Friday, June 14, 2019

Review: Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

Brave EnoughBrave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It seems appropriate to read Cheryl Strayed when I'm on the road, but road-brain also makes hit hard to review her books and sound articulate. Brave Enough is basically Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life: The Cheryl Strayed Version.

This little book is a compilation of notes and quotes taken mostly from Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail and Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. (If you want to say, "Well, Amy, Tiny Beautiful Things is itself a compilation of Strayed's advice from Dear Sugar on The Rumpus," good for you. Yes, that makes this a compilation from a compilation.)

If you love Cheryl Strayed quotes or know someone who does, this is a cute addition to your coffee table or guest room. The quotes are great and even though I recognized them from her other books, I still caught myself enthusiastically highlighting and sharing.

I also wish Strayed would write a book on airport and airplane etiquette. Maybe she has enough finesse to compassionately express how annoying it is when the person in front of you is using her seat as a rocking chair when you're trying to type.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Review: Tiny Beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear SugarTiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm not sure how to review this book because it feels more like debriefing after experiencing something awesome than reviewing a book. A client of mine recommended Tiny Beautiful Things to me a while ago. I believe it was a gentleman recovering from a breakup. He mentioned that it was a collection of advice from Dear Sugar. He followed that up with, "You know? That woman who wrote Wild?" I said, "Oh, you mean Cheryl Strayed."

Friday, August 17, 2018

Book Review: Whiskey Words & a Shovel II

Whiskey Words & a Shovel IIWhiskey Words & a Shovel II by R.H. Sin
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

We need a "total bomb" rating on here from Leonard Maltin's movie ratings. This poetry volume deserves it. I sacrificed time that I could have spent slaving over my own manuscript, scrolling through Facebook, masturbating, or maybe even reading a worthwhile poetry book and I'm never going to get those hours of my life back. Just poof! they're gone. They're gone thanks to "feminist" poet r.h. Sin who went from Instagram to real books because that's what the kids are doing these days. You can find out all about it here

The poems in this volume and the snippets of others I saw a bimbo post on Instagram are sophomoric efforts to capture the middle of the night utterances we share when we're drunk at parties and fighting sleep. Let's take this little gem as an example:
in love with your potential
suffering from the reality

my mind knows
what my heart ignores"
Problems: 1. The meter is basically nonexistent. the first two lines are not parallel in language or concepts. I'm suffering from the reality that this book is terrible, but this poor line is just sitting there like it pulled up in the wrong space in a parking lot. The poem does nothing to evoke the sense of potential of the feeling of disappointment at unrealized potential.

It should be something like: In love with your potential/ disillusioned by your choice
Mind currently understands/Heart cannot accept. (I need two more syllables)

You see where I'm going with this though? The original is rubbish. The rewrite is still rubbish, but slightly more enjoyable.

If you're a guy who has a girlfriend that you've been cheating on for years while she lends you money, and you want to help her feel beautiful and #deep so that she will post pictures of this on Instagram that you can ignore while you're out with other women, this book is for you. It that doesn't describe you, just don't read it.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Review: Suicide Hotline Hold Music by Jessy Randall--First Summer Poetry Review

Suicide Hotline Hold MusicSuicide Hotline Hold Music by Jessy Randall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Suicide Hotline Hold Music is one of those poetry books that probably would have remained off my radar if I didn't live in Denver where we have some amazing independent bookstores as well as an amazing community of talented local authors and poets. Anyone who looks further into poet and illustrator Jessy Randall's history will notice that her work has received attention in a variety of places from the conventional such as Asimov's and McSweeney's to the side of a street-cleaning truck.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Road Trip Day #11: Provo to Grand Junction

I am well into Wednesday morning because even after all these days on the road and driving all day today, I am still wide awake in the middle of the night. It's a sickness. That's all I can say. For anyone who thinks this is going to be an interesting post travel-wise, I'll save you some time: it's not going to be. It's more of a recap and a "what have we learned" exploration. Depending on what you're looking for, this may or may not be for you. Maybe that's true of everything. I'm going to just go forth and do my thing and leave it up to you. Part of the reason I'm up right now is my bags were full of really stinky clothing and I need to wash some of it so I have underwear tomorrow. Overshare, but yes, that's an issue right now. As far as what happened on the road from Provo to Grand Junction goes, you'll just have to read on.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Road Trip 2018: Days 9 and 10--The Sierras and Provo

"Dinner" Party Plaque
Basically, we're driving back to Grand Junction. These places weren't "destinations" and I didn't meet-up with any friends in Nevada or Utah. Apologies in advance for not having any of that kind of excitement in this post. I haven't been on I-80 going out of California in decades, and I don't think I want to do it again any time soon because coming down the Sierras was exciting and not in the best way. It's a steep grade. However, I did drive over Donner Pass and managed to snag a picture of it from the rest stop parking lot. All of my horror fan friends were just delighted. It's so good to know that I've been hanging out with the right people, and yes, plenty of cannibalism jokes were made yesterday and spilled over into today. I do have a sick sense of humor, but in fairness, we started out in Winnemucca, NV today and drove to Provo, UT. That stretch of I-80 is so boring, it's ridiculous.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Road Trip 2018 Day 8: Cannery Row (Monterey) and San Francisco

“[Cannery Row's] inhabitants are, as the man once said, 'whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,' by which he meant everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, 'saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,' and he would have meant the same thing.”  Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
6/12/18: Updated with links. More to come.


Real-life Inspo for "Wide Eyed Ida"
Monterey is one of the most sacred places in my mind. Even pulling into the parking lot of Monterey Surf Inn at about 11 p.m. last night, I felt a sense of ease like I was home and just belonged. I also felt a lot of emotion swell inside me. I'm still not where I'd like to be in terms of clarity about life goals and what success will look like for me or how to achieve it. Also, when I'm in Monterey, I know it's temporary. I'm going to have to leave Monterey.

We began our Monterey adventure with brunch at Rosine's on Alvarado Street where we both ordered Monterey Omelets--delicious omelets filled with ham and covered in jack cheese and green onions. I also treated myself to a mimosa and coffee.

After brunch, we took the trolley from our parking lot to Cannery Row. I needed to pick up a new hat because I thought I lost my mom's white hat in San Diego (as it turns out, it was just in the back seat.)  Hat acquired: we moved on to interpretive signs along the row and engaged the help of a local newspaper article for a self-guided walking tour of Cannery Row. Thanks to that article, we found the original site of one of the houses of "ill repute" from Cannery Row. We also found a statue dedicated to the real woman the character Wide Eyed Ida was based on.

Sign Beside Doc's Backyard
Doc's lab still stands as well. In fact, free tours are available every 2nd Saturday. Time slots do fill up quickly though, so if this is something you want to do, plan for it. You can view Doc's backyard through the fence behind it and interpretive signs provide additional background information.

The bars and restaurants up and down the row were overwhelmed that Saturday and the same could be said for Fisherman's Wharf. If you plan a visit, you may want to look into doing it on a Thursday or Friday instead if you mainly want to walk around and take pictures. Also, even for the first week of June, it was cold and windy. Long sleeves, comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and a hat that stays on are essentials.

San Francisco

Traffic and roads between Monterey and San Francisco are crazy. The 101 randomly ends in spots and resumes after short breaks. Most of the time, this is a minor issue, but sometimes, it means being dumped off and having to awkwardly merge left into some high-speed traffic.

We were meeting a fellow writer at an event called Writers With Drinks in the Make-Out Room (more on this event to follow) and decided to visit Zeitgeist on Valencia for burgers and drinks. This punk rock loving spot is popular with the locals. They offer a decent selection of beer, billiards, pinball, a biergarten in the back and a large dark bar. Prices for food and drink are reasonable and the staff are great. The only downside is it is loud there and seating is in short supply. Also, it's cash only and that's a bit annoying.

We met my friend at the Makeout Room where the bar is also cash only. Initially, it was quieter, but that changed after the series of speakers--all of whom had books available for purchase outside the men's room. One reader, adult film star Joanna Angel, shared an excerpt from Night Shift, a choose your own adventure erotica book in which her main character worried about the streets near the sex toy shop she worked in having a high number of pedestrian fatalities. She said she often worried about running into someone she knew there. I think she was worried about them running into her, and with good reason.

I'm passing out, but I'll post pictures soon.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Road Trip 2018 Days 6 & 7: Glendale and the 101

MOD Flyer (front)

It's amazing how fast time goes by when I'm on vacation. We were having so much fun over the past two days, I just didn't have a chance to blog. Let's see how much I can get down here before I pass-out. I reconnected with a friend from graduate school and got all the dirty details about what happened to the rest of our classmates after graduation. I also visited with my grandma, and somewhat appropriately, found out that Hollywood has a Museum of Death.