Little Reads – March 16, 2018

Little Reads is a weekly blog post dedicated to short stories or essays I find interesting online. They may be older posts or they may have published recently, but you will always find a link to those posts and my opinions here.

First off, while this isn’t a short story or an essay, I did want to share this amazing obituary written about the late Stephen Hawking. I’m not a physicist or have an interest in learning physics, but I admire this man. Despite the lengths his body endured through his sickness he continued to study and create many new theories. His contributions to science and physics help to bring more answers to what the meaning of the universe is. I even learned a little bit about the Hawking radiation, which is aptly named after him.

Now that he’s even more a part of the fabric of the universe, I read this amazing obituary from the New York Times about what he was able to accomplish in his life with Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a pretty lengthy article highlighting many accomplishments of his life and some of it was a bit difficult to grasp because of the science, but still I would strongly recommend skimming.

The main thing they talk about here is his work with black holes. According to this and his theory, he believed that black holes not only sucked in a lot of materials, but it also radiated some materials back. I’ve read a lot of Science Fiction to know that a black hole is nothing but destruction. If I’m correct in this (and I’m probably not because I’m not a physicist), Stephen Hawking’s theory means that what we believed to be this swirling death hole not only destroys but creates. I mean, if you’re a scientist, that’s something big right?

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Image from Lit Hub website: https://lithub.com/esme-weijun-wang-finds-her-way-back-to-a-beloved-childhood-dish/

The second article I found was this beautiful one written by Esme Weijun Wang and her struggle with her chronic illness. She talks about her fight with Lyme disease and how that’s essentially made her gluten-sensitive. She then goes into discussing the joys of enjoying a bowl of noodles from Taiwan and how that made her feel terrible and the adaptations we all have to make when trying to survive.

I resonate so much with this article. Ever since finding out that I have chronic Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism, I try my best to stay gluten and dairy free. I mean, I do have my weak moments where I get a cheeseburger or whip up a batch of my homemade mac and cheese, but I can never eat gluten and dairy regularly to keep my thyroid and body as healthy as I can.

But there’s so many things I miss from my childhood and a lot of that includes food from Asian countries. While my symptoms when eating these foods aren’t as bad (I get a slight headache), I still feel the sacrifices you have to make in order to stay alive. I have to sacrifice a little bit of my own heritage so that I can continue to maintain my body without ups and downs of thyroid issues.

And it kills me sometimes. I would do anything for a giant bowl of noodles but I also know that I’m better off with some meat, veg, and a bowl of rice.

We all have to make sacrifices and you can meet those sacrifices with a positive attitude and you can have that bowl of noodles. It can taste exactly like home despite the minor changes you had to make.

If you have any little reads to suggest, contact me and let me know! I would love to read your little reads.

How I failed NaNoWriMo

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There are no excuses.

There are no excuses at all.

But I failed regardless.

I knew going into NaNoWriMo this year that my efforts in writing a novel would be fruitless. I assumed I’d make some good headway, but definitely no where near the end of the story. Sadly, I ended this month with the same amount of words I had when I started. 5000 words.

While I tried to convince myself that this is fine, I can’t still help but to feel a sense of failure. Failure in not pursuing my dreams. Failure to allow myself to be happy with the progress I made. Failure to give myself time to actually write. Failure to let my job be the main rotating point in my life at all times.

Maybe my life is much busier than I assumed it was, but I couldn’t for the life of me sit down and finish the rest of it. I’m honestly having difficulty with writing this post.

If I could grasp at any ideas of what may have happened, I think that I ended up at a roadblock and couldn’t figure out how to get out of it. The ultimate plot line of the book was supposed to be a romantic one, but I slowly found myself tying in commentary on diversity. While I do want my book to be diverse (me being a diverse human), I wanted it to be more about the decisions we make when we’re young and how ultimately those decisions shape our lives.

When I saw my fingers fly across the screen and the story starting to change, something in me took a step back. I couldn’t write this. This wasn’t my story. This is going in a different direction and I wasn’t prepared.

And somehow that road block put me on a writer’s block because I didn’t know how to escape it. I told myself that I would just follow the story, continue moving and flowing and dealing with the repercussions later, but maybe my tired ass old person brain just said no.

I know it’ll take me a few days to recover from not being able to complete the task, but something that I won’t forget and will not let myself forget is that there’s a story waiting to be told. It may take me a little bit longer than 30 days to write it, but I know it’ll happen and I’ll know that all my fruits won’t be for any less.

 

Memories, trinkets, and a good story

I love memories and trinkets. The mind’s ability to recognize something and immediately understand that this was a part of my childhood. Even if it only lasted for a few fleeting moments in my life, I can remember my fondness for a wind up toy or how I lovingly caressed my barbies.

Memories and their correlation to trinkets and ephemera are powerful. You’re immediately transported to another world. It’s similar to reading. Reading sometimes feels like a memory to me. It’s like I’m watching a show I loved when I was a kid or feeling like this is something that actually happened to me. Stories transport you and any good writer allows the story to take you wherever it needs to go.

What I find extremely funny in this world of mine is that the trinkets and ephemera of the novels I read suddenly become things that I tangibly need. For example, the key to the secret garden Mary Lennox comes across in The Secret Garden or the twin ivory elephants.

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Or perhaps the locket from A Little Princess:

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And that little piece of ephemera whisks you away to a place where the ground is still fertile or a promise to return. You are Mary Lennox or Sara Crewe. You lived their lives and looking back on these trinkets is almost like looking back at yourself as a kid.

As an adult, it’s always good to look back at the good times and remember when things were a lot easier. You can imagine getting lost in the wild and you can remember bike rides and your favorite toys and the one trinket that you’ll always hold dear to your heart. The same can be said about books. There will always be the story you remember to warm your heart and soul and think about the best moments in your life.

As long as you have that, then there’s never anything to worry about.

 

 

How to Manage Your Reading Slump

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Oh goodness. I’m in a pretty awful reading slump right now.

For those of you who don’t know, a reading slump is when every book you pick up feels like a lead weight. You definitely want to read that book, but it’s not on the top priorities list. You read the words on the page and all you want to do is watch that episode of the Kardashians you missed last week. You’re just not interested in reading.

What usually takes me about a week to read a book took me nearly a month. Yup. One book in a month. As an avid reader, that’s some pretty slow reading especially for something less than 400 pages and pretty easy to read.

I’m here to tell you that reading slumps do suck, but that it’s also all okay. There’s some ways to manage it and I hope it relieves your slump as well as mine.

Reassess the books you’ve read this year – I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve got a threshold for the number of books I can read in a year. It’s not only about reading the books but also remembering what these books are about. Instead of putting another notch on your proverbial bed book post, take a look back at all the books you’ve read this year. See if you can remember what the basic plots are about. Make it a game!

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Write! – Again, with the many books that I’ve read this year, if I can’t remember what the book is about, I’m going to try and write about it. Or if I remember it having some profound effect on me, then I’ll try and write about it. Writing about books almost feels like you’re dumping out those thoughts from your brain. You’re making space for other books to occupy your mind. And if you’re a book blogger, you’ve got a line up of blog posts for the next few weeks.

Organize your TBR – When I say “organize your TBR,” I really mean take a look at each book you’ve been wanting to read and realistically tell yourself if you’re going to read it. TBR piles are always so daunting especially when you’re buying books faster than you’re reading books. It could cause you to stress out and stop reading. Organizing those books allows you to manage them and maybe you won’t feel intimidated by that ridiculous pile. Konmari those books. Ask yourself if this will definitely be a book you’ll read. If not, then maybe think about donating it to someone or putting it up on the shelf. Out of sight and out of mind.

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Do something else – Yes, the best thing you can do in a reading slump is not to get down on the fact that you can’t read. Just go ahead and do something else. Is there a craft project you’ve been wanting to do? Is there a tv show you need to catch up on? Don’t let reading become another chore. If you can’t do it, don’t force yourself to do it otherwise you’ll end up resenting it.

The last thing you should always remember is that there’s no goon standing over you watching you read. There’s no pressure to read a book when you don’t want to. When you’re not reading, you’re still a reader so enjoy yourself! Be you! And always remember to give yourself a break because you most definitely deserve it.