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current obsession : three girls in chicago

I woke up on Sunday morning and all I wanted to do was write. When I was twelve or so, I started clicking and clacking away on a keyboard, writing what I dreamt would be the next great young adult novel, and it has been a source of joy ever since.

It was a lot easier to write in high school when I changed crushes every other week and also had oodles of time to stare off into space like Carrie Bradshaw (sans the ciggie, of course). When college rolled around, I would really just write during summer break. Then I started working full-time and was just too exhausted to be inspired and write about anything at all.

I actually finished a full-length YA the summer before my junior year of college. Full disclosure: It is terrible, and I wouldn’t have anyone other than my nearests and dearests read it. But that is no matter because I don’t do it for fame and fortune—even though admittedly that would be very nice. I write because I have to. Some people have the compulsion to dance or hum or snowboard. I have the need to stare at a laptop all day and think about character motivation while I’m on the treadmill.

I spent all of my Sunday and am spending far too much of today thinking about three friends in Chicago. Lily, Rebecca, and Emmaline are twentysomethings who share a beautiful house in Lincoln Park and help each other weather the storms of work drama, grad school stress, and, of course, boys. I haven’t been this excited about writing in a while. I actually can’t make myself stop. It is an absolutely delicious and giddy feeling—kind of like a crush.

I can’t wait to find out what these girls are up to.


Review: Sisterhood Everlasting (Ann Brashares)


Sisterhood Everlasting (Ann Brashares) is the concluding novel to the immensely popular Traveling Pants series which documented the lives, and very special friendship, of Lena, Bee, Tibby, and Carmen, four different girls born in the same month. While the earlier books in the series took place in high school and college, this one begins at the cusp of them turning thirty, and the familiar reader will delight in learning about what the girls have been up to ever since they popped up in Forever in Blue.

(Personal review and spoiler alert) A number of reviews on the book complain about how the women have changed and how their stories are not perfect. On the contrary, I was troubled by how much they had not changed or grown up. Of the four, only Carmen and Lena appear to have achieved some sense of career success, but not one of them has had any personal growth. The appeal of the girls in the previous books was in part due to their insight and their particular way of viewing the world. They all had a sense of magic to them–Carmen with her fire, Bee with her fragile yet freewheeling nature, Lena with her introspection, Tibby with her discerning sarcasm–yet in this book those strengths were turned into weaknesses. Carmen has challenged her energy into a seemingly shallow existence, Bee needs to be on the move to the point where she is homeless for some of the book, Lena is practically paralyzed by her fears, and Tibby…well, she is as discerning as ever, but like the girls in the book, the reader wonders how she could have stayed out of touch for so long given their friendship.

Moreover, the reader will find herself truly questioning their friendship. Brashares’ writing is not at fault–the woman makes you want to sink in their world and will convince you it is poignant, beautiful, painful at turns… The writing made me want more and more… But the crux of it is, how beautiful was this beautifully written friendship really, if it did not bring out the best in these girls?

The book ends very tidily with happy endings all around. But given where we left off, and how there was promise there then, one wonders… What happens after the pages end because one can no longer trust that they will make the most of their lives. But perhaps that was what Brashares intended. Real life isn’t tidy, is it? If that is what she meant, then she was effective because this is a story that will linger in one’s head for days to come.


crazy, stupid, love.

Last night, I decided to treat myself (and the hubs) to Crazy, Stupid, Love. While I jokingly referred to Ryan Gosling's fine form in a Facebook post earlier today, his looks aren't the reason (well, not the primary reason anyway) I have been thinking about the movie all day.

The film was a wonderful exploration of relationships, and what resonated with me are the following:

Relationships take effort. Steve Carrell let himself go and stopped trying because he was overly confident that the love he received was unconditional. Too often we take our significant others for granted. We forget that love is a gift that must continually be nurtured and cherished.

It takes two committed people to make a relationship work. The obvious point here (and I just have to toss this in) is that if the other person doesn't love you back, it isn't going to happen (sorry, kid). The more subtle point has to do with the fact that Steve and Julianne wanted to make it work at different times. You both have to be on the same page at the same time, but if you aren't...

Be patient with your significant other and be brave enough to express how you feel even if it isn't currently reciprocated. This is something Steve does over and over again with heartbreaking sweetness.

Forgive. We all make mistakes. Find it within yourself to forgive--and if you can't, then leave for real.

Aside from that, the fine, fine sight of Ryan Gosling did resonate with me as well, I must admit. That scene where he does the Dirty Dancing lift is incredible--and I don't even particulary like Dirty Dancing! But seriously now, out of all of the scenes in the movie (and some had us both laughing so hard), my very favorite one was where Ryan and Emma were talking in bed, just talking, so...

Never forget how you fell in love. I loved that scene best because they were two people discovering each other, talking about themselves, and learning about themselves. It reminded me of being in college with a certain boy and talking on the phone for hours, being enchanted by details like how he used to chase his dog around a tree as a kid or how he and his brothers stole their neighbor's turtle. It's the details that make you fall in love with someone, and that scene encapsulates it perfectly. I love when he asks her to ask him about himself, and he opens up and talks about his parents and it reveals how he ended up the way he did. And she accepts him. That is what we do when we fall in love. We accept each other, flaws and quirks and all. In the end, that was the true beauty of the film. It reminded me that we fall in love with, and are endeared by, the imperfections of others.

(And if you didn't get any of that, well, at least there's Ryan Gosling's abs.)



to fresh starts


"Every day is a fresh beginning. Every morn is the world made new."

- Sarah Chauncey Woolsey

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