Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Bookish Christmas List: 2014

Nearly every year on this blog, I do a bookish Christmas list of gifts writerly and readerly folks might enjoy. Here's what I've found so far, but keep in mind, the very best gift for a bookish person is a book! Also keep in mind I'm not being paid to promote these products. I just think they're cool and want them myself. Also, the pictures aren't mine! See info below each image for credit and for a link to buy the awesome Christmas gift being described!

The first and most important thing your reading and writing loved one needs is a set of temporary literary tattoos from the awesome people at Litographs.

(Image and product from at this link!)

They also make shirts, and if someone doesn't buy me this Christmas Carol one for Christmas, I swear...

(Image and product from at this link!)

Best of all, this is the message you get after you order. They send literary posters to schools too:

Next up: puzzles. Everyone loves a puzzle, right? And readerly/writerly people need puzzles to distract them from all those deep thoughts that burden their little minds...or perhaps to let them go even deeper into the abyss. Whatever the case, puzzles are fun and this one is beautiful. Your writer friend needs this...and everything else at Pop Chart Lab.

(Image and product from at this link!)

Surely this next thing will end up under my tree! It's a beauteous Jane Eyre scarf from Uncommon Goods. The others in the series are pretty too, but this one's obviously the best because Jane is the best heroine of all.

(Image and product from at this link!)

Also at Uncommon Goods, a cork globe. Pin where you've been or pin where you're going. And if you haven't been anywhere and aren't likely to go anywhere soon, pin where your favorite characters are having adventures. something.

(Image and product from at this link!)

There are far too many bookish things on Etsy to list here, but this one is great for people with a nice big staircase and a childlike sense of decorating. Besides that, it's Alice inspired. Everyone loves Alice.

(Image and product from ArtikIce on at this link!)

Here's something else for the house from the weird and sometimes wonderful world of SuckUK. It's a lamp. It looks like a wee house. You put your book on it when you go to sleep at night. Look at its little book roof! (Hint: it's a bit cheaper on Amazon.)

(Image and product from at this link!)

Also on the site are these cute-patoot bookmarks. Cheap stocking stuffer! Get a bunch! Get a whole yard full!

(Image and product from at this link!)

On my travels this summer, I came across a fascinating and easily transportable gift to bring home to friends. It was a greeting card sized piece of thin cardboard with tiny cut shapes of all the elements of a real-life scene to be taken apart and modeled on a desk. I gave one friend a tiny park scene to build. Now I see they have a picture book series, too. Even if you aren't interested in building miniature scenes from Snow White, check out the site at the link under the picture. It's a fascinating art form.

(Image and product from teradamokei at this link!) 

Here's one I don't want for myself but thought someone else might like. If you keep your nails long and you're into literature, these literary nail wraps might be just your thing:

(Image and product from at this link!)

What I'd rather have from the excellent Think Geek people is this Choose Your Own Adventure style Hamlet...because as much as I love him, I just wanted to tell Hamlet to stop making speeches and freaking kill the guy already.

(Image and product from at this link!)

With all that reading getting done, your literary partner needs a comfy place to sit. How about a pillow with a light, a drink holder, and a built-in back massage thingy? I need this.

(Image and product from at this link!)

There are other types of things writers and readers should own in order to explore the world outside the books they're reading and writing. One of those is a sturdy but comfortable pair of walking boots. They shouldn't be too hot, should bend softly at the ankle, and should go with everything from skirts to skinny jeans. Born make the best boots I've ever had.

(Image and product from at this link!)

He's gonna need a field bag too, for his iPad or laptop, or notebook and pens, and his camera. My new favorite (if pricey) brand is Spikes & Sparrow. Their bags may cost a bit, but they'll last till you get tired of looking at them.

(Image and product from at this link!)

Last on this year's list is a repeat from a previous year because it's still available and I still want Santa to bring it even though it's far too expensive to justify. If you can't afford the necklace either, at least spend the five bucks on the app version of The Heart and the Bottle. It's a beautiful interactive story by the one and only Oliver Jeffers. Don't look at it and think it's a children's book. It's a human's book. (There's a whole Oliver Jeffers collection if you follow the link below the picture.)

(Image and product from at this link!)

So that's all for this year, folks. A merry readerly and writerly Christmas to all, and to all...oh you know the rest! Merry almost Christmas!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

NaNoWriMo. In the words of the site: "On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30."

This will be my fifth year as a Wrimo. I finished the 50,000 words three out of the previous four years but have no hope or intention of doing so this year. I will, however, do what I can and have thought of a trick to write lots of words really fast so I get a respectable amount written before the end of the month. The trick? Write nonfiction in a personal essay style about my own experiences. Easy.

Here's a very rough draft (i.e. I can't spell) of some of what I've done so far. Wish me writerly time and luck for the coming month! And good luck to all you Wrimos out there doing the same!
~*~ the beach that summer, it was all to do with rebellion--one of the many tiny rebellions that would one day add up to a complete turning around. The first little rebellion started out with a bad word in a song on a cd I liked. I won’t mention the artist as they’re pretty awful and that would be embarrassing, yes, even more embarrassing than previously admitting to pooping in the tub while my best friend was in there, but that summer this particular band was trending and the guy on the cd was good-looking, so I was into it. Really into it. More importantly, I didn't mind the "bad" word and thought it was the best choice, lyrically, for that topic and moment. Okay fine, it was a Creed song. Shut up.

Anyway, so my boyfriend at the time disapproved deeply. He was a perfect physical stand-in for the beliefs I followed. Though he had started me out on similar music,   he'd since reformed and therefore thought such things were a negative influence on the mind. It’s a funny concept because there is something to it--the idea that putting in a lot of negative things means negative things will eventually come out, or the opposite with positive things. The problem comes in deciding what’s negative and what’s positive and in the person themselves. Take my husband, for example. He’s so incredibly, maddeningly level, he could watch the worst of the worst movie with gruesome scary horrible disturbing downright evil images, and happily eat bbq and shrug while it’s on. It's not real, he'd say. It simply doesn't get to him. Plus he really likes bbq. You probably know similar people. Well I’m not one of them, and maybe my boyfriend knew it. Maybe he knew how susceptible I was to suggestion and he was afraid I’d go where I did eventually go, out of his arms, in part due to some shitty music waking me up to how arbitrary “good” and “evil” had become in our circle.

We were a lot of us that way then, coming out of adolescence and into early adulthood, not sure what we believed or why or what to do next. I now know this is a common occurrence, though we had our idiosyncrasies for our time and place. Still, I thought it was a special thing happening to me and me alone.

 I don’t go to church and have no feeling of dread, regret, or bitterness about the issue. Nor do I have negative feelings toward those whose belief takes them on that path. My church-going friends respect me and I them, for the most part. But in the beginning, it was a struggle between the ills I knew and the ills I knew not of. Now the ills I knew not of aren't ills at all: they're my life. And I feel more in touch with truth than I ever did then. The breakups and unoriginal music required to get me there were well worth the trip...