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Books       Letters       Me


Apr 15, 2024


Bookman: 1. a person who has a love of books and especially of reading. 2. a person who is involved in the writing, publishing, or selling of books. Oh, hi that's me!!

A book I wanted to love. But didn't. But am I still happy I read it? I'm conflicted about The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek which follows the main character, Cussy Mary, a blue-skinned packhorse librarian on her book route – and the racism, classism, and sexism she faced in the Kentucky mountains just after the Great Depression. I learned a lot from this historical novel (which is why I love reading historical fiction) but the fundamentals of the story didn't move like I wanted them to. To me, it seemed like many of the plot points were unearned. The dialect wasn't consistent. The characters weren't complex enough for my tastes. It just didn't work for me, but three years ago I wouldn't have been able to tell you why. But I honor the work that someone puts into a novel. I know how hard it is. Many people on the internet love this novel (it made many bestseller lists), so if it speaks to you – go on with it! 

What I'm writing: I have revamped my Thursday letter – In My Own Words – to push me (severely) out of my comfort zone. Long-time readers know that I essentially replaced my weekly writings over the last year with this In My Library email. It wasn't on purpose. This was supposed to be in addition to the weekly writing I've always done. But I was getting so bored with my style of newsletter writing – which I'd done every week for the last 12 years – vaguely personal, vaguely inspirational, vaguely valuable. I've been in such a deep writing craft transformation these last few years learning to write fiction, that I want to bring those storytelling skills over to this space. But that requires me to share, to be more detailed and specific, to be more honest, and more uncomfortable with pushing my envelope. Well, Thursday's In My Own Words is all of that. And I hope you like it. T-minus 2 days!


What gets passed down becomes our history. A few for the canon:

Why is it so hard to tell our hairdresser that there needs to be a slightly shorter frame of layers around our face? Or to tell our nail technician that the corners of our nails are too rounded? Instead of the discomfort of saying something, we choose the discomfort of living with it....versus critiquing their work even though it's on our body. I don't do this anymore. I'm very vocal and very specific when something I've paid for doesn't suit me (just ask my brilliant curl specialist Kristie how many individual curls I'll lift and say, something's not laying right over here). But I used to be the girl who said nothing, which seems to be a shared experience for most women. Over the weekend, I learned of the Salty Lemonade experiment, which was conducted by ABC News (so not exactly high-science over there). Still, the observations broke my heart. Boys and girls were both given a glass of very salty lemonade to drink while they talked with a researcher. 100% of the boys said something. Gross. Yuk. Ew, this is terrible. And 100% of the girls said nothing about the gross amount of salt in their lemonade, choking it down, and even one saying something nice. When asked why, the girls all said they didn't want to be rude or make anyone feel bad. The intention is so big-hearted, AND, for the grown-up good girls reading this: say something about the salt in your lemonade this week!!! I swear. It's so freeing.


Stories are heirlooms. Here's one of mine:

Keeping with the good girl theme, I loved this article by my somatic therapist Celine – The Aftermath of Good Girl Conditioning. It took me a long time to be able to say to someone I love: I need more attention. I'm getting better at it. Some types of relationships are easier for me than others. For a long time, I worried about “being needy” and I'll never forget the first time someone told me “You're not needy. You have needs, and there's nothing wrong with that.” I'm actively learning to listen to my body – she often tells me loud and clear that my needs aren't being met. But I'll rationalize and strategize why it's OK that they're not. Listening to what I want and need in terms of love and attention has led to some endings this year, but it's also led to some seriously incredible foundations of trust built between me and me. I highly recommend the read if anything I just said resonates or if you're the woman still choking down the metaphorical salty lemonade.


My words are written just for you.