, I’m drawn to it. I want to write. 

Ray Bradbury said “The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me.”

Now I’m excited to do the same. 

Sincerely,

Sammy

THE BOOKS I READ ABROAD

Dear Reader,

I always try to make reading a priority. This is a lot easier when I have more free time, but even when I have free time, I don’t always devote it to reading. I haven’t read nearly as many books this summer as I would’ve liked–although I will argue that I’ve been productive. I’ve been trying to write and organize some things and I’ve actually left the apartment on occasion to go to the rec and work out. Big things are happening.

It’s funny, though, because I had a lot less free time in Europe, but I spent the majority of it reading. Wifi wasn’t always available (or reliable), but I had three books in my bags that always were. Also, while I enjoyed the people on the trip, it was exhausting having to constantly interact with people. I would often slip to the back of the bus or up to my hotel room when I needed an escape.

God I love books.

I started chipping away at The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern at the beginning of the trip. The storyline is really intricate and seems pretty convoluted at first, so I would just read a few chapters before bed while I stayed in Luxembourg. At the end of the week, though, we took a six-hour bus ride to Switzerland.

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This was heaven. I claimed the last row of seats, sprawled out, and read the last 200-or-so pages.

I really don’t binge books like this that often. The only books I read in one sitting tend to be graphic novels or short books that I need to finish for class. The Night Circus was completely different for me.

The story jumps back and forth between time and tells it from multiple different perspectives, but once you get to the point of the book where you’ve figured it all out–and once you get to the point where all the side stories are reaching their climaxes–it’s hard to put it down.

I was completely captivated–and I’m sure the people around me would’ve noticed my occasional audible reactions if they weren’t asleep or had headphones on. I wouldn’t have cared, though. I was nestled up against the window so the falling rain would be in my peripheral and didn’t take my nose out of the book until it was done.

The writing is so vivid that I saw it all playing out like a movie in my head, but I think that it would work so well as a series because there are so many twists and turns–it wouldn’t be hard to ensure that each episode has a cliffhanger or two. I would love if this turned into a Netflix series or something. In this day, we have so much that could ensure that it would be visually stunning and truly magical.

Of course, that’s a risky thing to wish for because I would hate if they screwed it up–Eragon and Percy Jackson fans were pumped for their movies, and those certainly didn’t live up. That’s the risk when you have a book that good–and The Night Circus is that good.

It’s definitely one of my new favorites and is a story that’s going to stay with me. After I put it down and went back to the real world, I felt like I could see the beautiful things in life so much clearer. It might’ve been because I was in Europe and seeing cool sites anyway, but a week after I finished it, I was walking around Prater in Vienna–not a circus, but an amusement park. It might have reminded me of this book because of how old it is and all the history it has, but I was walking around, thinking, there’s definitely magic in this air.

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While in Luxembourg, my friends and I went to an English bookstore. I picked up a book called Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and knew I had to buy it after reading the back. Ultimately, it’s a story about a girl who travels from Sweden to the US to visit a friend. She ends up in a town in the middle of nowhere and ends up opening a bookstore.

First of all, I’m a sucker for books about books. I think most booklovers are. When books you already love are mentioned, you gain a connection to the story and the characters that are talking about them, and when books you haven’t yet read are brought up, you get more books to add to your reading list. Plus, the protagonist that loves books more than people is too relatable.

Second, I knew I had to buy it as a memento from the trip. I’m constantly trying to build my library, and when I put this one in my classroom, I can say that it’s a book that I bought while I was studying other school systems and learning how to be a better teacher, which I think is cool as hell. It also at least mentions travelling/Europe, so it’s relevant in that case, and it’s translated from Swedish to English–which I also think is cool.

As for the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Again, though, this is in part because I’m a sucker. The story begins by describing the main character as too plain to be a protagonist and too focused on stories to have a life of her own. This immediately sets the book up to be relatable, and then when everything that you would expect to happen happens, you just feel comforted.

There are enough secondary storylines and gems within the novel (book recommendations, fun anecdotes, good quotes) that I don’t feel like I’m spoiling anything by spelling out the pattern.

Young woman moves to small town and falls in love with the life she ends up living there. She opens a bookstore, makes friends, and falls in love. That’s the dream. That’s the cliche, and it’s all set up from the beginning that her life is not like a book–but then, obviously, her life has to end up as a story worth telling.

So I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t rate it 5 stars or even recommend it to everyone–I told Sarah to read it and she decided she was done with it within 100 pages. It’s pretty lengthy, and while it drags in some places, I would say it even leaves a bit to be desired. Still, I liked it. And I liked that I read it abroad. I’ll look at it on my shelf and think back to buying it in Luxembourg and reading it in the Swiss Alps. I smiled like a goof at some of the pages and decided almost immediately that I would love to own a bookstore one day. It’s not for everyone, but I was entertained and even a bit inspired. That’s a good read by my standards.

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Around Christmastime, I bought Where’d You Go, Bernadette and was really excited about it because I had heard how smart and funny it was. So I started it in January–around the same time that I also started a classical mythology class that turned out to be way more demanding than I had figured. That was the main reason why I put the book back on the shelf after finishing “Part 1,” but the reason why I never went back to it is because I just wasn’t that interested.

I certainly saw merit in the praise it received. I thought the characters were really well developed and the writing was great–everything was smart and funny all around. I guess I just didn’t see the point of the book, I guess. This is kind of funny now that I’ve finished it because I can see it clearly now–and I can see why I was so uninterested. Though there is a driving plot in the story, this novel is so much more about what it has to say, now what it has to tell about what happened.

The story is about Bernadette, a wife and mother, who disappears, and her young teen daughter who is trying to find her. The story is told from letters and emails from multiple characters and direct narration from Bee (the daughter), but because Bernadette’s voice is still present throughout, you’re not worried that she’s really gone or won’t be found–or, at least, I wasn’t.

So even though the plot summary may make it seem like it’s a gripping mystery, that’s probably not the best expectation to have. It’s more a story about family and love. Bernadette is neurotic and has crazy standards for success and it’s interesting to see watch as everything comes together.

It really is an enjoyable read. All of the characters are super intelligent and Bee is so lovable–even when Bernadette isn’t. I’ll definitely be rereading it, though, and I’m excited to see how I see the story with the new perspective I now have because of it.

God, aren’t books great?

Sincerely,

Sammy

SIX DAYS IN VIENNA

Dear Reader,

I was fortunate enough to go to Europe this summer for a study abroad trip. Even more fortunately, I was able to convince my mom, sister, aunt, and cousin to come over and meet up with me in Austria so I wouldn’t have to come back to the US so soon. Together, we spent six days in Vienna. I want to do a longer post later with more details, pictures, and maybe some tips, but this is the overview of what we did while we were abroad.

MONDAY

My extremely jet-lagged family rolled into the Airbnb around noon on the first day of our trip. We were super fortunate to be in the first district–which is prime location because most must-do touristy things are in walking distance. So they unpacked a bit before we decided to head down the street to the Hofburg Palace to check out the National Treasury.

This was one of those things that most people say you have to check out while you’re in Vienna because it showcases all of the jewels and is a cool exhibit, but it was a little underwhelming for me. It cost something like 12 euros for me, my mom, and my aunt, but Sarah and Missy got in for free because they’re 18 and 19 and there’s a deal at a lot of these museums to try and attract teenagers.

The highlights, for me, were the unicorn horn (really a narwhal horn) and the baby carriage with a bird perched on the end to symbolize being destined for greatness. We also had Rick Steve’s book with us, so that provided us with some much-needed background information. However, none of us are really that informed on Austrian history and the exhibit itself was really dimly lit, so I think it just set in for the five of them how tired they were.

Afterwards, my mom and aunt sat (read: fell asleep) on the bench outside while Sarah, Missy, and I headed to the cute shops around the corner. I just wanted to show them these shops before they close (stores close relatively early in Europe) but we ended up going back more than once the rest of the week.

So we went back to the flat and they all slept while I continued making plans for the group. When they woke up, it was as good a time as any to go to dinner, so we went to a really good Italian restaurant that was just past St. Stephen’s cathedral. I also used this time to give them a quick overview of the first district (the little I learned in the few days I was in the city before them) and my aunt took tons of photos. Probably half of the pictures in this post are from her.

After dinner we got what I now call “inevitable ice cream” (shoutout to Elisabeth & Austrian history) and each bought a week-long metro pass. Then we went back to the flat to crash before what we would consider our first full day of Vienna.

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TUESDAY

We got up pretty early and used to metro to go to what I think is considered the seventh district, but is only a few metro stops away. We ate breakfast at a nice place called Figar where I ordered French Toast with fruit and honey plus a cafe latte. Our waitress was also super cool and translated our entire menu for us and talked to us about where we’re from–which is Ohio and Massachusetts. Funnily enough, she was in Cincinnati for a while and then ended up on the East Coast while she was an au pair for a family, so she had been to Boston a few times as well.

After breakfast we shopped along a street called Mariahilfer, but is apparently referred to as Mahu, so that’s what I called it. We found some cool stores and I bought some clothes from Monki and Pull & Bear, because those were two stores that were actually in my budget (unlike, say, Desigual).

Then we ventured around Vienna trying to find Shakespeare & Co bookstore. It took some time, but was so cute when we actually found it. From there I bought Where I Lived, and What I Lived For by Henry David Thoreau as well as Books for Living by Will Schwalbe because I’m a sucker for books about books. Sarah also got Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for her boyfriend.

Afterwards we went to Augarten, where I could’ve easily spent the afternoon, but we quickly moved on to find a game cafe called Sperlhof.

It took us much too long to find and we were disappointed to find they didn’t sell meals, necessarily, but it ended up being one of my most enjoyable parts of the trip. My mom and aunt sipped beer and we all completed a puzzle, which was almost as big of an accomplishment as it was to find the cafe in the first place.

We ended the day in Prater, which is the world’s oldest amusement park. I had already gone on the ferris wheel, so my family did that while I started one of my books (and my sister ended up taking this picture that makes me look ridiculously extra).

Then we got bratwurst and Missy, Sarah, and I picked two rides each. I was deadset on The Toboggan because, even though it’s just a huge slide, two people have died on it. But then Sarah pointed out a random roller coaster and we all decided that’d be fun.

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday was another packed day. We started by visiting a World War II memorial and St. Stephen’s cathedral. For a few euros we got to climb to the top and took some pretty cool pictures of the city. Afterwards, we went to a place called Hungry Guy for lunch, which was prime.

In the afternoon we ventured out to Stadtpark which, in my opinion, is 10x better than Augarten. It just has better foliage, really, and cool statues of musicians and composers, but it was really cool.

For dinner, Sarah and I decided to go to a Wurstlstand on Hoher Markt because it was a little infamous. In the 1900s, there were two of these stands on this street and they were fighting to be the best. The conflict escalated until one day, the owner of one stand chased the other around the square and eventually shot him dead. That stand is now the favorite.

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Afterwards, Sarah and I decided we wanted to see a movie so we reserved tickets for Baywatch at the Haydn Cinema, which has a good selection of movies in English. We took the metro out there around 7:30 and got some ice cream before it started. I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, as I thought I would, and the cinema, itself, was really cool. It was a fun end to a really good day.

THURSDAY

On Thursday we left Vienna for Salzburg by bus for a Sound of Music tour. Salzburg is about three hours away but our tour guide used this time to give us some information on the movie, what we’d be seeing, and then some random information about Vienna and Salzburg, themselves. He played music from the movie as we drove around and we got out at two different spots and took some pictures.

Once we were in the heart of Salzburg, I guess, he took us on a little walking tour and told us about spots we could visit like where Mozart grew up and what very well might be the oldest restaurant in the world (he said it dated back to the year 800). Then he gave us a few hours to explore.

My family and I mostly used this time to grab a bite to eat and tour Mozart’s museum before getting back on the bus to return to Vienna. Salzburg is beautiful and today was still a great day, but this is the one part of the trip I wouldn’t necessarily recommend.

What I would recommend is to visit Salzburg how my friends did it, but I might get into that in an entirely separate post. I will say that I think the Mozart museum is well worth it (just don’t forget your student ID) and was a highlight of my trip for sure. 

FRIDAY

We spent Friday morning at Schonbrunn palace. The night before we made sure to get online tickets and chose the “family package” because it easily saved us 30 euros. I had already been to the palace with my friends the week before so my family did the tour with audio guides while I waited in the cafe area and wrote some journal entries.

When they came out we decided we might as well eat at that cafe because I had already been sitting there for well over an hour. Their muffins are amazing, by the way, and their paninis taste like Hamburger Helper (which is a compliment, for the record). Then my mom and aunt explored the grounds while Sarah, Missy, and I did a few mazes (which was included under the family package) and posed with the statues (which was free).

We took the metro home and Sarah wanted to send a postcard to her boyfriend so we spent part of the afternoon exploring Vienna and going in random shops. After the post office we took a longer way home because I wanted to walk past the Hotel Orient, which is a hotel where people can rent out rooms for three-hour blocks. If we had time, I would’ve liked to find a cafe nearby to watch the people coming in and out of this hotel, but we had dinner plans.

While we were in Stadtpark on Tuesday, we decided to buy tickets to a classical concert/ballet/opera. The guy told us that we could wear whatever, but we thought it might be fun to dress up a bit. So after our outfit changes, we went back to Stadtpark and had dinner at a restaurant right outside the park. I had pizza and beer and I have no shame in saying that it was my favorite dinner of the whole trip.

We took some nice pictures and went to the concert, which really was a lot of fun and reminded me how much I miss cello, and then we took the metro home.

SATURDAY

You know when you go on vacation and then all of a sudden you realize you didn’t get anything for certain people that you probably should? That happened to all of us on varying degrees on Saturday, so our day basically just consisted of shopping and packing.

The first place we went to was Naschmarkt which was a bitch to find, let me tell you. Once we did, though, it was so much fun. Not everyone in my family likes to barter, but I LOVE it. I’m not overconfident in my abilities, but I really like the game of it all. And the fact that this was just like a huge flea market was a ton of fun. I got two tapestries–one for me and one for a friend’s birthday–and then my mom got Sarah and I these wooden plank things that were really cool looking.

Afterwards we went back to Mahu because my aunt loved Monki so much. I was basically out of money and said friend was the last on my list so I just got ice cream with Sarah, but everyone else found cool things they were looking for.

Once we were back in the first district, we went to those shops I pointed out the first day: 1900, the I Love Vienna store, and another one I forget the name of. I got some cute postcards and a mug I had my eye on since the first day but wanted to make sure I still wanted it by the end of the trip. I still wanted it.

After shopping my family annoyingly forced me to pack before we could get dinner (they all were waiting on me) so that took up the rest of the afternoon, but then we went to dinner around the corner of our flat. I got pizza and beer again and my mom and aunt actually got to keep their beer glasses because they made friends with our waiter after Sarah, Missy, and I left to get ice cream for dessert.

Here’s the only picture we took that day:

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So that’s my quick, 2,000-word synopsis of how we spent our days in Vienna. I’ll probably write on this subject again, in some form or another, but for now I think this post will suffice.

Sincerely,

Sammy

WHO EVEN FOLLOWS THIS THING ANYMORE?

Dear Reader,

The only consistent thing about me is my inconsistency, that’s for sure. But it’s final’s week in my life currently (well, the past three weeks have basically been considered “final’s week” for me), and I am a terrible procrastinator. Fortunately for me, I often procrastinate schoolwork by working on passion projects.

I’ll practice guitar or listen to covers I think I might be able to pull off one day. I’ll write handwritten notes or journal entires. Sometimes I’ll work on my teaching portfolio or browse Pinterest to see what I could implement in my own classroom. And just now, even, I finished listening to Logic’s third album, “Everybody,” and then read some articles on what people think about him–side note, LOTS of people hate on Logic. I don’t really care, though. I like his message and I like the way he tells it. Good enough for me.

But this blog is very much a “passion project” for me. I’ve never tried to make money off of it (lol could you imagine) and I haven’t been consistent in my posts for QUITE some time. But I still keep it around because every once in a while I feel like writing a blog post.

That being said, I really feel like I’ll be utilizing this more once the summer hits. So I thought I’d just make this little update post for anyone out there who still checks in on me every once in a while.

MUSIC: Music is one of the things that continues to inspire and motivate me. I’ve gone kind of crazy with making playlists this year (pushing on 90 in total, so says Spotify) and I’ve certainly pulled the occasional accidental all-nighter because I got wrapped up in finding new shit. But I have a lot that I want to share and a lot of half-written blog posts that I want to eventually publish. There’s one in the works about my favorite albums of all-time, and another one of my all-time favorite covers from The Voice that I can’t stop listening to. I also just have a lot of admiration for people who know SO MUCH about music. So, while this certainly isn’t going to turn into a “music blog,” you can definitely expect that in these next few posts.

SCHOOL/TRAVEL: Every semester I get more and more into my major–English Education–which is a good thing, of course. It’d be pretty concerning if I became less interested in it over the years. But in a little over a week, I’ll actually be leaving for Europe to take a two-week course that compares different education systems. Now, this blog also isn’t going to turn into my professional development in that realm (that’s for a separate corner of the Internet where I reside), I will be visiting four countries in two weeks, and then hanging out in Vienna for another week with my family. So, you’ve seen me in Hilton Head. You’ve seen me in Gulf Shores. Get ready to witness me taking on Europe.

TV: Netflix has sort of been killing it with the originals lately. I, along with everyone else, finished Thirteen Reasons Why and definitely had some thoughts. I really don’t know if I’ll post all of that, though, because my journal entry about it ended up being over 3,000 words. You guys don’t want to read that. I also watched BoJack Horseman before that (LOVE, btw) and am now watching Girlboss which makes me want to get bangs and steal stuff. So who knows, maybe I’ll share some opinions on these shows in a bit. Critical thinking can happen everywhere, y’all. Don’t let our hierarchy of culture tell you that we need to bash good television and praise art that makes us feel nothing.

 

LOVE LIFE: 

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READING: Lastly, I’m hoping to read a lot more this summer than I have thus far in 2017. Last semester I was going strong all the way until the end, but the motivation just hasn’t been there lately. However, I did just give a speech on the importance of reading and as I was talking I was just thinking, “shit I need to start practicing what I preach.” So, if anything, this blog might start being book recommendation and review heavy. But, hey, could be worse, right?

So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m twenty-years-old and the world’s lookin bright. If you’ve been following me for a while and like what you just read, I’m happy to have ya around. If you’re bored out of your mind and wanna leave, no scrape off my nose. I’ll probably have to delete this thing or make all the posts private when I start looking for a teaching job in a year and a half, anyway. So let’s live it up while we can.

I mean besides, it’s not like the internet is forever or anything.

Sincerely,

Sammy

Why I’ll Never Be Tan

Dear Reader,

A lot of my friends are very into spray tanning right now. I totally get it–your skin looks clearer, your teeth look whiter, your muscles look more toned. Plus, it’s not like they’re using tanning beds or actually harming their skin. They’re just getting spray tans once or twice a week so they can feel a little more confident. I’m really not knocking it.

But the other day they were talking about how they have to plan their workout schedule more meticulously because they don’t want streaks, which could come if they sweat a lot on the same day they go to the tanning place.

This reminded me of my junior prom. I had gotten a spray tan earlier that day and decided, that night, to watch the second-to-last episode of The Office. To this day I am still so thankful that it wasn’t the series finale–otherwise my face would have been royally messed up. This episode, however, just jerked a single tear that ran down my cheek–and freicken stained my face.

Remembering this, I made the comment that I probably couldn’t spray tan regularly because of how often I cry. They looked at me kind of funny, maybe a little skeptical too, and asked, “Really? You cry that often?”

And yeah, I cry at least once or twice a week. Sometimes if I’m in a weird spell I’ll notice that I’m crying daily, but those only come around every so often. I really don’t think it’s that bizarre, though, because as I thought about it, I realized that I cry way more because of the lives of others than because of my own.

In fact, more often than not, I cry at the lives of fictional people. When Callum died in Noughts & Crosses and Anna and Elsa grew up without each other in Frozen and Clay discovered that he forgot his own son in One Tree Hill, I shed an absurd amount of tears. And even after the screen was off and the book was closed, I cried. I would just think of these storylines and feel such an overwhelming sadness.

Ugh, especially Clay. His storyline messed me up for days.

These stories just grip me. And these damn writers know just how to work it. The stories they create grab a hold of my heart, and sometimes they’re nice to it and I leave feeling fuller or happier, but other times they just toy with it. They squeeze it until I think it might burst–and I have to remind myself that these are all characters, being manipulated by their writers.

Still–Clay was in such a state of stock when his wife suddenly died that he blocked out his son for six years.

I’m seriously starting to cry again. But it probably doesn’t help that “When She Loved Me” is currently playing from my Spotify.

Jesus, maybe I do this to myself. Maybe I just surround myself with really sad shit as a subconscious way to access these emotions I don’t normally feel.

Or maybe not. Who the hell knows.

But I was thinking about this because I came across a quote the other day that said “you can’t protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”

I don’t do it intentionally. It’s just that not a lot of sad things have happened to me–and I’m truly lucky and grateful for that. I don’t even think I cried when my parents sat us down and said that my mom had breast cancer because we knew her chances were really good–and she’s doing great now! I’ve never lost a loved one (touch wood) and can count the funerals I’ve been to on one hand. I’ve never been dumped or cheated on or had my heart broken–but I’ve also never been in love. And no one’s ever been in love with me.

The other day my friend was telling me some of the stuff she’s been through–stuff I could never imagine happening to me or having to deal with.

And now I’m watching Thirteen Reasons Why where all these teenagers are complaining that the teachers have no idea what they’re going through, and I think I’m about to be grouped in with all of them. Because high school wasn’t really hard for me, but it wasn’t easy I guess either. The biggest things I dealt with were my ADD and self-confidence stuff, but that’s all child’s play. I didn’t really see bullying or peer pressure or rumors getting out of hand. I just sort of floated by.

I think I’m still just kind of floating by. I don’t want a ton of bad shit to happen to me or anything. I understand I have a really cushy life and I’m thankful for all the things I could be taking for granted–the fact that my parents are still alive and together. The fact that I have a sister who is my best friend and a family that is overall supportive. I have friends and I get good grades and I have hobbies and interests.

I cry a lot, but I’m not sad. Or maybe I am.

But I’m also happy, I think.

At this point it kind of just feels like a default setting, and I’m just waiting for it to change.

Hopefully one day soon.

Hopefully this isn’t one of those “careful what you wish for” things.

Hopefully I don’t look back at this post and cringe at my glaring privilege.

Here’s hoping.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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