Hello, everybody! April and May flew by because time isn’t real anymore, so I’m doing a double month round-up. My time in quarantine has resulted in less looks but more books. (Turns out I was definitely not just “dressing for myself” because I’m writing this in a nightgown covered with penguins.)
I’ve been reading a lot of children’s fiction – middle-grade is my old reliable, especially when it comes to comfort. My wonderful first year of college is over (thanks, Smith!) so I’ve had more time to devote to writing, my job at Project Write Now, and of course, a bunch of hobbies that I’ll likely abandon in two weeks. (I swear I’m going to come out of this an embroiderer. And also maybe a knitter. And a crocheter. I don’t know why my automatic response to fear of the unknown is needle-crafts.)
What I Read This Month:
- The Gollywhopper Games: Friend Or Foe by Jody Feldman – This was a sequel to a book I’d read (and loved) as a kid. The same spark wasn’t quite there for me, but the interactive puzzles were still fun.
- We Are Okay by Nina Lacour – INCREDIBLE. Such exquisite prose. I cried.
- Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan – This book was not short. (Haha. Sorry.) I liked the precocious voice of this narrator. Teared up at the end. (So far, Vivian’s Cry Count = 2).
- To Night Owl From Dogfish by Meg Wolitzer and Holly Goldberg Sloan – LOVED this novel told through emails and letters. I didn’t expect to become so invested in the main character’s friendship, but I was truly rooting for them. Another cry. (Cry Count = 3).
- Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo – Wonderful. It’s Kate DiCamillo. Of course I cried. (Cry Count = 4).
- Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele – I took Introduction to Gender and Sexuality this fall in college, and I loved this informative book told through comics and art.
- The Tempest by Shakespeare – I read this for my spring English class, and we studied it from a colonialist perspective. Not my favorite Shakespeare. Probably my least favorite that I’ve read, actually, but it’s still the Bard, so there are some killer lines.
- A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o – Wow. I also read this for my English class, and it was such an intricate portrayal of life after war, colonialism, what it means to be a hero, and how secrets about the past can destroy the future. Would definitely recommend.
- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams – OKAY. I’m aware that this is a short children’s book which usually I wouldn’t count towards my reading list, but I’ve got GRIEVANCES. I listened to this book through the Calm app. I wasn’t sleeping well, and the app (which my college paid for because the global pandemic was stressing the students out, thanks Smith) suggested that I listen to a bedtime story to go to sleep. Okay. Fine. A woman with a soothing British Accent reads the Velveteen Rabbit. I figured I would drift off to the comforting story about a stuffed animal. Ladies & gents, I was on the EDGE OF MY SEAT. This was not a gentle story!! This rabbit goes through trials and challenges!! I was rooting for it!! I gasped out loud at 12am!! By the end I was more awake than ever!! How does anyone go to sleep when they don’t know what happens to the rabbit!! (And…you guessed it. I cried. Cry Count = 5!)
I’ll help you check out a book, if you’re not busy checking me out. (In an alternate universe where I am a twenty-something man who wears boat shoes, I would be so good at pick-up-lines.)
“I got that red lip classic thing that you like, you’ve got that…what? You can’t hear me? Oh, sorry, I was on mute.”
Shoutout to my sister, Quinn DeRosa, for taking these photos! They are clearly 10,000x better than the photos I try to take myself and I WILL be using them as author photos, pls and thank you.
- Letters! Letters! Letters! Thank you to all my friends who write me letters. Getting mail is my #1 joy in life, and I love writing back. (Also, sorry to all my friends who have to read my handwriting.)
- I’m teaching a class, Fridays with Vivian, with Project Write Now, which has inspired me to think more about how I approach storytelling. It’s the highlight of my week. I’m also working on their teen program initiatives. (PSA: There’s a free teen Wordshare Open Mic, also on Fridays, that I moderate.)
- I wrote an article about hats for my school’s fashion magazine! (It’s got a bold thesis statement, but I stand by it.) You can read my article (and see my friends’ brilliant photographs and writing) HERE.
- I finished round #3564 of edits on my book! Just kidding. I think this is my 5th full draft. I cut 10,000 words this time. Oh, you smell something kind of weird? Don’t worry about it, that’s just the decaying bodies of all the darlings I had to kill. (This is the exact sort of melodrama I had to cut.)
- I’m writing some poems? For the first time in forever?
- Those Youtube advertisements finally won me over. I bought Margaret Atwood’s Masterclass. It was so fun! I think she is one of our most brilliant sentence-crafters, plotters, and storytellers. That is to say, she is one of my absolute favorite writers.
- I won Smith College’s Gertrude Posner Spencer Prize for fiction. Thanks, Smith! (This is the third time I’ve thanked my college in this blog post. I just miss them, okay??
Please please please let us go back in the fall.)
- I wrote a 10,000 word short story for my fiction class, which will probably be a novel eventually.
- I think I might try to write a (different) book over the summer! We’ll see how it goes.
- My sister had the brilliant idea of doing presentation night: each family member presents a powerpoint about something they’re interested in. My sister ranked TV/Movie babies, my dad talked about cool toys he wanted as a kid, and my mom make a slide show from photos of our dog. I made a presentation about wordplay in one of my favorite songs ever, MOOO!
- Okay, disclaimer, I did not make that beautiful spinach-cheese-quiche. My mom did. However, I took that photo, and I did eat it, so I’m putting it in my round-up, gosh darn it. I haven’t become an avid baker, but I have tried my hand at some less useful hobbies. I’ve been knitting, jigsaw-puzzling (is that a verb?), and I’m hoping to learn how to embroider and/or sew. I should also probably learn how to drive but I don’t want to so that’s that.
- It turns out going outside is super good for you? I’ve been having a great time going on short bike rides and long walks around my town – I’m discovering places I didn’t even know existed. And you can never go wrong with a picnic. (This photo was taken right outside my house, so I wasn’t wearing a mask, but I wear one when I walk/bike around. Please wear masks and maintain social distancing!)
- We’re in a global pandemic and my entire future is uncertain, so I did what any young woman with an active Pinterest account and more than one bullet journal does: I made a vision board! According to my board, I want to read more books, wear red lipstick, own a nice home that’s walking distance to a quaint village, and adopt a bunny. (Other things that I want in my future that I couldn’t find pics of: health insurance, restored faith in democracy, and the destruction of the patriarchy.)
- I’m hanging out with my dog more! He got a cut on his leg, so now he has to wear a cone. I am protecting his dignity by posting a photo pre-cone, but rest assured that he looks just as cute/pathetic as you might expect.
- I finished schools, which means I finished finals! These three drawings are costume design illustrations I did for my sapphic psychedelic version of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shoutout to my professor for letting me carry-out that vision.
- Finally, I am reading magazines! I am cutting them up! I am pasting them in my journal! We’ve all got passions, folks. Here’s a photo of my process – I sort the photos by color before I create my journals.