And we were lucky enough to have the author sign a copy of her book for us so we have a give away running at the site as well. If you haven’t had a chance to read Euphoria yet, definitely enter the give away. It is a great read!Read more
I recently started reading 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theatre by Sarah Ruhl. Ruhl is a playwright and as such, her writing focuses on play writing which is not a topic I typically think all that much about.
I picked up the book because I loved the title. What’s not to love about a book filled with the things you actually don’t have the time to do? I think it is a clever format and one I might, in fact, borrow someday for an essay of my own but I am digressing before I have even begun…
There are a few gorgeous quotes in the book about writing as a parent pulled from others and also written by Ruhl herself.
Take this for example:
“More than any other human relationship, overwhelmingly more, motherhood means being instantly interruptible, responsive, responsible. Children need one now…It is distraction, not meditation, that become habitual; interruption, not continuity.”
-Tillie Olsen, Silences
“I found that life intruding on writing was, in fact, life. And that, tempting as it may be for a writer who is also a parent, one must not think of life as an intrusion. At the end of the day, writing has very little to do with writing, and much to do with life. And life, by definition, is not an intrusion.”
Of course, though and not surprisingly, my favorite piece in the book is about reading aloud.
Ruhl begins the piece by explaining that reading was originally only done aloud. It wasn’t until the time of Augustine (350s), when privacy was invented (apparently privacy was invented?) that reading to oneself even became a thing you did.
How amazing it is to think how much this has changed, how little we read aloud in comparison to how things once were. Ruhl writes, “Now all of our acts of reading and writing are instantly transmittable, in silence. In the digital age, we read and digest texts and silently text back, never having read them out loud.”
But then she says the thing that I loved most of all…
“When children are small, we tell them to make a circle and we read to them. When they grow up, we tell them to sit in a corner and read to themselves. In the theater, we ask adults to be children again, to sit in a circle and be read to.”
How lovely this is… we ask adults to be children again. And I challenge us to do the same with our children. To ask our children to be children again and read aloud as often and long as we can. Even and especially after they can read to themselves because there is still something inherently important in hearing the written word spoke aloud.Read more
Rob has a running list of classic movies that he wants the girl to see. There is a great range from E.T. to A Few Good Men to Dead Poet’s Society. The list obviously includes some movies that they could watch now and others that are years away.
A few week’s ago, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was on t.v. and the girls loved it. Father of the Bride seemed like the next logical move. As we settled in to watch, however, Rob and I immediately realized something. A movie that we watched before we became parents could become a very different movie now that we had the titles of Mom and Dad.
Remember Father of the Bride with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton? A light hearted romantic comedy, right? Wrong! Father of the Bride is actually a huge tear jerker that makes you realize how ridiculously quickly your children’s childhoods are flashing before your eyes.
The scene when Annie and her dad play basketball after he has a temper tantrum about the wedding. Fun music, goofy comedy, right? Wrong again. Turns out it is nothing more than an opportunity to cry and wonder if the girls will still want to play basketball with Rob in the driveway next summer or if they will be ‘too cool.’
The scene when George is in jail for trying to buy only 8 of the 12 hotdog buns in the grocery store because there are only 8 hotdogs. Nina refuses to bail him out until he agrees to realize how important his actions are to Annie’s happiness. I remember this scene being funny because of the whole hot dog thing. It is pretty silly after all. Now though, the scene was tear inducing. Such a sweet moment between the two and also such an important reminder about how much our actions and words effect the girls.
More basketball. This time in the snow. And George tells Annie that he is going to remember this moment forever. I guess this was when I really lost it because really, I wish we could slow it all down. And I just want to collect as many of these moments as I can. Those moments that we will remember forever.
Fletch is on the list too. It seems like maybe something along those lines would be a good call for our next movie. Right?Read more
“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in it’s place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.”
I love the Old School Blogging series at The Miss Elaine-eous Life . This month’s theme is “A Few of My Favorite Things.”
Cookie: Chocolate chip. Or maybe sugar. Or perhaps oatmeal.
Bath Product Scent: I am so not a fan of scents. There aren’t many that I like and I find that those I do don’t linger anyway. For example, I have never been able to find a perfume that stays on me for more than five minutes.
T.V. Shows: House of Cards, Homeland and Scandal. And my new weakness? The Following. So darn creepy. I’m really not sure why I watch it but I just can’t stop.
Flowers/Plants: Blue hydrangeas or yellow tulips.
Bad-for-me-Snack: Goldfish. I seriously don’t buy them because I eat the whole bag when ever it finds it’s way in to our house.
Magazine: Brain Child. I’ve been reading Brain Child since the girls were teeny tiny. I am so glad that they are now including parents of teens in their writing because scarily enough I relate more to those pieces now than I do to toddler stories and such.
Hobby: Reading and writing and photography.
Holiday: Christmas. Tonight I was driving home and saw Halloween lights on a house and I got all excited for Christmas light time to arrive.
Girls Night Out: Dinner. I really don’t like cooking very much so a good dinner out with good friends and lots of chatting is one of my favorite things to do.
Date Night: I love going out to the movies with Rob. It’s been a log time since we’ve done it. Perhaps I see Gone Girl in my future.Read more
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and John Klassen. This is one of the most anticipated children’s books that I remember in a long time. It makes sense seeing as this duo was responsible for the amazing Extra Yarn and Jon Klassen is responsible for two of the most debated children’s books I know, I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat. Sam and Dave is good. It is better when read with multiple children who can discuss it and it is better when read more than once. I missed something pretty important on my first reading!
Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree by Naoko Stoop tells the story of a little girl and her animal friends who unknowingly (at first) create a library in their forest. It is a sweet story about the power of books and reading.
Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison tells the story of a little pooch who realizes that there is extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary.
Please, Louise by Toni Morrison & Slade Morrison is a story told is gorgeous Morrison prose about the magic of the library. It is truly a love beautiful love story that every librarian and library lover should read.
There Bears in a Boat by David Soman. I love the illustrations in this book. I was feeling so-so about the story (not really loving that the bears lived on the beach) until I read that the book has been described as The Three Bears meets Where The Wild Things Are. Now I think it is pretty great.Read more
Over the summer, I discovered Podcasts. I know I’m a bit late to the party but I am having a lot of fun with this new way of learning and listening.
The first podcast I discovered was The Art of Simple. Anne Bogel, (a.k.a. Modern Mrs. Darcy) one of my favorite bloggers, was interviewed over the summer at Tsh Oxenreider, The Art of Simple. It was so fun to hear Anne talk about her all of her favorite books after reading about them for so long.
Read Aloud Revival. Sarah Mackenzie from Amongst Lovely Things hosts one my favorite children’s literature blog. Her tag line is “build your family culture around books’ and what’s not to love about that. Sarah is a mother to six children and a homeschooler. Her book tastes trend much more classical than mine do but I love her passion and knowledge around reading aloud. She interviews a reading expert on each episode and I learn a ton each time I listen.
TED Radio Hour. This is my favorite of NPR’s many podcasts. Each episodes focuses on a topic and curates snippets from various TED talks. There are then interviews with each of the speakers. Examples of titles include, “The Next Greatest Generation” and “The Source of Creativity.”
Dan Pink Office Hours. This great podcast seems to have disappeared. I have my fingers crossed that it will return because there were always great interviews. Some of my favorites included Amanda Ripley author of The Smartest Kids in the World and Malcolm Gladwell whose recent release is titled David and Goliath.
So… are you a podcast listener? If so, what are your favorites? I would love to add to my list.
I read the paper every weekend. Weekdays, I just never get to it. If Rob sees an article he thinks I might like, he’ll pull it for me but that’s as close as I get to being a newspaper reader during the week. On the weekends though, I really do try to sit down and find a few articles to enjoy. This weekend found my two favorite sections (The New York Times Style and Reviews sections) chock full of interesting tidbits.
Here are a few I thought might be worth discussing…
To Siri, With Love by Judith Newman. Newman, with writing both funny and sad, discusses her autistic son’s relationship with Siri. We learn how this tool is actually serving as a communication mentor (the speech therapist in me loves this!) and as a friend. Whether this seems creepy or not, the writing is great and the topic fascinating.
Look Homeward, Reader by Meg Wolitzer. Meg Wolitzer tackles the whole ‘should adults being reading young adult books’ question. And comes to the same conclusion I did when writing about the same topic at Great New Books a few months ago.
Life Was a Roving Party Until I Grew Up by Monica Drake. The Modern Love essay is almost always great and this week was no exception.
BFF: Bets Friend for a Bit Longer by Jennifer Conlin. A few week’s ago, a good friend of my mom’s died. My mom was the one to make the discovery. Her friend did not show up for a scheduled lunch. Based on who had talked to the friend, it turns out she might have died a few days before anyone realized. I thought of her immediately as I read this article about best friends who have checked in on each other for years and years.
Voting in the Rain by Ann Patchett. I love anything Ann Patchett writes. This article reminded me that we all need to vote in upcoming elections- even if it appears that they is nothing terribly exciting happening and maybe even more so because of that.
The Boys in the Clubhouse by Buzz Bissinger. In the wake of the disgusting situation with the Sayreville football team, this was a fascinating read.