Friday, January 29, 2010

The Mean Reds

It's been awhile. I apologize for my silly little writing funks I so often find myself in. I hate them, I really do but they seem to be inevitable. Always lurking around my corner, ready to rain on my parade. One morning I wake up with a bright future intact & the next I have a serious case of the Mean Reds. If you're not familiar with this term it comes from one of my all time fav flicks Breakfast at Tiffany's from the superb character Holly Golightly.

Holly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly: No, the blues are because you are getting fat or maybe its been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Well, yes Holly I do. I feel like I know it all too well. It's the worst of all of the funks because I don't have anything or anyone to blame. All I know is I feel like my life is surely coming to a close & I'll never be able to accomplish any of the things I had promised myself I would do. Every failure comes flooding into my mind and, what's worse, is I seem incapable of putting them on pages which is exactly where they belong. If they are on the pages they take root in a new home and out of my head. This way I can move on and the mean reds do not claim more than a few hours of my time. But this time that is unfortunately not the case. The mean reds have claimed a week now and I'm terribly sick of them. To try and get to the bottom of why I have them you would think I would lose myself in a novel, talk to loved ones or maybe even pray about it.. But no, I do something that Holly Golightly also puts best in one of her lines of the movie:

Holly: Promise me one thing: don't take me home till I'm drunk - very drunk indeed.

Yes, I hit the bottle... & I'm not so proudly saying I'm not what you would call an amateur either, I hit it quite hard. It's silly, really. Because I always end up in the same place. A week (sometimes more) goes by & I'm sifting through the blurred days & full throttled nights only to discover more pieces of myself that help complete a puzzle of a stagnant life. So what to do? Exactly what I am doing now.. sitting in front of this computer screen with a slight headache and a few mysterious bruises and attempt to paint the pieces of my puzzle with some different shades of hope. But where are these shades? They're inside. Though they may be chipped and faded, I can still feel them and that means I still have the chance. The chance to take control of that unsteady brush & paint the many masterpieces of life's desires.

Paul Varjak: You call yourself a free spirit, a wild thing, and you're terrified that somebody's going to put you in a cage. Well, baby, you're already in a cage and you built it yourself. And it's everywhere you go. Because no matter where you run, you're always going to end up running into yourself.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Banana Love

So I'm currently eating my 5th banana of the week. This might not seem uncommon to some of you but it is WAY out of left field for me. Probably because I've spent my entire life hating those awful yellow things. But I've decided to eat one banana every day for a week. Why embark on this terrible journey? Well, one of my biggest pet peeves is a picky eater. I am a total foodie and will pretty much try anything and 9 times out of 10 i enjoy all new things I try. There are just too many wonderful types of food in this world to constantly be ordering chicken fingers and a side of fries (although they are absolutely necessary in some situations). So back to the nanners.. There are very few things I refuse to eat on this earth and nanners are at the top of the list. To me they are long yellow sticks of ooey-gooey nastiness. Me and bananas are not friends.

I saw this as a problem that needed to be solved. I mean I can't really give anyone crap for not trying new things if I am not willing to change myself. So I decided to start at the top of my list of foods I am not a huge fan of and eat that item once a day for a week. And if after a week of eating them I still don't like them.. Well, at least then I can say I gave it my best shot. And to tell you the truth, my hate for nanners has significantly decreased after these 5 days. I mean, the first day was terrible. I definitely gagged it down and stomped around like a 2 year old while I ate it BUT i did it! And I know it may be something as silly and small as eating a flipping banana but I am pretty damned proud of myself :) Go Me!

I'll let you know how it goes. Only 2 more nanners to go! Next on the list: Cantaloupe. What can I say, I am just a veggie kind of girl.

Oh and how awesome is that picture?! Banana sex. Hysterical.

Rainy Boys & Days

I have always cherished the rain. Living in Phoenix it is a rare treasure that always seems to stop by too late and leave too quickly. When it rains the energy of our entire city changes. Children rush to the classroom windows, dogs race through puddles of mud, everyone forgets how to drive and at some point we all just stand beneath it savoring the shower of our dusted lands. Basically, we turn into a bunch of loony birds from the outside looking in. There is nothing quite like being a part of a desert rain.

Most of the rainy days in my life have been spent single and the majority of those rainy days were spent dwelling on that fact. To me rainy days are more of a painful reminder that you're riding solo than Valentine's Day. I would even do ultra dramatic things like drive in the rain listening to songs about the rain. It was awesome. But this year I am not single and (excuse the extra cheese) I’m finally seeing the rainbows in the storm. There really is no better feeling than lying with a boy and listening to the rain. To be in love on a rainy day is a gift from God. There is just something glorious about watching the cold and wet weather while snuggled up next to your love muffin of choice. And as happy as I am I found myself putting in my old 'Rainy Daze' (Yes, that's really the melodramatic title I gave my mix cd) and trying to conjure up some of that old rain funk I used to get in so naturally. It's weird but I kind of missed it. Does that make me a depressive? I don't think so. Maybe I'm crazy but there is something truly lovely about being in a melancholy state on a dreary day. So now my rainy days are dedicated to a mixture of love/nostalgia and I'm loving every miserable and wondrous moment of it.

So whether your rainy days are spent curled in a ball or curled into another just remember to keep the sunshine in your heart. We are all safe there.

"Save a boyfriend for a rainy day- and another in case it doesn't rain."
-Mae West

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Step into the Light

There is a stage in all of us. There are no props or script available just a dimly cast stool waiting for you. It's wooden panels, musting curtains and empty seats are not waiting for you to tell story or entertain, all they are asking for is the truth. Throughout life we learn many faces of deception. We rely on schemes that are capable of curving the spine of truth. This stage is where the major events of life take place. Events that can have hundreds of witnesses in the audience or only you and a chilling breeze. It is our choice where we place ourselves here. You can hide behind the curtains, join the audience, dance around the light or step directly into it.

I'd say my childhood, as well as most others, was spent wrapped in the warmth of the curtains. I was safe here. I could peek through the increasing tears of the dark fabric and catch glimpses of what awaited me. How bright was this light? How much of me can it expose? Who was in the audience? And what in the hell do they want from me? What I didn't expect is that I was not the only person on stage. There were people I hardly knew and those closest to me who had their cameos in my developing play. Some of them would reach out to me for brief dance lessons of love and joy. My mothers always led the dances. Showing me all the steps, reminding me of posture and tilting my chin to the sky. My sister would come quickly after her exit and trace maps in the dust collecting on the stage floor. She showed me where she had tripped, where she had fallen and the ways she found the strength to stand. And as for my father, he gave me what too many little girls go without... He let me balance on his own feet and follow the already beaten path.

These safety characters also play a key role when the new ones arrive. These people have to be invited to your stage and in exchange you learn how to trust. You allow them on stage and some of them offer your dance of life color and vibrance while others do not. They whisper your name in hush tones backstage and leave a lingering foot out to descretely throw your step. What's worse is you see their foot and intentions but are captivated by the beautiful masks they display. So you allow them to stay and depend on your core characters to lift you up when you take the fall. So what happens when the your core leaves the stage.. or they just can't make appearances as often as they used to? Siblings have children and pursue their own dreams and parents have given you the map hoping they've taught you how to find your way. You are left to pick yourself up and this is when the audience becomes interested.. when truth takes the lead.

This happens to be the point I am at on my stage. For the first time I am having to cut existing characters and make callbacks for those who deserve the role. I can hide in the safety of the curtains, join the audience and wait for a show or hold my breath and step into the light.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bed Bugs

Isn't that the truth. I've struggled with sleep since I was a little girl. It is my favorite thing to do yet the hardest thing for me to attain. I've found that many people claim to understand saying, "Oh yeah, I know you're pain! I'm a total insomniac!" And I'm not upset that they say they are in the same boat as I am... This boat loves passengers! It is just such a letdown when I call my fellow "insomniacs" at an ungodly hour only to hear their voicemail and at that point I'm tempted to talk to the message machine. Maybe talk about how tonight I noticed that I hate the color of my sheets or if they know what brilliant person invented pillows or how my television is currently the most annoying person on the planet and unfortunately my only choice in company.. but then the voicemail would have to be heard by someone who wakes up well rested, sanity intact, and well, I really don't want to explain to them why I honestly don't need a therapist.

It's sad to say there are few I've encountered who can understand how this terrible curse (because at this point I feel that's what it is) is not so cool to have. It doesn't make me more mysterious or creative and (much to twilighter's dismay) it doesn't even make me a sexy vampire.  In fact, it leaves me with dark half moons under my eyes and a need for coffee like a newborn needs a bottle.  Although, my most creative ideas do run through my mind after midnight but I'm usually trying to convince myself I'm too tired to get out of bed to write them down. And if it were just one or two thoughts it would be no problem to remember them in the morning but the truth is my thoughts run rampant at night. It seems as if thousands dance on my memory, their footprints touching just light enough to keep me interested but not firm enough to leave imprints of their shadows.

Where did it start? I know exactly. It started with the dreams. Those awful and haunting dreams. I'm not even sure where they first stemmed from, all I know is that they planted a very dark flower. The most vivid scenes of hurt, hate and, worst of all, helplessness. The worst of them leave me momentarily paralyzed, unable to speak or move, almost a tug of war between the relief of reality and the dread of being pulled back into the darkness. I know it sounds dramatic but if you have experienced this pull you know that this is explaining the battle lightly.

So, what to do? Pills. That's always the answer, right? Well, no thank you. I believe my mind, body and soul are just as strong as any 'I get awsome sleep' sleepers and are perfectly capable of winning this fight. Pills will simply numb the conscious and send me into dreamless black sheets, followed by unforgiving rays of light tapping on my window. To me, these battles are within and as real as the nights they claim. I've learned to deal and will keep doing so. Besides, some nights I am blessed with a dream of beauty and inspiration.. and they offer more healing and promise than any nightmare could ever intimidate.

Sleep tight; don't let the bed bugs bite.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Picking Up the Petals

I received this painting as a 23rd birthday gift from my little brother. It's an image that's means much more to me than most hanging in my room. When he told me the inspiration had been my writing and what it represented it changed my entire perception of the picture. Now when I look at it I don't only see it but feel it. Faces and names slowly began to form on these empty shells. They are all the characters of a story... And that story would be my own.

I knew exactly who each was and the experiences my imagination had painted for them to have. The limbs of their bodies take root at my wrist and stretch their hands into my own. This is the only way their stories can blossom onto pages and become real. It is my job to mold them into existence and I haven't been giving them a fair shot.

There is one thing that every creative writing class I have taken has repeated and that is to write what you know. It's natural to question yourself when you first here this. What do I know? And I truly believe too many people underestimate how much they actually know and how many stories they really have inside of them. I find it strange when people claim what they have to say would be uninteresting because they have had an uneventful or privileged life. The way I see it is we are all human. I don't mean that in any Kumbaya-sit-around-the-campfire sort of way. I'm saying if you breakdown all our different circumstances there is only one thing that remains. Passion. We feel passion in so many different ways than realized. It is mostly associated with love and determination but i think it is the root of all emotion. If someone has lost someone important in their lives, becomes ill, loses their job, gets their heartbroken, etc. Their circumstances are still attached by raw emotions. Love. Hate. Jealousy. Determination. Fear.. and so on. When it comes to writing, all of us can tell a story others can relate to because everyone is capable of feeling. So whether you write a story about losing your mother or your goldfish if you can make us feel the pain you faced then we can believe in the character, the story and you.

Now I just need to take a little of my own advice and believe that I do have a story to tell, I can make a difference and no one is capable of telling it the way I can.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A few things rad chicks do

1. They don't take themselves too seriously! I'm not saying you need to be a goofball 24/7 but I do think it's important to be able to let yourself go when the moment presents itself. There is a time and place for everything so please don't go making a fart noise in the middle of an important meeting with your boss to prove you're a free spirit. But if you are out with friends the world is your stage! For me this rule goes for being out with boys too. It's so refreshing to be able to just be yourself on a date and it has worked wonders for me. If a boy doesn't get my sense of humor then it's best to just say thanks for the free chicken sandwich & end the night with a hug. It's so important to do things that make you feel. When you're out and about with girls who have their panties in a wad this can be a challenge (see #5). Just try to ease them into a good time and if they are not feeling the beat of your drum go on a solo mission to find other members for your band of fun.

2. They cook! You don't have to be a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu to know how to whip up some tasty treats. And boxed mac&cheese and top ramen (although wonderful munchies food) don't count. One day you're going to have a boyfriend/home or both if you don't already. Both of these factors require cooking, especially the boyfriend part. Go to your local bookstore and pick up a book on the basics then go home and experiment. An even better tool than learning from a book is giving your grandma a ring and asking her to help you whip up her specialties. I promise the sooner you can present your boy toy with some fried chicken, mashed potatoes and homemade gravy the sooner he will be thanking you in the sack. Hooray for cooking!

3. They cry :*( I know, I know.. Big girls don't cry but that is a false statement. Don't go around blubbering all over everyone but do be aware of your feelings. Let it out to a friend or do what I do and take a little drive around the block, blast some sad music and beat your steering wheel up a little bit. Other drivers may think there is a lunatic on the loose but i promise you'll feel like a new person.

4. They respect themselves! Listen to Aretha Franklin and demand a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The definition of this is a little different for everyone so it would be a good idea to figure out yours. Write it down. Start out with how you want to be treated by others and how others actually treat you. If the two match, awesome! If not, well start demanding it. You're worth the fight.

5. They know who their real friends are! This is one of the hardest but also one of the most important. It's crazy how long we will put up with life suckers & meanie heads just because they have been our "friend" for like ever. I don't care if they were born in the same flippin' hospital bed as you if they are a bad friend you need to cut the cord. How will you know the good from the evil? Think about it.. Are they constantly in competition with you? Do they try to make you feel dumb in front of boys? Do they always need you to deal with their never ending list of drama? Would you consider them a negative person? And would they tell you to wear the pink dress that makes you look like a sausage or the black that transforms you into a goddess? When you are surrounded by positive and loving people it makes such a difference in more areas in your life than you realize. Their drama is no longer your drama and with that comes a lot less stress! Who cares if you  have to cross 300 friends off your list! As long as you have one or two who truly and consistently have your back then you are in good hands. Boo on mean friends! Kick 'em to the curb like a bad habit because that's all they really are.

6. They don't date douche bags. Double-You-Tee-Eff I cannot emphasize this one enough. We're all human and we all make mistakes but that's what high school is for. Date an asshole (if you must!) and get it out of your system! I don't know what is so appealing about dating someone that doesn't really like you but lots of girls seem to love the idea and even marry these jerkoffs. BOO! It breaks my little heart. If your man doesn't dote on you, we have a problem. I don't mean the dude has to kiss the ground you walk on (not all the time anyway) but he does need to think that you're the raddest chick in town. If he doesn't them ditch him! And if you know he doesn't & you continue to stay with him then shame on you! Let's go over some signs of what a class A D-bag is like.. he points out your flaws in front of others or just to you (either one is a deal breaker!) He is always talking about how other girls are hot or how much he Loves brunettes and you have been a toehead since you were two... He's cheated on you and past girlfriends. (Seriously, do I really have to repeat that one?) HE'S CHEATED ON NOT JUST YOU BUT OTHERS! There. Maybe you'll remember that now. Or you met him while he had a girlfriend and either made it very clear he'd like to sleep you or actually did sleep with you. Not hubby material. The list goes on and on.. Face it, you know deep down if you are dating a big A-hole and until you take your blinders off and deal with it, I can no longer pity you.

7. They think they are beautiful! Inside and out! We are all flawed but pointing them out in the mirror and hating yourself for them is not the way to make them go away. Seriously! Rad chicks think they are sexy as Pepsi! Think about it, if you don't think you're hot stuff then who will? I'm not saying go and get all conceited with yourself.. There is a difference between self love and self lust. Just know what you are worth and how much you have to offer (which is much more than you realize). Knowing this will probably help you out with #6 too because know truly confident girl would put up with a d-bag. Look in the mirror and, don't just say, but feel beautiful! Even if you gained 10 pounds over the holidays, big whoop. And for goodness sakes take a compliment! We all struggle with this one, including myself, so the next time someone tells you that you look nice don't immediately start listing that you're tired, old, poor, ugly or have the ass the size of a house.. Just fight the urge, take a deep breath and simply say Thank you. It's hard at first but eventually it feels incredible. So be nice to you! You are the only you that you're gonna get. So put down your own personal brand of Haterade and give yourself the sex eye instead of the stink eye for once.


Friday, January 8, 2010

My 10 not so new, new year's resolutions

First let me start off with the best quote I've heard from a friend in a long time:
"If 2009 was a person, I'd love to kick their ass."
-Nick from Brother's Pizza

LOVE it.

Let's be real, 2009 sucked the big one. Well, for most of us anyway... & if you're excluded from this 'We hated 2009' club, congratulations & please send me a bottle of whatever happy pills you are consuming : )
For the most part I could have done without this year but that does not mean I don't think 2010 is going to kick ass because I do.
& to ensure that it does rock my socks I'd like to try and follow this list of things I either need to work on or add to my life routine.
1. Make next year's resolution list on January 1st. Not January 8th.. not the best way to get a head start.
2. Join a book club... wait, I started one... Awesome. Check that off the list. So far so good.

3. Work on my own flippin' book! I've wanted to write my own book for forever and have started it 685,243 times. It's time to stick to it and produce some damn pages.

4. School is not for fools! Much to my dismay this statement is true. This ass needs to be in class.

5. More Tea, Less Wine! This is a heart breaker but I can no longer justify my actions with 'but the doctors say one glass a day is good for the heart!' Yes, Charlotte, one glass not one bottle. And my other favorite excuse 'but I have trouble sleeping..' Well, drink some chamomile tea and hit the hay. Maybe this way I won't wake up with tumbleweeds in my throat and smeared mascara on my pillow. Wine is for weekends. Simple as that.

6. Get up & D a N C e! I miss dancing! & I don't mean taking a little spin on the dance floor, I wanna leave my heels at the table and boogie until my cheeks are red & the natural curl in my hair shows up! I hardly did it this year and am totally bummed about it. Not dancing is just not a way to continue living. I need to channel my inner Selena & blast some bitty bitty bom bom!

7. Be nicer to peoples doggies! I'm that person who shrinks up every time someone says,"Whoever doesn't like dogs can't be a nice person." But I am! promise. I just grew up with a woman version of the dog whisperer for a mother. (Seriously, I'm convinced she speaks their language! Our dogs can practically flush the toilet for crying out loud.) So when I come around your wild but precious foofoo or fifi who wants to jump, lick, bite, scratch, beg, take my place on the couch, bark incessantly, stink, eat my food, poop on my sweater or pant in my face... well, you can't hate me for not wanting to roll in the grass/make out with them. So I do love dogs... I'm just picky. But I still believe they all go to heaven! & if it's any consolation i adore the crap out of kitties. Meow.

8. Stop eating like a boy! Just because my boyfriend throws it down doesn't mean I have be a copycat. Honestly. I am around boys a lot which means being surrounded by some form of fried cheese & beer constantly. This is not the road jenny recommends to looking awesome in a half top. My favorite thing on earth is veggies and i need to be reintroduced to my long lost BFF. If you are reading this and are in the same terrible predicament as myself, here is a really rad book suggestion : Your Big Fat Boyfriend (yes, that is really the title) by Jenna Bergen. She will help you remain a 'guy's girl' and still be able to fit into your skinny jeans. It's important to know these tricks because none of your boyfriend's friends or myself are going to think you're too awesome when you turn up your nose to beer & chicken wings (glorious creations!) and demand a side salad while watching the playoffs. Seriously.

9. Get my buns moving! It's not just what you eat anymore. I am no longer 16 and can do one or the other, exercise is key! And not just for the losing weight part (which is awesome) but the best perk of running until you think you're going to pass out is the S T r e s S release! We all hate the world & the people in it a little less after an amazing sweat bath. It's true! Try hopping on the treadmill next time you're good and pissed off and see if you want to kill someone as much as you did before you were done. You may not be singing about butterflies and sunshine but you'll surely release your death grip on the kitchen knife.

10. Put a little more faith in myself & even more in the big guy upstairs. Because he seems to be the only one who knows what the heck is really going on.

Hope my list helped you! & if it didn't i hope it was at least entertaining to see me list my faults.
Cheers mi amigos to a fabulous 2010!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Moments of Intention

excerpt from Sarah in Little Children:

Not that they would, but if any of the other mothers had asked how it was that Sarah, of all people, had ended up married, living in the suburbs, and caring full-time for a small child, she would have blamed it on a moment of weakness. At least that was how she described it to herself, though the explanation always seemed a bit threadbare. After all, what was adult life but one moment of weakness piled on top of another? Most people just fell in line like obedient little children, doing exactly what society expected of them at any given moment, all the while pretending that they'd actually made some sort of choice.


For me this paragraph was the equivalent of a slap in the face. Am I married? No. A mother? No. But what I am is at an age where no one can be accountable for my decisions in life except me. There is no longer an excuse of being naive or having felt pressure from an authority figure to be one way or another. It all comes down to myself and that sometimes all too foreign person on the other side of the mirror.

As women I feel we spend an incredible amount of time looking at our reflections. Many immediately assume this can only derive from our own vanity and to some extent I'm sure that is true.. But mostly I believe we are just trying to look for who the hell that person is in there. We all have some sort of expectations when we go to take a glance at ourselves whether it is to see if something disappeared, still exists or can be found. It seems when we are teenagers we look so anxiously and have unlimited ideas to change or better ourselves. There are constant experiments with makeup, hair and clothes all to see which fits best. Searching for whatever fits even if what you feel is not in agreement. As a teenager I felt when I grew up all I would need was a different shade of lipstick to become the woman I desired. There were images of a nude gloss gracing the lips of an independent business woman.. A sex siren in red carelessly strutting city streets.. Pout filled pink for adding an allure of innocence that could bring any man to his knees.. I was convinced I could become all of these women. The thought never occurred to me that society had a very different opinion.

I seemed to hold onto these dreams and evade pressures of society for quite some time. I even created blinders to avoid watching girls around me fall in line, giving into the weight of it all. Slowly but surely young girls meet young boys... and well, we all know where that leads. But why must it always have to lead to the same place? Marriage, children, responsibility.. And not necessarily in that order. I know a handful of young women in these situations who have kept there vigor for life and admire them for doing so. I am not against any of these positions of life and also want them for myself one day. Babies are beautiful and having a partner to experience life with is priceless.. All I ask is that I can keep my desires and be a fearless woman in the process. Why do we have to lose ourselves amongst these things like Sarah has? In the book she speaks of the colorful dreams and determination she had when she was in her 20s only to have lost all of her drive in a sea of heartbreak, play dates and what she is dreading to prepare for dinner. The way she describes her current state as a pile of moments of weakness frightened me to the core. It made me look at my own hidden pile of weaknesses I can't quite explain and pray to God they don't define who I am today. I must become an example.. I have to make the choice to be a young woman who can not only look in the mirror and recognize herself but surely does not blame her state of existence on moments of weakness but rather moments of intention.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fall into the Pages

I had always enjoyed books when I was a little girl but never did I crave them until after the surgery. Returning to school was not something I was looking forward to once I had healed. And my definition of "healed" was very different than my doctors. They allowed me to return to school with what they called "some swelling"... Translation: Your head still looks like a pumpkin but you need to get back in school. So I was sent to third grade as pumpkin head. Awesome.
Third graders aren't the most understanding people on the planet as you can imagine. Fabulous nicknames like pancake face soon surfaced followed by little boys requesting that i 'take them to my leader.' Yes, I was definitely on the fast track to popular kids table... Not so much.

The one order from the doctor that I believe kept me out of the lions den was that I was not allowed on the playground, I was still too fragile. I was more than willing to not be allowed at recess where comments could not be supervised by teachers but where would they send me? You guessed it, a glorious place we call the library. It provided me with an espace which was what I really needed. I quickly discovered that living through characters in books was not only a lot more interesting but it also offered promise and hope. The children in the classroom were very foreign to me but not the ones in books. In the books there were little girls who didn't fit in, had bad days and even ones who felt beautiful no matter what anyone else had told them. They took my hand and guided me into a place I never wanted to leave. In this world the poor became rich, the sick became well and ducklings became swans.

My love for books began there but never stopped growing. I still find that when life seems to be at its hardest I look to that same escape for comfort. This is why I began this blog and book club. Life doesn't seem very easy for many right now and the only thing better than finishing a book is being able to discuss it with others. A conversation about what the story meant to you and how you related to the characters is so fulfilling. You're not only discovering parts of yourself in the characters but through the people you are sharing the experience with.

Last night was the first meet at a quaint wine & coffee bar. The book was revealed over java mugs and flights of warm red wine. The excitement was palpable and as much as we were enjoying the company, a part of us all couldn't wait to get home curl into the pages. It was exactly what I had hoped and knew it would be. The promise for friendships, lives and imaginations to grow.

The first book: Little Children by Tom Perrotta