Favorite Authors and Why

I read a lot. Sometimes/usually when people read a lot or watch a lot of movies or have deep passions for something they don’t have favorites.

I do!

Off the top of my head I have four favorite authors with a number one favorite writer:

#4: Mitch Albom

I read his work last year, and I was hooked immediately. Starting with the five people you meet in heaven I loved his writing style. I was excited to read his work, which I read five of last year. In fact, his latest book came out last year and I had a conniption when I saw it in Barnes and Noble. So, he’s my favorite because of the stories he tells and his style of writing.

#3: Dan Brown

The guy responsible for The DaVinci Code which caused so much controversy. What I love about his work is the research that goes into it and he has my favorite literary character ever: Robert Langdon. I’m a student of research, that’s what I know and love. I am fascinated with every book. The movies are great, but the books hold so much information that you lose so much of the plot and even characters by just watching the movie. My favorite of his is The Lost Symbol, the one that’s probably not gonna get a movie (boo). This book had the best villain Langdon has come across, and it’s a shame that we can never witness it on the big screen. So, he’s my favorite because of characters and research behind it.

#2: Agatha Christie

Oof, I love her so much. Best known for her mysteries, she is one of the best selling authors to date, and her play ‘The Mousetrap’ is the longest running play in history. I adore suspense and mystery, and she does it perfectly. I have read over a dozen of her books, and all of her plays, and I have yet to correctly guess the killer. There’s a reason she is and always will be the Queen of Mysteries. And side note, I am so glad BBC is doing mini series of her books now. ‘And Then There Were None’ (my favorite book of hers) was fantastic to see on screen, and now I get to search for ‘Ordeal by Innocence’. So, she’s a favorite because I can never figure out whodunnit.

And #1 (no surprise): Edgar Allan Poe

Yes, he’s an author. People try to convince me he’s simply a poet or a writer. No, he’s written a book, so he’s an author, fight me. He was a tormented soul, and we do have to acknowledge he was a troubled individual. However, he wrote some amazing dark work. He revolutionised the gothic writing, and, fun fact, he had one of the first papers conceptualising the Big Bang theory. Okay, it was a poem, but still. He was brilliant. His narration was on point, his writing style was crisp, and his themes were wonderous. I adore everything about his writing (though I don’t condone it). So, he’s my favorite because of…everything.

This list is never set in stone. I mean, Mitch was added only last year. Someone else may be added. Someone might even be taken off. If you have favorites, don’t be ashamed. If they change, don’t be ashamed. The mind is fluid, so why can’t our tastes in books be.

Love

Alexandra

Spewing Happiness

There’s something to know about me: when I’m in a state of joy, I ramble. I yak about stuff about me.

I never believe I’m narcissistic. Yet happiness causes me to talk about myself? Honestly…I don’t know.

I just found out about this myself.

I’m involved in a production that has been super stressful. I’ve not been a happy person for a while. One night, I was chatting up with a couple of the actors and I was TALKING. I’m usually a listener, but I was spewing words about theatre, Glasgow, writing, YouTube, and some of the coolest experiences I have been blessed to have.

I didn’t feel a need to show off (I don’t think), and I didn’t think they were bored with my behaviour (I don’t think).

I like to talk about things I love when I’m happy.

Should be said, I didn’t steal the entire conversation. They had their points to make about theatre, makeup, production, and competition. And I listened to them. When it was appropriate, I talked about things that make me happy.

Anyway, later that night, I felt super guilty about sharing so much. I was so worried that I made that whole conversation about me and now they hate me and want to stay away.

But that’s my depression and low self esteem talking.

I believe that happiness is sharing what you love. You don’t need to talk about it like I do, because that might be a little problematic. Do it in your way, but don’t be afraid to share your interests. Be happy.

Hugs

Alexandra

#metoo

At this point, it’s not a surprise.

I’ll spare details, but I have two incidents to share for message purposes.

I was 15 when I was followed on my way home from soccer practice.

Don’t walk alone. And if you must walk alone, be prepared. Pepper spray. Cell phone (don’t look down at it, since it distracts you from your surroundings, but have it at the ready). When I had to take the Greyhound from Virginia to Idaho, Vladimir gave me a knife, which I kept in my pocket 24/7. After what happened, when I’d walk home from rehearsals in college, I’d call someone and talk on the phone the whole way there.

I was 14 when I was assaulted by a girl in my P.E. class.

It’s not just boys assaulting girls out here (though it’s still a problem). Girls can assault girls. Boys can assault boys. Girls can assault boys. It can go any which way, but for some reason anything beyond boys assaulting girls is almost swept under the rug. That’s why when it happened to me, I was called a liar and that girls can’t assault other girls.

Bullshit. Yes, they can. Support your friend no matter who they say did it.

Those are two moments.

I wish nothing but safety for everyone.

#metoo

Being Fat is Unhealthy

That’s the stereotype, right?

If you’re a chub, you’re unhealthy, eating nothing but McDonalds and sitting lazily in front of the TV.

Genetics, DNA, chemistry, science; they have nothing to do with it. You’re fat because you do nothing, and that’s unhealthy.

It’s something I’ve faced my whole life.

I’m fat (used as a descriptive, not derogatory word). I’ve faced ridicule from classmates, teachers, co-workers, even strangers. Trying to do anything was a challenge when they believed you weren’t capable because of how you looked.

I was told I couldn’t try out for basketball because I was too bouncy and soft.

I was told I couldn’t be on the softball team because I wouldn’t fit into the uniforms.

I was told I couldn’t be an Egyptologist (my original dream in life) because there was a lot of outdoor activity that would strain an unhealthy (fat) person.

I was traumatized by a physical education (P.E.) teacher who tore me down for my weight in front of classmates, which would spawn a dozen years of self-hate.

I was told my fatness was causing ulcers, when in reality I had a life-threatening infection spreading to my kidney and stomach. (Don’t even get me started on doctors who believe everything wrong with you is because of weight. I could’ve died, and they barely looked at me before saying it’s because I was ‘obese’).

I was too fat to be on a horse, to tap dance, to act on stage, to be in improv, to do anything. Despite doing those things anyway.

And don’t even get me started on diet!

Countless times have I been asked if I ‘should really eat that?’ when it came to anything non-green. Basically, if I wasn’t eating raw spinach, my dietary choices were in question. Heaven help me if I craved some pizza.

I can’t do sports because I’m ‘unhealthy’. I can’t perform because I’m ‘unhealthy’. I can’t eat ice cream because I’m ‘unhealthy’.

I’d like to sat hello, as a girl who was a Varsity soccer player, and who had an eating disorder in high school and college.

But I’m fat.

So I must be unhealthy.

Book Club! (and apology)

So, this month was a roller coaster, huh?

Though I didn’t properly announce it, this month was what I call Down Series month. All my posts were super down in the dumps.

Reason being, January is a harsh month to go through. Divorce rates get a little higher. Bankruptcy rates shake. Seasonal depression hits. There’s no sun. There’s no money. And so many people get sick. It’s known to be the most depressing month of the year.

Not to downplay the severity January can bring, I figured if I got a bunch of sad out all at once, the rest of the year can be brighter. It’s an experiment I’m willing to try.

And if January is getting you down, know that the next month is right around the corner. You can get through it, and seek help if you need it.

I’m sorry for bringing you down with me. Hopefully we can still be friends?

Moving on. Until the videos get up and going again, I’m gonna do monthly bookclub here (doki doki).

The first book I read was Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie. If you didn’t know, Christie is a favorite. Right up there with my Poe man. The last couple of books I read of hers were meh, but this one reminded me why I love Agatha Christie’s writing! Cleverly put together with great relatable characters (and one over dramatic one). And, as usual, I couldn’t figure out the ending. 4.5/5 stars.

The second book I read was You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I actually don’t usually subscribe to self-help books, but everyone kept talking about this one so I gave it a shot. And I can understand why everyone was talking about it: it’s great! If you’re sceptical, like me, about self-help books but desperately need, like me, to help yourself, this is the book to check out. 4.5/5 stars.

The third book I read was a library book store pickup from the 80s called Why Did She Have to Die? The title pulled me in, even if the cover was a vomit of 80s. What I really loved about this book is it accurately depicts the stages of grief. I read this in one sitting because I was invested in the protagonist’s grief. 4/5 stars.

The fourth book is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I was told about this book from a friend of mine who loved it in her youth, so I read it. And loved it. If I could fault one thing, it’s the cliffhangers he always puts in. ‘It would never be the same after tomorrow.’ Too much. However, it has great messages and reminds me of how cruel high school was (and how much I wish I had a friend like Stargirl). Young or old, read this. 4/5 stars.

The fifth and final book I read was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’ve always been fascinated by TV and movie versions, but I never read the book until now. Quite different than I expected. I still debate whether it was a good or bad difference. I do prefer ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ version. 3/5 stars.

And voila, a good start. I read five books when I only needed to read three. I’ve got a head start on my year-long challenge.

Let me know what you think of these books if you’ve read them, and leave me suggestions for books! I’m always looking for more.

Remember, starting Friday we’re back to uplifting stories and confident messages.

Hugs!

Alexandra

A Small Crack in the Dam

One of my favorite moments in life is when my sanity is pushed to the breaking point, and when I snap I get at least one of the following statements:

“Where’d that come from?” “Why are you mad/sad all of a sudden?” “What just happened? You were fine a second ago.” Bleh bleh bleh. (Also, I’m kidding, I hate this happening).

It didn’t come suddenly.

That’s what people don’t seem to understand.

Do you know why a small crack in a dam is so dangerous? Because it can spiderweb, crack some more, and eventually break the whole dam, drowning everything in its path.

People are dams.

When they explode, it was the final crack before the dam burst.

And because the person was only there to witness one crack, they defensive, confused, even angry. Not understanding that there may be more to it than telling someone the printer is out of ink, resulting in a machine gun fire of profanities and crying.

Most of the time we don’t know when our dam will burst or what will do it. That’s why it’s called a snap: it’s sudden.

I, personally, feel like I’m only a couple of cracks away from a dam burst.

When I Didn’t Have Time to Write a Proper Post

I had an original plan to write another down post for the Down Series, but I ran out of time. So, in order to get this out on time, I’m gonna share some pics of what sucked up a lot of time this weekend: a concert.

I went out of state (aka down to Utah) to see Disturbed opened by Three Days Grace. One of my favorite bands opening one of Vladimir’s favorite bands. Arguably, our actual favorites. It was so much fun, we had a blast, and here are some pics:

See you with a proper post on Wednesday.

When a Class Made Me Cry

I’m a guest teacher.

That’s my job, and it can be difficult. Particularly the students.

Not too long ago, I was teaching 8th graders (age 13-14). We were going over an Edgar Allan Poe story as a review for the quiz they were about to take. I was excited talking about Poe, obviously, he is my homie. (Also his birthday is tomorrow!) Even still, I was already stressed, and this class was not helping.

They were loud and obnoxious and argumentative and rude and made fun of Poe, of his story, of me…

And I cracked.

I was silent. No noises. And I tried to hide it, but tears were a-flowin’. I simply handed out the tests to a now-shocked class and sat behind the desk, facing away, dabbing my tears (gotta preserve the makeup; it’s my only dignity at this stage).

What makes a job so menial that students think it’s okay to treat us like dirt?

And why does society accept it?

Maybe I’m just a cry-baby.

Fear

I am scared of children with scissors.

Reasons why can be found here.

Yesterday and the day before, I did an activity with sixth graders (age 11-12).

And I can tell you, I was so scared!

Kids love to play with scissors! They walk opening and closing the blades in front of them. They pretend to cut each others hair and clothes. They point them at each other and jab the air.

But it’s a “stupid” fear, so I have to keep quiet while I watch children cut paper too close to their fingers. And God forbid they come anywhere near me with them!

How childish! How immature! Why can’t you be afraid of heights like a normal person? What a lame fear.

I know.

You don’t think I wish I wasn’t scared?

Guilted

I got a dog recently. Her name is Moro, and I will make a proper introduction post about her later.

My mother and I had been talking about a service dog or a therapy dog for a while now. And recently, Mother had this feeling where we needed to go to the shelter to pick up a potential pup. I, as I always do, had my reservations. We have cats, I have work and other responsibilities, we’re poor, etc. She was insistent that the dog would help me, so I went along with it.

When we got to the shelter, there was an energetic, terrified, QUIET Malinois pup. She was amazing, and I got her. I had plans to take her to obedience classes so she can learn the basics before training her myself (with help) to become a personalized therapy dog.

That is the plan.

However, there’s a new stressor: my family.

New dog means new responsibilities on top of what I have. That means waking up at 5:30 instead of 6:30 so she can have a morning walk. It means making sure she is exercised by taking her out, since the backyard doesn’t have enclosed fences yet. It means dealing with her naughtiness (she is a pup after all) of headbutting my nose every morning, pottying in the house, and tearing my books out of the bookcases.

Because of her, I have spent some bill money in order to get her crate and food. Because of her, I am getting about 4 hours of sleep at night. Because of her, I’ve had to rearrange my bedroom to something I’m not completely happy with.

And I get it.

This is my responsibility now.

I’ve had her for 10 days now. Just 10 days. And I’ve been greeted by two phrases that haunt me, and make me feel like I’m either stupid for getting her or that I’ve been guilted into getting Moro.

First was from my brother: “Well, you decided to get a dog”.

This was when I was telling him how tired I was since I have to wake up earlier now. Yeah, I thought a therapy dog could help me with my PTSD, my depression, my panic disorder, my mental breakdowns I seem to be having more of. I was willing to wait, but Mother felt I needed Moro now, and I found a good dog. Maybe I was stupid to get her now. I could’ve waited, and got another dog.

Second was my mother: “You get to deal with this for the next 10 to 15 years”.

This came after I was upset with Moro jumping on my bed. Do you know why I was upset with her? It wasn’t because she came up on my bed. I like cuddling. It was because she fully headbutted my nose, and I thought it was going to bleed at any moment. No blood, but it was throbbing and bruising like a mofo. That phrase makes me feel like I’ve made yet another mistake that’s going to effect my life horribly.

I feel guilted into getting her. I “needed a dog”, and they “thought she was going to help me”. It was for the sake of me. ‘Help us help you’. ‘If you get a dog, it would make us happy’. Can’t say no to my family, I guess.

Do I regret getting her?

Maybe…

Do I resent her?

No. She is a puppy (5 months old) in a new environment, and I’ve only had her for 10 days! It’s going to take a while.

The reason I’m sharing this is because I was on the cusp of another mental breakdown this past weekend. My room was an awful mess because Moro likes to find cardboard boxes and rip them to shreds. My lack of sleep was finally getting to my psyche. I was worried about production (by the way, guys, I’m in a play as well), and my usual worries of no money, school situations, existentialism, yada yada yada. And on this verge, my family kept asking questions, telling me what I needed to do, and I had to remind myself that not only did I have this dog to take care of now, I still have the cats to take care of. Everything was crumbling, and the cherry on top was my brother coming into my room and immediately saying, “I’m leaving; your room smells disgusting.”

From work to production to schooling to hobbies to house care to the new dog to my already unstable mind…it can feel like too much.

And I feel guilted into it.

 

***

 

Disclaimer: I realize it’s not my family’s want for me to feel that way. It’s just how it is and how my brain perceives things.